SuSE 9.3: first impressions

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SuSE 9.3: first impressions

Postby Rhakios » Fri Apr 29, 2005 7:39 pm

In the past, some people have expressed an interest in my opinions about the latest version of SuSE, on the off chance that this might still be the case I offer the following.

So far I have installed SuSE 9.3 on two systems: firstly, my Toshiba Satellite 1100 laptop and secondly as a dual boot with Windows XP Home on my brother's 750MHz Athlon PC (produced by Evesham Micros).

It's almost disappointing to report that I have encountered nothing untoward with either installation, this time round the laptop's onboard modem worked first time. Suspend to disk also works, though, as with the previous version, it returns me to a locked desktop, so I need to use my password; I assume this is a "feature". I am not offered suspend to RAM with this hardware.
The limitations you may have read about with regard to mp3 playback can be easily surmounted by installing the multimedia packs available via YOU. This isn't too onerous and there are a number of other useful packages in there as well (such as audacity). It also reminds to to run YaST install/remove software afterwards as there will inevitably be some dependencies that are needed for the new software. I have often thought that SuSE could integrate software installation and update better than they do and this has done nothing to change my mind.

I haven't had much luck with Beagle yet, so I think I need to do a little reading. It would help if it had a button to stop searching.

KDE 3.4 looks good and works well, but then those of you who have updated 9.2 using the unsupported packages SuSE provide will already know that. There are already unsupported update packages for KDE on 9.3 on the mirrors which I have installed on my laptop, but not my brother's computer, I'm still not entirely sure what benefits they offer :?

I hope to try out Xen when I have installed SuSE 9.3 on a somewhat beefier machine.

The dual boot works fine, if you like booting into XP :wink: though I ought to point out that I had done all my partitioning with fdisk before I installed either Windows or Linux. I have had the problem with SuSE messing up the disk's partition table previously, so I'm not keen on using it to resize Windows partitions.

Over all, SuSE 9.3 seems both stable and featureful, with one or two niggles over new software, but then beagle is still alpha. I might have more to write after I get my 64-bit box set up some time this weekend.
Bye, Rhakios
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Postby brian » Fri Apr 29, 2005 9:03 pm

I've not had any problems with it so far. Not tried beagle yet tho. Only thing that I've noticed is that after logging in, it takes a good 30-60 secs to get to a desktop(although this is only a Athlon XP 1600+).

Slightly OT, been trying to backup the dual layer DVD to a single layer due to no DL burner, but not much luck yet. Also not been able to try XEN.

In the odd occasions where you have to boot into windows(or have windows set to the default GRUB option due to others in the house), the option to select which system to boot into while logging out of KDE is quite handy!
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Postby Gordon » Tue May 03, 2005 12:10 am

I think SUSE 9.3 is the best distro yet. I've been running it for just over a week now and the only problems I've had have been due my messing about with the setup, I love to tinker. Not tried Beagle or Xen yet, no need. My box is an Athlon 64 3000+.

I like to try the different distros that take my fancy and the box is set up as a quintuple (5) boot system with a SUSE 32 bit install for running UT2003 (it don't run on 64 bit), a SUSE 64 bit install which I use most of time, Ubuntu 64 bit, Slackware 10.1 and a partly built Linux From Scratch 6 install. One problem I've had with all the SUSE 9.X distros is the failure to build a Linux From Scratch system with it. Don't know why, does anyone? This time round I used Slackware 10.1 for the LFS6 build and had no problems.

SUSE is really great for managing the partition table and the GRUB boot loader. In total I have ten separate partitions, with the five distros spread somewhat haphazardly over them, plus partitions for /home /shared /mp3 /swap and one spare for another distro (any ideas?).

The default KDE theme is really good, the way the buttons fade on the title bars is cool, though I do prefer GNOME for daily use. The problems with MP3 playback/encoding can surely be overcome by re/compiling the correct software set as can DVD playback. Even listening to web radio broadcasts which use .wma files is possible, 'though I must admit I managed this more by luck than skill.

For me SUSE offers the best value OS that you can buy. I've found that I don't need to look for much extra software after a SUSE install and 9.3 is the best yet. The only thing I could gripe about is the lack of the jed editor (see http://www.jedsoft.org/jed/ ).
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Postby nelz » Tue May 03, 2005 7:49 am

You probably don't have the -devel RPMs installed that provide the files needed when compiling.
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." (Albert Einstein)
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Postby Gordon » Tue May 03, 2005 6:12 pm

I have almost all the devel RPM's installed. The only ones which are not installed are those which cause dependency conflicts. I can actually compile parts of LFS but at some point, usually binutils gcc or glibc in chapter 5, I begin to get error messages and I usually find that my SUSE install gets messed up as well. It could be a typo on my part. Anyway I built LFS6 using Slackware 10.1 as the host with no probs.

Gonna start a new Linux From Scratch topic.

Thanks.
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Re: SuSE 9.3: first impressions

Postby Marrea » Sun Jun 12, 2005 2:56 pm

Rhakios wrote:In the past, some people have expressed an interest in my opinions about the latest version of SuSE, on the off chance that this might still be the case I offer the following.


Rhakios
As I was one of those people, I thought I would just quickly say I have read through your comments on 9.3 with interest. (A bit slow catching up with some of the postings on this forum as, being a recent convert to OS X courtesy of the delightful little Mac Mini, I have been away studying the MacFormat forums recently.)

Glad to hear 9.3 generally seems to be pretty good. I think I have more or less decided to stick with 9.2 though until ?9.4/10.0 comes out - basically because installing new operating systems is always rather time-consuming and I prefer to be using the various applications rather than constantly chopping and changing distros. Which is why I'm still plodding away with FC2 as well.
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RE: Re: SuSE 9.3: first impressions

Postby nordle » Sun Jun 12, 2005 3:54 pm

Marrea, you got me wondering, how long do you stick with an install? How long does anyone stick with an install in the home environment? I've sort of disscounted a work install because they tend to suffer from far less abuse, ie are installed from a disk iamge and not touched again apart from possible patching.

I ask because I used to re-install Win32 every 4-6mths because it would fill up with junk from my installs and become bloated, horribly slow and prone to crashing.

So far this install started with slack 10 around 3-MAY-04, so just over 13 months and survived weekly upgrades through 10.1 and to keep it in line with current-version. I've installed hundreds of custom packages and it all seems to be ticking along pretty good......damn it, where some wood when you need it! :)
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RE: Re: SuSE 9.3: first impressions

Postby Nigel » Sun Jun 12, 2005 4:32 pm

I've been using SuSE 9.2 since November 2004, when I got a new machine. My previous machine had been running SuSE 8.2 since about July 2003 (and still is - I moved it into the office to act as a test machine), before that SuSE 7.2 for around the same amount of time.
That's my main home machine, the one I use every day and keep stuff I care about on. I've played with other distros on spare machines in between times, but haven't (yet) found anything I prefer.
Hope this helps,

Nigel.
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RE: Re: SuSE 9.3: first impressions

Postby Rhakios » Sun Jun 12, 2005 5:31 pm

It seems I never wrote the follow up, but to answer nordle's question: these days I usually update when a new version comes along, so that's about every 6 or so months with SuSE.

Incidentally, I got beagle to work, it seems my problems stemmed from a dependency not being automatically installed. It's interesting, but obviously still a work in progress and it does seem to make the machine work quite hard. I still haven't tried Xen though, after a lot of reading up I don't think it would be of much use to me.
Bye, Rhakios
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Re: RE: Re: SuSE 9.3: first impressions

Postby Marrea » Sun Jun 12, 2005 5:51 pm

nordle wrote:Marrea, you got me wondering, how long do you stick with an install? How long does anyone stick with an install in the home environment?

nordle

In order of purchase:

Tiny desktop, Pentium II, 450MHz, bought October 1998
Originally just Windows 98 (reinstalled about three times, still using), then dual booting with:
Mandrake 9.0, April 2003
Mandrake 9.1, May 2003
SuSE 8.2, June 2003
Fedora Core 2, July 2004 (still using)

Toshiba Satellite 1800-921 laptop, Pentium III, 1.1GHz, bought April 2002
Runs Windows XP only (never reinstalled, still using)

Evesham desktop, Pentium 4, 2.53GHz, bought December 2002
Runs Windows XP only (never reinstalled, still using)

HP Pavilion ze4505ea, Celeron, 2.4GHz, bought December 2003
Originally just Windows XP (reinstalled once, still using), then dual booting with:
SuSE 9.0, December 2003 (couple of weeks after purchase) (reinstalled once)
SuSE 9.2, January 2005 (still using)

Basically I never reinstall any operating system unless I've messed something up (as I did frequently when first starting with Linux back in 2003 and hadn't quite got the hang of partitioning and dual booting!). I never install programs just to "try them out". Call me unadventurous if you like, but I only install programs I really think I am going to want and, once on, they stay on. I firmly believe it's all this installing and uninstalling which creates the gradual slowing down of Windows, when various bits get left behind on uninstall, clogging up the system.

As regards Linux, as you will see so far I've only tried two versions of Mandrake, three versions of SuSE and one of Fedora. I just didn't take to Mandrake. Don't know why - just didn't like the look of it really. SuSE and Fedora I really like. I keep them pretty much up to date most of the time with YaST and Up2Date respectively - and they don't seem to have slowed down at all since they were originally installed.

I'd love to experiment more with different distros but my job keeps me out of the house for a minimum of 12 hours each weekday (I commute to London from Hertfordshire) and there are other demands on my time at the weekend, which is why I'm still currently just using SuSE 9.2 and FC2. They both work fine. If I changed one or both of them for, eg, Xandros or Ubuntu or Gentoo (dream on - I don't think I'm quite ready to tackle the latter), I might well end up having to spend ages getting them up and running the way I want them. So old fuddy duddy that I am, I stick to what I've got, because I know they work.
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