Novell SUSE Enterprise Linux Desktop 10

august 22, 2006

Novel SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10
Well, I've downloaded and played with Novell SUSE Enterprise Linux Desktop 10 (aka SLED10). First reaction? It is gorgeous! If anyone thinks that SLED10 and SUSE Linux 10.1 are the same, they are completely mistaken. Novell has beautified SLED a lot. The "Start Menu" (Microsoft term) is completely different than the default GNOME Main Menu. I'm not so hot about the menu structure, especially having to open a window to get to other applications, but it sure looks nice. Although it shares the same base as SUSE Linux 10.1, in the looks departement, SLED10 is a magnitude more beautiful. Everything about SLED looks nice. What SLED shares with SUSE Linux 10.1 is the speed. Everything system related (especially configuration and YaST) is a bit slow. Software updates are slow. Changing settings is slow. And the installation was glacial. Granted, it is not as slow as SUSE Linux 10.1, but it is still slow when compared to other distros. During installation, there was a process to activate SLED also. I hate activation processes -- especially ones that check-in with a mothership. That's why I hate installing Windows XP, because it always wants to check-in. Yes, SLED will ask you to register and activate your copy of the software. This way, Novell will know which machines to allow to get updates and how they will earn money from the product. Would I pay $50 for a year subscription or $125 for a three year subscription? Probably not. There are a lot of distros of Linux out there for free and there is not enough value added in SLED to warrant paying for a distribution of Linux. SLED certainly looks great and has most of the bugs of SUSE Linux 10.1 fixed (like the online update bug). The speed of the configuration tools still leave something to be desired though. I scratch my head at the inclusion of XGL special effects engine and Compiz window manager. They are certainly not stable products right now, so including them in an enterprise class OS is questionable.