SUSE 10.1

I got a new Dell E1505 two months back, and only just recently got it repartitioned enough that I could install a linux on it. I've done this a few times with my elderly circa 11/00 Dell, to mixed results. Slackware and NLD were both hard to shim onto that elderly hardware, and wireless was a problem both times as I ended up having to borrow an Orinoco card each time.

This time around things went smoother. This isn't a full install review like others have been, this is just my impressions of how my own experience went.

Quick Look Good Things
  • Xgl is, of course, gorgeous. Even with the integrated Intel 945GM card. It isn't beefy enough to handle transparency with live updates and wibbly windows at the same time, but it is plenty beefy enough to handle screen translations.
  • The install went rather quick, and the add-on disk was handy.
  • Suspend-to-RAM exists! Yay!
  • The wireless card I have does NOT require ndiswrapper! ipw3945!
  • Basic unsecured wireless connectivity works great.
  • The Power Manager now recognizes the lid-switch and can handle events for it. This was not the case with my old laptop as it was too old to present said switch in a way any Linux power-manager could recognize.
Quick Look Bad Things
  • Compiz is a fragile little thing. Any change at all to screen res, themes, or anything that touches look-n-feel seems to cause it to crash on this laptop.
  • Suspend-to-RAM is so new, it is buggy.
  • Resume-from-Suspend/Hibernation is a chancy proposition at best. Disabling screen-saver locking may help with this.
  • The i945GM graphics does stutter when first copying a screen pic to VRAM for translations, noticable. We'll see if it turns into the 'dripping faucet' kind of noticable.
  • When flipping from Windows to SUSE, it is best to COLD BOOT the system. Something goes weird in the video channel and resolution on the SUSE boot is... funky. This kind of problem is one I've had with Linux and XWindows since, oh heck, that PII 450 system I had a ways back. Getting better, though. Still not there yet.
  • Overall system responsiveness seems slower than when booted to WinXP. That might be improved by going pure-Gnome with no compiz or Xgl.
All in all, this represents a big step forward in Linux usability. Unfortunately, it still isn't 'there' yet. Part of it is that OpenOffice's WordPerfect support isn't all that good, and that's what most of my word-processing documents are in. Part of it is the general fragility of the pieces. And part of it is, I'm sure, a poor choice in mobile hardware to try it out on. But it is what I have, and it works 'pretty good'.

I could EASILLY do BrainShare with this laptop. No worries there at all.

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