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OpenSUSE 10.2 (DVD) installation review: (I’ll never use 5-CDs again!) January 5, 2007

Posted by Nigel Ajay Kumar (NAyK) in First Impressions, How-To, Linux, OpenSUSE, Reviews, Working on Linux.

…or openSUSE 10.2 on my Lenovo z60m ThinkPad and how I got there.

(latest update: this is phase 1 of my openSUSE review. Phase II is configuration and settings details which are scattered across posts later posts. The phase 3 review of how I have found starting to work with openSUSE is found here in this post.)

I’ve never installed from a DVD before, and it made installing Linux so much more a pleasurable experience. Below is my step-by-step installation (not usage yet) review. I was installing (and writing) this on my Lenovo Z60m thinkpad.

1: Downloaded DVD .iso using metalink and burned onto DVD.

Whole of yesterday I downloaded the DVD .iso of openSUSE 10.2 through the openSUSE DVD -i386 metalink. I used windows-based Orbit as my new favourite download manager (I don’t know how they do it, but it’s really, really fast!) And it took about 8 hours. Which in my territory, for a 3.8 GB file, is fast.
Verdict: Good experience working with metalinks.

2: Boot from CD.

Then, at 3:00am (yes am), I started my openSUSE 10.2 installation, partly just to see whether this DVD worked (I wanted to test it, I didn’t think I would be installing it). However, when I booted, it didn’t give me any option to test the DVD, which, after trying to install Fedora, I’ve seen as a must. I continued with the install hoping that it will ask to check disk integrity sometime later, but it didn’t and I found myself in the middle of an openSUSE install.

Verdict: Very poor on the part of openSUSE not to offer a device (DVD) check. But other options neatly laid out. I don’t like the stripy blue though, but then we could go on and on complaining about the colour!

3. Settings before installation

I didn’t mind being in the middle of an install though, even though it was so late. I decided to continue anyway. openSUSE (like Mandriva, and possibly Fedora) has a gamut of options/settings that need to be tweaked… unlike recent Ubuntu. Because I’ve done this before I’m not overwhelmed… and I actually like this kind of control. For basic users however, the default options may be decent, but I would not recommend coming to the openSUSE installation without some partitioning experience.

Compared to my last openSUSE install, 10.2 was a little simpler. Really. Especially the options were tighter. I remember in 10.1 I had an endless amount of fonts to select/deselect. and I remember saying that I wish they were grouped more neatly. In 10.2 they were.

Still, it took a long time to get these settings… from boot-up to completing installation settings, it took 21 minutes… mostly because I tweaked a lot with the settings, but still it can be a deterrant for a few!

Verdict: Much better options than 10.1, but still especially for users who want to dual-boot with windows, it is recommended that the user comes with partitioning experience.

I guess I’ll persevere with openSUSE 10.2 for a while… and may even shift away from Ubuntu 6.10. That is of course if openSUSE in the coming days I will be able to improve the sound, connect to Network/Printer, and allow the multimedia functions

4. Installation using DVD!

For those who have used 5-CDs to install openSUSE (right from the 9.3 days)… you will understand perfectly well that a DVD makes life so much more easier that we will vow never to use mutliple CDs for installation again! Trust me, it was faster, and more convenient. Last time, openSUSE installation on my Lenovo took a really long time to go from CD to CD… 1hour 10 minutesto be exact… but now, at 3:22am the computer clock told me that it would take 40 minutes to complete the installation, but actually only 25 minutes later, at 3:47am, I was done with the installation. This was the fastest and most hassle-free install ever. (of course openSUSE’s install timings have never been accurate, but I like that it erred for the faster side).

Verdict: It is recommended that all users of openSUSE (and other multi CD distro’s like Fedora etc) use DVDs instead of CDs to improve performance and peace of mind! Only 25 minutes for installaton of files (between pre and post settings).

5. Post installation settings… (no it’s not over yet)

I was asked to reboot, which I did, but interestingly, it didn’t offer to take out my DVD so since my Lenovo was set to boot from CD it obviously loaded back to the DVD. This was irritating, but easily solved by choosing the “boot from hardisk” option on the top.

My internet connection was tested and it worked. And then I was led to the configuration page. I sort of forgot my hassles during the previous configuation editing process, and so I clicked configure now, which was recommended by SUSE. I was led to a openSUSE website (yes, during install) and asked to fill in a form etc. I did, it took me some time, but I thought all this would help so I persevered. And then it hit me, it asked me for the Activation Code again! Can you beleive it, the same problem I faced in the previous 10.1 install, I faced here. I hit a dead-end without any help from SUSE on what I should do next, when asked for an activaton code. I had already invested about 15 minutes to this… and so it was irritating/frustrating that I had to abort all this, and choose configure later. So, for all readers… DO NOT CONFIGURE NOW, choose CONFIGURE LATER!

Then, I was led to the repository update site, and I naturally choose all three of the options given. And then, openSUSE displayed a small pop-up scene and seemed to try to upload the repository. It took a long time, and nothing seemed to be happened. For 7 minutes something would happen then there would be computer silence. I got scared that I would lose everything, so I tried to abort/stop/choose next… nothing worked. I couldn’t get out of this stage. I was trapped. As it turns out, I need to enlarge the pop-up to see that something was actally happening. The file names kept changing (though the directory didn’t)… and so I was just seeing the unchanging directory details and getting frustrated. Still, there was no indication of how long this process could take and there was no way to abort it in the middle as well. Really quite frustrating.

Verdict: openSUSE seems to have improved it’s post-installation settings, but it is still frustrating. Try to avoid messing with the settings here, and do it later, you’ll save a lot of time.

6. It is finished

At 4:31am I received the screen saying that I was finished… and then I chose autoyast clone (not knowing what it was, but I think it’s for saving settings for future installations). That took another few minutes.

At 4:35am I was finally finished. Which was great!

Verdict: Total installation time, 1 hour 35 minutes! Not bad. Not bad at all.

7. Final words:

I am typing this on my openSUSE 10.2. My sound is still pathetic (unlike every other distro I’ve tried), SUSE’s sound on my Lenovo is almost non-existant. Why, why, why???

It has recognised my Windows drives, and allows me to edit my FAT 32 partition! Clap, clap, clap.

I haven’t configured my network yet, so I’m hoping after my Ubuntu experience, I know a little more of how to do it… and that it will work.

All in all… I’m glad I’m persevering with openSUSE 10.2. I guess Fedora’s delays (I have bought the Fedora DVD and am waiting for it to arrive)… has been openSUSE’s gain. I would have never tried it now if I had Fedora in my hands. I guess I’ll persevere with openSUSE for a while… and may even shift away from Ubuntu, if openSUSE allows me to improve sound, connect to network/printer, and allow the multimedia functions. Hmm… long way to go.

at 5:00am… I quit. For a good night (whatever is left of it) sleep.

ps. For a practical video guide to installing, see here. For a list of (complete) repositories, click here.

pps. Solving openSUSE installation failures, see here.



1. openSUSE 10.2 KDE/GNOME screenshot « Tryst with Linux and other Alternatives - January 6, 2007

[…] 10.2 KDE/GNOME screenshot January 6, 2007 Posted by NAyK in Linux, SUSE. trackback As my previous post suggests, I enjoyed installing openSUSE on my Lenovo. In fact, I gained a lot from my Ubuntu […]

2. Suse on my Lenovo! and how I got there « Tryst with Linux and other Alternatives - January 6, 2007

[…] written from openSUSE 10.1 on my Lenovo Z60m. (latest update: I now have openSUSE 10.2 and here is that story) SUSE recognised all my hardware… but I’m a little skeptical about whether it has […]

3. openSUSE 10.2 review (phase 3: getting ready to work) « Tryst with Linux and other Alternatives - January 9, 2007

[…] First Impressions, Working on Linux, Working with Linux. trackback Earlier I had written the installation review of openSUSE 10.2. I really enjoyed installating through the DVD (all the pleasures of a single CD with the power of a […]

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