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.