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An Early Taste of OpenSUSE

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  • by PenguinBoyDave (806137) <david.davidmeyer@org> on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @09:39PM (#13283392)
    There was quite a lot of buzz around the Novell booth today regarding OpenSuSE in San Fran at Linux World. I am not a Novell employee, but as my booth is right across from theirs, the interest from the public was obvious...then again it could have been the pea-green free hats!
  • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @09:48PM (#13283437)
    YaST is the absolutely worst part of SuSE, but Novell is lauding it as one of their key features? YaST gets just about everything wrong: handling chroot cages with symlinks *OUT* of the chroot cage instead of *INTO* the chroot cage, an insistence on wrapping vendor software packages in badly written install scripts that are wildly inconsistent with the underlying RPM package management, the world's most complex and least organized auto-install system, and overfriendly GUI's that refuse to let you manage more than two kernels on one machine and overwrite your hand-edits? And that YaST package management and update system that doesn't have the concept of handling both an update and base OS package site, or allow unattended operation for cron scripts or kickstart installs? Novell should take the money they overpay the YaST team and give it to the author of fou4s, which actually works, and the http://packman.links2linux.de/ [links2linux.de] website which actually keeps packages like Mplayer up-to-date and compiled with all the options, instead of forcing you to recompile packages to actually contain all the available features built into the SRPM. And especially they should take the money away from their kernel team, who couldn't publish a working SRPM if their lives depended on it because they have this custom "build system" that actually prevents the SRPM's from being compilable without hand-editing.

    They also pretend that their freely downladable versions of things are the same as their commercially published ones. Roughly half the packages are different: if you use the commercial installations, you cannot use the free mirror sites for package installations due to the YaST stupidities I mentioned and their inconsistent release numbers. This is why even if you buy SuSE licenses, you should always install from the free download sites, to keep good access to updates and consistent OS numbering with them.
  • by bigbadunix (662724) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @09:49PM (#13283439) Homepage Journal

    It's sexy, it's stable, and has an emphasis on the desktop. I've used SuSE in one way, shape, or form since about 8.0. It's always been a reliable, well-put-together (although somewhat too 'commercialy' for me at times) system. Early provider of AMD64 support didn't hurt either. It's one linux distro that I never had an issue paying for, as they didn't go the "screw the users on pricing" or the "we're focusing on the server" attitudes that Red Hat did.

    I use it in some instances as a lamp server, used to on the desktop(with great results), and have never been underwhelmed by it's stability and completeness.

    If it weren't for OS X, I'd probably still be using it as my primary desktop. Bottom line is, use the right tool for the right job. Each system, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, GNU/Debian, NetBSD, Solaris, IRIX(gah!) each have their own place in the mix.
  • by edyu (259748) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @09:49PM (#13283440)
    I've been a long time Redhat user starting with Redhat 6.0 all the way to Fedora Core 4. I was having a lot of problem with FC4 on my particular x86_64 machine so I went out to purchase the SuSe 9.3 Professional DVD and installed on another machine. What I found is that the default installation of SuSe is very good because it has a good balance of open/closed software that makes it very easy to use Linux as the primary work machine. After I got the hang of YaST I started to really like using it. It is more encompassing than Yum and seems like a very good balance for people who know how thing work but don't feel like always spending time treaking things.
    Over all, I give high mark for SuSe for the engineering.
    Of course there are still some problems with SuSe but so far I like it more than the current version of Fedora.
  • by debilo (612116) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @09:53PM (#13283448)
    Things must really have changed then. Back when I still used SuSE, I found YaST awesome and extremely helpful. I didn't make use of all its modules, but I never ran into problems. And quite often I hear others ask for YaST to be ported to their distro because they found it great when they saw it in action.

    The FAQ is a bit weird, though - calling YaST a "standard" is a total exaggeration.
  • ISOs? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by datadriven (699893) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @09:58PM (#13283470) Homepage
    So are there ISO images or do you still need to take several hours doing an FTP install?
  • 4 CDs? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by theantix (466036) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @10:05PM (#13283503) Journal
    I guess I've been spoiled by using Ubuntu where you only need the one CD to get things working and then download the rest. Can anyone tell me if all four CDs are actually needed?
  • Biophysics (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @10:08PM (#13283519) Journal
    Why does Anonymous Cowards' link go to user Biophysics?
  • by maxpublic (450413) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @10:15PM (#13283538) Homepage
    I don't know what color the sky is in your world, but SuSE is by far and away the easiest and most user-friendly of the distros. YAST really sets SuSE apart by being the best installation and configuration tool around. I've tinkered with just about every distro under the sun and I always come back to SuSE at the end of the day.

    Max
  • by imemyself (757318) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @11:01PM (#13283720)
    Its been much better since they've purchased Ximian. SuSE and NLD both have (atleast IMO) pretty nice Gnome desktops. They feel a lot like Ximian Desktop.
  • by anandrajan (86137) on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @11:16PM (#13283781) Homepage
    I switched to SuSE 9.1 from redhat 9 in May 2004 and right now, I'm running SuSE 9.3 Pro x86_64 version. Took a while to get the hang of SuSE but am now reasonably aware of how things are done.

    Still,

    1. I couldn't find an easy way to run both 32bit and 64bit kernels via YaST.

    2. I use apt/synaptic and the gwdg.de repository to install all the missing pieces - dvdcss, transcode, mjpegtools, etc. and particularly in SuSE 9.3, this approach feels like a bandaid solution. For example, I've lost the ability to burn CDs to mp3 in the KDE filemanager and have to use KAudioCreator or the command line to accomplish this task.

    3. Ever since I updated firefox to 1.0.6, crashes have increased - probably due to a misconfigured flash plugin and I don't know how to fix this problem. Reinstalling and updating via YaST didn't help.

    4. Back in SuSE 9.2, the CDROM would open at random and there was no way of fixing this. The fix came out a month later.

    5. The artsd sound daemon (version 1.4.1-3) mysteriously dies every once in a while and reports a CPU overload error. Weird.

    6. Fonts are just not as good as they were in redhat. Some webpages have font bugs.

    Despite all this, I like SuSE and will stick with it. However, when compared to a Mac OS X Tiger G5 box, it does have too many problems.
  • by Space_Soldier (628825) <not4_u@hotmail.com> on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @11:44PM (#13283896)
    This is not a troll. This is what I believe that users want: the Firefox model.

    Maybe Linux will evolve into the 21st century with Novell and SUSE.
    My ideal Linux distro:

    • 1 CD (less than 250 MiB)
    • Gobo linux [gobolinux.org] style file system hierarchy (mac style)
    • YaST
    • Only base KDE/base gnome
    • base system (system binaries)
    • No other applications (exactly, don't need 10 text editors, 5 databases, 20 audio players, etc.)
    • All programs are provided by their developers directly via Autopackage [autopackage.org] or BitRock, and other windows-like installers sice no one in the linux community seems to like app folders


    My next computer will be a Mactel.
  • Marketing rubbish. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by paul.schulz (75696) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @12:06AM (#13283983) Homepage
    The FAQ in question says:

    There are also many other significant open source projects, such as Debian and Ubuntu, that serve active user and development communities. Generally speaking, these open source projects focus on engineering-centric issues that serve their technical community of Linux developers and users.

    The openSUSE project explicitly looks beyond the technical community to the broader non-technical community of computer users interested in Linux. ... (snip) ...

    Only the openSUSE project refines its Linux distribution to the point where non-technical users can have a successful Linux experience.


    As a rebuttle.. I am an incredibly happy user of Ubuntu, and I have seen non-technical users also enjoy using it, whether this is via TheOpenCD (now a Ubuntu LiveCD), or on a Ubuntu desktop.

    Ubuntu's user community is also actively refining the distribution for the Education market (edubuntu) and additional usability through KDE (keduntu), and well as on different hardware architectures (eg. the Mac Mini).

    While there is always room of another specifically customised and targeted distribution, broad sweeping statements like the above just don't hold.

    Novell's SUSE and openSUSE are aimed at providing an easy to use and maintain, site-wide contant installation base. These goals are good for corporate environments (business and non-business alike), but there are other ways. It will be interesting to see how Novell seeks to control the outcomes of openSUSE, as it attempts to let go of control at the same time.

  • Re:diffs? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by miyako (632510) <miyakoNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @12:57AM (#13284154) Homepage Journal
    I generally pay for every other version of Suse. I do so for a couple of reasons. One is that downloading and burning the iso's or installing via ftp can be a pita compared to just having the disks. I also switch a lot of people over to Linux, and the user manuals can be helpful to people who are just starting with Linux. It's also amazing how far seeing a real retail box can go in convincing someone that Linux is worth trying (strangely enough people seem to be more comfortable with pirating software then with knowing that the software is actually free). I also like to support people who make products that I like. Buying a boxed set is one way of supporting the distro that I like.
  • Re:diffs? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jdray (645332) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @01:03AM (#13284171) Homepage Journal
    Umm.. Ubuntu?

    Umm... Is Ubuntu supported? I'm not trolling, I seriously don't know. I'm thinking that Novell may be considering themselves "only" because it's a distro with support behind it, sort of deprecating every distro put together by... um... non-professionals. Not that I support the differentiation, I'm just guessing at what they mean.

    Of course, that leaves one open to wonder about Xandros [xandros.com]. I've never used it, but it's reputed to be a very easy to use and approachable desktop OS and it's supported.

    What really gripes me is that just this morning I ordered a SUSE 9.3 DVD from budgetlinuxcds.com. If I'd waited a month or so, I could have had the first openSUSE distro instead. $10 down the tubes, I guess.

  • Suse Linux (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Allnighterking (74212) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @01:21AM (#13284236) Homepage
    SuSE Linux .... now with open source. Am I alone in seeing the irony here. Somehow it seems that Novel is teaching SuSE how community and Open Source work. Though in the long run it is nice to see the return. Novel opened Yast, and now they are pushing SuSE back towards its roots. Kinda nice in a way.
  • Re:diffs? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by homer_ca (144738) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @02:09AM (#13284350)
    "Umm... Is Ubuntu supported?"

    I was talking more about being user-friendly for non-technical people. If you're talking about paid support, Canonical provides that for Ubuntu. Ubuntu is backed by a non-profit foundation with millions in funding from Shuttleworth. Although it's Free, it also has a polished commercial feel to it (as opposed to a hobbyist feel).
  • Yast, RH (Score:3, Interesting)

    by typical (886006) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @02:44AM (#13284435) Journal
    So, more than simply YasT. One of the things that drove me away from Fedora was that it is publically acknowledged to be public grounds for vetting Red Hat's technology which will be the basis for RHEL.

    Uh...yes. But the kernel is just public grounds for vetting Linux technology which will be the basis for all distributions and so forth.

    It's not like RH doesn't have a pretty rich legacy of contributing back -- if you fixed something that really was Fedora-specific, like, oh, a package dependency, White Box Linux and the other folks would pick it up. Compared to SuSE, RH's pretty decent (Caldera and SuSE are the two distributions are I find to have an uncomfortably non-free feel to them -- though Caldera really isn't an issue any more). I'm glad to see that SuSE appears to have picked up on the fact.

    I don't understand the deal with YaST. Okay, I understand that people want GUI config tools. Fine, nothing wrong with that -- the ease of writing GUI frontends is a great thing about Linux. But in very recent times, I've noticed a disturbing number of moves towards making the console a second-class citizen, which *does* bother me. Red Hat seems to have come out with Network Manager in FC4, which has only a GUI configuration utility (and no documentation on how to configure it in the console), which is my latest beef. The system-config* tools no longer all work in the console -- some require a display (take system-config-services, for instance). The people who get irritable when console users are snubbed are very often the people that actually *work* on the software.

    So, while GUI utils are important (they help bring in the bread-and-butter folks), console utils/ease of functioning in the CLI is at least as important, as it encourages developers to use/test on your distribution -- the entire point for your company in producing an Open Source product in the first place.

    Apple's Human Interface Guidelines, back in the day, contained a number of constraints on design, like never having a modal dialog that led to another modal dialog, or always making actions available in a submenu or through a keystroke available through a regular menu as well. The Linux distros need a similar mindset, but WRT providing an equally good quality approach to CLI use as GUI use.

    Now, I'm not going to demand that someone run out and write more code to pander to me (I think it's a good idea long-term for a distro, but I'm not going to whine about it.) It *does* irritate me, however, when a system that *used* to be configurable via the console (like the network) suddenly starts relying on GUI-only config tools. That sucks.

    And GNOME and KDE are both quite complicit in this. Both have members who are apparently enthralled with the idea of tying apps to their respective DEs, and absolutely *stupid* architectural decisions have been made on this basis. Microsoft tying IE to the OS really was more reasonable. Take, for instance, the VFS layers. It makes absolutely no bloody sense for GNOME to have a VFS or KDE to have kioslaves. These functions have *nothing* to do with a desktop environment -- they are generic functionality that would be useful anywhere. They *should* be available in a separate library. You wouldn't make kxml and gnome-xml -- you'd use libxml So why all the tying into DEs?
  • Re:Yast, RH (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ocularsinister (774024) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @04:22AM (#13284618)
    The last time I checked, YaST worked just as well from a console (albeit using ncurses) as it did from X. I'm definitely going to take a look at OpenSuSE. Having spent the last year on Gentoo learning how things work under the hood, I think I'm just about ready to move back to a more polished distribution. Not that I'm digging at Gentoo - it has some great features too!
  • by badfish99 (826052) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @04:34AM (#13284642)
    I found a bug in the free-download version of Suse last year, and tried to send them a patch. All I ever got was emails from marketing droids saying "you must purchase a copy of Suse and register it before you can receive technical support".

    I didn't want technical support. I was giving them support, for fscks sake. I was sending them a patch. Yet they refused to accept it.
    I've used Debian since then. They are even happy to receive fault reports without a patch.

  • by rklrkl (554527) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @05:07AM (#13284698) Homepage
    The worst thing is that they cut off updates for each release when the new one comes out every six months.

    Nothing like a big lie in there? Oh sorry, it's actually two lies in one sentence! Firstly, the minor lie is that Fedora's releases have actually had 7 or 8 months between them (FC5 will be out 8 months after FC4...and possibly even longer than that if it gets pushed back).

    The bigger lie though is the claim that there's no updates for any of the previous releases as soon as the latest Fedora is released. In fact, the previous release remains under the Fedora Project banner - complete with updates - until about the Test 2 of the FC release two versions on - which typically would be about 12 months. And even then, updates are moved to the Fedora Project and would continue to receive updates for probably about another 12 months (Fedora Core 1 is still getting updates for example). So that's two years of updates, not 6 months like this poster claimed - not bad for a free distro if you ask me.

    You have to do a fresh install every six months!

    Yep, he compounds the earlier fibs with another one. Firstly, even if you insist on doing a fresh install when the updates stop, we're still talking 2 years, not 6 months. And, if you're willing to put a bit of effort into it, you can extend older Fedora Core releases yourself beyond the 2 year mark e.g. by building your own kernel from kernel.org's newer releases or trying out a later Fedora Core's RPM (source or binary) on the FC you're maintaining (for example, I've managed to get FC3's Firefox/Thunderbird RPMs working on FC2, although it does require you to upgrade several dependencies with FC3 versions). Now if you really want to slag Fedora off, complain about how Anaconda's Disk Druid is quite tricky to use and amazingly isn't available as a standalone app (yep, it's only part of the install process). Or about how Fedora starts way too many services by default, especially for a desktop configuration. But attacking updates when I think the Fedora Project/Legacy teams do a good job is just poor.

  • Re:diffs? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mostly a lurker (634878) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @05:47AM (#13284772)
    "Only the openSUSE project refines its Linux distribution to the point where non-technical users can have a successful Linux experience."

    Umm.. Ubuntu?

    Ubuntu is good, but I am pushing my small business customers more towards SUSE.

    The FAQ is certainly laced with a bit of marketing. That said, I have been really impressed by the progress Novell has made in the last year, and with their commitment to two aspects critical to long term success: following standards (trying to create genuinely open standards where no good ones exist) and a big investment in improving the experience of end users.

    IMHO, Red Hat would like to "differentiate" itself and be the dominant Linux vendor. SUSE is aiming to be the best among cooperating organisations.

  • amendments (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wild_berry (448019) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @06:15AM (#13284812) Journal
    You missed saying that FC4 will upgrade you from previous versions of Red Hat (from 7.x, 8.0, 9 and FC1, FC2 & FC3), but only hinted at in the release notes [redhat.com]. I think that this, retaining your $home directory and other preferences is easier than a total reinstall.

    I suspect that Disk Druid isn't a stand-alone application because of the dangers of allowing people to alter the partitions of disks in use. The source is in the srpms (here [redhat.com], particularly anaconda-10.2.1.5-2.src.rpm [redhat.com]), and it shouldn't be too hard to hack it out of there and disallow access to either drives mounted or disallow access to the drives supplying important mount-points -- Fedora uses LVM2, so any drive can be mapped into /.
  • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @07:13AM (#13284950)
    SuSE has contracted for a 7 year support cycle. What sane shop uses OS's 7 years old in this security day and age? Even then, for Fedora and RedHat legacy support, there's www.fedoralegacy.org, which seems to go on providing legacy and kernel updates long after RedHat has given on OS's as a bad job, such as RedHat 8.0 and Fedora Core 2.
  • Re:Welcome (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cpthowdy (609034) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @07:15AM (#13284959)
    Seriously, you would shit yourself if you saw Novell's lab. I got to tour it since I'm President of a Novell User's Group.

    They call it the Super Lab, and it's nothing but rows and rows of computers so that they can stress test apps before they are released. They even have different companies come and rent it out for their own apps.
  • Re:diffs? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Erwos (553607) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @07:20AM (#13284973)
    "IMHO, Red Hat would like to "differentiate" itself and be the dominant Linux vendor. SUSE is aiming to be the best among cooperating organisations."

    This is so laughable. Novell's been pushing to get lock everyone into Netware and Groupwise. I can see you've never actually been to one of their real-life presentations before.

    Red Hat, OTOH, came off totally differently in real-life. Very dedicated, willing to take on all comers while still staying true to the GNU dream.

    -Erwos
  • Re:ISOs? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by codemangler (811903) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @08:40AM (#13285246)
    So are there ISO images or do you still need to take several hours doing an FTP install?

    I prefer an FTP install because
    (1) it's faster if you don't use all the packages
    (2) you don't waste time checking md5sums and burning CDs
    (3) you don't waste media, except for the boot CD

    Once you're done downloading, your install is almost complete.
  • Re:diffs? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by walt-sjc (145127) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @09:12AM (#13285421)
    So go with something like CentOS which has the binary compatability with RHEL (for third party drivers, apps, etc.,) awesome community support, and no annual fees.

    But I like Suse too. And for my personal machines, Ubuntu.

Disclaimer: "These opinions are my own, though for a small fee they be yours too." -- Dave Haynie

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