The Perfect Desktop - OpenSUSE 13.2 (GNOME)

This tutorial shows how you can set up an OpenSUSE 13.2 desktop that is a full-fledged replacement for a Windows desktop, i.e.that has all the software that people need to do the things they do on their Windows desktops. The advantages are clear: you get a secure system without DRM restrictions that works even on old hardware, and the best thing is: all software comes free of charge.

I want to say first that this is not the only way of setting up such a system. There are many ways of achieving this goal but this is the way I take. I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Preliminary Note

To fully replace a Windows desktop, I want the OpenSUSE 13.2 desktop to have the following software installed:


  • The GIMP - free software replacement for Adobe Photoshop
  • F-Spot - full-featured personal photo management application for the GNOME desktop


  • Firefox
  • Opera
  • Chromium - Google's open-source browser
  • Flash Player 10
  • FileZilla- multithreaded FTP client
  • Thunderbird - combines e-mail, calendar, address book, and task list management functions
  • Evolution - combines e-mail, calendar, address book, and task list management functions
  • Transmission BitTorrent Client
  • Empathy - multi-platform instant messaging client
  • Google Earth
  • Xchat IRC - IRC client


  • LibreOffice Writer - replacement for Microsoft Word
  • LibreOffice Calc - replacement for Microsoft Excel
  • GnuCash - double-entry book-keeping personal finance system, similar to Quicken
  • Scribus - open source desktop publishing (DTP) application

Sound & Video:

  • Amarok - audio player
  • Audacity - free, open source, cross platform digital audio editor
  • Banshee - audio player, can encode/decode various formats and synchronize music with Apple iPods
  • MPlayer - media player (video/audio), supports WMA
  • Rhythmbox Music Player - audio player, similar to Apple's iTunes, with support for iPods
  • gtkPod - software similar to Apple's iTunes, supports iPod, iPod nano, iPod shuffle, iPod photo, and iPod mini
  • XMMS - audio player similar to Winamp
  • Sound Juicer CD Extractor - CD ripping tool, supports various audio codecs
  • VLC Media Player - media player (video/audio)
  • Helix Player
  • Totem - media player (video/audio)
  • Xine - media player, supports various formats; can play DVDs
  • Brasero - CD/DVD burning program
  • K3B - CD/DVD burning program
  • Multimedia-Codecs


  • Bluefish - text editor, suitable for many programming and markup languages


  • VirtualBox - lets you run your old Windows desktop as a virtual machine under your Linux desktop, so you don't have to entirelyabandon Windows
  • TrueType fonts
  • Java
  • Read/Write support for NTFS partitions

As you might have noticed, a few applications are redundant, forexample there are two CD/DVD burning applications in my list (Brasero, K3B). If you know which one you like best, you obviously don't need toinstall the other applications, however if you like choice, then of course you can install both. The same goes for music players likeAmarok, Banshee, Rhythmbox, XMMS or browsers (Firefox, Opera, Chromium).

I'm using the OpenSUSE 13.2 GNOME Live-CD in this tutorial to set up the system. You can download it from here:

I will use the username howtoforge in this tutorial, and I will download all necessary files to howtoforge's desktop which is equivalent to the directory /home/howtoforge/Desktop. If you use another username, please replace howtoforge with your own username. So when I use a command like

cd /home/howtoforge/Desktop

you must replace howtoforge.

2 Installing The Base System

Download the OpenSUSE 13.2 GNOME Live-CD iso image, burn it onto a CD, and boot your computer from it. Select Installation.

The installer starts. Select your language and keyboard layout and click on Next:

Press Next:

I will prefer the default values of partition table. Press Next:

Select your time zone:

Select the Gnome Desktop:

Create a user account for yourself. If you check Use this password for system administrator, your user password will also be the root password:

Before the actual installation begins, the installer displays a summary of your settings. If the settings are ok, click on the Install button: 

Confirm that you want to begin the installation - the hard drive will be formatted:

An OpenSUSE 13.2 image with default settings is now being copied to the hard drive & installation continues:

After the installation, the installer asks you to reboot the system. Click on Reboot Now - this will immediately reboot the computer:

Before the system boots up again, please remove the LiveCD from the CD drive. 

3 First Boot

When the system boots for the first time, it tries to customize the OpenSUSE image that got installed to the hard drive with default settings. It does so to adjust the image to your system (hardware drivers, etc.)

After configuration, you will be shown the login screen. Select your created user account and enter your password:


This is how your new OpenSUSE 13.2 desktop looks:

4 Updating Software Packages

Now let's check for the latest updates. To update the system, go to Package Updater:

Select Install Update:

It will take some time to update the packages

5 Inventory Of What We Have So Far

Now let's browse all menus under Activities > Applications... to see which of our needed applications are already installed:

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Amarok with GNOME? Interesting...