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openSUSE Tumbleweed Guide for 2022

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OpenSUSE Tumbleweed is an excellent rolling release Linux distribution. This updated guide for 2022 will take you through updating packages, adding additional repositories, gaining multimedia support, and installing software.

If you’re still on the fence about trying openSUSE, check out my list of the Top Reasons to Use openSUSE. Or watch the video below. I appreciate any team that will come up with clever parody videos.

Notes on Using Tumbleweed

Tumbleweed is rolling release style Linux distribution built by the openSUSE team. Rolling release means that new packages are quickly added to the repositories and there are no big single releases. These packages undergo automated testing with openSUSE’s OpenQA to test for compatibility and problems. Its unlikely but not impossible for updates to cause errors.

There can be frequent and possibly sizeable updates. It is not necessary to update daily.

OpenSUSE offers several unique tools. YaST is a comprehensive suite of system administration tools. YaST can modify repositories, update the system, configure the firewall, and much more.

OpenSUSE’s One Click Install is a simple way to install software. Links in Firefox will trigger YaST to add appropriate repos and install packages. Which this is a convenient approach, take caution with adding additional repos. Poorly managed repos can create conflicts when updating. When possible, install packages directly from YaST Software Manager, Discover, or the command line.

Open Build Service contains packages not just for openSUSE, but for multiple distros. The community can submit packages to OBS to distribution. Strictly follow compatibility guidelines and do not attempt to use a Leap package on Tumbleweed. This is an excellent place to find newer packages and those can may be patent encumbered. The opi command searches OBS for packages and

Get Up to Date

The first step in any fresh install is to update your system. Open a command line (Terminal in Gnome and Konsole in KDE) and enter these commands. Ref will refresh repositories and dup with upgrade packages.

sudo zypper ref
sudo zypper dup 

Unlike openSUSE Leap, Tumbleweed should be upgraded with the dup command (per openSUSE wiki). This command will bring the system up to the latest snapshot ensuring consistency.

An initial upgrade may include a lot of packages. This is normal. Be patient while you get the latest and greatest software that openSUSE has to offer. Try watching some more music videos. I really enjoyed What Does the Chameleon Say.

Add Additional Repositories

Repositories can be easily added via the command line (Konsole) or graphically with YaST Software Repositories. There are three repos that most users will be interested in: Packman, Nvidia, and libdvdcss. Packman contains restricted packages like codecs that are not included in the main repos.

YaST Software Repositories

The graphical approach may be the easiest option for new users. Search for YaST Software Repositories either in the Application Launcher or by pressing Alt + Space.

In the lower left corner, find the Add button. The next screen will prompt to select a type of repo to add. Select Community Repositories and click Next. Choose the appropriate repos. Most users will want Packman for multimedia codec support. Nvidia is only required for users with Nvidia graphics cards. Libdvdcss contains support for DVD playback. After selecting the appropriate repos, click OK. Follow the prompts.

Command Line Method

OPI or OpenBuildService Package Installer is a simple method of installing of Packman.

sudo zypper install opi
opi packman

Alternatively, the Packman repo can be installed in a traditional fashion. Check the list of mirrors for a physically closer repo.

sudo zypper addrepo --refresh --priority 90 https://ftp.gwdg.de/pub/linux/misc/packman/suse/openSUSE_Tumbleweed/ packman

After adding the Packman repo, it is necessary to refresh and move package updates to the Packman repository.

sudo zypper dup --from packman --allow-vendor-change

Multimedia Codecs

Only free and open codecs are installed in openSUSE by default. There are a few methods to add codecs.

One Click Install

YaST supports automated installers called One Click Install. These are only supported in Firefox. Clicking a One Click Install will trigger the installation of all the necessary packages for DVD, MP3, and other proprietary format playback.

KDE One Click InstallGnome One Click Install

OPI

The previously mentioned OPI (OpenBuildService Package Installer) is downright easy. The Packman repo will be added as well with this command.

sudo zypper install opi
opi codecs

Command Line

Codecs can also be installed with the command line. First, add the necessary repos. If you’ve already added Packman there’s no need to do so again. The second repo is for DVD playback capability.

 sudo zypper addrepo --refresh --priority 90 https://ftp.gwdg.de/pub/linux/misc/packman/suse/openSUSE_Tumbleweed/ packman

sudo zypper addrepo -f http://opensuse-guide.org/repo/openSUSE_Tumbleweed/ dvd

Ensure the packages are coming from Packman.

sudo zypper dist-upgrade --from packman --allow-vendor-change

Once the repos are added, install the codecs and DVD support. If VLC won’t be used, vlc-codecs can be removed.

sudo zypper install --from packman ffmpeg gstreamer-plugins-{good,bad,ugly,libav} libavcodec-full vlc-codecs

Graphics Drivers

While there is a 1 Click for this, I don’t recommend it. If you know you have an Nvidia card, use the Terminal. Add the Nvidia repo first.

sudo zypper addrepo -f https://download.nvidia.com/opensuse/tumbleweed nvidia

Then use the following command to install the driver. It should install the correct one automatically.

sudo zypper install-new-recommends --repo https://download.nvidia.com/opensuse/tumbleweed

AMD and Intel graphics are well supported in Linux. The included drivers work well.

Install Apps via Terminal or 1 Click

Most of these applications can be found in the Software Center but, frankly, this is just easier. So copy and Ctrl+Shift+V right into the Terminal. OpenSUSE is also awesome for the One Click Install system. Hit the 1 Click links and watch YaST do the rest.

Use caution with One Click Install. Stick with default repos whenever possible. It’s very easy to add extra unnecessary repos when using One Click Install. Those extra repos can add up, slow down updates, and cause problems due to version differences. If in doubt, use the terminal.

VLC is a popular media player with wide media support. One Click Install

sudo zypper in vlc 

Archive tools useful for extracting files.

sudo zypper in rar unrar p7zip tar bzip gzip

GIMP is a popular and full featured graphics editor. One Click Install

sudo zypper in gimp 

QBittorrent – Bittorrent client. One Click Install

sudo zypper in qbittorrent 

Audacity is an audio editor. One Click Install

sudo zypper in audacity 

KDE Partition Manager is useful for managing partitions. One Click Install

sudo zypper in partitionmanager

Chromium or Chrome. One Click Install

sudo zypper install chromium

OR if you want to install full blown Google-ized Chrome, add Google’s official repo first. To install a different version, change the package (google-chrome-stable) from -stable to -beta or -unstable.

sudo zypper ar http://dl.google.com/linux/chrome/rpm/stable/x86_64 Google-Chrome
wget https://dl.google.com/linux/linux_signing_key.pub
sudo rpm --import linux_signing_key.pub
sudo zypper ref -f
sudo zypper in google-chrome-stable

Enable Flatpak Support in Discover

OpenSUSE ships with support for Flatpak, a distro agnostic software package. The Flathub repository is not enabled by default. Flathub provides access to most available Flatpaks. The process to enable it is straightforward.

Discover Software Center on openSUSE Tumbleweed

Open the Discover Software Center. In the bottom left, select Settings. Notice that Flatpak is listed at the top. Click on Flathub in the top right (not pictured above). Discover will spit out a nasty warning about untested, insecure packages. You can safely ignore it. This will enable the central Flathub repo.

Flatpak software like those listed below will now install via Discover. Try searching for Tutanota, Simplenote, or Bitwarden.

The Flathub repository can also be enabled in the command line.

sudo zypper install flatpak
flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

Restart after install then check out our list of Best Flatpaks.

Non Repo Software 

Many of these package can be installed in Discover if a Flatpak is offered.

AppImageLauncher is an AppImage management utility. It makes it easier to track which AppImages have been installed on your system, helps to integrate them, and allows the user to easily remove them. It is available for download as an AppImage, DEB, RPM, and Tarball.

Brave is a widely popular privacy focused browser based on Chromium. While I prefer Firefox and I don’t want to see a Google dominated Internet, Brave is still an excellent choice for web browsing. Chrome extensions are available on it and it can sync between platforms. Then there’s BAT, Basic Attention Tokens. Brave will pay you to look at ads. Granted, its in BATs but they can be converted to good ole fashion currency, if that’s your thing. They can also be used to tip your favorite content creators.

Bitwarden is an open source password manager akin to LastPass or 1Pass. It integrates nicely on Android and has autofill ability. It syncs passwords across Android, Linux, iOS, OS X, and Windows. Bitwarden can be installed through AppImage, DEB, Flatpak, RPM, and Snap. DEB and RPM packages do not auto update. CLI Tools are available along with browser extensions for most browsers.

Simplenote is a free note taking app developed by Automattic (the WordPress people). Simplenote syncs across virtually everything and supports AppImage, DEB, Flatpak, and RPM. Part of the appeal of Simplenote is markdown support but the other cool thing is WordPress support. Simplenote can be tied to a WordPress account for easy WordPress posting.

Standard Notes is a lot like Simplenote. Its free. Its open source. Its crazy cross platform. If the Automattic/Wordpress relationship makes you uncomfortable or maybe you just don’t need it, try Standard Notes instead. Standard Notes has one big advantage over Simplenote: extensions. Yes, the extensions do cost but they effectively turn Standard Notes into a mini office suite with support for markdown, rich text, LaTeX, and HTML to backup support for Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive.

Try a secure email service like Protonmail or Tutanota. Or even Msgsafe. Gmail, Outlook, and other free email services offer tons of storage. In exchange, they mine your data to show you ads. Secure email services encrypt your data so they are unable to read it. Tutanota offers a free AppImage desktop client while Protonmail enables IMAP with a paid plan.

KDE Plasma Customization

The KDE Plasma desktop environment is ridiculously customizable. It can be made to look like Apple’s Mac OS or Microsoft’s Windows 98, XP, 7, or 10. A good starting point is using the built in Global Theme settings menu.

Plasma Global Theme allows users to easily change the look and feel of the desktop

After opening Global Themes, click Get New Global Themes in the bottom right corner. Themes can be sorted by date, number of downloads, and popularity. Themes can also be searched. I start with a Mac theme like McMojave or PlasmaSur. Check the box Use desktop layout from theme to allow the theme to change panel location and settings. Themes can also be applied without modifying layout.

Latte Dock looks great here. Install Latte Dock with the following command.

sudo zypper in latte-dock

After installing Latte Dock, manually launch it the first time. Right click on the dock to change the appearance and settings.

Rather than the traditional application launcher, I prefer the the application overview. Right click on the application launcher and choose Show Alternatives… There are three options to choose from. Find what works best for you.

That’s the beauty of KDE and Plasma. There is so much customization built directly into the desktop environment. No two systems need to be alike.

Gnome Customization

Gnome Tweak Tool makes it easy to modify the Gnome Desktop Environment. One Click Install

sudo zypper in -y gnome-tweaks

GParted is a partition management utility. One Click Install

sudo zypper in gparted 

GSConnect works with the KDE Connect app on Android. Before I go any further: Do not install the KDE Connect package on Gnome system. It will interfere with GSConnect. GSConnect is the Gnome implementation of KDE Connect. The Android app works with both. Similarly, do not attempt Gnome extensions on KDE. They won’t work. KDE Connect is included in the KDE Plasma version of openSUSE.

That said, GSConnect allows notification syncing so that your phone calls, messages, and app notifications will all appear on your desktop. Phone battery life is also displayed. It goes beyond just notifications though.

Text messages can be responded to or even started from the desktop. It also opens up file transfers between devices. While I like Google Messages for RCS and web access, it doesn’t compare to the features GSConnect offers.

Another helpful extension is Dash to Dock. Gnome’s default dock is just meh. Dash to Dock opens up more settings options like how to handle clicking on icons (minimize, preview, cycle), theme, size, and so forth.

Conclusion

OpenSUSE Tumbleweed is one of the best rolling releases Linux distributions available. What do you do after installing Tumbleweed?

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