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SuSE Professional 9.3

SuSE is made with ease-of-use in mind. As a Windows user, I had little trouble working within SuSE's familiar interface. SuSE uses KDE by default, which to me, is more like Windows than GNOME, although some people feel the opposite is true. SuSE's wizards go a long way to attempt to recognize scanners and other peripherals attached to your computer, so things "just work." Little things, like providing links to software on the desktop and task bar, also go a long way in making SuSE more user-friendly. When you're able to click a link to open your e-mail application, word processor or web browser, it just makes things that much simpler and gets you productive more quickly.

Figure 4

Figure 4 SuSE Professional 9.3 with KDE desktop

SuSE uses YaST, or "Yet another Setup Tool" to manage software installation and updates, device configuration, and even setup of server applications. Instead of DEBs, SuSE uses RPMs, which were originally used with Red Hat's package manager. SuSE installs with KDE desktop by default, and also uses Evolution for e-mail and Firefox for web browsing. It installs a lot of software by default, including multimedia applications, OpenOffice, and games. SuSE Professional 9.3 retails for $99.95, with a trimmed down, fully-functional evaluation version available for free. Support for SuSE includes 60 days of installation support, an online knowledgebase, extended commercial support and free user forums, plus e-mail lists and other community support. The boxed software also includes two printed manual, as well as installation CDs and DVDs for both 32 and 64-bit versions of the software with over 3,300 packages on disc. Recently, OpenSuSE was also announced, a free version with community support and version 10 as its first release goal.

Figure 5

Figure 5 Software management with YaST


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