OpenSUSE 11.0 randomly freezes
I've been using Mandriva 2008.1 for awhile now and it's pretty much stable as a rock on my AMD 5600+ machine with 2GB of ram and an NVidia 7900GS graphics card (Hercules Game Theater 6.1 sound card plus the motherboard built-in AC97 sound). I read some good things about Suse 11.0 (Suse 10.x also gave me some random freeze issues and Yast2 was SO slow then).
So I installed Suse 11.0 on two extra hard drive partitions I had on a disk I use for scratch writing in Windows XP with Photoshop. I like the new installer and at first everything seemed to go alright (all hardware recognized and configured with the exception of no NVidia driver). I then soon started getting random freezes. I had to reboot to fix it and when I finally got the Nvidia repository set up and the driver installed, it seemed like the freezes stopped for a considerable amount of time. That is to say I had several hours to configure software and install new software. After playing with it most of the night, I did eventually have to reboot a few times for new kernel updates the system wanted to do, etc. and by the next day the system was freezing again at seemingly random intervals, requiring reboots to get the system back (often the mouse would keep working in X, but KDE 3.5 (or 4.0 also) would just seem to lock up. Even switching to a pure text console (CTRL-ALT-F1) resulted in no response if I tried to login there. Hitting return would bring up another prompt, but trying to enter user information would just sit there unresponsive.
So I set up a trap for it on another reboot and had HTop running on my 2nd monitor the entire time watching events. Sure enough, it resulted in another one of those freeze up conditions (again by freeze up I mean the system won't respond, but often the mouse keeps working and even Compiz often still responds, but no programs will start and the console won't accept new logins, etc. However, HTop kept on running during all this and didn't freeze. The problem is that it showed nothing out of the ordinary. Neither CPU core was using more than a few percent in cycles; ram looked pretty balanced out in Htop, etc. No programs appeared to be hogging CPU cycles either or indicate some kind of CPU peg or freeze. Everything looked the same as it did more or less as when it was running ok.
So while I now have everything configured to work about as well as Mandriva (except installing the Brother printer driver as towards the end it was often freezing within 15-20 seconds of getting the KDE desktop up, which almost seemed like a CPU overheating type of condition given the time of it all running ,but booting into Mandriva or WindowsXP had everything working perfectly fine with no hiccups what-so-ever, so that doesn't appear to be it.
I can rule out compiz (does it regardless of whether I run it or not). Both KDE 3.5 and 4.0 both freeze as does the text console once it happens. I can't stand Gnome so I haven't thoroughly tested it yet. I read on some site that Beagle might be the cause so I removed the entire package. It didn't make any difference nor did unplugging various USB peripherals. So at ths point, I have no idea what might be causing the problem. Sometimes specific programs will go grey (i.e. unresponsive) when it happens and other times they come back to life. Others seem to run much slower than in Mandriva (like importing booksmarks to Konqueror which takes forever in Suse but works fine in Mandriva).
Generally speaking, I prefer the new Yast2 configuration program over Mandriva and it's now much faster than in Suse 10.x (i.e. usable instead of forcing me to use a different manager). But random freezing problems are simply unacceptable. When I ran Suse 10.x, I had the 64-bit version and I thought maybe that was related so this time I installed the 386 one, but whatever caused it to freeze before seems to still freeze now. It also had the problem under any of the three different cores the updater seemed to update it to over time.
So unless I can find out what's causing the freezes, I'll have to abandon Suse 11.0 and go back to Mandriva full time, which is stable for me. I also tried Fedora (didn't like its packaging manager and support programs) and in the past Ubuntu (wasn't crazy about it either and even had issues with the graphical installer which were annoying; I'm waiting until the next update comes out to play around with it again).
I also have XP installed and a 2nd computer (upgraded PowerMac running OS X 10.4.11 and 10.5.5) and a MacbookPro just ordered today and on the way, so I know my away around (to varying levels of knowledge) most of the major operating systems out there as I run most of them here at home..