[Homestead] Linux---its current State Of The Art with new Suse

Tvoivozhd tvoivozd at infionline.net
Fri Sep 24 15:11:59 EDT 2004

Pegoraro's Fast Forward section of the Washington Post carries 
foreknowledge of what OS (Opetating System)you will or should have on 
your computer as Microsoft's war against the world consinues.

The new Suse appears to have made the most progress, and might even have 
progressed to the stage where newbies can install and operate it 


Fast Forward by Rob Pegoraro
*Linux, Still an Awkward Alternative*


*^_____ Correction^_____ *
In some editions of the Post, the review of three distributions of the 
Linux operating system that ran in the July 4 Fast Forward column should 
have noted that while many Linux distributions cannot be set up next to 
a Windows installation without using separate disk-partitioning 
software, the Mandrake and SuSE releases reviewed in that column include 
that capability. The story also should have said that Red Hat Inc., is 
based in Raleigh, N.C.

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/By Rob Pegoraro/
/The Washington Post/
Sunday, July 4, 2004; Page F07

The choice of software to run our computers can get awfully depressing. 
On one hand, there's Windows XP -- expensive and woefully insecure, but 
it works on almost every machine out there. On the other, there's Mac OS 
X -- far more secure, but also expensive and restricted to Apple's own 

Where's our independence from this pair? For a growing minority of 
users, it comes in the open-source operating system called Linux. It's 
either cheap or free (depending if you buy a packaged distribution or 
download a version online), it's secure and it can run on any 
Windows-ready machine.

And because its code is open for anybody to modify, users, not 
marketers, can get the final say in this operating system's evolution.

But Linux doesn't offer up these rewards easily. At worst, installing it 
means hours of thumb-wrestling the software into submission, first 
tweaking it to work with a PC's hardware and then mastering the 
inscrutable routines needed to update and manage this code.

The first problem arises because many hardware manufacturers provide 
enabling software only for Windows, forcing Linux programmers to do that 
work on their own. The second is a consequence of how Linux was first 
crafted by hobbyists for other hobbyists.

With a lot of work by developers, those issues have improved greatly in 
recent years, and Linux has gotten easier to find in stores (Wal-Mart's 
Web site even sells desktop computers with it pre-installed).

To check up on Linux's progress, I tried two commercial distributions, 
SuSE Linux 9.1 Personal ($30, www.suse.com <http://www.suse.com>) and 
Mandrakesoft's PowerPack 10 ($85, www.mandrakesoft.com 
<http://www.mandrakesoft.com>), and one download-only release, Fedora 
Core 2 (fedora.redhat.com <http://fedora.redhat.com>), a community 
project sponsored by Chapel Hill, N.C.-based Linux developer Red Hat 
Inc. (Windows XP Home goes for $199 new, or $99 at the upgrade rate.)

All three incorporate the latest updates to the underlying Linux 
software, differing mainly in the programs wrapped around that kernel of 
code. All show the progress that has been made -- and the work that 
remains to be done.

At one extreme, consider the "LiveCD" SuSE -- pop this in your CD-ROM 
drive, reboot and you can run Linux right off that disc without touching 
your existing Windows installation. It's a quick and painless way to try 
out this system.

Mandrake's protracted setup routine, however, didn't configure a 
graphical interface automatically and kept asking me to confirm 
technical details like "mount points" that other distributions handled 
on their own. (Mandrake's cheaper Discovery edition includes a LiveCD, 
but PowerPack omits it.)

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