Suse 10.1 Review

This latest installment of Suse has undergone a significant change from version 10.0. The new 10.1 is tieing in features like Xen Virtualization, and bits and pieces of Novell Desktop which is their flagship distribution when it comes to the work environment.

The changes are somewhat welcoming, but it might be drastic for those who are a bit shaky with Linux and got the hang of 10.0 and upgraded to 10.1; as we will see later in the review.

Installation

Suse
10.1 comes as 6 CDs or 1 DVD and supports both x86 and x86-64 (AMD 64,
Intel EMT64) as well as PPC versions which support G3, G4 and G5
processors.Suse loading screen

Installation
is quite easy, once you burn the CDs or DVD, you just reboot your
computer and install from there. You’ll be greeted with the
installation screen where you can choose the fail safe mode if you are
having a problem with installing, or you choose regular mode.

You
are given an option after you select the language you want whether you
want to upgrade Suse (if you have a previous version installed) or you
want to do a new installation. The new installation will wipe off your
previous version and start to install on the partition that was
previously occupied. If you are wanting to dual boot, you will have the
option of using Suse’s built in disk partitioner to setup the hard
drive the way you want it to have Suse co-exist with the other
operating system.

Once that part
is complete you can choose your desktop, KDE or Gnome or another
desktop environment that comes with Suse. From there its basic
installation settings with the partition software being installed and
the language before you give it the final OK to start the installation
procedure which will be formatting the hard drive or partition and then
copying the files over.

Once that is done you have to insert
your hostname, although this is confusing for new people just name your
computer and put the workgroup name in the next part. This somewhat
simplified the setup in a work environment where you have a domain and
many computers, but if you network with another computer verify the
workgroup name. Then you’ll be asked for the root password, make sure
its something good but not hard to remember because it is a pain to
change the root password since it is needed for updates, installation
of software and other things. Once that is done, you could setup your
Internet connection, which is quite easy if you’re using a router, and
then after check for online updates. You then will be able to setup
your user account(s) and then you’re practically finished with your
setup.

Once you restart your system
gone are the days of a green splash screen by default and the new
starting screen with the little dots going around are somewhat
reminiscent of Mac OS X.

Software Packages

The
software that is installed is dependant on what desktop you use, but it
should be similar to what KDE and GNOME offer in compatible packages
for example FireFox and OpenOffice as your browser and office suite
respectively. The default install of KDE (which is 3.5.1) comes with a
lot of packages since it does weigh in at a staggering 2.4GB, although
you should be able to change whatZen Installer you want during the install.

There
are a few games that came installed when choosing the default like
SuperTux, X-Moto, and the ever popular FreeCiv and more. On the
graphics side, there are a few programs included, the ever popular
GIMP, for your digital camera photos and photography you have digiKam,
for scanning you have Kooka, for Vector graphics there is OpenOffice
Draw and lastly for viewing images you have Gwenview.

For
Internet, you have FireFox and Konqueror as your main browsers and
Kontact for your mail client as well as Kopete for instant messaging
and more. For your multimedia purposes, there has been included Real
Player, Kaffeine for watching movies, amaroK for your music collection
and listening to MP3s and much more.

YaST Control Center

YaST
Control Center has for the most part remained the same since version
10. For a description of what each function does in the Control Center,
check out our Suse 10 review .

The newest feature here is the Add-on Product option. You can install software from a URL, via FTP, a CD, DVD and more.

YaST
Control Center is still quite powerful and gives users a lot of options
to check out and is quite informative if you have a piece of hardware
that might not be working up to spec. You can easily add new hardware
and change options from Control Center and Novell has done a great job
at maintaining the simplicity and usefulness of Control Center.

Configuration

Though
there have been some changes, mainly with the installation, the one
major change that happened from a user standpoint is YaST is no longer
the installer for RPM files. Suse has implmented zen. Before when you
downloaded an RPM file to install you were given the option of YaST to
install it for you, not you will be greeted with zen-installer. Zen, not to be confused with Xen which is virtualization, is the new installer, uninstaller and updater for Suse 10.1.

Zen is trying to make it easier for people to install and remove
software, something that has given Ubuntu an advantage in Synaptic, and
Zen is getting up there with ease of use, although some improvements
can be made. Software installation can either be done by DVD/CDs of
Suse or downloaded from the web. The source that is being used to
download from the web is the same ones that are listed in Installation
Source in YaST Control Center.

Everything such as changing the resolution, screen saver, etc. has not
been altered in 10.1. To install and configure your videocard, SaX2 is
still used.

Conclusion

Suse is once again trying to keep its clients happy with their latest
offerings in Suse 10.1. Although not much has changed to the user, but
Xen has been better implemented and XGL (X over OpenGL) which makes
your desktop do really neat 3D things has also been included.

The only problem I see is with the installation, it has changed quite a
bit in the respect of configuration. Some people who are new to Suse
might get confused on hostname, although this is not done by purpose, I
see where Novell is going with this and trying to maybe merge Novell
Desktop with Suse so its easier to maintain one distro and not two.

Zen
has been an improvement with its ease of use to install and remove
programs as well as updating your system. The only other downfall I saw
with Suse 10.1 when it was released was that KDE and GNOME were already
outdated, sometimes just updating that you lose the “feel” that
encompasses Suse 10.1.

Thanks to Source Web Site: gnuman.com

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