SUSE doesn’t rock my world…

I installed SUSE Linux for the first time at the weekend and I was suprised at how unimpressed I was. That’s not to say there is anything wrong with it, I just expected a lot more after the good press it’s had over the years.

Back in the days when I first started playing with Linux (Red Hat 5.2), you couldn’t download the SUSE installation CDs for free, so I started to use Red Hat Linux and have pretty much stuck with it (RHEL, Fedora & CentOS) ever since. I’ve played briefly with other distributions (like Debian, Mandrake, Slackware and Ubuntu etc.) but never seen anything worth making me switch.

During a fit of idle curiosity I downloaded SUSE Linux 10.1 and installed it. Two things people often mention about SUSE are the great hardware detection and the ease of installation. I’ve never had a problem with the hardware detection using Red Hat, so I’m not in a position to comment on that, but the installation process doesn’t seem that wonderful to me. Once again, that’s not to say there is anything wrong with it, I just expected something neater and simpler than Anaconda, but what I got looked a little messier and certainly not simpler to use.

Once it was installed it was just like every other distribution, but with a different theme. Nothing to deal a knockout blow to any other distribution I’ve used.

In conclusion, I thought I would experience something better than a Red Hat offering, but I was left feeling rather apathetic about SUSE. If it was the market leader I would use it without any major complaints, but since it’s not I guess I will stick to a Red Hat clone until a new market leader is born.



Author: Tim...

DBA, Developer, Author, Trainer.

2 thoughts on “SUSE doesn’t rock my world…”

  1. Suse’s installer is certainly more “fussy” than Anaconda’s. But at least I get to install exactly the set of packages I want, instead of having only the option to pick “package groups”, some of which contain ‘standard items’ which cannot be de-selected. And I can have pico without fuss or faffle! I have to disagree with you on the hardware detection business, though. I have a Thinkpad, and Suse 10.1 went onto that without a murmur of complaint. Everything was detected spot-on and was functional from the get go (except for the SD slot, but that’s generically true for all Linuxes). I have never had Centos, Red Hat or Fedora detect *everything* like that… usually wireless networking at least demands a download of firmware or what-have-you to get it going.

    The big thing in Suse’s favour is it uses Gnome 2.12 and KDE 3.5, making it far more up-to-date and a lot ‘slicker’ to look at than (say) Centos’s 2.8 and KDE 3.3. True, Fedora Core 5 is about as up-to-date in that department, but I won’t ever be touching Fedora again! And it is also true that if you wait long enough, all distros will either catch up or surpass Suse in this respect. But Suse is a stable, Red Hat-ish (as opposed to Debian-ish, where we don’t want to go!) distro that has them now.

    The other big thing Suse has is Novell. They are doing a lot of subtle, good work for the distro -witness their very slick implementation of OpenOffice, which loads and runs appreciably faster than the stock OOo2 on Red Hat. Novell also impart momentum to their distro, as Ubuntu has to the Debian-based crowd. It might not make it the “market leader” as such, but there’s just a sense of purpose about it all that feels good. I agree that this is not exactly the most rigorously scientific of ways a distro could be assessed, however!

    The one huge vote against Red Hat that comes to mind is Fedora Core 5. If that’s what Enterprise Red Hat (and hence Centos) is going to look like in a few months’ time, then I’m happy to switch to Suse now! It’s Mickey Mouse meets Server Room, whereas I rather like Novell’s slightly-professionally-staid approach.

    Anyway: it’s nice to have the choice, I guess, and no-one is obliged to love Suse. I happen to like it enough to have adopted it wholesale, but whatever rocks your boat, I suppose!

  2. I don’t think we disagree on the hardware detection issue. I just said I’ve never had a problem with it, so I’m not in a position to comment. The fact that you and several others have sung its praises in this department lead me to believe you are correct, but it has little or no impact on the OS for me 🙂

    I agree that Fedora is sinking fast. I was under the impression that the Fedora makeover was to distinguish it from the enterprise offering, not a replacement for the BlueCurve theme. Certainly, if RHEL goes the way of Fedora I will be SUSE’s number one fan.



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