Suse 11: So far, so good

After 4 good releases, Ubuntu let me down with 8.04. Maybe it was the timing - I upgraded my laptop as part of restoring it from a hard drive crash a few weeks ago - but isn't a brand new disk a good time to change your OS version? 

 On the upside, Hardy was the first OS I've installed where I opted to keep the default wallpaper (the bird is purty). And I'm pretty sure suspend (nVidia driver and all) was working better than previously, which is always good news. 

But I no longer had use of the VGA port for cloned or extended desktop, and I was unable to find a solution. That's a dealbreaker for anyone who needs to do frequent presentations (or, for that matter, uses their laptop as a primary workstation and has a > 15" monitor).

Worse, vpnc was, at best, squirrelly. I do quite a lot over VPN, and we still have two of them (Sun & MySQL). My sunray solves half of that problem for me, but until that mobile sunray comes out...

So I was on the market. One of my coworkers mentioned to me that he was already using the RC of Suse 11 on his laptop - same model as mine, and with the same list of concerns - and so I thought I'd give it a shot.

There are a lot of good things to be said for Suse 11. A lot of the notebook stuff works better - suspend/resume, monitor changes, network switching - I hold my breath a lot less than i used to. NetworkManager recognized my WLAN card and integrated it in seamlessly (no more wvdial for me). For a dot-zero release it is also remarkably stable, and I even took the plunge and went with KDE4.

My only complaints thus far have been in the UI department - and those may be taken with a grain of salt coming from an Ubuntu/GNOME person.  I was unable to actually create a new VPN connection from the NetworkManager applet (though once configured, it did show up). I've had some confusion over what to do in YaST and what is part of desktop management - the former changes between an external and laptop screen, the later can change resolutions. I can't seem to tell Suse to conserve power more when the laptop is unplugged, or allow me to use an external monitor with the laptop closed. 

And then Suse has different ideas about the root password than I do. The default setting when creating an initial user at install time was "Use same password for root" - I am guessing this is a compramise for Suse's default sudo setting of requiring the root password rather than the user's, which I've always thought odd. But Suse 11 did gently prod me into using enigmail and was very thorough about gpg key management, so they still get high marks on security from me.

So I'm sticking with Suse 11 for a while, though I might go over to GNOME depending on how the KDE4 thing shakes out over the next few weeks.


[Trackback] While we're on the topic of Bazaar - this week I got informed by the organizers of the FrOSCon 2008 conference that they accepted two of my talk proposals: one session will be an introduction to this source code management system (what a coincidence), ...

Posted by Lenz Grimmer's blog on June 22, 2008 at 10:04 PM EDT #

Hello Philip,
What laptop are you using?

Posted by Karim on June 27, 2008 at 09:00 AM EDT #


Sorry, should have added that. I have a lenovo Thinkpad T61 with an nVidia video driver and intel wireless. As I noted, Suse 11 has made it easy with those. My only ongoing issue is (re-) learning a new repository management system. I am getting to know zypper, but still miss aptitude something fierce.


Posted by Philip on June 27, 2008 at 09:36 AM EDT #


Posted by jiju on August 29, 2008 at 11:41 AM EDT #


Posted by jiju on August 29, 2008 at 11:43 AM EDT #

Good post...

Just to let you know that I am currently on Suse 11 64bit on my T61 Laptop for work and on our home desktop for the whole family. the only disadvantage now is getting multiple monitors to work but this isn't a suse issue as those on ubuntu are also experiencing the same problem. All apps and devices works effortlessly. My son (11yrs) uses it for his homework, Chat and games (some windows game via wine), he loves using it and now venturing into command line's :) finally we are Microsoft free !!!

Posted by Ray on September 25, 2008 at 07:13 PM EDT #


If you have an nVidia card, get the nvidia-settings package - I use that to configure my dual-monitor settings as well as use projectors and such (which has been quite a problem on linux systems in the past).

I can't say for sure it is available 64bit, though. At one point I used Ubuntu 64 bit on this machine and wound up reinstalling with 32 as I wasn't seeing much performance gain anywhere, but I \*was\* seeing a lot of packages & advice that didn't work for my 64 bit system. YMMV


Posted by Philip Antonaides on September 26, 2008 at 01:11 AM EDT #

openSuse 11.0 is going fine for me on my old athlon 1500 msi based home built, but for one thing. My 6-1 card reader (the kind that runs directly off the usb headers on the system board is not recognised at all. Its not that won't mount, it just doesn't show up anywhere. It has power etc and is connected correctly (lots of rechecks!). It worked fine on opensuse 10.3 and now it isn't there. other usb things including my hub work fine.

Any ideas anyone?

Posted by john Stocker on November 14, 2008 at 03:27 PM EST #

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