Home > SuSE, openSUSE > SUSE LINUX 9.3 Professional Review SUSE LINUX 9.3 Professional Review Eugenia Loli 2005-03-18 SuSE, openSUSE 57 Comments Scott M. Morris is reviewing SUSE LINUX 9.3 Professional and includes some screenshots. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 57 Comments 2005-03-18 10:43 am Woah that’s sexy. 2005-03-18 10:44 am Finally, a new WM theme. Not was the old water droplet-like default theme ugly, but also highly inconsistent with Plastik. 2005-03-18 10:52 am Especially sexy: OOo. OOo’s default look is ugly, this one is OK. (But the official OOo2 builds will look a little bit better that the OOo1 ones, too.) 2005-03-18 10:57 am I would rather call it “Preview” than “Review”. Look at whose hosting it. 🙂 2005-03-18 10:59 am With OOo2, the customized look is going to become standard on most distributions. But unfortunately, people using StarOffice are stuck with the ugly Sun look, which features this appalling look even under Sun’s very own Solaris 10. 2005-03-18 10:59 am Now that’s what I call a review. Well, it lacks the ‘cons’ of a true review, but it’s on Novells website -by a Novell employee or customer I guess- so what would you expect? First thing I’d check was whether they still ship with the crippled xine-lib. 2005-03-18 11:00 am And I almost forgot to add: I’m even more happy now that I pre-ordered the 9.3 Upgrade version. B) 2005-03-18 11:20 am Yeah, I’m curious too if they will ship with the cracked xine and kaffeine… What about a way to legally get DVD support? no words on that.. 2005-03-18 11:23 am I meant crippled, not cracked 2005-03-18 11:25 am I also miss indepth look (and screenies!) at the Gnome support, which was lacking on earlier versions. 2005-03-18 11:31 am SuSE’s GNOME looks exactly like Novell Desktop with the industrial theme (in fact, it does not only look similar, but is more or less the same) 2005-03-18 11:53 am First thing I’d check was whether they still ship with the crippled xine-lib. I would like to know that to (preferably before i buy).A $99 Linux distro should have full dvd support and the only thing you should have to do is installing the decryption package.I think i will wait a few months a watch the reviews carefully before i even consider buying a package this time. 2005-03-18 12:06 pm What are you talking about? Not even the $300-non-free-OS has “full dvd support” or a so-called “decryption package” included… You can, of course, “wait a few months and watch the reviews carefully”, but it is much easier to simply install the well-known decrambling library and you are done… 2005-03-18 12:24 pm I agree, you cannot possible call this a review due to: (1) It is written by company marketing, (2) It is not written as a review It is informational and interesting, but it is still not a review… 2005-03-18 12:35 pm I agree, this is not a review but a preview. It looks like if SuSE automatically uses the GTK-QT engine to make Gnome apps look like KDE apps. This is great if everything works. I hate to have different looks all the time. That why I like my Mac so much. Do they use OO with native QT widgets or is it the GTK-QT engine with some theming ? What I still miss in these reviews is something different than “I unpacked, installed and now I write a review”. Does anybody know whether you can install it on a remote computer ? Or a pre-configured network install ? Does it include groupservers ? Or will there be a 9.3 Server edition ? A lot of questions remain … ps: The theme was already in 3.3, it’s the Plastik theme, but a little bit more polished. 2005-03-18 12:40 pm HI… I agree, it’s not really a review, but a preview. That said, I’ve been an SuSe junky for a little over a year now, and find it a well-polished distro, once you learn the little quirks of it and “bend” to you your needs. Sometimes I think that they try to do a little “too much” FOR you, but it’s easy enough to find those things and change them. Anyway, I’m one who uses Star Office…and about the “look” mentioned by someone above, with StarOffice 8 that won’t really be an issue. The “ugly” Sun look is gone. I’m running StarOffice 8 beta and it looks great….just like OOo. So that is a dead issue. KDE 3.4 looks great. I can’t wait to get ahold of that. About the xine/DVD issue…I still have to agree with the complaints, especially for “paying” so much for a distro, but since THIS distro is one of the only ones that REALLY WORKS, right out of the box, with my laptop, wireless and all, I’m willing to let that one go. It’s easy enough to get a couple of rpm’s from Packman and get a lousy DVD thing to work. For me, it’s not TOO much of an issue because I hardly EVER watch DVD’s on a computer….it just ain’t that much fun. OK, just my little comments. I look forward to getting the 9.3 DVD. It will be fun… 2005-03-18 12:57 pm “full dvd support” or a so-called “decryption package” included… I actually meant an fully non-crippled application.So just installing libdvdcss2 puts the last piece of the puzzle in place. 2005-03-18 1:01 pm “The suite now includes the ability to detatch[sic] toolbars, a feature long overdue:” OOo always had this. I use it all the time. 2005-03-18 1:16 pm they are simply not allowed to do that. not for 10.000 bucks… as they state in the dialogue (in Suse 9.2) they are not aware of a official and legal way to play a DVD under linux. and I’m sure they have been looking for it… 2005-03-18 1:17 pm No, this is a custum OOo build with “native” Qt/KDE widgets. “Native” is in quotation marks because I do not know how native it really is, but it does not use any GTK stuff through the GTK-Qt-engine. A standalone version of this adopted OOo build with Qt/KDE widgets can be downloaded from here: http://kde-apps.org/content/show.php?content=17330 (Still 1.1.3, though) 2005-03-18 1:18 pm I hate to have different looks all the time. That why I like my Mac so much. What, because standard Aqua and Brushed Metal apps look so consistent? 2005-03-18 1:36 pm If you wanna try kde 3.4, you can try the early Kubuntu release! On the DVD issue, Linspire sells a dvd player for 9.95usd. Shouldn’t be so hard for Novell to sell one too, or an extra “Multimedia Pak” BTW, Linspire includes legal wma, mov, real support, so I can’t see why Novell could not too. 2005-03-18 2:18 pm Is it true that the upgrade version is literally the full version minus the manuals? If so, I might go with that one. 2005-03-18 2:19 pm Yes, this is correct. 2005-03-18 2:22 pm Thanks for the info 2005-03-18 3:00 pm the upgrade lacks only the user guide (which is available in pdf format on the DVD, and installed by default), the admin guide is in the box. 2005-03-18 3:13 pm Linspire and Turbolinux have it and Intervideo did have a player for linux but that was reserved for OEM, maybe the decoder was on chip. 2005-03-18 3:29 pm this preview makes mention of beagle, which was hinted at early on, but isn’t mentioned in the Novell literature. well, is it in or out? two other questions: 1) will getting DVD playback be as simple as installing the decyss libs, as i’d heard SUSE had made a hash of things in 9.2? 2) will JRE 5.0 (1.5) being included out of the box? i think i’m gonna buy me this version. cheers 2005-03-18 3:31 pm Linspire and Turbolinux have it and Intervideo did have a player for linux but that was reserved for OEM, maybe the decoder was on chip. Would be great when they wouldn’t deliberately cripple xine.All other distros have dvd players in their repository which only need libdvdcss to be installed in order to play your bought (encrypted) dvd’s?It’s not that big deal,to do without dvd playback but why should i pay $99 for a package that can’t do certain tasks because of over active legal precautions and doesn’t even detect a nforce3-250 based gigabit lan in their 9.2 version? 2005-03-18 4:13 pm “I actually meant an fully non-crippled application.So just installing libdvdcss2 puts the last piece of the puzzle in place.” That’s how its worked for me with both Suse 9.1 and 9.2, just installed the libdecss library from packman links and it works great (after turning DMA on for my DVD drive – Suse by defaults disables DMA). 2005-03-18 4:55 pm Sure you didn’t install libxine from packman, too? Anyway…they really are shipping with OO.o 2.0. That’s…bold. Good luck to ’em 2005-03-18 5:06 pm Adam, I would have thought so. But maybe he uses Mplayer. (In which case, he still had to install Mplayer from somewhere anyway… I know *I* had to uninstall SuSe’s Xinelib and install Packman’s one to get it to work in 9.1) 2005-03-18 5:07 pm It doesn’t resemble a review in the slightest, but we all read it! 2005-03-18 5:10 pm Oh guys get off the whole review/preview thing. It is tired and worn out. We only need one person to mention it. Not 2-3 per page of comments. 2005-03-18 5:16 pm “Oh guys get off the whole review/preview thing. It is tired and worn out. We only need one person to mention it. Not 2-3 per page of comments.” Actually, I’m glad so many people noticed. A critical look at things is a good behaviour. So to get on with the comments: I notice Firefox has the theme I use, Plastikfox Crystal. This fits in very will with KDE in my opinion, making for a more pleasing (consistent) working environment. 2005-03-18 6:49 pm SUSE never dissapoint me! 2005-03-18 7:39 pm Looks as if they’ve incorporated some of the nice stuff from Novell Desktop Linux 9, which is now my daily OS at work. Maybe I can go back to a SUSE-branded distro. SUSE is really a nice package, thoughtfully configured and comprehensive. Just gets better and better. If you want bleeding-edge stuff, SUSE may not be for you. Gentoo, Debian, and Ubuntu are easier to upgrade. But SUSE is numbingly simple to install, and the defaults yield a very complete, ready-to-rock desktop. Except for the media codecs. Boxed, high-dollar corporate distros really should come with fully functional DVD playback and the ability to handle all the major audio and video formats. Novell/SUSE has deep enough pockets and enough legal smarts to negotiate proper licensing. While it seems reasonable that free, downloadable distros ship without proprietary codecs, there’s no excuse for a commercial Linux desktop to go out the door without something that has been available to Windows users for almost a decade. 2005-03-18 7:51 pm “If you want bleeding-edge stuff, SUSE may not be for you.” I’d say ‘bleeding-edge stuff’ describes this release quite nicely. They’re shipping KDE 3.4, GNOME 2.10, OO.o 2.0 (which ain’t even released yet, and I surely hope SUSE are in freeze by now) and (seemingly) beagle and f-spot too. Bold stuff but it could go pear-shaped. Definitely bleeding edge. 2005-03-18 8:04 pm They’re shipping KDE 3.4, GNOME 2.10, OO.o 2.0.. True,that’s some new stuff indeed.But as you know development doesn’t stand still,and things get old very fast.As you may allso know the stuff what undoubtedly may be “bleeding edge” now isn’t over a couple of months.And there’s no official Novell repository unlike Gentoo to name one,where you can stay on top of the developments,”bleeding edge” so to speak.Furthermore i agree with kit on the codecs part.Why should one pay for distro that doesn’t add something extra what the free distros don’t offer. 2005-03-18 9:22 pm If by usability you mean ease of moving around in the system, I tend to disagree being an XP user myself. Now they are almost getting to the XP when it first came out stock out of the box with no tweaks level. I am really mighty impressed with this Suse 9.3 distro. I am going to get Gentoo on my system and compile everything from scratch. For those who dont want to mess with that I think Suse is the best solution right out of the box. 2005-03-18 9:57 pm I have been using Suse since 9.0 and have been generally happy with it. I wish it would include Mplayer, I have had a hard getting mplayer installed correctly in 9.1. I have tried a lot of distros and they all come with their own headaches or missing features. Right now, I like Suse, Knoppix and PCLinuxOS. I tend to be a KDE person, but I am also impressed with Ubuntu. But I will probably stick with Suse for now as my main distro, if for no other reason I know the problems I am getting in to at this point and I want to try out beagle. As for KDE and Gnome be like Win ME in usuability, I disagree, I think the Linux Desktops are much more polished than that abomination. (Not up to OSX yet though). 2005-03-18 10:00 pm that idiotic attempt at a troll wouldn’t even make a 12 year old proud…. 2005-03-18 11:25 pm Are they including reiser4 filesystem in default installation? 2005-03-18 11:38 pm null 2005-03-18 11:47 pm > I’d say ‘bleeding-edge stuff’ describes this release quite nicely. Yes, today. But Novell won’t supply (just an example)KDE 3.5 in SUSE 9.3 via YaST. Major KDE/Gnome releases wait until the next SUSE point release. Which you’ll pay for, if you prefer boxed Linux or wish to support the distro. SUSE provides RPMs for updated Gnome and KDE packages, but they’re a pain. Nothing like as convenient as apt-get or portage. And that’s all I meant by “not as bleeding edge.” It could be if you don’t mind the hassle, but most users will be frustrated by the difficulty of updating their desktop via YaST. 2005-03-19 1:10 am This is excellent! It just gets better and better. Every time I turn around, it seems, Novell is continuing to show their committment to making it better. I haven’t purchased mine yet. OpenOffice was once StarOffice (or includes it), right? If so, it is good to see that it has received a facelift, because one time I downloaded it to check it out, and it was like 80MB of ugliness. Keep up the excellent work, Novell. SUSE is surely a leader among Linux distros. –EyeAm 2005-03-19 2:06 am “Except for the media codecs. Boxed, high-dollar corporate distros really should come with fully functional DVD playback and the ability to handle all the major audio and video formats.” So you browse the internet, and watch DVD’s at your desk too, huh? 2005-03-19 2:14 am $99 for a distro with crippled xine, rpm system which means dependency hell, and no dvd support? That is very disappointing. Linspire & Xandros remains the best answer for the multipurpose/general os needs. (the former even having legal codecs) and Mepis or Ubuntu for the do it yourselfer. 2005-03-19 2:16 am >>With OOo2, the customized look is going to become standard on most distributions. But unfortunately, people using StarOffice are stuck with the ugly Sun look, which features this appalling look even under Sun’s very own Solaris 10. That’s so not true. StarOffice beta 8 and OpenOffice beta 2 are identical in look, at least under windows. 2005-03-19 2:38 am >>What are you talking about? Not even the $300-non-free-OS has “full dvd support” or a so-called “decryption package” tobaccofarm, that answer is sooo tired and misleading. You’re right, it doesn’t ship with it BUT you’re DVD drive does 99.9% of the time and if it doesn’t you can buy a codec licence for as little as $5 from MS Media Player website. There is no solution for that in Linux even though what should matter is the PLAYER NOT THE SOFTWARE!!! What’s next a seperate licence to actually use the tv you bought? Currently two Linux distros have dvd support legally available, TurboLinux and Linspire, and people should be supporting them and/or pressureing either the dvd codec companies to make codecs and licences available to Linux by bundling Linux ones with the DVD drives or purchase, or pressuring Congress to do away with the whole scam in the first place so that the ability to play dvd movies is hardware built in like it is on tv dvd players and thus os agnostic. 2005-03-19 4:29 am To be honest, I like the fact that many distros do not include a licensed dvd decrypter because this way, the people that had the stupid idea of splitting up the world into “regions” do not earn a single cent with it. Why do I think so? I think that splitting up the world into “regions” is evil because it prevents the customers from getting the benefits of globalisation. These people actually want to keep the benefits for themselves. Buying a licensed dvd decrypter means: – accepting something that I am not willing to accept – supporting the idea that customers do not only want to be cheated, but they even want to pay money for it No, thank you. That said, it is very OK for me to install libdvdcss, this happens only once and works very well. 2005-03-19 11:42 am > It could be if you don’t mind the hassle, but most users will be frustrated by the difficulty of updating their desktop via YaST. I’m one of them 2005-03-19 3:18 pm > So you browse the internet, and watch DVD’s at your desk too, huh? I should certainly be able to do so from within Linux. And, yeah, my home monitor is a lot better quality than my TV. 2005-03-19 3:40 pm I agree, this is not a review but a preview. agreed. review, in this context, means a critical evaluation. look up criticism and evaluation and you’ll find it is an analysis of merits and demerits. an analysis only containing the upside is not a true review. 2005-03-20 12:07 am I for one happen to like the “water droplet” (“SUSE”) theme for kwin window decorations. It’s very nice, very functional, and does not confuse my users who dual boot Windows – even the novices just click and run. I think it happens to be the most attractive theme which shipped with Suse 9.1 and 9.2. I am looking forward to 9.3 next month however I hope they included the “water droplet” window decorations in 9.3, else I’ll be spending a few hours duplicating it on 9.3 (or a few minutes simply copying it over from one of the boxes I won’t be upgrading just yet). On Xine: As much as I *HATE* the fact that Novell cowards out and cripples xine, look at Windows as an example: out of the box, it cannot play DVDs. Also, Windows supports only a very small handful (Indeo, Microsoft Windows Media, OLD Real media, ANCIENT Quicktime, and a couple of other) of CODECs out of the box. If you want full support for the wide range of codecs found in the real world, you either need to spend half a day tracking them all down and installing them, or turn to Media Player Classic which comes with built-in support for a large number of codecs. Fixing xine on to support DVDs, DivX;), XVid, Windows Media, and the myriad of other CODECs from the common to esoteric takes only a couple of minutes on Suse, and requires merely installing three or four RPMs available on a number of sites – or as many as seven, depending on what level of functionality you want. This is particularly easy in Suse compared to some other distributions. That doesn’t excuse Novel for chickening out. If they’re so intent on not supporting DVDs out of really slim, far-fetched chances of legal implications, they could have elected to simply not include DeCSS, and not touch the xine libraries at all. Remember, the DeCSS case was thrown out and the precedent is set such that DeCSS is perfectly legal since it simply allows for interoperability; that some use the DeCSS package for illegal purposes (piracy) is immaterial and shame on Novell for assuming every user is guilty by default. It’s also worth noting that CSS is illegal in the first place since it effectively barred Fair Use of the content you purchased. You are allowed to make one copy for backup purposes, and you are allowed to copy it for interoperability purposes, providing you either transfer all copies with or destroy all copies upon transference of ownership of the original purchased medium. $.02 –Kim 2005-03-20 10:09 am Yeah Kim, exactly how I feel about that issue. Although for the WinDeco and style, I choose a nice ‘Plastik’ … I can’t stand corporate advertising on my distro! 2005-03-20 7:38 pm I wonder where he got the 9.3 beta. I would love to try it out, but hav not been able to find it for download anywhere. URL anyone?