openSUSE Leap 42.1 DVD, 32-bit Linux distributions, and the Toshiba NB520


OpenSUSE has been my go-to distribution for my dated Toshiba NB520. My sturdy 3 year old Toshiba netbook doesn't support Gnome 3 or Ubuntu Unity due to hardware limitations, but the last three releases of openSUSE KDE handled every piece of hardware on the NB520 without issues.  OpenSUSE Leap 42.1's DVD has only an x86-64 release as of this writing, though 32-bit users can always install Tumbleweed, openSUSE's well-reviewed rolling release. Tumbleweed has installation media for 32-bit machines and if you're still running a previous 32-bit release of openSUSE, you can always run the upgrade procedure to Tumbleweed.

 

OpenSUSE Leap 42.1 is here!


It's understandable that openSUSE Leap 42.1 focuses on x86/64-bit systems - Intel and AMD would agree. The trend to ignore 32-bit machines might be inevitable considering that hardware released today are pretty consistent in their choice of architecture. However, the majority of Linux distributions still provide 32-bit releases. Mainstream Linux distributions such as Mageia, Linux Mint, Fedora and of course, Ubuntu, and Ubuntu spins such as Xubuntu and Lubuntu provide 32-bit installation media.

 
 
The recent subtle improvements to the latest release of Xfce make it a more attractive desktop environment than previous iterations.


As a final note, it would be interesting to see if there are any problems running openSUSE Tumbleweed on a "legacy" device such as the Toshiba NB520 netbook. OpenSUSE has a spotless track record on the Toshiba NB520 with regular releases, but I've never tried a rolling release on conservative hardware.  As a non-power user with modest computing needs on the NB520, it probably won't make any difference. On the other hand, Fedora 23 Workstation failed to boot after a problem free installation, while 32-bit Ubuntu Wily Werewolf with MATE on top of the Unity desktop performed poorly on the NB520.

 
 
The Toshiba NB520 running a 32-bit Linux distribution.

I might have to invest in a new cheap laptop in the near future if I want to have a home 64-bit Linux laptop to supplement my Linux and Windows machines.

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