06.26.08

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OpenSUSE 11.0 Weaknesses — in the Words of Others

Posted in Audio/Video, GNOME, GNU/Linux, KDE, Novell, OpenSUSE, Review at 3:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A

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.

OpenSuSE 11: Channeling Vista

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.

Bruce on the lack on focus:

OpenSUSE 11: A Feature-Rich Distro in Search of Direction

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.

This guy too reckons it’s for power users:

openSUSE 11.0 x86_64 Review

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.

40 minutes with KDE4 under openSUSE 11.0

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.»

Fiddling phobia:

openSuSE 11.0 – A Closer Look

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.

Audio issues:

Resolving openSUSE 11.0 Sound Issue With Some Audigy Cards

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.

Achieve Zen with openSUSE 11.0 (i.e Get rid of pulse audio)

I’ve been having a lot of stability issues with openSUSE 11.0 lately and the majority of them boiled down to audio.

Jan shared some pet peeve which is to do with package management.

OpenSUSE – searching for programs and packages

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.

Moosy’s speed comparison (on fat and bloat):

Ubuntu faster then openSUSE?

So, my conclusion. If you change the openSUSE 11.0 menu to the traditional GNOME menu and disable some of the need features of openSUSE it feels very very similar.

The impact of including an early version of KDE4?

Staying with openSUSE – Switching to GNOME

I started using Linux at the suggestion of a friend, around the time of RedHat 7.1, and that friend told me to install KDE because it was better than GNOME, and I did.

The disconnect that newbies would find daunting:

Installed OpenSuse 11.0

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.

No match for Ubuntu yet:

openSUSE 11 installation this weekend

In summary: a great effort, lots of neat features. I’m not sure it would replace my hardy heron laptop yet. Looking forward to 11.1.

Minor complaint:

openSUSE 11.0

In the future, I would appreciate that developers focus on the individual applications and drivers, to reach a very high level of desktop functionality.

This is not intended to demoralise. It’s mostly specific and instructive.

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9 Comments

  1. AlbertoP said,

    June 26, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    Gravatar

    Thanks.
    It’s not demoralizing at all. I would say it’s positive! Let’s see why. You reported 13 reviews.

    1) The first review concludes it does the daily job. So it’s positive.

    2) The second one complains about “lack of focus”, which means openSUSE is versatile, and maybe it doesn’t excel, but it again does the job on various fronts. So it’s positive. It takes the direction you want, and not the one someone decided for you. :-)

    3) The third one states it’s for power users. Well, it’s not an issue. It might be if you only think to attact new users, but if you think on the long run, it’s not.

    4) The fourth review complains about the EULA non-existing issue. It has been clarified many times, and the problem is simply related to the redistribution of Novell’s brands. You can safely use openSUSE everywhere. It’s just necessary to read the whole EULA (and maybe report it in the review, as the reviewer should have done).

    5) The fiddling problem is related to versatility. Try to configure samba shares, server services, iptables without YaST, and we’ll talk again about this :-)

    6) The fifth review speaks about issues with some specific hardware. That’s OK. It happens, but a bugzilla report would have helped.

    7) See 6.

    8) The menu critics are OK. But it’s really simple to change back to the GNOME default. openSUSE didn’t lock you into its choices. And it’s what the author of the revied did ;-)

    9) Just a comparison. No glory, no bad comments.

    10) It stays with openSUSE, and switches to GNOME. Well, there’s KDE 3.5.9 if he wants. And he can install it simply from the repository, no need to download the full DVD.

    11) This is a bug, obviously.

    12) Seems a positive comment :)

    Excluding specific issues (audio, bugs, …) which are present almost in all distributions (3 reviews), and can be probably fixed in days with a bug-report (the community is done of this, users test -> report -> get fixes) and legal (unmotivated) complaints (1 review), the others are more comment on specific issues, with a general positive overview of the distribution, than negative reviews.

    Regards

  2. David Gerard said,

    June 26, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    Gravatar

    To be fair, PulseAudio is a bit of a nightmare for many people, e.g. it completely breaks sound in Wine on Ubuntu 8.04. It’s the next Linux sound architecture, so rolling it out in current distros makes some sense … but it’s still rough.

  3. Michael said,

    June 26, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    Gravatar

    Of course – most of the negative comments apply to all modern mainstream distributions. They all use the same underlying free software base.

    IMO the desktop has gone no-where in the last 5 years, and probably gone backwards in the last 2. And mostly because of the desire to mirror the latest windows or mac desktop, and because stable/mature projects keep getting replaced by unstable ones with more active development that promises to fix all the past problems – e.g. pulseaudio, packagekit, tomboy, etc.

    Also, too many services are being put into ‘the desktop’. You don’t even get a network started unless you log in on a Fedora box (by default_. And what’s worse, all of these services are written by application coders not system programmers, so they’re usually not very good at what they do either, duplicate services/versions for different environments, with all the memory and processing overhead to boot.

    For example, at one time X used a central font server that generated glyphs for all applications, now they use freetype and performs client-side rendering – so each client needs to load and process and render it’s glyphs independently. Overall the system uses more memory and far more bandwidth and takes more cycles to do it. This is the sort of short-term thinking (e.g. we want aa truetype fonts and the server doesn’t do it) that will always set a linux destkop behind a more integrated one like a mac. Like audio (but not so low level) font services are a central part of the (graphical – i.e. X) platform, and belong at the platform level, not in every application.

  4. Victor Soliz said,

    June 26, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    Gravatar

    IMO the desktop has gone no-where in the last 5 years

    Anyone who has tried a setup in 2003 and tries one now must really disagree with this.

  5. Anonymous said,

    June 27, 2008 at 3:02 am

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    I wonder when you will start to cite Bugzilla reports as proof for openSUSE’s imperfectness ;-) – there are thankfully still more people out there using Bugzilla than expecting the (upstream) developers to read their blog for bug reports.

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 27, 2008 at 3:55 am

    Gravatar

    Anonymous, I agree.

    I’ve posted this because AlbertoP asked me to. Hope it helps.

  7. Chris Lees said,

    June 27, 2008 at 6:54 am

    Gravatar

    So what you’re saying is that Ubuntu is better than OpenSUSE?

    But you hate Ubuntu!

    I didn’t see anything especially negative in anything that was written in this article. OpenSUSE is for power users, it’s a solid distro, it’s trying to be everything to everybody (so it’s a traditional approach, which isn’t necessarily bad), YaST is great, it’s a well put-together distro, etc etc.

    I’ve heard much worse gripes about Ubuntu 8.04. Which, of course, you also hate.

  8. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 27, 2008 at 7:19 am

    Gravatar

    Who hates Ubuntu? Chris, is this directed at me? I don’t hate any distro, probably with the exception of Xandros and the *spires (at a lower degree). I still miss SUSE for YaST.

  9. John M. Anderson said,

    June 29, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    Gravatar

    And just for the record, I love openSUSE 11.0 and my blog post was to be helpful for those having specific issues with pulse audio… These issues would also be in Fedora and Ubuntu as they both use it as well. I was not complaining about 11.0 except for maybe that they shouldn’t have followed everyone else and included Pulse Audio, its just not ready for real time use yet.

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