Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 4th Aug 2009 10:43 UTC
SuSE, openSUSE SUSE Linux used to be a very KDE-centric distribution. Then Novell came around, bought SUSE and Ximian, and slowely but surely they turned the now-openSUSE distribution into effectively a GNOME-centric distribution with KDE as its sidekick. The openSUSE community, however, doesn't appear to be particularly happy with KDE being a sidekick.
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I started out using Linux with SuSE 9.3 IIRC. It wanted me to choose between KDE and gnome. I didn't even know what they were. And asking friends about i, didn't help much (explaining the differences between them is hard; explaining it in a way that will actually inform someone enough to make a truly informed decision is next to impossible). The only real way to figure out which one you want to use is to use both. I tried both, and I decided on KDE, and I've never looked back.

But making a new user choose which DE to use is insanity. Coming from a Windows or Mac background, do you even know what a DE is? They're totally integrated into Windows and Mac. You don't choose your DE there. I'm totally for allowing the user to choose, but when they don't even know what they're choosing, it's just confusing.

For someone coming from a non-Linux background, having to make complicated choices like which DE to use is just too much. I'm sure that there are many people who have given up at that point simply because they had no clue what was going on and their interest in trying out Linux didn't outweigh the effort that they were going to have to go to to install it.

OpenSuSE has done a number of things over time to make their installer easier for newcomers. You don't have to understand the ins and outs of using YAST's package manager to install packages because they have sensible defaults. Expert users can still tweak everything, but you don't have to. Why can't they just make KDE the default like they have defaults for everything else?

Any barriers to entry for a new user are going to seriously reduce how many people who enter (see this great article: ). Having to choose a DE is a barrier to entry for new users - a big one. Other big distros have a default. It wouldn't hurt for OpenSuSE to have one and there appears to be a lot of support for it.

I know that I would have been happier when first trying out Linux if there had been a default DE rather than having to figure out what a DE even was.

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