Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sigh, Goodbye OpenSUSE

So I had to ditch OpenSUSE 10.3. It doesn't come as any surprise, really. I've never been able to break out of the Linux installation loop:

1) Install new distro
2) Work out various hardware kinks
3) Try to configure new distro to my liking
4) Try to use new distro for a few weeks
5) Hit a brick wall on some necessary feature; or distro simply breaks
6) Goto step 1

I had OpenSUSE 10.3 installed on both my Thinkpad R32 laptop, and on a standard desktop machine (Asus Mobo, Athlon XP, Geforce 6200 video). In both cases I ran into a dreaded KDE Freeze Bug. Unfortunately the KFB has like 80HP and does 20+2 (freeze) damage, which is a formidable enemy; even though I'm dumping all my skill points into Linux Tinkering and have several Potions of Diet Pepsi in my inventory.

Screw it. I might put more effort into battling the Freeze Bug, but OpenSUSE 10.3's package manager is absolutely atrocious. There have been so many times over the past month that I've thought about searching for software and decided that it wasn't worth it to wait for the package manager to start up. Even if I had that kind of time I'd still just end up fighting RPM dependency nightmares.

I realize that OpenSUSE 11 is just out and has a substantially better package management system. Unfortunately, they said the same thing about 10.3. If the package manager in 10.3 offered "dramatically improv[ed] speed," then I can't imagine how terrible it was previously. And even if package management is twice as fast in version 11, it would still be too damn slow.

So I installed Ubuntu 8.04 on both machines. So far so good, although I ran into the same old nVidia driver problem on the desktop and the laptop won't shut down properly with my PCMCIA wireless card installed. The nVidia driver issue was easy enough to fix (again), and when I figure out where to tell Ubuntu to eject the PCMCIA card on shutdown I'll update that blog post.

It's nice to be back on Ubuntu even though it uses the ever-ugly Gnome desktop and lacks a proper control panel. The Debian package management is really where it's at. I've decided not to try anything fancy with the laptop either - defaults all the way. We'll see how long this all lasts.

Oh, here's a cute one: when I successfully wake my Thinkpad from hibernation, the Hardy Heron informs me that the laptop was unable to hibernate. Thank goodness for the guy who put the "don't tell me this again" checkbox in that dialog.