OpenSUSE 11 on Asus X50N Notebook

I've been waiting for OpenSUSE 11 to install it on my notebook for a while hoping that 11 would solve my WLan issues. Here are some first impressions:

WLan: It finally works although it needs some tweaking. For my WLan I need WPA2 which is supported by the on board NIC. Unfortunately, neither the ath5k nor the ndiswrapper driver manage to get it working, both of them fail during the 4-way handshake. Even more frustrating is the fact, that the 'official' madwifi-kmp package doesn't match the kernel and thus can't be installed. (I guess, they'll fix it soon.) But there's a solution (as root):

  • Get madwifi-kmp-default-r3725+AR5007EG_2.6.25.5_1.1-2.2.x86_64.rpm from the OpenSUSE Build Service and install it:
    rpm -Uvh /path/to/madwifi-kmp-default-r3725+AR5007EG_2.6.25.5_1.1-2.2.x86_64.rpm
  • Open
    /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist
    in your favourite text editor and add the following lines:
    1. blacklist ath5k
    2. blacklist ndiswrapper

    (Second line is only needed if you've installed ndiswrapper.)
  • Reboot.
  • Load driver modules:
    modprobe ath_pci
  • Now you can use YaST to configure the card. However, you should add under 'Hardware'
    ath_pci
    as module. Else your system will try to load ath5k only to discover it's blacklisted.
  • iwconfig
    should show two new devices, namely 'ath0' and 'wifi0'. 'ath0' is the one you'll want to configure. Some google results declare 'wifi0' to be some sort of master devices required by the driver - I didn't venture further.

Sound: Same problem as in 10.3, just add
options snd-hda-intel model=lenovo
to
/etc/modprobe.d/sound

Graphics: Works fine as long as you use the NVIDIA drivers. (OpenSUSE.org: NVIDIA) They're proprietary but I can live with that for the moment.

Webcam: Untested, I don't need it.

Other devices: Didn't notice anything bad and contrary to 10.3
lspci
doesn't return any 'Unknown device' sections. (But these didn't cause me trouble in 10.3 either.)

Stability: I've chosen to use KDE4. The installer warned that KDE4 might not be as stable as KDE3.5 (one of the alternatives) and that's true. But it's stable enough to be used. It hasn't crashed (yet) but sometimes it's irreproducably slowing down some (never all) applications. (Like needing 10 minutes to open an extra tab in konsole. Funny enough, it didn't affect opening a new konsole window.) Another thing is that some icons in the control panel get lost during each session.

Miscellany:

  • Booting is as fast as in 10.3
  • I'm missing the option to turn of the splash screen during the boot process by pressing 'Esc'. I had to turn of the splash screen entirely.
  • Since my laptop has a wide screen monitor, I'm having the control panel on the right side. Unfortunately, this causes the entries for open programs to take a rather awkward form. (The program names get line breaks and thus each entry is huge.) It doesn't affect usability but it doesn't look good.
  • It's been a great idea to fit the dvd-isos onto a single capacity dvd. The draw back is, that a lot of software needs to be installed from additional repositories.
  • Firefox 3 is already included.
  • The widgets work fine but their irregular sizes are irretating. And I'm missing a widget showing the strength of my wireless connection.
  • On some configuration dialogs I'm missing an 'expert settings' button.

Wish you long days and pleasant nights,
Simon

UPDATE: Today the keyboard of my notebook refused to work or (more likely) KDE4 didn't process it's input anymore. Only solution I came up with: Save everything (mouse still worked, thank god) and reboot. Now everything is fine again.