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I downloaded the latest openSUSE DVD and upgraded my openSUSE 10.2 on my HP nx6125 laptop today. I expected a few things to go wrong as the poor laptop have been upgraded all the way from SUSE 9.3 right through to 10.2.
Well, nothing went wrong. In fact, the upgrade went better than expected! For the first time since I have the laptop, the wirless network card works with Network Manager. Now I too, can change wireless network with the click of a button!. The laptop sports the Broadcom BCM4318 wireless card and up to now, I had to compile ndiswrapper and load the windows driver each time I upgraded my kernel. Due to ndiswrapper, I could not use Network manager.
Well, openSUSEW 10.3 comes with a driver for the card. All I had to do, was extract the firmware from the Windows driver with the bcm43xx-fwcutter and save the files in/lib/firmware. Now the wireless works like any other supported card with Network manager.
The SUSE guys also made huge improvements with YaST. It is much more user friendly and the package manager is much better.
You can now add your community repositories by selecting them from a list from within YaST. No more manual configuration of the additional sources.
Another nice improvement is the one-click installation of certain things, like the ATI graphics drivers or the additional codecs for video playback.
You go the the openSUSE web site and click on a link. That pops up the software manager, asks your root password and then adds any repositories that it needs, and then install and configure the required software. Through the process, message boxes explain to you what it is doing and ask you permission to carry on. It is kind of like having a techie right there helping you to install software while explaining what he/she is doing.

I use the GNOME and XFCE desktop environements and both have some nice improvements. Attional tools in XFCE, like Thunar file manager that was not avaialble for 10.2.
Evolution now have a plugin that display an icon in the notification area if new mail arrived. Only downside is that it is not configurable and due to my plethora of rules in Evolution, most of the new mail is not seen by the plugin. Maybe the plugin is not working properly, or it is a design flaw. I still need to find out. I suppose I need to compile mail-notification again until the plugin works properly.
But I have only been using it for a few hours, so maybe I am just missing something.
Well, this was just a quick overview of my experience so far. I will form a better idea of how much really improved and how many problems arise over the next week or so.
I am still impressed though. I think this is something that the average computer user can use.
PS: GNOME now also includes a lockdown utility, so I can set up a safe environment for my users. :-)

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