Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
The desktop starts. If KDE was chosen, one is presented with a heavily green wallpaper featuring a lizard/gecko and some SUSE customizations. A SUSE icon on the desktop yeilds a welcome or release notes of sorts - giving some helpful information similar to the release notes at the end of the install. In the panel are icons for online updates and the hardware configuration tool. The sound is muted by default so there is no start up sound to scare you 4 inches off your chair (as is typical of new start up, at least for me). For me, the Beagle search tool and a pop up with instructions how to start the powersaver opens upon every start.
The OnlineUpdate is a wonderful tool. It goes online to check SUSE mirrors for updates or additional software. As you can see, it was quite handy for installing the nvidia drivers and some M$ core webfonts.
The menu is a customized KDE menu with additions for SUSE's tools and some other system applications. If you'll notice, SUSE has compiled in support for halbus, bluetooth, and voip. Hal worked pretty good in detecting my storage devices.
Yast is SUSE's claim to fame. I haven't test drove SUSE since about version 7.3 and I must say, yast has come a long way baby. Back in those 7.x days, for me yast was practically unusable. Taking into account my level of experience at the time, I wasn't impressed with it. I just couldn't seem to complete anything with it. This is no longer the case. A beautiful user-friendly full graphical yast is the standard issue now, complete with all modules to fully customize any install. Installing software, setting up the network, or tweaking hardware and system settings are just a few of the things this power tool can do for you. I did encounter a couple of modules that wouldn't seem to open for me, but such is that of a beta product.
SUSE Linux comes with a variety of games, as well as multimedia applications for playing or editing music and video files. As tested, xine couldn't play any of my video files on hand, instead informing me of licensing issues involved. Banshee and xmms did their jobs accordingly, as well as xawtv. kdetv as usual gave me problems, but I think that's a KDE (or user) issue.
If KDE is not your thing, have no fear. SUSE Linux has you covered. You can choose to install gnome or other lighter desktops/window managers if desired. Gnome is at version 2.11 and has an attractive default look. With a blue SUSE wallpaper, nice icons, and wonderful fonts, gnome shows really well on SUSE Linux. Also included are the boxes (Open and Black), WindowMaker, FVWM as well as some really minimal ones like MWM.
SUSE Linux from OpenSUSE is going to be a milestone release, it being the first after Novell opening it to the community for use and development as well as it being built upon the excellent work the SUSE team has always offered. Judging by the beta I think we will have no disapppointed users speaking up. It's fast enough despite my chosen bloated install, fairly stable at this early point, and complete. Only Mandriva can rival SUSE's offering of packages. The overall effect is one of professionalism, polish, and ease of use. I hope you'll join me as we keep a close eye on this distro's development.