Things to dislike about SUSE 10.3

OK, so we’ve have the good things about openSUSE 10.3, now for the bad.

  • The repository and package installation management in openSUSE 10.3 sucks – bigtime!
    • I’m often getting failures to read the control files from the Internet (though normal browsing works fine),
    • it is slow – really very very very slow,
    • and you do seem to get weird dependency issues more often than other distros,
    • there are too many fairly standard packages missing from the default repositories so you have to configure third party ones (at least this is often easier with the 1-click install facility now available),
    • 1-click install seems to often fail or takes >5 minutes to jump into life,
    • Why do I have to keep importing new repository keys? It makes a mockery of the security because I get blasé about it and always say yes,
    • Why does running a package install totally kill the system performance?
  • I thought that there were a number of important commands missing from the distro but it turned out that the installation didn’t set /sbin in the path so that things like the hdparm command were not found
  • It sets the “name” of my machine to something based on what the DHCP server on my router has given it rather than the name of machine that I set on installation (this shows up in YAST and on the command line). Not really a problem but a niggle
  • libata seems to break some software
    Update 2008-01-29: Hmm, not so sure now that scanning is working though I’ve also taken out my PATA hard drives so who knows? In fact, the release notes show that libata can be disabled at boot-time using the boot option “hwprobe=-modules.pata” if it causes problems
  • In particular, scanning was only working with Kooka (which is very basic). My normal cross-platform scanning software – VueScan – doesn’t work, nor does the propriatory version of iScan (for Epson scanners)
    Update 2008-01-29: Now sorted. It turned out I hadn’t fully configured my Epson scanner in YAST. Though I don’t know whether removing my PATA hard drives may have changed things also. Anyway, both VueScan and iScan now work – hooray!

Well, despite all of these, I’m still finding it the best available right now. Overall I’d have to say that it is a well balanced distro and does most things you want right out of the box. I’ll stick with it for now.