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Think Linux Is Too Hard? Take a Look at SUSE 10.0
Tuesday, October 25 2005 @ 02:41 AM EDT

For all of you out there who think GNU/Linux software is "too hard" to install, take a look at this: Mad Penguin's short flash movie that shows you exactly what it's like to install SUSE 10.0, an actual installation on a virtual machine. I've been talking to Fernanda Weiden about documentation, and I think documentation should be movies, just like this one. It's the 21st century.

I couldn't help but notice in the movie that he didn't read the EULA, though. Sigh. My work is not yet done.

It will take you 2 minutes and one second to watch the little movie, and if you've been holding back from trying Linux, it might just change your life.

The reviewer on Mad Penguin, Adam Doxtater, says he didn't have to change one thing after the installation was finished. Everything "just worked" for him. When FUDsters whine about Linux, that's what they always demand, and Novell seems to have done it. It took less than one hour to install. It'll take you almost that long maybe to read the review. Kidding, but it's a detailed review, and for those who love details, I recommend the review in its entirety. More reviews here.

Here's what you get:

Features

  • Linux kernel 2.6.13-15
  • X.org 6.8.2
  • gcc 4.0.2cvs/glibc 2.3.5
  • KDE 3.4.2
  • GNOME 2.12
  • OpenOffice.org 1.9.125 productivity suite
  • Firefox 1.0.6 web browser
  • Evolution 2.4 email/calendaring
  • Gimp 2.2.8 image editor
  • K3b 0.12.3 CD/DVD burning
  • Gaim 1.5.0 instant messenger
  • Amarok 1.3.1 media player
  • F-Spot 0.1.2 photo manager
  • Beagle 0.0.13 desktop search tool

Actually, you get much more than what's on that list. You can see more software choices in the movie, and the Novell SUSE Linux product page lists still more, mentioning easy wireless networking, the GIMP, XEN 3 virtualization (preview), Bluetooth, security tools, Apache, MySQL and PostgreSQL.

You can download for the cost of your blank CDs, or you can purchase it for $59.95 if you are in the US, and you can buy online. I will probably do both, after reading the two reviews. I can't wait, so I'll download it, and then I will buy also, so that I can support wonderful FOSS software and because you get extras, like documentation in a book, which is good if you ever can't get online. If you are new to GNU/Linux, there is a supported version, with 90-day end-user installation support.

There are a variety of download choices. You can download the version with commercial software [list], or download a completely Open Source version. You can even download a live version, which runs from a bootable DVD and isn't installed on your hard disk, in case you want to take SUSE on a test drive first.

This is a release specially designed for home users. I am genuinely thrilled about that. I've used Mandriva for years, because it too thinks about desktop users, and I am so happy to see Novell doing this. Here's what SUSE says about itself:

"SUSE Linux 10.0 features an easy-to-install Linux operating system that lets you browse the Web, send e-mail, chat with friends, organize digital photos, play movies and songs, and create documents and spreadsheets. You can even use it to host a Web site or blog, create a home network, and develop your own applications. It is the most recent stabilized, fully integrated edition of SUSE Linux. If you are looking for a stable version of Linux to run on your personal computer or home server, this is the best choice."

As it happens, Groklaw's own miraceti has just sent me his first impression of his install of SUSE 10.0, the 64-bit version. He is a Network Administrator in an Australian High School and has worked as an administrator for 20 years (though he says it feels like a thousand at times).

: )

I asked him to explain a few things that most of you would take for granted, so that any new readers wishing to take the GNU/Linux plunge would have a clue what to do. In your comments, if you'd like to elaborate on miraceti's review, feel free to add your experiences, as well as any tips for newcomers.

He says you can sum up SUSE 10.0 in one word: Sweet! He did both an install and an upgrade. It was a piece of cake, although he did have two things that didn't immediately work, and he tells how how fixed the issues.

He kept telling me about the elegant beauty of the installation, and I could get a feel for it not only from the install movie but the screenshots in the Mad Penguin review, which recommends SUSE 10.0 both for newbies and for small businesses, too, by the way. If you need it, here's some documentation. And if you really hit a rock, you can buy 20 minutes of help per incident. Lots of support options.

Congratulations, Novell. Enjoy, everyone! I'm off to download it myself. And to newcomers, come on in. The water's fine.

***************************

My first impressions of OpenSuse 10 (64 bit)
~by miraceti

Hardware Athlon 64 3000 MSI MS-7093 Mainboard with 1G DDR2 400

OpenSuse can be downloaded from the OpenSuse site at http://www.opensuse.org/Released_Version . There you get the choice of an FTP or Torrent download. I downloaded OpenSuse 10 using a torrent, with the Azureus torrent client. Torrents can take a while to download but the process is very reliable, which is why I chose that method. When finished I had it as a set of 5 CD isos. I burned the isos using the CD Tools option in K3B which automatically checks the MD5 checksum to ensure that the isos are intact.

Being a cautious type, I installed a spare hdd I had lying round to try a test installation. The install went perfectly with all hardware detected perfectly, sound, nic, video, printer (Samsung 1710) -- there was no hiccup or issue during the installation at all. I just clicked through, and the system allowed me to log in. I must say I like the new eye candy in the login manager.

Open Suse comes with the usual huge variety of apps we have come to expect from the major distros, for example the office suite OpenOffice 2, the excellent PIM, Kontact, including the excellent email client, Kmail, as well as a Calendar, To Do list and RSS feed. Video viewing is more than adequately catered for with Xine, not to mention the mp3 player, Amarok, and its counterpart, GRip, to encode oggs or mp3s. OpenSuse 10 comes with the web browsers Konqueror and Firefox 1.0.7, which is great. I prefer Firefox version 1.5, even though its still beta, and it has not missed a beat for me, oddly though. I use Konqueror as well, and in my opinion it is equal to Firefox. Why do I use Konqueror as well? It is the default browser, and because I like it, I don't set the default to Firefox.

The list goes on and on, and I would fill many pages if I listed all the apps included with OpenSuse 10, and must admit that I have not tried all the apps, or even half of them. These are just some of the ones I use very regularly and depend on for my work. Needless to say I tested these as the first thing I did, once I had it installed, and all worked perfectly. Perfectly. So I was feeling a little more courageous and decided to upgrade my existing Suse 9.3 installation with all of my important data backed up on a separate hdd, just to be sure.

The upgrade was simply a repeat performance of the fresh installation, every thing worked flawlessly during the installation, and when I logged in I was greeted by my old desktop and all was well. I had installed Firefox 1.5 Beta and it was still there and working perfectly. My other programs worked just fine too, with two small exceptions, namely mplayer to watch DVDs and avis and azureus.

I resolved the video problem simply by downloading the xine library files from Packman and using the xine viewer. I would reccommend that users add packman to their installation sourced in Yast, as it makes available all of the applications at Packman To do this is a simple matter of opening Yast and then opening the Installation Source option. Select Http and then enter the url as packman.iu-bremen.de and the path as suse/10.0 and then also click on the Refresh button to turn Refresh on, just to keep your Packman database up to date.

Azureus seems to have a problem with the version of Java installed by default, but I have found that really is a non-issue as OpenSuse 10 comes with Ktorrent which works perfectly, thus neatly sidestepping the problem.

One of the really nice things about OpenSuse 10 is the fact that it comes with apt-get, which allows the easy installation of software from repositories. As you may already know, apt-get is famous for its ease of use and lack of dependency problems. Also the quickstarter in OpenOffice2 makes the Writer program (my personal favourite) load in 3 seconds. Yep, just checked it again -- 3 seconds!

On the whole, I am very happy with OpenSuse 10 -- it is smooth, trouble-free and extremely easy to use. I would be very happy to put a Windows user in front of it with 10 minutes of instruction, and I am certain that they would be happily productive at a basic level in minutes.

I give it my highest reccomendation and congratulations to OpenSuse for an extremely powerful, professional and -- dare I say it? -- beautiful package.


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