Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
It was less than a week ago when Novell announced it would open up a version of its Suse Linux operating system to users and developers and planned on unveiling it at LinuxWorld this week. In its efforts to make SUSE Linux available for anyone anywhere, Beta 1 of version 10.0 was released August 9 as reported by DistroWatch. 4-disk sets are available on several mirrors around the globe. Tuxmachines isn't waiting for final, or even a release candidate. No, we are going to install and test out this Beta 1.
OpenSUSE is a community project in much the same ilk as Fedora Core but concentrating more on the non-technical user's needs. Some of their goals include making SUSE the easiest distro to obtain and use while hopefully attracting some of the best open source developers available. Version 10.0 will spend the next couple of months in testing and final is tentatively planned to be released about the third week of September.
The beta 1 is looking pretty good so far. The installer was a nice effortless breeze and the resulting desktop was a polished fairly stable offering... if you happen to like lizards.
The installer has grown and evolved into one of the most user-friendly and professional looking applications in this field, rivaled perhaps only by Mandriva/PCLOS. It reminded me of Mandriva's in its completeness and graphical concentration with the general layout similar to that of Redhat/Fedora, yet still greeting users with their multi-language "Welcome" message. Followed by the next lovely screen, giving the user a choice of options for install, boot, or rescue.
Booting the install kernel and detecting hardware again is no strain on the eyes. As with most Linux distributions, one can go with a lovely "silent" or "verbose" splash screens. Hardware detection was fast and accurate.
After chosing your preferred language and being offered a media check, one is ask to accept the Novell Software License Agreement, (technically, the Pre-release software version - good for 90 days or until next beta released), that basically states you agree not to reverse engineer or redistribute any of their software.
After choosing your timezone & hardware clock setting and which desktop environment for default (including an option for minimal or text), one is finally taken to a summary screen where they can make any changes desired to the hardware thus far detected, install partitioning scheme, or software packages (similar to, but not actually the depicted image below). I had to change my mouse as it was going with none, the boot option as I wanted to skip it, software packages as it was going with a minimal install, and most importantly the partition. Instead of the last partition on the drive, I wanted to use another. For this I chose the Create Custom Partition Setup, then Custom Partitioning. There I was able to designate upon which partition for it to install.
After choosing the groups of packages to install, and accepting the license again, the installer began its thing. Presented with either a slide show similar to that of Mandriva's or a professional grade detailed view, the packages took about an hour to install. Admittedly I chose most of the package groups except the apache and ldap server as well as the mobile and laptop groups. I've rarely seen the plethora of software as offered by SUSE Linux. Don't be surprised, as I was, when the install stops after the first cd and wants to reboot into the new system to finish.
After the reboot, it does finish installing software from the remaining 3 cds and then allows you to configure some of your personalized settings, such as root password, user & password, and network configuration in the form of another summary screen. Finally one is presented with some release notes. This is where information about your newly install system might be. Directing the user to their website and suggesting one purchase the software for more complete support as well as any errata notes are among some of the information provided.
At this point your shiny new SUSE Linux desktop starts.