Suse has generally been a solid distro with a lot of options and control. Suse 11.1 does not disappoint.
The customized installation – I was able to include Gnome, KDE 4, TWM, Xfce, and IceWM in my installation. Beautiful! Plus there is customization in the other packages installed too.
Oh, speaking of beautiful, KDE 4 looks rather lovely. Gnome is not too shabby either.
Dolphin File Manager is functional and helpful with file information laid out next to the files. This even allows rating files (1 to 5 stars), adding comments, and tagging.
Widgets are neat. I had some difficulty with relocating them on the desktop to where I would have preferred them. Mostly they clustered in the upper left portion of the screen. Hmm… who knows.
One of my biggest priorities has been Internet access. As this is a bigger concern with my laptop (as its my test machine) than my desktop, I place even more emphasis on this. Fortunately, Suse did awkwardly allow me to enable my wifi card (Broadcom 4318) and get it working. I was off handedly sent to dnmouse.org where I found the necessary information and file. Oddly enough, this worked on Gnome but not KDE. KDE recognized my card and made some attempt to connect to my access point but failed miserably. Not sure I’ll even investigate that.
Other hardware worked: Sound, video, touchpad, keyboard, ethernet. Drivers are apparently installed correctly.
YaST2 worked reasonably well installing a game.
Default Gnome menu is odd. A few basic apps are initially available. The rest are brought up in a seperate file manager style view. Its rather counter intuitive to me. KDE did not have this issue although its hierarchial menu system is rather drawn out. I like quick access to the various apps I require.
Under KDE, YaST did not list available apps but instead made me search for apps. Sometimes I just like to browse and see what is available. Also, from a previous attempt at installing Adobe Flash Player, YaST finished installing what was supposedly done. Under Gnome, Yast 2 did display all available packages by default but apps were not listed. This makes it more difficult for the common person to browse through the lists and actually try new programs. Once more, its odd behaviour.
Suse 11.1 is functional and I would ever consider using it mainstream. However, the odd behaviour encountered (while it shows my own bias) definitely puts me off from this distro. I am definitely willing to hear out anyone on further virtues or vices of Suse but please, keep your comments noted specifically to the distro and not involve the author.
Recommended sites for Fedora and Suse users:
OpenSUSE 11.1 Screenshot slideshow Great idea of what and how the system will show and do
dnmouse.org (mostly for Fedora though)