fter this previous post, and over at the IRC channel, I promised AlbertoP some more specific details. He asked for a better supported set of complaints that show the weaknesses of OpenSUSE 11.0. So here is just a quick rundown.
Too much like Vista, says Techie Moe in his short review.
If SuSE is actively trying to make Vista converts feel comfortable (at the expense of everyone else), they’re catering to a different demographic than me. When that sort of thing happens, I look elsewhere.
Visual gripes aside I had a solid experience with OpenSuSE 11, when I installed it from the DVD. It’s not quite something I’d pay $60USD for, but it would let me do what I needed on Rig 2 in a pinch.
Some members of the free software community will reject openSUSE out of hand, remembering the Microsoft-Novell pact in November 2006, and damning openSUSE along with its patron Novell. That is understandable if not entirely fair.
However, thinking only on the technical side, a better reason to have reservations about openSUSE is its lack of focus. These days, major distributions are known for a particular focus — for example, Ubuntu for user-friendliness, Fedora for the latest innovations, and Debian for stability and software freedom. By contrast, like the distributions of a decade ago, is still trying to be everything to everybody.
I have finished setting up openSUSE 11.0 on my HP dv2000z AMD Turion64 X2. Up to version 10.3 I was running the 32-bit version of SUSE and decided now was a good time to do a ‘New’ install and give x86_64 a spin.
I’ve covered the basics for getting openSUSE 11.0 x86_64 installed. So far, I have had only a few minor ‘nuisance’ issues described above and feel that the openSUSE Development Team have done a great job of putting together another winner. YaST is even easier to use combined with ‘one-click’ installations that puts it on the same level of ease of use with Ubuntu’s Synaptic GUI. At the same time openSUSE is a power-user’s Linux.
Beranger takes things apart, as one just ought to expect.
I was initially impressed by what I thought it was minutiae in Bruce’s report, but this ended shortly after I noticed he mixed old and new impressions as if everything was hot stuff. The babbling about the EULA is certainly BS: «By accepting the license, you agree not to distribute copies for profit or bundled with anything else, and also not to reverse engineer or transfer rights. The rationale is probably that the license refers to the distribution as a whole, but, all the same, it seems at odds with the free licenses of the individual applications — especially any version of the GNU General Public License — so you might want to consult a lawyer before using openSUSE commercially.»
So, to summarize at this point, I am considerably happier with openSuSE 11.0 than i was after first installing it. However, I still think that it is much more complex, and requires a lot more fiddling and tuning from the user, than Ubuntu 8.04. If I were setting up a system for someone else, I would certainly install Ubuntu. But if I were setting up a system for myself, I would seriously consider openSuSE, and I will have to do some more investigation before making a final decision.
In the last few days I managed to install openSUSE 11.0 on more than 6 desktops, helping my friends on setting up the distribution, and on one of them I encountered a strange problem, running KDE 4.0. The problem occurred with the Audigy 2 ZS card, same as the one I have. From forums I noticed that I was not the only one to get this strange hiccup. As it seems, this small problem lies within the KMix settings.
Looking for software that isn’t there is a nuisance, though you can’t expect the repositories to contain everything you like. What really got on my nerve was the menu panel. I switch from app to app and to click on Computer, then on More programs and then have to wait in order to see the list and then find the application is cumbersome and requires more mouse clicks than I want. Okay, I didn’t dump it immediately. I added a new panel and a menubar.
First, the installer misdetected my monitor resolution, then i told him the good one, but that ended up in a messed xorg.conf that applied zoom onto the desktop, i had the remove the Option “PreferredMode” line from the file.
The top tier of the Facebook network is made up of the Web servers that create the Web pages that users see, most with eight cores running 64-bit Linux and Apache. Many of the social network’s pages and features are created using PHP, a computer scripting language specialized for simple, automated functions.
I am now impressed with the smoothness and quickness in KDE performance. The project has put a lot of time in KDE and for that I am thankful. I can make KDE look as I want it too, much easier than I can in Gnome. While I am not much for eye-candy, I did install compiz to see how it fared on Kubuntu.
The company’s customer list boasts the likes of Boeing, NASA, the US Army and MIT. But if recent trends are any indication, Linux Certified and similar companies that specialize in selling computers that run Linux are about to see some of the world’s largest computer companies warm up to the open source operating system. Major manufacturers have begun to take notice of Linux’s potential on the laptop.
Linux supports most hardware “out of the box” without adding a driver. Most of the missing drivers are proprietary, from uncooperative manufacturers, but there are a few where the license is right but the actual code is still missing. Why?
To those who are confused or deceived by revenue, the short explanation would be this: the company exchanges its savings for artificial growth by acquiring more companies (along with their staff and revenue), so there’s an illusion of inflation on the surface, whereas the company’s savings vanished into buybacks (stock), the profits declined in the previous quarter, and the market cap sank roughly $30,000,000,000 a couple of months after that bid for Yahoo had been announced.
As we’ve stressed again and again in the past few days alone [1, 2, 3, 4], Microsoft is trying very hard to buy itself a positive image (improvement of brand value). It’s exploiting the press to achieve this, so be careful whatever you read.
A reader has sent us his calculated thoughts about the verdict on Vista — especially the way it will probably be remembered in the future (its sibling products are not better off by the way).
It just occurred to me that the commercial success of Vista (1) is not getting enough mention, due to Google-bombing. It’s open source — actually public domain really — and free for download, use, modification (2). It has a thriving community base (3) and commercial support network (4).
So perhaps future slams on Microsoft Vista could also point to the real Vista, lest the trademark become disparaged.
The same reader also points out something rather curious about the role of politics. He notes the that the ZDNet link which was contained here had suddenly died (not even moved to a different URL if Web search is anything to judge by). Here is how it’s summarised:
NZheretic writes “In May, under oath at the antitrust hearing Jim Allchin, group vice president for platforms at Microsoft, stated that disclosing the Windows operating system source code could damage national security and even threaten the U.S. war effort. Now in February, Microsoft signed a pact with Chinese officials to reveal the Windows operating system source code. Bill Gates even hinted that China will be privy to all, not just part, of the source code its government wished to inspect. Either Jim Allchin lied under oath, to prevent code revelation being any part of the settlement, OR the Microsoft corporation is behaving traitorously, by exposing national security issues to foreign governments”
OpenSUSE aficionados and Novell sympathisers teased us a little by claiming that OpenSUSE 11.0 was well received. They urged others to believe that there were no negative reviews, but there are actually quite a few, most of which will be shared on Saturday. Here is a brand-new one which stands out.
For anyone who has used SuSE Linux for a while, the mixed bag that comprises an x.0 release shouldn’t be any su[r]prise. For the unfamiliar, SuSE (and now openSUSE) follow the Windows upgrade rule: wait for SP1. In the case of openSUSE, that’s the x.1 release. In my experience (which started with SuSE Linux 7.2) the release cycle is like this:
* x.0: Big bang, big casualties.
* x.1: Bugfix to x.0 to get back to x-1.3 quality/support/compatibility.
* x.2: Incremental improvements since x.0 that were held up bugfixing for x.1.
* x.3: A stable, polished, albeit aging release.
So, needless to say, I’ll be doing my day-to-day work on openSUSE 10.3, for at least a few more months. 11.0 is installed on my laptop, too (thank you grub for making that easy), but I don’t see myself touching it until I see some bugfixes come out of Novell.
Over at the IRC channel, it was suggested some hours ago that OpenSUSE may have given KDE4 a bad name because it included an old version++ and claimed it to be the most polished experience. SJVN was grumpy about it yesterday; Aaron Seigo seems to have shut the gates of his blog.
To be fair, KDE 3.5 is still included on the OpenSUSE DVD, but there is no LiveCD installer for it. Why?
At the end of the day, herein we find more reason to choose GNU/Linux distributions, not Ballnux. █
___ ++ Fedora did too, but at the time of its most recent release (9), including 4.1 was less practical.
Quick, late introductions – I’m Ian Bruce, the new director of PR at Novell. I’ve taken over from Bruce Lowry (being called ‘Bruce’ is a requirement for the job), who held the position for over 8 years and did amazing work driving visibility and awareness for Novell.
Openmoko has begun shipping its Linux-based, open source Neo Freerunner phone to five newly announced distributors, in Germany, France, and India, says the company. The Neo Freerunner features an open hardware design, and a Linux-based operating system that users are free to modify.
It hasn’t been a week, I know, and this is a pretty small set of changes since -rc7, but I’m going to be mostly incommunicado for the next week or so, so I just released what will hopefully be the last -rc.
A French electronics retailer must display separately the price of computers and of the software bundled with them, a Paris court ruled Tuesday. It stopped short of ordering the retailer to sell computers without bundled operating system software, however.
The ruling will give little comfort to those wanting to buy a PC on which to run Linux: they will still have to pay for Windows, although they will at least know exactly how much they had to pay for it.
Linux is coming to an ultraportable near you! Sure, the oft-touted “year of the Linux desktop” is seen in the same light as such notable phrases like “the cheque’s in the mail”, “I’ll respect you in the morning” and “Duke Nukem Forever is being released” but there’s no denying the smash-hit success Linux is enjoying in the budget price ultraportable market. These are the Linux desktops that will catch on and here’s why.
It could take days to full restore service, the general manager of the Marshall Islands National Telecommunications Authority (NTA) told Radio New Zealand International. Systems at the monopoly carrier were taken offline by a flood of email traffic from compromised PCs.
The mainstream press seems to have picked up the scent of a very hot topic. Some important publications, such as the Financial Times, have turned their attention to those who endorse the message of monopolies/oppressors using daemonisation terms or — contrariwise — glorification terminology. Here are some good examples that political blogger are all too familiar with.
One sure sign of a lack of political vision is a rise in the number of pieces of acronymic legislation. After September 11, the US Congress passed the euphoniously named “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act” the initials of which spell out “USA – Patriot.” The Patriot Act is a pretty bad piece of legislation, but at least its drafters worked hard on the acronyms so that opponents could be labelled “anti-patriot” – a perfect level of analysis for Fox News. Admittedly, in this administration, having public officials torturing acronyms rather than detainees might be counted as a plus, but I still find the whole practice distasteful. I’d suggest that politicians vow to vote against any piece of legislation with its own normatively loaded acronym, no matter how otherwise appealing. It might make them focus a little more on the content.
In any event, Congress has been at it again. The House just passed, and the Senate is considering, the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2008 – or “Pro-IP” Act. (If it passes, a version is sure to be urged on Europe as a matter of “harmonisation.”) Are you pro-intellectual property? Then surely you must be for this piece of legislation! The name says it all.
This will hopefully raise more people’s awareness. Harmonisation in this case is somewhat like the joining of oxygen and methane. Not every combination is a healthy one, especially knowing what we already know about people who scream in protest against the USPTO. It is a system whose poor state is irreparable, having permitted too many people to invest in patents that should not have been granted in the first place.
We shall continue to keep track of those who are involved in ruining the system on a global scale for smaller players to suffocate [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. It’s well disguised and a lot is happening behind closed doors.
Apropos — patents are not unique here; it has been the same problem when it comes to copyrights. According to Larry Lessig, such corruption is very common. He’s venting backed by historical evidence.
On a massive display screen, he [Larry Lessig] loaded up a portrait of legendary New England statesman and eventual Secretary of State Daniel Webster, whose professional conflicts of interest would have been enough to make even the most lukewarm of political bloggers cringe.
“Bribery wasn’t even a crime in our Congress until 1853. The 19th century was a cesspool of this kind of corruption,” Lessig explained. “Up to 25 percent of the voters literally sold their votes. I’m not talking about a golden past.”
“Just putting money on the table removes the conditions of trust,” Lessig said. “Money destroys the opportunity for trust. Eighty-eight percent of the people in my district believe they have their votes bought.”
He left his role as founder and CEO of copyright reform advocacy group Creative Commons in April to focus on Change Congress.
You can learn a lot by searching patents, but what you learn can sometimes be dangerous. If a court should ever find that you infringed on a patent knowingly, you might have to pay triple the damages, together with attorney fees.
The message to a programmer (in the US, Australia, Japan, etc.) seems clear:
Spend your time reviewing patents instead of developing and at the same time increase risk;
Ignore patents, reduce risk and penalties, dive straight into actual work
Some laws are simply too ridiculous — if not impossible — to comply with and obey. Welcome to a world where mathematics is a minefield because politicians are foolish enough (or compensated sufficiently) to do the unimaginable. █
“If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.”