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openSUSE MicroOS Desktop

openSUSE MicroOS is designed to do one thing, why not let that one thing be the desktop?

!! openSUSE MicroOS for Desktop usage is still in a Beta (GNOME) or Alpha (KDE Plasma) stage, please keep that in mind.

How to use it

  1. Download the openSUSE Tumbleweed base ISO image from
  2. Write the ISO on a USB drive and start the installation process.
  3. Select GNOME or KDE Plasma as desktop environment.

Ways to install applications

You can install applications in several ways (in order of suggested preference):

  • flatpaks from flathub -- the preferred solution
  • RPM's in a user toolbox toolbox -u
  • RPM's in a root toolbox toolbox
  • RPM's via a package manager

Package manager options

openSUSE MicroOS does _not_ use zypper like openSUSE Tumbleweed or openSUSE Leap to install RPM packages and use them directly. openSUSE MicroOS has the following package managers available:

  • transactional-update with zypper the default
  • Packagekit + tukit the desired default, using pkcon and tukit, but is currently not feature complete
  • microdnf an experimental package manager based on dnf

The reason for changing package managers _for the Desktop_ is because pkcon gives the opportunity to use Gnome Software or Discover for KDE as an installer of RPM's. And currently we are working on the ability to let Gnome Software and Discover perform system upgrades.

Transactional-update -- default

commands for transactional-update are (reboot after the command is finished, to see the changes):

  • sudo transactional-update pkg install package_name install a rpm package
  • sudo transactional-update dup perform a system upgrade to the next release
  • sudo transactional-update shell open a shell of the next snapshot (you can use zypper commands there)

Packagekit + tukit -- aspirational default - currently not reliable enough

commands for Packagekit and tukit (reboot after the command is finished, to see the changes):

  • pkcon install package_name install a rpm package
  • pkcon upgrade-system perform a system upgrade to the next release
  • sudo tukit execute bash open a shell of the next snapshot (you can use zypper commands there)


commands for microdnf (reboot after the command is finished, to see the changes):

  • microdnf install package_name install a rpm package
  • microdnf upgrade perform a system upgrade to the next release

Installation: GNOME

Gnome is currently in a beta stage.

At first boot flatpaks are enabled and some flatpaks are installed by default (Mozilla Firefox, Text Editor, Gnome Calculator and Extension Manager).

After the first boot script finishes you can open Gnome Software to install more software.

Installation: KDE

KDE is currently in an alpha stage.

  • In Discover, enable the flatpak repository and install a browser of your choosing or type the following command in a terminal to enable flatpak for the user: flatpak remote-add --user --if-not-exists flathub
  • For theming, normal theme installations don’t work in KDE Plasma.

Toolbox - GUI applications setup

Toolbox doesn't always work out of the box for all applications, for example for GUI applications you might need to take additional steps.

First try to install your package in the toolbox with the --recommends flag for zypper via sudo zypper install --recommends <package_name>, if that does not work, use the the following commands:

  • toolbox enter
  • sudo zypper ref && sudo zypper dup
  • sudo zypper install adwaita-icon-theme xorg-x11-fonts libX11-xcb1 gsettings-desktop-schemas gdk-pixbuf-query-loaders
  • sudo gdk-pixbuf-query-loaders-64 --update-cache
  • sudo zypper install <package_name>

Desktop entries

To launch an application installed in a toolbox you can use toolbox run followed by the name of the application. To take this a step further, and have better, more integrated way of launching applications you can also create .desktop files. This way you can start applications installed in a toolbox container with ease from the Gnome Application launcher. To create a .desktop file for example to start Microsoft Edge you would need the following content in your .desktop file and save it under $HOME/.local/share/applications/toolbox-edge.desktop (it has to have the .desktop extension):

 [Desktop Entry]
 Name=Edge  ##This value will be used by Gnome to show the icon by
 Exec=toolbox run microsoft-edge-dev  ## Define the application you want to run
 Icon=$HOME/.local/share/icons/Papirus-Black-Dark/48x48/apps/microsoft-edge-dev.svg  ##Define the icon to be used
 Terminal=false  ##For testing purposes you can set this to true to see what is happening during the launch

This example uses the microsoft-edge-dev.svg from the Papirus icon theme, but you could set any icon here you want. To find icons you can use the following command:

$ find $HOME/.local -regex ".*\.\(svg\|png\|xpm\|gif\|ico\)$"

Place for questions

As openSUSE MicroOS desktop is a seperate part of the openSUSE MicroOS distro it also has seperate places to discuss the desktop.

All these channels are bridged together via Matrix, so sending your comments in one, will be seen in the other two.