21 Things To Do After Installing OpenSUSE

OpenSUSE is one of the oldest Linux distros. It's a distro of choice for many developers, sysadmins, but also average Linux users. So, in this post, we'll explore the essential 21 things to do after installing OpenSUSE!

1. Update System

After installing any distro, not just OpenSUSE, it’s advisable updating the system to take advantage of the latest and greatest features.

In OpenSUSE, the following command is used to update the system:

sudo zypper ref && sudo zypper up

Also, if you are running OpenSUSE Tumbleweed, which is a rolling distro, make sure to run the following command to make sure that your distro version is up to date:

sudo zypper dup

2. Create a System Snapshot

Linux users are known for their passion for tinkering with distros. However, before doing any modifications to the system settings, make sure to have a backup of your system. OpenSUSE is one of the best Linux distros in this regard as it allows you to create multiple system snapshots with its BTRFS file system.

We can create a system snapshot with the following:

Open Yast → Filesystem Snapshots → Create → Fill in the fields → OK

OpenSUSE creating a system
snapshot

Now, if something goes wrong with your system while you are doing these things to do after installing OpenSUSE, you can always revert to the working state.

3. Install Drivers

Drivers are necessary to every system since they allow the system to take full advantage of the hardware. For example, a driver for the Nvidia graphics card can easily be installed with one-click-install at OpenSUSE Community.

If you don’t know which driver to install, make sure to get the model of your graphics card by executing the following command:

sudo hwinfo --gfxcard | grep Model

find out graphics card model in terminal

After retrieving the model of the graphics card, search for it on the Nvidia website to find what driver version you need. It should be 400+ for the newer graphics cards and 300+ for the older ones. In my case, my Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 belongs to 600+ GeForce category and I need the driver version 400+.

You can use the links below to one-click-install the driver or visit OpenSUSE Community if these buttons do not work.

Choose to open the file with Yast to install the drivers.

NVIDIA GeForce 600+ (driver version 400+)

Supported products.

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NVIDIA driver GeForce 400+ (driver version 300+)

Supported products.

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NVIDIA GeForce 8xxx+ (driver version 300+)

Supported products.

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Regarding the WiFi card, I don’t have one, so I can’t show you how to do it but I can point you to the official guide, which is very well documented.

4. Install Codecs

Codecs allow you to play various media formats on your Linux machine. They are not included by default due to some legal concerns. To be able to play all popular media files, I recommend you to install these additional codecs.

Once again, we can install them with a single-click-install using the buttons below. If some of these buttons do not work, visit OpenSUSE Community website.

KDE Codecs

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GNOME Codecs

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5. Add Community Repositories

By default, OpenSUSE has only official packages included in the repositories. However, the default list of packages is limited and you likely won’t find everything you need.

That’s where community repositories come in. The most important one, in my opinion, is Packman.

We can add the Pakman repository with Yast:

Open Yast → Software Repositories → Add → Select Community Repositories → Next → Select Packman Repository → OK

At the time of this writing, there’s a migration going on, so adding Packman this way may result in an error:

OpenSUSE error when adding Packman community
repository

Luckily, we can fix it by adding a custom URL of one of the working community repositories mirrors:

Open Yast → Software Repositories → Add → Select Specify URL → Next → Type URL of the selected mirror → Next → OK

OpenSUSE adding Packman community
repository

Alternatively, you can add the Pakman repository from the command line:

Tumbleweed

sudo zypper ar -cfp 90 https://ftp.gwdg.de/pub/linux/misc/packman/suse/openSUSE_Tumbleweed/ packman

Leap

sudo zypper ar -cfp 90 'https://ftp.gwdg.de/pub/linux/misc/packman/suse/openSUSE_Leap_$releasever/' packman

Lastly, to make changes take effect regardless if you used the command line or Yast, run:

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

6. Install Microsoft Fonts

Similar to codecs, Microsoft fonts don’t come pre-installed either. The absence of Microsoft fonts (e.g. Arial, Times New Roman, Comic Sans) will likely cause you issues if you work with Microsoft Office files frequently.

We can install all of them from the previously added Packman repository:

Open Yast → Software Management → Search for fetchmsttfonts → Right-click → Install → Accept

OpenSUSE installing Microsoft
fonts

7. Decrease Swapiness

One of the ways to boost your system performance is by decreasing the swappiness value. This feature forces your Linux system to use your RAM, instead of your hard drive. If you are not familiar with Linux swap, check out our article on Swap and Swapiness.

Check the current swappiness value by executing:

cat /proc/sys/vm/swappiness # 60 (default)

Open /etc/sysctl.conf for editing:

sudo nano /etc/sysctl.conf

Add vm.swappiness=10 at the end and save the file. Then press CTRL + O to write the changes, and CTRL + X to exit nano.

OpenSUSE decreasing swapiness
value

Reboot your system and check the swappiness value:

cat /proc/sys/vm/swappiness # 10

8. Disable GRUB Delay

Starting the system with OpenSUSE shows the GRUB menu each time prompting you to select the system to boot or wait 8 seconds. If OpenSUSE is the only system on your machine, it makes sense to remove the menu from showing up on boot and speed up the boot process by 8 seconds.

Open Yast → Boot Loader → Bootloader Options → Set timeout to 0 → OK

OpenSUSE disabling
GRUB

9. Disable Click to Open Files

Plasma 5 opens files/folders on single-click by default. However, most people (including me) prefer a double-click which can be enabled in Settings.

Open System Settings → Workspace Behavior → Enable “Click files or folders - Selects them”

OpenSUSE enabling double-click for files and
folders

10. Uninstall Discover

Discover is the software center that is shipped with Plasma 5. Discover is infamous for its crashes, and it’s not a very good app overall. On top of that, it also adds redundancy since we already have Yast.

You can safely remove Discover:

Open Yast → Software Management → Search for discover → Right-click → Delete → Toggle #1 (deinstallation of discover packages) → Accept

OpenSUSE removing
Discover

11. Open RPM with Yast

OpenSUSE opens RPM packages as an archive with Ark by default instead of Yast, which allows you to install them. Fortunately, it’s very easy to correct this behavior.

Select any RPM package → Right-click → Properties → File Type Options → Move Yast to the first place → Apply

OpenSUSE setting RPM files to open with Yast by
default

Now, you will be able to install RPM packages just by double-click on them.

12. Turn on Night Color

Night color reduces the amount of blue light at night. This is better for your eyes and helps you to fall asleep easier. Night Color is a built-in feature of the Plasma 5 desktop and it just needs to be enabled:

Open System Settings → Display and Monitor → Night Color → Activate Night Color → Apply

OpenSUSE enabling night
color

13. Change Task Switcher

The default Task Switcher (Alt + TAB) on Plasma 5 desktop is shown as the panel on the left side of the screen and it switches between focused windows. I prefer a switcher with icons and no focus on window selection. Maybe you will love it too! Just try:

Open System Settings → Window Management → Task Switcher → Select large icons (without selected window) → Apply

OpenSUSE setting icons task
switcher

14. Install Audio Player

OpenSUSE includes VLC as its media player of choice. VLC is a video player that happens to support playing other media as well. Nevertheless, I prefer to have a dedicated app for playing audio files over the “one size fits all” solutions.

When it comes to audio players, there are many options to choose from, but my favorite one has always been Clementine Music Player.

Open Yast → Software Management → Search for clementine → Right-click → Install → Accept

OpenSUSE installing Clementine audio
player

You can also try other options JuK, if you prefer a light and simple audio player, and Spotify, if you already use it. All these players and many others are available in the Yast software management app.

15. Firefox Settings

Firefox is a default browser of OpenSUSE and it happens to be my favorite browser as well. Let me show you a few tricks to make your Firefox experience so much better!

First off, I would recommend installing the Plasma Integration add-on for a more seamless experience between the browser and the desktop. It enables media control, browser notifications, Krunner browser tab search and a lot more!

Next, Firefox has a useful feature that restores tabs from the previous session, each time you launch it. Open Firefox → Options (hamburger menu) → Preferences → Enable Restore previous session.

Enabling restore previous session in Firefox

Another helpful feature is to enable DRM content. You may find yourself unable to play some videos (e.g. Netflix) or audio because of DRM restriction. To enable DRM content, Open Firefox → Options (hamburger menu) → Preferences → Enable Play DRM-controlled content

Enabling DRM in Firefox

The next improvement is related to Firefox’s search bar behavior. Let’s say you search for a particular email address. Firefox will open your default email client instead of performing a web search. This functionality can certainly be annoying. You can fix this by adding a regular search bar.

Firefox Preferences (hamburger menu) → Preferences → Search tab → Select “Add search bar in toolbar”

Changing search bar in Firefox

16. Install Google Chrome

I am familiar with the fact that not everyone is a fan of Firefox. Thus, I will show you how to install the Google Chrome browser.

Go to Chrome’s website and download an RPM package. After downloading, double-click on it and install it with Yast.

OpenSUSE installing Google Chrome

17. Install Java

Java is a very popular programming language and many programs depend on it to run. Thus, it’s critical to make sure that it’s installed.

_Open Yast → Search for java- → Make sure that you have java--openjdk package installed_

Furthermore, some web applications require a special Java plugin icedtea which can be installed by following the same steps:

Open Yast → Search for icedtea- → Select it and install

OpenSUSE installing Java programming
language

18. Install Build Essentials

Build essentials are packages for software development. But, even if you are not a developer, there’s a high probability some apps of yours will require them. So, it is better to install them now and forget:

Open Yast → Software Management → Search for patterns-devel-base-devel_basis → Right-click → Install → Accept

OpenSUSE installing build
essentials

19. Remove Games

OpenSUSE includes some dummy games which I am pretty much sure no one plays and they just occupy a place in the menu and on the disk. So, let’s see how we can uninstall them.

Open Yast → Software Management → Search for game → Select to remove games related packages like kdegames-carddecks-default, kmahjongg, ect → Accept

OpenSUSE uninstalling default
games

20. Install Vanilla Kernel [OPTIONAL]

This item is marked as optional since I only recommend doing this if you have problems with the default OpenSUSE’s kernel. The default OpenSUSE’s kernel has certain patches that are not implemented on the vanilla kernel and those can cause issues on some systems. If you experience some problems with your OpenSUSE, try installing the vanilla kernel and it will fix your issues:

Install:

Open Yast → Software Management → Search for kernel-vanilla → Right-click → Install → Accept

Select it as a boot option:

Open Yast → Bootloader → Bootloader Options → Default Boot Section → Select Vanilla Kernel & Reboot your system

OpenSUSE installing vanilla
kernel

21. Bonus

OpenSUSE’s default desktop environment is Plasma 5, which is my favorite desktop as well. Plasma 5 is known for its modern design and customization options, so if you would like to be more productive on your Plasma 5, check out:

Also, if you are looking for more software to install on your OpenSUSE, check out OpenSUSE Software webpage.

Conclusion

Alright, we’ve come to an end! These were my top 21 things to do after the installation of OpenSUSE, and I hope that you’ve found them helpful. As always, the list can be expanded so I am looking forward to your tips in the comment section below! 👇

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Vladimir Mikulic
Vladimir Mikulic Freelance Software Developer | Linux Enthusiast

Comments


Rafael

To put “GRUB timeout” to 0 is a great mistake. When user have troubles with boot, easy access to GRUB options is required, to boot on previous kernels, or in safe-mode or from snapshots.


Roberto

Hello ALU, congratulations for your precious work! Installing Clementine, Yast tells me that “libprotobuf25” is missing. Do you know how to find and install it? I’m not able to find it in Yast sofwtare… Thank you very much

Roberto

Yes I use Tumbleweed and also checked in live usb, but this file is not present. So I will try to install separately. I’m wondering how is possible you have it … maybe my copy is not complete? Thank you very much


Scott

I use Tumbleweed. Please tell me about the Update System. Is it OK for me to do (sudo zypper ref && sudo zypper up) every day, or do I need to do (sudo zypper d up) as well?

Hithaishi

Also, checkout tumbleweed-cli which you can install through zypper which allows you to switch to a specific snapshot of the OS. More information can be found at github.com/boombatower/tumbleweed-cli You can check which release has the least issues/bugs and switch to that Check the review of each release from review.tumbleweed.boombatower.com


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