So I'm setting up Lonny's laptop to dual boot Linux and Windows because he needs to use Pool Studio which only runs under Windows (natch). The basic procedure is simple, just like any dual boot system except that I'm going from Linux to Linux/Windows. Kinda wierd, but no biggie. Back up his home directory, wipe the disk, partition, install Windows, spend 6 hours installing updates, install Linux.

Woah. Wait a minute. The SUSE (Novel) Linux 9.3 installation is nothing but the smoothest Linux installation I've ever done. There's basically nothing to do but sit back and let the install take care of itself. Since I partitioned the disk using the Windows installer, YAST was even smart enough to suggest to me exactly the partions for Linux that I had intended. That's slick. I literally booted from the CD, it scanned the system and then gave me a big list of what it was going to do. That list matched exactly what I wanted it to do. What I usually have to fight with installers to do YAST was already prepared to do for me. I am nothing less than utterly impressed with YAST. The installer is absolutely beautiful too. It seems that Mac OS X (Aqua), Windows (Luna/Avalon) and RedHat/Fedora (BlueCurve) all use a very heavy base of blue in their systems. Novel makes wonderful use of lush greens, especially as part of Grub that really gives one the feeling that Novel is putting as much effort into making Linux beautiful as Apple is into OS X.

Imediately after the system is installed, you set the root password and then it downloads updates. The ones that are really important are red. Install them. Seriously, a child can install SUSE 9.3 and start using it in just a couple of hours. Of course it's taking longer for me because I'm installing the whole thing over the network but with the CD's (which are available for download as ISO's) the whole thing from start to finish, including updates, can be done in less than two hours. This is really significant because even though I can install OS X and all updates in less than an hour, I'm still at the base system. Linux (as always) includes all the applications you could ever want on the discs. It takes me several hours to get all of my applications in order when I'm setting up OS X, but with Linux it can be done in much less time. That's cool.

More to come on my thoughts on SUSE after the install finishes.