opensuse versus suse

I’ve been using opensuse for several years now, with mixed results. Getting audio and multimedia to work are an ongoing aggravation. I realize that many drivers, codecs and so forth don’t ship with opensuse for philosophical reasons, but I’m getting to the point where I really don’t want to spend a lot of time configuring and tweaking my system. I have work to get done, and I just want to focus on that.

Does suse enterprise desktop ship with restricted multimedia formats? I don’t mind paying the $50.00 for it if I can really use it out of the box.

I’ll be upgrading to a new system in a couple of weeks, and I’m concerned that I will lose days or weeks trying to configure it with opensuse. Will the enterprise edition make this process any easier?

For what it’s worth, this will be an Intel i7 system with 6 Gb of triple-channel ram, Intel onboard audio and a radeon 4670 video card.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

Not just philosophical reasons, but also legal. Some codecs are not legal to distribute in some jurisdictions. Novell can’t risk getting into trouble that way. Don’t know if SLED has paid-for media software, somebody else might be able to say.

I couldn’t agree more. I too am fed up with trying to get things working and then keep them working.

I have wasted many many days on this with older server machines and having just bought a new IBM x3400 box with good spec I contemplated just paying up in order to get a sound and stable system where everything worked as it should straight out of the box.

Before ordering the software however I asked your question on the Novell SLES & SLED forums. The answers I received were not hopeful for me because:-

  1. SLES is not designed for multimedia apps so I would have to get all I needed from Packman as I do now with OpenSuse and:

  2. SLED is not supported by IBM on my machine and does not appear to have all the codecs required. I could be wrong on this so I suggest you ask a few questions on the SLED forum to see if your specific concerns and interests are addressed.

If you have any luck please keep us informed as I for one will follow!

SLES is a server. No-one in their right minds uses a server for multimedia/games.
SLED is aimed at the business user who needs a solid platform for office type apps.
If you enjoy the satisfaction of solving problems and learning through research and self help, opensuse is great.
No linux distro will support all the latest windows bells and whistles out of the box.
A bit of (re)searching usually solves the problem.
Multimedia apps are well documented and one-click install automates the installation of the required extras.

Long term, sled is paid for and only receives updates that are proven via the novell secure site. New developments, like firefox, aaare not part of the sled updater.
My slles still uses fireox 2 and won’t run the latest version. Stability always comes first in business desktops.

I’m also looking at purchasing an Intel i7 system in the next few weeks. Can you point to a specification on the motherboard so one can better answer your question wrt sound ?

I spend a lot of time helping new users with their sound. Most the time their failure to quickly establish sound is because they simply do not know Linux basics (although they do know Windows basics which do NOT apply to Linux - which frustrates them) and I also help various average users with their sound, who lacking experience in sorting sound problems take a completely wrong approach in trying to sort their problem, needlessly wasting hours, when things can be solved in minutes. In minutes with the “right” approach. :\

I created a sound troubleshooting guide here (which is in need of a major revamp): SDB:AudioTroubleshooting - openSUSE

And for users whose sound is broken by an nominal/official kernel update, I documented here how to fix that: Alsa-update - openSUSE

And for users who simply want to learn some basic top level theory about sound on Linux I created this wiki: Sound-concepts - openSUSE

A big problem we face in Linux, and in openSUSE, is users who fix their problems, do not want to take the time to share their solution in a manner that others can understand. Or they simply do not want to share at all.

A free opensource Linux distribution like openSUSE thrives when it gets contributions and support from its members. It fails when members only criticise and provide no support. Members who provide good support and also criticise where criticism is due have the biggest impact.

wrt to video on the hardware you mention, its likely there will be VESA graphic support (low performance) for the Radeon 4670. Given its a newer card, then openGL graphic driver support is less likely, although it may be present. You would need to surf to find that information (unless someone knows off the top of their head on this thread). The openGL graphic driver will have much better performance than the VESA, but not as good as the proprietary ATI driver. The ATI proprietary driver will most likely support the Radean 4670, but the proprietary driver will not come with openSUSE, … you will need to install it your self. Plus the proprietary driver, while giving significantly superior performance, may not be as stable and most likely will be broken every time there is a kernel update. This affects not only openSUSE Linux users but users of all Linux distributions. I watch the Fedora forum and there are many complaints about this. I also subscribe to a Dell list server for Dell Linux users, which is dominated by Ubuntu users, and they are constantly complaining about driver breakage with a new kernel release. And no the automation in Ubuntu does NOT work as smooth as the critics of non-Ubuntu distributions like to say in their rants.

Support for the newest hardware on any Linux distribution can be problematic, and hence an hour of research before the purchase, can save a working day of frustration after the purchase. For example, I have documented some of my research into a possible intel i7 purchase here: Linux on an Intel Socke-1336 Core i7 ? - openSUSE Forums

If you can get physical access to a PC before purchase, and IF the store that sells the PC is helpful, then at a time when there is no business and lots of time, one could try booting the PC (in the shop) to a live CD to see:
a. what detailed hardware the PC has, and
b. how compatible is the PC with a liveCD.

But again, state of the art hardware may not work with just any liveCD, and one has to pick and choose very carefully.

Thanks for all the replies. In no particular order:

  • I’ve looked at the SLED/SLES distros in more detail, and almost immediately ran into the problems mentioned. In my case, SLED is the more desirable of the two, but it doesn’t ship with Apache. Some of my work involves server-side development - not a lot, but enough so having my own bare-bones server set up running on loopback is a real blessing.

  • Yes, I’ve learned a lot hacking at various suse distros (and others) over the years. But the amount of free time I have available for such things is diminishing, and I have work that I need to get done. Maybe it’s time to give Kubuntu a try. Frankly, opensuse distros seem to be getting less and less stable over time, rather than more so, with each new release only partially fixing existing problems while adding interesting new ones that didn’t exist before - like sound that stops working altogether, or hosed over video, or applications that no longer run. And increasingly, the response to reports of such problems is often, “Well, you have the source code; fix it yourself!” Again, I don’t really have time for that sort of thing, and it’s an attitude that isn’t going to attract anyone to help make opensuse a better product.

  • I’ve seen many posts from the sound guy offering detailed help and instructions on audio problems. Although I’d say that it’s a pity such ongoing help is necessary at this stage of development, I certainly admire your dedication to getting people’s systems working and the amount of time you devote to it. If I have sound issues, I know exactly where to come.

All I presently know about the sound on this new system is that it is the Intel onboard sound system that comes on the Dell as described here - “Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio,” whatever that means. With any luck, it will just work. But my current, very old system also has Intel onboard sound, and it hasn’t worked right since opensuse 10.3; the sound since then has been very faint. I’m not looking to fix it - it works OK for most of my purposes - but I’m a little gun-shy as a result of this experience.

I’ll probably be receiving the system around the end of the month. I’ll report back on my experiences.

Thanks again.

<snip> In my case, SLED is the
> more desirable of the two, but it doesn’t ship with Apache. Some of my
> work involves server-side development - not a lot, but enough so
> having my own bare-bones server set up running on loopback is a real
> blessing.
It’s (apache) on the SDK as well as a few other items :wink:

Cheers Malcolm °¿° (Linux Counter #276890)
openSUSE 11.1 (i586) Kernel
up 21:43, 1 user, load average: 0.17, 0.14, 0.09
ASUS eeePC 1000HE ATOM N280 1.66GHz | GPU Mobile 945GM/GMS/GME

I confess my approach is to leave as little to luck as I possibly can. In the case of Dell, they have chat sessions linked to their web site, where you can interactively ask detailed technical questions of their marketing people, to find out details such as the hardware audio codec. I did that before I purchased my Dell Studio 15, to confirm its compatibility with Linux.

If it worked in 10.3, it should be possible to get working now. Often a simply YaST > Hardware > Sound > Other > Volume, … then move up PCM, Master, Speaker volumes. Close YaST. Go to the mixer. And move up Master, PCM volumes there fixes most low volume problems.

Well then its not a problem. If it was, its likely fixable.

Good luck.

It’s (apache) on the SDK as well as a few other items

I didn’t see it on this list. Is there a more comprehensive list around?

What sort of list are you looiking for? If looking for openSUSE-11.1, webpin often gives a good idea as to what apps one can find (by doing a search):
Webpin search for apache on openSUSE-11.1

Have a look here, whilst it is about the SDK for 10, the list available
in the SDK for 11 is the similar but updated versions.

Cheers Malcolm °¿° (Linux Counter #276890)
openSUSE 11.1 (i586) Kernel
up 1 day 16:15, 1 user, load average: 0.84, 0.64, 0.33
ASUS eeePC 1000HE ATOM N280 1.66GHz | GPU Mobile 945GM/GMS/GME

The list I posted is the SLED list of packages; I had noted earlier that it didn’t include Apache. Someone else was claiming it did, but I’m not seeing it here.

It is packaged with opensuse, but to get it in a suse distro you apparently need to purchase SLES. Or download and install it yourself.

It’s looking like SLED/SLES is not going to be a good answer for me. I’ll be sticking with opensuse or trying one of the other free distros if that doesn’t work out.

I had a problem with the sound in this NFS61S motherboard,in that it was So low,you couldn’t hear it.

One email to Bugzilla fixed it forever!

I was instructed(with a link) to upgrade to the latest alsa version(YAST said I had the latest!),then on reboot,adjust the audio as you suggested…and I was just about knocked out of my chair it was So loud!

I was told it would be fixed for Opensuse 11.0 and it is.Worked perfect on first install -and that’s Realtek,or Intel sound.Something like that.

NFS61S motherboard either way.

btw: I haven’t had any of the problems people describe.Ok,Firefox doesn’t close as quickly sometimes and I have “terminate” it,but everything works great!

As they say in German “Opensuse ist wunderbar!”

I went away and tried other Linuxes ie: Ubuntu 8.04,Fedora 10,Mandriva Spring 2008,but I always keep coming back to Opensuse -and now that SWERDNA and others in the Networking forum took days of their time to help me get my Samba working from Windows to Linux(finally!) I’m staying!

Lesson: Go the Opensuse Forums in the first place!

btw: I first got hooked on Suse with v 7.0!

*a lot of the software we get for free -other versions ie: Xandros make you pay for!

One more thing: While my multimedia is not working perfectly,ie: I still can’t watch wmv videos on Nasa TV,I can now watch DVDs and I did it all by following a multimedia tutorial in the Opensuse forums -and just for the fun of it,I didn’t do the “1 click install” either!I did it the hard way,but it mostly works!

Opensuse keep up the good work!