I’ve been an avid user of SuSE Linux for about 6 years now. They always seemed to be at the top of their game, turning out releases just about the time I was ready for a few new features. I’ve always been impressed with the strides they have made in improving the install process, and generally having a usable system out of the box. Since then, I’ve incoporated SuSE Linux Enterprise Server into my company’s IT infrastructure, and have loved every minute of it. So, when the release of SLED 10 was announced, I had to download it.
Let me start by saying, I’m impressed. The install was smooth. My laptop can now hibernate (yay!). I had to use ndiswrapper to get my internal wireless card to work, but even that’s a step up from having to carry around a PCMCIA one. What I wasn’t prepared for though, was the new user interface, and some of the new eye candy that goes with it. They’ve re-thought how people should be accessing their applications. Instead of hunting through a huge start menu, it allows you to search through your applications with a few keystrokes. Xgl and the desktop effects are perhaps the most fascinating addition. It takes advantage of the acceleration on your video card and does a few nifty things that you’d only expect Mac OS X to have. I like the fact that it’s so easy to switch between desktops, and that you can step back and see a bird’s eye view of all of them. You can see more about Xgl here.
I realize that Novell bought SuSE, and that Novell is driving the ship these days. To be honest, I was a bit weary of following Novell and remaining with the SuSE distribution for a while. I’m happy to say that I’m glad a stuck around, and I’ll be sending them $50 to help maintain my version of SLED 10. If you haven’t tried it yet, download the eval and give it go. You won’t be disappointed.