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Notes from the field: openSUSE 11 and ATI


Downloaded, via BitTorrent (Azureus), openSUSE 11.0 Gnome LiveCD ISO. Burned the disk and booted europa with it. Took a look around, and in about five minutes came to the conclusion that I wasn't going to re-install SUSE back onto europa after all.

Europa currently runs with Ubuntu 8.04, and 8.04 has had a slew of updates since its initial release and installation (update from 7.10, actually) on this box. It has the latest Firefox (3.0 official release), the latest OpenOffice (2.4.1), and a properly released version of gcc (4.2.3). When I booted the openSUSE LiveCD I found Firefox 3 Beta 5, OpenOffice 2.4.0, and just like with openSUSE 10.2, a pre-release of gcc, in this case 4.3.1. I found that with a simple 'cat /proc/version' to see what had been used to build the kernel.

I can almost forgive everything except the gcc pre-release. In case the openSUSE devs missed it, gcc 4.3.1 was released May 19, 30 days ago. If they did build the kernel with the release gcc but somehow forgot to remove the pre-release label, then it's sloppy. If they didn't find the time to move up to gcc final release, then it's still sloppy. Gcc, along with vi/emacs, make, a decent shell and networking, is one of the most critically important tools in the Linux arsenal. I can live without a fancy desktop, I can live without a lot of things, but proper and correct development tools isn't one of them. And besides, what else got dumped half-baked into this release? I'm no longer in any mood to find out, not with openSUSE, and frankly, not with any other distribution.


ATI released their latest video drivers, 8-6, for Linux yesterday, and I pulled them down and installed them. As usual everything works peachy as long as I don't enable Compiz. When Compiz is enabled then OpenGL applications look like garbage and run rather badly. This has been going on with since Ubuntu 7.10. If anybody is out there and reads this, I have an old AGP motherboard running with last years ATI X1950 Pro video card.


I'll probably break down and purchase a copy of Mandriva. I haven't purchased a boxed distribution since openSUSE 10.2. I want the comfort of the complete distribution with all the necessary codecs on DVD when I overwrite Ubuntu on europa.


  1. Hi Blogbeebe,

    I have an ATI Express 200 chipset and I have been having a lot of trouble with the ATI driver since forever. Everything is peachy with the default driver provided by Ubuntu, once I install the restricted driver and enable compiz, I just can't play Video (divx etc) which works perfectly fine with the open but 3d effectless driver.

    I know my next motherboard won't have an ATI chipset. The Intel video drivers / chipset seem to work best with compiz right out of the box.

    Another weird problem I've been having with Ubuntu seems to be with pulseaudio segfaulting a lot. When I'm hearing some music my screen randomly goes black and I have to press ctr-alt-backspace to get X back up. Inspecting /var/log/messages reveals a segfault in pulseaudio.

    Hey I've been reading and loving your blog since a long time, this is the first time I've decided to post.

    Check out my blog if you get the time.




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