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DistributionWatch Review: SuSE Linux 7.0 Personal/Professional - page 2

Geeko the Gecko? Urgh!

  • September 29, 2000
  • By Brian Proffitt

The installations of SuSE Linux 7.0 Personal and Professional were each done on the same machine on separate occasions. The test machine was my standard AMD K6 300 MHz Linux box, with a previously ext2-partitioned section of the primary IDE drive.

Installation of the Personal edition is touted to be less than 20 minutes, and my number was close: 24 minutes installing the Default with Office option, which is a base install along with StarOffice 5.2. The installation interface was YaST2 (Yet Another Setup Tool), a graphical interface that was crisp and clean, though sometimes a tad slow at registering mouse clicks.

Package selection came in three forms: choose from one of four installation paths, choose packages by group, or select individual packages. For this test, I ran the Default with Office option and let YaST2 select my partitioning scheme, which I assume any new user might do.

One of the things that sort of threw me the first time it happened was the requested reboot of the machine during the middle of the package installation. I had never seen a Linux distro do this, and for a second I wondered what had gone wrong. I blindly followed to the dialog boxes' instructions, and soon was back to installing packages.

After installing packages, the hardware detection section of the program kicks in and looks for your printer, NIC, soundcard, modem. I was impressed to see that the application found all of these components, including my oddball soundcard, which other Linux distributions have had trouble seeing.

Once complete, the user is presented with a standard KDE desktop, though if you choose to install them, the graphical login will let you have access to any one of 15 window managers or environments, including Gnome, AfterStep, and Xfce, just to name a few.

This is definitely a platform aimed at the home or office user who has minimum Linux experience. While not as automated as Corel Linux, the installation experience was simple enough for most users who are at least savvy with Windows to handle without too much stress. The Installation guide explained much of the pure Linux stuff (such as LILO) for users not in the know.

In comparison, only a few differences occurred when I installed the Professional edition on the same machine. For giggles, I selected the Almost Everything option, just to get an idea of the greatest length of installation. I was not giggling when it was finally done installing a full 4 and a half hours later. Granted, I asked for the installation of +1900 packages onto a final total of 6.4 Gb of disk space, so I got what I deserved. Consider yourself warned.

This installation was actually the second try with the Professional edition. The first was for a Default with Office install, which for reasons unknown, failed to put a /proc directory on my drive, which was glaringly apparent during the mid-install reboot and a later one when YaST2 could not find a single card on my machine. Before I called Tech Support, I tried the Almost Everything install and this time everything went well. I never did find out what went wrong and I was not able to repeat the problem during a third Default with Office installation later on, so it may have been a glitch in my test machine, not the software.


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