Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

openSUSE 10.3 RC 1 Report

Filed under
Reviews
SUSE
-s

OpenSUSE 10.3 final is due out in just a few days, so let's take a look at the progress. Folks have been testing this release candidate and posting their thoughts here and there. My own testing was delayed primarily due to the some of the joys of running Gentoo fulltime, but I was finally able to devote my full attention to openSUSE 10.3 RC1. As per my usual, I downloaded the DVD iso delta. This time it was 422 MB. I don't usually test everything with these developmental releases, but what I have tested is looking good.

The only thing I spotted new during the install phase was the names of some of my devices had changed, such as my sound and wireless chips, hinting that some work had been done to the hardware database. My sound still functioned, the modules used were the same, so perhaps it was just more precise naming. My winnic shows up during install, but I still have to wait until I can install and use Ndiswrapper. Once that is installed, I can edit the device in Yast2 and configure it to use ndiswrapper in the module textarea. Then my wireless device is available at boot.

Well, I did notice that the release notes had been updated and are being completed for the final release. The first new thing mentioned concerns the text install. It says its scope is limited, so you'll really need to go through the package selections to have a more complete system besides a minimal install. Also, it now warns users that Gaim has been replaced by Pidgin and users are given another route when trying to install onto disks with more than 15 partitions. Now we can switch to a virtual console before the partitioning step and issue the command activate_dm_linear /dev/sdaX. I didn't test that option this release, but I probably will for my final review. Another new topic is the change from cryptoloop to dm-crypt and its ramifications. mDNSResponder is now replaced by Avahi. And finally there are some instructions for those using older Intel graphics for a new default driver change when upgrading if they wish to use some of the more advanced options. All the rest we've covered before.

        


Since I couldn't setup online update sources during the install and I hadn't had much luck with previous betas, the first thing I tested was the Online Update Repository configuration and Update tool. This time it worked really well. In fact, one of the advantages of having to wait a few days before testing is that there were several updated packages available - one of which was a new kernel. Some others were kmps and glibc. I updated all the packages as recommended and rebooted when told. The system booted into the new kernel without much notice from me. The Grub menu had been updated to reflect the new kernel, but that was only real sign. The significance being this is the way it should be. I shouldn't be confronted with a Grub screen with a lot of dead links, a system that no longer boots, or hardware that no longer works. Kernel upgrades are still one of the areas that gives users a feeling of dread, but perhaps those that use openSUSE can be spared that. The only problem that developed was the disappearance of the update applet icon after logging out of and back into KDE. It remained in GNOME.

Next I tested the Software Manager. This release I didn't change the default software selection during the install, so I installed many packages afterwards. First was the small task of installing Ndiswrapper, but later came the bigger task of installing the GNOME and XFCE desktops and the KDE 4 base system. All installed without error or incident, most from the DVD but two from the online updates repo.

Speaking of GNOME, this release candidate ships with 2.19.92, but the final 2.20 has since become available here 2.20 will be included in the final.

By default openSUSE included several games and a couple of applications from the KDE 4 line-up. They all looked great and worked well as far as I could test here. Installing the KDE 4 base system puts a KDE 4 Preview option into the login manager menu. This release I could actually get into the environment and look around a bit. The menu didn't work for me, but I was able to right click the desktop and launch an app or two. In the upper left corner of the desktop is a Desktop Toolbox widget that I suppose will have lots of desktop configuration and functionality options, but now it will launch the analog clock, system tray and taskbar. These appear as widgets on the desktop. The clipboard is in a window right now. Dolphin is launchable from the Run Command box and it seems to work fairly well. Basically, preview is precisely what it is. It's not usable, but it was my first look around. It will whet your appetite, but it still makes one wonder if KDE 4 will even be ready for Christmas.

        


Also new in this release is the extended multimedia support. By support I mean, for example, if you try to view a site or watch a video a dialog box will appear asking if you'd like to search for suitable codecs. Click yes to open a browser at software.opensuse.org where suggestions are made and ymp file is offered for the KDE or GNOME environments. Click on this file to open a wizard similar to the software manager through which additional plugins and codecs will be installed. This includes several such as java, flash, and the win32codecs. This is kind of nice, but I think the developers should write this to spare the users of having to use the website. Just click yes to download the ymp file would be much more convenient.

        


The Most Annoying Bugs list has dwindled down to just a few entries:

* Online update opens an annoying popup with the progress. We'll prepare an online update for it, so it will only affect the first update (Bug #326247)
* On some machines we have problems with the kernel and ACPI - investigating, more data would be helpful
* GNOME is not yet final - we will update this right after RC1 and prepare a RC2. This one will be made internally, but you can get the update through Factory
* 32bit PPC machines have a problem with dependencies that try to install 64bit RPMs.

I did find that suspend to disk still worked really well, but suspend to ram was broke.

Some of the Changelog highlights include:

++++ udev:

- add /dev/lp0 to static devices (nbz#308990)
- fix some static device nodes perms to match rule perms 0600 -> 0660
- add /etc/modprobe.d/pnp-aliases for floppy autoload

++++ amarok:

- fix collection scanner zombie (#309055)
- rename yauap to gstreamer/yauap (#308123)

++++ bootsplash-theme-SuSE:

- fix splash triggers (#304735)

++++ hwinfo:

- updated pci & usb ids

++++ kpowersave:

- released KPowersave 0.7.3:

++++ openSUSE-release:

- it's no longer beta

++++ release-notes:

* Update translations.
* Proofread English texts; thanks to Jana Jaeger.
* Support the "quote" tag.

++++ suspend:

- updated the s2ram whitelist:
- suspend-s2ram-LenovoX60Tablet.diff (b.n.c #265613)
- suspend-s2ram-DellXPSM1330.diff (b.n.c #325757)

++++ MozillaFirefox:

- Update the Novell Support search plugin in search-addons.tar.bz2
(#297261)

++++ kdebase4:

- update to 3.93.0.svn712052

++++ kde4-filesystem:

- own one path more

++++ kdegames4:

- patch KMahjongg, KMines, KReversi and KPat to start with a bigger
initial window size (#298995)

++++ kdegames4-carddecks:

- patch KMahjongg, KMines, KReversi and KPat to start with a bigger
initial window size (#298995)

++++ kdenetwork4:

- link krfb and krdc icons so that all 10.3 default apps have icons

++++ OpenOffice_org:

- updated to milestone oog680-m5 (OOo-2.3.rc3) [n#309238]
- updated ooo-build to 2.3.0.1.2:

++++ gimp:

- Added support for gutenprint, discarded the old libgimpprint module.

++++ gnome-session:

- Ensure ~/Desktop exists before copying to it (#310363)
- Fixed background resetting in /usr/bin/gnome (#309946).
- Fixed up kdm-support patch to support gnome sessions in KDM

++++ xorg-x11-driver-video:

- added "stable" 6.6.3 ATI driver; available as "radeonold"

++++ hal:

- added new patches:
- hal-add-ThinkPadAcpiEvent_killswitch.diff: forward ACPI event
for the killswitch (solve #302539 for ThinkPads to send a
notification)

++++ hwinfo:

- updated X11 data (#307218)

++++ virtualbox:

- updated to version 1.5.0

++++ lots of kernel, yast2, and zypper work.

++++ Full Changelog since Beta 3.

Some of the Package Version Highlights include:

  • OpenOffice_org-2.3.0.1.2-4

  • MozillaFirefox-2.0.0.6-20
  • apache2-2.2.4-66
  • cmake-2.4.7-13
  • compiz-0.5.4-22
  • cups-1.2.12-18
  • gcc-4.2-22
  • gimp-2.2.17-36
  • glibc-2.6.1-15
  • gnome-desktop-2.19.92-3
  • gtk2-2.11.6-26
  • hal-0.5.9_git20070831-8
  • kdebase3-3.5.7-78
  • kdebase4-3.93.0.svn712052-6
  • kernel-default-2.6.22.5-23 (2.6.22.5-29 available)
  • make-3.81-64
  • mysql-5.0.45-19
  • perl-5.8.8-74
  • php5-5.2.4-7
  • python-2.5.1-35
  • qt3-3.3.8-72
  • udev-114-17
  • xorg-x11-7.2-132
  • Full RPM List

As you can see, at this late point most of the packages have only jumped in internal openSUSE tiny versions.


****

So, all in all, I think this release candidate is just about there. openSUSE 10.3 seems to be shaping up quite nicely and the only problem I had was with the disappearing update applet icon in KDE and the suspend to ram. I am looking forward to the final. It will be the best openSUSE yet.

An internal RC2 was integrated into the schedule to test the new GNOME, but there have been no announcements concerning any changes to the planned public release on October 4 as of yet.

When available I will test the upgrade functionality first, then perhaps the >15 partition option, and a nice clean install. I think I will also start with a fresh download as opposed to a delta. Until then, happy testing.

I have more screenshots in the gallery and my previous coverage can be found here.




10.3 RC1 is a nice release

I installed RC1 on my old test box, and for the first time in about three releases, it not only found and configured my network card properly, but was actually able to download updates before the installation was finished.

The "online update opens an annoying popup with the progress" bug was there, but it did, as advertised, go away after an update.

One thing I thought was really cool about this release was that there's an applet in YaST for adding community repositories (such as Packman and Guru, and specialized Suse repositories), meaning you simply check a box instead of having to find the URL and add it manually. Nice touch.

Another cool thing about it is the "one-click install" mentioned earlier. If you want to get the "restricted" codecs, all you have to do is open this web page, click on "codecs-kde.ymp" (for KDE), let Suse's software manager handle the "ymp" file, and then follow the prompts.

Software management using YaST also seems quicker and less clunky than in 10.2. Maybe people won't feel the need to switch to the Smart package manager.

Finally, in the (all-important) eye candy department, Suse comes with a repository that includes both Beryl and compiz-fusion (the latter comes with a "one-click install"), and you can have them both installed at the same time. The Suse wiki's compiz-fusion article seems to imply you have to be running XGL in order to use compiz-fusion, but of course that's not true for those with nVidia cards with the proprietary driver installed. (It works fine, if a bit slow, on my old GeForce MX 440 chipset with the 9631 driver.)

The one thing that seems to be missing (or maybe I just didn't see it) is a system tray icon for compiz-fusion, similar to beryl-manager's. But ccsm is available on the menu.

One thing I'm not sure I like is the "new" Suse wiki, and the new openSuse-Community wiki. Just put everything in one place, will you, guys?

ROCKS wuuuttttt! keep it

ROCKS wuuuttttt! keep it better and better!

What's frustrating about openSUSE

I go to "Software Management" in YaST, select Package > All Packages > Update if newer version available, and it tells me there's 800-plus packages that can be updated -- in other words, just about every package installed on the system. (Those would be the packages listed in blue, rather than black, text that I see listed in the package manager.)

So why isn't this being done through the openSUSE updater? (Or, to be more precise, why is there an "update" repository separate from the main 10.3 OSS and non-OSS repositories?)

Worse, there are a bunch of dependency conflicts to wade through, and I just installed it two days ago.

If I was in Debian (or even PCLinuxOS, which, like openSUSE, is rpm-based), I could simply go to a console and type "apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade" and it would all be taken care of, dependency resolution included. OTOH, openSUSE's "zypper" command-line tool will update all available patches, but new packages have to be installed one by one.

That's not true, there are

That's not true, there are multiple ways to upgrade. On zypper, you need to do:

zypper update -t package

Or you could upgrade them all in YaST, or now you could even use openSUSE updater. Just right-click on the system tray icon -> configure -> "show available upgrades". Stay tuned to news.opensuse.org for more on this.

The reason Debian-based distributions just have apt-get upgrade is because they don't even support anything like RPM patches, so they force package upgrades (which isn't ideal when you need an updated kernel-source, certainly! Smile).

Hope that helps.

I'm not ashamed to say...

...that I installed RC1 today, and it worked better than I was expecting. It still needed some manual configuration (all via YaST), but it detected my native screen res and wireless correctly, in marked contrast to my experience with Alpha 5. It didn't understand my WEP key until I rebooted, but here I am saying this.
OpenSUSE has come across as an easy-to-use, laptop-friendly distro with only a few occasional bugs, and I'm starting to really like it. My biggest gripe is that the Kickoff menu's tabs need to be clicked (instead of switching when moused over, like they're supposed to), and that Geeko's eyes no longer follow your cursor. Again, minor bugs. Also, this is the first time I've used the open-source iwl3945 drivers, and they work. I had issues with them on Fedora 7, but that was an older version, and now, they're stable enough for the average user. Talk about progress.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

More in Tux Machines

Games for GNU/Linux

  • Stardew Valley is now in beta for Linux
    The Stardew Valley developer tweeted out a password for a beta, but after discussing it with them on their forum I was able to show them that we can't actually access it yet. While what I was telling them may not have been entirely correct (SteamDB is confusing), the main point I made was correct. Normal keys are not able to access the beta yet, but beta/developer keys can, as it's not currently set for Linux/Mac as a platform for us.
  • Physics-based 3D puzzler Human: Fall Flat released on Steam for Linux
    Human: Fall Flat is an open-ended physics puzzler with an optional local co-op mode, developed by No Brakes Games, and available now on Steam for Linux.
  • 7 Mages brings a touch more of traditional dungeon crawling to Linux
    Controlling a party of adventurers, exploring dungeons and fighting weird magical creatures is an RPG tradition as old as the genre. Expect all that and more in this modern iteration of the classical dungeon crawler.

Linux and Graphics

Security News

  • Security advisories for Monday
  • EU to Give Free Security Audits to Apache HTTP Server and Keepass
    The European Commission announced on Wednesday that its IT engineers would provide a free security audit for the Apache HTTP Server and KeePass projects. The EC selected the two projects following a public survey that took place between June 17 and July 8 and that received 3,282 answers. The survey and security audit are part of the EU-FOSSA (EU-Free and Open Source Software Auditing) project, a test pilot program that received funding of €1 million until the end of the year.
  • What is your browser really doing?
    While Microsoft would prefer you use its Edge browser on Windows 10 as part of its ecosystem, the most popular Windows browser is Google’s Chrome. But there is a downside to Chrome – spying and battery life. It all started when Microsoft recently announced that its Edge browser used less battery power than Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Opera on Windows 10 devices. It also measured telemetry – what the Windows 10 device was doing when using different browsers. What it found was that the other browsers had a significantly higher central processing unit (CPU), and graphics processing unit (GPU) overhead when viewing the same Web pages. It also proved that using Edge resulted in 36-53% more battery life when performing the same tasks as the others. Let’s not get into semantics about which search engine — Google or Bing — is better; this was about simple Web browsing, opening new tabs and watching videos. But it started a discussion as to why CPU and GPU usage was far higher. And it relates to spying and ad serving.
  • Is Computer Security Becoming a Hardware Problem?
    In December of 1967 the Silver Bridge collapsed into the Ohio River, killing 46 people. The cause was determined to be a single 2.5 millimeter defect in a single steel bar—some credit the Mothman for the disaster, but to most it was an avoidable engineering failure and a rebuttal to the design philosophy of substituting high-strength non-redundant building materials for lower-strength albeit layered and redundant materials. A partial failure is much better than a complete failure. [...] In 1996, Kocher co-authored the SSL v3.0 protocol, which would become the basis for the TLS standard. TLS is the difference between HTTP and HTTPS and is responsible for much of the security that allows for the modern internet. He argues that, barring some abrupt and unexpected advance in quantum computing or something yet unforeseen, TLS will continue to safeguard the web and do a very good job of it. What he's worried about is hardware: untested linkages in digital bridges.
  • Your Smart Robot Is Coming in Five Years, But It Might Get Hacked and Kill You
    A new report commissioned by the Department of Homeland Security forecasts that autonomous artificially intelligent robots are just five to 10 years away from hitting the mainstream—but there’s a catch. The new breed of smart robots will be eminently hackable. To the point that they might be re-programmed to kill you. The study, published in April, attempted to assess which emerging technology trends are most likely to go mainstream, while simultaneously posing serious “cybersecurity” problems. The good news is that the near future is going to see some rapid, revolutionary changes that could dramatically enhance our lives. The bad news is that the technologies pitched to “become successful and transformative” in the next decade or so are extremely vulnerable to all sorts of back-door, front-door, and side-door compromises.
  • Trump, DNC, RNC Flunk Email Security Test
    At issue is a fairly technical proposed standard called DMARC. Short for “domain-based messaging authentication reporting and conformance,” DMARC tries to solve a problem that has plagued email since its inception: It’s surprisingly difficult for email providers and end users alike to tell whether a given email is real – i.e. that it really was sent by the person or organization identified in the “from:” portion of the missive.
  • NIST Prepares to Ban SMS-Based Two-Factor Authentication
    The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released the latest draft version of the Digital Authentication Guideline that contains language hinting at a future ban on SMS-based Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). The Digital Authentication Guideline (DAG) is a set of rules used by software makers to build secure services, and by governments and private agencies to assess the security of their services and software. NIST experts are constantly updating the guideline, in an effort to keep pace with the rapid change in the IT sector.
  • 1.6m Clash of Kings forum accounts 'stolen'
    Details about 1.6 million users on the Clash of Kings online forum have been hacked, claims a breach notification site. The user data from the popular mobile game's discussion forum were allegedly targeted by a hacker on 14 July. Tech site ZDNet has reported the leaked data includes email addresses, IP addresses and usernames.
  • Hacker steals 1.6 million accounts from top mobile game's forum
    [Ed: vBulletin is proprietary software -- the same crap Canonical used for Ubuntu forums]

The saga continues with Slackware 14.2

Slackware is the oldest surviving Linux distribution and has been maintained since its birth by Patrick Volkerding. Slackware has a well deserved reputation for being stable, consistent and conservative. Slackware is released when it is ready, rather than on a set schedule, and fans of the distribution praise its no-frills and no-fuss design. Slackware adheres to a "keep it simple" philosophy similar to Arch Linux, in that the operating system does not do a lot of hand holding or automatic configuration. The user is expected to know what they are doing and the operating system generally stays out of the way. The latest release of Slackware, version 14.2, mostly offers software updates and accompanying hardware support. A few new features offer improved plug-n-play support for removable devices and this release of Slackware ships with the PulseAudio software. PulseAudio has been commonly found in the audio stack of most Linux distributions for several years, but that is a signature of Slackware: adding new features when they are needed, not when they become available. In this case PulseAudio was required as a dependency for another package. Slackware 14.2 is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds for the x86 architecture. There is also an ARM build. While the main edition of Slackware is available as an installation disc only, there is a live edition of Slackware where we can explore a Slackware-powered desktop environment without installing the distribution. The live edition can be found on the Alien Base website. Both the live edition and the main installation media are approximately 2.6GB in size. For the purposes of this review I will be focusing on the main, installation-only edition. Booting from the install media brings us to a text screen where we are invited to type in any required kernel parameters. We can press the Enter key to take the default settings or wait two minutes for the media to continue booting. A text prompt then offers to let us load an alternative keyboard layout or use the default "US" layout. We are then brought to a text console where a brief blurb offers us tips for setting up disk partitions and swap space. The helpful text says we can create partitions and then run the system installer by typing "setup". Read more