September 13, 2006

Going with Linux

Finally I have the opportunity to run something other than Windows at work!
I would love to give OS X a try, but that would require new hardware (not likely). Instead I'm exploring several Linux distributions:
The system I am using is a IBM T42. This system has wireless, bluetooth and the normal laptop power features. I am using a Microsoft Intelimouse Explorer for Bluetooth mouse.

So far here are my opinions:
  • Ubuntu 6.06 LTS
    • Awsome distro! everything worked out of the box including wireless and bluetooth (though connecting the mouse does not have a graphical interface).
    • The LiveCD installer mames any existing installs so install it first or use the Alternative CD.
    • Doesn't have as much "corporate" support (at least my corporation).
    • My Bluetooth mouse works with a little setup (including scroll wheel and nav buttons).
    • I miss some of the KDE apps like Amorak.
  • SUSE 10.1 KDE
    • I like the colors and features of KDE
    • The start bar is to big, this is a laptop and screen realistate is limited.
    • Wireless doesn't work unless you remember to check the box that says "Use additional Software" at the beginning of the install and use the Add-ons CD.
    • My Bluetooth mouse goes into sleep after 12 min inactivity. When it gets woken back up, It isn't recognized (though I found a fix for SUSE Gnome that I haven't tried in KDE yet.)
    • Has a Windows domain option in YaST (though I haven't gotten it working yet.)
    • Problematic YaST package manager (there are fixes, but they are tricky to recover from if you mess-up). Many folks are using the SMART package manager instead. The one catch I found with SMART is that it fails to connect to the pgp key server through the system proxy and you can't tell SMART to tell GPM to use a proxy (at least that I have found).
  • SUSE 10.1 Gnome
    • Nice tidy startbar
    • Most of the other comments from KDE version apply here.
    • I finally got my Bluetooth mouse to recover from a sleep and reconnect after reboot (haven't tested the fix on KDE yet.)
    • Miss some of the KDE apps.
    • Most forum help is on KDE.
    • Scroll wheel on my mouse doesn't send any info back (using hcidump and cat /dev/input/mice).
I'm currently giving SUSE KDE another go now that I got my mouse to stay connected in Gnome. I haven't gotten Windows Domain integration working yet.

This is a good post on using the Yast package manager and some repositories to add to it.

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