Wednesday, May 07, 2008

OpenSUSE 10.3 is a GO

After downloading the ISO for the OpenSUSE 10.3 DVD, I got installed on my lab laptop. The install not only went smoothly, but it restored my ability to dual boot the box with Windows XP Pro. The failed Ubuntu installations had deleted Grub's config files, so I was not able to boot into XP. OpenSUSE's installer detected the Windows partition and automatically setup Grub so that I can choose XP as an option when booting. Nice!

So far, everything seems to be working OK except for wifi, which I still need to do some tweaking on. It may require a different driver from what SUSE detected (it seems to think I'm running a Latitude D400, while it's really a D600). For the interim, I'm online via Ethernet connected to an SMC8014 cable modem/router.

My low end ATI video card isn't in XGL's database, but I was able to enable 3D acceleration and desktop effects anyway. XGL's spinning cube, wherein each virtual desktop is on one side of a cube, is simply awesome! As a Mac user I'm used to impressive eye candy but XGL is at least on par with OS 10.5, in my opinion.

Aside from that, OpenSUSE comes with a good selection of applications, ranging from Firefox, Pidgin, OpenOffice, and a nice assortment of games. I installed it as a Gnome-based system but will probably add KDE soon.

The one app I've downloaded and installed from a third party source so far was Skype. I first tried installation using SUSE's GUI tool but that unceremoniously quit with no informative error message. I dropped to a terminal and did it manually using RPM. That revealed some missing dependencies which I then installed from the DVD. I was then able to install Skype. This needs some work. The GUI installer needs to give you feedback on installs which fail for lack of certain dependencies. For OpenSUSE to be a user-friendly system it shouldn't just die on you with no troubleshooting info.

That bobble aside, I'm looking forward to playing with OpenSUSE.

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