I have a reasonably old laptop – an IBM ThinkPad something-or-other. It has a Pentium III processor (just under a gigahertz) and 128Mb of RAM. Basically, it functions as a combined plaything and backup computer. In its capacity as plaything, I install distros and operating systems I want to try out on it – since it has no interesting data on it, I can do this without worrying about data loss.

My latest experiment has been openSUSE. And, I have to say, it’s been a very good experience. I don’t have a lot of experience with graphical installers (my distro of preference is Arch Linux, which is quite bare-bones), but openSUSE outstrips any that I have used to date.

Everything Just Works (TM), or near enough. I had to do some manual intervention here and there, but mainly because of my personal fussiness or, in the case of partitions, because I was starting from an unusual set up that I wanted to scrap. The installer detected everything, and told me exactly what it was going to do (but without using too much technical jargon, which is the sort of thing likely to put off new users).

I haven’t actually used it much, but so far I am very impressed. It’s not replacing Arch Linux on my desktop any time soon, but if I ever wean my mother off Cool Edit and on to Audacity (hence breaking her last tie to MS Windows), then openSUSE is definitely a contender for the distro for her machine. And it’s staying as the distro on the laptop, which sits at home for my parents to use, should they need it, while I’m at university.


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2 Responses to “openSUSE”

  1. atomopawn Says:

    When I was in graduate school, we used OpenSuSE for all Computer Science systems (except for a few MacOS boxes) and it was very convenient and relatively easy to administer. I have to say, though, that for a home desktop system Arch Linux is much better. It’s a very lightweight system and I’m absolutely in love with it. I moved my wife’s laptop to Arch after trying a couple other distros and it’s the one she’s liked the best. She is not exactly a newbie when it comes to technical stuff, but she’s no kernel hacker either. Arch is nice, because she can do some common sysadmin tasks for herself without worrying about dependency problems and so forth (which was a HUGE drawback to kubuntu, etc.).

  2. jospoortvliet Says:

    I’ve been rather impressed by the amount and quality of audio editors and trackers popping up on lately – maybe there’s something she likes even more than Cool Edit 😉

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