First of all, thanks for response! Really appreciate it!
I installed OpenSUSE because I looked for a solid set and forget solution on a laptop. That does not get between you and the task.
Switching to Tumbleweed actually was not a problem at all. Nothing broke at all and problems that I got were connected with severe inabilities of package manager as well as bad documentation/bad support from community. I have an experience with portage, pacman, yum. That said I didn't look at zypper through the apt' shadow, but as a standalone binary-package-management interface. I learned quite a bit about it, in 6 months, before the fallout started.
I wasn't actually looking at switching package versions from another repo.
Thing was - several critical software elements (including yast) were broken and went totally unnoticed by zypper. The reason why it happened, was because I manually cleaned the bloat off the installation, and used just yast package kit GUI.
You know this quite obvious standard approach:
1) You fire up the default package interface, like Synaptic, Packagekit, whatever.
2) You find a package you dont want at all
3) You tag remove and the system says either it depends upon something you really want, or really don't care either; or you see it right away
4) Then the system removes the package, or not - depending on your choice. No magic was here.
So the chain reaction triggered when I just discovered gparted was not starting, as well as yast GUI itself. Nothing past the gksu dialog.
And these cases, including (elements of) broken output were also not documented anywhere on internet, and zypper verify itself reported all is fine. I can read man pages patiently as well as read official documentation. Speaking of which Arch documentation is vastly, vastly superior being accurate, short and on point.
Upon my wish to reinstall the broken package as is, with all packages that it is depending upon,- logically to just cover the hole where it may be-, I found no method to achieve that. So my switch back from Tumbleweed to 13.1 was an effort to drive all package versions back in a hope to recover the system without reinstallation from scratch.
Oddly enough, the usual replacement of repositories with older one did not trigger any substanial changes, apart from breaking things even worse. On apt, portage, pacman and so on there is a distinction between "manual installed" and "pulled as dependency" as well as version pinning. There is no such mechanism with OpenSuse. Packages stayed broken - from kernel up to X.
The "from" keyword was solely discovered by me in an effort to finally get a working system and stop wasting my time. It worked, but only partially. The rest of the problems like very bad version management stayed. The yast cli tool is of equal ugliness to aptitude, impossible to work with intuitively.
You are correct regarding MATE, because the "System-Add/Remove software" .desktop file, triggered to packagekit start bash script does not have detection of MATE at all. Meaning that under MATE, it results in a fallback approach to ask for password, by invoking an xterm window with xdg-su promt. Shouldn't we actually be trying to detect weither specific TOOLKIT is present in the system and invoke the promt based on toolkit and not DE?...
I know that almost everything is overriden from /etc/config. Setting the display manager was not the problem. The problem was that zypper did not detect installation of MATE and deinstallation of GNOME3 and used basic XDM instead. Who uses XDM with SLIM and LightDM available?
"The whole distro is quite tightly integrated & isn't very friendly to tinkering with the lower level stuff unless you know what you are doing."
Yes, its a toy, that breaks quite amazingly into even smaller pieces with every effort to fix it. This is my view on what happened.
"I wouldn't call the main packages "ancient", they are a bit older than the newest versions, but they are quite fresh."
Kernel 3.7, Libre Office 4.1, Mate from mid 2013. This is not "fresh".
"just because you are not satisfied, you are not entitled to call the whole distro "crap""
I disagree. I would rephrase it this way: just because I call this distro crap, does not mean its crap for everyone. This is certainly true and I have no intention other than encourage those interested to fix it and to give information of what I encountered to others that have no intention of fixing, just now.
"BTW: I don't hang around the Opensuse irc channel, maybe I should? :-)"
I don't know. Thanks for response, but I am currently forced by life situation into fixing my own stuff. Otherwise, I would have working Suse installation, but be homeless...