I have read quite a few reviews on SuSEs (here) latest product with different people giving their opinions so here are mine. SuSE in my opinion has made the biggest improvements to its distribution in recent years but will SuSE Linux 8.2 carry on with this trend or not?
I had 2 test machines lined up for the review, firstly my main PC, a Pentium 4 (here) ? 2gig with 512DDR and a 60gig hard drive, secondly an older Celeron 450 with 96mbs of ram and a 2gig hard drive. Both machines boot from the CD so I didn't have to worry about floppy disks or anything else messy.
Firstly I installed on the P4 machine, between first booting from the CD to getting to the KDE desktop took about 45 minutes which compared to other distros isn't too bad but I felt it was longer than 8.0 or 8.1 took to install. I liked how SuSE flawlessly sorted out my partitions for me and set the mount points so I didn't have to worry about it. SuSE detected all of my hardware including my extremely annoying Brooktree TV card that wont work in windows.
My Conexant ADSL modem was also detected however would not establish an ADSL connection, I have had the same with all other recent Linux distributions so I wasn't too upset. However this was one thing that I was hoping that SuSE Linux 8.2 would solve, while I did see a lot of improvements to the section in YaST for setting up ADSL connections it still didn't like my modem.
After KDE 3.1 (here) loaded I had a chance to explore, KDE seemed a lot more flexible, you could easily resize the bar at the bottom and you had handy links to your partitions and drives on your desktop which was a big help. Most of my music on my fat32 partition was now only a few clicks away to being played easily in XMMS.
Xine played my DVDs with almost no problems (I had to install a rpm to let me navigate DVD menus) but otherwise I could play DVDs and Divx's. My CD burner even worked fine and I could easily copy songs and films onto Cds with no problems.
I was impressed with how SuSE ran on my P4, it wasn't the quickest Linux distribution to boot but once it had it ran nicely and did as much console work as it could for you meaning that it was good for desktop users.
Next onto my Celeron 450, installation took a bit longer on this mainly because of the slower CD drive but the system was up and running within around 90mins. I had a few problems with the installer trying to resize the windows partition on the 2gig drive so that it barly had enough room to install Linux, but I soon sorted that by deleting Windows ? a necessary task.
I installed quite a bit less than I had done on my P4 mainly because of the hard drive but also because the processor was far too slow for many programs such as The Gimp and the popular penguin surfing game ? Tux Racer. I did still however install Open Office as I wanted to use the machine for any word processing I needed to do and as I use Open Office for my other documents on my P4 it seemed an obvious choice.
Open Office (here) took a while to configure itself on first use but otherwise it loaded in no lengthy time. KDE 3.1 also seemed fine on my Celeron 450 and was perfectly usable for simple stuff such as web browsing (over the lan) sending and receiving emails and word processing.
Other Linux distributions have always seemed slow running on the Celeron but SuSE 8.2 didn't seem too bad, it wasn't too slow and was a joy to use. It managed to configure my graphics and monitor fine unlike Mandrake (here) and it made a 800*600 resolution usable. Overall I was impressed with how SuSE 8.2 handled the slower machine and it made the machine a lot more useful then by putting Windows on it. SuSE 8.2
I thought SuSE 8.2 worked nicely on both my test machines and is well worth the upgrade. The changes between SuSE 8.1 and 8.2 are sufficient to make it a worth while upgrade, this is helped by the improvements in KDE 3.1 and how SuSE are incorporating as many configuration features into YaST as possible to make it easy to use.
In my view SuSE is the best in the way its heading towards ?desktop Linux?. I wont get into the argument of whether Linux is ready for the desktop user but I will say that SuSE 8.2 is another step in the right direction.
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[Last edited on May 10, 2003 at 9:35:30pm by pwhite]