Back to KDE on openSUSE 11.3

I did finally get openSUSE 11.3 to run on my dual screens, by installing Linux Mint 9 and copying the xorg.conf file back to openSUSE. That solved one display problem, but there were more to come. Skype, which I use a lot to talk to family and friends, installed. It needed a bunch of 32-bit libraries to run. Once I got it running, it kept dropping sound or locking up the system to the point of needing to power off.   The sound hardware finally stopped working.

I replaced the motherboard with a Gigabyte GA-P55-USB3 board with a Intel Core i5 650 CPU running at 3.2 GHz.  That’s the same board/CPU in my server.  There were still some problems with the processor maxing out when I ran Gkrellm (a system monitor) or Lbreakout2 (a game like pong).  That turned out to be caused by the interaction of xorg, nVidia driver and the nVidia GeForce 8400 graphics adapter.  The server was running Gkrellm without any problems.  It uses an nVidia GeForce 7300 SE/7200 GS graphics adapter.  Once I replaced the graphics adapter, everything worked without problems.

Gkrellm is a system monitor which shows everything you might want to know about the system including: CPU usage, temperatures, fan speeds, disk activity, network activity and emails on a remote server.   It also allows me to monitor Gkrellm on a remote system.  That way I can check on my server from my workstation.  The built-in plasma system monitor does not show emails and takes up a lot more screen space.  It has a global share option, but I couldn’t find out how to access it on another machine.  Maybe in 4.5 or 4.6.

I have my local applications recompiled and running. Skype, XTrackCAD and TeamViewer have been installed and are running. XTrackCAD is a track layout program for model railroaders.  TeamViewer is a desktop sharing program that runs on Windows, Linux and the Mac.  I have it installed here and on all the systems of my family and friends.  It’s free for personal or non-commercial use.

My Telly is a program that displays the current broadcast/cable programs with descriptions.  It requires a subscription to Schedules Direct, which cost $20/year. Schedules Direct is also used by MythTV to display its schedules. It didn’t want to run at first, complaining about a missing Jave parent. Once I installed a Java development kit and any Java package that looked even slightly like it would help, it ran as intended.

Going from openSUSE 11.0 to 11.3 has been difficult for a number of reasons:

  1. KDE 4.4 is a massive change from 3.5.  I see that 4.5 will be called KDE SC.  It should have had a name change when 4.0 came out.  It will take a while to learn all the quirks of the new KDE.  I think that the KDE developers got so intrigued with creating new toys that they lost sight of the users.  I know that I’m not alone in thinking that.
  2. Hardware failures.  It happens.
  3. Graphics support.  The 8000 series from nVidia is pretty common.  They should have noticed the periodic lockups caused by maxing the cpu.

All in all, I happy with the system as it is now.  I just wish the upgrade hadn’t taken so much time.

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