i've done some long downloads with yast online. i've spotted the 'remove source packages after update' option, so i suspect there's a folder somewhere with all these packages, which perhaps i could save so as not to have to download them next time i install (i'm happily experimenting with various distros). where would that be?
Don't forget, rpms for SuSE aren't quite the same as for mandrake or redhat/fedora -- the optimisation's usually different.
Personally, thats one reason that I alway's go for mandrake one's for my mandrake install - I've spent many a dismal hour stuck in dependency hell!
Also, it may depend what "they" mean by source removal. Are these rpm's you refer to "source rpm's aka xxxxx.src.rpm" or are they just offering to bin the ones that are probably residing in whichever directory they are downloaded into ?
The last thing I thought of, was that if you set your system up so you have a seperate /home parition, then it doesn't matter which distro you have a play with, as long as the same packages are installed with it, into the /root directory, then you haven't lost anything (and I just mean that say you use kmail in SuSE, and then install a different distro and decide you wanna try evolution the mail file's probably aren't going to work - unless you also use Kmail with the new distro, whereby, the mail files should then work.