SUSE Linux 10.1 Final Report
The install experience is a hard act to follow, but the SUSE desktop pulls it off. As you can see the new theme continues throughout the desktop experience. The new wallpaper is a lovely addition and much improved over the overused lizard of last release. Many applications include a variation as their individual splashes as well. This new theme is much more professional looking and easier on the eyes. It's just pretty, pretty, pretty!
As you may already know, SUSE is always application rich and feature full. This release is no exception. Not only do they have all the usual suspects, they offer a wide variety of software others don't have for their distros. This makes customizing the SUSE system for your individual needs much easier. Here is just a mere sampling:
Not only are there plenty of applications, but SUSE comes with a wide variety of desktops environments from which to work. Of course there are the big players, KDE and Gnome, but SUSE also includes Openbox, Blackbox, windowmaker, icewm, fvwm, and TWM. Most are setup to blend in well with the rest of the system using the same/similar wallpaper, consistant menus, nice default themes.
Up to this point we have experienced no problems whatsoever. The installer, X, desktops, and applications have all functioned like a well oiled machines. Hardware detection and setup is almost 5 x 5 as well. I shouldn't mention my tv card again as it is never setup properly by any linux distro, but I just don't understand why my scanner isn't ready to go out of the box. It is properly detected as evidence appears in several places, but it will never function until I go into yastcc and choose one of the drivers from their list. After this everything is just fine. Multimedia support is still lacking for legal reasons. Decss and media codecs will have to installed manually on your own.
The crowning jewel and most distinctive characteristic of SUSE is their Yast Control Center. From this one application one can install, configure, and tweak software, hardware and other system components. As I investigated this vast tool, I experienced very few problems. Hardware and system modules functioned very well and very swiftly. The only minor glitches to arise appeared in the Software Managing suite.
The software managing suite has been completely revamped for this release. This made for some bumpy rides along the development path this time. It would work almost flawlessly one beta and be broke in the next release candidate. It suffered some glitches even up until RC3. I was wondering if it would be all straightened out for the final. It was ...mostly.
A new glitch to rear its head in all the software modules was this incessant nag screen that the signature file failed the security check. Although there is a checkbox to "Do not show this message again," it appeared again and again. Even if it was necessary to check it in all the individual modules, it still appeared each time the same module was opened. grrr. Do I predict a patch for this in the near future?
That was the worst of it though. The online update used during install, called from yastcc, used through the Software Manager, or thru the desktop Zenworks applet worked fine. The other components such as Installation Source or Add-on Product gave no negative issues other than the sig failed complaint. System update was difficult to test on a fresh install, but it too offered the same sig failed notice and then complained that the installation sources weren't compatible with the system. Testing this feature from RC3 with the GM sources gave the same complaints but still offered to update 818 packages and install 2 others. The Software Manager worked wonderfully. All the filter choices appeared in the dropdown and functioned as designed. Software categories showed details and selected packages installed with no errors. The only glitch here was with the add-on non-oss source. I selected several packages during the install that did not appear to be actually installed onto the system such as Realplayer, flash, or java and then after install most of the packages had disappeared from the Software Manager selection screen. There's a handy guide HERE on the subject.
Some new features available and configured through Yast this release include AppArmor and Xen. AppArmor is a security feature meant to place apps in a chroot'd or firewalled-like state in an attempt to prevent exploits from being executed through them. It is not started by default, but it has some default profiles already setup and can be set to start at boot thru Yast > System > System Services. Xen is also new this release and can be installed and configured from Yastcc as well. It required a special Xen kernel and it can be installed during the system install or afterwards. One note here, if you plan on using Xen, it is advisable to use Grub for the bootloader as lilo needs special patching to work with Xen kernels.
The piece de resistance this release is the inclusion of XGL.