Wednesday, October 04, 2006

SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop vs Ubuntu

One of the things that I picked up over the weekend at Linuxfest was a DVD version of SLED/SLES (the server version) 10. When I got home I threw it in under VMPlayer and installed it. It ran pretty well and I loved how clean and integrated everything looked, so I figured I would install it at work since it's a business, and SLED is geared toward businesses.

I downloaded all 5 CDs from Novell since I don't have a DVD drive at work. Burned them all and rebooted with the first disk in, eager to get going. Everything went smoothly, all be it a bit slower than the DVD since I was using 3 of the 5 discs that I burned. YaST takes a bit getting used to, and I initially set up my network wrong by not supplying enough info. If you're using DHCP you won't have a problem, but with static IPs everything is spread out across 3 pages between your IP, DNS, and gateway.

After that I had a fully functional desktop. Well, almost functional. I like to listen to 98.9 The Bear at work and was using Rhythmbox under Ubuntu. All I had under SLED was Helix. Helix doesn't like streaming audio, nor streaming ASX files for that matter. I got to install Rhythmbox.

The only thing I can install off the bat is what is on the CDs. No big deal, I'm sure that YaST will let you add additional places to download programs from. I find out that YaST is broken, and should be replaced by smart. I follow the directions here on setting up smart. (As a side note, all of this reminds me why I HATE Redhat now, even though that's what I grew up using in addition to Mandrake - RPM Hell, which is made worse by yum). smart works much better than Redhat's 'yum' program even though it does the exact same thing. 'smart install rhythmbox' downloads and installs Rhythmbox. Yay!

OK, not so Yay!. I can't play ASX files. No big deal. Wait, I can't play MP3s either! Or ogg, or flac. Crap. Google, can you help?

Me: "rhythmbox suse"
Google: "Here's some websites!"
Websites: "Screw Rhythmbox, SuSE doesn't need music!"

OK, not exactly like that, but I learned that gstreamer is crippled in SuSE for some reason (even though Helix is using it as a backend...hmmm). 'smart install gstreamer*'. It grabs a bunch of gstreamer packages. None of them help me. Let's just compile it then!

First compile throws a fit about a .so file missing. Try to install it via smart but it's already installed. 'locate '. 'locate command not found'. WHAT?! What distro doesn't have locate installed by default?. I decided to install it via the GUI for smart. I get an error as I'm installing only 'findutils-locate', and X decides to commit suicide. I don't mean that X crashed or hung and a reboot fixed it. X, and all the window managers with it, jumped over the side of a cliff just like a suicidal lemming in a faked Disney documentary. All because I tried to install locate.

I really, really should have stopped there, but I didn't. I decided to do an upgrade install to see if it would just fix whatever package decided to kill my system. I needed disc 4 now. OK, no big deal, though a bit odd. Wait another 20 minutes.....X now will not use my GDM screen, and will not display JPGs or PNGs as backgrounds. Reinstall time!

The complete reinstall needed 4 discs instead of the 3 I used the first time around. Ooookay. Waited....and now it's all back up! I do some more digging around, and I find a nifty article saying that the SuSE 9.3 RPMs will work with SuSE 10, and I install the first one for MP3s. I can listen to MP3s in Totem and Rhythmbox! Still no ASX files, but I'm closer.

It's late, I go home. Later that night (and just before this long rant of a post was written), I download all the rest of the RPMs via SSHing into the box, and start to install them with the 'rpm' command. The first one has unmet dependecies. smart doesn't have them. I search the internet and find an RPM. It has unmet dependencies. I search, and find another RPM. It won't install as a newer version is installed, but the newer version doesn't have the file I need. I go to another gstreamer RPM hoping that it will install. Same damn process!

The last thing I do is wget a copy of Ubuntu Edgy Eft. I've already formatted this machine once, and my home directory is backed up. I'll just back up my e-mail again, and try out beta software from a distro I trust.

Sorry Novell, I can't recommend to my sysadmin that we look at SLED as an alternative to Windows XP. Ubuntu doesn't give me any of the headaches that SLED has today, and it makes me love APT and the Debian package management system that much more.

I'm sorry Ubuntu, I hope you can forgive me for trying something different. I'm back, and that's what matters.


Anonymous said...

My friend and I were recently discussing about how modern society has evolved to become so integrated with technology. Reading this post makes me think back to that debate we had, and just how inseparable from electronics we have all become.

I don't mean this in a bad way, of course! Ethical concerns aside... I just hope that as memory gets less expensive, the possibility of downloading our brains onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It's a fantasy that I daydream about every once in a while.

(Posted on Nintendo DS running [url=]R4i[/url] DS OperaMod)

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