My thoughts on Suse 10.1

November 12, 2006 at 9:34 pm Leave a comment

Recently, I purchased a Linux Magazine that comes with Suse 10.1 I have used other Linux disto but have never used Suse before. I decided to try it out and install the disto on two different machine.

  1. Asus K7V – Athlon 700 Mhz, 1 Gb, 40 Gb HD, DVD-RW, 3DFX Voodoo3 Graphics Card, USB 2.0 card, Generic sound card, 3Com Ethernet 10/100
  2. Compaq Presario 906us – Athlon XP 1500+, 256 Mb, 80 Gb HD, DVD-ROM/CD-RW, Compaq W200 wireless. This machine is very Linux unfriendly, it often crash many linux disto on installation.

Installation

Both took roughly 45 minutes to install. Compare to installing windows, this is pretty quick. The installer was easy to follow. As a bonus, Suse’s partition tool can actually resize partition so if your machine already has XP on it, you can easily resize it and make it a dual boot. However, the resize seemed a bit buggy. When I attempted to resize the windows partition, the program said it would resize the other linux partition to match. Instead of resizing, it just dumped the linux partition, forcing you to enter them manually.

Hardware detection is quite good. On the Asus, it managed to detect everything. The drives come with DMA/33 for the DVD and DMA/66 for the hard disk. However, I notice that I could not get 3D to work on the Voodoo card (I once had it working in Slackware). On the Presario, it managed to enable dual video and 3D. However, the DVD only came up as DMA/16. In addition, the modem (a winmodem) and wireless were not detected.

ACPI worked on both machine so I was able to do a hibernation on both machines.

Configuration

Configuration turns out to be quite frustrating. I attempted to register using the instruction in the read me file, but it didn’t work, so I didn’t bothered to registered.

Suse has their own package tool call YAST. YAST looked great initially. It was pretty easy to add a data source, but the YAST tool is so horribly slow. It took 10 minutes to update the database. It’s also a bit buggy. On my task bar is an exclamation indicator telling me that there are updates. When I attempt to install them, I get an error message complaining about dependencies involving libzypp. After googling a bit, I found a post suggesting that I use the Online Update from the YAST control panel instead and it worked.

Later on, I attempted to install libdvdcss2 rpm to play DVD. Suse suggested that I use Zenworks, which did not worked at all. I ended up installing KPackage and using that to install the rpm.

I later attempted to link to my Windows shared printer via the SMB Client (apparently named Windows Domain Membership, but it didn’t work until I turned off the firewall. I even set up the firewall so that it allow for Samba service, so it’s not clear why firewall would disable the SMB features. Reading various post online indicated I am not the only one having this problem.

Usability

The screen is quite beautiful with its default blue color screen. Everything seems to work. I was able to connect to my USB key drive and copy files. Kopete successfully communicated with my Windows Messager on XP. Digikam successfully connected to my Fuji FinePix camera. Kmail easily grab mail from my ISP. For productivity, Suse 10.1 comes with Office 2.03 and Firefox 1.5.

Unfortunately, Suse did not come with multimedia packages. MP3 and Mpeg will not play out of the box. I end up installing them using YAST only to find that libdvdcss2 is not in the repositories. I ended up downloading a rpm for it.

Speed was pretty good even for a AMD 700 Mhz machine. The only time performance is lagging was when YAST is involved.

Conclusion

Suse is probably one of the nicest disto I have tried. It works well out of the box and has most of the software that everyone needs. However, until they fix YAST, I don’t I would recommend it. Other disto have packages that works much better.

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Entry filed under: linux.

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