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Re: My (very brief) Love Affair with SuSE 10.1

__/ [ rapskat ] on Friday 19 May 2006 05:41 \__

[commenting as I go along reading]

> I haven't played with SuSE since Novell took it over, so I figured it was
> due time for me to give it another look-see.  I figure if I am going to be
> advocating Linux to people, I need to keep abreast of as many different
> distros as possible so as to be informed.

SuSE is, in my opinion, an excellent distribution when you want to have the
world 'out of the box'. For anything else, Ubuntu seems a good pick. For new
users -- probably Ubuntu as well.

And yes, there are more which are worthy of mentioning and, if I recall
correctly, you like Mepis, which I hear is making good strides along with
Mandriva and PCLinuxOS. Red Hat/Fedora are commercially bound in some sense,

> I had already allocated a system for the eval, P4 2.8Ghz, 1GB, 250G,
> GFMX4K, SBLive! Audigy, 19" LCD. While far from top of the line, it was
> still more than enough of a system to be able to handle even the chunkiest
> of distros.  I had memories of my last experiences with SuSE, and I do
> remember above all that it was slooooow.

Cool! See the following, which I found this morning:

,----[ Quote ]
| To be perfectly fair to Ubuntu I had also played with a copy of Vista
| beta.  My sound card was not found, the ethernet adapter was not found,
| and my graphics has severe issues.  So all in all the Ubuntu beta is ahead
| of Vista right now.


This comes from a total newbie in the world of Linux.

> I first attempted a net install with the image downloaded from the
> OpenSuSE site.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get that to go past the
> part where it asked for the repository to pull the sources from.  I tried
> various URL's pulled directly from the site, but it complained it wasn't
> able to find what it was it was looking for on every one.
> Ok, so to just bite the bullet and get the full install DVD (non-oss)
> image of 3.2G. I grabbed the torrent and let it run overnight. It was
> ready for me by morning, burned it to DVD and away we go...
> The install was relatively painless as most Linux installs tend to be.  It
> was fully graphical, and I went with mostly default options.  Due to the
> fact that this was the version that contained some non-oss components, I
> did have to click through a couple of license agreements.  I was prompted
> for which I wanted to set as my primary desktop, KDE or GNOME (and
> "other"), I chose KDE.  One nice touch I noticed is that SuSE is one of
> the few distros that will actually let you use XFS from a "from-scratch"
> install.  It does default to Reiser just like previous versions.

Little intervention has its advantages. It's not a bug, it's a feature with
some merits, although it could motivate monoculture. At least you were asked
which desktop environment you wanted, which is something we once argued
about in the SuSE NG. New users will find it confusing and will also wonder
what they are missing by going down one particular path (knowing the ability
to change is there).

> The actual package installation took about 20 minutes, maybe less since I
> wasn't sitting in front of it the whole time.  It gave me the option to
> check if there were any updated packages, which I did and there were which
> it installed fine.  I was then prompted to set a root password, which was
> a bit of a bother since it wouldn't allow me to use the standard root
> password that I normally use which contains some characters that it didn't
> like.  Installed the boot loader and then it rebooted into the new system
> to finalize configuration.
> This version of SuSE booted pretty fast, I was at a logon screen in less
> than a minute.  Of course the only user there was to logon then was root,
> which I did, and the full KDE desktop was loaded maybe twenty seconds
> later, complete with a red background with pretty bombs all over it.  I
> think they made a point of discouraging users from logging on as root
> pretty effectively.  The setup app came up and I was able to configure X
> and add another user, which I logged onto if only to spare my eyes.
> Amazingly, after the initial logon to the desktop, subsequent logons were
> even faster, maybe 10-15 seconds even after a reboot.

Upon the first logon, I imagine that .kde is being instantiated, among other

> The greatest impressions I had of this version of SuSE can be summed up in
> three words:  Pretty, Fast and Simple.  It is hands down the most polished
> distro that I have ever used - everything had a clean, polished and well
> put together look and feel to it, very professional.  The speed issues
> that I had recalled from previous versions are no more, this had the
> fastest OS and desktop default load times of any untweaked distro I've
> ever used (maybe with the exception of Gentoo, but that's a whole other
> class of Linux).  Apps were responsive and snappy as well.  No doubt much
> of this was due to the hardware, but even compared to Mepis which was
> installed on the same system prior, it was considerably faster.

So I remembered your distribution preferences quite well...

> YaST2 is a great tool. It provides a central point from which any and
> every aspect of the system can be configured, from user desktop
> preferences to software upgrade and installation.  All were very simple
> and straightforward to use.  Flash and media worked right away with
> Firefox, mp3 playback was there, though encrypted DVD playback wasn't.
> Most of the OSS apps that I've come to expect were installed by default
> and worked fine.

YaST is one of these facilities that used to be commercial, but I believed it
turned GPL (or something close to that) a few years ago. YaST complements
Control Centre to make the overall management of the computer (hardware and
software included) as easy as Next -> Next -> Finish. No need for
command-line utilities, installers and diagnostics. Eva!

> The two major issues that I had with this distro were with graphics and
> sound.  The sound card, while recognized, was not setup by default. I had
> to go into the hardware configuration tool and manually set it up, which
> consisted of just confirming the detected module.  Accelerated graphics
> were also not setup, even though it seemed that everything needed was
> already installed, and no option was provided to enable the nvidia
> drivers. Needless to say without accelerated drivers, getting Xgl to work
> was out of the question.
> I'm sure I could have gone through the motions of installing the kernel
> headers and compiling the nvidia driver, but it really seemed out of place
> after the simplicity of everything else.  This distro doesn't seem to
> encourage manual tweaking much, emphasis was to use the included front
> ends for all modifications.  Unfortunately, for me this was a deal breaker
> so I ended up putting Mepis back on the system.

This reminds me of scenarios when people run back to Windows, but hey, these
are just two flavours of Linux, so I guess the change is minor.

> Overall, my impressions of SuSE 10.1 were very positive.  It's definitely
> a distro that I would recommend, especially to a business customer and/or
> Applite. Despite the few issues I had with it, it is a very fast and good
> looking distro that would more than suit the needs of most desktop users.

*big smile*

Best wishes,


Roy S. Schestowitz      |    YaSTall SuSE to figure out the magic
http://Schestowitz.com  |  GNU is Not UNIX  ¦     PGP-Key: 0x74572E8E
  8:50am  up 21 days 15:47,  10 users,  load average: 1.44, 0.84, 0.76
      http://iuron.com - proposing a non-profit search engine

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