March 2006


I am The Cyberwolfe and these are my ramblings. All original content is protected under a Creative Commons license - always ask first.
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Review:SuSE 10 AMD64 Edition

Well, I finally got off my backside and installed Linux on the new build. I started with Kubuntu’s AMD64 version, but it kept setting my clock to UTC and screwing everything up. No idea why, it just did. Wasn’t something I really wanted to mess with, since I had just done the install and had no real reason to sort it all out.

So, back to the ftp and got a copy of the SuSE 10.0 AMD64 version. There’s nothing really new for me here, since I was running the 32-bit version before the hardware upgrade. The install did go noticeably faster on the SATA drive, and I’m sure having 2GB of RAM to play with helped the speed issue. So, how does it run?

Not much faster than it used to. And I’m not really surprised.

See, Linux is written to use the hardware more efficiently already, so you won’t see as pronounced a speed increase as you do in the Windows world. Sure, the larger programs such as OpenOffice do launch more quickly, but not by much – the jump from 1 to 2 Gigs of RAM isn’t that pronounced when you’re only using 25 Megs of it to begin with. And it’s not like the software I use is all that processor-intensive. So far, the biggest stress test I have put it through is running Scorched3D at 1280×1024 resolution with highest graphics settings – and I can happily report that the Linux drivers for my nVidia card work flawlessly, without any nasty configuration headaches.

A big hint hint to the folks over at ATI here.

Other nice surprises included SuSE correctly identifying and configuring the on-board sound chip, and letting me configure it for 6-channel audio. Okay, it isn’t actual surround-sound (it is currently duplicating front channel to rear), but I don’t play any games or movies in Linux that use surround sound. Again, not feeling the need to go that last step when it isn’t necessary.

Another thing that sets SuSE apart from the other distributions is YAST, by far the coolest configuration tool I have seen for Linux. I wish (K)Ubuntu would borrow it. Using YAST, I was able to browse through the software selections available, and found apt-get was included on the DVD image. A couple clicks later, it was installed.

Once that is done, it’s a simple matter of getting into a terminal and entering apt-get update and apt-get install synaptic. Voila! You now have the Debian apt-get package management tool and a pretty GUI to use it. The default repositories list may be a little sparse, but a quick Google search fixes that. Using Synaptic, press the button for “mark all upgrades” and choose “Default” after you apply the changes – this should go through and fix your crippled multimedia players.

One weird thing that did crop up had to do with my IMAP email boxes. For some reason, when I tried to open an email from one of these accounts, the system started hammering my Data drive mercilessly, to the tune of 100% CPU usage – it almost locked up the system. I had to reset those email addresses to a standard POP setting until I can find the problem. Weird.

Just for grins and giggles, I’ll see if there is an easy way to benchmark the box and post the scores here for you. I still say, if you want to run Linux, SuSE ain’t a bad way to go. The install is very user-friendly and it comes with just about anything you want. What it doesn’t come with can be found pretty simply, now that they have included apt-get as a means of package management.

So, go forth and download a copy for yourself. And like they say at SuSE, “Have a lot of fun!”

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