First of all, I must say I was pleasantly surprised at how easy SuSE is to install and configure. Everything just “works” out of the box. No kernel tweaking, no config file editing, nothing! X, networking (including Wi-Fi), CD burning, hardware controlls, suspend-to-ram, etc. It’s all just there with SuSE.
But SuSE, like most other RPM-based distros suffer from the legacy of sneaker net installations and upgrades. In short that means God help you if you ever want to upgrade certain applications without wanting to do a full-on OS version upgrade. This is in stark contrast to Debian and Gentoo Linux which are engineered with the intention of users performing network-transparent software installations, and hence upgrades. Need new software? A few simple commands will download from the Internet and install it automagically.
It’s for that reason SuSE began to remind me of the bad old days when I spend more time installing software (and resolving dependencies) than actually using it.
Without going into the specifics of the installation (perhaps another blog), it was relatively painless – nowhere near as smooth as SuSE, but painless. So far, so good. All the hardware seems to work OK, including the notebook’s button controls. The only thing that doesn’t work properly is suspend-to-ram. The notebook will go to sleep when it’s lid is closed but won’t wake up when openend – It just freezes. Oh well, one for the holidays.
Speaking of which, I’d like to extend a very merry Tuxmas and happy GNU Year to everyone out there. All the best during the holiday season and I hope 2006 improves on 2005 for you.