Fresh from my qualified/tainted (see earlier posts) success in installing FreeBSD, I though I'd make use of another recon HDD in the trusty old Novatech laptop with a fresh install of openSuSE.
OK - at this point I will declare a bit of a bias.
The first two Linux distros I tried about 14 or 15 years ago were Mandrake - before it was Mandriva (PLEASE, openMandriva, get it right this time!) - and openSuSE, running KDE. I loved them both.
So, set up a torrent for a 32bit DVD of openSuSE, stuck it on a USB stick (strangely the same one as I'd used for FreeBSD, as it was to hand) and as I'd already got handy with the screwdriver to switch HDD while the torrent downloaded, started up.
First snag - there was a strange Windows partition on the HDD. That was soon wiped, despite the urge to have a peek and see what had been left behind ;-)
Installation was genuinely an absolute breeze - well done openSuSE folks, on a truly fantastic install procedure - with the only ponderous bit my trying to decide between KDE and XFCE.
Now, in my humble opinion, although Kubuntu does a really nice job with KDE (
this is my 64bit desktop setup), I reckon openSuSE has the best KDE integration around, so that's what I went for.
There was one more oddity after firing up the first time when wireless networking wasn't available at all, but this (thanks to a bit of internet searching) was found to be fixed with a reboot.
There was next a bit of time whilst all the requisite updates downloaded and installed, and then I was all set to go. What a fantastically smooth operation it all was - this has often been a sticking point for user adoption for Windows users, but quite honestly this installation was far, far less of a pain - and much quicker, with sensible defaults - than either WinXP or Win7.
So, now I just need to get things set up, get things booting from the SATA to USB HDD caddy I picked up dirt cheap off eBay and I have an embarrassment of riches to choose from in OS terms!