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Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part I: OpenSUSE’s Fifth Beta, YaST Raves

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell, OpenSUSE at 6:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


LAST week was a busy week for OpenSUSE and this one is pretty much the same, so well done, OpenSUSE.

In focus this week it was Claes Backstrom, a Senior Linux Trainer and VMware Trainer, according to People of OpenSUSE.

Besides all these titles he has he still has time to package games on openSUSE Build Service, beta testing, and promoting openSUSE in his North European cold country, Sweden!

Zonker raised the question “what’s unique about openSUSE?” The answers are predictable and YaST is at the top of the list. It’s probably what best distinguishes distributions — package management and system administration tools. YaST is very powerful in that respect and one of the Lizards wrote specifically about it.

But in principle, YaST is a tool that can be used across distributions and there are people interested in this to happen. There are technical barriers to do releases independent of openSUSE (e.g. a lot of openSUSE-specific knowledge and behavior coded in YaST) as well as procedural. During past years, a lot of these non-technical issues has been addressed as we opened up the YaST development (re-licensing the code under GPL, opening up source control system and mailing lists, etc).

Ben Kevan took a look at YaST in the upcoming version of OpenSUSE. Ben also reckons that Emerald, the nifty tool which establishes nice translucency in Compiz, is on its route to obsolescence.

Lubos Lunak, one of the developers of KDE, wrote about compositing in OpenSUSE 11.1 (under KDE of course). That too renders some of the older eye candy code obsolete. KWin has some impressive effects

Last item is not about KWin but rather Compiz – the option to select the window manager to be used with KDE is in the more logical Default applications module in Systemsettings and, when Compiz is selected, the Configure button will launch simple-ccsm-kde, which is simple-ccsm equivalent that does not drag in all the g* dependencies. For people who still have a reason to use Compiz instead of KWin.

Here is an old demo of KWin (under KDE4) in action.

Ogg Theora

Direct link

Moving onwards, here we discover the joys of ‘respinning’ OpenSUSE. While there are no forks of OpenSUSE, there are quite a few customised versions of it.

If people have any recommendations or suggestions as to what applications to use, then please let me know. My next step is to create both ISO and USB images, any and all help would be much appreciated – SUSEStudio access would be even better ;) This list is not meant to be the be all and end all, but more a matter of itch scratching. Yes I know I could reduce the space taken up if I didnt bother with any of that non-free codec crud, and drop flash from the equation, but I’m pragmatic and ultimately want to see people use openSUSE. Get them using our distro first, once thatis established then we can educate them on the ugly side of things. Once I manage to create the images with the above package list i will look at creating a completely free version with no colsed codecs/apps.

KDE Four Live 1.1.72 is released with an unstable (as in not finalised) build of KDE4, but one must question the future relevance of KDE Four Live because it was conceived prior to KDE4 adoption by the ‘main’ distros (Fedora was among the first).

KDE 4.2 is approaching its first Beta release and it has been a while so here is a new KDE Four Live release with KDE 4.1.72 snapshot SUSE packages from the KDE:KDE4:UNSTABLE:Desktop repository.

Speaking of ‘unstable’ builds, here are some impressions of the fourth beta of openSUSE 11.1.

Even if I wasn’t such an openSUSE devotee, I think I might find a lot of good things to say about this Linux product.

Clearly, the development team continue to anneal and case harden an otherwise good product in openSUSE 11.0 such that this beta 4 is almost stable enough for production use.

I have very little to complain about in terms of the install experience. A new partitioning redesign allows the user to see everything now on one screen, whereas the 11.0 put various parts in hidden screens. Overall, I think the effect is good in that it does achieve making partitioning choices relatively easier to make.


I will continue living with 11.1 beta 4 and look forward to the next phase, I believe Release Candidate 1. If I come upon anything major that you should know about, I’ll post an update.

Hats off once again to the openSUSE Development Team!

ZDNet produced a screenshots gallery of this beta

This screenshot gallery takes you through the installation process and basic desktop functions of the latest beta version of openSUSE, the community version of Novell’s SUSE Linux distribution.

The release of Beta 5 was announced (for PPC also) some days ago in the mailing lists. It was covered by Zonker, the community manager.

Ben Kevan tried it, but tough luck! He did not have a lot of fun.

All in all, this build of Beta 5 .. has given me quite the headaches..

Could those repeated delays [1, 2] be in any way related to the state of recent builds? There were serious bugs, but this doesn’t seem to be related; not necessarily anyway. At this late stage of development — with only a month left before GM — this is definitely worth thinking about. Josef Reidinger made this post which makes one wonder if stability/reliability in SUSE is lacking.

There was a variety of technical articles, such as this one from a Novell fan/marketing site. It’s bragging about compression in SUSE.

LZMA is currently being used in openSUSE today. Have you been wondering why the install is quicker for both openSUSE 11.X and SLE11? We now use lzma to compress the content in our rpm’s. The decompression is quite a bit faster than the bzip2 that was used prior. This is just one reason why its faster, but certainly adds to it quite a bit, not to mention it makes the rpm’s a bit smaller too.

Here is a nice new cheatsheet for Ubuntu and OpenSUSE.

For more information, the weekly newsletter might be of use. We don’t use it as reference, but it seems to be pretty decent and very comprehensive.

In this week:

* Lukas Ocilka: YaST-Mascot Contest-How to submit your ideas
* openSUSE News: OpenOffice.org Fix for openSUSE 11.1 Beta 4
* The openSUSE Board
* Jan Weber: Announcing Easy-KIWI-GUI
* Stephan Binner: openSUSE 11.1-Plasma-Desktop-Toolbox

The page includes a good introduction to the Board.

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