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Review: SuSE 7.0 Professional

SuSE 7 has been out for a while now but I was able to obtain a copy for

myself only a few weeks back. SuSE is one of the leading Linux

distributions. SuSE does lag in market share as compared to Red Hat but

that is definitely not a function of it's quality. This is a very

high quality distribution that you must definitely check out.

SuSE 7.0 comes in two different editions, the Personal and Professional

Pack. I worked with the latter whose box (which by the way weights 2.5

kgs!) is loaded with software and manuals. The professional edition,

that I have reviewed here, contains 6 CD's, 4 manuals and for good

measure a DVD which contains the contents of all 6 CD's.

These 4 manuals really steal the show. There's an installation manual

that's more like a illustrated guide to installing SuSE with screen shots

and bubble dialog boxes explaining everything. Then comes the

configuration manual that will help you configure your system. Next

comes the Applications manual which deals with some of the software

that's included. Useful how-to's on configuring your scanner and

CD-Writer are included in this one. I would have liked that the CD-writer

to have been automatically configured like Mandrake does but the process

is nicely documented so it really isn't a problem. There's even a

tutorial on using the GIMP graphics editor.

The professional edition ships with one more manual, the SuSE Technical

Handbook. This is a great reference for newbies and slightly more

advanced users. Linux generally lacks good documentation for newbies but

the handbook is clear, concise and quite detailed. Newbies are always on

the lookout for good books to learn from and it's great to see SuSE

making an effort at addressing this need. Probably one of the best

reasons to choose the professional version over the personal one is this

handbook.

Lets now move on to the installation. The familiar Yast2 GUI setup is

here again with its 8 step installation process. The good old linuxrc

text-based installation is still there if you need it and it does seem

to run much quicker, especially if you want to do a customized

installation. Newbies should stick to the friendlier Yast2 GUI

installation. The installation is easy with context help available. The

defaults should work for most people. A really nifty feature is the

ability to save the settings of the installation and re-use them when

installing on another machine.