January 11th, 2002, 05:48 PM
I've been looking at some of the more newbie-friendly distributions recently with a view towards getting one to put on my girlfriend's computer (can't be putting windoze on can I now?). At the moment, SuSE seems the best option being cheaper and more stable than RedHat and Mandrake, but I have a few qualms to clear up so I was wondering if anybody wanted to share their experiences of SuSE with me?
I'm a little concerned about Yast2 - I have read that Yast1 didn't let you edit your config files manually, overwriting them. Is this still a problem with Yast2?
How much control do you have over the OS? I think it boots directly into X, so can you change the .rc file(s) to change the default runlevel, booting into the shell first and letting users boot up X if they want it?
Any other thoughts to share? All much appreciated
January 11th, 2002, 06:28 PM
Just gotta say that I love SuSE...
Sure, it's supposed to be 'user friendly', but if you want to go behind the scenes and hack away on some config files -> no problem...
As for Yast/Yast2, I have never experienced that they would overwrite my manually altered config files...
About booting into X or not, that's entirely up to you... By default it will boot into X, but you can change it to boot into whatever runlevel you want...
When it comes to how much control you have over the OS, I'd say as much as any other Linux distro. There are, as with most of the others, different tools that's supposed to make configuring stuff easier (as YAST/YAST2/SAX/SAX2 etc). But you don't *have* to use them if you don't want to...
And I mean, you get the whole distribution on a dvd, with over 2000 apps for you to play around with... Could it get better?
But then again, everybody has got their own favourite. And mine just happens to be SuSE...
UN*X is sexy!
who | grep -i blonde | date; cd ~; unzip; touch; strip; finger; mount; gasp; yes; uptime; umount; sleep
January 12th, 2002, 10:21 AM
config files: YaST (1 and 2) reads and writes to a file called rc.config (I think). That huge file contains a lot of settings. Then, another tool called SuSEconfig is run, which modifies other config files with the values from rc.config. However, this behaviour can be turned off in rc.config itself, leaving the system configuration entirely to you. There is usually no point in doing so, since unless you (or your gf (man, I envy you )) really want to hack around and don't want to do the difficult stuff through a nice UI. In any case, SuSEconfig is not a problem but a feature, and a good one.
runlevels: you can specify whether you want the text console or X in YaST. And you can change runlevels "on the fly", as usual.
SuSE in general: kewl distro, most popular here in Germany and not only because it has good i88n. Be sure to grab the professional version, or install via FTP if your gf has got a flatrate.
As they say,
Have a lot of fun ...
January 13th, 2002, 01:59 PM
Well I've just got back from watching her install SuSE personal 7.2 without a hitch. It was quite odd watching somebody who's good with Windows but who's GNU/Linux experiences stretch no further than playing some games on my box actually *like* the look of the installer, and find the whole thing fairly easy. The only part where I had to help here was on package selection... though I'm sure she could have just seleted "default with Office" I wanted to go through it manually with her to show her what she was putting on (a point I'll come onto in a second). The installer then (with the manual) - very nice.
I now agree that Yast2 is a very nice little app. It's well built, not buggy or slow, and gives users a nice easy way of configuring some of their settings. I don't like the single large config file myself, but I'm not using it so I'm not complaining
The only misgiving I really have about SuSE, which in a way applies to all newbie-middle range distros, is that they tend to install by default a huge range of software, and I don't think the average user will really ever find half of it. I think SuSE should have made their menu the default, since it shows more *installed* apps, and they should write a long applications guide which simple categorises and lists all the apps that were installed. Otherwise I feel users might miss out on a lot, assuming the install was like Windows, and that they'll have to head straight to a download site to get their killer apps.
I'll come back with other comments if I have any. So far though it looks nice I'll stick to Slackware myself though ;-)
January 13th, 2002, 02:10 PM
package selection: every time I install, I go through the complete list and select and deselect etc. And then I just can't remember what I have installed and what it's called. When I have (had) time to kill, I type(d) one letter in a console/xterm and looked through the list for interesting program names
package list written down: they had this some time ago, I still 've got a 4.2 book with a list. But their books are now twice the size (if added) even without it.
SuSE is newbie-friendly because it is friendly to newbies (Windoze is hostile - "Do you accept the EULA or shall we (c) throw you into a snake pit (tm) first?"). I've actually seen ppl like it just because they thought the chamaeleon was cute.
January 13th, 2002, 07:29 PM
That sounds like my girlfriend then ;-) Actually she was split between GNU/Linux, BSD and MacOSX (hardware aside) because she couldn't figure out which mascot she preferred!!!
And the tone of SuSE is very pleasant, like the whole OS was written for your pleasure (hang on a second...).
Actually the only funny experience she's had so far, which she rang me up about, was with the update system. The first time she ticked all the updates she wanted, downloaded them, and then it only installed one (the Yast2 update). She couldn't find any trace (by a simple file search) of the packages downloaded. Very odd.