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At Work with Linux: openSUSE 11.4, VirtualBox 3.2.12, RHEL 6

openSUSE 11.4 was released 10 March. The last action I started before heading home the following weekend was to start downloading the DVD ISO. When I came back to work the following Monday I burned it to DVD and installed it under VirtualBox 3.2.12.

openSUSE 11.4 running in VirtualBox, hosted by RHEL 6

SuSE, among all other Linux distributions, holds a special place in my heart. I'm not going to write a "10 reasons" screed about it, but I will admit having a strong bias towards it, warts and all.

With everything else going on right now I had barely enough time to install an instance under VirtualBox and fire it up just to kick the tires. The very first feature I noticed: openSUSE 11.4 installed out of the box fully operable with VirtualBox. I didn't have to install VirtualBox's Guest Additions. And that's going to be very helpful going forwared with openSUSE 11.4, especially when openSUSE updates come out for the kernel. Every other Linux distribution I have operating under VirtualBox requires that I rebuild the VB Guest Addition kernel drivers when there's a kernel update for them. It appears that openSUSE 11.4 will not require a rebuild, at least for the version of VirtualBox currently in use in the lab.

The only minor annoyance was setting up the network. I had to clean it up a bit after installation, but it's reached a point where I can set up the networking on any distribution to fit the lab environment in my sleep. In less than three minutes (roughly timed) I had everything properly tuned. That three minutes included a full VM restart just to make sure it would come up with the network enabled and properly configured. And that's another feature I love about VMs; it's so simple to restart, or better yet, take a snapshot, make any experimental changes, and then go back to an initial state when you're done or you royally mess things up.

As for other features and capabilities, a cursory check shows everything seems to be operating like it should. I installed the Gnome desktop, not KDE. This is in keeping with a common DE across all Linux distributions in the lab. If I have enough time, or if I can spring loose one of the interns, I may install an instance with the KDE desktop for further testing. It also remains to be seen if it will run our various in-house Linux tools. But right now, at first blush, it's a keeper.


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