openSUSE 11: Sorry, I Gave You A Fair Chance

by Jon Davis 24. June 2008 08:08

I was excited that openSUSE 11 had just been released. I was looking forward to the Next New LinuxTM to come out and convince me that the best non-Windows alternative besides a Mac was usable and exciting. 

For the first time in years, I deployed Linux (openSUSE 11) to physical hardware (not a VM), meaning a quad-core processor, 4GB RAM, a GeForce 8800 GT, and a WD Raptor drive, and gave it a completely fair shot.

The first installation attempt was actually in a VM at the office, and it failed--it got to 90% installed then froze up on an FTP download. A 2nd attempt with out networked repos had it still freeze up at some point, now the VM just boots to a blank black screen.

But now at home installing on physical hardware, it booted to my environment with a striping RAID array configured it warned me that it couldn't "partition the drive using this tool". Oh. Okay. I pushed forward anyway, spending upwards of 15 minutes selecting most of the software package options without selecting conflicting options, and then I went to go forward and install and, sure enough, it failed to partition the drives, and sent me straight to a non-GUI installer view where I pretty much had to just restart the computer, enter the BIOS, break off my two Raptors from RAID, and give it another shot.

An hour or so later, I was looking at my fresh new KDE 4 desktop and thinking, bleah. Okay. So there's not really anything to see here, nothing I haven't seen over the last many years. Sound is gone, I enabled the sound but my 48kHz native sound card could only playback jittery noise that had me laughing and moaning on every reboot. I tried the GNOME desktop as well. Yeehaw *yawn*.

Having two monitors, one monitor was not displaying. I went to nVidia's web site, installed the latest display drivers (executable, but still opening up a terminal and chmod +x 'ing, how retarded!), rebooted, still didn't see two monitors lit, tried to enable the 2nd monitor from the nVidia control panel, couldn't save the xorg.conf (or whatever) file for no obvious reason, rebooted, tried again, still couldn't write the xorg.conf (whatever) file, logged in as root, tried again, worked. *sigh* OK now both the Mac and Windows' UAC have spoiled me on this, why was I just not prompted to enter a password?

Without even considering using MonoDevelop, re-exploring Eclipse, testing Apache and PHP5, dinking around with Ruby, trying out OpenOffice, or tinkering with any of the games, I threw my hands up and said, "I've seen all this crap. It's all crap."

Linux has still not managed to catch up with Windows 95, and instead of fixing these usability issues they just keep slapping on new software and eye candy like Compiz-Fusion effects, and I've had it.

Fortunately I had a full backup of Windows Vista, which I was 95% certain I was going to restore within a day, and, sure enough, I did.

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Computers and Internet | Linux


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About the author

Jon Davis (aka "stimpy77") has been a programmer, developer, and consultant for web and Windows software solutions professionally since 1997, with experience ranging from OS and hardware support to DHTML programming to IIS/ASP web apps to Java network programming to Visual Basic applications to C# desktop apps.
Software in all forms is also his sole hobby, whether playing PC games or tinkering with programming them. "I was playing Defender on the Commodore 64," he reminisces, "when I decided at the age of 12 or so that I want to be a computer programmer when I grow up."

Jon was previously employed as a senior .NET developer at a very well-known Internet services company whom you're more likely than not to have directly done business with. However, this blog and all of have no affiliation with, and are not representative of, his former employer in any way.

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