On Mon, 2014-11-17 at 14:48 -0500, S. wrote:
I've been an intermittent user of SuSE and openSUSE for well over a decade, starting back in the 6.x days if I remember correctly. I've always admired the project for its professionalism and broad scope. I recently switched back to openSUSE thanks to the rolling Factory (now Tumbleweed) announcement, and I also have 13.2 installed on other machines. I'm really enjoying the experience, and this time, I'd like to stay.
I really want to see openSUSE succeed, but unfortunately I tend to see it dismissed by potential new users as "a nice distro, but..." followed by certain annoyances or "paper-cut" issues. This week's openSUSE 13.2 review on Distrowatch is the most recent example of such comments. I feel that openSUSE is fundamentally extremely well designed and executed, but I have also noticed the same recurring "paper-cut" issues year after year, release after release. So I'm wondering if anything could be done about them, or if the developers have any interest in fixing them.
Without going into detail, here are a few general areas of concern that I often hear and/or have personally noticed throughout many openSUSE releases:
- Ugly font rendering
- Automatic installation of extraneous/unrequested packages, especially
after initial installation. 3. Crippled packages meant to prevent compatibility with proprietary multimedia formats. 4. Difficult to install multimedia and/or proprietary formats and drivers. 5. Breakage of YaST modules.
All of the above issues do have workarounds, and think it would be best for this thread to not get into the technical details of these aforementioned issues. But in general terms, these issues come up time after time in reviews and forum posts about openSUSE. So my question is: Would the openSUSE project be interested in working to resolve any or all of these issues? And if so, where would be the best place for me to bring up these issues and work with developers to make improvements? Some of the issues are not related to any one specific package, but are rather of a more systemic nature. In some cases legal/patent issues are probably involved. (Again, let's please avoid legal discussions in this thread.) Although I am not a coder or developer *at all*, I do have an eye for detail and polish, and I have a good idea of what typical users expect out of a Linux distro on the desktop. I'd like to help to identify and test solutions to these papercuts if any developers are willing to look into some of these long-standing issues with a fresh eye.
Any comments? Thanks in advance for your time and consideration.
It should be understood of course in regards to patented or licensed technologies, there is little we can do about that. On the other hand, the font rendering issue is being worked on actually and should be fixed in an update soon.
As for installing proprietary drivers, I'm not sure how much easier we could really make it. Most reviews complaining about that are due to a fundamental misunderstanding of how it works with us, and they are expecting it to be like Ubuntu which has an in your face tool for it. Whereas we simply add a repo, and things are generally handled automatically with an update so long as 'recommends' haven't been disabled.
I don't know about our packages being crippled to complicate using codecs etc, though it's easy for me at least to see why you'd think so. Multimedia packages seem to be poorly maintained, and I often have problems with them such as the segfault with .avi on Totem even after installing the Fluendo Codec Pack.
I have witnessed the problem of broken YaST modules, in my case it being the System Services module doesn't actually seem to do anything at all when you change something. I'm inclined to suspect this has to do with it not being fully updated to work with the way systemd deals with services.
In general I understand your concern regarding papercut issues. I think it has to do with the phenomenon of 'cat-herding'. We have far too many communication channels which are poorly integrated, and often underused. My solution I was pushing for was to adopt the Kablink which is the FOSS Novell Vibe, a web-based team collaboration platform developed by Novell. My idea was not merely to add it as YASD (Yet Another Sub-Domain) but to make it front and central to replace and supplement some existing channels, while being tied in with others via scripted extensions. This was however shot down since people didn't like the interface, and felt we had inadequate web developers to make it happen. However, I recently discovered the addition of a Redmine install in a subdomain which hardly anybody knows exists, and is even less useful and redundant than Kablink.
Towards the above point, I think that would still be the final solution. We need an integrated 'command-center' for the project so that communication will be more transparent and issues can be tracked in order to avoid regressions. I have been considering approaching the community as a whole with the idea again, but this time proposing a Kickstarter or IndieGoGo campaign so we can hire some dedicated developers to make sure the task is done correctly and completely.