Recently I said I was eager for Distros. So I have spent a couple of weeks testing different Linux flavors on a ThinkPad R50e that I should of returned already. I installed Solaris, openSUSE and gentoo. Each had a couple of nice features; tweaks and lights to the gnome desktop, the way they handle repositories and installation.
Gentoo was, by far, the hardest piece of installation I've done in the last couple of years. I spent two afternoons looking at screens of this sort:
I'm quite certain that if my knowledge was far deeper than it currently is I could get a lot of optimizations specifically for the computer type I was installing to, but, for the time being I don't have the time or the patience to work out the dark arts of building a Kernel.
Solaris installed quite easily, but upon trying it for a couple of days it seemed a tad sluggish when compared to the sister ThinkPad running Ubuntu. I know I'll come back to Solaris to try some JSP and Java development some other time in my life. (Colour note: why "sister ThinkPad", you wonder. In Spanish "Computer" belongs to the feminine gender)
Finally came openSUSE. This was some sort of a comeback to me. Before Ubuntu and before Madriva I had SUSE enterprise installed for quite some time. One must agree that the Gnome looks very nice, the green background is slick and that the installer is flawless. Problems surfaced when I tried to configure the VPN dialer. Which was surprising, since installing my Belking – Atheros was quite easy using MadWifi drivers.
To be honest they started before that; upon right clicking the RPM package the system stalled. Twice. I found a workaround to that; so I went ahead and checked the dependencies. I needed to get IPsec running first and foremost. Up goes YaST, I search for IPsec, try to install and crush the system again.
I must be running out of patience… because I just killed the PC and went back to my trusty Ubuntu. I know such crashes have a way to be fixed (that unlike that other proprietary OS usually don't require a complete reinstall, just digging up the problem and fixing it through –quite certainly- a minor correction on a setting), but I just don't feel like it right now.
Now if I could only get rid of that other OS on my other two ThinkPads I'd be very happy on an Ubuntu-only environment.