February 12, 2006

SUSEWatcher is a great openSUSE feature

Author: Robin 'Roblimo' Miller

I "rotate" Linux distributions, using each of the most popular ones for a few months so I have a chance to give all of them a fair chance to win my love. Right now, I'm running openSUSE, and the openSUSE feature I like best so far is SUSEWatcher, Novell's automatic software update alert.When I'm using my personal (Linux) computer I don't want to think about its inner workings. I want to write my stories and books and do my administrative and management tasks without worrying about whether my computer is suddenly going to think different or decide that where it wants to go today is someplace I don't want to go. I want my computer to serve me, not the other way around.

Most Linux distributions have pretty much the same applications available these days, and once you get them installed you're really using the applications, not GNU/Linux itself or even the distro. After installation, the only time you really need to notice the distro is when you're doing system administration, which for most desktop users is confined almost entirely to software updates, installations and deletions.

Software -- especially security -- updates in openSUSE are a total no-brainer because of SUSEWatcher, a wonderful little utility that alerts you automatically when there are updates available for any software you have installed through YAST. It's so simple to use (click on the little "SUSE ball" on your panel when it turns red) that I'm not going to waste space describing it or telling you how to use it here.

Instead, I'll just point you to Novell's YAST Online Update De-Mystified page, which tells you everything you need to know (and more) about SUSEWatcher and how it works with YAST, Novell's Yet Another Setup Tool, which may not be quite as cool as Debian's Advanced Packaging Tool (APT), but does a perfectly good job of managing your system.


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