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openSUSE 10.3 RC1 - Not quite there yet for me

I downloaded three ISOs; the Gnome and KDE Live CDs, and the binary DVD. I burned all three and tested three machines with the two live CDs.

Test Machines
  1. Gateway M680 with 2.13 GHz Pentium M, 1GB memory, ATI Mobility X700
  2. Gateway M685 with 2 GHz Core Duo, 2GB memory, nVidia Go 7800
  3. DIY with 2GHz Athlon XP 3200+, 1GB memory, ATI 9700 Pro
All three machines currently dual boot between Windows XP SP2 and openSuse 10.2. All features work on each platform.

General Results

All Live CDs booted successfully on all three platforms. Every major subsystem worked including video, audio, hard drives, CD/DVD drives, networking (note exceptions below), and USB devices. The graphic rendering on the notebooks in was particularly crisp, especially with regards to text. It should be noted however that the use of DejaVu Condensed is the preferred font for both Sans and Sans Serif for just about any rendering, especially on the Firefox browser. DejaVu gives the best user experience when rendering complex text or web pages, matching what can be found on Windows and Mac OS X.

Specific Problems
  • The Live CDs could not enable wireless networking on the Gateway M685. The M685 is equipped with an Intel Pro/Wireless 3945 ABG chip set. I have not had problems with this chip set for some time, with either older versions of openSuse or other live CDs such as Ubuntu 7.04/7.10 and Fedora 8. The older M680 notebook's wireless chipset worked flawlessly.
  • The 'Install Software' icon on the KDE desktop does not work. It fails with an 'SU failure' message.
  • Attempts to enable hardware acceleration or to enable desktop effects failed across all three machines. For the Gateway and the DIY platforms Desktop Effects Settings reported that my graphic card was not in the Xgl database. Sorry, folks, but after all this time I would expect the ancient 9700 Pro (Radeon R300) to be there, and since the nVidia is in a notebook that is nearly two years old, I would expect the GeForce Go 7800 to be in there as well.
Final Comments

Overall the Live CDs were solid performers when all subsystems worked, and regardless of problems they were fast and stable. When the Gateway M685 was plugged into a wired network connector I was able to reach the network. While the eye candy parts failed, the 2D rendering was as expected. Every machine's display was working at it's default maximum, which on the notebooks was 1680 x 1050, something I found impressive. I have not booted any distribution's Live CD to date that would boot both notebook's screens into 1680 x 1050; it was either one or the other, but never both. Whatever is in running underneath Xorg (RandR 1.2?), it's impressive and bodes very well for a much more robust display subsystem in upcoming distributions, not just openSUSE.

I found the Gnome Live CD desktop to be the most pleasant to work with, which was quite surprising to a KDE user such as myself. Of the three openSUSE 10.2 desktops I use, two of them are KDE. The third is Gnome, and only because of Java. The KDE desktops I have are highly configured; for example I use the Polyester theme, which is very much like the Gnome Clearlooks/Nodoka themes I currently use and have seen. If I upgrade to 10.3, I may very well switch to Gnome overall and pick up the KDE applications I use, particularly Konqueror and K3b. I'm no longer interested in trying to figure out how to make the latest KDE look like Gnome.

I had high hopes that I would migrate the DIY platform, europa, to 10.3 RC1, but I will hold back to RC2 or final. I've spent too much time setting things up, and I have neither time nor desire spending more time upgrading and then tweaking again.


  1. The Live CDs are no way as well-tested as the installation CDs (or even the DVD -- did you try that, then?), I'd definitely recommend trying/using those instead.

  2. Good snapshot review Bill. It tells me what I need to know, more or less. I have installed MINT 3.1 021 celena and it seems to work fine. When It goes live I think I might stay with it when i've got rid of the Wrigley's Chewing gum look. And I like PCLinuxOS too. I have alway loved SuSE but cant forgive Novell for acquiring it and then tying with Greedy Bill, so SuSE is finally out of the frame.

  3. poor jevans17, too much hate @ microsoft or novell on his mind.. just go chew your mint..

    If opensuse will be owned someday by Microsoftie, i'll definitely and still use it.. well for now i've chosen the best distro!


  4. So much misinformation....

    Quote: I have alway loved SuSE but cant forgive Novell for acquiring it and then tying with Greedy Bill, so SuSE is finally out of the frame.


  5. i can understand jevans17's feelings on this subject. there's definitely no love for microsoft from me. aside from the fact their software is unreliable, far too expensive, full of holes, and unstable, i just don't like their business practices. kind of reminds me of walmart. they seem to thrive on putting the "small guy" out of business.

    i really like suse. i hope novell changes the route they are taking with microsoft.

  6. jevans17,

    Just because Novell made a deal that involved money, you don't have to think that it has to necessarily involve "greed". What's the greed? Please don't say they're harming open source. You would be hard-pressed to find a statement that is further from the truth.

    So far this deal has turned out great for absolutely everybody. Other companies (RH) are doing great, SUSE have even more Linux engineers, and more money to pipe into the Linux desktop as they always do.


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