TagSuSE

Does SUSE Linux Have A Future?

RT @RWW: Does SUSE Linux Have A Future? by @mjasay rww.to/10WEIXd

It should. Not that I’d be at the front of the queue as it is not Debian, but this was another trip down memory lane as SuSE was always the best choice before Ubuntu, and it is a shame it can’t retake that crown now Ubuntu is losing it’s way with some stupid decisions.

OpenSUSE To Offer Rolling Release Repository

– http://bit.ly/f6hE1y – Oh, stick Smeegol on top of this and I ‘d give it another go.

KDE or Gnome?

Right. A year with SuSE, OK, which desktop?

Super user filemanager under Gnome does not work, power management under Gnome, not working. Half the panel items crash when starting up.

Sum up:
Power management under Xandros was the same, but never a problem with Ubuntu or Mepis, and no noted problem with SuSE ever before. Gnome panel item crashing, did this under any recent Gnome build, on any distro I’ve tried.

Solution:
Downloading KDE. Solves Gnome problems at a stroke, and I’ve always found it easier to tweak in KDE.

Downside:
I love some of Gnome’s feature, but this is learnt since I began using OSX. KDE has a ton of handy features, but the one’s missing are the one’s I love most in Gnome.

Commitment to anything?

Huh.. Can I make a commitment to any distro and keep to it?

I’m cautious in saying I’ll stick to SuSE, I like it, love it even, but…

That’s it. There is always a ‘but’.

Ok, to SuSE, and the current install. I think I may have a mixed and matched set of CD’s here. It is not straight forward to choose between ‘OpenSuSE’ and ‘proper’ SuSE, bizarrely Eval version does not time out, but I’m not 100% certain that it is the same as the paid for version. OpenSuSE does have a couple of things missing that I wanted, so was the second choice. What I got, because I mixed and matched mirrors, is some weird hybrid version. We are not off to a good start.

Novell/SuSE’s website is a confusing mess. Yes I understand Novell is an enterprise focused business, so IS SuSE aimed at the SOHO/enthusiast market? If it is, how does this lie with OpenSUSE and feeding development back to other areas of Novell? The site make none of it clear, and when you drop into the download section it becomes less clear. The OpenSuSE site was better, and clearer, but I wanted the full version.

I know I can install the bits I need, in fact I already had to. Thunderbird is not in the software set! Now that IS surprising, almost unforgivable. No, the choice is mine. I want to take the option of upgrading (these are Novell’s words on the site) the eval version to full. I actually want to support the best distro with my money!

SuSE always offered the proper ‘out of the box’ experience. I have bought at least 3 full versions over the years, and generally I’m happy with the product. It really was only the failures I suffered with 9.1 that set me back. Xandros suffers in this respect as it is now too far behind the envelope, great features, but suffering in usability if you have used anything newer. 9.3 is great on my server, although this is now a back burner project, and this was a download version, but as it is stripped for my needs I do not have any usability problems, and the software I need to install is not on the SuSE list anyway. In the end I just want the most usable, enjoyable experience. I want it to work, be easy to modify for my needs, if it needs modifying at all, and be able to just do my work.

For this project to work, a year with SuSE, I need to have a proper base setup, so I have taken a little windfall and ordered the full paid for version. I’ll then have a proper install, and be able to use it on the server as well.

I’m making the commitment, will it deliver?

Commitment to failure?

Oh. If there were ever an omen to failure I think this is it.

Just to get SuSE onto the system has been a nightmare. DVD eval ISO, downloaded by FTP, Bit Torrent was WAY to slow. Downloaded, could not transfer it to shared drive from Xandros. 2.5gig passed, failed. Copied it to shared drive within Xandros, then, cos the Mac refused to see it, moved it from there to network shared drive by using the groupware server (to be). Transferred the image to the Mac, and burnt DVD. DVD in install drive, and it won’t see it as a boot drive.

Ok, plan 2. Downloaded OpenSuse net install CD ISO, painfully slow 3kbs download on most mirrors, had to trawl all the mirrors to find one that could reach a heady 29kbs download rate. Picked it up, and burnt to CD. In the drive detects as boot, and fails as it cannot connect to DCHP server. Highlighted this yesterday.

Ok, plan 3. Download the 5 CD images. Again, slow downloads, but manage to connect and pull each image down in the 30kbs range, or for 4 downloads my max bandwidth. Fine, except CD image fine would not connect. Trawled the mirrors for a working duplicate, found and connected to one, 22kbps, and retired to bed.

This morning, 4 of the images were almost complete, except no 5 which had reached 68% and stalled. Trawled the mirrors, cancelled out 300ish meg of file, and restarted the download. Lunchtime, all downloaded now, so reached for a CD, transferred the lot to the Mac for burning, and launched Toast. Lunchtime gave me a coaster. Buffer underrun, can’t remember when I last saw one of those, possibly in the days of 8x Plextor drives, pre underun protection.

Transferred all the images back to shared drive, then into Xandros. Burnt 3 images there, and 2 on the Mac that worked OK.

So, back to same state as last night. CD 2 is being installed as I type, Xandros commitment is over, welcome back to SuSE, my little green friend.

Commitment to SuSE

It begins today. Somewhat traumatic, if there can be such a thing, download and file transfer, but I got there in the end, and its the DVD Eval edition that has caused the problems.

Don’t know if this is a first, but I’m typing as I install, and its not looking good.

Live SuSE install. Not live as in live CD, but live as it happens.
Ok, so I started with a home toasted DVD, and it failed, so now it’s an OpenSuSE net install. Never much to a CD burn, especially a 64mb version.

Ha… I think this is going to be a live failure. Net install goes looking for a DCHP server, can’t find it, sulks, then drops you to a text install, sulks some more, then throws its hand in. Another 1/2hour wasted.

Download CD’s next I think.

Rested…

Long weekend away. No Internet. No computer one day, cool, much needed break.

I did spend most of on day sorting through the laptop and reorganising much of my work, ready to sync back to the fileserver on return. Tidy, organised and ready for work again.

Strange though, just the little things like remembering I cannot tidy email boxes on IMAP without net connection. Still lots done.

SuSE is up and running on the server, seems stable, but I will start the configuration job soon. Going to take everything off that is un-needed, and start to set it back up as the Groupware server, and backup fileserver.

I’m set up on Gnome, and I’m now able to say that I do prefer it to KDE. Everything just seems to be simpler, cleaner and quicker. Configuration is easier just using panel items for frequent stuff, and I’m pretty much mirrored with both the server and the desktop in setup. I think it maybe a Mac thing. If your from Windows you prefer KDE, it ‘at home’. If you are used to Mac, Gnome makes sense. I’m now in the position of seeing it from both sides, and for me, its now Gnome.

BSD… or was that Blue Screen of Death?

Bitch of an install. One of those why are you doing this moments.

I’ll not really bore anyone with the ‘how I got round it’, the main point was ‘why did I get round it?’

No really, WHY?

I’m sure I missed something, somewhere. In fact I know I did. I had to.
Cripple ware. Pointless wear as it stood on boot up. No network, no pointer to connect to the network. No pointer to do anything.

I want to sit here and say “waste of time”. It was. Too me, at this point in time.

If I had more time I’d have stuck around. In reality I don’t at the moment. It was simply a case of reformat for SuSE needed, lets try this.
My own take is too little, too much work, maybe another time. Move on.

SuSE reloading as clean install right now.

Back to the ‘Distro wars’..

SuSE did’nt take too well. Had a similar problem once with Ubuntu on an upgrade. Can’t find X server, something to do with change to Xorg. Damn.

Runs the command line OK.

Do I sort it, reinstall or do something else?

SuSE 9.3

Said those 5 disc’s would cause an itch!

They did, and what I call ‘the server’ is being upgraded to 9.3. Going smooth too, but we’ll see soon.

I had to take the box down for maintenance, pulled the video card that was going flaky and resorted to the onboard card. One odd thing though, this box was running at 42+ days uptime recently, then it dropped to zero, with no loss of services, login, or Think, which I manually start. Thought it was odd at the time. It has run for another 29 days since. On doing a reboot after the change of video card, I got a message that discs had gone 129 days without being checked. Does the system auto check at 100 days? and that 29 days is a coincidence? Did the system really go down 29 days ago, of has auto update changed something? Does auto update have a way of rebooting without affecting services? Do I care enough to look into it?

OS’s (again) and other things.

Got real anoyed with Ubuntu this week, and the SuSE torrent completed, so it was out with the blank CD’s, feeding five of them into the slot.

Anticipation high, I rebooted with CD1 in the drive, I got a lovely SuSE/Novell spash screen, I got the beginnings of the install process. I got a hang.

Tried it always, but same as the last SuSE distro I downloaded, segmentation fault, hang.

So ended the SuSE experiment.

Back into Ubuntu, but surprise, it now seems totally reliable. Is it alive? Did it know it was one segmentation fault away from total oblivion? Time will tell, but the things I need the machine for will be the deciding factor. It IS a nice, well thought out distro, it does have a future I’m sure, and it has made me rethink Gnome, I’d like to try that under SuSE now, and if it does stay reliable I’ll stay with it.

Now, 5 SuSE discs, and a server that is under used because of the Lacie disc. Just need the time….

Website rebuilding on Mambo is now in 5th gear. Its different to the earlier version in use now, not quite as intuitive, but more powerfull. Just the task seems mamoth, and time seems short. Looks like once the basics are done I’m going to have to look into some more advanced stuff in the ‘bolt on’s’ available, and to top it off I’m away for a long weekend that will disconnect my net access, no bad thing in some ways, but, ‘always on’, to totally off is always a shock. Preparation is the key. Load up the Powerbook, and head for the hills.

Didn’t make a 2meg broadband connection either, 1.2 seems to be the max. I know I’m at the limits of the exchange, and I can’t get confirmation on the state of upgrade in the damed thing either, maybe after July I can go to the full 2meg, maybe later I’ll be able to get ‘Superspeed’ at the promised 4-8meg, although I’d guess that I won’t get anything like max speed.

Still, 1mb is nice.

OS X still finds places to surprise me, and some of the t/p software still amazes me. Looked for a spell check dashboard widget, and found one. Then find out that Ctrl-click spells anyway! I should read the Missing Manual I got for Panther! It was only the other day I lamented the loss of keyboard shortcuts we had on the management app at work, and I’m unaware of those right under my finger tips here, stupid really. Found a nice trial of virtual desktops from You software, that’s one Linux feature I’ve always missed, menu bar is looking very Gnome right now.

I had a brief affair with Windows this week, you know the kind where you lust after it for about 5 seconds before it turns around and kicks you hard in the balls. That is how it felt. And that was under VirtualPC. Can’t even blame it on the 2 databases I need to run under Access this time, ths was because I need Active Sync. I almost gave up. I’ve a huge amount of resources given over to having a virtual Windows just to run 3 things. 1 I could rebuild under filemaker or something, I don’t because if I need to transfer the job to someone else I don’t want the hassle, one could be done manually under Excel, manually and finance are not things I want to get involved with, but Active Sync? How can I get round that? Please don’t say Palm, they are way off the mark these days I’m afraid.

Bad week for distros…

Pulled the DVD version of SuSE 9.2 pro down, intention of putting it on as my workstation OS instead of ProMepis, but after a marathon download session, and a struggle to move a 3.5gig ISO around, burnt it to DVD, and … nothing.

Hangs on install, and throws up HD errors.

Pulled the Ubuntu CD out, installed, upgraded to Hoary Hedgehog, and .. froze.

Crap. Bad week for distros… Looked at options… Back on a nice install of Xandros 3.

That’ll do for now I think. Its a good basic desktop, and I paid for it.

SuSE =2, Xandros3 = 2, Mac = 1, Palm = 1.

Horses for courses. Suse good as a server. Xandros as a simple everyday desktop, and it talks nice to everything else, Mac for work, Palm for PIM/Phone.

All’s well

8:59:

SuSE doing well, reconfigured mail system wide, although I still rely on backup done via Pocomail on Win4lin. This was always going to be my big stumbling point in using linux, Poco is unmatched in day to day use. Kontact is close enough to use, Thunderbird is better, and now in use by Michelle.

I briefly had An IMAP server running on the webserver, but testing has locked it up twice, hardly ideal, so while I’m prepared to give it another shot, I’m also looking at other options. One thing I’m still nervous about is the reliability of this machine, Group-office has locked out before now.

11:55:

Choices are a little limited on what I want, Surgemail is the next best thing, but only gives me a 5 user free license. I’m considering nailing a box together that I can use for testing, a HD is the biggest headache here, followed by a case. I’m going to do some pricing up, but I had already

promised to do this for M’s mum, and migrating Group-office looks a pain, so everything is up in the air. I will restart server again today and have a look at best options. My planned uptimes have all gone, but use is more important.

SuSE’s back!

So my little SuSE friend is back…

Wow, did I miss her. Its just that special little YaST thing that she does,

no-one else does that.

Now we are back together I even treated her to an upgraded 3.3KDE. Nice. Suits her, especially Kontact. Samba config also got a whole load better, and this is a plus point for another distro, maybe YaST is not always going to be key, but sssh, SuSE might be listening and I promised her I’d not stray to another distro again, but only if she stays good, and we can work out our problems together. There is a new kernel on the update, and she is just itching to have it I know.

I’ve hooked up the Wacom tablet, SuSE saw that and wanted to use it right away, its a cast off from Xandros, who thought it was too much work to install. Just really got mail to sort, maybe that kernel too, and I’m then going to set up both with a pile of software through Crossover, at this rate Win4Lin is going to remain unused, and I need to watch that license.

Itch bit, and kernel installed. Same old problem, and armed with knowledge gained over the past couple of weeks we reversed to old kernel, that’s how I’m typing this. Locked it so I can’t install, and I’ll find the time to find a fix soon. I hate to think that that is all I’d needed to do 2 weeks ago, but following the Win update fiasco and it’s prompt to switch to Linux full time, I was in no mood to start poking into the innards and preferred to opt for the simple, if it don’t work, don’t fix it, find something better. Worked for Windows, but not for Linux.

Forgive and forget

I’m taking the decsion to forgive and forget, shake and makeup, and return to my little cute green partner, SuSE.

Xandros will stay as the shared machine, and see at least one upgrade, SuSE will almost certainly see 9.2, on the laptop as well. The last problem on SuSE was possibly a boot loader problem after Kernel upgrade, so with a little help from Knoppix, Gnoppix and Mepis I may be able to rescue a really sick install, but I’m going to be carefull on kernel upgrades anyway.

I’m not telling the boss…

Busy tech day in the end. Ssh, I’m not telling the boss…

Fedora Core2 now about 2hours away from full download. I’m definitely going

to give it my best shot. It would appear to offer all I need, SuSE like almost, but with added community.

The problem Linux box is now bolted back together and sitting in its proper place. Xandros flies on this machine, more so than SuSE did. I can’t work out if its has anything to do with the config or the distro. I’m not going to patch or install anything on it, just switch to Core2 asap.

I read up on a quick Google that their does appear to be a random fault in

the kernel upgrade, not many, but some are getting a similar problem. Now

if I look back I may find out ways of curing it, or if I can get it to reinstall I could avoid the patch. However my confidence has taken a battering on this, and I may find the chameleon and I are going to part company. I want to lay the blame at Novell’s door, 9.1 had some serious flaws out of the box, but I forgave them. Now I have junked Windows on the back of an update process that killed an install, I am all to happy to walk away from a distro that appears to have done the same less than 3 days later. Please stop releasing software/patches that are not ready guys.

Xandros is continuing to amaze me. It is really how a modern OS should be. I burnt the Fedora ISO’s just by double clicking them, that is after I searched the software installed, and Xandros networks looking for a program to do it. Google the provided the answer, and it was so simple that I had missed it. Double click the ISO and poke a blank CD in the drive. Simple.

Now if I could just overcome that nagging doubt about stability and long term reliability, over look the simplicity, and lack of cutting edge upgrading/features, the Xandros may be getting a longer term investment on the ex-Windows machine. I am eying up the Premium member thing, and may point some cash at this option.

Talking of finding the cure in the simplest area, I have had a long term issue with my Treo ‘buzzing’ when on a call. Not audible at my end, it has been a pain for the callee. I found instructions for a cure on MyTreo.net, and fixed it today. It is amazing what a 1cmX4cm strip of kitchen foil, and a similar piece of Sellotape, can cure. Evidently I have built an interference shield on the 1cm wire that connects the battery controller daughter board to the phones motherboard. Cool.

Love?

0:05:

Still find more to love on Linux everyday, but still find something that infuriates me everyday, usually after struggling for hour trying to fix something, or make it work. Latest horror was the fix for Samba problem on SuSE9.1. Downloaded the new RPM’s weeks ago on the laptop, installed then dumped them to server. Trying to install from there to server just kept getting empty YaST messages.

Realised my file permissions were out, one of the reasons I want to install is to go with an all Samba network, changed them and still no luck. Tried again several times then realise that it is set to remove source after install. Dunno if this is it, but after 1/2 hour trawling newsgroup I found original link on and downloading everything again I am getting some look on an install with the bloody things. Right, I can see why, security, space on disc etc, I can understand why, its just so much of a pain every time something like this happens, and coming on top of today’s little cockups cos of file permissions I’m off on a little pointless rant.

Still, it could be worse, I could be stuck in MS dll hell with the only option a full reload looming. (How many times have I been there?).

0:52:

Repairman job later, Mike dropped his shiny new Dell off, and his old box, for a data transfer setup session. Gotta see if I can make time for that later today. Samba working fully on server now, just got to give it a few tweaks and set it, and the laptop to drop NFS.

00:42:

egroupware loading up, three hour upload, 32meg, thank god for the extra space. Like I said, a real pig to upload and configure, and I’m only just starting.

I NEED to prioritise here, membership stuff to do, business plan to do, a computer sitting here waiting for me to configure it, and all I wanna do is play with shiny new software that is going to drive me nuts before it works how I want/need it to.

Such is life.

100%, not yet..

9:41:
Nope, still not 100%. Gonna take a look at individual folders in there. Maybe there is a setting in Windows too. I can write to my own folder, but not any of the others…
15:46:
Not spending all my time on this crap, weather is waaay to good. I stand by what I said, SuSE 9+ makes a good usable desktop, my requirements for storing docs on a server accessable from Windows etc, go beyond that. Something in manually setting my system drops the standard SuSE settings. If I goback and make my own Samba connect and mount I might get round the problems of an NFS
share on the same directory.Too much buggering about, not enough work at the moment.
21:49:
Ahh, the joys of Usenet. Seems there is, as I suspected, a bug in the SuSE packed version of Samba. Just wait for SuSE repacked version, or go the manual RPM route.. Repacked I think. But its a Windows like balls up really.

Re-install re-visited

7:37:

I’ve take the somewhat drastic decision to re-install SuSE on the laptop. It contains the least data, and is the most disconnected. This needs to talk to server and over the summer I intend to be doing most work from it.

Sitting in the conservatory, cold beer and Linux…(Should try and get a new battery & a wireless network and I could go anywhere..)

9:03:

Re-install underway. Memory installed, should make it a bit snappier. Now to find out how/why it switches out the built in networking. I’m going to be happy if I can mount a drive on the network for both machines, either through Samba or NFS..

13:55:

Ahh well, that didn’t cure it then… Same problems. And I notice they are the same on both boxes…. SO.

Networking failing on both Samba and NSF.

Powermanagement on laptop non-existant.

Laptop incapable of shutdown unaided. Locks up and needs manual off.

Couple of problems in Super-user file mode.

Did they rush this through, do I have to look at Mandrake 10 on the laptop? Please no, I said I’m happy with SuSE, but I am considering rolling back to 9.0, it worked better than this for the most part, and many of the differences were minimal. Just gonna be a pain in the ares on the Server now.

Lucky thing is that Windows sees it all, so if I do roll back and keep using Windows on one box, and SuSE here, the server may be quite happy sitting with a slightly dodgy install of 9.1.

17:50:

OK, so it may have been me. I’m not sure if the defaults are different in 9.1, but, checked server share, its defaulting to read only, ahh, changed that, still no joy. Poke about some more, keyboard in one hand, and SuSE manual in the other. I try various setting, but nothing works. keeping fit because laptop is downstairs, server keyboard up. Then, if I only had noticed this

before, I find I can’t right to shared folder, but I can to the folders inside that??

Right now I’m just pleased that it’s writing to the share, so I’m not going to poke around, discover why or find out more. I feel a bit of an arse, but its not like I have not tried to find out more about why…

It only leaves the other problems to sort out, like why it cant find Samba mounts.

Midnight oil.

9:07:

Worked long into the night on a new leaflet for 6880, I’ve installed Scibus on Linux, but I’m not sure about firing it up yet, compatibility problems when pushing across to Quark? Built this first draught in OpenOffice, SuSE branded version, seems more polished? That may be me, or it maybe a more recent version, but I have to say I am almost at the point of PREFERRING it over MS Office…

Now the only problem is that the laptop appears restricted on memory, 112MB ain’t going to cut it with this distro.

13:33:

Just splashed out on 256MB of RAM. Nice treat for the laptop. ?44, remember buying 128MB of bog std PC100 at ?109….

23:59:

Now finished upgrade to SuSE 9.1 on main box. Fine, but connectivity between the 2 Linux boxes is nonexistent. Both can no longer see Windows shares either… More headaches ahead I think. Both Linux boxes can see each other,both are supposedly sharing, but neither can write to the other… Mmm Windows can read both, and write to both. Samba appears to be 1 way now.

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