OpenSuse: no, thanks

I recently got hold of a superfluus 40GB Hd and still had some space and a free IDE connection in my experimental computer and decided to give OpenSuse 10.2 a go. I had fond memories of Suse, as it was the first Linux I ever experimented with and I’ll never forget the warm glow of happiness when I had my first Suse 8.1 installation running, pleasantly surprised by the ease of the installation and the ease that my s.o. was able to transfer her Windows skills to Linux. Then came a disaster with a failed upgrade (from 8.1 to 9) and I decided to give other flavours a try:

DSL, Gentoo, Ubuntu, the BSD’s, but in the end Ubuntu was just too userfriendly to ignore, so I stuck with earthen tones of Mark Shuttleworth and his band of paid developers. I still insist that from all Linux flavours DSL is the best engineered (and that OpenBSD’s security measures surpass every other OS, hence my Data all being on a OpenBSD server) linux of them all, but when it comes to pure ease of use Ubuntu still leads the pack.

Nevertheless, enticed by good reviews I decided to give OpenSuse 10.2 a spin.

Unfortunately their internet install CD didn’t work at all for me (must have something to do with the RT2500PCI Kernel module), so I downloaded their installation DVD: 3.2 GB. Bloody hell! Ubuntu’s full install medium is still only one CD, and I challenge everyone to tell me whether the exta 2.8 GB of OpenSuse give me any extra functionality. Anyway, the install went smoothly, but I immediately ran into problems with my RT2500 again (and there I was, thinking Ralink’s cards were fully supported by the community), confirmed by OpenSuse’s website. Nevertheless, after some tweaking I got some functionality out of the card, and then I started to have a look around. Booting took 90 seconds. WTF? I tried that again: same. Both my XP and Ubuntu easily boot in 45 seconds. While I am quite comfy with Ubuntu’s minimalist approach to user menus, I always liked KDE’s more eye-candyish approach to things. Not so with OpenSuse: their version of KDE’s start menu is almost unusable, and trying to click myself through endless submenus completely took the fun out of the distro. The same thing goes for Suse’s cumbersome Yast: a more dreary, clumsy and slow way to alter one’s system preferences I still have to find in any other distro (heck, I rather open up VI in OpenBSD and change a .conf file before messing with Yast again).

While it OpenSuse looks refined and beautiful, it’s functionality sucks. I would have thought that Novell’s millions would have been better invested than just making it beautiful.

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