Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Suse 10.2, part 2

I installed Suse 10.2 December 10th on my home system, europa. I've been working on it as time and schedule permit, documenting my experiences.

New Software

Java 6 was released one day after finished installing Suse, December 11th. I was able to download versions for both 32-bit Linux as well as Windows, and to put them on my Western Digital Passport (80GB) via my notebook. I plugged in the Passport into my home system, and as usual, Suse mounted the hardware without any problems. I was then able to install Java 6 for Linux off the Passport.

Why install Java 6? After all Java 5 (1.5.0) update 8 already installs with Suse 10.2. Why not use the installed Java 5? The short answer is that as good as Java 5 may be, Java 6 is demonstrably better than Java 5. I've been working with every release of Java 6 since June 2005, and it has gone from good to better to best to outstanding. It's a simple matter to run Java 6 side-by-side with Java5, and there are a number of applications (such as Open Office) that are dependent upon Java 5 being on the machine. I have no problems with that.

But there's a key feature available with Java 6 by default that is not available with Java 5; anti-aliased fonts. That feature comes in quite handy (along with many other new features) when running Java 6 with, say, NetBeans. After installing Java 6, I installed NetBeans 5.5 along with the profiler and the C/C++ pack. What follows is a screenshot of NetBeans with an empty C++ project.

There's a lot of good things to say about Java 6 and NetBeans. I'll start off by saying how fast both are. NetBeans starts up faster than any IDE I've yet seen, and it starts up faster than other NetBeans installations I have. It starts considerably faster under Suse 10.2 than when on Windows, and it starts faster than my NetBeans installation on Suse 10.1 and running on a Core Duo notebook. I don't know what's so special about the combination of Suse 10.2, Java 6, and NetBeans 5.5, but for this particular machine they all fly.

And, of course, there's the great performance I find when just working with NetBeans. It's a real pleasure to develop Java with this combination, and I look forward to moving some of my C++ projects over to NetBeans and its C++ pack and see how that works out.

Qt Surprise

One of the many surprises I found with Suse 10.2 is that Qt 4.2.1 is installed, not Qt 3. Qt 4.2.1 is the latest version from Trolltech, and I was mightily pleased to see it installed as the foundation for KDE. It's also one of the reasons I did not install KDevelop, and why I went with NetBeans for C++ development. The version of KDevelop that ships with Suse 10.2 still uses Qt 3, and installing KDevelop drags all of that onto the system. No thanks. One of the tasks I need to do in the near future is to try out the QtRuby bindings, and see how QtRuby looks with Qt 4. And maybe see what's new with QtRuby and Qt 4.

Mounting Other Filesystems

My first Suse 10.2 post wound up as part of a story on OSNews. One of the comment's made concerned the inability to mount and read NTFS and FAT32 file systems. I can assure folks that out-of-the-box, Suse 10.2 (like so many other releases before it) can mount them both, and can read and write FAT32 without any problems whatsoever (NTFS is mounted read-only, but it is quite readable). I close with a Nautilus view of my USB Passport, which as mentioned earlier was mounted and read just fine, thank you very much. And yes, I can perform every other operation you'd expect on that device.