I was in total awe of SUSE 10.2. I liked its stability, performance, improvements to OpenOffice, YAST2, security, default fonts and above all the default theme and artwork. I was all praises for SUSE in my comparison of SUSE with Ubuntu. My only problem was package management in 10.2 which resulted in several broken packages and finally me shifting away from SUSE to a lesser knows distro PCLinuxOS
A lot has changed since then, PCLOS has replaced Arch as my default desktop OS. However, the love for SUSE still remains in my heart and when 10.3 got released I simply had to try it. SUSE 10.3 came with a bag full of goodies, notable among them are
- Guru repository merged with Packman ,
- Novell enhanced OpenOffice 2.3; it should be noted that even a later released Mandriva 2008 supports OpenOffice 2.2.1,
- Giver - file sharing utility,
- 1-Click install for non-OSS software, and above all
- The improved YAST2.
These in themselves are overwhelming; add to it the legacy of SUSE and the time proven stability and we have a winner. These were my thoughts when I had set myself the task of installing SUSE10.3. I had some initial problems with the install ( mirrored on ITWire.com), but I could live with them considering the usage experience I was about to get. Luckily for me SUSE 10.3 did not disappoint me on most of the accounts. I have just used SUSE for three days and I strongly feel that this is too short a time for me to write a review, so I'll only mention some of my experiences. I might write a review after two months of SUSE usage.
SUSE has a huge list of processes which run in the background. I was assuming that this might make it sluggish, but SUSE surprised me with its performance. All the resource hungry ones like OO, GIMP, Firefox, Digicam open in no time. I was astonished to find that Firefox too has minimal "hangs". By Firefox hangs I mean the time when one tab of Firefox is loading some graphic intensive site, entire Firefox seems to hang for a few seconds. This is common to Linux and Windows. However, on SUSE this hang was minimal.
Its SUSE, so I can be rest assured that all my required software will be present. I , however, was a little taken aback by non-inclusion of kompozer in SUSE repositories. Kompozer is a modification of nvu and presents a better user experience. That apart SUSE has every software I need. I could easily feel the improvements in YAST when I downloaded and installed Quanta Plus. YAST is better looking and much faster than before. 1-Click install is as easy as publicized.
SUSE has YAST2, what more can I ask for. It is a one stop solution for managing my system. Now some people might find YAST lacking in many fields and options but I found it to be perfect for my needs and I believe that most common users will find YAST as per their liking.
Another area in which SUSE has always excelled. This time too their artwork is simply impeccable.
The SUSE I remember, was the most stable distro of its time. With SUSE 10.3 things have changed a little. I faced these two problem which I can recreate any time.
- When connecting to the ftp website, Quanta Plus crashes. Not sure if this is a problem with Quanta or SUSE, but the end result is a process crash.
- If a single process crashing was bad, imaging how bad the entire X Server crashing could be !! Whenever I try to play VCD with kaffeine, the XServer crashes and logs me out. Then I have to re-login only to find that my unsaved work is lost. Now I can understand that due to certain issues Kaffeine is not able to play VCD, it can be plugins issue or any other. I can also, upto some extent, accept kaffeine crashing. However, XServer crash is too much for me; it means loosing all the unsaved work which is an extremely negative point.
I faced only these stability issues, but these are reproducible.
I always put stability as the most important factor while judging a distro. I was extremely impressed by the stability of SUSE 10.2 and thats the reason that I am more depressed with SUSE 10.3. I have done the online updates, but still the crash problem is there.
The stability problem apart; SUSE is the most polished distro we have today. Everything simply works out of the box, they have very comprehensive HOWTO's and the system feels very responsive. I think SUSE has again impressed me, but there are some issues too.
By SUSE I mean openSUSE.