openSUSE 10.2

december 14, 2006

More...of...the...same. I swapped in my second harddrive into my notebook and installed openSUSE 10.2 tonight. It is just like 10.1 with some tweaks -- for instance the menu system is now just like SLED, which is nice at first, but a pain otherwise (six "favorite" applications, then you need to use the "More Applications" button to see the rest). The best thing about openSUSE is the theme, it is gorgeous. XGL worked flawlessly out-of-the-box. It was really slow on my old P3/1.06GHz notebook with its mediocre ATI Radeon Mobility M6 chip, but I wasn't expecting much. XGL is pretty damned impressive for eye candy, I just cannot imagine it adding much to the system -- maybe the time used to integrate XGL could have been better used to fix the packaging system in openSUSE 10.2. Yes, the packaging system in openSUSE 10.2 is still slow. It is not as slow as 10.1, but it is still really slow when compared to something like Synaptic in Ubuntu. All the slowness that I complained about before (packaging system, system configuration, etc) still pretty much exists. When booting openSUSE 10.2, it took 3 minutes and 35 seconds to get me to the desktop from a cold boot. That is in comparison to Ubuntu 6.10 which took 1 minute and 10 seconds to get me to the desktop from a cold boot. Installation was just as slow. The install clocked in just under an hour and ten minutes after I hit the "Install" button. And for philosophical reasons, openSUSE does not include the madwifi drivers for Atheros wifi cards. In order for me to use my wireless card, I have to add an outside repository (madwifi.org/suse/10.2) and connect up through my wired connection. The nice thing about openSUSE 10.2 is that NetworkManager is installed by default -- that is something that if Ubuntu would do, would make an Ubuntu installation work straight out of the box without me having to mess around with a wired network connection. openSUSE 10.2 is openSUSE 10.1 with bug fixes, new menu system, some tiny speed tweaks, and XGL integration. It is a beautiful looking Linux distro, but one cannot judge something by looks alone. openSUSE 10.2 is still slow when it comes to most things. And there is still that stigma attached to openSUSE because of the whole Microsoft/Novell deal. I am glad I installed it on the test drive because I won't be using it seriously. I am writing this from my main Ubuntu 6.10 installation, which is speedy and gets things done for me.