Thursday, March 6, 2008

OpenSuse 11.0 Alpha 2, Initial Reaction

I've been a fan of the Suse distro for quite some time now, even though it's not my primary distro of choice. I thought I would download the alpha and see how things are coming along.

The installation process was almost identical to 10.3. In fact, most of the screens still showed that it was 10.3. The only difference was the look of the installer. I have to say, it does look quite nice. I was impressed when I was even able to choose my time zone by clicking on the map and zooming to my location.

I picked the gnome desktop to install, because that's what I've grown accustomed to and seems to be the standard these days. It was pretty obvious that it was in alpha stage when I wasn't able to open the system menu by left clicking. I instead had to right click and choose open. Other than that, everything seemed to be shaping up nicely. Being that yast is the main config tool for Suse, you would think it would be on the main menu, but you actually have to go looking for it in more applications. I think that's an oversight of the developers. I'm sure a lot more changes are coming for the gnome side of things, because it looked kind of half and half 10.3/11.0.

The installer doesn't give you the option to install both gnome and kde, so I had to go into yast, and choose all the kde packages. I was curious to see how kde 4 is coming along, so I installed it. Overall kde 4 looks pretty good. I don't like how the menus function though. To expand the menus, you have to click, and then it kind of slides over, and to get back you have to click back. I would say the whole menu system looks pretty nice but is a huge step back in functionality.

If you're going to install the distro at this point, I highly recommend using a virtual machine. You're probably gonna keep it around long enough to check out the new features and test the software. But, I wouldn't say it's completely usable at this time. And, that's not what it was intended for, by developers (That's why it's still Alpha)