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Retro: S.u.S.E. Linux 5.0 (1997)

After 6 months of developing, openSUSE 12.3 was released today.

Time to have a look at the roots. openSUSE is based on the former S.u.S.E. Linux – S.u.S.E stood for the german company name (Gesellschaft für Software- und System-Entwicklung GmbH).

The first official S.u.S.E. version 4.2 was released 1996 and came with Linux 1.2.13.

By sheer good fortune I got S.u.S.E. 5.0 (1997) installation media and tried to install the old operating system inside a virtual machine.

Unfortunately this wasn’t that easy because the most virtual hardware isn’t supported by S.u.S.E. Linux 5.0. I made several tests with BOCHS, Virtualbox and VMware Workstation – only using the VMware Workstation and enabled Workstation 4 Legacy mode I was able to use the X server.

S.u.S.E. 5.0 exists of 4 CDs – 3 for installation, 1 containts a Live filesystem.

It is very interesting to see how big the software distribution already was in 1997. There was no GNOME (GNOME 1.x was released 1999!), but plenty of other window managers like FVWM. Beyond that, S.u.S.E 5.0 came with a Java development kit – I didn’t know that before.

It’s funny that “Shareware” software was part of the software distribution of SuSE. YaST was one of the shipped administration tools – but only a command-line version. This version was not able to switch CD-ROMs. S.u.S.E. 5.0 was the first release to support RPM.

For browsing the web inside X there was a first version of Mozilla. S.u.S.E 5.0 comes with Linux


Attached some screenshots:

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