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SuSE 10.1 Beta 1 Report

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Woohoo, Suse 10.1 Beta 1 is here, one of the milestones in the development of a new release. It came a bit later than expected, at least for me. I had picked out a coupla fast mirrors before hand and began my download before announcements were made. As soon as OSNews and Distrowatch reported its release, the mirrors slowed to a crawl. It took the better part of the 20th to download SUSE 10.1 beta1. All this to say, SUSE, even in beta, has got to be one of the most popular distros available. And with good reason. I've been following the development of SUSE since the formation of OpenSuse and I have acquired quite a liking to its polish and completeness, its great tools and little extras, and its fast performance and stability. As has become the norm here at Tuxmachines, we installed the new beta to look around and see what we see. This is our report.

There's no new wallpaper.

According to the announcement, this new theme is still not complete. Well, not complete? I didn't see anything new at all by way of the default look and feel. I love their suse windec, but I am getting a bit tired of the big ugly lizard wallpaper. Come on guys, a new wallpaper please?

In fact, here's a quote of the listed known issues at the time of release:

* Theming is not complete, there's still 10.0 theming used in many
places.

* Enabling the firewall during installation does not work and/or
internet test does not work [Bug #143751]

* If you use NetworkManager, network is not setup after installation.
Edit /etc/sysconfig/network/config and set:
NETWORKMANAGER=yes (instead of no)
and then run "rcnetwork restart"

* The software selection for a 64-bit x86-64 installation does
complain about a conflict in the package selection. Enter the
package manager and press "Ignore all" in the dialog which shows
conflicts for compat-32bit.

I'm in the practice of never using firewall on my workstation/desktop and as such can't really say too much about that. The internet test does indeed fail. Two packages failed here during install as well, kdeartwork and tetex.

After install some bugs to rear their ugly heads include the kde panel lockup/freeze. Twice so far, the panel has frozen in kde. The desktop itself is still functional, but the menu and minimized apps rely on the panel, and if it locks up, well, kde is just about useless. Restarting kde/x server seemed to clear that up. Konqueror crashed a few times as well. Neither beagle nor evolution wouldn't start at all here from the menu. Usb was a bit of a sticky wicket as well. I saw the hubs being detected at boot time, yet no usb devices appeared in /dev. This rendered my webcam and scanner inoperative. Attempted installs of the nvidia graphic drivers resulted in nothing but errors.

Gnome is coming right along tho. They are at version 2.12.2 and features the same lizard wallpaper, nice looking theme, and some great sound effects. Not many developers go to the trouble of setting up sound events/notifications in gnome. Last release or two found gnome to be quite buggy, but this time out it performs much the way I imagine it should. It was fast and responsive, and quite stable. Some good news for the gnome fans in the house.

        

Some new goodies introduced this release include AppArmor. "AppArmor is an application security tool designed to provide a highly secure yet easy to use security framework for your applications. AppArmor proactively protects the operating system and applications from external or internal threats, even zero-day attacks, by enforcing good behavior and preventing even unknown application flaws from being exploited. AppArmor security policies, called "profiles", completely define what system resources individual applications can access, and with what privileges."

One can access the AppArmor module most conveniently through the yast control center. In a catagory all its own, AppArmor has several operations available for the user. From that module, one can read reports on the default applications already set up like netstat or firefox, setup the notification intensity and frequency, or even add new, delete old, or edit current profiles. All this seemed to function as designed in my short period of testing.

        

        

Some other new developments are:

  • NetworkManager is the new way of managing changing network interfaces

  • only CD 1 needed for a minimal text installation (English)
  • only CDs 1-3 needed for a default KDE or GNOME desktop
  • Kexec support (boot Linux directly from Linux without going through the BIOS)

Another new comer to yast is the release notes. Now one can easily find and read the release notes from the same great app they use to install software, configure hardware, or generate details for a support request. This is where the deal breaking bug rears its ugly head. There was no icon for it! Now I'll put up with crashing apps, never changing ugly wallpapers, inoperative hardware and even a malfunctioning network connection, but I got to draw the line at missing icons. I'm outta here! Big Grin

        

Some version numbers this release are:

  • xorg-x11-6.9.0
  • kdebase3-3.5.0
  • gnome-desktop-2.12.2
  • MozillaFirefox-1.5.0
  • gcc-4.1.0_20060109
  • beagle-0.1.4
  • epiphany-1.8.3
  • evolution-2.4.1
  • gaim-1.5.0
  • gimp-2.2.10
  • gtk2-2.8.10
  • qt3-3.3.5
  • perl-5.8.7
  • python-2.4.2
  • koffice-1.4.2
  • OpenOffice_org-2.0.0.99
  • poppler-0.4.2
  • openbox-3.2
  • icewm-1.2.23
  • blackbox-0.70
  • xmms-1.2.10
  • Full List as tested

Some interesting highlights in Changelog include:

  • MozillaThunderbird:

    - added default (font) settings
    - tweak useragent

  • multisync:

    - fix build of evolution2 plugin

  • smart:

    - updated smart-YaST2.diff

  • sysconfig:

    - Fix insserv network

  • amarok:

    - compile against musicbrainz 0.4.x

  • gdm:

    - Fixed a bug in logon code that prevented domain logons from working. Updated domain logon patch.

  • gnome-session:

    - Updated autostart patch with a simple fix for a crash found when starting the session.
    - Fixed build by depending on dbus-1-*

  • iptables:

    - updated policy extension from upstream (policy-1.3.4.patch)

    * ported for changes in kernel

  • wpa_supplicant:

    - Add patch (from upstream) fixing bad drivers that NULL out the SSID and send the wrong length.

  • permissions:

    - removed pmount, pumount.
    - moved pmpost to /usr/lib/pcp/pmpost

  • sysconfig:

    - ifup/down/status now checks if NetworkManager is running. ifup
    will advise NetworkManager to set up the interface.
    - A new variable NM_CONTROLLED can be used to make an interface
    manually controllable by ifup.
    - ignore flag '__NSC__' in autogenerated list of mandatory devices
    in rcnetwork
    - ifstatus returns proper value for interfaces configured with
    STARTMODE=ifplugd. Allows rcnetwork to wait for plugged interfaces.

  • patches, patches, patches
  • lots and lots of version upgrades
  • Full changelog since alpha 4.

So all in all, it's a beta. Some bugs were squashed, several others appeared. Many packages were updated and the kernel was patched to within an inch of its life. No major breakage as it still runs and does most of its job, but there's lots of little bugs. We've seen the introduction of at least one new major application with AppArmor. Just peruse the changelog to see how hard the developers are working. But please Mr. Developer, for the love of all that's holy (or unholy, or anti-holy - whatever your beliefs), please send a new wallpaper.

More Screenshots.

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