openSUSE 10.2 Alpha 5 Report
openSUSE 10.2 alpha 5 was released a couple of days ago, and I've been testing various aspects since its install. Coincidently, I decided to download the dvd version this time only to find out later that it was the only version available. Quite honestly, my decision was really made by distrowatch, when it was the first link in their announcement. Forgetting that I usually do deltas, I right clicked, copied, and pasted their link into a terminal for wget. For whatever reason I chose it, DVD format is the next best way to go. It makes for a much more pleasant install than a 5 cd change-out. But more importantly, what did we find after the install?
Before we get to the system, let's talk a bit more about the install. When last we left our open source heros, they had changed the installer from a full screen view to a windowed view with a background in the planning stages. I've yet to hear the reason for this change, but this release we find a lovely background now in place. It matches the new splash screens found throughout the system and introduced last released. It's not an exact carbon copy, but it's a very good match.
Also new this release (I think) is now the option to install to a lvm. Reiserfs was still the default filesystem. I don't think we see any changes to the Software Manager Pattern categories this time. Remember we saw last time the change of installing all software before that initial reboot. Another new little option is the ability to replicate users from one installed system to your new install during the user setup phase. Unfortunately I didn't get to test this new option because my trigger finger was a bit too itchy and when I backed up, the option was gone. But I will test it next time.
The install went well except for that same kde_imaging package keeping some kde rpms from installing, testing the internet connection, and the registration (or online update setup) step. The release notes didn't contain any information at this point either.
After boot we find the newly tagged KDE 3.5.5, that shoots an error about dbus not starting. Trying to start it results in the output that is already running. Trying to start yast2 (or anything requiring root priviledges) from the menu is still broken as well as administrator mode in kcontrol.
Gnome is at version 2.16.1. Xorg is version 7.1 and the kernel is 2.6.18. There weren't too many cosmetic changes this time as we were introduced to the new kde menu last release and gnome's new menu release before last.
As registration fails, there isn't a remote rpm repository set up for the online updates and trying to add one manually fails here with the message that it can't read the source format. The basic software manager seems to function properly as much as can be tested by installing additional packages from the install cd (dvd).
The list of known bugs shows some significant regression. It currently contains:
- Registration fails
- After logging in to KDE, a popup window will inform you that dbus is not running. Just ignore the message - dbus is running
- Suspend to disk will fail with an error message "The resume device configured in /etc/suspend.conf". (fixed powersave package should be in factory by monday, until then you can edit /etc/suspend.conf and put your resume device from the resume=... boot parameter there. However, the fixed package is better).
- The x86-64 uses nearly double the disk space for installed packages than usual. It looks like a bug in binutils stripping the binaries
- Instead of /dev/hd for IDE disks using Intel ICHx chipsets the libata interfaces are used and disks show up as /dev/sd
- zen-updater always shows patterns to update
- It's not possible to start applications via kdesu, eg yast2. Workaround: use "su" in a shell.
- The bootloader configuration on BIOS-based RAID (so-called FakeRAID) systems fails.
- gnome-screensaver does not accept the correct password. Workaround: Kill the gnome-screensaver process.
- CD changing does not work, you cannot install with changing of physical media. We will therefore release instead of CD images only a DVD iso!
- There's no PowerPC distribution this time.
Some rpm version highlights this release include:
- Full RPMList
Alpha 5 changelog highlights include:
- update 3_5_BRANCH.diff to include kicker minipager fixlets
- update to 3.5.5 release tarball
- update to 1.5.5 release tarball
- bump Version: to reflect right distro version and last sync
- update to version 2.16.1
- updated translations
- Update to 2.6.18
- remove CONFIG_USB_DEVICEFS as it's insecure and we handle /dev/bus/usb
Backport libata drivers.
Update ACPI support for libata.
- update to 0.9.8d
- fixed DoS by CRC compensation attack detector [#206917] (dos-fix.patch)
- fixed client NULL deref on protocol error
- Add new cards tested by Bryan.
- CUPS 1.2.4 fixes a number of web interface, scheduler, and CUPS API issues.
- updated to snapshot ood680-m4 (2.0.4-rc2)
- updated to ALSA 1.0.13rc2:
- updated to Mesa 6.5.1
++++ Full changelog since Alpha 4.
As one can see from the changelog that the developers have been typing their fingers to the bone even if it doesn't show a lot on the surface. This release contains a lot of under-the-hood bug fixes, patches, and version upgrades. I wish I could say it seemed to be working better, but it seems a lot of the problems encountered with alpha 4 were still present and some new ones introduced with alpha 5. Not to fear though as it's still early in the development process. My report might read like a laundry list of negative issues, but even with all these problems, an alpha of openSUSE is still much more stable and reliable than a lot of others' finals. If history repeats itself, there will be several betas and several rcs before the expected public release on Thu, Dec 7. Although officially, there are only two betas (expected on Thu, Oct 26 and Thu, Nov 9) and one release candidate (on Thu, Nov 23) planned at this time with Goldmaster being scheduled for Thu, Nov 30.