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Goodbye SuSE, Hello Ubuntu

Posted by Andrew at 3:18 AM on July 5, 2010

Some of you will know that I’m a Linux user from my previous posts.  I’m not a distro-tart: I tend to stick with a particular Linux distribution rather than swap between the different flavours.  I started out over 15 years ago with an early Slackware release before moving to Red Hat around version 5 (1998?).  I then hopped over to SuSE for 7.3 (2001?) and have been with SuSE ever since.  After I moved to SuSE Linux, I ditched Ms Windows and never looked back.

A few weeks ago, I decided to upgrade my PC for a bit more oomph.  It was basically a complete rebuild as my motherboard was still AGP graphics, so everything’s new – new ASUS mobo, AMD AM3 processor, DDR3 memory,  all SATA drives, ATI (PCI-e) graphics, the works.  None of this stuff was cutting-edge but none of it was complete rubbish either.  All the gear had arrived in the post and Sunday afternoon was free – I was ready to go.

New drives meant new install of SuSE 11.2….or not.  First of all, I couldn’t get SuSE to see the SATA drives until I changed some BIOS settings.  Then the bootloader wouldn’t install unless I only had one HDD and disconnected the two mirrored drives.  And even then, when I rebooted after the initial install, I got buckets of SATA data errors and the OS failed to boot.

After tinkering with BIOS settings and kernel modules for a couple of hours I gave up.  Life’s too short.  I bunged in a Linux Format magazine coverdisk that had Ubuntu 10.04 on it.  Twenty minutes later, I had a working system, with all my drives, including the RAID mirror and it had also installed the proprietary drivers for the graphics card.  No fuss, no muss.  Boy, was I relieved!

I sometimes feel that it’s a bit churlish to complain about an OS which is essentially free, i.e. no cost.  In my defence, I have previously supported SuSE and Red Hat by buying the box sets, but in this day and age, if Linux wants to have any chance to succeed against the Redmond machine, it has to just work.  I’d consider myself somewhere between a power user and an expert and if I can’t get it to work on a fairly ordinary system, there’s no hope.

I’ll probably replace Ubuntu (which uses the Gnome desktop) with Kubuntu (which uses KDE) tonight to keeps things a bit more familiar but I’m afraid it’s goodbye SuSE, hello Ubuntu.

4 Comments

  1. From BaristaOnDutY at 7:30 am on July 5, 2010

    Wow! That’s Quite A Statement U Made. I Have Worked With Redhat, Since 5.0 Suse 7.0, Ubuntu,Even A A Bit Of GooBuntu, While Working At Google. I Tend To Keep A Few Flavors Around, Just For Researching, Fedora Was Good, But I Remember When Suse Was Plug N Play, I Really hope That Soon, I will Be Able To Play My Favorite PC Games Soon. Linux Has Come Such A Long Way! Nice Read! Power To LinuX ~ GuruOnDuty.Com

  2. From HunterA3 at 8:08 pm on July 5, 2010

    I’ve used a number of distros over the years as well–from caldera openlinux, to mandrake, mandriva, redhat, fedora, Suse, Opensuse, SLED 10, etc… and you’re right. Ubuntu is one of the easiest distros to work with. deb packages are much easier to work with than rpm, restricted drivers and printers work without the formally required config file tweets. Where many distros struggle, Ubuntu shines.

    But Ubuntu does have it’s limits. Samba has been a nightmare to configure in 10.04, most DAW programs lack the functionality of Audition, Garageband, etc, lack of a feature rich video editing system (unless you opt for kdenlive and the raft of kde library files that are needed to run it under gnome), and then there’s Amazon’s lack of support for versions above 9.04 on their MP3 downloader program (though you can use Ubuntu One music store as an alternative).

    In my opinion, despite it’s issues, Ubuntu 10.04 has got to be one of the easiest distros to use out of the box, and for the lay person, and one of the most visually appealing operating systems you can use today (even more appealing than OS X in my humble opinion).

  3. From Frank Kalf at 11:31 am on July 15, 2010

    Against all odds I’ve tried installing every major SUSE version from v7 on, and never ever succeeded an install on every machine I used in the passing time. New, old, not so new, not so old: Suse never worked.
    Maybe my drinking water or power mains is not up to par for this distro.

  4. From Andrew at 3:26 am on July 16, 2010

    Frank, I never had any install issues until this point and funnily, I moved from Red Hat to SuSE because I couldn’t get Red Hat to install on a PC and SuSE did. Ten years ago, this wasn’t unexpected but these days I think it’s unacceptable.