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SUSE 9.2 vs. 9.3: A 64-Bit Comparison - page 4

Head-to-Head on an AMD 64 Notebook

  • May 19, 2005
  • By Rob Reilly

Many of the applications have been updated in version 9.3. Most of the major programs that I use have been ported over to x86-64 code. Firefox, OpenOffice.org, and the Flash plug-in remained 32-bit.

KDE 3.4

KDE looks pretty much the same between 9.2 and 9.3. A few, minor things have changed.

Moving over the K icon, as well as other ones on the task bar, bring up a larger floating description icon. Nice touch, but might be tedious on slower machines.

The icons on main screen seem a little sharper.

Some nice attention to detail.

OpenOffice.org 2.0 pre-release

OpenOffice.org 2.0 is significantly different from previous versions. All applications within the suite default to the Ceramik style of icons. They are pleasant looking and fairly detailed.

Users that have been using older versions of OOo should realize the version 2.0 has a new set of file formats. 2.0 uses an XML format that isn't backward compatible to 1.X versions. You can save your files in the older .sxw, sxi, and sxc formats. You can also still save your documents in a variety of Windows formats.

Probably the most striking difference between 1.X versions and 2.0 is in the Impress application. The user interface and screens have been completely reworked. The tool bar now appears at the bottom of the screen, by default. The tool bar buttons and icons seem to be generally in the same place.

The main working screen is also now tabbed so users can flip back and forth between Normal, Outline, Notes, Handout, and Slide Sorter. I did make it easier to move between the tasks.

One area that bothered me was that loading both the OpenOffice.org applications and user documents seemed to take longer that the version loaded with 9.2. I also thought saving files would have been improved, but even that took slightly longer.

Gimp 2.2

Version 2.2 of The Gimp loads very quickly, on this machine and is ready for drawing in about 3 seconds.

I was happy to see that the I could acquire an image from my aging HP 6200C flatbed, after setting up the scanner in YaST. XSane via The Gimp detected my scanner and almost immediately brought up the preview window. The throughput of this scanner is now limited by it's ability to scan the page, instead of how much data can be pushed through the computer. Using my scanner under 9.3 is just as fast as under 9.2.

I hadn't noticed the plug-in and procedure browsers, or unit editor under the extras main tab. Perhaps I missed them in the Gimp that was bundled with 9.2. The plug-in browser gives a descriptions and other information about the various filters and script-fu plug-ins. The procedure browser tells about the various scripts and internal routines used by The Gimp (in my version there were over 800). The unit editor shows units, their abbreviations, conversion factors and so on, that are used by the program.

Beagle

I found the Beagle file search program on the File Manager menu, but couldn't get it to work. Apparently, it's easy to get it going because there was no mention of Beagle in the printed documents. The information in the SUSE Help Center amounted to a few sentences on how to start up the beagled daemon. It also noted that Beagle can be started by a user under KDE by executing the command line program "best." Other reviewers have been able to use Beagle, although I think it needs a little more work.

Zen

Zen is supposed to let you run other operating systems in a "virtualized" environment, much like VMWare. It requires some setup, so you'll need to do some research to get it working. It seems like a good feature for use in a data center, but I don't really know how it would be that helpful on a notebook, right now.

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