A switch from Kubuntu to OpenSuse 10.2January 10, 2007 at 4:04 pm | Posted in Kubuntu, openSuse, Review, Ubuntu | 55 Comments
I don’t know what made me do it. Maybe I’m not as big of a blinded fanboy as i think of myself at times. I love free software and Ubuntu’s philosophy. They have THE BEST community on the web in terms of getting aid. There are more blogs, forums, irc rooms, mailling lists, tutorials, videos, and wiki’s documenting everything possible for Ubuntu it’s pathetic. I also, am not a happy camper with Novell recently. And yes, opensuse is getting guilt by association here. They’ve royally made me pretty angry and I’ve kept up with the MS deal and slowly watching them become the next SCO. In other words, i’m not much for the “mixed source” company. I do see advantages in providing MS Office support, increased virtualization support, etc. But they should’ve found a way to do it that didn’t violate the spirit of the GPL.
I’ve tried Redhat 8 and 9, Fedora 5 (which found i far too sluggish). I’ve played with PC-BSD, Gentoo on PPC, FreeBSD, Ubuntu/Xubuntu/Kubuntu 5.10 through 6.10. I needed something new. And i just couldn’t resist all the experiences i’ve heard about opensuse 10.2.
And they were right. It’s a beautiful OS.
The DVD iso downloaded in a mere few hours. The install went smooth, though a little long. I got irritated because it kept wanting to install on my second hard-drive and i was unable to find an option to not do that. So i had to start over and unplug the drive until it was installed.
The 2nd problem I ran into was immediately upon booting up. Novell, like Fedora, being somewhat of a corporate leaning distro, I expected my video card to work off that bat. It didn’t. In fact, my entire xorg.conf was blank. Yes you heard right. Blank. Good thing i had my xorg.conf saved from ubuntu, and thank god it was compatible with this install.
Taking a Look Around
I was happy to see Novell App Armor included with the install as I’ve been wanting that or Red Hat’s SE Linux again, which just isn’t all that pragmatic in an Ubuntu machine. Also happy to see the new Kickstart menu system for KDE was installed as well.
But the first that that struck me upon logging in, was speed. I chose the KDE desktop install and upon clicking on a multitude of apps (Konsole, Firefox, Konqueror, Kontact, Gaim, Koffice, amarok, ktorrent, etc) and all opened amazingly fast in comparison to kubuntu. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was definately impressed, but then again, I’ve been told that Kubuntu was rather sluggish out of the box, and still sluggish after running BUM.
I haven’t quite figured out the firewall as of yet. I’m begining to miss Firestarter already. The only way I’ve currently found to connect to my girlfriend’s shared drives on her Windows box is to simply turn the firewall off when i need to access them. I cannot see a place to open a port for a particular IP address, or even for a particular service for samba. I’m sure this is my own idiocy though, but we could chalk this up to minus 1 on the user friendly side.
Adding Software and Documentation
Yast, is a pretty nice package manager, but I don’t like it as much as Synaptic. It’s a bit too slow starting up. I haven’t gotten around to really exploring SMART as of yet. Compared to Fedora the installation of packages runs fairly fast for an rpm distro. This includes packages both from the repo and manually downloaded.
Ubuntu has a plethora of documentation throughout the interweb (enough to choke some tubes even), on how to install certain software, where to locate restricted format support (codecs, java, fonts, etc). Then again, Suse came with nvidia drivers, it came with Macromedia Flash support (and is far better integrated out of the box than i ever got it to work in Ubuntu. This goes for Konqueror, Firefox and Opera.), and java. I just needed the gstreamer files, w32codecs, microsoft and apple fonts, etc..
It took a great while for me to find documentation where to get them and stupid me, i didn’t even bookmark it. But i got it to work, I was just suprised not to see their forums littered with HowTo’s, wiki’s showing you step by step how to get things fully operational as a desktop. Community support just isn’t as widespread and when i come across something i don’t know off the top of my head with this distro, it’ll probably take me a while longer.
I wrote a blog a while ago about a week with KDE applications, and i’m not going to rehash the entire thing, but upon using Suse I see most of my criticisms were Kubuntu related rather than KDE related. Just thought i’d note that.
I’m impressed. I love my opensuse10.2 install with a passion. But now it’s kinda like the passions one might have for a hooker he doesn’t want to bring home to mom. It feels a bit dirty, but i am in love nonetheless.