Originally Published: Sunday, 21 November 1999 Author: Nico Lumma
Published to: featured_articles/Featured Articles Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

SuSE Linux 6.3: First Look

I was fortunate enough to install the brand-new SuSE Linux 6.3 before its release on November 25. In fact, we used it at our installfest on November 20 and gained some experience on how it works.

The biggest new feature is the QT-based graphical installer, named YAST2, that should make installing easier....


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I was fortunate enough to install the brand-new SuSE Linux 6.3 before its release on November 25. In fact, we used it at our installfest on November 20 and gained some experience on how it works.

The biggest new feature is the QT-based graphical installer, named YAST2, that should make installing easier. I liked the idea to interactively ask for username, root password, and such. There is also an option to perform an automatic install or to choose the partitions and packages yourself. I was disappointed that although I chose the first partition, the installer wanted to create all the necessary partitions out of that first partition, neglecting that I had already defined a swap partition. Since I didn't want an additional 4 partitions (/, /boot, /home, swap), I had to leave the graphical installer and revert to the old one. Although the installer didn't work for me, I think this is good for people who try to install Linux for the first time.

SuSE 6.3 has a massive selection and comes on 6 CDs. Installing a system with GNOME, KDE, Enlightenment and Windowmaker was a breeze. SuSE is committed to KDE and offers not only stable but also a whole bunch of alpha-level applications. The collection of GNOME programs is good as well, but what is really missing are dockapps for Windowmaker and epplets for Enlightenment.

Users who need an office suite will find Applixware and StarOffice 5.1, as well as WordPerfect 8. Of course, LaTeX users will find LaTeX and LyX and KLyX.

SuSE 6.3 also has some commercial products included, such as VMware and NPS 4.0. I personally like the addition of demo versions because I like to try out new things.

There are several things that need to be updated right away, such as Bind 8 (the security hole was found too late to be fixed in this release of 6.3). I will replace the version of gvim with one that uses GTK instead of the old athena widgets.

To sum it all up, the latest SuSE release offers a lot to everyone. The new installer will certainly be helpful to beginners and the advanced users will find most of the packages they need. As always, look forward to the release of updated packages on SuSE's Web site.

Nico Lumma (rednix@linux.com) has been using SuSE Linux since 4.4.1 and has profited countless times from the free, unlimited support he got from the SuSE users in Goettingen, Germany. He wishes to thank SuSE for sending out a copy of the master CDs just in time for the GULAG installfest.





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