From Ubuntu to OpenSUSE and back again

Print Friendly

I have Ubuntu running in dual boot mode on two different machines. Given all the news with Novell yesterday and the recent praise for OpenSUSE 10, I decided that I would test install OpenSUSE 10.1 on one of the machines. I did, and I’m back on Ubuntu.

The OpenSUSE distro contains a lot more than the Ubuntu desktop release, basically a DVD vs. a CD. So it took several hours to download via my home DSL. That’s ok, because I let it go in the background. I even used the new BitTorrent capability of Opera 9 to handle the download. It was easy enough to burn the DVD and start the installation.

The OpenSUSE partition manager looked like it was doing the right job but it didn’t really tell me that I would only just barely have enough space for the installation. Later in the installation I started to get a lot of warnings about running out of room, but I never quite did.

The installation process is pretty long with a lot of questions. It was pretty slow going, but I slogged through it. Once it came up OpenSUSE was quite attractive. When I install new operating systems, I do so with an ethernet cable in the machine in order to make sure I have the fastest file transfers I can muster. When I unplugged that, I found I had no wireless. It didn’t even detect the Atheros hardware.

I looked around the OpenSUSE site, followed the instructions, and nada, it didn’t work. I could have probably have done a lot more work (I learned a lot by searching the web), but it was just too much trouble. This was a test, not an installation for life. Had it gone completely well I would have stuck with it for at least a few weeks in test mode. As it is, life is short.

So I reinstalled the latest version of Ubuntu from the one CD. The whole thing including some customizations was quite easy. It found my wireless card and used it with no special handling whatsoever. For this installation I installed Google Browser Synch on my desktop and the other machine, so it was pretty painless in setting up Firefox. If GBS only handled installation of Firefox extensions it would be perfect.

So I gave it a shot and eventually I will try again, but not too soon. There’s a reason why Ubuntu is doing so well: it works. In fact, I’m writing this wirelessly using WordPress in Firefox using Ubuntu desktop.

During the next week I’ll be doing some travelling so there will be fewer than normal blog entries.