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SUSE 9.2 long term review

By Gary Sims

I have been using Suse 9.2 for several months now and I think it is time for a long term review. There are several different categories of Linux user; those who must be on the bleeding edge, those who want to be up to date, but yet with a stable system and those for who stability is everything and an upgrade to a newer version is rare!

I fall into the second category, I like to be up to date, but not bleeding edge. Suse 9.2 is proving to be an excellent package and I doubt at the moment if I will upgrade to 9.3 when it comes out as "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Suse 9.2 comes with a 2.6.8 kernel (patched by Suse of course) along with KDE 3.3 GNOME 2.6. Suse 9.2 comes on 5 CDs and hence has many excellent applications. I am a KDE fan so I use that rather than GNOME.I use KMail for my e-mail. It has never given me a moment of trouble and it does everything I want. I use OpenOffice.org (1.1.3) for my office needs, which are mainly word processing and the odd spreadsheet. I use Mozilla (1.7.2) which has only once crashed in the 3 months I have been using this system. The system itself has NEVER crashed. I use K3b for all my CD and DVD burning and I have had few problems, once I tried adding to a multi-session CD which I burnt under Windows and although the other session was recognised I made the mistake of trying to add too much to the second session. This resulted in K3b trashing the disk. It kindly told me there was too much data for the second session but then forgot to offer me a cancel option.

My USB card reader worked out of the box and I have no trouble transfering my digital camera pictures. One minor grumble is that Suse 9.2 doesn't come with kuickshow, which I really like. So good thumbnail management is difficult and I am using a GNOME app which of course takes longer to load!!!

Overall, I am very happy with Suse 9.2. I have had no driver problems and sometimes it has even surprised me by having a driver for a odd bits of hardware I thought were only supported in Windows.

This is an excellent product and I would recommend it to anyone, novice or expert alike.

My system is:

  • AMD Athlon(tm) Processor 1000 MHz with 256K of L2 Cache
  • A VIA KT133 based motherboard
  • 384MB ram
  • HD1: WDC WD200BB-75AUA1 - 20GB
  • HD2: MAXTOR 6L060J3 - 60GB
  • DVD-RW: TEAC DV-W512G
  • DVD-R: HITACHI GD-2000
  • RealTek RTL8139 network card
  • ATI All-in-wonder 128 PRO
  • ImageMate CompactFlash USB for my Digital camera

The Hungry Penguin (Gary Sims) has a degree in Business Information Systems from a British university.He worked for 10 years as a software engineer and is now a freelance Linux consultant and writer.


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