so i installed suse 10.1 on a desktop system here at the house. it's a pIII 1GHz system with 312MB of ram. nothing special. i donwloaded the cd's via bittorrent because t. uses suse at home and likes to install from cd.
the installer seems to have gotten more complex with more buttons and options and not everything is exactly sensicle. but it's 'just' the installer, not something that's overly critical. it is too bad that they started with such a lead in the installer area some years ago but haven't kept improving things. they've made changes, but that's different than improvements. over all it's not all that much different than 10.0 or even 9.x really.
i do like how they now offer a bunch of non-Free stuff like flashplayer and opera on an extra cd now. using it with the installation process is a little less than intuitive and takes more steps than it really should, but it does work and saves time from having to add those things later. certainly an improvement and all distros should do something like this IMHO. ++cool.
after the install, the bootloader screen looks beautiful. the boot process itself is ugly though; for some reason the install didn't give me a nice graphical boot but an old school text mode thing. i noticed that it still installs and turns on things like postfix as well, which shows their emphasis on the server rather than the desktop. the login manager is very attractive as is the desktop splash.
and boy does kde come up quickly. lubus' boot improvement patches are in this version it seems (no surprise: he works for novell) and kde 3.5 is up and usable in ~4 seconds on the machine. impressive!
unfortunately the fonts suck, the sound card wasn't set up automatically, the default display resolution was rather low (800x600, with not higher options available in krandrtray either; will need to do some manual tweaking here), a power management utility was loaded by default in the systray and the patch updater GUI is quite slow and looks foreign. yast is still slow. the "my computer" links brings up all kinds of information i don't care about (do i really care that the floppy filesystem is "auto" or that / is reisferfs?), though it does look really pretty =) would be nice if it didn't move to the top of the page every time it refreshes, but that's really more of an issue with konqi not providing a rich content view for these kinds of things. and then at one point the monitor just went black and wouldn't come back on so i had to reboot.
the overwhelming majority of problems i've run into in the first few hours of having it on my machine aren't KDE related but have had to do with software lower in the stack.
so i'm not quite sure what to think. lots of really good moves can be seen in suse 10.1, but also lots of rough edges. is this the result of Novell's focus shifting and figuring out how to do this linux thing? it seems that while lots of work is going into the server side of things, which is understandable given where sales are likely coming from for them, the desktop seems to be languishing. i'd be more than happy running SUSE 10 on a server given the software it comes with and YAST's great configuration tools for those tasks, but i'm not sure i could say the same for the desktop. Novell is focusing on the enterprise, but i just don't see that focus outside of the server offerings.
we'll see how it settles in over the next week or two, but so far i don't think it will be tempting me away from the laptop much.