The title is not exactly correct. What I have done is to replace Windows 7 RC (the last free down loadable Release Candidate of Windows 7) with openSUSE 11.2.
I had been running Windows 7 RC in a dual boot configuration with Windows Vista for a few months. Windows Vista with all of the latest upgrades is fine for me and I am tired of testing Windows 7. While Windows 7 improved some things, it does not look good enough to invest $$ to buy a commercial version. With Windows 8 expected in 2012, I will stick with Vista.
Also with the way that Linux is improving, by the time Windows 8 is ready, there won’t be any need of my considering it.
I have been running openSUSE 11.2 on my second PC since its release. The upgrade to the KDE 4.3 desktop has been a tremendous improvement. openSUSE is using the KDE desktop as its default desktop, but Gnome is offered as an option. I prefer KDE over Gnome, but I could use both and switch at log-in time.
With Linux, I can change my system’s desktop and use it in either English or Spanish at log-in time. Each user can use their native language with their preferred desktop. In a multi-language household, this is a nice feature. You have to purchase Ultimate versions of Windows Vista or Windows 7 to have that capability and with those systems you can’t configure your desktop presentation
The new challenge I have given myself is to get the openSUSE 11.2 Linux system to the point that I only boot into Windows Vista to do something I can’t do with Linux. I have a relatively small list of problems to solve.
The KDE desktop is very similar to Windows 7 and Linux had that look first. The new KDE 4.3 as implemented by openSUSE is clean and elegant. I like the new Plasma effects. It still blows me away to see how much Linux is improving with each new release.
There are still some of the items I that prevent my Using Linux full time. The first is a video messenger. I use Skype and MSN Messenger with video to talk to family in Costa Rica and the US. When I get Skype running in the new Linux system, my top priority will be solved.
The second thing, I use sometimes, is Windows Movie Maker. If I can find a Linux replacement, then I will be happy.
My installation of openSUSE on my primary system has not been completely transparent. Before the Windows boot manager asked if I wanted Windows 7 or Windows Vista. Now my Linux Boot manager gives me the options of openSUSE or Windows. If I select Windows, the Windows menu comes up with the option of Windows 7, which no longer exists, and Windows Vista.
That is no big problem, but I don’t like sloppy installations and a messed up boot menu is sloppy. OpenSUSE 11.2 runs so much faster than Windows Vista and Windows 7.
If you want to try openSUSE, you can download and burn a live CD. Then you can see how it would look on your PC without installing it. If you want to see the difference between Gnome and KDE, you can burn both live CDs.
I will mention that openSUSE does not do as good a job as other Linux distributions in a couple areas. Specifically with sound codecs and special video drivers. Linux Mint does a much better job, but it still isn’t out with KDE 4.3.
With openSUSE you have to install the video drivers and the sound codecs yourself and that can be a little daunting if you don’t know how to do it. I really wish that openSUSE would allow the user to accept the license restrictions for those two areas and make them easier to install. Still I think the distribution is worth the trouble.
UPDATE: Skype is no longer an issue. I installed it and it works like a charm. Now I just need to get my email address moved and my calendar moved and Vista will be relegated to the status of a backup system.