Welcome to the Revolution

OpenSUSE is a great distribution. For years, it has shown great community power and great configuration tools for the desktop. Unlike other linux flavors, OpenSUSE has not entirely relied on the coding of desktop managers, such as KDE, to take command of the desktop. However, in my opinion, Suse has forgotten what it is like to style its distribution to the teeth. I still remember, for example, when the logo used for launching OpenOffice was a stunning picture of a gecko. When I used it, it felt so stylish and different. It was daring and out of the ordinary.

Most of these styling decisions were used on KDE 3.x, but with the advent of KDE 4 and the new approach to desktop usage, OpenSUSE has not been able to stand out on its own as a strong and solid. KDE 4 has become a standard and suse has relied too much on KDE's design team and has lost most of its power to stand out as its own brand.

In the latest milestone released by the OpenSUSE team, the only thing that stands out to me as purely OpenSUSE styling was the wallpaper, and to my opinion, not a good one. The menu bar at the bottom is just like any other menu bar out there. The style used is the default Oxygen style used by any other KDE based distro. The Oxygen style is a great style but it is not flexible. The button sizes, colors and other elements are somewhat locked and can't be changed. Unfortunately, styles like Domino for KDE 3.x were not ported to the latest KDE 4 and no changes could be made to the default style in similar ways that it was done with the Domino style.

I remember when Nuno Pinheiro showed me the mockups for the upcoming Oxygen style and I was stunned. But working with mockups and coding those mockups are not always best friends. In the end, the OpenSUSE KDE desktop has become a mere mirror of any other unbranded KDE desktop.

Now that Novell is up for sale, it is even more important for the OpenSUSE community to stay strong and attact attention to it so that it does not die as a world class operating system. My suggestion to do this is to deeply re-style the Desktop. Start with a formatted file manager (and great ideas about these programs are out there in the web), from there, SUSE needs to create a brand new window style. Stop cloning the Oxygen style. Stop conforming to what the KDE team offers (though great it may be) and be yourself SUSE.

SUSE needs to reclaim the desktop based on simple things such as having a great and daring color palette for the desktop. If you notice, the opensuse default wallpaper is green, and yet the highlighted items on the file manager is blue, as well as the oxygen style icons. Suse, loses its branding fairly quickly once KDE 4 is used.

The OpenSUSE revolution starts now! I will be posting ideas on how to restyle SUSE from the ground up and if you as a reader are interested in what I do, join me. Join me now and SUSE will look the way that it should, so that users learn to recognize us.