openSUSE 11.3 not quite ready for prime time

Well, having spent dozens of hours trying to get every feature of my new system (after a simple upgrade from 11.0 to 11.3 failed) I have definitely had some impressions burned into my mind.

The new 11.3 release is deficient particularly in the area of video card configuration. The removal of sax2 was a glaring omission in this release and a new wiki paedia page on how to manually tweak your new video card will only be read by NASA engineers. The new linux person will be discouraged.

Secondly, I found lack of documentation of new features particularly troubling. For example, try the CLI command “man tracker” or “man phonon” and see what comes up. Yet I found my new system running the tracker task like no one’s business, and the phonon daemon was manhandling my sound cards but under cover. Icons just disappeared off my desktop, and notification messages would vanish before I could even read what important alert they were trying to say.

I find this wizardry to help the user actually causing more confusion and frustration.

When you cannot mount a simple audio CD and play it, then read in the wikipages about how the kernel doesn’t treat it as a type of file system, but jumps through special hoops (all of which dmesg showed as failing) then you begin to wonder if openSuse can get anything right?

During boot up, I noticed dozens and dozens of warning messages into the /var/log area, and also noticed that some of the claimed items like no network services during run level 2 was flagrantly violated, you begin to lose trust in what you do read. If that document was not true, what else might not be true?

Another thing which I noticed was the rush to insert new items or services into the release, such as phonon. Trying to remove this program or its library via Yast will be a real eye opener. I am not about to fix the hundreds of broken dependencies which occur. I’ve had the pleasure? of using Ubuntu 9.10, where the automatic care of software packages is taken to new heights, where I tried to remove a simple file and apt came back and said hundreds of packages are now broken. Who on earth will be able to put their system back together again?

This is the drawback of the automatic software configuration mechanism which intends to shield against incompatibility while yet weaving a web of strict control which soon makes it impossible to even move.

As a former software creater for large aerospace companies which had to adhere to strict CMMI standards, I am somewhat amused by what I find, but not amused too much.

I realize that linux is an open community, but I would like to suggest that we do need to do an overhaul, particularly in regard to informational meta content, that chamleon in the lower left corner really does need to become better organized. How else can you explain finding Sound Device Chooser under the Volume Setting? One would think that volume is a subset of the sound system, not the other way around.

Encyclopeadia Brittanica gets it right, we need to reexamine their approach and see if we can steer the documentational content in that direction.

For what it’s worth, I give openSuse 11.3 only a C++ for this release, it seems to have been pushed out the door too soon.

Just a comment on this. It’s not the kernel doing this, it’s the desktop trying to be helpful and probing any CD/DVD that’s inserted. Some people like the convenience of seeing their media show up on the desktop when they insert a CD/DVD. Those error messages are harmless. You’re just being persnickety. If you don’t like this feature you can turn off media probing.

No comments on the other issues, I leave those for others.

In general I get the impression that your dealings with the computer are harder than they need to be. It’s not meant to be that hard. It’s more fun than that.

Was your 11.3 upgrade an actual upgrade or clean install?

randallrathbun sorry to read of your difficulty.

Linux has changed a lot over the years, and the features you see in openSUSE wrt playing audio CDs and other aspects is pretty much common across all current distributions. openSUSE is no different here than most other distributions.

Reference your hiccps, I noted you DID start threads asking for explanations/help, and IMHO just give those threads some time and you will get some answers.

I’m mostly very happy with 11.3 and have it running on 4 PCs. But a big thing is I’ve participated in every openSUSE release since 7.3 (not missing one) and hence for me the evolution is fairly smooth …

I find users who skip 2 or 3 releases and then jump in to a new one, sometimes struggle because of the major changes sweeping the Linux Operating system, in which openSUSE is participating. They have a hard time adjusting to the changes in Linux as a whole.

Good luck and best wishes.