Linked by Eugenia Loli on Mon 7th Oct 2002 07:27 UTC
SuSE, openSUSE If there are two things in this apartment that I don't like, that would first be the dog upstairs which barks at 5 AM almost every morning, and the fact that UPS almost never deliver things on our door. They never bother to check if we are in. The SuSE people were very kind to send us the Professional version of SuSE 8.1, but unfortunately, I received it 10 days later after it arrived in the apartment's complex. But now we got it here, we gave it a spin for almost a week, and here is what we think about it.
Order by: Score:
i remember this german gal
by robert renling on Mon 7th Oct 2002 07:41 UTC

oh suse.. she was but one of my linux gals.
no seriously suse has proven for some customers of mine that were willing to try linux out .. that it is easy to install and to use the only quirk they noticed was that it was hard to configure the network by themselves.. otherwise.

3 Cheers for the suse team...

LILO
by IFightMIBs on Mon 7th Oct 2002 07:58 UTC

SuSE loaded LILO in graphical mode.....

Why not grub? Grub is sooooo much better these days. Drives me nuts in Debian, too.

As for the dependancy hell packaging tool, you'd think they'd be able to do better that. To limit the discussion to the RPM side of things; RedCarpet isn't this bad, and neither is apt for rpm.

It has potential, it just needs to make more decisions of its own for most users (except for the people who asked not to), while SuSE should definately work out a bit the dependency problems by trimming them down to the minimal.

Exactly. But it seems like the big distros are getting really bad about the dependancies needed for packages, and that's leading to the distro bloat. The most disgusting example I can think is that RedHat used to require the ttf-ja package to be installed for X to be installed. I don't read Japanese, I don't anticipate being able to do so any time soon. :-) And you can forget about brewing your own RPMs from the provided SRPMS. It just doesn't work anymore.

RE: LILO
by Eugenia on Mon 7th Oct 2002 08:02 UTC

> Why not grub? Grub is sooooo much better these days. Drives me nuts in Debian, too.

Sorry, actually it is GRUB. That was a typo, as I mostly use LILO on my Linuxes, so I was thinking of it when I was writing the boot manager paragraph... ;)

nice review
by Yama on Mon 7th Oct 2002 08:11 UTC

" SuSE has introduced its own window manager which looks spiffy, but it has two problems. "

Do you mean a window manager theme? IMHO, it would be silly for SuSE to dump KWin in KDE.

" For some reason I don't understand, all the YaST2 modules do not follow the Qt/KDE selected font, but they are hard coded to another font (Helvetica I think, not sure). This breaks the consistency with the rest of the KDE environment. "

My guess is that SuSE did this on purpose to create a foolproof config tool. Imagine this scenario. A user is fiddling around with his/her font settings and accidentally switches everything to Wingdings, rendering all UI text illegible. YaST2 is protected from such problems. A user could screw up his/her fonts up as much as they want (up to a point, anyway), and YaST2 would still work. A system config tool should 'just work'.

" I was not happy with the Gnome setup. It is pretty much the stock Gnome2 setup, nothing new or exciting to see. There is not nearly as much tweaking as KDE has received, there is no unified look with Qt, and if you run a Gnome2 app from within KDE, you don't get AA because the GDK_XFT variable is not set by default. Gnome feels left out from SuSE, but that is not too surprising as KDE is the main environment for SuSE. "

I don't understand why SuSE are including GNOME if they are going to leave it to rot like that. Do any SuSE users use GNOME? Red Hat is much better than this in regards to KDE, even though their preferred environment is GNOME. Mandrake may default to KDE, but they still put some effort into their GNOME (I use GNOME on Mandrake).

" And why when I delete some files from Konqueror do not automatically go to the Trash Can but instead they get immediately deleted "

I personally prefer that behaviour, but it should not be set by default. Why have a trashcan on the desktop if it isn't going to be used?

" One thing is for sure: Nvidia's 3D drivers on this machine end-up in freezing in simple things like resizing a window or moving a window on the dekstop. "

That (obviously) isn't normal. My system is rock-solid with NVIDIA drivers (GeForce 3 Ti200 card). If I didn't play the occasional 3D game, I wouldn't mind using the XFree86 nv driver instead.

RE: nice review
by Eugenia on Mon 7th Oct 2002 08:13 UTC

>Do you mean a window manager theme?

Yup, obviously. ;)

This will never end
by SmallStepForMan on Mon 7th Oct 2002 08:19 UTC

Every few months we get a new Linux distro, and we all rush out to try it out, hoping that it will be the one. Time and time again we are let down, and feel betrayed. We desperately want to love an OpenSource OS, but there is no worthy contender to love.

All hope is not lost - there is another (as O-Bi-onE Said).

Great review, Eugenia!
by Anonymous on Mon 7th Oct 2002 08:34 UTC

So far from what I have read RedHat 8.0 and SuSE 8.1 reviews, RedHat 8.1 wins for the newbie and someone who is seeking for friendly user.

I never have tried SuSE, but it seems like it's a little cool, because of YaST2.

Thanks again for the great review!

Sounds about right ...
by Rob on Mon 7th Oct 2002 08:34 UTC

I really liked SuSE 8.0 on my laptop. On my desktop machine it was a mess (mostly due to the nVidia drivers, I think). Now that I've started using Red Hat 8.0 on my laptop, I don't think I can switch to anything else just because of the font rendering. It looks SO much better than anything else I've used (on this laptop), including Win2k and XP. I can't get over how crisp and clear everything is. If Microsoft's ClearType worked this well for me I might be tempted back to the Dark Side ...

SuSE 8.0 also flatly refused to work with my Lexmark printer (it listed the printer, but when I selected the printer I'd get a dialog saying, "SuSE does not currently support this printer. Blah Blah Blah ...") Red Hat, Mandrake and ELX all configure that same printer automatically during install (even when plugged into USB port). Ironically enough, SuSE is the only distro that has picked up the printer and popped up a dialog box offering to configure it when I "hotplug" it. Of course, configuration stops with that dialog box I mentioned earlier (thus the irony). That was the main reason I couldn't stay with 8.0 full time, even though in general I loved it. I haven't been able to find any info on whether printing support in 8.1 has been expanded, so I guess I'll just have to test it and find out, in a few weeks/months when they get around to populating the servers for FTP installs. I'm certainly not going to run out and buy a boxed set only to find out I'll need to buy a new printer, too.

Eugenia, you mentioned that 8.1 is built with GCC 3.2 ... in 8.0, I recall that SuSE shipped both Sun's and IBM's java environments that "just worked" in Mozilla/Konqueror. They also shipped a working Flash plugin. Does 8.1 include java/Flash? Having those plugins available without having to manually add them was a big plus in my book for SuSE 8.0 ... yet GCC 3.2 doesn't play well with those plugins, and I'm curious how 8.1 addresses the problem.

Like the subject line says, your review pretty much confirms what I was expecting of 8.1 ... still, even though there's nothing bold and new, I'll have to give it a shot (if only to see if my printer will finally work).

Thanks for the great review.

RE: Sounds about right ...
by Eugenia on Mon 7th Oct 2002 08:37 UTC

>Does 8.1 include java/Flash?

Yes! I should be adding this to the review body as well, I forgot to write about it. Indeed, they are there, pre-installed and ready to use! ;)

v Eugenia....Tisk tisk tisk
by Jinksys on Mon 7th Oct 2002 09:01 UTC
That's interesting ...
by Rob on Mon 7th Oct 2002 09:02 UTC

I wonder how SuSE accomplished that! Mandrake 9.0 works with those plugins, but it's just a hack: they just compiled Mozilla with GCC 2.96 so that you can download and use the standard plugins. I'm not sure how this is going to affect them in the future, when those plugins (such as the Flash 6 that's in beta now) are released compiled for GCC 3.2. My experience with Mandrake 9.0 and plugins was pretty awful. Java applets would work for a while (or maybe not) and end up making Mozilla *poof* (after which I'd have to CTRL-ESC and manually kill off any dead processes before Mozilla could be restarted). Konqueror was even more hit or miss, but for the most part instead of crashing it would just happily do nothing -- I'd see the blank space where the animation should be and that would be it. With Konqueror and Java, it would often just sit there doing nothing at all.

Red Hat 8.0 (as far as I know) just doesn't work with java, period.

If only I knew for sure SuSE 8.1 would support my printer I'd be in line to buy it tomorrow! But then I'd have to give up Red Hat's beautiful font rendering ... damn.

I wish a distro would be released that integrates the very best of all the others. Imagine SuSE's YAST2 with Red Hat's font rendering and apt repository ( http://psyche.freshrpms.net ), but stocked with the hundreds and hundreds of SuSE and Mandrake packages for just about everything you'd ever want. Now throw in Gentoo's speed-enhancing kernel patches, optimized binaries (i686, Athlon, P3/4) and excellent RC scripts; add Mandrake's hardware support and Supermount; then toss in ELX' Launchpads, automatic Windows/SAMBA network configuration and attention to detail in making sure the installed apps actually work ... but that's just a pipe dream, I suppose.

Sometimes I wonder if the people producing distros ever really look at what their competition is doing. ALL of them could learn a whole lot that way!

v RE: Eugenia....Tisk tisk tisk
by Eugenia on Mon 7th Oct 2002 09:07 UTC
Why flame? It's WORSE than pointless.
by Rob on Mon 7th Oct 2002 09:23 UTC

>> "Also, you wined about how the Package manager was not up to your liking...."

First of all, she wasn't whining. She was doing her job as a reviewer: describing the product from her point of view. That's not whining, it's the nature of the task. If she was just going to say, "It was good and I liked it," then why bother doing a review anyway? The kind of "review" you obviously want is not a review, it's an endorsement at best, a blatant advertisement at worst. That's not her job. SuSE's marketing department should be taking care of that.

>>"....are YOU going to spend 100% of your time in the package manager? NO! you are gonna be doing real life things, AKA playing games, email, blah blah!"

So because you don't use the package manager 100% of the time it can be poorly constructed? That's just silly. Just because you don't spend 100% of your time walking on your bathroom floor you don't want it covered in crushed glass. If you spend 1% of your time using a bad package manager, you might need only 0.33% of that time in a GOOD package manager. That's extra time to be doing your "blah blah" stuff. Your argument is just silly. No one uses ANYthing 100% of the time, so let's just let everything be crap, right?

>>"When linux does something we dont agree with,
we say SHAME SHAME! But when windows does something
wrong, we just shrug our shoulders and agree with it.
Now I am talking about little things, like font rendering,
and not your system crashing. If windows didnt render your
fonts correctly youd go and fix it...but alas! if linux does the same thing, you curse linux and declare the OS rubbish!"

She didn't say SuSE 8.1 OR Linux is "rubbish" ... she said she LIKED SuSE 8.1, but that it has some flaws. She is NOT A DEVELOPER, she's a reviewer. As such, she IS doing her part to fix the problem by bringing the problem to the attention of people who CAN fix it. See, software development is like writing -- you often miss errors because you know what you really mean. A user interface might make perfect sense to you as a developer but confuse pretty much everyone else. She is letting the developers know they have a potential problem. She's doing her part. Now, it's up to the developers to do their part: listen to her suggestions/complaints, and decide how they want to act to rectify the problem ... or not, as they see fit.

>>"You wine about the OS isnt for newbies, but there is one thing Suse is good at...and that packing their products with plenty of documentation...aka the HUGE MANUALS THAT ACCOMPANY THE PRODUCT! Take a gander at those before you install."

You wasted a lot of space to say what amounts to: "RTFM!" Sure, read the manual. But if users have to RTFM to do trivial things that SHOULD BE OBVIOUS AND EASY, something is very wrong. Users accustomed to Windows aren't going to want to spend their valuable time reading a manual to figure out how to change their screen resolution or format a floppy disk. Those things and many more should be easy and obvious. Despite your present arrogance, you were a newbie once. Did you want people shouting at you to RTFM manual when you were already frustrated because you couldn't figure something out or had just screwed something up? I think not. Just because you know NOW, don't forget that that wasn't always the case.

Your post was rude and uncalled for. In regards to decorum and the common tenets of polite, civilized discussion I humbly suggest you RTFM. You obviously missed a few chapters.

Any different than SuSE 8.0?
by k_semler on Mon 7th Oct 2002 09:24 UTC

In this review, you stated on the order that the installation process is not step-by-step, but you had to click to where you wanted to customize/configure. In SuSE 8, It did this same thing. I liked it because it would let me double check the settings before I complied the distro. It reminded me of sort of a "fail-safe" way of setting up the computer.

"Also, the default font on KDE is terrible. I immediately leached the Microsoft Web fonts from my Red Hat 8 partition and changed everything to be using the official Arial font. Now everything looks a bit better IMO."

I second that. I think that fonts are an issue in Linux. Major distributions should have a fonts development team working to create a couple good anti-aliased fonts. I think that the linux distros were not working on this because MS had the fonts up on thier server for so long for free. The companies became dependant on those fonts. Now new fonts need to be designed and placed under the GPL. Then there would truly be free fonts available.

Very good review. Do you think I could get it to install on my P1 166Mhz? What is the hardware requirements of this OS?

RE: Why flame? It's WORSE than pointless.
by Eugenia on Mon 7th Oct 2002 09:29 UTC

>She is NOT A DEVELOPER

Actually I am, but I always write reviews with the user in mind. ;-)
Thank you for the nice reply and support Rob. ;)

>What is the hardware requirements of this OS?

Pentium class (PII recommended) with 128 MB memory minimum.

re:Any different from SuSE 8.0
by Rob on Mon 7th Oct 2002 09:33 UTC

>>"Very good review. Do you think I could get it to install on my P1 166Mhz? What is the hardware requirements of this OS?"

You might be able to get it installed, but there is no way you're going to get a pleasing experience out of it. You'll be MUCH better off sticking with Windows 98 on that machine (or maybe 2k if you have plenty of RAM). X is going to run like cold molasses on a P166, it doesn't matter how much RAM you throw at it.

>>"In this review, you stated on the order that the installation process is not step-by-step, but you had to click to where you wanted to customize/configure. In SuSE 8, It did this same thing. I liked it because it would let me double check the settings before I complied the distro. It reminded me of sort of a "fail-safe" way of setting up the computer."

I agree for myself, but for new users (even savvy users), this kind of free-form interface makes it very very easy to forget to do something vital, which will lead from anything to confusion to disaster later. For newbies, it would be helpful if there was a bit more linearity in the install, I think. Something more like Mandrake or Red Hat, maybe with, like Eugenia said, an "Advanced" button to give those of us who want it a free-form interface.

grub
by C. on Mon 7th Oct 2002 09:51 UTC

Why not grub? Grub is sooooo much better these days. Drives me nuts in Debian, too.

Ok. Type with me:

# apt-get install grub

It's there if you want to ;) .

Regards,

C.

Eugenia: wow - what resolution has your screen?
by Ralf. on Mon 7th Oct 2002 10:09 UTC

Eugenia:
Are the screenshots in the review taken on your PC? What monitor have you got to display this resolution? Or is it an oversize mode with scrolling?

I read the article on my Mac (I own a Cinema HD Display with 1920x1200 pixel) and wasn't able to view the shots full size!

Thx!

Ralf.

> Are the screenshots in the review taken on your PC? What monitor have you got to display this resolution?

haha... ;)
The PC is mine, the monitor was a loan from SGI in order to be able to write our review of IRIX we published the other day (check our archives for that review ;) .
So, this is a 24" SGI-branded Trinitron CRT 16:9 monitor, capable of up to 2048 resolution, but the recommended res (and the one I used) is 1920x1200 at 90 Hz. So, the shots are indeed 'regular' 1920x1200. ;)
I think that monitor can be found for about $2000 on the net. :o
I quite liked it to be honest, so I might be getting one for myself this Christmas (I might end up getting the SONY 21" that can do 1600x1200 @ 85 Hz for only $450)...

Ha!
by Rob on Mon 7th Oct 2002 10:22 UTC

I can't picture myself paying 2 thousand dollars for a monitor I can't even see all at once!

I bet you have to turn your head back and forth to take in the entire screen, sort of like sitting too close to the front of the movie theater and having to ask your friend next to you what's happening on the other end of the screen. You better send that monstrosity back before you end up with carpal tunnel in your neck ...

:-)

RE: Ha!
by Eugenia on Mon 7th Oct 2002 10:27 UTC

>I bet you have to turn your head back and forth to take in the entire screen

Yup! ;)
This is why I mostly incline for this monitor ( http://www.amatteroffax.com/Item.asp?INVID=483406 ), the 21" SONY E540 that does recommended 1600x1200 @ 85 Hz (max is 1920x1440), which is a very good deal for what it gives you...

Confusion CD<->DVD in first paragraph
by Anonymous on Mon 7th Oct 2002 10:43 UTC

"I placed the first CD"..."read from the DVD-ROM"..."the CD would revert"..."CD not damaged". Then you link to a SuSE help database article about the DVD of SuSE *8.0*. You can be assured that SuSE doesn't make the "fault" to declare the DVD correctly according to the standards again when there are broken drives out there. So, if DVD failed did you try CD? Or if CD failed did you try DVD on your first machine?

Re: Grub
by IFightMIBs on Mon 7th Oct 2002 10:53 UTC

Ok. Type with me:

No need for the sarcasm; I know...I've already done it on all PC's, thankyouverymuch. My point is, lilo should go the way of so many other oudated tools. Grub, with a good installer, is drool-proof. And if you make a mistake in your config, you needn't fetch the rescue floppy. :-D

Great review!
by Marco Alanen on Mon 7th Oct 2002 11:20 UTC

Excellent review!
I actually enjoy reading about the downsides of the different distros.
Much more interesting than reading the usual "bla bla bla it rocks bla bla".
It's funny how everyone goes ballistic when there are some negative writings about
"their distro".

Eugenia: I saw that you've post some on the Gentoo mail list. Have you made a
review of Gentoo? Is it possible to get one? Maybe not from a user friendly perspective,
but as the distro maintenance and speed overall.

Drivers
by Ciprian on Mon 7th Oct 2002 11:22 UTC

Just a question I just finished assembling a PC that has a NVidia chipset Motherboard and an integrated GeForce 2 (not the greatest thing but I am pretty broke and this meant Mobo+OK video card+sound for $80).

I had to install several NVidia drivers for Win98 SE to work properly with this. Does this mean that I will have problems with SuSe because of the NVidia drivers and will I have problems will all distros including Mandrake 9.0?

Gentoo review ...
by Rob on Mon 7th Oct 2002 11:32 UTC

>>"Eugenia: I saw that you've post some on the Gentoo mail list. Have you made a review of Gentoo? Is it possible to get one? Maybe not from a user friendly perspective,
but as the distro maintenance and speed overall."

Actually she could do a review of Gentoo and focus on user friendliness as long as the wrote the review at the level of Gentoo's intended user base.

Gentoo targets knowledgeable power users who don't expect or require GUIs and automatic configuration for everything. Other distros, such as Lycoris, target a completely different user base.

A review of Gentoo's user friendliness would focus on things like Gentoo's excellent scripts and documentation and the fine degree of control Gentoo gives its users (you can guess how I'd review Gentoo based on that statement).

A review of Lycoris' user friendliness would focus on other things entirely. The things that make Gentoo a wonderful distro for the users it targets would make Lycoris a disaster for its target, and vice versa.

The user friendliness of a given tool should always be assessed in the context of what it's intended to do and for whom.

Re: re:Any different from SuSE 8.0
by ealm on Mon 7th Oct 2002 12:13 UTC

Actually a P166 is more than enough for X. You just need to build a light system and pick a light window manager.
I can recommend Blackbox, Fluxbox, WindowMaker and IceWM for you... KDE and Gnome would be dog-slow though.

Also pick light apps like Phoenix for web browser, xmms for mp3, AbiWord for word edtior, Sylpheed for mail etc etc

enjoying these distro reviews
by johnG on Mon 7th Oct 2002 13:11 UTC

I'm really enjoying these distro reviews. Thank you. Will there be one for Slackware 9 when it arrives?

Enjoying this site
by Olov Lindberg on Mon 7th Oct 2002 13:20 UTC

I really enjoy the whole site.
Nice reviews by a nice editor ;)
The contributing editors should also have credits.

NVIDIA Answeres
by Justin on Mon 7th Oct 2002 13:37 UTC

http://mdkxp.by-a.com/htm/tutorials/nvidiacli.php

I've used this on RedHat 8.0 & ManDrake 9.0 and it work's GREAT! I play a lot of RTCW nativley on Linux. No need for winblows. THANKS Dana @ MDkxp.

As far as this working on SuSE, don't know. Some one try it out.

SuSE 8.0 & Nvidia just worked for me. I'll give 8.1 a try as soon as the boot.iso is available.

So far I haven't made up my mind between R & M, to many choices, to many good and bad about each distro.

Thanks Eugenia for the review.

Some feedback
by Zero on Mon 7th Oct 2002 13:41 UTC

>>> "I second that. I think that fonts are an issue in Linux. Major distributions should have a fonts development team working to create a couple good anti-aliased fonts. I think that the linux distros were not working on this because MS had the fonts up on thier server for so long for free. The companies became dependant on those fonts. Now new fonts need to be designed and placed under the GPL. Then there would truly be free fonts available."

I think you can get MS core fonts package from this site now:
http://corefonts.sourceforge.net/

>>> "Actually a P166 is more than enough for X. You just need to build a light system and pick a light window manager.
I can recommend Blackbox, Fluxbox, WindowMaker and IceWM for you... KDE and Gnome would be dog-slow though.

Also pick light apps like Phoenix for web browser, xmms for mp3, AbiWord for word edtior, Sylpheed for mail etc etc"

I agree, hopefully in the future I can get a distro with specific support to low-end system. My Pentium 166MMX with 128MB Ram was much of a waste just because of the slow desktop environment.... IceWM is nice.

Nvidia Drivers
by azazel on Mon 7th Oct 2002 13:51 UTC

I'm curious about the freezing with the NVidia drivers. I have an athlon 1.4GHz, with a Geforce 3 on a VIA K7T266 Motherboard. When I installed Mandrake 8.1 on this machine, I installed the Nvidia drivers and a vanilla kernel and didn't even know that linux _could_ freeze.

I installed mandrake 8.2 on the same box and installed the NVidia drivers that mandrake include (it was a powerpack), and the box would freeze all the time. Consistently when I loaded any of the KDE GL screensavers and sometimes when I restarted the X server, or played a game.. it was _really_ bad.

So I recompiled the mandrake kernel source for athlon architecture (took out some things like support for the framebuffer device), and installed the NVidia drivers I used on mandrake 8.1 (version 2313). Since then (almost 5 months) I've only had 2 lockups, once during UT, and once while restarting the X server. The Kernel for Mandrake 8.2 is 2.4.18. I run my desktop at 1280x1024 at 24bpp and 85Hz. I've never bothered with the nopentium option.

I'm wondering, do you get the lockup problem on _all_ linux distros u use? Or just redhat 8 and SuSE 8.1? I know somebody running dual athlon MP's + NVidia Quadro and Mandrake 9.0 with no problems.

Also, do u get the problem if you run your machine at a mortal person's res? eg 1280x1024 or 1024x768?

Drivers round 3
by Mack Bolan on Mon 7th Oct 2002 14:05 UTC

Hi Eugenia!

Great overvrew/1st look. So, SUSE is crashing but [it's okay since] you know the NVidia drivers are causing the problem. That's why drivers should be opensource.

(tongue in cheek): Perhaps SUSE, RedHat and Mandrake should re-engineer the kernel around NVidia cards since "its not a CMI soundcard, its the most widely used videocard in the world..." Or maybe Gentoo/RedHat/SUSE/Mandrake/Debian should partner with NVidia?

Before anyone suggests it: no, ATI does NOT solve the problem because they don't release full specs for their cards.

Re:That's interesting ...
by bahamot on Mon 7th Oct 2002 14:22 UTC

----Red Hat 8.0 (as far as I know) just doesn't work with java, period.

Well i'm not sure with that....... my mozilla on rh8 does work with java,and flash as well.

RE: Grub
by Adam Scheinberg on Mon 7th Oct 2002 14:25 UTC

>Ok. Type with me:

># apt-get install grub

Hmmm....tell me, C., does SuSE support apt-get by default now? Otherwise, this sarcasm was completely off base.

Re:That's interesting ...
by Anonymous on Mon 7th Oct 2002 14:26 UTC

Yeah, java, flash, crossover plugins etc all work just fine in my RH 8.0 too.

Re: Adam Scheinberg
by Eike Hein on Mon 7th Oct 2002 15:09 UTC

SuSE 8.1 uses Grub by default, though. 8.0 still installed Lilo.

SuSE vs MD9 and RH8....nvidia drivers
by Bill Kroll on Mon 7th Oct 2002 15:19 UTC

Well, I just got done testing Mandrake 9 and Red Hat 8....while my main install has been SuSE 7.3 and 8 respectively. While both MD9 and RH8 showed a lot of polish and promise for JonQ home user, I still didnt think they were nearly as good as SuSE is.....and I havent even got my hands on 8.1 yet (its on the UPS truck now). Yes RH has the best font setup, and Mandrake makes things ULTRA easy for the most inexperienced....but somthing just isnt right with them. RH8 goes a breaks things in KDE...I read that there are some 20+ patches you have to apply to fix make it work 100% properly. Since Im a KDE user RH just ruined that for me. Mandrake, like all the other new "user friendly desktop" distros coming out, is just too unlinux like for me. With SuSE...Ive got Linux in all its glory...standard KDE and Gnome to do with whatever I please, and quite possibly the best config tool out there (YaST2).

Anyway, with regard to the nvidia drivers read on. As a long time SuSE and winex user Ive come to learn all about these nvidia issues. First off I have an AMD 761 chipset not VIA...so my experience may be different, but here goes. DO NOT INSTALL THE NVIDIA DRIVERS FROM SUSE ONLINE UPDATE!!! They will not work right. I have also had problems with the distribution based rpms from nvidias site...so those are out too. This is what Ive done time and time again and its worked to perfection every time. First go to Kpackage or whatever you choose and remove both the nvidia kernal drivers and GLX drivers. Make sure you manually edit your XF86Config file back to the original "nv" driver and remove the Load "glx" lines then give it a reboot. Now go get the drivers from nvidias website in the tar ball form. Do the usual ./configure and make install. Then go and manually delete all the libmesaGL libs from /usr/lib (this helps prevent and conflict or confussion between hardware vs. software GL rendering). At this point I always have to go back to XF86Config and manually re-edit to add Load "glx" and "nvidia" for the kernal driver. A quick reboot and Im in good shape playing UT2003 and my winex games. Oh and sometimes youll need to relink the libs depending on how messed up your setup is too.

Nvidia drivers and other tips
by Sergiy on Mon 7th Oct 2002 15:22 UTC

Hello people.

If you have problems with installing and get running
Nvidia binary drivers with OpenGL support (many
unresolved symbols and vise versa) you can download source rpm of driver you want
from www.nvidia.com and compile it yourself (it takes one minute).

Trouble with Nvidia modules occurs because your platform have at least one different from platform on which they compiled:

- kernel version
- gcc version
- CPU model (Intel, AMD, ..)
..

From other hand i think is always better to compile yourself kernel from clean source tarball (not use one heavilly patched by RedHat, Mandrake, Suse ..)
to get biggest stability and perfomance. In addition
if you have problem with patched gcc-2.96/3.2 it better to turn to most stable gcc-2.95.3 .

Font problems
by antiphon on Mon 7th Oct 2002 15:26 UTC

You don't have to put up with your distro's management of fonts. Go to http://www.cs.mcgill.ca/~dchest/xfthack/ to download some Xft fixes which work beautifully.

See http://www.cs.mcgill.ca/~dchest/xfthack/sl-shot.png for a screenshot of KDE and http://www.cs.mcgill.ca/~dchest/xfthack/oo-slight.png for OOo.

You say po-tah-toh, I say po-tay-toh...
by Bill Sheehan on Mon 7th Oct 2002 15:38 UTC

A very solid review. I disgree with some of the things with which Eugenia finds fault, but it's a matter of taste. It's really getting to be Coke vs. Pepsi in the Linux world, and I guess that's a good thing. Since I can't afford a BMW, the closest I can get to quality German engineering is the bi-annual SuSE release. <grin>

One question: does the install support existing LVM volumes? 8.0 saw the LVM, allowed you to mount volumes during the install process (/dev/volumegroup/usr, e.g.), but then refused to use them and complained of insufficient disk space to complete the installation.

(Related plaintive cry: when will LVM become integral? AIX has been doing it for years!)

Thanks again, Eugenia, for an excellent review.

-- Bill

RE: SuSE vs MD9 and RH8....nvidia drivers
by azazel on Mon 7th Oct 2002 15:55 UTC

Hmm, i've never had to go to that much trouble. I always use the source RPM's for both the GLX and the Kernel driver... I add the required things to the XFree config, etc... i do all this in runlevel 3, then switch to runlevel 5 to try out the new drivers... don't need to reboot to install drivers on linux ;) it's not windows ;)

I remember stuffing my install up and compiling a new kernel in runlevel 3 on one virtual console and using lynx to browse the web on another console... ahh linux, even when it's stuffed I can still get my internet fix ;)

boot.iso
by Justin on Mon 7th Oct 2002 16:03 UTC

Does anyone no how long it will take them to put up the boot.iso?

That's my biggest complaint about SuSE! WHy can't they play like everyone else and give us FREE downloads on time. I'm all for a company making money. BUt this is LInux, up until 8.0, FTP install was a joke. While every other distro was up and free for download, even BETA versions. Come on SuSE, work with me here. ;(

RE: Sounds about right ...
by linux_baby on Mon 7th Oct 2002 16:05 UTC

>> Sometimes I wonder if the people producing distros ever >> really look at what their competition is doing. ALL of >> them could learn a whole lot that way!

No kidding! Everyone develops their on install script, package manager, print tool, display manager, etc, etc. Its ridiculous! If everybody agreed on certain standards and shared some of the more basic tools, they could save themselves time and effort and spend more time and resources improving other things. I don't why each company should hire somebody to do a display tool.

>> However, if SuSE fix some of the issues they have, .. I >> believe that Red Hat's 'empire' in the Linux world will >> be in jeopardy.

Yes yes, especially if Redhat does nothing to improve their product while SUSE is fixing all the things on your list!! ;)

Nah, I don't see it happening. I haven't tried SUSE in a while, but having used Redhat 8 on four different machines, I am convinced Redhat is on a very solid path. They still have a long ways to go, but if they continue with what they are doing, and if gnome continues to improve, Redhat will likely increase market share if anything.

But hey, who knows? I'd like to see SUSE, Lindows, or whoever, turn up the heat on Redhat! Competition can only be good!!

I was SO peeved when I noticed that BLAS and LAPACK disappeared from Mandrake 9.0 install CDROMS... there are a lot of us who's primary reason for using Linux is to crunch numbers.

SUSE 8.1 looks... interesting, but I think I'll pass...

I already have a good idea of what I want in a distribution, and it's easier for me to grab those few packages not included in slack-current than it is for me to be bothered switching.

answers
by Eugenia on Mon 7th Oct 2002 17:10 UTC

> there are broken drives out there.

Not this DVD drive, which is one of the most compatible.

> So, if DVD failed did you try CD? Or if CD failed did you try DVD on your first machine?

SuSE only sent me the 7 CDs, not the DVD.

> Have you made a review of Gentoo?

Yes, find it on our Feature Archives.

>I'm wondering, do you get the lockup problem on _all_ linux distros u use? Or just redhat 8 and SuSE 8.1?

I haven't installed any other distros on *that* machine.

>Also, do u get the problem if you run your machine at a mortal person's res? eg 1280x1024 or 1024x768?

No idea, I only run 1920x1200 because that is what my monitor can do.

Great Review!
by Jay on Mon 7th Oct 2002 17:54 UTC

Great review Eugenia! And great post, Rob, to get things back on track!

The istallation screen - that you said is sort of like a web page - they introduced that in 8 and it caught me off guard. Depending on your hardware, it will say what has been configured and what has not, etc. But, if you don't check it out, you could easily move on to the next phase not realizing everything hasn't been configured. I installed 8.1 PE the other day and was prepared for that this time :-)

YAST2 is the big thing with SuSE. It is very full featured and handy. I'm infatuated with Red Hat 8 right now, but it is YAST that has kept me using SuSE ever since 7.1

I remember when SuSE 8 came out, many people were surprised that the usually conservative SuSE would come out with a distro with KDE 3 just having come out (and included with 8). Now I am sort of surprised - it seems lik eSuSE has spent the time since 8 tinkering wit these things like package installation and has made it less intuitive than before. Except for the fonts, I too like the basic "look" of 8.1. SuSE is always good. Yet, even in the PE version, things seem a bit more complicated.

Thanks for the in depth review!

Re: answers
by Anonymous on Mon 7th Oct 2002 18:24 UTC

> SuSE only sent me the 7 CDs, not the DVD.

So you were wrong linking to a help database both about another version and another medium.

Re: answers
by Eugenia on Mon 7th Oct 2002 18:27 UTC

No. It seems that the bug ALSO happens with the CDs! The problem seems to be the way SuSE handles *some* DVD drives, and not as this page claims that it only happens with the bootable DVD. I was able to reproduce the exact same bug with the CDs as well, the constant here is the DVD drive, not the media.

SuSE is aware of the problem, I am in constant communication with them.

Why not load from the DVD?
by John Craig on Mon 7th Oct 2002 20:21 UTC

The review began:
"SuSE 8.1 comes in 7 CDs, or 1 DVD. I placed the first CD to my Matshita DVD-ROM..."
Since it is a DVD-ROM, it's only logical to install of the CDs, right?

RE: Why not load from the DVD?
by Eugenia on Mon 7th Oct 2002 20:24 UTC

Wrong. It is 100% logical. The DVD-ROM is 100% compatible as a CD-ROM.
And CDs is what SuSE sent me anyway, they didn't sent me the DVD.

Really new features?
by Matt on Mon 7th Oct 2002 20:33 UTC

I've had a long history with linux since 0.99pl12, so in that perspective, things are improving rapidly every year. I think I can handle the installtion issues...

But... hwow about the really new features compared to 8.0?
Did you try out WLAN support? I can't seem to get my Linksys PCMCIA card to work on my SuSE 8.0.
How about APM support on my laptop, no luck either on 8.0.
I'm running a reiserfs because without the APM it's easy to kill the machine with a single button. Are the other options like JFS, XFS, ext3 available at installation time?
I would be very interested in these kind of things.

Thanks for your time,

Matt

RE: Really new features?
by Eugenia on Mon 7th Oct 2002 20:39 UTC

> But... hwow about the really new features compared to 8.0?

I do not know, as I never used 8.0. There is a web page on SuSE.com explaining what is new.

> Did you try out WLAN support?

No, I used my desktop, not a laptop. I do not have a good laptop to make such tests on (it is an old AMD K6-300 with only 64 MB RAM).

> I can't seem to get my Linksys PCMCIA card to work on my SuSE 8.0. How about APM support on my laptop, no luck either on 8.0.

No idea... sorry.

> I'm running a reiserfs because without the APM it's easy to kill the machine with a single button. Are the other options like JFS, XFS, ext3 available at installation time?

To be honest, I can't remember... I was pretty pissed on the SWAP issue not working correctly, that I just took the default filesystem when doing the partitioning. ;)

Sorry I could not be more helpful regarding laptops.

Fair review, but bad criticism for the Font
by renoX on Mon 7th Oct 2002 20:48 UTC

I agree with Yama: it's pretty obvious why some part of the configuration interface keeps a fixed font: if you enable a very bad font by error, you can safely change the font back to a readable one, otherwise you are in deep trouble on a home PC!

Actually I find that it is a very nice thing for them to do: if beauty can conflict with safety: safety first!!

So I find quite odd that you criticise Suse for this or did I misunderstood something?

Anyway, thanks a lot for the review.

> Actually I find that it is a very nice thing for them to do: if beauty can conflict with safety: safety first!!

I do not think that this is correct. To change a font, you need to go to KDE's menu panel and then click "Apply". If you do have chosen a really bad font, you just click again to the font panel (you don't need to "read" which one exactly it is, it is obvious which one is) and then revert the font back.
YaST2 has NOTHING about fonts, so if you want to fix your fonts after screwing them up, you just go back to the KDE control panel, NOT to YaST2.

In other words, YaST2 does NOT have a real reason for having a hardcoded font. Not a reason at all. It should pick up automatically the default KDE application font.

SuSE Forum
by Justin on Mon 7th Oct 2002 21:13 UTC

Does anyone know of any SuSE forums? Theres not to many sites out there for SuSE that I can find. Which is odd, since we could probably say it's in the top 5 Linux Distro's out there.

If anyone knows any good SuSE web sites, please post them.

Thanks,

Yast2 is a QT app run in SU, NOT a KDE app in user space! QT does not KDE make much like Gtk does not Gnome make. Both desktops use the libraries and Widgets but are no more related than that.

The only time I ever had a font issue with Yast2, was while using a Commercial Xserver(The only way to get real performance from a Radeon) instead of Xfree86. XIG Summit Platinum in this case and the solution was to simply unzip the fonts it needed as those types of fonts are usually compressed. They have much updated that Xserver since then.

One more thing...
by Davesworld on Mon 7th Oct 2002 21:57 UTC

Eugenia, I want that monitor! 16:10 aspect makes MUCH more sense in work and play. Either two Letter size documents open side by side or very close to a Widescreen DVD with less wasted space. This begs the question as to why we have been using Letterbox ratios which were a relic of sans gui terminal computing, all along since the gui? I'm sure the law of economics plays into this!

Thanks Eugenia
by Alex on Mon 7th Oct 2002 22:09 UTC

nice review, I think you should of showed more screenshots of YAST when it wasn't integrated into the Kontrol Center though, also you should use the icon mode in the Kontrol Center, it looks a few hundret times better ;) .

Your reviews are also great, since you have the weirdest ahrdware and not the common one, it shows where Linux really will have trouble working. Not everybdoy ahs a $2000 SGI 34 inch monitor ;)

I wish SuSe would workout the usability wuirks, make a Redhat GNOME ;) simplify menu, use good font rendering and include the same default as Redhat. Also get rid of the lanch menu and recent documents on the kicker. That would be perfect.

Also I got question. Why does OpenOffice look good on SuSe and ugly and gray on Redhat? Also to have good fonts in OO just go to view and select antiallieasing.

I'll definetenly give SuSe a shot.

RE: Thanks Eugenia
by Eugenia on Mon 7th Oct 2002 22:15 UTC

>you should of showed more screenshots of YAST when it wasn't integrated into the Kontrol Center

Bandwidth will always be an issue for more shots.. Also, it took me an hour to upload everything to 6 different mirrors. It is painful.. ;)

>since you have the weirdest ahrdware and not the common one

Actually the AthlonXP hardware is _extremely_ common. :o
I received a number of emails about people having problems with nvidia drivers on all sorts of hardware. ;)

>Why does OpenOffice look good on SuSe and ugly and gray on Redhat?

They have changed the color in the source code... ;)

I gave up on SuSe 8.0 after I couldn't get Sax2 to recognize my 3 CRTs. I had Suse 7.3 installed on the PC - worked great with all 3 CRTs. I formatted the drive and did a fresh install of 8.0. After spending WAY too much time on trying to 8.0 to see all the CRTs, I dumped it and reinstalled 7.3.
Everything is working correctly.

No idea what's going on with SuSe, they use to be my favorite distro. Now, I'm leaning towards ELX.

YAST2 Fonts
by Rob on Mon 7th Oct 2002 22:34 UTC

I wonder if YAST2 *is* using the "correct" fonts, except that it is using the root user's font seclections (since YAST2 runs as root) instead of the regular user's font seclections. It would be like starting KWord as root and only having access to root's fonts (if the user has extra fonts installed).

Changing root's font config to something very distinct (such as Corvisa) would make it obvious if that is what's happening. I agree that hard-coding a font serves no real purpose. Like Eugenia said, if you change one of your UI fonts and click apply and things go weird, it's very obvious how to fix it ...

ELX
by Rob on Mon 7th Oct 2002 22:44 UTC

Yeah, ELX is a great distro. A new version with KDE 3, and various other updates is supposed to be out any time now ... can't wait to give it a spin. Unlike SuSE, whose motto when it comes to software seems to be, "Beta? Alpha? Give it to us and if we can shove it into an RPM we'll ship it."

Don't get me wrong, I *love* the amount of software SuSE makes available, just because it's fun to play around with, but some of the stuff they ship is far from ready for primetime. I never understood that, since when a new user selects one of those alpha/beta packages and it turns into an awful experience, this relfects badly on SuSE, since to a new user anything SuSE ships is "part of" SuSE and makes SuSE look bad (as it should, I'm sure Eugenia would point out).

I always thought they'd be much better off if they'd have a separate subtree in the installer that you could only access by clicking something like "Show Developmental/Unfinished Packages" and a warning that the software inside that subtree may or may not work as expected. That way it would be abundantly clear to new users what is and is not supposed to "just work". Also, users after maximum stability could just avoid this subtree altogether.

RE: ELX
by Eugenia on Mon 7th Oct 2002 22:53 UTC

>as it should, I'm sure Eugenia would point out

Yup.. ;)
The fact that someone else coded Kontour (the KOffice vector app) has nothing to do with the fact that I would go to SuSE for support to fix that for me, not to the KOffice team. FYI, Kontour dies upon launch on SuSE 8.1. When someone sells you software, they are responsible for it, even if they are not the creators.

As I wrote the same for the Red Hat review the other day, when your TV gets damaged because of a burned chip (made in China), you are not trying to get support from the Chinese chipset manufacturer, but either from SONY,Sharp/TV manufacturer or whoever sold you the TV. This is the beauty of... capitalism. ;)

Not going to Trash Bin
by Daemonik on Mon 7th Oct 2002 22:57 UTC

In SuSE 8.0, when you right-click a file you have the option of Deleting it or Move to Trash, perhaps this has changed in 8.1 but is it possible you just didn't notice the Move to Trash bit?

I'm also a little distressed that you receive a copy of the Professional version of SuSE and complain about what you would consider "Advanced" options on setup. Kindly consider that as a Professional version it's not going to be tweaked for people who've never used Linux before.

If you are going to continue to look at Linux distributions through the eyes of a newbie, perhaps you should only review the editions specifically marketed towards newbies, such as the 8.1 Personal Edition.

RE: Not going to Trash Bin
by Eugenia on Mon 7th Oct 2002 23:02 UTC

> Kindly consider that as a Professional version it's not going to be tweaked for people who've never used Linux before.

Get your facts straight please.
Both the Professional Edition and the Personal Edition SHARE the exact same installer and most tools.

RE: ELX
by Daemonik on Mon 7th Oct 2002 23:07 UTC

Don't get me wrong, I *love* the amount of software SuSE makes available, just because it's fun to play around with, but some of the stuff they ship is far from ready for primetime. I never understood that, since when a new user selects one of those alpha/beta packages and it turns into an awful experience, this relfects badly on SuSE, since to a new user anything SuSE ships is "part of" SuSE and makes SuSE look bad (as it should, I'm sure Eugenia would point out).

SuSE sells it's distro to two distinct markets. There's the 7 CD/1 DVD Professional Edition which has a wide arrangement of software to try out and the much slimmer 3 CD Personal Edition which has a much narrower software focus.

And isn't it odd that we worry how a new user will cringe in horror from a bad alpha package only to run back to Windows when those same users deal with Outlook viri, 40,000 documented OS bugs, dll conflicts that give me the willies and yet they think nothing of it?

RE: ELX
by Eugenia on Mon 7th Oct 2002 23:13 UTC

There are bugs on ALL OSes. I found more bugs on Red Hat, Mandrake and SuSE individually in the first week of using them, than I found on my XP box which I use since March. But the reality is that there is no software with no bugs.

RE: Not going to Trash Bin
by Davesworld on Mon 7th Oct 2002 23:14 UTC

>Get your facts straight please.
Both the Professional Edition and the Personal Edition SHARE the exact same installer and most tools.

True, the only difference beside price, is less packages and less books in the Home version. The economically minded person could in fact augment the home version when the full distro is on ftp by pointing Yast's package manager to the ftp site and continue to add and remove programs THAT way. SuSE maintains an nfs share of the ftp site as well but I would urge one to go to http://sdb.suse.de and get explicit instructions from there when 8.1 is on the site.

Another lesser known fact is that if you buy an upgrade version of 8.1 Pro, it is the whole distro with the same 7 CD's and a DVD only without the books but less expensive.

RE: Not going to the Trash Bin
by Daemonik on Mon 7th Oct 2002 23:16 UTC

Get your facts straight please.
Both the Professional Edition and the Personal Edition SHARE the exact same installer and most tools.


Oh, I know they share the same installer. I'm simply saying that if you're going to review the Professional Edition review it from the eyes of a professional who often as not won't be bothered by cryptic kernel messages, package managers that give more information than necessary and what not.

Indeed, how easy was it to setup Apache? How has Samba configuration changed from the 7.x series to the 8.x series (quite a bit, the 8.x series saw SuSE using more of the LSB which moved many configuration options out of rc.config which is where SuSE traditionally kept such things).

Booting SuSE CDs
by Camel on Mon 7th Oct 2002 23:23 UTC

It only seems to happen on SuSE though and not other distros.

I've had the same thing happen with FreeBSD and one of the Linux distros on my machine. It was a conflict with the VIA chipset on my motherboard and my Sony CD-ROM. Since then, I have dumped all my VIA chipset motherboards, since it seems the few Linux problems I've had have been due to one VIA chipset or another, and haven't had any more problems.

Overall, I thought this was a nice review Eugenia.

Thanks.

Don't forget about console YaST2
by Keith Winston on Mon 7th Oct 2002 23:36 UTC

As you said, one of the great strengths of SuSE is YaST2. What makes it even better is the console version of YaST2. Everything you can configure with the QT version, you can do from a console or remote ssh session.

This makes is so easy to admin and apply patches remotely. Red Hat has a console version of up2date, but not for all of their other pretty python config tools.

On the other hand, starting with 8.0, I noticed some stability problems around the KDE environment. Also, a fully loaded KDE takes a heavy toll on older machines. QT3/KDE3 is just too much for them. My install on a couple of Pentium 2/450s a few weeks ago was painfully slow.

Best Regards.

Good looking
by Ze on Mon 7th Oct 2002 23:54 UTC

Never before has green looked so sexy..I almost came in my pants when I saw the screen shots. Then i remembered that i was at work.

RE: Good looking
by Eugenia on Mon 7th Oct 2002 23:58 UTC

SuSE ships by default with the (also nice) blue background and blue window manager as seen in the first screenshot of the third page of the article.
I changed it to their alternative green background (I believe it is nicer) and I used the other color theme KDE has there in their Control Center (can't remember the name now), but by changing the green color on the buttons (the default green color that this color-theme has, sucks).
After doing all that, I was set. ;)
I believe that my alternative coloring/bg as found on most of the shots, suits SuSE a LOT! ;)

Crashes and NVidia
by Karl Heinz Kremer on Tue 8th Oct 2002 00:02 UTC

I had crash problems on a system with a NVidia card. I got rid of them by switching from kdm to gdm (but keeping KDE3 as my desktop environment).

RE: Good looking
by Ze on Tue 8th Oct 2002 00:05 UTC

Ah! So it's through your genius, Eugenia, that the screens look so nice! i should have guessed - after all, OSNews is a cool green too!

I genuinely do like SuSE - version 5.1 was the first Linux distro I ever installed (back in 1998) and this version looks nicer than the lastest RedHat, i think.

It's not easy being green :-)
by Jay on Tue 8th Oct 2002 01:27 UTC

I, whenever possible, get personal editions as they serve my purpose. However, I do like the fact Eugenia can get Pro Editions to review. If you don't get those, then you're sort of in the dark ...better to thave the big picture, if possible.

NVIDIA drivers, SuSE
by Donald Saltarelli on Tue 8th Oct 2002 01:31 UTC

I had lots of problems with KDE and NVIDIA drivers after upgrading beyong version 2313. I could run fvwm2 with no problems (and UT of course), but KDM would lock the machine if i started to init level 5.

so, i downgraded myself to the 2313 (you need to add a #include to one of the .c files before you build though or the nvidia kernel module will fail to load -- do some google searches or write to me and i'll send you the info).

i couldn't stand to see all that performance go to waste though, so i installed ximian gnome and switched to GDM and installed the latest NVIDIA drivers through Yast Online Update. I'm loving things now.

i remember having the same lock up problem in 7.3 when i upgraded to KDE 3.0.3 with NVIDIA drivers. i ended up re-installing and staying with 3.0 to keep it stable.

my favorite aspect of SuSE (besides the huge number of packages and the gcc 2.95.3) is the nice LVM integration. try doing that on RedHat...

YMMV

D

SuSE 8.1 ? I think 8.0 is a better distribution
by Sam on Tue 8th Oct 2002 04:13 UTC

I been using SuSE from 7.3 to 8.0. I liked SuSE alot and like most SuSE fans, I got my SuSE 8.1 today. After the installation and problems, I must say SuSE 8.0 is a better distribution and RedHat 8.0 is better. After installation, I login with Gnome. The first thing I did was ssh to my other Linux box. It did not work... The module for my NIC is loaded , ifconfig show the correct setting, able to ping NIC's IP as well as localhost, but I am not able to ping/ssh my other Linux box. I checked the cables, put in another NIC module loaded, but still no luck. I checked anything I can think of still no luck. Kdm crashs when logout from Gnome with nv driver. I just installed RedHat 8.0 over SuSE 8.1. Eventhing is working fine. So far, SuSE 8.0 and RedHat 8.0 are better then SuSE 8.1. I think I will give SuSE 8.1 one last try with the non-modify kernel come with the DVD.

About suse
by lauri on Tue 8th Oct 2002 07:22 UTC

Some or all of comments below maybe outdated because I have not upgraded to 8.1, yet.

I switched from Redhat to suse because rh:s poor support for kde.
I like this distro mainly because it likes kde and I like kde.

IMO yast2 is not good enough for much anything. Trying to configure cups smb printers was an awful task. Kprinter is the right tool for the job. Package structure is confusing (yast2 is not to blame for this): I would like to choose functional portions like emacs or gcc but the tree structure is not very intuitive in suse. Software installer is good part in yast2 because you can do search some software and it can resolve deps automatically. I tried to configure system with to NIC's using yast2. It was a mess, I gave up and did the needed stuff by editing necessary configuration files by hand. I could not get sofware updates to work through our proxy - that is a big disappointment.
It maybe my problem because I am neither a professional nor beginner but I would take the nonfunctional parts of yast2 out of the package until they work as expected. For me the modules for yast2 are intuitive to use and I like them but they just are not of product quality yet.

2 things
by Fry26 on Tue 8th Oct 2002 10:15 UTC

... I would like to comment.

The first is about the package manager: There _are_ people who like to have a lot of options regarding the dependencies ;) In the previos versions all information you got on a dependecy failure was "package blablabla is missing: install it! (or spend a week to find the package(s) that needs it :oPPP )", so I like it to have so many options on a dep failure. Maybe the dialog should be redesigned but the functionality itself _is_ really helpful and is a step in the right direction.

The other thing is that you DO have the option to move things to the trash instead of just removing it. My konqueror (although I must say I use the german version) has those two options in the kontext menu. I find the behaviour to move things to trash if/when I say "delete" (like winXX) just plain wrong.

so long
Fry

Just should mention the consistancy of YAST2
by Peter on Tue 8th Oct 2002 12:55 UTC

I agree with the article , the distro could really improve on quite a few areas to make it better "out of the box", the killer app in the Suse distro is YAST2 , It can be used in any window manager , or even if you dont use X at all ,which is really great on servers to have such a useful tool without loading an X server.

v Newbies should not do reviews!
by Chris Blastin on Tue 8th Oct 2002 14:02 UTC
Re: SuSE Forums
by Dmitri Z on Tue 8th Oct 2002 14:17 UTC

I've been a SuSE user since version 7.2 (although I couldn't get the ftp install of 8.0 working - kernel panick each time, bleh), and can't wait to get 8.1 pro in my greedy little hands.
As for Justin's question regarding SuSE forums, here's your options, as far as I can tell.
* SuSE itself maintains a knowledge base (http://sdb.suse.de/en/sdb/html/index.html) - a very promising resource. They address a lot of problems, although the indexing is terrible - it's kind of hard to use.
* The company also maintains numerous mailing lists (http://www.suse.com/us/private/support/mailinglists/index.html) that serve as forums and support.
* There's an unofficial SuSE FAQ at (http://susefaq.sourceforge.net/) that I've also found helpful.
* Finally, there's a SuSE IRC channel (and forum on the web site) at (http://www.suse-irc.org/) -- promising resource, but sparse and not very populated at the moment.

If anybody else knows other good SuSE web sites, let us know!

~Dmitri

SuSE Forums.
by Justin on Tue 8th Oct 2002 15:52 UTC

Thanks,

I do know about them.

I was hopeing some one out there might be running a site devoted to SuSE. Like all the other distro's have several sites off of them for that purpose. SuSE seems pretty closed, no Beta testing. I'm wondering if the have something in there Documentation saying know one can put up a site with there name on it???? Other than the "unofficial faq" site.

Who knows, maybe I'll put up some site.

Forums & Web Sites
by justin on Tue 8th Oct 2002 16:38 UTC

If you spend time at www.distrowatch.com you will notice that a lot of the Distro's have releated web sites except for SuSE other than the above mentioned sites. (I didn't know about the IRC, thanks Dmitri).

I was just hopeing to see some good sites devoted to "The Green Chameleon (Geeko)"

Have a lot of FUN!!!

nVidia v KDE & Lexmark printers
by mrresistor on Tue 8th Oct 2002 18:49 UTC

I've been using SuSE since 6.3, seriously since 7.1.

I have in the past had a lot of problems with X lockups which I attributed to the nVivia drivers. However, I haven't had a single problem since I switched to WindowMaker. My suspicion is that nVidia isn't the source of the problem. For the record, I have an AMD 750 chipset and a GeForce2 GTS. The one problem I can definately attribute to nVidia is that if you have a GeForce2 GTS and the nVidia drivers your machine will not automatically power off on shutdown. I have verified this on multiple machines and multiple cards, and other GeForce cards don't seem to have this problem.

As for the install, I really like the changes they've made in 8.x. I very much prefer the non-linear nature of it, but I agree that it probably isn't the best for beginners. It's pretty much irrelevant, though, if you accept the defaults, which I remember doing for the most part.

To the guy with the Lexmark printer problems (I can't seem to find the post right now to grab quotes, so excuse me if I get my facts mixed up):

First, I believe you said you were using cups, and that's most likely your problem. Lexmark writes all their drivers for lpd, so it's a Lexmark problem, not a SuSE problem. Also, there are some older Lexmark printers that aren't supported by Lexmark, such as the 3200. With the 3200 there is an open source driver that somebody hacked together, and it might work if you have the right hardware version of the 3200, and then only for black and white. I had 2 of them and neither would work, but again that isn't a SuSE problem.

I now have a z53. Lexmark says their driver isn't supported on SuSE 8.0, but it works (from command line, anyway). I had to tell YaST that it was a z52 to get it to work from OpenOffice and Mozilla, though, because the z53 wasn't listed and there didn't seem to be any way to get YaST to recognize the driver. There's probably a better way to do that, but it seems to work flawlessly, so there's no sense editing obscure text files to get the same results as I have now.

Why even try?
by Chris Blastin on Tue 8th Oct 2002 19:42 UTC

Why do you have a forum if you can not accept criticism?

RE: Why even try?
by Eugenia on Tue 8th Oct 2002 19:53 UTC

What you did Chris was NOT critisism. It was TROLLING.
You accused me directly. This is NOT well-intendend critisism of how we can better this site.

If you do not understand that, you are simply not... equiped or suitable to read OSNews.

I just am having many problems with SuSE 8.1. First it doesn't see my DVD and CD-R drives properly. It switched them, I mount the CD-R and the DVD mounts. It seems to have a problem with my Dual CPU Athlon motherboard, where 8.0 was fine. It locks up on me almost every day where 8.0 was rock stable. My 3C905B NIC card stopped working until I added pci=acpi on the boot line. I don't know, SuSE may nave released too early... I really liked SuSE up til now.

Doug P

Sorry
by Chris Blastin on Tue 8th Oct 2002 22:12 UTC

I quess you're right.

If you want some well-intended criticism, here goes:

I just installed 8.1 and only had one problem. The refresh rate was set too high for my monitor when starting X. I then used text based Yast2-YOU and installed the Nvidia driver and rebooted. All hardware and software then worked perfectly.

During installation, the only thing I changed was to tell it to reformat the preselected partitions. It was probably 15-20 minutes to install all the software and reboot the installed OS.

I immediately checked to see if I could get on the internet, and sure enough, it worked without changing a single setting. (All be it, I am connected to a router that is connected to a cable modem, so the only thing that had to work was dhcp.)

Apache/PHP/MySQL/PERL and all the other software I installed, all worked right out of the box. I don't really care about all the pretty colors in the desktop background that much, but I do care about not getting any errors when pumping out the windows. KDE worked great, I haven't tried any other window manager (who would want to). And I haven't crashed yet.

When comparing SuSE to RedHat, I don't have much to say. I haven't tried RedHat since I received a free copy on a game magazine cd years ago. At the time, I compared it to Slackware (sorry, I'm sure Redhat is great). I'm just used to the way SuSE does things. Even with SuSE changing all the config file stuff, I can still find everything easily. I also use SCO Unix (not unixware), so I'm used to finding weird config file locations.

After all that, I should put a criticism(sp?). I would have based my impression of SuSE more on the way the applications worked out of the box. In SuSe's case, they all worked great (at least the important ones APACHE/PHP/MySQL/PERL/etc...). I'm just about to install Oracle 9i, and if that works as planned, I'll be the happiest DBA in the world.

Once again, sorry I am.

so far so good
by z84976 on Thu 10th Oct 2002 04:43 UTC

I've been a suse convert (from slackware, in which I still dabble) since 5.3. Just got 8.1, installed on one machine (amd 950 on gigabyte board with cd-r and voodoo3) with most excellent results. Upgraded old compaq notebook from 8.0 to 8.1 (using update, not fresh install) and that also worked rather nicely. I've had my 8.0 workstation (with nvidia drivers) up for a long time now with perfect results. Overall, aside from the lack-of-/etc/rc.confg fiasco, both seem really solid and great to me. Beats the heck outta redhat (but then any ex-slackware freak would say that). I haven't seen any real drawbacks yet--- this goes on my mom's pc next time I see her...

Yes, I had the exact same problem, but I fixed it - email me if you need help.

What I need help on is figuring out why the secondary output on my SB Live! card isn't outputing anything. I like my surround sound. Both were working in RH 7.3 ....

Oracle 9.1.0.2 Worked Great
by Chris Blastin on Tue 15th Oct 2002 03:36 UTC

Installed Oracle 9.1.0.2 and it worked.

XP Clones
by Windoze Hater on Wed 16th Oct 2002 05:13 UTC

I have been a long time Linux user and have used just about every distro under the sun. Back when I was a newbie, Mandrake was my distro of choice due to its ease/simplicity of use. I then graduated up to RedHat but after being a Mandrake user it was quite obvious RedHat put little emphasis on Linux as a desktop OS.

As my Linux skills increased, there was a time I felt Mandrake was too simplified for me and it was time to grow up. Thus I grabbed SuSE 6.4 and gave it a try. Things didn't work as easily as Mandrake but that forced me to learn more about Linux. I was hooked on SuSE from that point on, not to mention the green lizard, and since then buy each new version as soon as it hits the store.

I recently tried RedHat 8 because they finally had put some emphasis on Linux as a desktop OS. How did they do that, by making Linux look like Windows XP with their Bluecurve theme. So now I buy SuSE 8.1 expecting even better eye-candy to top their previous 8.0 The result...their default KDE theme looks like XP too with all the cartoon icons. Yes I know why they are all doing this, but it's making me look long and hard at taking a second mortgage on the house to buy a Mac.

SuSE - The Linux Experts
by PCHintz on Wed 16th Oct 2002 06:29 UTC

"For some reason I don't understand, all the YaST2 modules do not follow the Qt/KDE selected font, but they are hard coded to another font (Helvetica I think, not sure). This breaks the consistency with the rest of the KDE environment."

I was able to fix this by installing a few Microshaft fonts into the /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/truetype directory, running ttmkfdir, then SuSEconfig --module fonts.