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openSUSE is one of the most famous Linux distributions. Starting from version 42.1, openSUSE switched to being based on SUSE Linux enterprise. Meaning that the distribution is using the same code base meant for enterprise.
openSUSE releases “stable” images each 8 months called Leap. There’s also a rolling release branch coming from openSUSE called “Tumbleweed”. It has the latest and freshest packages coming from everywhere. However, those packages are also tested thanks to a service called openQA.
We’ve highlighted some features which make openSUSE remarkable. You can check them from our post: openSUSE is an amazing underestimated distribution.
In this article, we’ll guide through a set of things to do after installing openSUSE. Both Leap & Tumbleweed.
Run a System Update
Just like any other distribution which we talked about. You must run an update after installing your new OS. A lot of updates and bug fixes may exist. Running the update on openSUSE is done using the zypper package manager:
sudo zypper update
Enable Packman Repository
You can say that Packman on openSUSE is like RPM Fusion on Fedora. Due to openSUSE policy and other patents-related issues on shipping packages, some of them may not be available from the official repositories. Packman is a repository which provides those packages for all the supported openSUSE versions.
To enable Packman on openSUSE Tumbleweed:
sudo zypper ar -p 1 -f -n packman http://ftp.gwdg.de/pub/linux/misc/packman/suse/openSUSE_Tumbleweed/ packman
To enable it on openSUSE Leap 15:
sudo zypper ar -p 1 -f -n packman http://ftp.gwdg.de/pub/linux/misc/packman/suse/openSUSE_Leap_15.0/ packman
Make sure you have enabled the repository on your system before continuing reading. As a lot of the stuff we’ll mention are depending on the Packman repository.
Install Multimedia Codecs
Also due to patents and other legal issues. A lot of multimedia codecs are not supported by default on openSUSE. However, after you have enabled Packman repository, you can now install those codecs easily.
The following command should install the H264/AVC streams support on your PC:
sudo zypper install x264 libx265-130 libx264-148
Additionally, you may install ffmpeg from Packman if you want to manipulate multimedia streams:
sudo zypper install ffmpeg
Or the restricted GStreamer plugins:
sudo zypper install gstreamer-plugins-bad gstreamer-plugins-libav gstreamer-plugins-ugly
Install NVIDIA & AMD Drivers
To install NVIDIA driver on openSUSE Leap 15, run:
sudo zypper addrepo --refresh http://http.download.nvidia.com/opensuse/leap/15.0 NVIDIA sudo zypper install-new-recommends
sudo zypper ar https://download.nvidia.com/opensuse/tumbleweed nvidia-tumbleweed sudo zypper inr
If your PC is using NVIDIA Optimus technology, refer to the Bumblebee page for complete installation details.
For AMD drivers, you’ll need to download the official driver from the AMD website. Search for something like AMDGPU-Pro Driver Version 17.30 for SLED/SLES 12 SP2 (or any newer version that is for SLED/SLES) and download it. After you download the driver and extract it, run the checking process using:
sudo sh amdgpu-pro-preinstall.sh --check
It will show you if there are any repositories or packages that are missing. To run the script which automatically solves those problems and adds needed repositories:
sudo sh amdgpu-pro-preinstall.sh
Finally, you can now install the driver:
sudo ./amdgpu-pro-install -n
Try Vanilla Kernel
This step is optional. If you have some weird problems with the kernel shipped by default in openSUSE due to its patches or the backported drivers from newer kernel, or if you just want a vanilla kernel, you may install it easily on openSUSE using the following command:
sudo zypper in kernel-vanilla
When rebooting, make sure that you enter to the vanilla kernel instead of the default one.
Explore YaST Modules
YaST is the spirit of openSUSE. It comes by default with a few modules installed to configure bootloader, network, software and a lot more. However, YaST is not just those modules. There are around 80 different modules for YaST which you can install in a single click. Feel free to browse them to see if you need any.
To list the name of their packages on your system, run:
sudo zypper search yast2-
Install TLP For Battery Optimization
Some users – on some specific hardware – my notice a higher battery consumption rate on Linux than on Windows. This is explained in details with the solutions as well in our article: “7 Tips to Reduce Battery Usage on Linux“.
The easiest thing you can do to solve this problem on openSUSE, is simply installing TLP. Which is a nice power management system working in the background to save battery power when possible:
sudo zypper install tlp tlp-rdw sudo systemctl enable tlp
Then reboot your system.
Get Awesome Firefox Addons
Firefox is the default web browser in openSUSE. You may check those addons if you want to customize it:
- GNOME Theme: A nice theme for Firefox on theme. Giving it GNOME-like style.
- uBlock Origin: The famous ad-blocker plugin. Please make sure to add us to the whitelist!
- Self Destructing Cookies: For a better privacy and anonymity on the Internet. It’s better to destroy the cookies directly after you close the tab it’s associated with. This is exactly what this extension does. Although it will directly end your sessions (you will have to login again each time), but it will give you a good privacy shield.
- Privacy Badger: Block tracking scripts and other 3rd-party online tracking software.
Additionally, you may read this:
Customize GNOME Shell
GNOME Shell is the default desktop environment in openSUSE. The default look and feel for the shell is not that good, and it’s missing a lot of functionality. However, you can check our article below for awesome ways to customize your shell:
Try Other Web Browsers
If you don’t like Firefox, you may try a set of other web browsers which are available in openSUSE & Packman repositories. For example, you can try Chromium, which is the open source browser developed by Google:
sudo zypper in chromium
Vivaldi is also available:
sudo zypper in vivaldi
You may also give Nightly a shot. Nightly is the under-development version of Firefox. All new features are added to Nightly first before it goes gradually to the beta and stable channels.
Install a Set of Essential Apps
openSUSE repositories are full of apps. You can search for the software you want from YaST2 or software.opensuse.org. In both cases, here are some applications which we recommend.
VLC is one of the best multimedia players out there. It’s free and open source. You can install it via:
sudo zypper in vlc
If you are a gamer, then you may probably want to install Steam:
sudo zypper in steam
Fedora Media writer is a great graphical app to burn ISO images on USB sticks and SD cards. You can install it on openSUSE using the instructions in our tutorial.
Create a Backup Plan
Having a backup is extremely important. You don’t want to lose all your files and data just because something broke on your system. That’s why it’s important to invest a little time in setting it up.
Dropbox is probably the most famous solution on Linux desktops. You can install it using:
sudo zypper in dropbox
You can also install its Nautilus (GNOME file manager) extension using:
sudo zypper in nautilus-extension-dropbox
Here ends our list. You are now ready to go and start using your new OS in the way you like. If you are searching for desktop customizations, then you may find those in GNOME Look or KDE Store. There are tons of themes and icons which you can download from there.
Additionally, we recommend the United openSUSE theme. It has very nice branding with openSUSE.