How to install openSUSE Leap 42.3 with the MATE desktop


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This is a how-to for installing openSUSE Leap 42.3, with the popular MATE desktop.

The fine Linux distribution openSUSE, is not as well known as either Ubuntu or Linux Mint. But just like those more popular distro's, it's of high quality and well worth a try. It's somewhat less user-friendly than Linux Mint, but not by much.

One of the probable reasons for its lesser popularity, is that its default desktop KDE isn't as generally liked as desktops like Cinnamon and MATE. With this how-to, you'll be able to change its desktop to MATE easily and quickly.

Below you see a screenshot of openSUSE 42.3 with the MATE desktop, with expanded menu (click on the screenshot to enlarge it):

https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/opensusemate/Screenshot_osl423-desktop2.jpg


The installation of the MATE desktop

1. For installing the MATE desktop in openSUSE Leap 42.3, proceed as follows:

a. Boot from the openSUSE 42.3 DVD, or from a bootable USB stick with openSUSE 42.3 on it, and launch the installation.

b. At some point during the installation process, you'll be asked to make a choice in the User Interface dialog. In that dialog, select Custom. See the screenshot below (click on it to enlarge it):

https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/opensusemate/Screenshot_osl423-1.png

Click on the Next button.

c. In the next window, select the LXDE Desktop Environment. This is a pretty minimal desktop, which allows for a smooth transition to MATE later on. Mainly because some necessary packages will already have been installed and configured (like display manager LightDM).

That's why I prefer LXDE as intermediate desktop over the customary intermediate desktop "X Window System" (IceWM).

See the screenshot below (click on it to enlarge it):

https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/opensusemate/Screenshot_osl423-2.png

Click on the OK button.

d. Finish the installation and boot into the LXDE desktop.

e. Then click on the menu button (the green lizard head) - System - Administration - Install/Remove Software

Click on the button View - Patterns

Select MATE Desktop Environment - click Accept. See the screenshot below (click on it to enlarge it):

https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/opensusemate/Screenshot_osl423-3.png

f. When it has finished installing, reboot your computer.

You should now see the MATE desktop before you. If not, log out and select it by clicking on the button in the top right of the login window. See the screenshot below (click on it to enlarge it):

https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/opensusemate/Screenshot_osl423-5.png

g. In the column on the right, you'll find some tips and tweaks to optimize your fine openSUSE 42.3 MATE. More will follow; that's a work in progress!

(continued in the column on the right)

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Install full multimedia support

2. You can install full multimedia support like this:

a. Menu - System - Terminal

Type (note the space and the dash after su):
su -

Press Enter. Type your password when requested; this will remain entirely invisible when you type it, not even dots will show, this is normal. Press Enter again.


b. Copy/paste the following line into the terminal, in order to add the packman repository:

zypper ar -f http://packman.inode.at/suse/openSUSE_Leap_42.3/ packman

Press Enter.


c. Then copy/paste this line into the terminal, for adding the libdvdcss2 repository:

zypper ar -f http://opensuse-guide.org/repo/openSUSE_Leap_42.3/ libdvdcss

Press Enter.


d. Then this line, for refreshing the repository information:

zypper refresh

Press Enter. When asked, select "Trust always" (a). Then for the reported problem, select "solution 1". Say "yes" to the vendor change.


e. Now copy/paste this line into the terminal, for installing the multimedia packages (this is just one line!):

zypper install libdvdcss2 ffmpeg lame gstreamer-plugins-libav gstreamer-plugins-bad gstreamer-plugins-ugly gstreamer-plugins-ugly-orig-addon vlc vlc-codec-gstreamer flash-player flash-player-ppapi libxine2 libxine2-codecs


f. Then type this:

exit

Press Enter and close the terminal.


g. Menu - System - Package Manager (Software Management)

Click on the button View - Repositories

Select packman - click on Switch system packages to the versions in this repository (packman). See the screenshot below (click on on it to enlarge it):

https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/opensusemate/Screenshot_osl423-6.png

Click Accept - Continue.

When it's done, you're done with adding multimedia support!

Install some useful applications

3. Install some useful extra applications like this:

a. Menu - System - Terminal

Type (note the space and the dash after su):
su -

Press Enter. Type your password when requested; this will remain entirely invisible when you type it, not even dots will show, this is normal. Press Enter again.


b. Now copy/paste this line into the terminal, for installing some useful extra applications (it's one line):

zypper install xfburn chromium yast2-online-update-configuration fetchmsttfonts

Press Enter.

Select a nicer mouse cursor

4. The mouse cursor is black and ugly. Change it into a nice white one like this:

Menu - Preferences - Customize Look and Feel - tab Mouse Cursor: select MATE and click Apply.

Improve font rendering in Firefox

5. In Firefox, the font rendering will probably be ugly. This is how to improve it:

a. Menu - Accessories - Pluma

b. Pluma has opened with an empty document. In that empty text file, copy/paste the following text:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<!DOCTYPE fontconfig SYSTEM "fonts.dtd">
<fontconfig>
   <match target="font" >
      <edit mode="assign" name="hinting">
         <bool>true</bool>
      </edit>
   </match>
   <!--  Use Slight Hinting -->
   <match target="font">
      <edit name="hintstyle" mode="assign">
         <const>hintslight</const>
      </edit>
   </match>
   <!--  Enable sub-pixel rendering -->
   <match target="font">
      <edit name="rgba" mode="assign">
         <const>rgb</const>
      </edit>
   </match>
</fontconfig>


c. Give it the name .fonts.conf (note that the name starts with a dot, which makes it a hidden settings file) and save it in your personal folder (not in any subfolder of it!).

d. Reboot your computer, or log out and then in again.

You're done! Note that you'll have to repeat this in every user account.

Firefox ESR

6. For the time being, openSUSE Leap contains the Extended Support Release edition of Firefox (Firefox 52 ESR). So don't be surprised that you've still got version 52 of Firefox: it's the ESR edition, so it's still secure.

Want more tips?

Do you want even more tips and tweaks for Linux? There's a lot more of them on this website!


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