March 23, 2004

Suse Linux Professional 9

Suse's success as the main competitor to Red Hat has been predominantly in Europe until now. The penetration of this German company (now owned by
Novell) into the market is expected to grow further. Suse has aimed its Linux distribution more generally, and as such, it's certainly big. Similar to
Mandrake Linux, there is some emphasis on making the desktop aspect of Linux more user friendly, but it also has good server capabilities.

The installation begins with a splash screen with Suse's new rebranded look. The set-up program is part of Yast, which is also used to configure the
system after installation. The first option allows you to repair, update or boot a current system in addition to a new install. Next, Yast takes a
unique approach in collecting together appropriate settings and presenting them to you in a list, for you to make alterations. Although a little
unusual, it works, and most of the suggestions are suitable. The hard disk set-up is effective, and allows you to resize partitions, including Windows
Fat and NTFS.

After installing the packages, the system then reboots. The network card, printer and sound card were correctly identified on our test PC, but there
were problems with the graphics installation - Suse does not supply Nvidia drivers, but offers the option to download these later. The monitor was not
detected. We found the graphics set-up confusing and quite unreliable; it was better to accept the low-quality defaults and change them later. The
final stage of the install process allows an automatic update to patch the system. This worked without issue, and we were impressed having an
up-to-date system before finishing the installation.



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