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Linux Starter Kit Review

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I should say all the nice things first: this is an attractively packaged DVD distribution of Suse 10.1 which includes a 128 page “Quick Start Guide”.

Downloading Suse 10.1 is painful even with broadband, so it’s nice to have the DVD. Of course I have systems with DVD drives, and most new systems come with them now, but sheesh: there are an awful lot of people still using older machines that only have CD’s. No pretty gifts for them I guess.

Amusingly enough, part of the Quick Install Guide refers to “playing disk jockey” and swapping CD’s. I guess they forgot, right?

It would probably make a nice gift for someone you’d like to introduce to Linux if handing them a home-burned DVD or CD set would seem a bit gauche. But don’t expect to just walk away leaving them to discover the wonders of Linux by themselves: I don’t think Suse is quite the right platform for that.

Oh, I like Suse. I often use it as the base OS when I install a Kerio Mailserver. I’m just not sure it’s the best choice for a noobie.

The package covers says “hard disk: at least 500MB (minimum), 2.5 GB (recommended)”. Pretty funny, I think. Feeling very charitable, I gave it 8GB (The Quick Start Guide does say that 20GB is a more realistic choice). With 8GB to play in, the installation finishes with dire warnings about low disk space: the root file system was 92% full.

The “Quick Install Guide” is very careful to explain that you may have to change your BIOS to allow booting from DVD, but forgets to mention that the install reboots from hard drive before finishing. No problem: Aunt Suzy will figure that out by herself, right?

One of the last parts of the installation runs the Yast Online Update.. oh my. That’s NOT something you want to inflict on a helpless noobie. The confusing screen (packages, patches, extras, huh?) is bad enough, but will your Aunt Suzy really know what to do next (just click Accept)?

So this probably isn’t for Suzy, is it? It certainly isn’t for you, either: you’d either download the CD’s or DVD or buy them from somewhere a lot cheaper than this set runs. My bet is that you’ll be seeing these at the salvage stores and flea markets soon enough.

Order (or just read more about) Linux Starter Kit from Amazon.com

*Originally published at APLawrence.com

A.P. Lawrence provides SCO Unix and Linux consulting services http://www.pcunix.com

Linux Starter Kit Review
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