Psychotic SUSE 12.1 Linux – A Mythological Nightmare

Last night wasn’t the first night I’ve spent with OpenSUSE. Years ago, I went through a similar restless period with Debian. I was even willing to pay for it — and there was Suse all dressed up in a fat pack of lizard skin CD’s, with a reputation for her rigid German discipline.

I admit it — I tried Suse out. Back then, and just last night. And both times, the same thought ran though my heart and soul: this is wrong! Totally, completely wrong! It haunts me still. I feel unclean. Sullied. It’s one of those perverse experiences that hit you at some core level, and you’re never quite the same. Suse is sick, twisted, as purely revolting as the shade of green she wore. The lizard brain, with its base instincts still buried in the cold stream. A different species – no, rather a mockery of our own species in its alien brain.

I hesitate to even describe my experience with Suse. But I must. And you, dear reader, would do well to leave right now and let Suse fade away into mythology, along with the cyclopses and Medusa’s hissing hair. But if you are bold enough, or perverse enough to remain curious, I worry for you.

Suse began innocently enough, with its sickly pea-colored graphical installer, which was actually not that bad. One of the first things it wanted to do was wipe out all my hard drives and build a new partitioning scheme. Honestly, I like assertiveness. But pushiness and gross assumptions turn me right off.

It wasn’t too bad figuring out how to use its “pretty/easy” partitioning, formatting and mountpoint tool. But Suse was clunky. Response times were drunken. I was happy it could handle RAID and LVM, and she even teased me into believing she could handle an LVM mounted root. Unfortunately, at the last moment, she backed out, telling me it “can’t be done”. Lies. From the very beginning. Lies. I can’t be done, dear Suse, it’s just that you’re too stupid.

So I handed a plain vanilla partition to Suse for her /boot so she wouldn’t be confused. I saw nothing about supporting iSCSI either, that I can remember. I do admit it was nice being asked if I wanted a Gnome or KDE environment to live in. Very thoughtful to ask, Suse. And then she started moving in her hundreds of packages from her 4+ gigabyte install image.

I couldn’t watch. So I took the opportunity to use the bathroom while she worked away, and eat some dinner. But when I came back, the fancy graphical install screen had turned to flashing, scrambled block patterns, like a video driver explosion, and nothing could be done. Stupid thing. But she was at least trying to be attractive.

So I physically hit the switch and rebooted. Up come that vomitable green again with a boot menu obviously written in her earlier, extreme drunkeness. Or maybe she’s schizophrenic. The point being, my only boot choices were her, or I could boot 3 Windows partitions that weren’t even bootable by Windows, or “Other Linux Distribution”. I chose her, wanting to give her a further chance. And to my surprise, she recognized that she had failed, and continued with the install. Now that was unexpected and impressive. Some Suse programmer deserves a serious food and treats reward. Thanks to him, she momentarily regained her sanity and I was soon up in desktop.Well, a giant, low-res desktop. But a desktop, nonetheless.

I tried getting the nvidia proprietary drivers installed by adding their community repository to Yast – the repository that’s listed in the software center, labled Nvidia drivers. That’s neat. But when I told her yes, I’ll have some of that, she told me the repository wasn’t there. Suse is some serious crazy. And not in a good way. Even my primitive druid man Gentoo made getting the nvidia drivers easy. Suse just teases.

Firefox did work fine, and it was even easy getting the Adobe’s flash horror installed. However, when I installed Google’s Chrome browser, it came up with an error dialog telling me I had to tell it some root for extensions. I’ve never seen that before. Then again, when you spend some time talking to an insane person, you’ll hear many things you’ve never heard before.

I just felt wrong there with Suse, in her little alien madhouse. And when I rebooted, and chose to boot “Other Linux Distribution”, one of the 3 others currently on the system, I was just sent back into Suse’s delusion. She was taking over for good. And lying about it. Making it look like I was totally free to choose on my own, but making all roads lead right back to that creeping lizard.

So let this be a lesson to you: always install your boot loader on more than one hard drive. That’s how I finally escaped Suse’s clutches, because I always can boot from any drive in the system, and Suse only thought to take over the primary one as identified by the bios. And here’s where her stupidity actually came in handy.

So I told the bios to boot off one one of the alternate drives, and I went straight home to Fedora 16. Actually, my first instinct after such a trauma was to run back to Debian from the future. But I wanted to restore my primary drive’s boot loader. And Fedora is a real up-tight stickler for having all her proper drugs necessary for her to wake up. And sweet, earthy Debian has never had any need for such things, even though it does just as much. So I let Fedora rule the boot loader, since she’s so damn picky.

And this is where I’m back to now, just me and Fedora 16. But I know Suse is lurking deep in the machine, back in those quantum-spun positions, waiting. My next order of business now is to zero out her volume and deallocate her space, in the hopes she will be gone for good. But that’s the thing about monsters, isn’t it? They hit hard, when you least expect.

PS. I’m sure Suse is great and wonderful, and it’s just my own isolated experience, blah, blah, blah. Yes, if you’re insane.

  • Youreretarded

    Really? You’re that stupid? You can’t install an OS? Head back down to the Mac store dumbshit.

  • Wow, you know, reading is good. It makes for more words and more thoughts. You might want to try it. Then again, sitting around belching and farting can be fun, too.

  • Youreretarded

    Right. You seem to be the one with major issues following a graphical installation wizard. Were the pictures too complicated for you?

  • What issues were those?

  • Tianeast

    I’ve never heard somebody had problems with SUSE install.

    Definitely your Hdd setup is non-standard. What partitions do you have and use for booting up? Something like RAID encrypted LVM setup, no)? 
    Anyway, nice writeup, entertaining to read.

  • wtf*cker


  • Me

    no need for that

  • I’ve heard of a few people having problems with it. The consensus seems to be that it went downhill after version 9. The reality of it is that hardly anyone in the circle of people I know use it.

    The storage setup is nothing at all strange. 3 drives, various partitions including some Windows ones, RAID1 for the Linux stuff with LVM on top. Then a plain, small, empty partition for those Linux OS’s that still can’t handle RAID or LVM on the /boot No encryption at all.

    Suse saw the partitioning, raid & lvm just fine. They have a visual hierarchical graph that’s actually quite nice, that you can select stuff with. The install wasn’t the problem (because I had that little plain partition Suse could use for /boot) Poor thing. 😉 Their bootloader is what really made me mad. You should check it out. I think Suse would have done fine with a single drive. And it would have done fine if only Suse and Windows were on the workstation I was installing it on. I am being tough on Suse – but then again, she’s supposed to be one of the greats. You have to live up to that.

  • long time SuSE user

    I am a long time SuSE/openSUSE user, and I also had graphics troubles while installing 12.1.  From what I have read, it is a nouveau / KMS problem with NVidia cards.  Inserting a ‘nodepmode’ in the boot parameter helped me install and change to the NVidia proprietary driver.  After that, I have not had any problems. 

    I agree that it definitely needs an easier way to remove nouveau and install proprietary drivers.  normally, the NVidia driver installer can handle the removal of the nouveau driver, by not on 12.1.

  • I like the way you wrote this. However, shades of green are just subjective and has nothing to do with how good Suse is. It seems you were prejudice from the beginning. I too had problems trying to rationalize why OpenSuse would release a distro without having nVidia drivers ready. The neuveau drivers work, but it’s still not excusable. Currently Suse recommends installing nVidia drivers “the hard way” and they state that using them would be a PITA with using Tumbleweed, with as much the kernel gets updated. Personally, I’d like to use repositories. I’m assuming they still use DKMS?

    I also am lost in all of this repository business that just haunts Suse. Why make it so difficult? I want to go Tumbleweed, but there is a lot of legwork figuring out how to do it. Wouldn’t it just be simpler if they included an option in the installer to use Tumbleweed? I’m battling through OpenSuse, right now, and it seems a pleasant place, but there are just quibbles that annoy me. Have they even taken the time to think about how the user sees some of this stuff?

    One man’s treasure distro is another man’s nightmare. Personally, I had a stint running Debian a few years back and I just grew tired of all the work involved. I’m sure it’s matured quite a bit, and you don’t even have to jump through hoops to install it anymore, but still… Personally, I use PCLinuxOS as my mainstay distro. Set it and forget it. It’s that simple. I hate ‘sudo’ and everything about it. I also disdain using the terminal any more than I have to. I just don’t see the point in 2011… I’ve tried hard to learn to like Debian, but I just can’t. Linux Mint came the closest, but when they dumped support for KDE outside the Debian Edition, it’s a no go for me.

  • Rasta Freak

    Hi. I think I have similar feelings about OpenSUSE. Basic thing is, I “grew up” on Debian unstable and really got addicted to its deb/apt package system. But, given lots of good reviews & nice pictures, I tried OpenSUSE few times. Full of skepticism and fear of unknown, spiced with few spectacular crashes, I finally hit a jackpot of “SUSE madness”. Now, I can’t recall what specific version it was, but it was around 3 years ago. After installing OpenSUSE, I was looking around in package manager, made a few changes, did a little searching, filtering, ticking, unticking …usual stuff. Then I clicked “Apply” button, and new window pops up, showing progress and details. Then I saw IT !!! I just could not believe my eyes. I rubbed ’em, slapped my face few times, bitten my ass a couple more, but it still stood there – the TIMEOUT FOR PACKAGE DEPENDENCY RESOLUTION !!! So, basically, package manager (frontend or backend, or maybe both?) tries to resolve package dependencies before/during installation, and it gives itself a timeout in case it enters an infinite loop. On timeout, resolver gets killed and package manager says “Install error. Can’t resolve dependencies for package this and that”, or something like that. Of course, that one time I played with package manager, I saw timeout expire and package (un)installation fail. After I gave it a few thoughts (“few” being between 0 and 1), I purged OpenSUSE from my system and never ever tried it again. Now, I’m not saying that SUSE is bad, I’m sure it’s great for many many people. But to me, she was brutal, and like Mark said, mind blowing.

  • RSmith

    I was using Debian and Ubuntu for quite some time and even Apt and Synaptic would run into dependency problems. Usually, it happened when a repository updated a package but the dependencies weren’t updated yet. No distro is immune to it. SynaPtic and Apt are usually polite about it, unlike Suse’s YaST.

  • Rasta Freak

    Yes, it’s somewhat normal thing to happen once in a while in every distro. But it’s not normal to have a timeout in resolver. Implementing a timeout is admitting that resolver is buggy as hell and can go wild on it’s own. That’s what I’m talking about. Apt, for example, takes all the time it needs, but result is predictable – under proper conditions it will succeed, and under unproper conditions, it will fail in calculable and predictable time frame, and give consistent and meaningful output or error messages/codes. It will not get killed by its own child process/thread because it has gone wild. Going wild in nowhere in specs, you know. Especially not in something as essential as package manager. Except maybe in “her” specs…

  • Yeah, RSmith, the shades of green dislike is absolutely subjective. I give myself a wide indulgence though, because I’m screwing around looking for a new home for myself to work in — a new distro to call my own after leaving Ubuntu. I’ve only used Ubuntu on my workstation (and clients who like the easy/pretty desktop experience). But when I look for a replacement workstation, it’s a very personal thing, so I figure the subjective is just as relevant as the more objective. 🙂 I really want to thank you for being nice here, even though you seem to like Suse a lot. It’s your home. Ack, this was an insensitive post to put up. But it was my honest inner impressions thrown in. Slightly melodramatic, I admit. 😉 I think I could be happy with Suse if I could get past having to work thorough all the stuff like you described. And you’re right, I’m much more tolerant of having to do something like that in, say, Debian. Not so much in Fedora, though, which was a far smoother install and config.

    I don’t know why Suse left so much undone and untested. I wasn’t expecting it. It’s almost like they had a “quick to market” mentality going on, but I have no idea why they might feel pressured by such a thing. My thinking is that they will get it cleaned up soon, though.

  • Weird – I never ran into that problem, but it wouldn’t surprise me. It’s nice hearing something akin to what I experienced – thank you Rasta Freak. There really was a brutal/crazy feel for me, too.

  • Grant Galbraith

    Many years ago, before it is was OpenSUSE, I used SuSE for about 12 months. It is comforting to know that there is no need for me to revisit the nightmare that is yast and the green monster in general. Nice write-up 🙂

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  • Thanks Grant! Don’t listen to me, though. I mean, well, you can if you like. I’m just saying it’s always best to try something for yourself. (I’m trying to be nice to Suse) 😉

  • simon


    I’ve found you through a link somewhere.  Always fickle those links – appearing, catapulting you into the future and then disappearing behind you.

    Your blog is very entertaining – you have a new subscriber you lucky devil you! 🙂

  • Hey, thanks so much Simon 🙂 – I’m honored. 🙂

  • Anthony Youngman

    Oddly enough, my feelings about RH/Debian and SuSE are the reverse of yours … 🙂

    The little network I support is now entirely SuSE, me having wiped mint because (a) I couldn’t get on with it, and (b) the upgrade trashed it. I’ve never liked Red Hat.

    But then, both my home systems are gentoo – one of them an old K7 1GHz athlon. Now that IS torture, when KDE or LibreOffice are updated … 🙂

  • I know Fedora is from the Red Hat people mostly, who do the enterprise stuff, but I have no idea if Red Hat and Fedora distributions are the same. It’s been a very long time since I’ve tried actual Red Hat. I know the new Mint just came out, too, and I’m going to give that a test drive as soon as I get this project wrapped up. But from my understanding, Mint’s based on Debian (like Ubuntu is), but isn’t exactly Debian in the more abstract user experience. Plain Debian has always been fairly minimal. I’m curious what Mint’s done, keeping Gnome back as it has, apparently… Very curious….

  • Belphe

    Obviously this isn’t the right place for you. In case you missed it (you know – reading and such silly things), not everyone agrees with the author. However, none of the above felt the need to insult anyone. 

  • Opensuse


  •  I know! I should have known better than to even give her a chance after the first disk-wiping attempt! That’ll teach me.