Novell has recently released SUSE Linux 9.2 LiveCD/DVD edition. In line with its impressive track-record, SUSE managed to make yet another step forward each time. Having used SUSE 9.1 for a while now, I was more than looking
forward to this new release, so I downloaded and ran SUSE 9.2 LiveCD on my Dell Inspiron, and gave it a try.
After buying both SUSE and Ximian, Novell obviously feels challenged to keep not to prefer one over the other. With this release, Novell decided to provide 3 editions: KDE 3.3, GNOME 2.6, or both , if you run the DVD version.
As for branding, would it become Novell Linux or remain SUSE? It seems that Novel will keep the ‘SUSE’ branding for the free/community version, while the ‘Novell Linux’ branding will be reserved for it’s enterprise class variant.
I downloaded the KDE edition for this test. I used K3B to burn the image and was quickly able to have a first glimpse: SUSE 9.2 boot splash seems a bit more refined.
From the welcome screen, you may either start the LiveCD immediately, or opt for a safer attempt, passing the kernel ‘acpi=off, apm=off’. You can also change the default screen resolution (F2), verbose mode (F3), or even change the preferred language (F4) – which is either English or German, although the default is indeed English.
My first attempt was a real blow. Trying to simply run it, SUSE just hanged a short while after starting up the PCMCIA modules. I already knew IRQ conflicts could occur, but I was hoping for a more refined experience trying
to resolve this.
Trying again to start up in safe mode, didn’t change much. I actually found myself looking at a kernel panic message, when I escaped out of the graphical bootspalsh.
I knew I would need to take a more direct approach, so I passed pci_irq_isa=7 to the kernel, which did the trick. SUSE, which has switched with this release to X.org, started X with the generic nVidia modules flawlessly, and I was soon staring at the all-too-familiar KDE desktop, with the some what naive desktop wallpaper SUSE seems to prefer.
Mind you, SUSE was painfully slow to start on my box, especially when compared with Knoppix or Kanotix on the same hardware. It took ages to pass the initial boot until it finally switched to run level 5. Though once every
thing was loaded into memory, it seemed quite responsive.
SUSE, being a somewhat conservative distribution, did not change much about the look of the desktop. It still uses the famous SUSE window decorations, and the ThinkKeramik widget theme. Not my cup of tea, and I was disappointed
to see Plastik is still absent, or rather removed.
The green camelion now has the slogan “a novell business” under it, and on the desktop you can find MyComputer, Help, Network, Trash and other launchers. The panel has Kontact (which replaces KMail) alongside SUSE Hardware Tool, Klipper and a new applet to handle SUSE’s SCPM profiles.
Immediately after logging in, SUSE launched the hardware detection support, and found my IntelliMouse Explorer and HP PSC 2510 Multi-functional printer, which it also setup for me. Still, the printer didn’t show up in the Print Manager, until I manually finished the configuration
Another integration issue which I found disappointing was not setting up the scanner. The HP PSC 2500 was already detected and configured, so it seem it would have made sense that the scanner would have been configured as well. I had to do this manually though.
More so, I was not able to find the scanner using YaST (with the default ‘linux’ user), so I had to do this as root. I ran the pat_init setup script from the command line, and sure enough, it picked it up as a USB
BTW, YaST suggests installing Kooka when you try to access the Scanner settings, but it is actually not available on the CD itself it seems.
I then tought I should explore SUSE’s mythological plug and play capabilities a bit further. I’ve plugged in a Toshiba PCMCIA DVD/RW. No response from SUSE, even though a quick ‘dmesg’ showed me that the kernel was aware of it, or so it seems.
I then plugged in a Nokia SmartPhone, just for laughs – SUSE seem to only offer KitchenSync (for GPE/OPIE/Qtopia) and KPilot, and, indeed, nothing much happened. I could see it has a new USB device on my system, and I’ve managed to modprob the usbnet module as well, but AFAIK unlike Familiar, for instance, WindowsCE does not have a native
TCP/IP support over USB.
But most importantly was actually getting SUSE to have interent access. As with previous versions, it recognised both the onboard 3COM ethernet card (3c59x), and the Orinoco PCMCIA WiFI card (yenta_socket,orinoco_cs).
It didn’t route the network through the WiFi, however, even though it was the one with an active connection having obtained an IP from the DHCP server on
the AcessPoint. I had to disable eth0 before I could connect, though I’m sure there’s a better way of doing this – is there?
Software and Applications
The KDE edition seems to come with OpenOffice.org (1.1.3) and The Gimp, but without Mozilla/Firefox. As much as I like Konquror, it is unable to handle too many sites.
Also, OpenOffice would just crash. I managed to get as far as being asked to pick a template once, but then it would just crash poping up a message saying “An unrecoverable error has occured.” No KOffice here either …
Groupware and collaboration
Groupware and collaboration support seems quite impressive. The KDE Groupware Wizard can setup Kontact/KMail to login and work with Kolab, eGroupware, SOLX or Novell’s own Groupwise. It would add the appropriate incoming and outgoing resource to KMail, making it possible to retrieve mail and more. I didn’t
have a server to test this and I don’t think a server was installed on the LiveCD itself.
SUSE 9.2 LiveCD also has the VNC’s Desktop Sharing tools, which allows you to invite an authorized user to login remotely to share or take over the desktop. Invitation with full details allows this and can be sent by e-mail.
The wizard lets you edit the message in KMail, just before you send it.
One problem many users face is the localization issue. Even though SUSE provides good support for English and some European languages, Arabic, Hebrew and other languages will find such distributions restricting.
There are of course many localization projects, and many distributions catering for specific languages, but it seems that non-english speakers are excluded when it comes to the generic distributions like SUSE, Fedora,
Knoppix and others, with the exception of Mandrake which did include some support at the request of the developers community in Israel for example .
KDE and GNOME now offer excelent localization support. A minimal support ‘out of the box’ would go a long way to make it friendlier. The inclusion of high quality fonts for more languages such as Culmus – being an excelent example of GPL Hebrew Type1 fonts -, for instance, may be a more inclusive option. Even without a localized GUI, which most users don’t use in any case, Linux is more inclusive.
IMHO, SUSE is one of the best examples of how far Linux can go. Though Xandros and Lycoris do a fine job as well, and possibly even better in some areas, SUSE is more interesting because it is open and accesiable.
Other versions of SUSE/Novell Linux will, no doubt, have additional proprietary layer, catering for different customers, But the free version is impressive.
Still, with so many problems, both hardware and software, the KDE LiveCD edition is slightly disappointing. I hope that the full installable version should be a more positive experience.
About the author:
Uri Sharf, Editor of LInmagazine, Israeli interent magazine providing news, reviews and guides on Linux, Free and Open Source Software in Hebrew working with Hamakor (‘The Source”), an NPO dedicated to the promotion of OSS in Israel, and other sites.
If you would like to see your thoughts or experiences with technology published, please consider writing an article for OSNews.
I downloaded all of them, DVD, KDE CD and Gnome CD.
The LiveDVD was a complete fiasco: I got “kernel panic, out of memory” every time I tried (I have 256 MB of RAM and 700 MB swap, not a lot, I know, but Knoppix DVD 2003 works fine on the same box)
The 2 Live CDs did work, but everything was slow as hell.
Now I know that with the actual distro everything will be fine but, having bought every previous release of SuSE Pro, this time around I am not terribly motivated, because 9.1 and 9.2 look like twin brothers.
Besides 9.1 is very stable now, after months of bugfixes and updates. I don’t want to start all over again.
Um, with all this talk about 9.2 Professional coming out, is there not going to be a Personal edition for people who don’t pay $90 and whom don’t need Apache, etc.?
I agree with you. But you can (allegedly) get a version of SUSE Professional at http://www.pctech101.com/suse92.php for $11.99 and free shipping. That’s next to nothing.
They are one of the best KDE distros. I’m disappointed they will be Gnome now
Anyway, I wish they would improve the installation of programs to just copy Xandros/Networks, it’s way too complicated as is….meta packages are ALWAYS nicer than 1000s of tiny packages..
With the official release being four days away, I just don’t see the point of reviewing a LiveCD, which is more or less just for evaluation purposes. I agree that it should probably work better than it did (QC?!), but why not wait and do a review of a complete install of SUSE 9.2 Pro? A review of the LiveCD is pretty much pointless….in my opinion of course.
Is there Suse 9.2 LiveCD availabe for AMD64 ???
They aren’t going to be Gnome now. They are still very much a KDE distro.
It’s supposed to be included on the LiveCD DVD.
> you can (allegedly) get a version of SUSE Professional for $11.99
For such prize it must be a pirate copy.
into splash screens!
If I want to open in Gnome Nautilus _browser_ I must search through many menus instead of clicking at Nautiuls at the main menu.
One big fault.
And many other: no dbus, no hal, poor versions (gqview 1.4.0!, gnome 2.6! announced at the latest gnome!!), only poor quality subfs for memory sticks. Knock knock Suse, we have freedesktop.org!
And this after playing around 30 minutes at work.
Btw, boottimes are horrible, terrible, feels like fly to moon with an old car.
Continues at Desktop: to much daemons by default and Gnome’s/KDE’s speed in 9.2 really sucks.
bye bye community, business as usual, bye bye suse!
sad, we have only slackware, gentoo, debian and fedora now…
ps: oh, you don’t have a DVD-ROM? Than forget to install Thunderbird Mail and a lot of other popular programs, really!
“For such prize it must be a pirate copy.”
Of course it is. Last release season they flooded linuxiso.org with spam.
But I must say I was rather dissapointed. It didn’t detect any sensors on my Travelmate 4501LCi, nor was it able to configure dri properly. ACPI and Speedstep didn’t work either.
Of course there are good things about SuSE. It was able to detect my Intel 2200BG (Centrino) WiFi card and receive a dhcp-lease at boottime. And then there’s also this very nice looking (but somewhat bloated) desktop. Put together really well imo.
Conclusion: Not sufficient for an out-of-the-box distro. I think a distro like SuSE should be able to detect and setup ALL hardware. I know this might not be the fault of SuSE or Linux, but the fault of the hardware vendors, but still, I do expect it to work out-of-the-box.
Btw. SuSE 9.2 personal WILL be available for download free of charge.
“You were a great distribution. RIP.”
Care to elaborate?
I have yet to see Suse detect and configure my fairly new Samsung 955df. I get a black screen with a floating no signal from my monitor. This is true for the live cd and for the real install 9.1 and 9.2. When I consider how every other distribution livecd I’ve tried (morphix, Knoppix,Gnoppix, Mepis, Mandrake) has had no problem it makes me wonder about the whole distribution.
its not a pirate copy its the live cd evaluation discs that you can download.
I have the same monitor, though it’s about 3 years old. I have no problems getting it recognized in SUSE 8.0-9.1. The only thing I have to do is manually add 1600×1200 to the resolution list in SAX2, otherwise I’m stuck at 1280×1024.
The Live CDs are not called Professional and there are only two. If you press “order” you see that you can get either 5 CDs or 2 DVDs *separately*.
Please provide details of at least a “few” of the too many sites since this seems like a blanket statement — born more out of “everyone’s using firefox” syndrome.
So, please try and be more specific when you say “too-man sites”. At least all sites that safari can handle are handled very well by konqueror, thank you!
you posted on a wrong news discussion
Have you seen OSDir’s tours of SUSE 9.2 KDE here http://osdir.com/shots/slideshows/slideshow.php?release=158&slide=1… and Gnome here http://osdir.com/shots/slideshows/slideshow.php?release=159&slide=1
“Every day of me viewing idiotic statements by complete morons on these forums causes me to die a little more inside.”
Rude, maybe we should get you to neowin then we will be happy.
I’m having a dickens of a time getting Gentoo reinstalled. What Gnome-centric distros are there that are easily maintained and have a good source of updated packages? I hate having to wait til a new release comes out to get a newer Gnome. I know about garnome but it has never worked well for me. I’m a FreeBSD guy and I like never having to reinstall.
have you consider ubuntu?
as anonymous said, Ubuntu. It comes with Gnome 2.8 – D-Bus/HAL is great. It’s been rock-solid for me so far.
I don’t believe ubuntu has an open, rolling development distro, though, so you’d be stuck between releases. Debian sid / experimental or Mandrake Cooker fit the description; or Rawhide, I don’t know how feasible running that as a day-to-day distro is, though, any Fedora people want to comment?
I was able to edit the xconfig manually in 9.1 and get it working but I still don’t understand why it has a problem. If not the monitor then perhaps the combination with my other hardware. Nonetheless I have installed dozens of versions and distributions on the same setup and only Suse 9.1 and 9.2 failing to give me a working xsession.
I fully agree with you this time. Ubuntu is more akin to a (closed) commercial distro than to Debian. You must wait for their releases, whilst Debian, in a sense, “releases every day” (as anybody who has ever used Sid knows).
Also, with Ubuntu you are stuck with their (rather limited) repositories.
I downloaded it at a very fast speed. (Gotta love torrents) Burned… And through it in my IBM T23.
Results for me?
WORKED GREAT! Never used Suse before… Got YasT running my wireless card in under 5 minutes.
The only negative I had was how often my CDROM was spinning, sounded like it was going to fly out and kill me. But all and all it looks wonderful.
I’m very excited over Novell’s work with Linux. I keep up with them on a constant basis now.
Never have i used such crap, half the time it got my internet connection up and the other half it wouldnt let me connect, open office wouldnt work, i could not mount my usb mp3 player/hardrive really anoying since it detected it. there were to many problems to use it for anything but a demo to show you what they have, but it failed there to since now i dont have any desire to buy suse 9.2.
the USB hotplugging problem is finally going to be fixed in 9.2? I know that myself and alot of people were pissed to find out that it was a big problem in 9.1. Had to disable supermount, enter stuff in fstab and other workarounds, but never worked like it should’ve. Sucked royally and it was very shocking for many a suse user because it worked beautifully in 9.0
I download kde live one and i like it has best hardware detect I seen in linux where pick up all my hardware on all of pcs and 2 of my pc would not run linux with out patch a lot area of linux like e.g video card and wireless kb but suse 9.2 it pick them all up and even my printer and scanner what is amazing bad part about it is open office does work, Can,t network with windows pc, and it,s hard to get it mount hard disc and other cd rom drivers. but good parts are gui look good, fast, really stable, easy to use and media programs work really good. It is so easy to use I give copy to one of friends who has issue useing linux and has issue do same tasks in windows and after playing with hour he love it. He was burn copys, and was playing with yash. at room I use for media and printing
“you can (allegedly) get a version of SUSE Professional for $11.99
For such prize it must be a pirate copy.”
You can’t “pirate” GPL stuff – it’s perfectly legal to redistribute the Pro version, the money SUSE charge is just for the packaging, manuals, support etc; you can;t charge more than the cost of CD-R’s and postage, but you can sell it.
They don’t offer it for download as they’d prefer people to buy it. But PCTech101 only need to buy one copy to be allowed to redistribute.
SLES9 actually had a “not for redistribution notice” but 9.1 Pro didn’t.
Anyway, if Novell do what they’re threatening, Pro will be free soon, as it will be the “community” version like Fedora.
You can usually get SUSE Pro from eBay for under $12 anyway.
What Gnome-centric distros are there that are easily maintained and have a good source of updated packages?
Go here : http://www.slackware.com
Install what you get on the two CD. Don’t forget gnome
Then, go there http://www.dropline.net
Works better if you install over net. All you have to do from that point is to click on the update icon
> You can’t “pirate” GPL stuff
SUSE 9.2 Pro does not only include GPL stuff (neither LGPL, BSD, Artistic or other Free Software licenses), there are also commercial applications included (those missing from the FTP version).
> it’s perfectly legal to redistribute the Pro version
With SUSE’s authorization, but I doubt it in this case.
> you can;t charge more than the cost of CD-R’s and postage, but you can sell it.
You want to tell me this offer is non-commercial and the vendor doesn’t want to make profit!? :-O
> But PCTech101 only need to buy one copy to be allowed to redistribute.
Again wrong, see above.
> Anyway, if Novell do what they’re threatening, Pro will be free soon
If murder would be allowed tomorrow your today’s kill would be still illegal.
> You can usually get SUSE Pro from eBay for under $12 anyway.
Pirate copies or complete used boxes? What does this change?
The GNOME version of the SuSE Live CD is really poorly made.
The ~/Desktop directory contains some (useless) items from KDE, so while you have GNOME’s Trash folder on the desktop, you also get another one from KDE. This is also the reason why you see “Computer” (from GNOME) and “My Computer” (from SuSEfied KDE). So the desktop is a complete mess.
Also, the SuSE update monitor is KDE-based, so you have kdeinit running in the background and taking up lots of memory (and memory is really valuable when you run a LiveCD).
I feel dissapointed. I would expect something better from a company like Novell.
Kernel panic, PUNT.
System is a stable Dell server 400SC. First version of Linux that crashed hard on startup. Way to go SUSE. Back to Solaris.
I tryed the Gnome version and i am very disaponted.
the desktop is a mess. It is much slower than knoppix or Ubuntu. I am defenetly going to istall a Debian based distro. Libranet, Ubuntu or Linspire ….. whatever supports multimedia the best (Digicam etc)
Is there an FTP install available of SUSE 9.2 yet, and in case of yes where? Tried to install MDK 10.1 from FTP last night but the install failed, some FTP errors/timeout somewere after 90% 🙁 So I wondered perhaps I should try SUSE instead.
How does SUSE 9.2 compare to MDK 10.1 speedwise, I have heard MDK is quite snappy but nothing on SUSE?
… (version 6.1.1) neither the SuSE Live DVD, nor the new Mandrake Move 2.0 CD work: the first ends up with a kernel panic on startup, the second starts with completely distorted graphics (bad resolution). Just as a curiosity, as running live CDs/DVDs on VPC isn’t a vital issue, anyway.
Hopefully, both SuSE 9.2 (Personal) and Mandrake 10.1 (Official) *will* run on VPC – won’t they…? 🙂
> you can;t charge more than the cost of CD-R’s and postage
Yes, you can. I can download a linux distro, rename it “MySplendidLinux” and charge $1.000.000 for the binaries.
However, if you follow the GPL, I don’t think you can sell the source code for more than media and postage.
The difference between the commercial and downloadable sets is usually that the commercial sets have additional non-free stuff (like BRU and others) and free-as-in-beer but not freely distributable stuff (I think RealPlayer, Acrobat Reader and others fit that description).
So before you buy a commercial set and start distributing the isos, check the license for each CD. Most of the time the first X are GLP and the rest aren’t.
Just out of curiosity, why didn’t you leave the MDK installation sitting there and retry later when the FTP site wasn’t so busy? It shouldn’t just die if it loses the server, it’ll let you choose to retry or stop or just skip the packages…if it didn’t, that’s probably a bug, so file it
I’m not quite sure what happend, but it returned to the package selection screen. As I had some mails to send I had to reboot to my old 10,0 install(Nice to have a brand new hdd to play with:-) Wanted to reinstall today, but the installer let me “upgrade” from the 10.1 install which failed. Had to manually install user and set root password, and all the packages was not installed, but I’m up and running now.
As a side note, SUSE 9.2 are not available for FTP install yet. So I have to try it another time. I considered trying Gentoo, but I couldn’t get any of the live CD’s to boot so that’s anotherone for later:-)
Slackware is not .. I repeat not Gnome-centric. In fact Patrick has said he will most likely be removing Gnome (or already has) from the main distro. Thus you will have to use Dropline to get gnome working. A distro isnt gnome-centric if you have to jump through hoops to get the desktop installed.
Ubuntu and Fedora are Gnome-centric .. IE they install it as the default desktop.
Sorry, but straight copies of SUSE 9.2 Pro are not legal because they contain some non GPL software, such as macromedia flash, realplayer, and textmaker… They cannot be redistributed without permission from the copyright holder
weird one, pity you weren’t around to see exactly what happened :/
You probably only needed to change your default gateway so that it would point to the router on the wireless subnet.
here’s my take on the successive SuSE failures :
“R.I.P SuSE GMBH
Down in the early days of Linux, when all was fine, a couple students
in Erlangen created a download service at their UNI , to download linux
floppy images and dd/rawrite them to a set of floppies. I believe they
started with the SLS or MCC Interim distro’s. The Students sold the
floppy sets to anyone who wanted one for a small margin.
Later on they rolled into the creating and rolling, even programming
your own Distro, and a firm called SuSE Engineerung GMBH was started in
Erlangen, south Germany. Soon the SuSE linux Distro was also available
on CD and with the most due respect, these same students started a fine
Open Source Software company based on Linux. Well not all was open
source in the beginning, SuSE created its own management tool, called
YaST (Yet Another Setup Tool).
Story is longer as 8000 chars, so follow the url for the complete analysis