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tomhudson's Journal: openSUSE 10.3 Gold Master reviewed. 15

Journal by tomhudson

Okay, so Seagate "ate" two brand new RAID1s in 2 weeks, but at least it wasn't ALL in vain! The second set of Seagate drives I bought yesterday died today, but not before I had a chance to install openSUSE 10.3 on them.

The high points:

  1. multimedia support: working mp3 and dvd viewing/editing, etc.
  2. 22 gigs of software if you include the community repositories in your online updates
  3. no more need for dual-booting or wine to run Windows apps - you can run Win3x, Win9x, and WinXP Pro in virtual machines, either in a window on your linux desktop, or sharing the desktop. (think "parallels on the Mac").

The package list is impressive. More importantly, its very up-to-date. In some instances, the packages were pulled from svn rather than wait for a "final" version. And yes, there are repositories online for both ATI and NVIDIA video drivers, so you have a better chance of 3d acceleration "just working."

The quickest way to get started is to just check all the package groups from the dvd, except laptop and KDE4 (KDE4 is a "preview", and it's pretty badly broken - wait for the December 11th final release). Don't go and make individual package selections at this stage. You'll get about 5 gigs of software installed

When you boot into your newly installed OS, you can then add the other software repositories, which will give you goodies such as working mp3 and dvd players, etc. This gives you another 16 gigs of software. Make a detailed selection from one package group at a time (say "Development" or "Office"), do the online update, then go on to the next group. If you're determined to grab a copy of everything, you'll end up with more than 21 gigs of software installed, as follows:

  • /etc: 109 meg
  • /lib: 140 meg
  • /opt: 2.1 gig
  • /sbin: 17 meg
  • /srv: 146 meg
  • /var: 674 met
  • /usr: 18 gig
  • /boot: 47 meg

That's 21, 233 meg, so don't accept the default of a 20 gig root partition and putting the rest in /home ... you'll end up with no space for servers, databases, etc.

The down side: While 10.2 was able to configure all 3 video cards, 10.3 wasn't. Also, it was unable to delete the raid partition on re-install, but that may have been an issue with the second set of new Seagate drives failing. Also, as I mentioned earlier, the KDE4 preview is not usable. The new-style "slab" menus (in both KDE and GNOME) have a hard time coping with over 6,000 packages - be prepared to wait a minute the first time you click on "newly installed programs".

With the ability to run linux and Windows (not just Windows programs) side-by-side, I can see this being a serious threat to Microsoft trying to get people to upgrade to Vista. Why bother, when you can get the eye candy on your current machine, run all your old apps, and buy some serious hardware upgrades with the money you saved?

I haven't run Windows in years, but I might just try installing an old copy of Win9x in a virtual machine, just to play Sim City 2k and Sim City 3000 again.

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openSUSE 10.3 Gold Master reviewed.

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  • Does it come with VMWare Player for the virtual machine? Or does it use some sort of modified WINE setup?
    • by tomhudson (43916)

      Neither. You get a clicky in the admin box to set up your virtual machines. You also have to install the right kernel. Its in the "linux for lizards" help section ... and their help is very much improved.

      I'd tell you exactly where, but I'm sitting here with 4 brand new, and very dead, Seagate 320 gig hard drives - two of which I bought yesterday just to test openSUSE in a RAID1 configuration.

      Much as I'd like to go out and buy 4 more drives, I think I've spent enough already.

      Friday, I was prepared to

    • by kwandar (733439)
      I think SUSE uses Xen, but the latest kernels have KVM (Kernel Virtual Machine) built right in. Just need a chip with the virtual technology, and you are good to go with virtualized XP!
  • And yes, there are repositories online for both ATI and NVIDIA video drivers, so you have a better chance of 3d acceleration "just working."

    Maybe it's just me, but I don't see that as a good thing. I saw a talk by a sales guy from SUSE at last year's UKUUG conference, and he was plugging this as a win over the competition. But nowhere in the process does it mention that you'll be tainting your kernel and making it unsupportable by doing so...

    • by tomhudson (43916)

      Not that ATI is going open-source with their video drivers, tainting the kernel is a temporary issue. Hopefully, NVidia will "buy a clue" and go the same route.

      I know that a couple of months ago, when it came time to buy a 3rd video card for this box, I decided to put my money where my mouth was - I bought an ATI, even though it was $40 more than the NVidia with comparable specs.

      • by Cyberdyne (104305) *

        Not that ATI is going open-source with their video drivers, tainting the kernel is a temporary issue. Hopefully, NVidia will "buy a clue" and go the same route. I know that a couple of months ago, when it came time to buy a 3rd video card for this box, I decided to put my money where my mouth was - I bought an ATI, even though it was $40 more than the NVidia with comparable specs.

        Ironic - I recently vowed never to touch another ATI product with a 10 foot bargepole, after trying in vain to get (Windows) la

        • by tomhudson (43916)

          Don't tell her its linux, but "the newest version of windows" and that should take care of most of the resistance.

          I've had people at work come up to me and, when they see all the "goodness" in the linux desktop, ask what version of Windows I'm running. When they here its linux, they get all "gee, linux is too complicated for me!"

          Next n00b that asks, I'm saying "Its OSX on Intel - want a free copy?"

  • I was playing about with openSUSE in QEMU and was pretty impressed with the look and feel. The installer was pretty slick too. I'm curious about what makes up the 21 gigs of software though. Obviously the best way to find out would be install for myself but I don't have a spare machine to play about with at the moment. Can you shed some light as to the 'worst offenders' for space?
    • by tomhudson (43916)

      Okay, from what little I had a chance to see before the drives crashed:

      1. BIG SURPRISE: Some of the games in the optional repositories come with data that runs between 200 and 400 megs ... - there's several gigs right there (and people say linux doesn't have games)
      2. Ditto for some of the data files for text-to-speech proggies
      3. If you don't install the debug libraries, you'll save a bit of space
      4. You probably don't need every server, every perl library, every c, c++, gtk++, etc. package under the sun - usin
      • Thanks for the quick and detailed reply. Space isn't an issue for me anymore as I've recently put in a 500 gig drive (not Seagate!), but nevertheless I was (pleasantly) surprised to see a linux distro weighing in at such a large size. Of course, since the packages are optional, this choice is a Good Thing(TM). Seeing slick, well put together distributions like openSUSE and Ubuntu helps me believe that someday we'll have a lot more folk running Linux. Well, we can dream!
        • by tomhudson (43916)

          You're welcome. I'm going to try to return the last 2 drives to the retailer and swap them for some 500 gig Western Digitals. A search through the web shows that buying a Seagate made in China is a lottery.

          Even if Seagate does swap the other drives, I'm giving them away (after testing them ruthlessly - I'll set up a box just to do that, and if they fail, well, wash , lather, rinse, repeat. I'm not sticking someone else with a dud, either) - there is no way in hell they're going in my box after this fiasc

          • Tch, sounds like they aren't even aware of their customers, much less that they should treat them well. It certainly sounds like the race to bigger capacities has put quality a long way down the priority list. It's a shame, as I would have thought that a significant number of non-enterprise consumers would be willing to pay a premium to have a hard drive that actually lasted through its warranty period and beyond.

            Mind you, it doesn't help that people only really look at the capacity (and to a lesser exten

            • by tomhudson (43916)

              Well, its supposed to be going up the chain, and they've asked for a week to figure out what they're going to do ...

              Another week???? That's pretty weak :-/ That'm make it almost 3 weeks ...

              What can you do :-(

              I really don't want to shell out for yet 2 MORE drives, but I don't see much of an alternative in the interim. Heck, at that point it would have been cheaper to just buy a new computer.

You know that feeling when you're leaning back on a stool and it starts to tip over? Well, that's how I feel all the time. -- Steven Wright

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