openSUSE

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FEATURE DESCRIPTION
KEY FEATURES The openSUSE project is a worldwide community program sponsored by Novell with the goal to serve the most usable and userfriendly desktop Linux system. openSUSE (earlier known as Suse or SuSE) has been a top Linux distribution for quite a while (first appeared in 1992 as S.u.S.E). Formerly a business-only solution, now concentrates on home user's desktops and workstations.
Supported architectures i586, x86_64, ppc
Minimal hardware requirements For text mode: 200 MHz Pentium-class, 64MB RAM, 620MB HDD
For graphical mode: 400 MHz Pentium-class, 192MB RAM, 620MB HDD
Software freedom status Since February 2006 Novell doesn't include a single proprietary driver neither in openSUSE nor in SUSE Linux Enteprise Desktop/Server. For openSUSE the Addon CD is available which contains packages with closed source or not OSI-compliant license.
INSTALLATION
Installer - overall (9) YaST, the openSUSE installer is one of the best on the market. It is suitable for both novice and expert users allowing to install the system painlessly but also configure it in depth during the installation time.
Package selection (9) Present, it's one of the installation options.
Predefined package groups (8) Package groups contain: a minimum system, a minimum graphical system without GNOME and KDE, a standard system with Gnome, and a standard system with KDE. No "install everything" option.
Expert mode install (8) Expert mode available on most installation screens, very handy and useful.
Graphical installer (9) Fully graphical, intuitive installation using the YaST tool.
Installer speed (6) Quite reasonable installation speed. It takes 15 to 25 minutes when the default options are left.
CONFIGURATION
Graphical system management (8) YaST - a very well-designed and full-featured system configuration tool. Most of the typical system configuration can be performed here (including file sharing, users administration, firewall configuration and a lot more). The only issue can be random stability problems (similar to the Mandriva's drakconf).
Console-based system management (8) YaST is also available also in console mode.
PACKAGE SYSTEM
Number of packages (7) SUSE has its own package repository which YaST uses for updates and new software installation. Still, Mandriva or Debian beats SUSE in package number, especially when unofficial packages are also counted. Overall, software certified by Suse works usually flawlessly. These packages that are not supported cannot be very reliable usually.
Package management, automatic dependency resolving (6) YaST resolves all dependencies automatically. Unfortunately it does not apply to non-supported packages. In this case, the frustrated user may have to deal with the famous "dependency hell" and a lot of manual program compilations.
Graphical package management tools (8) YaST - the graphical system configuration tool - is unreplaceable with supported software installation.
PERFORMANCE
System boot-up speed (3) Slow boot-up speed. This is one of the issues which didn't get enough attention by the openSUSE developers, yet.
System responsiveness (5) Acceptable speed and responsiveness, but no special optimizations for desktop speed.
STABILITY/SECURITY
Popularity (7) Very popular in German-speaking countries. After Novell acquisition, it becomes more and more popular all over the world as well (currently the popularity is close to Mandriva's).
Security focus (7) Since SUSE acquisition by Novell, the security is becoming even more important than beforeIntegration of AppArmor - a security pack focusing on "mandatory access control for programs, protecting against the exploitation of software flaws and compromised systems" - in the default installation of openSUSE is one of the effects of this.
Stability and maturity (6) Very mature project, closed source for a long period of time, but currently became more open following Novell overall strategy. Good support in case of any problems make it even more reliable. The openSUSE project is however more like a testing ground for the commercial SUSE products and thus, it is by design a little less reliable than the commercial brothers, SLED and SLES.
INTERNATIONALIZATION
Does the installer support multiple languages? (7) openSUSE is a fully international product now. It has not always been like that with SUSE (i.e. before 9.2 version, some languages, like most of the Eastern European languages have not been supported).
Is the system localized after installation? (5) Similarly to the installer, after the SUSE 9.2 version release, the system is well-localized just after the installation for most of the common languages.
Is manual system localization easy? (6) Also manual localization has been simplified (thanks to YaST) starting from the SUSE 9.2 version.
APPLICATIONS/NETWORK
Support for restricted formats (5) The openSUSE OSS version doesn't include any restricted formats support. They are however easily obtainable from the repos. The article Hacking SUSE Linux 10.1 from TheJemReport website describes the installation of non-OSS software in a very clear way.
Sagem DSL modem support (4) No eagle-usb packages. Kernel source and manual module compilation is necessary.
Alcatel DSL modem support (4) Like in Sagem, installation process is totally manual. A speedtouch.conf script (tested with Suse 9.1 and 9.2) can be also downloaded from http://speedtouchconf.sf.net/ to make the process automatic.
ISDN support (0) ?
Wireless support (8) Very good support for wireless connections. Most of the cards are configured automatically during the installation.

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