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The low down on openSUSE 11.0

Posted in opensuse by mschlander on 16/06/2008

openSUSE 11.0 will be released this Thursday (June 19). As I’m writing this my laptop is updating from rc1 to the gold master, as I happened to come across a mirror that had the 11.0 repositories accessible a bit prematurely. So I guess it’s time to write a little about 11.0. It’s a rather monumental release, but I’ll try to give a brief overview of what everyone should know about the new version.

Media layout
The non-live 1-cd was dropped. What remains is the DVD with KDE 4.0, KDE 3.5, Xfce, text/server installation, FVWM2, GNOME, etc. The DVD includes translations, Adobe Flash, Sun Java and some other proprietary packages.

Installable LiveCDs with KDE 4.0 and GNOME are also available. These are 100% free software, with the exception of wlan firmwarez. Only English and German language available, other languages can be installed manually later of course.

Installation
The (DVD) installation was made much prettier, faster and shorter/simpler.

The low down on openSUSE 11.0

One controversial decision was to use the same password for the normal user account and the root account by default. If you don’t want this behaviour look out for the checkbox.

Despite being simplified the openSUSE (DVD) installer is still more powerful and customizable than the installers of most comparable distros. Allowing users to add and remove software, do very advanced partitioning etc. The liveCD installer is a little less powerful.

Package management
Huge improvements in this area. Package managment with YaST2 or zypper is literally 10-15 times faster than on 10.3.

But that’s not all. YaST2 was ported to Qt4 and the software management module has been polished a lot. It’s now also possible to access the repository management from within the software management module.

Zypper saw a ton of improvements, including new features like support for local and http RPMs, but most notably the new ‘zypper dup’ feature – which performs an online dist-upgrade, meaning you’ll be able to upgrade openSUSE 11.0 to 11.1 without downloading media.

openSUSE updater was ported to KDE4, and now supports using packagekit as a backend as well as libzypp.

KDE

KDE 3.5.9
The familiar and stable KDE3.5 is available on the DVD and via network installation. Not much has happened here since 10.3 – but it does sport some exciting new features like KNetworkManager 0.7, now supporting static IP setup, using multiple interfaces at once and more.

KDE 4.0.4
The impressive openSUSE KDE team have worked hard to make KDE 4.0 as usable as possible. Among other things they have added support for moving applets in the panel and desktop icons work better compared with vanilla KDE 4.0. The controversial toolbox/cashew can be hidden with a non-gui option.

It includes KDEPIM 4.1 beta (KMail, KNode, Akregator, KOrganizer etc.). These beta packages will be updated to final as quickly as possible.

By default it uses the Aya plasma theme. If you want the official KDE default black theme it’s just a couple of clicks away.

kde4.0

My involvement
Apart from beta testing, mailling list and IRC participation etc. I’ve also been involved in a few other ways.

Jan, Ib, Martin and myself made sure openSUSE was 100% translated to Danish for the 3rd time running. Unfortunately rumours abound that a mistake has been made between the release candidate and the gold master meaning that the installation slideshow will appear untranslated 😐

The Oxygen icon theme that I put together for YaST2 is now a part of the distro, and is even used by default in KDE4.0 installations.

yast

opensuse-xgl-settings, the Kommander script that I used to maintain will not be updated for 11.0 – at least not by me. AIGLX will be enabled by default on openSUSE 11.0 and KDE4 KWin effects as well as improvements in KControl regarding window manager selection makes the script obsolete from my point of view.

No rose without thorns
While openSUSE 11.0 is definitely an impressive release, there are a number of potential issues. No release is ever perfect, and with much new stuff comes the risk of new problems.

Most people should know by now that KDE 4.0 is only suitable for early adopters, fanboyz and forgiving users, but I’ll repeat it once again. While the openSUSE KDE team have done very impressive work, they’re not magicians. Demanding users should opt for KDE 3.5. Other strategies worth considering are:

  • Installing KDE3 and KDE4 in parallel which mostly works seamlessly
  • Upgrading to KDE 4.1 which will become available via the openSUSE Build Service when it’s released in late July – the betas are already available for the adventurous.
  • Wait for openSUSE 11.1 which is planned for December 2008 already, and will come with 4.1.x

While KNetworkManager has interesting new features as mentioned above it seems to cause some problems for quite a lot of people, myself included (bcm4306 card). If you can’t get it to behave you can consider using YaST2 for your configuration or nm-applet.

Firefox 3 beta is included. It should be pretty stable, but many extensions are not yet available. Firefox 3 final should be available via official online update very shortly after 11.0 release.

The ath5k driver is used for Atheros cards. It’s still immature, if you have problems with it, consider blacklisting it and installing the legally questionable blobby madwifi packages provided by the community.

That’s it from me. Remember to have a lot of fun with openSUSE 11.0!

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13 Responses

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  1. dan Say said, on 17/06/2008 at 1:53

    Will we be able to create a one CD of The non-live 1-cd?”

    Is there a script included to run it from the DVD?

    Not all my machines have/can take DVDs?

    Yes, I’ll stay with 10.3 on them or earlier version if I have to. It’s a matter of hardware limits of course.

  2. mschlander said, on 17/06/2008 at 8:51

    If you don’t have a dvd drive you can use the installable livecds.

    If the livecds don’t offer what you want you can do network installation, booting off the mini iso.

    Of course you can also create your very own images with KIWI.

  3. Martin Vidner said, on 17/06/2008 at 13:34

    I like the summary, both of the good features and of the not so good features. Especially thanks for pointing out the workarounds.

  4. Jonathon said, on 18/06/2008 at 15:31

    OK so WHAT MIRROR has it early???

  5. dick said, on 18/06/2008 at 17:26

    Firefox 3.0 has already released so will the final version be included in opensuse 11.0?

  6. Archetype said, on 18/06/2008 at 19:23

    Great. Another buggy, bloated, disappointing and over-hyped release of SuSE.
    New! Now 10-15x faster!
    Look for performance percentage increases in the 100x neighborhood before wasting another DVD on this 10-ton, over-patched, slug of an OS that just barely resembles UNIX.
    Good luck upgrading from 10.x, by the way. Funny how even The Dreaded Microsoft has mastered the ability to release an OS once, and then supply reliable updates for 10 years without needing to cross your fingers before updating, but so called “newbie” GNU/Linux distros like SuSE haven’t quite figured out how.
    Leave out the emphasis on the icons next time and release something worthy of a dot-0 distinction. Thank you.

  7. Tom said, on 19/06/2008 at 1:51

    >>>>Package management
    Huge improvements in this area. Package managment with YaST2 or zypper is literally 10-15 times faster than on 10.3. <<<Comment by Archetype:
    Great. Another buggy, bloated, disappointing and over-hyped release of SuSE.
    New! Now 10-15x faster!
    Look for performance percentage increases in the 100x neighborhood before wasting another DVD on this 10-ton, over-patched, slug of an OS that just barely resembles UNIX.<

    Archtype, you are poor at maths! 🙂
    10 x times faster is much more than 100% faster.

    But I am NOT CONVINCED that the REAL-WORLD SPEED is that much faster or that it will be anywhere near the speed of Synaptic Package Manager for .deb packages, e.g. in Ubuntu. Repo refreshing speed improvements (the amount of data that is downloaded in this task) did NOT make it into 11.0 and are scheduled for 11.1.

  8. Top Posts « WordPress.com said, on 20/06/2008 at 0:02

    […] The low down on openSUSE 11.0 openSUSE 11.0 will be released this Thursday (June 19). As I’m writing this my laptop is updating from rc1 to the […] […]

  9. Winfried said, on 22/06/2008 at 12:04

    I downloaded the Live CD image for KDE and played around with it for a while.
    SUSE in general is not bad, version 10.0 and 10.2 were so so.
    I think the live CD is not for real work. It is just to look at it.
    F.I. : I was not able to set up the NIC via Yast because the configuration data was not saved anywhere. I had to do it via the command line. This is not a job for Joe Average.
    My vote is A- or B+ for SUSE 11.0

  10. Malte Christensen said, on 23/06/2008 at 10:42

    Couldn’t figure out how to remove the annoying BOIING sound when changing virtual desktops in KDE. Also KDE screwed up my fonts after I activated compiz. Switched to Gnome and am now much happier. Been using Ubuntu since 7.1, now back to OpenSuSE on my T61p. Still takes 90 seconds to boot, though. Using my Asus EEE PC 15 second boot times for relief when travelling 😉

  11. mschlander said, on 23/06/2008 at 11:07

    Like the blog suggest, demanding users should avoid KDE 4.0 and use KDE3.5.

    You could have easily disabled the annoying KWin sounds like this:
    systemsettings -> Notifications -> Select KWin in the combo box.

  12. Malte Christensen said, on 23/06/2008 at 14:53

    You could have easily disable

    Sorry, if I have to beg to differ: Having used Linux since 1998 or thereabouts, I daresay I am no stranger to solving things myself. If, after an hour of so, I can’t figure out a) why such a silly thing as a sound when switching desktops was implemented as default in the first place and b) how to get rid of it, then I submit that it is not ‘easy’, or, at the very least, not intuitive.

    😉

  13. […] clean install? This is so I don’t have to then buy 11.1 as well a few months later. On this blog (The low down on openSUSE 11.0 The Blog is Hot) it says: "most notably the new zypper dup feature – which performs an online dist-upgrade, […]


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