Linked by Eugenia Loli on Sun 24th Oct 2004 04:20 UTC
SuSE, openSUSE The upcoming SUSE LINUX 9.2 has yet to hit the retail stores, but the product's two live CDs (with either KDE or GNOME) and a live DVD are now available for free download. Update: KDE shots and Gnome shots from the SuSE Live CDs.
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by AdamW on Sun 24th Oct 2004 18:51 UTC

"I've heard that 9.2 has features for laptops, which linux has heretofore lacked quite distressingly."

well, everyone's pushing their 'laptop support' with recent releases (SuSE, MDK, Fedora). in reality it's a fairly nebulous area which depends on a combination things. Most important is power management - which is actually done in-kernel (APM) and by the acpi4linux project (ACPI), so any distro claiming it's 'better' than anyone else in this area doesn't pass the reality test. (*every* distro, AFAIK, uses the kernel APM stuff and the acpi4linux ACPI stuff). after that, you have things like suspend and sleep, which are actually handled by the power management; there's also an external script for suspending to disk, called pmsuspend, which improves it in some cases. But whether this works depends, above all, on your hardware. My laptop is unusual in that suspend to disk doesn't really work, but suspend to RAM works perfectly; the opposite case is more usual. But in any case this will vary hugely with hardware. Beyond THAT, you have system specific features, which tend to depend on obscure little third party tools that, in my experience, at *best* the distros simply package and don't integrate in any way.

For example, on my sony laptop I use the sonypi and meye kernel modules to enable the Sony-specific hardware, and the spicctrl program to do things with them. Mandrake includes the kernel modules, but not spicctrl; as far as I'm aware, other distros are in much the same situation. Other laptops aer similar - there are similar programs to enable the specific features of most manufacturers' laptops. And then there's also a special utility to enable most of the features of Synaptics touchpads.

The single most useful thing a distro could do for laptops is make an effort to package *all* these disparate third party tools and do SOMETHING about making them obvious to the user; either try and detect a user's laptop model on install (or just ASK) and enable all the appropriate stuff, or make a bigass "laptop" configuration tool and build in frontends for all these tools to it.

AFAIK, no-one's done this yet. I haven't heard that this is what SuSE is doing, but I'd be very pleased if it was. More likely, they're just saying "laptop support is better!" because ACPI has moved forwards since the last version of SuSE, which as far as I can tell is what everyone else is doing.