Category Archives: Reviews

Review: Suse 11.1

Suse has generally been a solid distro with a lot of options and control.  Suse 11.1 does not disappoint.

The Likes

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.

The Dislikes

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.

Finale

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)


My Laptop Test Machine

This is for future reference…  I’m using my laptop for most of my Linux reviews as its not my primary computer.  So just for a quick overview, here’s the specs:

  • Compaq Presario V2000z
  • 14.1″ LCD
  • AMD Sempron Mobile 2800 1.8 GHz
  • 2 GB DDR RAM
  • Integrated ATI Radeon Xpress 200M Graphics
  • 160 GB Hard Disk Drive (though I only use a small portion for each install)
  • DVD-ROM
  • Broadcom 4318 wireless card

Let me know if I forgot anything important in here.


Review: Mandriva One Spring 2008 LiveCD

I’ve been sampling GNU/Linux distros for years now.  I’ve played with Red Hat and the old SuSE.  And I think Mandriva One Spring 2008 is a joke.  Its realistically performs no better than those old distros.

What I Guess I Liked

Mandriva did give me the option to use Compiz during boot up of the Live CD.  Definite advantage there as some don’t even ask.  You just get it or you don’t.  I really like options.

What I Really Abhorred

The Live CD recognized my wifi card (Broadcom 4318 POS) successfully.  Its a real shame they didn’t include a reasonable way to find, oh, a wifi hotspot.  That’s a huge ding.  I treat this from a newbie (though I am not one) angle.  If the distro can’t do that much,  how easy with it be with other things?

Secondly, money.  I don’t pay for Linux.  I don’t pay for software.  So I’m not going to pay for a version of Mandriva that supposedly offers more when other distros give me the same (or greater) capabilities for nothing.

Finale

This only being a Live CD review, I can’t knock Mandriva too much.  There’s a very good possibility that it would have recognized the card and given me the tools I need to get online.  Mint and Ubuntu don’t recognize the card until they’re both installed and connected via ethernet.  The first distro that beats even that will win me over for a few months.

I’ve never been a fan of Mandrake, Connectiva, or Mandriva.  So perhaps I am biased.  I wouldn’t recommend Mandriva to anyone.  Go with Mint if you want very easy.