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.