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I installed Linux OpenSuSE 10.3 on my Fujitsu-Siemens Stylistic ST5022D because it was easy to boot via PXE (the Stylistic doesn't have an internal CD/DVD drive, neither has keyboard, mouse, etc).

After loading the SuSE-precompiled Linux kernel and its associated SuSE-initrd, I continued installing via network (ethernet connected to an ADSL router), getting packages from SuSE public repositories.

After a few weeks, I am going to erase SuSE in favor of some other lighter Linux distribution.


Top 10 reasons why you shouldn't install OpenSuSE 10.3 on the Fujitsu-Siemes Stylistic ST5022D.

10. Some small flaws in KDE installation.
I did not install Gnome stuff because -as everyone knows- Gnome sucks (Linus Torvalds also stated it). OpenSuSE 10.3 has a decent KDE installation tree, and also offers KDE 4.0 (which I didn't install because it misses some important features and the email application KMail; and I didn't want to install some "beta" quality software before having everything working). Sadly, the KDE installation has a number of small glitches depending on OpenSuSE. Example: I start cellwriter (excellent handwriting recognition program) from .kde/Autostart directory; when I shut down the Stylistic pressing the Power key, it correctly closes all applications (without showing those annoying "Want to save? y/n" boxes), but on next restart, I find out two cellwriter applications running. Wiping out the Autostart directory means that in some of next reboots you will find out that cellwriter has not been started...

9. Way too much installed packages.
Yep, this computer has a 60Gb disk, but I don't want to install hundreds of packages which I will never use. Example: I don't need emacs stuff on a computer which does not have a keyboard (and, worse, I do not know how to use emacs because I always used vi and other text editing software). The package selection of YaST checks for dependencies and conflicts, but does not allow you to save the selection (and if it crashes, you will have to re-select everything again... I had to re-select three times before starting the installation, because of stupid network problems: and it was quite annoying to work out on packages for 40-60 minutes every time!). This is a workhorse keyboardless machine: you don't need OpenOffice, BSD text mode games, Python development, RAID tools, CDparanoia... (yes, you may want to deselect them from default install, but this will cost you extra time).

8. Tablet packages were not in the default installation.
I had to manually select cellwriter (handwriting recognition) and xournal (way simpler and better than Micro$oft Journal). This is quite normal for a Linux distribution like SuSE, which is (too much) oriented towards desktops and servers. But -hey!- couldn't you ask which kind of installation at boot?

7. Suggested disk-partitioning scheme was too heavy.
Since I have 1Gb RAM, I didn't want to use more than 100-150Mb of swap (currently I never see more than a few megabytes of swap space used, even after opening a large number of Linux and KDE applications). It did not offer reiserfs but the slower ext3 (which has loooong times of clean-up at boot in case of system crash before clean shutdown). It also used grub instead of lilo (the latter is simpler, and here there is only a 60Gb disk, so why use grub?).

6. Non-working 2D-acceleration and xv. After completing the OpenSuSE 10.3 installation, it appears that 2D-acceleration doesn't work, and xv doesn't work as well (MPlayer only works with -vo x11 video output driver). Everything runs flawless, but requires some more CPU resources, thus more battery draining. This is quite annoying (update: it's an Intel 855GM X11 video driver problem, that will be solved in Xorg 7.4 release).

5. Non-working screen rotation.
Maybe this will be fixed on next Xorg releases. Alas, it simply doesn't work out of the box. The xrandr simply blackscreens and hangs. The krandrtray rotates the screen but forgets to update the touchscreen pen orientation and -worse- does not fully notify the KDE. Worst: even after some kludging to get the above working, it appears that Xorg "rotates" to a 1024×1024 resolution instead of a 768×1024. This is kinda weirdo for some hardware supported since at least three years (guys, it's a i810-i915 screen!).

4. Packages: once network, always network.
After booting via network PXE, installation from the net (OpenSuSE repositories) was slow but easy. Also, it checks for packages update every time an internet connection is up. Alas! Every time I need to erase a package, the YaST begins fetching "package listings" from the network, and it will require some minutes (if the network was on) before I can select what to wipe out or add. So, I have to switch to a terminal, access root and give out something like rpm -e packagenames... until I cover all dependencies. This is quite annoying. It seems that OpenSuSE only likes having a stable, irremovable, always running, fast network connection. Sadly, it's not my case.

3. OpenSuSE is a mouse-oriented Linux distribution.
This computer has a touchscreen featuring "cursor" and "stylus" (that is equivalent to "move mouse" and "click and drag"; "double click" also works, but it's not that simple). While KDE allows for extensive configuration, you cannot get everything working with simple stylus taps: you still need some acrobatics gimmicks to access those "mouse right-key-click" functions.

2. Ultra-fixed network configuration.
I happen to connect to a number of different WiFi networks (some free, some WEP-protected, some WPA-protected). SuSE Yast will allow you to only define one, possibly not remembering its password. And its network manager will decide what network to connect when there is more than one available (and it won't choose the one with the strongest signal). This is definitely annoying, and is good only for people who have a single always-on WiFi network at home.

1. Linux kernel 2.6.22.17
Having one of the latest Linux kernels is generally a good thing. But somewhere in the 2.6.12-to-.22 kernels, PCMCIA support was rewritten in such a way that you have to patch all the sources (ouch!). So the O2 Micro OZ711M3 open source driver (to access the Secure Digital slot) was impossible to compile without large patching.
Also, it seems that ACPI support of stock Linux kernel in the OpenSuSE 10.3 lacks a number of ACPI features, breaking the fsc_btns (Fujitsu Stylistic buttons) open source driver, and excluding screen light/contrast controls (which were originally mapped in the ACPI stuff).

Well, after a few weeks of OpenSuSE 10.3 usage, I'm quite disappointed with it, and will replace with another Linux distribution.


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