Review:Vista Challenger OpenSUSE 10.1 Is Versatile, but Uneven

 
 
By Jason Brooks  |  Posted 2006-05-30
 
 
 

Novell's OpenSUSE 10.1 is a solid, multipurpose Linux-based operating system that—in addition to being a very good distribution in its own right —offers an early peek at the SUSE Enterprise Linux Desktop product that Novell is set to ship this summer.

OpenSUSE 10.1, like all Linux distributions, bundles a broad assortment of open-source applications into an integrated package.

What has always (and still does) set SUSE apart is the measure of management homogeneity that the distribution brings to this diverse set of components—mostly through its Yast system configuration framework.

Overall, eWEEK Labs appreciated the ambitious scope of OpenSUSE 10.1's configuration tools, but we also ran into some areas in which Yast's reach frustratingly exceeded its grasp.

More than once during our tests, we were pleased by new management functionality we found—such as in the system's Xen virtualization and software configuration modules—only to be disappointed by the features' uneven execution.

We hope to see Novell tighten up these gaps before it hits the road with its enterprise-targeted client.

On the whole, however, we were very impressed with OpenSUSE 10.1, which we can recommend for the full range of roles in which Linux operating systems typically serve.

OpenSUSE 10.1 boasts very good GNOME and KDE desktop environment options, a full slate of developer tools and a complete set of server software.

OpenSUSE 10.1 is free software, available for download on the six CD images at http://en.opensuse.org.

However, unlike similarly no-cost distributions—such as Fedora Core Linux and Ubuntu Linux—OpenSUSE is also available in a retail version. For about $60, this version includes physical media, a user manual and an assortment of applications not available in the free version.

The retail version also comes with 90 days of installation support. Additional, paid support is available from Novell for both the free and retail versions. There are more details here.

OpenSUSE 10.1 is available in x86, x86-64 and Power PC versions. We tested the x86 version of the distribution on an Intel Pentium M-based notebook, a Pentium 4-based desktop and in a couple of VMware virtual machines.

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