2011-12-25

Linux distribution trials have not ended :-(

Following up on my August post regarding Linux distribution trials, I could not – in fact – continue with CentOS. There are two important reasons.

  • yum is a really fragile tool for package management. Not only could I not understand what wrong I had done to break it, following its instructions on how a sane package database state could be recovered just never worked! And, then, it kept complaining endlessly about Update Manager keeping the database locked, while Update Manager kept complaining endlessly that a different package management tool was keeping the database locked. I followed resolution suggestions from about a dozen Web sites, with no success whatsoever. Even deleting the entire package database did not help! This paints such a sorry picture of Linux!
  • CentOS makes it really difficult to install a broad set of essential 32-bit libraries. Firstly, they are not available by default in the 64-bit repositories under a single compat-kind of title. At least, I could not find one easily. Hence, I had to let a 32-bit software such as Skype or TeamViewer fail once for each dependency, then figure out which package provided that library, and then install its .i386/.i686 version. This is tedious at best.

Consequently, I moved on. My current experiment is with openSUSE 12.1 KDE spin. I have returned to openSUSE after almost five years. I do not remember if zypper was the default package management tool back then. After going through the man pages, and a few trials, I got used to it. I tried to break it in one or two small ways, but it has withstood so far!

The OS itself has been quite stable in these several weeks of use. I disabled nepomuk and strigi, and left KDE notifications on. The CPU usage when idle is good (<= 1.5%), KDE has been very responsive and stable, and to top it all, openSUSE 12.1 came with Go r60.3 in the repositories!

I have moved one of my developers to it. In its default configuration, openSUSE does not allow non-root users to connect to a wireless network. That is the only complaint that I have received yet. I resolved it by making my trusted wireless network a system connection.

Thus, life looks good so far! I shall update the status some time towards the end of January 2012 again.

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