The SuSE guys got in the pool.. They just brought out the RC1, here I have RC2 and RC3 of 10.1 (codename: Agama Lizard) is coming next week. By the way this is the 14th development release since september 2005, which means they are really active, and they really care about the opinion of the consumer (why on Earth would they bring 14 dev-releases if not so?); the final release will hopefully be out in a few weeks.
They do not provide full images, only "delta" isos, which cover the differences between the two releases, and can be "installed" with the applydeltaiso command.
Some of the most annoying bugs still present in this release:
- Language dependent packages for the default language are not installed (Bug 162064)
- Every update from a 10.1 Beta/RC adds another selection to the system Bug (160792)
My first SuSE distribution was v9.2, I bought it with a magazine around a year ago, and remained with open when saw the "$90 retail value" text. Well, since then many things changed, from inner project philosophy through default background to version number :-) So what is really OpenSuse? According to OpenSuse.org it's "a worldwide community program sponsored by Novell that promotes the use of Linux everywhere. The program provides anyone with free and easy access to the world's most usable Linux distribution, SUSE Linux."
SuSE used to be my distribution what I show to my newbie friends, and they always used to say "Wow, I wouldn't imagine linux can do that!". Even if it was (and still is unfortunately) a bit slow, and it uses the RPM package management, which is considered by many people (including me) obsolete, it's the best distribution for newbies, and I always recommend it for that purpose.
Installing SuSE always was an easy task. It provides a bunch of drivers, you don't have problems not even with bluetooth devices or USB webcams. Some people say that YaST (yet another setup/system tool), the SuSE installer is an Anaconda clone, although that cannot be possible, since SuSE uses graphical installer since 1999, and RedHat only since 2000; the only common in them is that both are based on GTK..
I'll relate RC1's installation, since RC2 only needs the delta iso to be applied.
By the way, it seems that they didn't change anything in the install process anything since 9.2, it really looks the same, maybe I forgot how it looked like. As any other install, it starts with collecting information: Time zone, packages, desktop selection, partition layout, hardware. Apropo, partition layout: for a typical installation 2-3 GBs will be enough, though you should sacrify around 5 GBs if you even want to use it.. using a common /home partition with your another (if exists) distribution might solve the problem. The install process itself takes around an hour, so it isn't that short..
Applications and the desktop
Once the installation is finished (you'll get a bit tired if you don't look for other occupiation looking at the self-advertisements), you'll face GDM, with several (depending on what you've selected) optional windows managers, however, the default is either Gnome, either KDE (again, it depends what you've selected). OpenSuse provides a lot of applications, although it somehow doesn't give that "bloat" feeling which I felt using Fedora. It's just a handful set of software for all categories, so you don't really have to download anything to be able to use OpenSuse daily. Anyways, if you're still unsatisfied, or your packages simply went out of date, you can use YOU (Yast Online Update) to solve these problems. One thing I felt missing was X.org 7.0.. Don't know.. Maybe only because all the distros I've reviewed lately had it, and because Xgl "needs" it (maybe it would run on 6.9.0 too, but 7.0 would be better), and I'm so disappointed I can't have XGL under SuSE. SuSE! The distribution of Xgl's company, Novell!
SuSE is the ideal distribution for beginners and for those who do not have an internet connection. It's plenty of packages, it contains all the documentation, to only mention two from the bunch of awesome features offered by this new release candidate - and previous releases as well. Advanced users might also find SuSE to be their distro of dreams, but they'll have some work to do, since the default SuSE era is kinda customized for beginners. I'm looking forward for the stable 10.1 release, and hopefully I'll review it as well! Good luck SuSE, and keep working!