2008 is proving to be a banner year for Linux distributions; so far we've seen Ubuntu 8.04 and Fedora 9, both of which go a long way toward making Linux painless for newbies. You can now add OpenSUSE, the community-driven sequel to Novell's SUSE Linux distribution, to the list of significant releases. Version 11.0 of OpenSUSE is …
The fonts still look the same - i.e. crap. Although at least the clock isn't rendered using that hideous 80s digital font and coloured bright green, as is the default in some distros. I find it both hilarious and ironic that a common mod for linux is to ditch the usual wiry, poorly rendered offerings and install Windows TrueType fonts.
It's a shame you didn't mention Mandriva 2008.1 Spring in your opening gambit.
It's release has resulted in some very favourable reviews and it is, in my biased opinion, one of the more polished distros out there!
Well done to Suse tho'. This also looks like another good step for the Free software community at large :)
RE: Fonts and Nvidia
The latest agfa fonts that come with OpenSuse 11 aren't bad at all, almost Windows TT compatible - I never bothered installing Windows fonts of OpenSuse 10.3 and I doubt I will here too.
Bit of the error in the article - the Nvidia drivers are as easy to Install as the other non-oss software mentioned on Page 1.
Its a One-Click YAST Meta Install available at http://en.opensuse.org/Nvidia#openSUSE_10.3_and_openSUSE_11.0
I am so tired of the FUD about Linux fonts - take an early bath, Anonymous Coward.
That's one complaint I have about most Linux distros I've tried - if only they used better fonts it'd look so much better. I dislike Ubuntu's default brown theme but if you just change the fonts it looks a million times less... err... amateurish. It's simple things like that which put me off of Linux, it could so easily be fixed... even some of the fonts provided (but not used in the UI) would be a ton better.
Come on guys, you want Linux desktops, you gotta put some effort into making them look usable.
I wondered why downloads from opensuse.org were so slow---
---when I tried to download 10.3 a couple hours ago.
And now I'm left wondering why 11 wasn't (and still isn't as of five minutes ago) on the download page.
Re: I wondered why downloads from opensuse.org were so slow---
I believe it officially goes on the download page tomorrow.
At least part of the problem with wireness, etc, is that the various Linux camps seem to want to emulate Microsoft's extremely heavy-handed font hinting in their default installs, but the hinting programs included in the free fonts aren't up to much. I recently tried Ubuntu and found that turning ClearType-style subpixel drawing on and hinting off gave a much more acceptable look. Though still a little rubbish against OS X's brilliant typography. They seem to beat Microsoft on important things like more universal pair kerning that long time computer users have been trained not to be so fussy about but people that often work with printed media are slightly put off by, even if they can't explain why.
Hmm..more Novell bashing!
Nice review, but I am getting a little tired of the Novell bashing whenever SUSE is mentioned. So what they have a deal with Microsoft? It's helping get Linux into places it wouldn't have gotten before.
Also, Novell pay the bills of open source folks such as Meeks, Reveman (XGL creator), Friedman, Bockover etc, guys who really contribute and have visionary ideas. Get off Novell's case or pick on Red Hat and Canonical as much. No-one's perfect, but would Linux be where it is now without Novell? I think probably not.
If you dislike Microsoft (like me) and you are ethically opposed to any dealings with them, choose another distro. That's the beauty of open source. As for me, I want a good distro backed up by a healthy community and support for my business platforms as and when I need it. Novell can do that for me.
biggest advantage over ubuntu
... is that it lets you log in and work as ROOT.
None of this nannying around with sudo every time you want to do something significant.
This is good news indeed.
I tried 10.3 and got stuck with RPM and all that cr@p. Obviously I had no time to read any manuals in my desperation to get off XP SP3 which had screwed up my home network completely!
Whilst I ended up with Ubuntu 7.10 (after downgrading from the un-ready 8.04), it really is, sorry to say, aimed at a bunch of computer newbies who have never seen the light of XP in Africa or wherever else they live, or are unfortuantely so poor that they run old kit and can't afford Windows - or the kit can't run a decent distribution of Linux. Cluncky ubuntu or what !!??
Now that Novell 11 is out, I look forward to it's ease of use for this 30-year-experienced-IT guru (really an idiot - me).
Otherwise I might just go for the very pretty Freespire and ignore their lack of decent extra apps via their cr@p and commercial CNR site.
As for Mandriva - its nearly as expensive as XP !!!
Paris, because I am sure she would like a pretty-looking free OS like Freespire so she can watch her videos in privacy - no danger of spyware grabbing them and uploading them to You Tube for the world to see. she can then spend the buks saved on Freespire by renting me as her Linux boy.
Woohoo!!! The installer is the slickest setup app this side of Mac OS X
OMG!!!! I'm going to install SUSE over and over just to take in the installer! WTF do Linux reviews always concentrate so much n the installer? Who gives a crap? Ubuntu have got it right, launch to live CD then double click an application to get stuff copied to the HDD. I mean seriously, who gives a crap about the installer, you see it once.
Paris Hilton because even she knows how to install Linux on a three year old Toshiba laptop, and dual boot it with XP and futhermore Paris Hilton because she also knows all Linux will fail except Ubuntu.
As for Mandriva - it's nearly as expensive as XP !!!
They're giving XP away for free now??? Microsoft must be worried ....
I've used openSUSE for the past 3 years and I look forward to using openSUSE 11. openSUSE is certainly one of the most polished OSs out there, well done Novell!
The installer is the first thing you see
and the attention span of the average PC bod is such that if the installer is sh*t and the OS is brill, tough look, the OS gets no votes.
I've been a Linux user of various distros since RH4 Suse 8 some Mandrake I forget and a few others too. Suse is the one that I keep coming back to, and the one that I will recommend to others who may ask.
Hopefully 11 will be a continued improvement on 10.3, which wasn't bad at all.
Both of OpenSUSE 11's live CD's (Gnome and KDE 4 flavours) have the ability to do an Ubuntu style install (including the pretty stuff seen in the screenshots).
The only downside of that approach is the Live CD has an Ubuntu-like restricted set of packages, and not the everything+kitchen-sink amount of packages that the DVD release has.
Personally, I've disliked my experiences with Ubuntu, which I found limited my abilities to do what I wanted, from the nonsense with Sudo, to the smaller selection of packages available.
Choosing a distro is always going to be a case of personal taste, but I think OpenSuse 11, LiveCD or DVD, is going to be right up there with Ubuntu, if not an Ubuntu beater.
@ AC- WhooHoo
As linux comes to the masses so the trolls come to linux ...
Ubuntu has lot wrong with it, anyone with the slightest experience of multiple linux distros would recommend either Mandriva or OpenSuse above Ubuntu. Getting the installer right is pretty critical if you don't want people to give up on the distro before they've even started.
Ubuntu have the installer very wrong, it's painfully slow and memory hungry compared to other distros which skip the whole live CD business.
Ubuntu is just the flavour of the month, a fashion accessory and it's strongest advocates are those who have come from distros like Debian, Gentoo and Fedora (or newbies). It's popularity won't last once people experiment with other, better distros. I hate the distro wars, I'm waiting for the time when instead distros start merging themselves combining the best features of each, Ubuntu may bring something of value to that super-distro, but less than most.
others distros with silly pop up balloons and clickety pointy nonsense are for wimps who bellyache constantly about fonts..
Wow, for a site that likes to call us open sauce weenies and freetards, I was rather pleased to see this fair, interesting and unbiased review of the operating system that I will be installing tomorrow when it is released. I'm on 10.3 now.
Can we have more articles that don't treat us like scum-sucking bottom feeders? After all, we're not journalists ...
I read El Reg daily, but I imagine a lot of people don't because of the bias of most of the contributors against FOSS.
RE: biggest advantage over ubuntu
Well, you can set up a root account in Ubuntu in no time - just open the terminal, type "sudo su", enter your password and you are running as root. Then just type "passwd" and create a standard root account...
YaST = Yet another SHITTY Tool we are going to force you to use like it or not.
Mine is the one with the CentOS and Ubuntu boot cds to nuke all the SuSE installs
Does OpenSuse support Wubi installs?
I only use Linux to test PAWS cross-platform ability. Hardy Heron's wubi install lets me do that without the hassles of partitioning, it's a lot like the last version of BeOS that way.
Do any of the other major distros have that, or just HH?
Re: biggest advantage over ubuntu
You can work as root in Ubuntu if you want. It's not hard to enable either. They've chosen to hide it because for the majority of users there is absolutely no reason whatsoever they need to run as root, and if they do... well they'll know how to enable it for themselves.
Most dists are still stuck in the mindset that people need their all-powerful root. So ingrained is it that virtually every dist will ask you for a root password during installation, but creating regular users is optional. This encourages unsafe computing so its no wonder Ubuntu did away with it.
It's these sorts of things that Linux has to address if it wants to conquer the desktop.
11.0 is rather nice
Having long ago outgrown the "my distro is my religion" phase, I am hugely entertained by the aggressive posturing of the Ubuntu hit squads. I really don't like Gnome, and since Kubuntu is possibly the worst KDE distro out there, I've never bought into the Ubuntumania that seems de rigeur in the FLOSS world.
That said, chacun à son goût, and if Gnome and Ubuntu rock your world, go for it. Why that compels you to wax rabid and froth at the mouth over other distros is beyond me. It's interesting to see the contempt for factual reality that this canonisation of Ubuntu generates, such as in the claim that one is "forced to use YaST, like it or not". That's simply not true, as the many satisfied zypper users will verify.
I'm an intermediate Linux user who started with Mandrake 6.x, and I think that OpenSuse 11.0 comes closest to the "just works" status than any other distro I've tried. It's also obviously very much better for my emotional and spiritual development,.It leaves me calm, serene and happily able to welcome the use of other distros by other people, wheras it seems that ranting angrily against the evil inadequacies of all distros is required by the Ubuntu EULA.
I have to wonder where the enthusiasm for zypper and yast comes from. From a cursory fiddle, maybe, noting what a brill idea they both seem to be, without actually trying to use them for anything?
Yes, they are both quite good ideas, but zypper has never worked properly despite many updates and most SUSE users ditch it as soon as they realise what a load of carp it is. The problems you suffered sound typical - the bugs are obviously still there. Online update in yast is far more reliable.
And while yast is a useful place to collect most of the settings, it's so hopelessly buggy that you often end up editing a config file anyway.
That said, I really like SUSE and use it most of the time, but despite zypper and yast, not because of them.
"Ubuntu has lot wrong with it, anyone with the slightest experience of multiple linux distros would recommend either Mandriva or OpenSuse above Ubuntu."
3 years ago I used to be a Mandrake user, moved to Fedora and am now using Ubuntu - you know nothing about me and I'll not have you comment for me as "anyone with the slightest experience of multiple linux distros". Express *your* opinion, don't try to express mine.
Paris - because she doesn't try to put words in other peoples mouths.
Nice to see Mandriva getting a mention. It has quietly become the most user friendly distro around.
@Cavehomme: Get out of your cave every now and then and you might learn that Mandriva is as free as you want it to be.
The Big Little Question
Does it have EEE-native drivers?
Or do we need to do the horrid oh-shit-wireless-won't-work dance?
@Fonts By "Anonymous Coward"
Call me strange, but I haven't bothered to install the fonts from my (optional) windows partition into my pclinuxos system and I actually like the way the fonts look compared to when I use (extremely rare these days now) windows.
But, then AC, your days of Linux are probally from when you attempted to install redhat5.2, deeply scarred, you were turned into a permanent Linux hater and have never looked at it again in an impartial way.
I call your bluff AC or should that be STEVEN HEWITT.
biggest advantage over ubuntu
... is that it lets you log in and work as ROOT.
None of this nannying around with sudo every time you want to do something significant.
Well, Pete, have you ever tried running 'sudo su -'? Magic! Or if you want default Windows insecure behaviour, you can create a root password (sudo passwd root) and use that.
If you want to log into the GUI with root (even more insecure, and I'm sure someone of your l33t skills wouldn't want to), you can edit the kde or gnome config file and set allowrootlogon = true (or something similar).
From experience I'm not going to judge a distro until it's (a) actually released and (b) has about a month worth of use so the patches are up to date. I switched long time ago from RH to SuSE and then OpenSuSE - but that's because it matches what *I* need. I also run an Ubuntu desktop but I'm halfway between desktop and server for my needs and OpenSuSE seems to be right on the mark.
I'm looking forward to it.
Re: The Big Little Question
The EeePC native stuff is not on the install media, but it is waiting for you in the Build Service. Instructions here:
Mandriva 2008 One is great
I've tested all the top distros SUSE is ok - Ubuntu is good - Fedora can be a little frustrating. SUSE 10.3 couldn't handle Nvidia drivers worth a shit - and its not fixed in 11.0 --- WTF sounds like a MSFT moment.
I recently loaded Mandriva - very easy install -- and the best surprise -- all ACPI functions actually reliably work out of the chute. Its a great release -- AND ITS FREE !
Zypper Woes and the Definition of 'News'
I think it's sloppy to blow up a fixed problem in a release candidate into a "major issue" with a subhead. If the article focused on the release candidate, fair enough, but since the review is of the finished item this gives the impression that Zypper has fundamental problems. Which it doesn't - I'd be surprised if it doesn't get adopted by other distros (at least as libzypp) as part of yum and apt.
Also the author skipped reviewing KDE because "it's in a transitional phase". I am biased (on the KDE team at openSUSE) but I understand a transition from old to new to be the very stuff news stories are made of. Do I spot a bit of personal preference showing there?
I've played with the RC Releases a little as i'm a long term OpenSUSE user. Felt nice, but was using KDE 4 and it did have a few annoying bugs. Full release should be rather nice to have set up so I can just leave the server up and running for 6 months plus and ignore it again. At the moment it's running Server 2003, and remembering the weekly reboots is a pain.
In praise of UBUNTU!
I personally really like Ubuntu and it is now most definately my OS of choice.
I am not surprised that some people dont get on with it, OSes are pretty much a fashion descision these days. But I find some the reasons given here for disliking it a little odd.
"None of this nannying around with sudo " .... well I do significant stuff on big servers for a living and its years (2002?) since I had a root password for anything at work any well run shop gives people the appropriate "sudo" priviledges and very rarely the root password. Whats more its very easy to enable "root" as a login user if you really want the ability to trash your system with a simple typo.
The "brown" thing ... it takes seconds to change themes if you dont like it. I didnt like it to start with, but, its actaully quite erganomic and intuative. The brown background is very easy on tired eyes and the things taht dont particulary matter when you are working -- like the background, widow frame etc. are in a a low key doesnt matter sort of color.
Good idea for an El Reg competition though "Name those Browns".
Gibbon Guts, Heron Roadkill, Africrap, Shuttlesh*t come to mind.
How does SUSE force you to use YAST? It's a computer management tool that centralises every single config so you don't have to keep dotting about your system locating all the different bits in order to set up your system. However if you want to do that then you can, it doesn't break anything.
Every time I read negative comments about Suse it's usually based on an incorrect assumption or simply BS.
Although I prefer CentOS on the server I think OpenSUSE is by far the most polished distro for the desktop.
Funny how articles like this bring out all the fan boys of the various OS's. Whine whine whine, my computer's better than yours, my distros cooler than that, whine whine whine.
I think some of the readership here really needs some help.
The article is about what openSuSE 11 offers, not whether it's better than one distro or another.
I'd like to see an update with the following tests:
Upgrade from a 10.x install that has seen some use.
Recording from a microphone and getting it into WINE.
Suse and Nvidia
Re "SUSE 10.3 couldn't handle Nvidia drivers worth a shit -" What was the NVidia card you had trouble with? I've had 10.3 since October last year, and found the 1-click install of the NVidia driver worked flawlessly. Ditto for the 1-click install in 11.0RC2, which I've had for the last week or so.
Paris because she needs new drivers.
Does this version pass the final ultimate test?
Does it work straight after install 100% with Broadcomm wireless chipsets in 90% of laptops?
No excuses of "yes it will but you need this version, that version, recompile this driver and hack this that and the other!" That isnt good enough.
Can I install this distro and my laptop will simply connect to the internet using wireless?
Every Linux distro I've used so far fails this simple test everytime and therefore renders it useless in my opinion. I really want to seriously try this route but until it 'just works' it aint going to.
Thanks for an interesting article
I started using Linux with Suse many years ago to keep my Unix skills current. I actually paid for a boxed set - no broadband then.
I then moved to Mandrake (now Mandriva) and have used Slackware, Knoppix, DSL and Fedora on-and-off. Now I use Ubuntu, and have it dual booting on a couple of machines and alone on my server. (I used to dual boot that too, but since I changed the motherboard Windows blue-screens on boot up - Ubuntu complained a bit but carried on working)
I like Ubuntu, I even got used to Gnome, though I changed the theme on the first two machines.
Maybe it is time to take a look at OpenSuse again.
Oi! OSS Projects
Stop using stupid names, it makes you look unprofessional and inhibits the uptake of OSS, especially in big business.
YaST (Don't call your own package awsome)
Yum (how are you supposed to know what that does?)
Gimp (nuff said)
My SQL (sounds rather toytown)
Qt (it's not Quicktime, don't use their initials)
Also, why is yet another installer actually needed? It is this sort of fragmentation of linux that makes it hard to uptake, when there are different commands and different file structures on each distro it just makes it more daunting for the newbie.
Yes, but will my Intellimouse work?
I've tried several distros of late and would love to switch over to one as my default OS. Unfortunately I keep coming up against the same problem - I can't get my Intellimouse explorer (with the extra back / forward buttons) to work!
No amount of googling and file editing has resolved this, so I end up thinking 'God, if it's this hard just to get a couple of buttons working, anything remotely advanced must be a nightmare' and go crawling back to M$ within a few hours.
More drivers please people!
Never noticed much of an El Reg bias against FOSS - have you listened to the OSS podcasts with people like Shuttleworth contributing etc. etc.?? They piss everyone off equally and don't suffer fools gladly - it's their job!!
They just tell it how they see it and allow us to comment if we don't agree. Seems fair enough to me.
@Jason, @Oi OSS Projects
All I can tell you is that Broadcomm is now in the Linux kernel and that that it worked out of the box for a Dell on openSUSE 10.3
@Oi OSS Projects
YaST has been part of SUSE since at least 6.1 (start of my usage, about 10 years ago) at that time Linux was more about Unix than it was about Joe User, and continued an in-joke "Yet another"* Now it's just the control centre for openSUSE. Do you confuse/irritate the user base by renaming it or do you wait for new users (in KDE, anyway) to click on "computer" -> "administration" -> "software" and then not notice the tool is called YaST?
*as a search on Google with Unix and "yet another" reveals.
@ Paul McHugh
I don't know anything about the intellimouse but I do know about an online article dated 2005
So if this really is the only blocker, and you really have used a distro since Slackware 2.0, you might find that looking there gives you what you need (or, I imagine, use any distro released since 2006).
Actually we are a huge Novell customer and we try to avoid SuSE as much as possible. We have even gone as far as installing SuSE10, installing <novell product>, then ripping off the binaries and required libs and run it on CentOS.
YaST (not sure the version but it seems to reappear every now and then) has a documented bug (with Novell support) that if you just start YaST and do not change ANYTHING it will sometimes overwrite your custom changes. This is why we rename the yast binaries on all out SuSE boxen. Red Hat ditched Linuxconf years ago for this same reason.
YaST needs to die, it is bloated and buggy and a steaming pile of crap!
Check the context next time you see the word 'freetard' in a Reg article. I think you'll find it has little to do with FOSS. Also I think you mistake El Reg's anti-useless-pish bias for an anti-OSS bias.
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