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Old 06-22-2012, 04:09 AM   #1
ten0rman
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Is Linux going to work for me?


Hi folks,
Don't even know if this is the right place for this, so if not please point me elsewhere.

Now, currently I use Windows XP in extended desktop and so-called Windows Classic modes - can't do with these fancy graphics things. Program wise I use Thunderbird, Firefox (with an occasional foray into IE), Libre Office, Paint Shop Pro, Design Cad 17.2 & Masterfile Professional (a DOS based database). Of these, the first three all have Linux equivalents so no problem there; Paint Shop Pro I don't use that much so don't see any problem changing to The Gimp. However, I do use the last two a lot which does pose problems, however I would be prepared to use DOSEMU or equivalent if it worked satisfactorily, and apparently someone has got Design Cad working under WINE.

I tried SUSE 9.1 some time ago, liked it but didn't proceed any further. Tried SUSE 10.3 but couldn't find any way of using an extended desktop. Am now trying SUSE 12.1 which does do extended desktop, but KDE is absolutely horrible - the version in 9.1 was far better. Am now about to reload to try Gnome.

That's the background, and apologies for the long read. Now for the question.

Given that the DOS program is a must, the CAD program is extremely highly desirable, extended desktop is also very useful and hence almost esential, and I want a simple easy to use desktop suite which will give me a simple menu system for program access and a windowing system similar to Windows Classic, no background, blank screensaver, white text, am I simply bashing my head against a brick wall? Should I be even considering SUSE (I do have three books dating back to v.9.1)? Be honest now.

Regards,

ten0rman
 
Old 06-22-2012, 04:51 AM   #2
i_joh
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Dosbox ran sc, a DOS/UNIX spreadsheet just fine for me. It also runs Word Perfect 5.1 fine (it seems), and I often use a Norwegian-English dictionary in that emulator too without problems. The command 'keyb' in Dosbox changes keyboard layout in case you need that. Give it a try in XP before you switch to Linux. Dosbox runs fine in XP.

Quote:
Given that the DOS program is a must, the CAD program is extremely highly desirable, extended desktop is also very useful and hence almost esential, and I want a simple easy to use desktop suite which will give me a simple menu system for program access and a windowing system similar to Windows Classic, no background, blank screensaver, white text, am I simply bashing my head against a brick wall? Should I be even considering SUSE (I do have three books dating back to v.9.1)? Be honest now.
If you want a windowing system similar to Windows Classic then WindowMaker or something. Or use the Redmond or Raleigh themes in Gnome 2.x. WindowMaker isn't terribly easy to use though.

Edit: Unless you like command line. I have a feeling you do though.

Last edited by i_joh; 06-22-2012 at 04:56 AM.
 
Old 06-22-2012, 05:58 AM   #3
salasi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ten0rman View Post

Now, currently I use Windows XP in extended desktop and so-called Windows Classic modes - can't do with these fancy graphics things. Program wise I use Thunderbird, Firefox (with an occasional foray into IE), Libre Office, Paint Shop Pro, Design Cad 17.2 & Masterfile Professional (a DOS based database). Of these, the first three all have Linux equivalents so no problem there; Paint Shop Pro I don't use that much so don't see any problem changing to The Gimp. However, I do use the last two a lot which does pose problems, however I would be prepared to use DOSEMU or equivalent if it worked satisfactorily, and apparently someone has got Design Cad working under WINE.
While this isn't fundamental to the question, the Gimp is a far more complex/capable program than Paint Shop Pro (from what I know of PSP, maybe it has changed recently); you might find that Krita is a better match (or even Kolour Paint (maybe that's Kolor Paint in US English???)...you might have guessed from all of these random 'K's scattered around the place that they are KDE programs, but the intention is that they will run under other desktops, too.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ten0rman View Post

I tried SUSE 9.1 some time ago, liked it but didn't proceed any further. Tried SUSE 10.3 but couldn't find any way of using an extended desktop. Am now trying SUSE 12.1 which does do extended desktop, but KDE is absolutely horrible - the version in 9.1 was far better. Am now about to reload to try Gnome.
Several points:
  • Suse 9.1 would have used a kde 3.x desktop by default (although there would have been a lot of other options). Some people do prefer that (less 'eye candy' and less complex...better on low resource computers, for example), and you might find either a version of KDE 3.x or 'Trinity' in repos (Trinity is the ongoing development of the final KDE 3.x code)
  • I'm a little surprised that you say the Suse 12.1/KDE is horrible - yes, it is pretty bizarre out of the box, but you can change just about everything about it, so if you have strong opinions about how you like things, you can usually get to where you want to go; maybe you thought that you had better things to do with your life (really, wouldn't blame you if that was the case!)
  • You can install more than one desktop at once, I'm not sure that you are aware of this. So you could install KDE 4.x, KDE 3.x, Gnome, XFCE, Windowmaker and a few others simultaneously and choose at login in time which you want to use for a particular session (so, you don't have to re-install to try Gnome, if that is what you are going to do)
  • If by 'extended desktop', you mean having several virtual desktops, and switching between them, any KDE, Gnome, XFCE, etc should be able to do that, but if you want to know how to do that under a particular desktop, you'll have to say which desktop you are using; alternatively, you may mean a panning/scrolling' type desktop which extends beyond the limits of the physical screen as a single big desktop; I don't use this myself, but it is rarer, and you'll have to look at fvwm/tvtwm/vtwm (others?) to find this facility

Quote:
Originally Posted by ten0rman View Post
similar to Windows Classic, no background, blank screensaver, white text, am I simply bashing my head against a brick wall? Should I be even considering SUSE (I do have three books dating back to v.9.1)? Be honest now.
I haven't done this (actually, I don't even know what 'windows classic' is like; there was something for the file manager like this under Windows NT or Win 3.11, but you probably don't mean that) but I don't see any reason why you shouldn't manage it. By 'no background' you mean a blank wallpaper? I have to say that with several virtual desktops in play I like to have different wallpapers on each, so I can easily see which desktop is current, but that's a matter of taste. You might have to create your own blank wallpaper, but probably not - from your selected desktop (Gnome, KDE, at least) have a look at the ability to get new themes and appearance items from Gnome-look and KDE-look; there will probably be something that suits you (although I'll guarantee that at least 95% of the stuff that you see won't be to your taste, as most contributors have objectives diametrically opposite to yours).

Quote:
Originally Posted by ten0rman View Post
am I simply bashing my head against a brick wall? Should I be even considering SUSE (I do have three books dating back to v.9.1)? Be honest now.
With the exception of the CAD program and Masterfile, about which I simply don't know, you don't seem to want anything that is sufficiently out of the ordinary to be impossible. On the other hand, whether you find the effort to get there excessive, or whether you'll like it when you get it is another matter.
 
Old 06-22-2012, 01:21 PM   #4
DavidMcCann
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If you like the old-style windows and hate KDE, you probably won't like Gnome either. Try Xfce or Mate. The latest version of Mint has Mate and will be supported for 5 years. SalineOS is based on debian and uses Xfce.

Use a live disk and check that you must-have programs will run under Wine. You might have to try several versions: my essential Windows program runs in 1.2.1 but not 1.2.3, 1.3.1 but not 1.3.7, etc! There are Linux CAD programs: see Wikipedia.

Last edited by DavidMcCann; 06-22-2012 at 01:23 PM.
 
Old 06-23-2012, 11:32 AM   #5
ten0rman
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Hi, and thanks for the replies.

1. Use of command line.
I have used the DOS command line quite successfully in the past, even when W3x was being used by other people. Amazing how other people were simply not capable/aware of basic DOS commands. Therefore, not fazed by it, although onbiously I would have to learn it. However, let's face it, for normal usage, a GUI does make things easier.

2. Ability to multi-desktop.
No, I was not aware that one can have different desktops without reloading the OS. Which is what I did to try Gnome.

3. Extended desktop.
By this I mean that the two screens act as one super-wide screen and windows (not the OS) can be moved from one screen to the other seamlessly. My main VDU is 1280 x 1024 whilst the secondary VDU is 1280 x 800. In Windows XP, I can move windows from one screen to the other albeit with a loss at either top or bottom but this is easily resized manually as necessary, or if I leave them at a max of 800 x 1024, then there is no need to resize. In addition, as the 800 x 1024 screen is actually the laptop, disconnecting the larger screen causes the main screen effect to immediately revert to the laptop, and whilst I then have to set up the extended desktop again when I reconnect the main screen, this is now not a problem.

In KDE, I found that windows automatically resized when moving from one to the other, possibly a bonus. In Gnome, I found that when set to the correct optimum sizes, the system slowed to a crawl and whilst not exactly unusable, was well on the way to it.

4. KDE & Gnome desktops.
In KDE, I tried down loading alternative wallpapers, but none seemed suitable, and whilst I well appreciate that some people do like fancy things, I don't - I find it distracting and on occasion makes the text difficult to read. As far as I am concerned, black wallpaper and white text is more than adequate - the computer is a tool, not a plaything. Interestingly, my 23 year-old son uses the same and for the same reason, although to be fair he does also have a photo of the current favourite female popstar as well on the screen, but only occupying perhaps half the available area.
Similarly with screen blanking. Here again, the original idea of screen blanking, or screen saver, was to protect CRT's from screen burn and presumably the idea of the moving picture, whatever that may be, would also act as a reminder that the machine was on. As far as I am concerned, a blank, hence black, screen is fully acceptable - I know from the lights that it is switched on.
I have tried to change things with KDE but was unable to easily find out how to do it. I did end up at one stage with black & grey - not very pretty. KDE3.x I found very easy to change to what I liked. Gnome, as I have already said was almost unusable with the correct screen sizes in extended, or non-mirrored, mode.

5. Windows Classic
This refers to, if you know it, the pre-Windows XP desktops which did not use fancy icons with, or even without, tiny lettering. Here again, I prefer to read the text. I also set up all my window displays to give full alphabetic detail as I find it considerably faster to, eg, select Control Panel and rapidly scan down the list to find what I want.

6. Future.
I have now downloaded Linux Mint, Ubuntu & Mandriva, all of which I will be trying. I take the point about the Gimp v. Paint Shop Pro, but something with the name "...Paint" does make me wonder just how basic it actually is.
The reason for keeping DesignCad is that I simply do not wish to attempt to learn another CAD program. I tried once with TurboCad - and never again! This apparently is quite common in that if one learns TurboCad from the off, then it becomes easy, but the other way round is not. And that was my problem in that I started on DraftChoice, a DOS & W3x program, then moved onto DesignCad which has a lot of similarities to DraftChoice. Hence, when I saw that someone had got my version of DesignCad working under WINE, I thought I may be in with a chance.
In fact, the DOS program may be the real killer. Although nominally a DOS program and it is supposedly limited to 25 lines & 80 columns, the program itself does have the ability to provide 43 or 50 lines and can scroll sideways to give 255 columns. Coupled with Windows XP, a 1280 x 1024 VDU and judicious use of Windows based fonts, I can get a very reasonable display on either of the screens. The program itself does all that I want and I see no reason to change to another database program. So provided I can get it to work using a DOS emulator, then ok, but if not....
Final comment is that Windows XP does indeed work 'out-of-the-box' for me. I do not get any BSOD's, or indeed any other problems. Nevertheless, I am well aware of the ever increasing modifications etc to the basic program and that in a few years time I will either have to stick with XP as it finally is, or upgrade to some other Windows versions which will either require a new computer and/or probably contains a load of unwanted fancy garbage which does nothing for the user but inflates Microsoft's bank balance. In short, what I want is a plain, no-frills, reliable GUI shorn of all the dross being inflicted on us. I had hoped that Linux might do just that.

Regards,

ten0rman
 
Old 06-23-2012, 04:23 PM   #6
ten0rman
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Hi,

An update. Been trying Linux Mint. It seems much more user friendly. Think I might persevere a bit more with this one.

Regards,

ten0rman
 
Old 06-23-2012, 06:42 PM   #7
salasi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ten0rman View Post
2. Ability to multi-desktop.
No, I was not aware that one can have different desktops without reloading the OS. Which is what I did to try Gnome.
Yes, this is somehow not apparent to many people, at first, once they have started associating the GUI with the OS they don't 'get it' until someone points it out. In any case, with most Linux distros you can just go into the application installer and select another GUI, and the next time that you log in to the desktop, you get the choice of desktops....even this isn't necessarily apparent, as it is hiding under the name 'session type' or something, so, maybe, you even already have it, but haven't noticed yet.

(Even with Ubuntu...the names make this less apparent, but while, eg, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu are marketed (?) as if they were separate things, they are not as separate as they seem, because you can always have, say, Ubuntu and select KDE for install and have this choice. This is essentially having both Ubuntu and Kubuntu installed, but in only one OS install, which doesn't sound as if it would be possible.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ten0rman View Post
4. KDE & Gnome desktops.
In KDE, I tried down loading alternative wallpapers, but none seemed suitable, and whilst I well appreciate that some people do like fancy things, I don't - I find it distracting and on occasion makes the text difficult to read. As far as I am concerned, black wallpaper and white text is more than adequate - the computer is a tool, not a plaything. Interestingly, my 23 year-old son uses the same and for the same reason, although to be fair he does also have a photo of the current favourite female popstar as well on the screen, but only occupying perhaps half the available area.
You tried going into system settings > application appearance > colours and selected 'get new schemes' and you couldn't find anything even vaguely appropriate? I find it a little difficult to believe, given that as of right now, three or four out of the most recent dozen are dark themes that seem as if they could be amenable to your requirements, eventually.

After that, you go to 'almond'/desktop settings > and set the wallpaper to a colour. (By 'almond', I mean the vaguely swirl shaped, almondy-coloured thing in one of the screen corners.)

So, really, what I expected to hear was 'I found this thing that was vaguely similar to what I want, but I still have to alter this detail...'

Quote:
Originally Posted by ten0rman View Post
Similarly with screen blanking. Here again, the original idea of screen blanking, or screen saver, was to protect CRT's from screen burn and presumably the idea of the moving picture, whatever that may be, would also act as a reminder that the machine was on. As far as I am concerned, a blank, hence black, screen is fully acceptable - I know from the lights that it is switched on.
Just set no screen saver. Then the screen will go blank when the 'screen saver' kicks in.
 
Old 06-23-2012, 11:12 PM   #8
jlinkels
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Linux will work for you. You already are aware that some things are different in Linux. That is about halfway as compared to other users.

The other part of the way in front of you might give you a hard time but as long as you realize that sometimes you have to put in some effort to get things done for the first time that is ok.

About CAD programs, there are about 40 (if not more) 2D and 3D CAD programs available for Linux in various degrees of compatibility and usability. I haven't tried them all, and the ones I am using for 2D and 3D serve their purpose (my purpose) but are not perfect. There exist also some pay programs which seem to be compatible and get good references.

If you have to run production, keep a virtual machine installed running XP. Over time you will be using it less.

jlinkels
 
Old 06-24-2012, 04:22 AM   #9
i_joh
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If you want a plain GUI then use some kind of window manager instead of Gnome, KDE or XFCE. However, be advised that those window managers are not very user friendly. So I'm afraid you don't get a plain GUI and user-friendlyness at the same time. Not in my experience. And I have twelve years of experience with Linux.

If you really want that extended desktop and want it to work fine without having to configure xorg yourself, then use KDE and try to sort the other things out. Setting a black background should be possible. Try turning off the background and choosing a background color instead. Try setting a high contrast theme.

As for GUI's, I'd say that's the direction the world is taking. 3D glass effects on my antivirus GUI annoys me as well. Which is why I only use Linux now. And a window manager. However, that means using some programs which even to the Windows 98 user might seem 'ugly', such as ghostview for pdf viewing and midnight commander for a file manager. I think you're better off starting with KDE, then take it gradually from there. At least in KDE your monitor setup is working. And while KDE's control center can be confusing (been there), you'll sure get used to it.
 
Old 06-24-2012, 08:18 AM   #10
jlinkels
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Quote:
Originally Posted by i_joh View Post
As for GUI's, I'd say that's the direction the world is taking. 3D glass effects on my antivirus GUI annoys me as well.
Couldn't agree more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by i_joh View Post
Which is why I only use Linux now. And a window manager. However, that means using some programs which even to the Windows 98 user might seem 'ugly', such as ghostview for pdf viewing and midnight commander for a file manager. I think you're better off starting with KDE, then take it gradually from there. At least in KDE your monitor setup is working. And while KDE's control center can be confusing (been there), you'll sure get used to it.
Although I am still sorry that KDE3 disappeared (it seems to continue its life as KDE3.10 in a project which name I forgot) KDE4 evolved to the point where it reached some usability. If you disable all desktop effects and gadgets, it runs fairly smooth on an AMD 1700 single-core Athlon and an NVIDIA FX5200. If you don't want you don't have to go for a more simple window manager.

That having said, there is definitely no need to stick with "ugly" programs because of your window manager. Programs like Okular for PDF viewing and Krusader run well in XFCE or whatever. I know some consider those bloated, but you have a choice.

jlinkels
 
Old 06-24-2012, 08:42 AM   #11
brianL
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Originally Posted by jlinkels View Post
Although I am still sorry that KDE3 disappeared (it seems to continue its life as KDE3.10 in a project which name I forgot) .

jlinkels
It's Trinity:
http://www.trinitydesktop.org/
 
Old 06-24-2012, 04:08 PM   #12
i_joh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlinkels View Post
That having said, there is definitely no need to stick with "ugly" programs because of your window manager. Programs like Okular for PDF viewing and Krusader run well in XFCE or whatever. I know some consider those bloated, but you have a choice.
jlinkels
Or FileRunner. Or X File Explorer. Or Rox Filer. Sorry if I left the impression that Midnight Commander is the only option for a file manager when using a window manager. It was just an example of a file manager that doesn't require hundreds of megs of software to run.

Also, KDE programs are hardly bloated. They just require a lot of libraries which may seem like a bad thing if you're not gonna use KDE and enjoy the integration with the rest of KDE.
 
Old 06-25-2012, 10:57 AM   #13
ten0rman
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Right, let's see if you can easily get me up and running with an easy on the eye desktop.

Here's what I've done so far:

Couldn't see any way of installing KDE when Gnome was already installed. Found somewhere where it said that stuff could be installed, but couldn't find out how to actually do it. I also came across a couple of reviews which were not exactly good about SUSE12.1 so I reloaded with Suse 11.4 + KDE. First thoughts are that it doesn't seem any different to 12.1.

Found the little 'almond' thing - incorrect term by the way, but ne'er mind eh! - hidden away in one corner and thus managed to change the desktop to black. It concerns me that out of the box there is this litle thing tucked away almost hidden in one corner, looking for all the world like a colour malfunction. Crazy! Especially given the basic colour scheme supplied.

Also, found the command to change the screensaver to blank. Presume that's ok but haven't tried it - insufficient time.

Tried to change the panel (?), ie the bar along the bottom of the screen. At present, it's a number of variable shades of grey which does nothing for easy readability. And no, although I may well be getting on a bit, my eyes are still completely satisfactory - for an old 'un that it. No, seriously, there's nothing wrong with them. I did find somewhere to change the Kicker, Kickoff, whatever, icon back to the nice bright blue KDE icon.

So, here's what I want - light grey panel, black writing, small and colourful icons. Can it be done? If so how?

Change the icons on the desktop to brighter colours, and to have white writing. Individual windows to be white or very light grey with black lettering and small but colourful icons if present. Ideas?

With a bit of luck, getting round these hurdles should help towards understanding the system.

One other thing. Tempus is fugitting (sorry you Latin experts) a bit too fast these days, eg I only have limited time available now until a weeks jollies next week. And tonight, Friday night, Saturday afternoon and evening are also out of the question.

Regards,

ten0rman
 
Old 06-25-2012, 12:25 PM   #14
salasi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ten0rman View Post
Right, let's see if you can easily get me up and running with an easy on the eye desktop.
No one said that worthwhile things were going to be easy...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ten0rman View Post
Couldn't see any way of installing KDE when Gnome was already installed. Found somewhere where it said that stuff could be installed, but couldn't find out how to actually do it. I also came across a couple of reviews which were not exactly good about SUSE12.1 so I reloaded with Suse 11.4 + KDE. First thoughts are that it doesn't seem any different to 12.1.
Here is the generic procedure for any distro: Go to the application installer (with a 'net connection), select the Gnome application for installation, and let it be installed.

In Suse, the visual app installer is part of Yast, but there is also an icon for 'install and remove software', so you don't need to know about Yast. One slight complication is that you might find it difficult to work out which of the things with Gnome in the name is actually Gnome itself and which are packages for Gnome applications for it. So, if you see a 'Gnome window manager' or a 'Gnome window manager meta package' rather than 'music player for Gnome', you'll be on the right track (installing the music player will probably bring in some of the Gnome libraries as dependencies, but not the whole thing, unless some of it is already there).

KDE with 12.1 vs 11.4: that's probably kde 4.8.4 versus 4.7.2, so you wouldn't really expect a massive difference, but 4.8.4 will have some detail refinements and bug fixes. I think (but I'd have to check) that even 4.7.2 is recent enough to have the more recent kwin (post a big rewrite, which made a difference), and that improved smoothness of operation.

There is a big change in how the OS itself starts up, but, if they work, they work (although 12.1 should start up faster).

Quote:
Originally Posted by ten0rman View Post

Found the little 'almond' thing - incorrect term by the way, but ne'er mind eh! - hidden away in one corner and thus managed to change the desktop to black. It concerns me that out of the box there is this litle thing tucked away almost hidden in one corner, looking for all the world like a colour malfunction. Crazy! Especially given the basic colour scheme supplied.
'Almond' is what people usually call it and is vaguely descriptive - forget the real name... Yes, I rarely like the colour scheme that is the 'default' for any distro. There are 'schemes' and you can an existing scheme to change all of the colours or you can modify one however you like. However, having said that, you should be aware that, if you do decide to modify a colour scheme, your first attempts will inevitably result in some areas in which you have 'dark grey on black' text (or, 'very light grey on off-white') which wouldn't be entirely good for readability.

(What seems is a bit weird to me is that people sometimes select a distro based on the colours that are the defaults, out of the box, or the wallpapers. Odd.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ten0rman View Post
So, here's what I want - light grey panel, black writing, small and colourful icons. Can it be done? If so how?
Changing the colours of almost anything is do-able. Making it workable and likeable is more difficult, but if you are motivated...

As far as the panel is concerned, look at the various themes and one will have something suitable (I quite like transparent and vertical). Then modify the colours...

All this stuff hides in 'system settings', as earlier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ten0rman View Post
Change the icons on the desktop to brighter colours...
There are many icon sets. Select one that you like, or make your own (I'm sure that there will be a guide for doing this online somewhere, but its not something I've tried - again, there are lots of things in the system that have icons, so just be aware of the amount of work that you'd be taking on if you decide to make icons for everything).
 
Old 06-26-2012, 11:59 AM   #15
guyonearth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ten0rman View Post
Right, let's see if you can easily get me up and running with an easy on the eye desktop.

Here's what I've done so far:

Couldn't see any way of installing KDE when Gnome was already installed. Found somewhere where it said that stuff could be installed, but couldn't find out how to actually do it. I also came across a couple of reviews which were not exactly good about SUSE12.1 so I reloaded with Suse 11.4 + KDE. First thoughts are that it doesn't seem any different to 12.1.
Odd. You can install as many different desktop environments as you want, and choose which one to boot into at your login screen. They can either be installed from the package manager (best way), or terminal commands.

Masterfile looks like abandonware to me, I'd look for a more modern solution that's actually supported and maintained.

Last edited by guyonearth; 06-27-2012 at 12:15 PM.
 
  


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