Linked by Eugenia Loli on Fri 11th Mar 2005 01:32 UTC
Original OSNews Interviews Today we feature a mini-interview with Chris Schlaeger of SuSE and Novell. Chris answers some questions about SuSE 9.3.
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upgrade?
by anonymous-mon on Fri 11th Mar 2005 01:43 UTC

I'm curious how well the upgrade goes from 9.2 to 9.3. I just bought a server that I'm using to host an enterprise app and it's using the 64bit 9.2 release. Would it go all wonky if I bought 9.3 and upgraded? Man, I wish these guys would release a 64bit version of NLD.. it seems kind of strange that the enterprise version of the OS doesn't work on 64bit enterprise hardware.

If anyone has some good tips on where to get some good newbie advice on suse I'm all ears..

Open Office
by Anon on Fri 11th Mar 2005 01:47 UTC

``The Novell Edition of OpenOffice is a significantly enhanced version of the open source productivity suite.''

Is it still open source? What are the changes?

openoffice
by poundsmack@hotmail.com on Fri 11th Mar 2005 02:01 UTC

i thoguht the signifigantly enhanced openoffice was staroffice ;)

RE: upgrade?
by joe on Fri 11th Mar 2005 02:01 UTC

Just a tip: Don't change a running Suse/Linux system if it's running well for you. Distribution upgrades always bear the risk of breaking compatibility somewhere, be it with Debian, Suse or RedHat. I use a 64bit 9.1 on an Opteron cluster an apart from some minor problems with the autoinstaller and old packets, it's running fine, so we're not planning on doing an upgrade unless there'll be a good reason for it.
If you're using an enterprise application, better focus on getting the system and the application up running reliably and well once and don't change the system afterwards unless you need to install security updates.
For example, our LDAP server went down after a software update because yast somehow decided to delete a schema file included by the LDAP server config without modifying the config file itself, which made the cluster inoperable for normal users.

Right, problems like the one mentioned above don't happen often, but sometimes...

@Anon
by Barlin on Fri 11th Mar 2005 02:03 UTC

Straight from Novell: http://www.novell.com/products/desktop/features/ooo.html

Other Improvements in Novell Edition

Unlike the standard edition of OpenOffice.org, which strips out Microsoft Office macros, the Novell Edition of OpenOffice.org preserves these macros. This ensures that users who collaborate with Microsoft Office users maintain the integrity of documents, and it allows for the possibility that these features will be supported in future versions of the product.
We've also integrated the File selection dialog so that it uses the native desktop dialogs rather than standard OpenOffice.org dialogs.
Printers configured for Novell Linux Desktop are available in OpenOffice.org in a more user-friendly format than the more cryptic
"/usr/bin/lpr"
We've also improved File access so that files are available from any source available to the computer (so network files open and save seamlessly, as you would expect).

v Makes sense...
by Shawn on Fri 11th Mar 2005 02:41 UTC
@joe Re: upgrade
by anonymous-mon on Fri 11th Mar 2005 02:54 UTC

That's good advice! I'll try to follow it, but my only concern is that Suse doesn't seem to have the ability to differentiate updates with security updates.. that is, in debian I can just edit the /etc/apt/sources.list to get only use the security repos but in Suse YaST just marks a bunch of stuff in red, black, or blue and I update the red stuff. I *think* it's just security related but I can't help but think I'm getting a bunch of stuff I don't need either.

v RE: Makes sense...
by Anonymous on Fri 11th Mar 2005 02:58 UTC
v RE: Makes sense...
by Shawn on Fri 11th Mar 2005 03:28 UTC
v Re: RE: Makes sense...
by Anonymous on Fri 11th Mar 2005 03:33 UTC
IMHO
by Anonymous on Fri 11th Mar 2005 03:47 UTC

Ximian has been releasing ooo-build-1.3.x builds for a while
it's meant as a "staging ground for up-streaming patches to
stock OO.o." I think suse's openoffice has been there own flavor since at least 9.0. they used to ship staroffice back when it was free. I Believe they can achieve better office compatibility just by including MS fonts although I am really not sure. They've had a different font engine for a while {fontconfig2?} and I am pretty sure you can write plug-ins for openoffice. Even if those plug-ins aren't required to be open sourced they probably will be.

What I want to no is if 9.3 will boot up faster. It seems like allot of up coming distros will improve it. I don't understand how knoppix, and derivatives, can boot faster than Windows from a CD drive with hardware detection and everything else doesn't.

Also $100 is way, way, too much they need to put commercial software and/or licensed codecs even then I wouldn't go above $50. A new version comes out twice a year and there isn't usually allot of major improvements like you get with Windows or the Mac OS. $160 would get you {but not me cause I'm a student} up to date for a year. $130 gets you the latest Mac OS for a year. $250.00 gets me the latest windows until longhorn {2-3 years} I no this isn't fare to compare Suse against apple and Microsoft just on price but I'm doing It Because you can get almost The same thing{maybe even more} from the hundreds of other free or lower cost distros out there.

v re: RE: Makes sense...
by Anonymous on Fri 11th Mar 2005 04:15 UTC
RE: IMHO
by SuSE/GNOME user on Fri 11th Mar 2005 04:20 UTC

Microsoft's "Core Fonts for the Web" cannot be shipped because they are non-free (i.e. non-distributable freeware). Microsoft does not offer commercial licenses to Linux vendors for distribution. See here:

http://corefonts.sourceforge.net/eula.htm
http://corefonts.sourceforge.net/faq8.htm

All the other Microsoft fonts (from Windows, Office etc.) cannot be shipped either because they are not even freeware.

The "Core Fonts for the Web" can be downloaded and installed automatically in three different ways:

1. Use FontOOo from within OOo, it downloads the fonts into a subdirectory of your home folder from where only OOo can use them.

2. User yast online update, it downloads the fonts and installs them into /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/truetype from where all apps can use them.

3. Get the adopted spec file from http://corefonts.sourceforge.net and build your custom rpm, which will work on other systems as well without downloading them again.

KDE vs. GNOME
by Ankit Malik on Fri 11th Mar 2005 04:42 UTC

Honestly! How much time will we waste fighting on this topic? And how much time will we waste creating FUD about each other's DE!

Let us just accept the fact that we have TWO MAIN Desktop Environments on Linux and we should endeavour to make them interoperable !

...All this if we wanna show Redmond what hell looks like! ;-)

You all game?

OO.org Customizations
by Mike on Fri 11th Mar 2005 07:16 UTC

>>>>i thoguht the signifigantly enhanced openoffice was staroffice ;) <<<<

...according to Sun Microsystems, yeah. Novell is wearing a different hat though... partly b/c they bought Ximian, which is known for its heavily customized/patched OO.org.

The only component of StarOffice I want is their proprietary thesaurus/spelling/grammar checkers. If they were opened to the OO.org community, the whole Office package would be strengthened. The stock (and downloadable) thesauruses really suck. I'm not sure if things have improved in the 2.0 codeline, but in the 1.x.x series if you wanted to do a quick thesaurus check for an alternate word... it'd give you like every word in the dictionary as a suggestion... many would have absolutely *NOTHING* to do with the original word.

Other than that, I feel OO.org integrates and plays with generic Linux installs much nicer. You really have to play around with options/settings in StarOffice to have it take-on the properties of your current DE. Most of the time, the default look stands out like a sore thumb.

>>>>We've also integrated the File selection dialog so that it uses the native desktop dialogs rather than standard OpenOffice.org dialogs.<<<<

This hasn't really been a problem since 1.1.4, or any of the recent 2.0 builds. Anytime I've changed DE's (KDE or GNOME), the corresponding file selection dialog has appeared.

RE: OO.org Customizations
by Mike on Fri 11th Mar 2005 07:28 UTC

I just tried the beta for OO.org 2.0.... the default thesaurus has a much cleaner organization than previous versions. So far, its suggestions are more appropriate/applicable.

*me likes* =)

Bluetooth
by Tobias on Fri 11th Mar 2005 09:05 UTC

Bluetooth support is nice, but does it support even Bluetooth-Headsets? (It is a real pain to configure BT-Headsets under Linux!)

v RE: Makes sense...
by El Pseudonymo on Fri 11th Mar 2005 09:43 UTC
re:IMHO
by tobaccofarm on Fri 11th Mar 2005 10:28 UTC

A new version comes out twice a year and there isn't usually allot of major improvements like you get with Windows or the Mac OS

Since when does windows improve on a regular basis like MacOsX does?

Re: upgrade?
by NLD 64bit SP1 on Fri 11th Mar 2005 12:16 UTC
Re: RE: Makes sense...
by Anonymous on Fri 11th Mar 2005 12:23 UTC

...then since the default and expected option for Novell Linux Desktop is GNOME and their customers are mainly businesses then it's logical to conclude it's preferred by business customers while KDE is not...

The default is not Gnome (there isn't a default), and if you'd actually used the NLD you'd know that Suse components and YaST are embedded throughout. You actually get many Suse/KDE dialogues (passwords etc.) popping up even when running Gnome. Business customers do not have a preference, simply because no one is actually using either in any great numbers.

Now, enough.

Some problems.
by Raven on Fri 11th Mar 2005 13:04 UTC

I've had some issues with my 3com USB wireless card in 9.2 hope, this will work in 9.3. Anyone have any tips on setting up wireless connection using USB devices in SUSE?

http://bitsofnews.com

Nice to Hear From Suse
by David on Fri 11th Mar 2005 13:36 UTC

Nice to hear from Suse. Brief interview, but nice nonetheless.

Suse Linux Professional is what I expected - a proving ground for Suse/Novell's technology, projects and open source configuration. As such, I just wish it wasn't so expensive. Basically, Novell/Suse is beta testing their software on you - no mention of Beagle though....

Should be interesting to see Zenworks/Carpet in action, but I still don't see how they're going to use it and YaST Online Update. In all of Suse's products currently, right up to SLES 9 they use YOU.

Client
by Ian on Fri 11th Mar 2005 13:45 UTC

Coming from a Netware environment, I'm still scratching my head as to why Novell can't seem to get itself sorted with a netware client for linux. Give me a simple login screen, which will run the login scripts, and mounts my novell resources just like it would in my netware/windows environment.

I see three different Linux distros from Novell, grand name changes to product lines(zenworks>red carpet..because that really matters), no real plan for Netware/NDS(eDirectory), and no client for linux. Then again, I could be completely blind and there might be something sitting right in front of me and I just don't see it.

Maybe I'm too negative. Seriously though, there's still nothing Novell is offering that would lead us to stop using Windows 100% on the desktop. Come on Novell, give us "legacy" users a reason to try switching!

SELinux
by nahrux on Fri 11th Mar 2005 14:00 UTC

Does it support SELinux?

want!
by Anonymous on Fri 11th Mar 2005 14:00 UTC

i just hope they have a faster boot time on this one, just the only bad thing i have against suse when compared to windows 2000.

Just Pre-Ordered 9.3
by bullethead on Fri 11th Mar 2005 14:42 UTC

I just pre-ordered 9.3. It's a $10 premium now but that software includes *everything* that's great about linux in terms of programs. Amarok, Ampache, no hastle Nvidia support from YAST etc... I use Suse 9.2 now to run my Slimserver audio server software for my Slimdevices Squeezeboxes. It's solid but as I have distro disease I will upgrade to 9.3 just to check out what's new in terms of the latest and greatest.

Suse is by far the best option if you want to install and leave it. If you do everything from within YASY and don't start fiddling around with other packages you will have a nice experience. The updates are timely and quick as well.

Comments
by Donald Grayson on Fri 11th Mar 2005 15:05 UTC

A new version comes out twice a year and there isn't usually allot of major improvements like you get with Windows or the Mac OS

That's interesting. Tell me, when has Mac or Windows ever distributed not just new versions of their operating systems but new versions of every application released for their operating systems? Windows and OS X continue to be released on 1 CD while the entire collection of software that is a SuSE distribution is an entire DVD.

Also, since when has Apple or Windows ever given you the option of downloading their operating systems? If you don't agree with SuSE's retail price just wait a few months and you can download the entire 4+ Gb distro for free.

v Makes sense...
by Shawn on Fri 11th Mar 2005 15:17 UTC
@bullethead
by Anand Rangarajan on Fri 11th Mar 2005 15:57 UTC

Suse is by far the best option if you want to install and leave it. If you do everything from within YASY and don't start fiddling around with other packages you will have a nice experience. The updates are timely and quick as well.

I wish this were true. After a set of YOU updates:

In SuSE 9.1 Pro, I lost the ability to burn CDs for a while.

In SuSE 9.2 Pro (current), X11 freezes and runs out of memory once every day and no one has been able to figure out the reason, neither the nvnews.net forum nor SuSE.

In both cases, this happened after YOU updates. I never update to new versions of X11, KDE, etc.

Anand Rangarajan

You can buy the cheaper Update (upgrade?) version
by Darkelve on Fri 11th Mar 2005 17:16 UTC

"Also $100 is way, way, too much they need to put commercial software and/or licensed codecs even then I wouldn't go above $50."

You can buy the Update Version for around $50... which doesn't include much less than the 'full' SuSe Pro product... I think the administration guide is not offered and less days of support... as I seem to remember. And if you're a student you can get a special price as well.

@Mike
by Morty on Fri 11th Mar 2005 21:14 UTC

> partly b/c they bought Ximian, which is known for its heavily customized/patched OO.org.
It's more than that, Suse already employed a full time OO.org customization coder before the Novel buyout. The KDE intergration done to OO.org was/is payed for by Suse.

Flawed logic
by Morty on Fri 11th Mar 2005 21:23 UTC

>...then since the default and expected option for Novell Linux Desktop is GNOME and their customers are
>mainly businesses then it's logical to conclude it's preferred by business customers while KDE is not...
That's flawed logic, what it means are that current Suse users, business or othervise prefers KDE. In addition it means that most of Novell's Linux customers still prefers KDE, as Novell Linux Desktop is still new and have not generated a userbase of size to compare against the userbase Suse already has. Corporate users does not switch from Suse to NLD just because it has Novell in it's name.

@Ian
by Bert Plat on Fri 11th Mar 2005 21:38 UTC

Coming from a Netware environment, I'm still scratching my head as to why Novell can't seem to get itself sorted with a netware client for linux. Give me a simple login screen, which will run the login scripts, and mounts my novell resources just like it would in my netware/windows environment.

The answer to that, as I understand is, is that the Novell Client currently uses RSA technology to encrypt things. As Novell wants the client to go open source, they can't use RSA, so now they're doing wizardly things with Kerberos. However, this isn't something that you can do in a fortnight.

@ Ian
by Bert Plat on Fri 11th Mar 2005 21:41 UTC

no real plan for Netware/NDS(eDirectory), and no client for linux. Then again, I could be completely blind and there might be something sitting right in front of me and I just don't see it.

Have you looked at open enterprise server?

I Be Sticking to me comment mon.
by J@F on Fri 11th Mar 2005 22:04 UTC

I will take back the comment that not much changes and I'll even take back the comparison to Windows And Mac OS but I'd like to add that most of suse's distro is OSS And therefore
paying $160 ($100 full+ $60 upgrade) or $120( $60 upgrade + 2nd $60 upgrade) to have the latest OSS packages for a year is too much. I should also add that suse Prices have been rising. didn't it used to only $80? will the next version or two go up another $10? in that case $170 or $130 for a year.
I'll slap myself if the price increase for 9.3 is because of
you pre-ordering it. Please tell me it's not. I need my ego boost.

I Be Sticking to me comment mon.
by JD on Sun 13th Mar 2005 02:49 UTC

We will not add up the cost for Apple and sotware associated with it. It gets real costly.

Sit down for a moment and add up your OEM copies of Windows and its programs.

While you're at it! Add up the cost for the retail versions for consumers.

Tell me now?

You pay more for Microsoft and programs in 1 year versus the lowsy $160 dollars that you give to SUSE for their roundup of Open Source programs and its programmers.

Let's be fair about this and say, That you bought a brand new DULL desktop with XP Pro installed, all for you.
You get tons of trial versions of software and you find that you like most of them. You turn around and pay for them.
Just buying two copies of software "can" easily add above the $160.00 dollar mark.

Let's not get into M.S. Office and such!

A lot of people do not consider this at all.

All Software adds up!

JD

RE:JD
by J@F on Sun 13th Mar 2005 17:36 UTC

Dude, I took back my comparison between Windows, Mac OS, and Suse. What I am trying to get at is that almost all Suse gives you is software you could get for free. Suse doesn't even contribute to allot of it. To me it's like buying air. I know you get support, a box, and a realy nice book but should that cost more than $50. This is just my opinion. And I could be wrong. If you wan't it pay for it or what for it. I just think giving a $160 to a OSS project a year will help out more and may even get you better support.

RE: @Ian
by Mar on Mon 14th Mar 2005 15:22 UTC

> The answer to that, as I understand is, is that the Novell >Client currently uses RSA technology to encrypt things. As >Novell wants the client to go open source, they can't use >RSA, so now they're doing wizardly things with Kerberos.

What are you talking about ? I thought RSA patent expired in 2000 ?

RE: SELinux
by Mar on Mon 14th Mar 2005 15:46 UTC

> Does it support SELinux?

It depends what you mean - if fully suported and operational SELinux, then I doubt it, not a word about it in suse.com.
SUSE 9.2 has SEL-enabled kernel, but nothing more (no patched tools, no init, no policy, etc.). Some time ago, some Novell excutive said that it's not the most importnant thing in their opinion...

Sad. Unfotunately, it seems a few people realize how important this is.

Re: SELinux
by Dan Elder on Mon 14th Mar 2005 16:34 UTC

If you're looking for something better than SELinux on SuSE and don't mind spending some cash, Immunix AppArmor is a great product (disclaimer: I'm on the Immunix team for DefCon). It has YaST modules to create/manage policies and review events and does everything SELinux does but better. It's written by the same guys who wrote LSM (google for LSM and your first hit will be http://lsm.immunix.org) so they know what they're doing. It's not cheap, but it's also not aimed at the desktop market. If you do want to lock down SLES (or any other 2.6 kernel based distro) it is a great tool that can save a lot of time.

RE:JD
by andylinux on Tue 15th Mar 2005 05:11 UTC

One thing I really like about Linux is that it is all about options, even when talking about price.

I would just like to point out that, when talking about the cost of Suse or other major Linux distros, you really have a lot of choices. With Suse, you can pay full price up front, buy a half priced "upgrade version" which basically has the full version onboard, or you can wait for a month or a little longer, and download the thing for free. I have done all three many times, and never felt ripped off, since I knew I could always wait for the free version if I didn't feel like shelling out cash.

Regardless of whether I paid cash or not, I always install Suse on multiple computers, and I never have to pay for additional licenses. Obviously, that is hard to say about any other OS outside of a linux distro, although I am not familiar with the FreeBSD license structure.

Now that Novell is going with the latest version of not only KDE, but Gnome as well, it is hard to argue against this as a very attractive distro, regardless of price. I have always tried out others, but since 6.3, I keep coming back to Suse. It is just much easier for me to install and maintain, and Suse's close connection to the folks at KDE has always meant it is one of the nicest looking distros right out of the box (from my perspective).