Tuesday, 8 March 2005

SuSE Linux (again)

After trying out a couple of Linux distros (SuSE, Mandrake, Gentoo and Debian) I decided to install SuSE on my laptop. As ever this was quite a pain due to the lack of CD/DVD drive.

Anyway, inomine did some searching while I was... doing something else (I can't really remember what) and we muddled it together. It was actually a little more straightforward than Gentoo (or it would have been if we'd used HTTP instead of NFS in the first place ;). Within minutes everything was up and running, almost without issue.

One of the things I quite liked about SuSE was the splash loader, which is probably common for Linux distributions now. Unfortunately SuSE isn't having any of my Vaio, so I get to sit through the boring startup output.

apt for SuSE is also a great help, and I've even figured out which repositories are for me (none of this kde 3.4 break-your-system release for me!). One thing SuSE is really lacking is alternative input support. I quite want to be able to input romanji and have it converted to hiragana/katakana or kanji for me. I tried uim without much luck.

I'm now downloading a Fedora Core 3 DVD ISO for one reason only -- it's seemingly excellent Internationalization Project. I remembered this from a while back when I installed Fedora (or maybe it was Red Hat?) on Xiaoxiao's old laptop. Setting up pinyin input was a breeze -- just the sort of breeze I want for getting some kana input on my laptop.

I hear bad things about Fedora but I'll give it a chance, just as I did Mandrake, Gentoo and Debian. If it does input nicely, has a decent default setup and speed, supports my laptop's hardware (I shouldn't imagine any problems here -- this is the Linux kernel more than the distro) and has a decent set of easy-to-get-and-install packages available then it may very well top SuSE in my favourite Linux distribution rankings.

Right now, the table is laid out something like:

  1. SuSE Linux 9.2

  2. Gentoo

  3. Debian

  4. MandrakeLinux 10.1 (plain nasty defaults)

That doesn't really inlcude the i18n stuff I was talking about just now -- I suspect Gentoo will handle that very well with the ``Gentoo way'' of configuring things (i.e. do it yourself) so I will evaluate Gentoo as having adequate i18n support in any future ratings.

Anyway, I'm pretty tired now and need to be up tomorrow morning. Bed.

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