Ruminations on the Digital Realm

Jan Stedehouder

MacLinux, Novell Suse Style

Being back home there is time for a new experiment. My experience with Debian was mixed at best. The net-based install is great and simple. Debian is superfast on the iMac. However, two main problems in one week are a bit too much. First I could not boot into Linux anymore and later this week Gnome acted up. I like poblem-solving, but with the older applications under Debian Sarge I decided on a new experiment. A few months ago I downloaded Suse 10.1 PPC edition already (and completely forgotten it). Time to install it.

I have a soft spot for Suse , it being the first distro I ever installed. 7.2 it was and it impressed me. The books in the box served me well. Novell is doing a nice job with Suse as shown by SLED 10. I was curious about the PPC version.

YAST is a solid guide during install on the x86, but it did not do well on the iMac. Compared to the other tested distro’s, the partition editor was sloppy and only a manual setup led to the desired mulliboot setup. YAST also forgot to add Mac OS X to yaboot. I noticed it and added it manually during install.

X is a known problem by now. I still have to find the first distro that can set it up propely with the right parameters. Having solved the problem a couple of times already it is more a nuisance than a real issue.

As expected the online update did not work. It was one of the bigger problems with the 10.1 release. I just need to apply the proper fix. I installed the default Gnome desktop and added the complete KDE environment from the CD’s. Compared to Debian Suse is a bit slow. The entire install took me three hours, the longest so far. But, it was worth it.

The desktop is marvelous with a set of recent applications, that I could not get with Debian. I am happy to see Abiword 2.4 and Openoffice.org 2.x, which are a tad better than their predecessors. The rendering of the fonts is a joy for the eyes. The applications load relatively fast especially since the whole desktop feels somewhat slow (the iMac is a bit too old for Suse 10.1). The YAST module for installing software is very slow. It takes five minutes to build the software list, where Synaptic in Debian requires seconds.

Thanks to the fast loading applications Suse is fun to work with. 10.1 lacks the finishing of SLED 10, but you can see Novell’s hand in this version. For instance, the integration of GIMP in Abiword as a menu-item. And more of those small things.

How long will Suse last on my box? Well, I am downloading Fedora Core 6 at the moment, both for the x86 as for the PPC. Maybe… let’s give it a week.

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