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SuSE Businesses

First Looks at Suse 8.0 / KDE 3.0 285

The Register has a first look article on Suse 8.0 and KDE 3.0. Short story: they liked both, pretty much. I think the section on installation -- notably its length -- speaks volumes about the 'which is easier, Linux or MS' debate, too." There's also a review of the new SuSE up at Newsforge with some more details.
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First Looks at Suse 8.0 / KDE 3.0

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  • Heh -- will SUSE 8 include 6 or 8 CD's?

    Although a minor detail, having to shuffle that many CD's just to install the kitchen sink can further complicate an install.


    -Turkey
    • SuSE doesn't offer it on DVD yet, do they?
      If not, then they should.
    • Last i checked QNX could fit on a single floppy disk and featured a nice clean GUI and a web browser! There's not need for any software to take up more space!

      (It's a joke. Laugh.)

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Last i checked QNX was written by professional software developers, not glue sniffing teenagers and college dropouts living in their parents' basement.

        (It's the truth. Cry.)
    • It's 7 CDs + 1 DVD + a booklet
    • I didn't think they'd have drivers for the kitchen sink yet. Wow, Linux sure is advancing!
      • I didn't think they'd have drivers for the kitchen sink yet. Wow, Linux sure is advancing!

        The "kitchen sink" driver has been included with most Linux distros almost since day one. In case you don't know where to look for it, it's called emacs...

    • Re:How many Cd's? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sancho ( 17056 )
      Everyone says 7+1DVD... That's not entirely true. 7+1 is only for the Professional series. It comes on 3 CDs in the Personal series, which is not much (if any) different from the other major distros.

    • Ha!

      This is nothing compared to the floppy era; pre- "A-Linux-CD-distro-in-every-pot" days! :-)
    • If you're installing directly on a machine with a 52x CD-ROM drive, fine, you can put up with playing jukebox with the 7 CDs (and if the installer is bright enough, you only need to use each one once....) But if you have a machine with no CDROM in it (i.e. a machine where you really _want_ Linux instead of MSWindows) this much data can be a big hassle. If you're doing a Netinstall, this either means you need a server machine with a spare 5GB of space to cache the CDs in, or else the installation process needs to be designed intelligently enough that you can swap CDs in and out of the drive in your netboot server machine.

      Redhat 7.1, which didn't fit into a single CD, was really annoying about this, but I didn't *want* to go building Debian or Gentoo from scratch on my antique-store lab machines, I wanted a consistent environment. Is SuSe any better? Or should I always pick up another $100 disk drive every time I need to upgrade the OS?

  • by garglblaster ( 459708 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @03:50PM (#3492605) Journal
    I've been running this on both a subnotebook and a desktop computer and I must say I'm very pleased with it. Especially KDE3.0 makes a difference. (KDE 2 never appealed to me) In addition it was a very pleasant experience to do the installs via NFS from a central machine with the CDROM drive - it went flawlessly.

    Actually I'm definitely thinking about upgrading a few of my Redhat based systems as well..

    • You should upgrade to Gentoo [gentoo.org]. RPM-based (in fact, all binary-based) distros should go the way of the dodo bird.
      • by Phexro ( 9814 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @04:28PM (#3492842)
        "RPM-based (in fact, all binary-based) distros should go the way of the dodo bird."

        It seems like more and more people are latching on to the source-based OS these days. It appears to have become the Slackware of the new millennium. That is to say, the Real Men use source-based distros, and anyone who uses a binary distro is a stupid uneducated newbie sod who couldn't figure out how to pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel.

        Well, here in the real world, there are people who want to install software without waiting for everything to compile. In fact, the reason I stopped using Slackware was because it took too long to compile, install, and configure all the software it didn't come with.

        While your systems is laboring to compile XFree86, I'll be using mine, with software from binary packages.
        • I love this response. Go Dude!
        • That's one reason I switched to FreeBSD. At the time, there really wasn't a good source based distribution for Linux. With FreeBSD I could build everything from the kernel on up to the KDE eyecandy from source with a few simple commands. Stuff was regularly updated so you didn't have to spends ten hours a week checking for updates, poring over exploit lists, etc. And the kicker was that I could still use binary packages if I wanted to.

          I tried Gentoo recently, but I didn't like it. I see a lot of potential there. But it still feels like a pre-alpha release. A ton of documents on emerge, but nothing on the system itself. Emerge is like a forest without any trees. For example, there's lots of packages, but no package descriptions. And the installation is goofy. It gives you all of the hassle of LSF without any of the educational opportunities. Sigh.
        • I use Red Hat, but whenever I upgrade a package I recompile it from the source RPM. So you can get the best of both worlds - download a binary package if you want, or rebuild from source (_with_ full dependency tracking) if you prefer.

          People often forget that RPM-based distributions are not 'binary only' - every RPM package has a corresponding source package which can be used to rebuild it.
      • I like most things about RPM, it takes a little to learn, since the man and the howto are not very informative on examples. I was able to install KDE3 on my mandrake 8.2 workstation, test it out, and uninstall it after. Was quiet simple.

        Real problem with RPM, when there are lots of dependices, deleting an RPM is a pain. When I erase an rpm, rpm -evv, i would like a --withdeps (example) flag. I couldnt find such flag.

  • by lingqi ( 577227 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @03:53PM (#3492632) Journal
    I know this might be redundant and all -- and i KNOW people here don't go around installing XP for sh*ts and giggles... but in case that you ever did install XP, you would remember that it requires a total of 2.7 clicks of the mouse and absolutely no choices are given.

    SuSE, on the other hand...

    definitely philosophical extremes here.
    • Well, having installed my good share of both: For SuSE up to 7.3 it may have been true what you are saying. In SuSE 8.0 you can install a fairly well working system with something like three mouse clicks similary easy to XP. You can still change a lot of things before installing, but you definitely don't have to. And the real wonder: If you have not too unusal hardware it really works.
    • definitely philosophical extremes here.

      Undoubtedly. XP by default installs a bunch of stuff that most people don't need or want, some with severe security holes. SuSE makes you pick every little detail about your system installation. Both approaches, obviously, have their merits. Unfortunatly, the good part about having to pick each thing you want installed (making the system more secure), is offset by the fact that the people who most need to use it (those who habitually leave their systems wide-open to hackers) are not able to do so (or don't have the patience). Too many parentheticals? :-)

    • Question : Does windows XP install in 2.7 mouse clicks when installing on a P2 - 300mhz PC with 128 meg of ram, which has windows 98 on it taking up the entire disk (which I don't want to lose completely coz I still want to play all my old games on)?

      And for the "expert/developer/server" installation (for us techies), does it also allow the installation of working webserver, C/C++ compiler, IDE development environment, office suite, website development apps, etc. in the same installation?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Remember, that in most cases, those using *Windows* do not install it, as it comes preinstalled, complete with gobs of software from vendors...this is the ease of installation linux distribs should be thinking about.
    • you would remember that it requires a total of 2.7 clicks of the mouse and absolutely no choices are given.

      How much of a click is .7 clicks anyway?

      Curious in Carolina,
      BW
  • SuSe Linux Professional 8.0 ships on 7 CDs and one DVD which contains all the material that is on the 7 CDs. Don't know about the personal edition.

    I have installed using both media on about 8 systems so far and have had no problems yet either on upgrades or on fresh installs.

    When installing a lot of packages, using the DVD, mot swapping discs is pretty sweet.
  • To me, all the popular linux distributions have been easier to install than windows, espesciallly Mandrake, but unfortunately they tend to be harder to configure afterwards, due to the shear volume of options and utilities available. Linux's biggest strength for power users, is also its biggest weakspot for normal folks
    • Re:Instalation... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Sancho ( 17056 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @03:57PM (#3492662) Homepage
      Are you kidding? When was the last time you installed Windows?
      XP virtually installs itself. You barely have to be there.
      Win2k is similar, but does have more required user input. Regardless, there are virtually no choices required in either of these two, unlike Linux where you have thousands of software packages to choose from.

      That said, under Linux, you have thousands of software packages to choose from. In Windows, you get a few "applications" like a calculator and notepad.
      • You can get just as detailed in a linux distribution as you want, just as you can get as detailed in a windows distribution as you want, you can leave the defaults in linux, just as easy as you can in windows, and linux doesnt require the user to reboot an infinite number of times, and then a few more reboots just for drivers. btw, I have installed every version of MS windows since 3.1
      • There's actually a few ways where you can make install files in win2k & XP, and no one has to be there. Or you can make it so that should someone be there they can't input anything should they want to.
      • Re:Instalation... (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Are you kidding? When was the last time you installed Windows?
        XP virtually installs itself. You barely have to be there.

        Might want to check out this [computerworld.com] article in ComputerWorld before you continue in this vein. Windows isn't as easy to install as the Microsofties try to make it out to be.

        After you read the article, you see that the author (R.L. Mitchel, apparently a serious microsoftie) had about the same sort of bad experience with WinXP that the Register reviewer had with SUSE. The only difference was that the microsoftie was out a lot more money.

      • Suse and Mandrake installs are on par with windows. They detected printers, sound cards, gfx cards, mouse/keyboard, usb, everything. It all comes down to, add user, add network settings, go. Only in Suse/Mandrake you get to pick your X window manager. :)
        • Whoa, I forgot the major difference! On WinXP you have to put in your Serial Number and register your hardware with m$.

          -
          cd /mnt/games/jediknight2; winex JEDIOUTCAST.EXE
      • XP virtually installs itself. You barely have to be there.
        Rumor has it the next generation of Windows *will* install itself. Whether you're there or not.

        Yes, it's true! This new generation of cutting edge technology (codenamed InterTransGenObsidianPyramidObscura) will take advantage of the inevitable switchover to pure wireless, broadcasting itself from Redmond over the very airwaves themselves, using cellphones as booster stations. Once those little quantum perturbations detect a computer nearby, they will zero in, and with no effort whatsoever, install this exciting new upgrade, free of charge. A truly cross-platform OS, InterTransGenObsidianPyramidObscura will replace previous versions of Windows on Intel systems, as well as dynamically configure itself to run on Mac, Sun, Alpha and Palm processors. Upgrade packs are already in the works for electric blankets, HDTVs, Macrovision-disabled VCRs, and low-water toilets. It will be sure to be everywhere you look -- Very, very sure.

        Be sure to register within 30 days!
        GMFTatsujin

    • You can get away with clicking "Next" a bunch of times and have Mandrake install itself with all the default settings. That is indeed very easy. I guess it's much the same for SuSE. Setting up an FTP and HTTP (for example) server is more complicated. The many choices should never be removed from these services. Removing choice was never the same thing as increasing ease of use or quality or a product. If you want to use your Linux box as a workstation you can ignore the many choices involved in setting up all of these products and go right ahead with your preferred office suite (oh no, preferred as opposed to only! there's yet another choice, i guess Linux will never appeal to the normal user).

    • I recently got a used K6-3/400 PC, which I promptly wiped. Problem was, I had no clue as to what was inside the thing (I originally thought it was a Duron 600 until Red Hat told me otherwise). and installed Red Hat 7.2. It installed like a charm -- hardware all recognized and correctly configured, Net configured and away we go.

      Then I decided to install Windows 98 SE, which I need to test websites (other than this PC, I only have Macs running either Linux or Mac OS X). It was a nightmare -- constant reboots (usually without warning me or waiting for a confirmation) and it failed to recognize both the video card and the Ethernet card. I ended up having to reboot into Linux, do cat /proc/pci to find out what kind of cards they were (hardly anything exotic -- an old TNT video card and a Realtek Ethernet card) and trying to install drivers. The ones from the Windows CD refused to work, and of course with no Ethernet I couldn't easily download them...

      So I ended up booting again into Red Hat (damn, GRUB is nice), downloading current drivers there, copying them to the Windows partition, rebooting and reinstalling -- and it *still* didn't work at first (with a reboot in between each attempt, of course). Eventually it finally decided to cooperate (I still don't know what happened -- after one of the many reboots the video card and Ethernet card suddently started working).

      Red Hat took me about 30-45 minutes to install and configure (I just did a standard workstation install), mostly just waiting on the files to copy over to the hard drive. Windows 98 SE took over two and a half hours of PITA work.

      OK, granted, Red Hat 7.2 is much newer than 98 SE. But remember that a *huge* number of people still use 98 SE as their primary system, and it's still more or less the standard most users look to. I'd say Linux has come a looooong way already as far as easy installation goes.

      Best of all, my wife, who up till now has only used Macs and is techno-phobic, saw the GNOME desktop, got curious and soon I had her playing Civilization: Call to Power on Linux. And she fiddled around with surfing in no time.

      I am now fantasizing about romantic evenings with my wife recompiling kernels. ;-)

      Cheers,

      Ethelred [grantham.de]

      • Why as Red Hat support about your CPU? OMG the lameless filter :( (Reason: Please use fewer 'junk' characters.) It may be lame, but maybe this guy finds it usefull next time...


        fferreres@fede:~$ cat /proc/cpuinfo
        processor : 0
        vendor_id : GenuineIntel
        model name : Celeron (Mendocino)
        cpu MHz : 432.331
        cache size : 128 KB
        bogomips : 861.79
  • by filtrs ( 548248 ) <`moc.erehpsnotohp' `ta' `sremlihm'> on Thursday May 09, 2002 @03:58PM (#3492670) Homepage
    I'm a big SuSE fan. Loved 7.3 (and will be going back to it tonight) but I've had a serious problem with 8.0. I won't go into all the details, but I'd like to point out one major problem I've had.

    YaST2 has been hailed lately (and I have in the past liked it as well) as one of the easiest installation tools out there. I agree the installation options are very well laid out and easy to understand. My one problem though, has to do with the handling of package errors.

    I installed 8.0 a few days ago on my laptop and had a problem-free install. However, the next time I installed it, I had several package problems. No big deal usually, just install them later. Problem is, I had errors on the YaST2 modules. Which are the last packages installed off the first disk. I had waited for 1.3 GB worth of packages for nothing. System won't boot. Nothing.

    Question : Is it that hard to implement an "Abort, Retry, Fail?" option? I'd like to do my install in one sitting instead of having to repeatedly go back, look at the logs to see what failed, and install them again.

    Just a thought. Sorry for the rant, but it kind of took away my evening last night. :)
    • What does "Abort, Retry, Fail" mean anyway? I remember seeing such a prompt back in the times when I was Using DOS (4.x through 6.0 after which I discovered the alternatives). I have never ever before or since seen anything so unintuitive. Please do not adopt this. In stead use words like "Stop now" and "Ignore error". There's no need to copy bad behavior just because people are used to this kind of bad behavior.

      • I agree that the original DOS terminology may not be the most precise, its the idea I'm arguing for. Specifically, the "Retry" option. "Stop Now" and "Ignore Error" are already basically your 2 options under YaST2. (You can hit "Abort" and cancel the whole install or just keep going, the default)

        I don't care if they call it "Retry Package" or "Try Again, Something in Your System Is Fscked", I just don't want to have to start all over again or end up with an unusable system.
        • I agree that the original DOS terminology may not be the most precise, its the idea I'm arguing for.

          Fair enough. And you are right, the option should be available. It just irritates me whenever someone copies MS just for the sake of copying MS.

    • I have to say thank you. I have been running SuSE for several years now. I'm looking at my 6.0 box right now. On a side note I love the graphics on the boxes. One pattern that has definately emerged with SuSE is that the *.0 release are always very buggy, other distros too, but SuSE is what I have the most experience with. The ideas and concepts are great, but there is some work to be done still. From what I can tell this seems to be holding true for 8.0 as well. The other pattern that I have noticed is that the *.1 will be coming very shortly. I will probably wait for that or 8.2 until I upgrade, as I am happily running 7.3 with KDE 3.0 right now and it rox. Whether SuSE does this deliberatly or not is up for debate, but I have decided to stop rewarding them for releaseing a buggy 8.0. They are a great company and I really think that they have hands down the best distro out there. Your mileage may vary, but in my experience SuSE 7.3 has been the best thing I've run. IMHO RedHat is lagging way behind, and all they have to offer is a nasty red hat, and interchange is cool too.
  • http://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla/releases/mozill a1.0rc1/Red_Hat_7x_RPMS/
  • Why do all reviews of distros end up being reviews of how long it takes to install... then a review of kde?!
  • Seems to comparing apples and oranges on one thing.

    With Windows there is a base install, I know you can choose if you want wordpad and such but for the most part a simple base install.

    With SUSE you have to pick packages etc. but its seems that time spent here would be saved by not having to install them it later, as you would with with Windows.

    Not saying one is better than the other just different.

  • by corebreech ( 469871 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @04:07PM (#3492725) Journal
    Long time SuSE user here, who in the past always went with the "install everything" option.

    With 8.0, there was no "install everything" option -- or I missed it -- so I picked "Default KDE w/ Office".

    You'd expect that info would be installed with such an option, yes?

    The reason I needed info was because SuSE is still using lilo, and I'm sorry, but grub simply rules, alpha or not, so I had to do that bit manually.

    Also, I have a GeForce4 TI 4600 and I can't for the life of me get the thing to work right (yes I have the latest nVidia drivers), but I attribute that to it being a new card and all and fully expect somebody else to figure it out for me. Not a big deal since I stay in text mode most of the time anyways (use the GeForce for Windows games.)

    Oh, yes, and one last thing... NO STICKERS!!! SuSE always has an assortment of somewhat-silly-but-nevertheless-cool stickers I can put on things and regret having done so later, but none were to be found in 8.0.

    So sad it makes me.
    • is there any perifinalia at all inthe box? no pins? no case badges? nothing!!!!

      man what a bummer. that was the coolest thing about Suse.
    • I had a similar reaction. I did the default install, which went incredibly smoothly and quickly. Then I went to configure a file using Emacs, and it wasn't there. A default installation without emacs, but with pico, joe, etc.? Disappointing. Not to mention all the time I spent shaking the box upside down trying to figure out where the stickers were.
    • I'm running SuSE 8 with a 4600 and no issues in 3D gaming or desktop, including WineX 2 windows games. After downloading the latest nvidia drivers via YOU, I went to /usr/lib and made sure that libGL.so was a link to libGL.so.1 and that libGL.so.1 was a link to /usr/lib/GL/currentnvidiaglxbinary. Then re-run Sax2 and it detects a 4600. Make sure glx is the only 3D module loaded. voila. I still got the OS warning me, as I ran tuxracer, that there was no 3D support. But there WAS, and tuxracer sprang to life in full 3D despite the OS's disbelief.
      • MOD THIS GUY UP!!! (Score:3, Informative)

        by corebreech ( 469871 )
        You fixed my problem!!!

        The issue was that libGL.so was linked to libGL.somethingelseiforgetwhat and not libGL.so.1.

        Changing that and running sax2 gives me a working desktop. KDE is beautiful.

        Bless you.
    • File the geforce item under - reasons why linux wont be commercially succesful on the desktop for quite some time. If it takes more than 30 minutes to make work or install, joe schmoe aint gonna do it.
  • KDE 3.0 is nice... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by toupsie ( 88295 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @04:07PM (#3492726) Homepage
    I just downloaded RedHat 7.3 (just 3 CDs) which includes KDE 3.0 and installed it on an IBM ThinkPad to play around with it to see where the Linux Desktop is at. I am a dedicated Mac OS X desktop user and use Linux as a server OS. But am always curious how well Linux is doing for the desktop user and how much of the Mac OS X user experience is going to leak into Linux (like KDE's icon magnification in the panel).

    KDE 3.0 is getting really close to something I would give Mom to use (she has Mac OS X right now) but it is still not there. It still has some bugs and useability problems like the clipboard. The KDE office suite is...well...sweet! I am truly impressed by that part. I am wishing that KDE/KOffice gets ported to XDarwin (We have Gnome -- Yuck!). Would give M$ Office v.X a run for its money in the home and educational market where Apple thrives.

    My only huge complaint about KDE (And GNOME) is how freaking ugly the font rendering is. I guess I am spoiled with Apple. However, if they can get the font rendering from Nautilus (ex-Apple folks) into KDE, you got a real winner there once you run the desktop environment through a usability and consistency review.

  • by rhaig ( 24891 ) <rhaig@acm.org> on Thursday May 09, 2002 @04:10PM (#3492743) Homepage
    one of the worst is that it relies on the environment in order to run the init scripts properly.

    sudo /etc/init.d/ restart

    won't work. you have to "su -" first and then run it, or make sure your path includes /sbin and /usr/sbin.

    Don't ever try to run any of these init scripts out of cron....
    • sudo 'su - root -c "/etc/init.d/stuff restart"'

      Yes, you should not have to do this. Yes, init scripts should not need an environment. However, the above should help you out meanwhile, and does not require that you be given the root password (as long as you're set up with root privs in the sudoers file).
      • yeah, I know the workarounds to it and all...

        I was just pointing out one of the things i saw.

        From my experience with SuSE, it's a Distro by programmers, for programmers, who know little (if anything) about large scale automated system administration.

        At least they broke up the rc.config into seperate files in /etc/sysconfig. This makes it easier to change these files with scripts.
  • I love the new KDE 3.0 Artwork!!!

    it is easy on the eyes, beutiful and profesional.

    man....I am impressed.
  • SuSE looks like something I would like to try. However It will be very difficult for me personally get past the no ISO thing.

  • Downsides (Score:4, Informative)

    by PapaZit ( 33585 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @04:23PM (#3492815)
    SuSE isn't bad, but I've found the following problems so far:

    SuSE 8.0 is missing the gtk-config script. For that matter, I'm pretty sure (can't check now) that there's no gtk-devel. Yes, the gtk lib is there, but if you have any apps that you need to build, it's a little bit annoying.

    The online updater is screwy. When I first tried, I got the "bad GPG sig" message talked about in the article. When I tried again, it wouldn't even try to download the updates. A detailed problem report (submitted via YaST2, nice) has not been answered in close to a week.

    It looks like KDE 3 assumes that root can write to a user's home directory. I use NFS at home (and map root to nobody). KDE 3 doesn't like that at all. We use AFS at work. KDE 3 doesn't like that any better. Not SuSE's fault (same problems with RH 7.3 and with KDE 3 compiled myself).

    On my laptop, YaST2 won't recognize my Xircom modem/ethernet card or my Lucent 802.11b card. The modules aren't even listed in their setup program. Tricky business, I know, but Red Hat handles it.
    • Suse has the best sparc64 release, I'm running Suse 7.3 with Icewm on a sunblade. KDE/Gnome is overkill for it. (imho)

      Ill be glad when 8.0 for Sparc64 comes out. Other distros support 32bit, but when it comes to 64 bit, Suse is the way to go.
    • Re:Downsides (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      gtk-devel and config are there (at least in Pro they are). The problem is that unless you install them, along with make using the "Development tools" or whatever that option is called during installation. Otherwise make doesn't work, can't find gtk. I went through this yesterday. Installed just gtk, gtk-devel, make and gcc and skipped all the other tools. NO MATTER WHAT, I couldn't get Lame to configure properly. I had to do a reinstall to make this work.
    • Re:Downsides (Score:3, Insightful)

      by elmegil ( 12001 )
      Which 8.0 did you get? Personal or Professional? I found the same thing with my copy of 7.3, and realized that it was the Personal Edition Difference. If you're with it enough to be doing builds, they expect you want to pay more for the Pro Edition. Of course, you can always go out to their FTP site and download the necessary RPMs, that's what I did.

      While we're finding things to complain about, YaST is nice & all, but at least in 7.3 it's a hairball to try and figure out where the printer configs are, and God Help You if you want to do something different than they do by default (e.g. make the ASCII interface to my Samba based printer the default; yah, I figured out ways to do it, but not as a system wide default).

  • I think the section on installation -- notably its length -- speaks volumes about the 'which is easier, Linux or MS' debate, too.

    Why is it that so much effort is spent on a task that should be only a very minor part of your computing experience? X-based GUI installers, playing games during installation, focusing on installation during reviews, etc. All wasted effort, unless you're the kind of person that likes to reinstall once a week or so. Once a distribution has a "good enough" installer (say, Redhat's installer circa 5.x, or SuSE's YAST, pre-7.x), shouldn't they focus more on common computing tasks? KDE is gettting much more useable (GNOME's taking its time ...), but there's still plenty of work to be done, and if these distributions truly cared about being "easy to use" they should be focusing their energies and monies on that area of development.


    Surely I can't be the only one who thinks that it's completely silly to put so much work into installation for an operating system which advertises its robustness (thus implying that installation is a rare task).

  • by Troodon ( 213660 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @04:25PM (#3492830) Homepage

    Im rather pleased with SuSE, though I did manage to cause a hiccup in an otherwise smooth install: I wanted to keep my / partition small, thus I did a minimal install and symlinked /opt to /usr/opt then did an update from my minimal install to a default. The installer didnt smoothly configure my graphics card and such, which I had to resort to sax2 to configure. Not much of a hardship at all. Perhaps I should just read up on LVM and just fiddle with the sizes of the volumes after the install.

    Anyway, my point: The SuSE DVD, part of the SuSE proffesional pack doesnt work with certain Pioneer drives (along with a few others): http://sdb.suse.de/en/sdb/html/wessels_pioneerdvd. html [sdb.suse.de]. Apparently its a vibration problem. The DVD starts to spin up, then sticks? with a low clicking sound. Firmware updates solve this problem for a few of the Pioneer models. My own, a DVD-115 will happily read the CD's.

    Beyond that Ive hand no significant problems )beyond some rushed editing of the manuals) and am happy to attest to SuSE 8 being rather slick indeed.

  • is based on what people are familiar with. The lay person out there has a lot of experience with Window flavors so its installation seems to be easier and more intuitive.

    I'll give an example. On most cars changing the sparkplugs is no big deal and sum what easy, yet since most people don't have experience doing it, its considered hard. Same way with Linux.

    Plus, I suspect the average person gets confused if more then a couple of options are given.
  • I think we can all agree about linux's importance in a wide range of computing environments. Unfortunately it is clear from the review of SuSE 8.0 that it's place on the home-desktop remains limited to those who have a developed and decent understanding of computer systems, and the related issues, as well as the time to carefully customise / fix their installations. Linux distros still force users to deal with issues that many users don't or won't want to deal with. This is not necessarily a drawback, as many of us would like to know exactly what's going on. It does remain clear however, that destop linux solutions remain, at best, a niche market.

    We used to use linux on many of our desktops here. As business moved away from web site-oriented things to audio production, we had to slowly move back to windows, a painful process but one which was aboslutely necessary, as our main application was designed solely for high-end film / video work on windows-based machines (hopefully they will port it to OSx). The Linux-kernel has remained an important part of our business environment as a router, http and ftp server and much more, ensuring it a lasting presence in our daily lives. More seriously, one that has never failed us, averaging over 180 days of uptime, interupted solely by extended powerfailures. Let's see windows, any version, do that. Long live the penguin.

  • SuSE 8.0 problems (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AaronW ( 33736 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @04:43PM (#3492919) Homepage
    I recently upgraded 3 different computers from SuSE 7.3 to 8.0. I had a number of issues with the original 7.3 but those were fixed with later patches (like the updated kernel).

    SuSE 8.0, while mostly stable, has a number of annoying bugs.

    1. sudo relies on the environment variables. I need sudo support to start and stop various services under /etc/rc.d and that doesn't work because /usr/sbin is not in the sudo path. If the user's path is being inherited this could cause security holes.

    2. The upgrade on one system failed because 8.0 remapped one of the SCSI devices causing a failed mount of fstab. I had to go back and search the logs to figure out what went wrong. When problems occur I shouldn't have to go to the logs to find out what happened. It should have popped up a dialog or something. As it was, the mount was for my USB zip drive. If I could have told YAST to just ignore it I wouldn't have had to start over.

    I also found that yast failed to properly upgrade everything. For example, on all of my systems gpg stopped working properly. I had to manually reinstall the rpm to fix this.

    I also wish yast2 were more extensive. The firewall configuration could be improved, and many more modules are needed for configuring things like a DNS server (for my internal home LAN), an imap/pop mail server, a news server, and samba. Hardware configuration needs to add support for installing a CDRW drive.

    I also found it a real PITA to get my CDRW working again after upgrading to 8.0. In addition the KDE tool I used before for burning CDs keeps crashing whenever I try and configure it.

    I found that the video for Linux support is working much better than it did in earlier releases (although the 2.4.16 kernel upgrade for 7.3 was stable as well).

    I also like KDE 3.0, which I am also running on Solaris at work.

    During the initial upgrade I missed being able to do detailed selection of packages to install in the categorized way it was in 7.3.

    Over all I am satisfied with SuSE 8.0, but I think it is a .0 release and needs some more polishing. If you don't need the bleeding edge support, stay with 7.3 and wait for 8.1.
  • OK, I bought the Pro version within a week of release. What the heck, I wanted KDE 3.0. Installation and (basic) configuration were pretty much as the article described--easy. Lots of interesting software to install and use, antialiased fonts look great in KDE apps, YaST2 provides easy interfaces for the newbie to do all kinds of things.

    Unfortunately, with 8.0, SuSE has gone to a Redhat-style mess under /etc/sysconfig/ instead of the relatively clean system they had before. The system boot scripts have become about twice as complex as they were in 7.3, with little gain in functionality AFAICT. It works, sure, but aesthetically, it stinks.

    Also, the PCMCIA management took a turn for the worse. PCMCIA configuration information isn't stored in the time-honored /etc/pcmcia/ directory, but somewhere under /etc/sysconfig again. This makes it difficult to use the extremely useful PCMCIA scheme support. The apparent solution is to define multiple instances of a PCMCIA NIC through YaST, and the first one corresponds to slot 0 while the second one corresponds to slot 1. Weird, and not documented in the SuSE manuals.

    It is a good distro, just has some warts....

  • I've realized something about Linux that I hadn't before. I can express it in the following prediction -

    The first Linux distibution which makes significant inroads to the desktop market will be universally hated by today's Linux community.

    Put another way, the present Linux community prizes "options" and "power-user friendliness" and "control" over things like "simple" and "easy." No, these things aren't always mutually exclusive, but I think the two are at odds often enough to make my prediction valid.

    Consider the following quote from the article.

    "The packages have been separated into even more categories now in hopes of simplifying the task. I don't think it helps much; but I really like the freedom of choice. That is, after all, one of the chief virtues of Linux."

    Yep, Linux has got virtues. Freedom of choice may in fact be one of them. I'll give it that. I seriously doubt, though, that when all is said and done "freedom of choice" is going to mean much to most novice computer users. "Easy to use" will. Can't we at least have one distro that is willing to provide this even if it means making a distro without some of the traditional Linux virtues like freedom of choice? When someone does make this distro it will be trashed endlessly in these forums. And it will get a good contract with a hardware OEM and make serious inroads to the desktop OS market.

    And another thing. When the Linux community is asked about ease of use, etc., they usually give answers amounting to "we need just a little more engineering time." In other words, "each new distro is getting closer to this goal than the last and in the next one or two we'll really have it to the extent commercial desktop OSs do." I think the "we need a little more engineering time" response is somewhat inaccurate. The other thing that is needed is a shift in priorities - the willingness to create the truly easy to use (and geek-hated) Linux distro.
  • I've always thought that it would be better to have the close button up in the right hand side of the screen, like Windows does instead of how Apple does. After all, it's easier for someone to accidentally hit it when they're going for the "file" button, right? But come to think of it, left may be better after all. I can't count how many times a pop up window has come up with the close button out of reach on my Windows box. Deliberately, no doubt. But I've come to believe the whole one-click close idea needs some rethinking. Why not a button that you click and several other buttons come up to the left below it? A double click could minimize, a click and a click slightly to the right would maximize, a click and a click slightly down would close. You could even hold the button down for half a second and then release it over the correct buttons for the same actions. And a "down" arrow would make sense, you click it once and it "brings down" new options, clicking it twice brings it "down" to the taskbar.

    Okay, my chest feels lighter now. :) Does anybody know if I can do this in KDE 3?

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