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A distribution bytes the dust!

Cole Tuininga wrote:

> 1) You can't get the latest version for free.  If you want the latest
> greatest version, you must pay for it?

Yes and no. They don't offer ISO downloads of the distribution, nor do 
they allow commercial distributors to make cheap copies of it. On the 
other hands, they do permit non-profit small-scale duplication; in other 
words, you can make copies for your friends or your user group. And you 
can install the entire distribution via FTP without cost.

> 2) Updates are not free.  Admittedly, Red Hat doesn't do updates for
> free either, but at least there is either apt for rpm, or you could use
> the red carpet tools.

YOU (YaST Online Update) service IS free. There is no subscription 
program for it. The only catch is that I have found to be 
overloaded; has been a better source of the updates for me.

> 3) Init scripts are BSD style rather than SysV.

Incorrect. SuSE has used the SysV style scripts for as long as I have 
been using it.

> 4) Package management is lacking and the tool (yast, IIRC?) most used
> for pm is a little cryptic.

I like YaST2, but not everyone does. I have never found it cryptic, and 
it does have a nice search tool for packages.

> If any or all of these are wrong, I'd love to hear about it.  Heck,
> those who believe in Suse's superiority for other reasons are welcomed
> to evangelize. 

Things I like about SuSE:

1. The manual. The writing is a bit awkward at times, since it has been 
translated from German, but it's more complete than the manuals that 
come with other distributions.

2. Completeness of the distribution. Just about everything you might 
ever want is on the discs. (SuSE Professional is now up to TWO 
DVD-ROMs.) Unlike Red Hat, they don't insist on ideological purity; the 
distribution includes non-open-source software that you can install if 
you want to.

3. Because it's a German (i.e., non-US) distribution, it includes things 
that US law doesn't permit. Although they're left off the discs they 
distribute here, you can easily download the RPMs from their non-US 
sites. Things like the DVD playback plugin for Xine, for instance, and 
SSH before the RSA patent ran out. (Clarification: SuSE comes in at 
least two flavors: US and international. The US version lacks the 
offending packages, and the default language in the installer is English 
rather than German. Only the US version is sold here. I say "at least 
two" because there may be additional localized versions with other 
default languages that I don't know about.)

4. The convenience of installing from DVD-ROM. No disc changing, so you 
can just walk away during the install rather than hanging around to feed 
discs to the computer. The second disc only has source packages, so you 
never need it in a normal installation.

5. In my experience, it upgrades very cleanly, more so than Red Hat. You 
can just upgrade your SuSE system without expecting to have to fix half 
a dozen things after doing it.

6. It's solid out of the box - again, much more so than Red Hat. RH has 
had cases where some packages were just plain broken in the initial 
release; getting the updated ones was mandatory.

7. They don't muck around with the appearance of KDE (much). SuSE does 
add its own menu (though keeping all the standard ones), and they provde 
their own wallpaper as the default background for regular users. (If 
you're logged in as root, you get a different default background with 
big warning symbols and bombs.) But these small changes are nothing like 
the abomination called Bluecurve.

8. Geeko, the SuSE chameleon, is cute :) They gave away stuffed Geekos 
at LinuxWorld last January, and I have one. No, you can't have it.

Things I don't like:

1. Installing packages from non-SuSE sources is sometimes a pain, 
because they have been built for Red Hat. For instance, if you want to 
use Java builds from Sun or Mozilla builds from, you have to 
work a bit harder than if you were using a Red Hat system.

2. The SuSEconfig system (rc.config and its friends) is a bit of a 
tangle. That may be the thing you were confusing with the BSD-style 
init, since it's a single centralized file. But it is used to 
automatically GENERATE some of the startup scripts; it doesn't act as 
one itself.

Ambivalent issue: it tends to be a bit farther away fom the bleeding 
edge than some other distributions. Good if you want a stable system; 
bad if you want to try out the very latest stuff.

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