Sunday, August 21, 2005

OpenSUSE Linux 10.0 beta 2

Can't beat 'em might as well join 'em. Checking out the community version of SUSE called OpenSUSE. This is their second beta of version 10. The installer looks mostly the same except that they give you a choice of desktops (they did before too, but it wasn't obvious how to set this up). I picked KDE being most familar with it.

I was never given the opportunity to test my video configuration during the install which is a change from past releases. This is my second install. The previous install I chose to install the official nvidia drivers and X never came up and I couldn't reconfigure the settings as the text versions of yast and sax didn't work. So was forced to reinstall. Works fine this time.

I'm glad to see they've added a BitTorrent client called KTorrent. One of my previous frustrations was finding a bittorrent client that was easy to install. At least it'll be easier for somebody else. KTorrent is plain looking but works.

YaST has smaller icons and I'm pretty sure that "Virtual Machine Installation (XEN)" icon is new. In the "Miscellaneous" option, there's also a new icon choice entitled "Post a Support Query" for collecting information about your system. This appears to be for official support so would probably only apply if you bought a retail box of SUSE.

TaskJuggler is a new program to be included in a default install. Apparently it's a project management program.

So far I don't see anything that deserves a 9.x to 10.0 upgrade. However, their milestone schedule indicates two more betas before the first release candidate (RC1) so maybe there's things in the pipe yet.

Update: Just wanted to add that OpenLinux 10.0 beta 2 contains KDE 3.4.2b, a maintenance release of KDE. SUSE 9.3 Professional has 3.4.0b. To see the changes view this the 3.4 to 3.4.1 changelog and the 3.4.1 to 3.4.2 changelog.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

1 Unix-based server = 4 Windows servers

Microsoft always chooses the best for its web ventures and that, according to ex-Microsoft employees is Unix (Solaris, FreeBSD, etc.):
For the most part, according to our ex-Microsoftie, the company's money-making Web properties are all based around Unix, with Hotmail 99 being 99 percent FreeBSD, MSN using some Apache on Solaris, bCentral ad servers on 100 percent FreeBSD, and WebTV pretty much entirely Solaris.
And in cases where Microsoft does use its own software for servers?
... Microsoft had to quadruple the number of servers when it moved to its own operating systems.
All this says a lot about Linux. Although Linux isn't based on actual Unix code, it has been designed to be a virtual clone of Unix. And there are lots of Linux servers - about 35-40% of the Internet servers are Linux-based.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Install Linux to a USB thumbdrive

Damn Small Linux is a tiny Linux distribution that fits under 50 MB suitable for running from a business-card-size CD.

What's even cooler is that you can now easily install it onto a one of those USB drives (aka thumbdrives, pen drives, key chain drives) and boot from it. The clickable title gives you the link to the steps to installing it.

Your BIOS does need to support booting directly from a USB drive so older machines like Pentium IIIs under 1.0 GHz might not work ( or might need a BIOS upgrade). DSL includes a word processor, an email program, an MP3 player, an instant messenger, a cd burner, etc.

I used the SanDisk Cruzer Mini 256 MB drive and it worked great. I did have to upgrade the BIOS on my machine (700 Mhz Celeron) which is an Intel board so it was easy to find. The BIOS even sees the drive as a SanDisk.

Thanks to Bruno for this tip! Check Bruno's website for lots of other great tips.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Novell to launch OpenSuSE at LinuxWorld

Novell is opening SuSE Linux to community-based development, sources say, with a model similar to Red Hat's recent move with Fedora. Novell will be launching a community-based Linux distribution, OpenSuSE, at next week's LinuxWorld in San Francisco, according to sources close to the company.
I'm sure a lot of Linux geeks will be happy to hear this news but as a SUSE Linux user since version 7.3 a few years back, I'm concerned.

One of the reasons I like SUSE is because it's not cutting-edge but as a result is also more stable. It's frankly one of the best distros going. Red Hat did the same thing when they started the Fedora Project and it took several incarnations and years before Fedora became anywhere near stable. And in Red Hat's case, they discontinued the retail version.

I'm all for SUSE making a community-driven version as long as they don't give up on the retail version. For the time being, it doesn't look like they intend to:
The expected distribution model isn't quite the same as Red Hat's, though; unlike Red Hat, which only makes Fedora available as a download and doesn't offer support for it, Novell will also sell SuSE Linux in a boxed retail version with manuals and paid technical support, sources said.
Red Hat gave up on the retail product before launching Fedora I'm sure in no small part due the amount of money they make on the enterprise version. It makes total sense for Novell to do this, not sure it makes as much sense for the users who could end up with a less solid product.