What I liked:
Hardware recognition is vastly improved.
On my laptop, I just formatted my root partition, with the data in /home undisturbed. All previous settings (from SLP9.1) were recognized correctly.
Opening work related documents: both in native OpenOffice format as well as Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint formats.
Remote connections with SSH and VPN's worked fine.
Ripping , Audio CD, creating and Playing MP3s – amarok is especially nice.
Playing VCDs (my child's collection) with xine and kaffeine
Viewing, editing and printing of full color images using various applications (gqview/gwenview, gimp and KDE/cups printing), scanning photos was a breeze.
Obviously, apart from all the excellent applications, there are some nice touches which every distro vendor adds. Here's what I like about SUSE:
The installed CD/DVD default choice is "Boot from Hard disk" and not start installation. This feature is useful if you forget to remove the CD/DVD and reboot. The system will boot up from hard disk, and not affect your existing system in any way.
Yast2 can download and install Microsoft core-fonts package which provides several excellent quality free True Type fonts. The fonts cannot be included on the CD (due to legal restrictions), but you can download and install via Yast Online Update.
The very well-written system configuration program, yast. Yast is comprehensive, well designed and easy to use, albeit a little slow.
Advanced users may find network autoinstall very useful (autoyast).
The default install configures and starts a firewall, which is good!. Also note that X server starts up with "tcp nolisten" option. So if you are wondering why incoming X11 connections fails, change this option through YAST custom security settings.
Novell allows unlimited installations for non-commercial use. So yes, you can buy a boxed set and install it on your multiple home systems!
Wishlist, Shortcomings & assorted notes:
As all products have some things that can be improved upon, I would like to point out a few:
Several media formats needing special codecs will not play. SuSE does not bundle them due to issues related to redistribution. I had to download the bundle from mplayerhq site and install the Win32 codec DLLs in /usr/lib/win32/ to watch my collection of avi's and mpg's. Quicktime (MOV) files still refuse to play.
e-Banking with DBS needed an update to the Java VM from 1.4.2 included in the distro to 1.5 (Tiger). Note this is not a bug with SuSE, rather an issue with DBS website code.
ACPI power off failed to work on my home system. However, after the subsequent kernel update (via yast) it works now.
Suspend seems not to work on the laptop. So I need to shutdown every time. Hope this gets fixed soon...
A programmer-oriented document may be nice to have ( explaining the internals of SUSE, compile time flags, etc)
SLP support for PPC architecture that can cover PPC systems (only Enterprise Server editions available now) would be nice.
A UML (user mode Linux) config tool (such as the one bundled in SLES 9) is nifty and could be a useful addition to SLP9.2, though I did not explore FAUmachine which is included.
Manual update for nVidia drivers are still necessary to fully exploit the hardwareTable of contents