SuSE 8.0 Professional
I found the installer for SuSE 8.0 to be *very* nice. Everything is summarised with the default settings on one single screen at the beginning. You then have the option to either single-click install to use the defaults or edit the settings (e.g. partitioning) manually.
I do find the installation brilliant, and much easier than any other distro I have used.
I was also quite pleased to have the opportunity to play with the XFS filesystem which SuSE 8.0 supports - although it is classed as experimental, I have been using it happily for several months with no problems at all. It does actually seem quicker than ext3, but that might just be me :-)
Once the install has completed, you can then configure your hardware, including network, sound, TV card etc., most of which will have been detected and configured automatically by the installer.
One thing I did find after installation, was the SuSE is quite buggy...
I have tried SuSE 8.0 on several machines, and have found an Alsa bug with each one - when either booting up or shutting down, Alsa will crash and the bootup/shutdown will not continue... particually annoying.
I had to fix this by disabling the loading and saving of mixer volumes in the alsa rc file in /etc/rc.d/.
I also discovered a bug with Samba when handling large files (it crashes with a segmentation fault). I suspect that the bug is actually in the samba kernel modules included with SuSE, since upgrading Samba makes no difference.
Yet another bug, was with Yast2 (the configuration tool) and KDE 3.0.0. After you exit Yast2 after installing some new packages, the kpanel will freeze....
I had to fix this by updating to KDE 3.0.1 or above.
So, apart from the mass of bugs, SuSE is generally a very nice distro. All the configuration is easy using Yast2, and it includes piles and piles of software - although it does tend to be outdated since every release appears to be rushed.
For some reason it still includes the terribly ancient and increasingly obselete Star Office 5.2 rather than standardising on OpenOffice.org as other distros are...
It does include almost all the software you will ever need, including both desktop and server applications.
It's quite clear that this release was rushed to include KDE 3.0, I just hope that SuSE 8.1 is less of a mess.
Added: Thursday, October 03, 2002
Reviewer: David Johnson
Related Link: SuSE UK