Friday, December 15, 2006

Send SuSE Back...

I upgraded my desktop and laptop to openSUSE 10.2 this week. Wow. Bad wow.

First off, ATI's support of Linux drivers is still abysmal. Not only are their configuration files whack, but they can't be composited, don't support Xinerama (on my laptop at least) and are a pain to install. SuSE ships with a release candidate XOrg 7.2 (because they are really into Xgl and composite extensions), and ATI wasn't ready to support it yet... probably since it hasn't been released. And yet, ATI quickly updated their driver. Still, with my laptop, neither the newer driver nor XOrg 7.2 run. I had to down-port to 7.1, then find an elder driver and use that. Hacked, ugly and it wasted a day and a half of hacking.

NVidia support still isn't much better. When the computer first starts post-install, you get nothing but a blank XWindow. Nice. You actually have to install the NVidia proprietary drivers first, then you can run your window manager. WTF?

As for sound, that was also borked. My laptop did fine with the install, but with my AMD64 desktop sound didn't work at all unless I was root. For some crazy-go-nuts reason, my users weren't in the "sound" group and didn't have permission to access /dev/dsp. So that was fun chasing down.

The Gnome people love messing with my head. Now they've created a keyring manager not unlike KWallet except, just like everything else for Gnome, it's far too convoluted. Evolution uses it to obtain passwords, however OpenSUSE doesn't open the keyring properly prior to launching Evolution. So I have to resort to an ugly, dirty hack for it to work.

So let's sum up here before I rant too long. My desktop wouldn't work immediately after install. Evolution didn't work. My laptop could run on the open-source drivers, but no luck on dual-monitor configs with the proprietary driver. Sound took hacking to work on the desktop. I think we need to let the original SuSE have their distro back - they always polished things to a nice sheen.

On the upside ODE 0.7 is automagically included it seems. So at least I have a standard ODE to develop on / release with. Also Novell has admitted to ZEN sucking - and they've offered alternatives. Although their really horrid ZEN update is still the default. Encrypted partitions work exactly as they should, and NetworkManager works as well.

Hopefully even though openSUSE 10.2 was off to a really rocky start, it will be smooth sailing from here.

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