Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 25th Aug 2006 11:24 UTC, submitted by anyweb
SuSE, openSUSE Linux-Noob has reviewed SLED 10. "Novell's strengths are many, and I'm delighted to see the excellent work they have done in usability tests, and making the whole desktop feel like it's ready, ready to do business, and ready to serve its users. The development they've done with Beagle and in particular the 'computer menu' are fantastic and hopefully are just the start of better things to come."
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RE[2]: Great distro
by Moochman on Fri 25th Aug 2006 15:53 UTC in reply to "RE: Great distro"
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Yast as a package manager is already on its way to being irrelevant/dead, due to the new Zen-based package manager in the new Suse distros. I'm pretty sure the poster was referring to Yast's hardware management utilities being ported, exclusive/regardless of the package management utility.

I've been advocating that Yast's hardware tools be ported to other distros ever since it was open-sourced a couple of years ago. Why it hasn't happened yet is probably due to the fact that every other "desktop" distro was already in the middle of building its own GUI hardware tools at the time that Yast was first open-sourced. Mandriva, Ubuntu, and Red Hat all have their own hardware-management solutions. Ubuntu's tools look to be on their way to becoming a heavyweight solution, but it will take a while until they approach Yast's comprehensiveness. Although I haven't used Mandriva since before the Mandrake name-change, recent screenshots reveal hardware management tools that seem to be approaching Suse's. Meanwhile, I'm pretty sure Fedora's GUI hardware tools are not as comprehensive as Suse's, with much more hand-editing of config files required (although to be fair the last time I tried Fedora was Core 3).

Suse's YaST, in conjunction with SaX2, definitely takes the crown for the most comprehensive GUI-based hardware setup solution.

Nevertheless, it should be noted that the YaST interface to all appearances hasn't been changed/improved in years, and this is where I think Ubuntu may gain the edge (no pun intended ;) ). In my experience, Yast suffers from its attempt to shoehorn a traditional GUI configuration interface into a wizard-based one. The user ends up stepping through heierarchies of dialogue boxes, albeit without realizing it, because they're all displayed in the same space and with only the three wizard buttons "Next," "Abort" and (the all-too-often grayed-out) "Back" presented, making the process seem linear. This necessitates all manner of extra-clicking repetitive madness and confusion for the user (and I think if you've ever delved into the depths of YaST's Network Interface or Printer setup tools, you'll have some idea of what I'm talking about).

The YaST tools' interfaces could be substantially improved by either exposing the heirarchies through standard, pop-up dialog boxes (a la Windows and OS X) or by always presenting a list of steps along the left side of all Yast config tools so that the user is always clear about their position in the process, a la Suse's initial OS installation tool (and that of many other OSes). Alternately, a fresh re-analysis and re-design of YaSt would probably be the most ideal solution (of course this would be up to Suse, since no one else is really working on Yast). Come on, you newly-materialized Suse/Novell UI-design whizzes, get on it!

Despite my critique, I still think YaST as it stands is the best hardware toolbox currently available for the Linux desktop. However, with Mandriva and particularly Ubuntu improving and expanding their toolsets all the time, if Suse/Novell doesn't keep on improving Yast, it may not stay that way.

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