Years ago, Linux was known as an operating system that only geeks used. Back then, you used to have to read up on how to use it, because you would be left clueless. Even today, if you jump into Linux, you are a geek in some way, so be proud. There has never been a better time to try out Linux, and I highly recommend you do if you don’t currently use it. More Open Source projects for Linux start up every day, and some packages are so good, that they end up better than the Windows counter-part they are trying to replace.
There are many Linux distributions out there, that are developed for the Windows user in mind, such as Linspire, Xandros , Knoppix, MandrivaLinux and of course SuSE. I have personally used all of these, except Xandros, but still recommend SuSE above all. Even if you know your way around Linux already, SuSE is an OS that doesn’t bog you down with too many fillers, and still gives you full control over what you are doing.
Of course, if you are new to Linux, you may have a few hurdles, but that’s part of the fun. Installing programs, understanding the file system, and my favorite, getting DVD movies to play (Damn copyrights), are things you will have fun figuring out. However, once you figure things such as these out, your road ahead is easy. If you are already familiar with Windows, especially the command prompt, you are a step ahead.
Overall, I recommend SuSE. In the intro, I mentioned that I already use SuSE, and have for years, but even today, it’s obvious why I still use it. It’s one of the most popular distros out there, for a reason. Albeit that SuSE is not free, for a retail product at least, it’s still worth the money. For the retail price of SuSE 9.3 Pro, it’s around $99US. Considering how much you get with the OS, and the fact that Microsoft XP Pro costs easily twice that, putting things into perspective, it’s easy to see which is a great value. Just look at the books it comes with! They could easily cost $100 alone.
If you wish to own a copy of SuSE, you currently have to buy a retail package. However, they will allow a free downloadable version, that doesn’t include support, in another month or two. Novell makes it very easy for new users to check out the OS, as well. You can head over to their website to download a Live Evaluation copy of the OS, which allows you to test out the OS without installing it. It doesn’t even write to your HDD, so there’s no risk of you screwing up your system.
Since this is a complete OS, it’s technically impossible to give it a rating of any kind. However, it certainly deserves our Editors Choice award. If you have any comments or questions, or want to prove me wrong in one of my statements, please feel free to post in our forums, or by e-mailing news [At] techgage [DoT] com. Thanks to Novell for supplying the product for review.