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openSUSE 10.3 Alpha 6 Report

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openSUSE 10.3 Alpha 6 appeared yesterday, the same day as the unveiling of the new openSUSE News portal. And that right after the big announcement that Andreas was handing over the reins of project manager to Coolo. I kinda expected Alpha 6 to be delayed by that latter news. It wasn't and it was a doozy too. The DVD deltaiso was over a one gig in size, so I was expecting some significant changes and improvements this time.

Testing Machine

Coincidently, the day that Alpha 6 was announced was the same day that I received a nice donation of a new (to me) server machine from a friend of tuxmachines. I was wanting to test it and I decided to kill two birds with one stone and install Alpha 6 on it. It consists of a Gigabyte GA-M51GM-S2G mobo, AMD Athlon 64 x2 4200+ cpu, two gig DDR2-667 RAM, on-board Marvell 88E1116 nic, and on-board Geforce 6100 graphics.

Install

The install routine was pretty much unchanged, except I did spot a new item in the package selection. KDE 4 Base System is now listed. openSUSE had done marvelously with the new machine through the other setup routines, but when I chose that KDE 4 Base System it just stopped responding. I left the office and the hour glass for over 15 minutes, but decided it wasn't going any further. I hit reset and decided not to pick KDE 4 this time. I chose the ususal KDE as main desktop, then GNOME at the package selection, as well as C/C++ and Kernel development. At the end of the install, the downloading of release notes was successful. Another new element of the install process was when I was given a short list of online repositories to choose from if I wished to configure then. The one that was pre-selected is the OSS Factory repo, but I was also offered the non-oss repo. I chose it and again the process stopped at the hour glass and no twinkling hard drive indicator. I waited for about 15 minutes before ctrl+F2'in to /sbin/reboot. I cancelled out of that step completely the second time.

System

Package management is one of the major areas of change this release. Developers have been working on it throughout but some big changes happened this past month. With the freeze up during installation configuration, I was left with no repositories. Attempting to set this up manually using the Online Update Configuration didn't finish either. It too just sat there appearing to have stopped responding. Another aspect of the new package management is the elimination of the needing to recache the database each start. However, mine still did, or something that looked like it. After reparsing, it gave me the message that only the installed packages would appear, so apparently it didn't even add the install DVD to the local cache. Also at this point the packages are no longer compatible with YUM or Smart. So, all in all, it is a bit broken this time.

Also upon boot my network card which worked during the install no longer worked. ...or rather, it just wasn't started. However, my connection would come right up when started manually.

No new eye candy (or any change in appearance) was seen this release. However, I believe we will see some next release as I read somewhere about some being added to the factory tree after the creation of Alpha 6.

KDE worked rather well, but GNOME is back on the critical list. Tomboy crashes repetitively at start and the panel never finishes loading. We have desktop icons, the Update applet, and time and date, but no menu or quick launchers.

I had trouble with KDE's mount of removable media as user too. I received the error "the option "flush" is not allowed." I also had trouble ssh'in into or out of Alpha 6, which was a first.

Many of my findings correspond with some of the Most Annoying Bugs:

  • Network setup is broken, needs some manual repair or rcnetwork restart

  • Public key for checking release-notes.rpm is unavailable
  • Registration is broken
  • GNOME is W.I.P.
  • Adding default repositories crashes installation

Some of the new version highlights include:

  • kernel-default-2.6.22-5

  • xorg-x11-7.2-96
  • gcc-4.2-9
  • kdebase3-3.5.7-32
  • qt3-3.3.8-49
  • gnome-desktop-2.19.4-3
  • gtk2-2.11.5-3
  • OpenOffice_org-2.2.99.211-5
  • MozillaFirefox-2.0.0.4-14
  • gimp-2.2.13-90
  • ndiswrapper-1.47-5
  • Full RPM List

Some Changelog Highlights are:

++++ compiz:

- Updated to latest git version (0.5.1_git_xxx) to make compiz compile against
new libwnck.
- New schema system.
- Moved gnome-xgl-info and gnome-xgl-switch back to main package
- gnome-xgl-info and gnome-xgl-switch reside in /usr/bin now.

++++ kdebase3:

- update from 3.5 branch to include bugfixes

++++ perl-Crypt-SSLeay:

- version update to 0.56

++++ wine:

- Upgraded to upstream 0.9.41

++++ glibc:

- Update to head of glibc-2.6 branch.

++++ flash-player:

- update to 9.0.48.0

++++ Full Changelog

All told this release is kinda broken, but it is an alpha. You have to break a few eggs to make a souffl'e, and hopefully it won't fall next release. This is the first release for which Coolo took responsibility, but he came along late in the game. Let's hang this one on Andreas. (jk) Actually, Coolo is said to have stated that this is the first alpha to feel like an alpha. Well, I don't know about that.

Network problems lead to rash judgement?

I think most of your criticisms, whilst valid, derive only from a failure to properly install and configure drivers for your network card (during the install process). Whilst this doesn't help yourself, I don't think this should lead us to write off this distro as 'broken'.

re: Network problems lead to rash judgement?

The network connection was barely mentioned alongside the other half dozen or so broken or malfunctioning systems. But it's an alpha, it's supposed to be broken. Big Grin

Give her (and us) a break

winchuff wrote:
I think most of your criticisms, whilst valid, derive only from a failure to properly install and configure drivers for your network card (during the install process).

In an alpha release, you'd expect for there to be some show-stopping bugs. "Network setup is broken" and "Adding default repositories crashes installation" are both enough to tell you that this is....an alpha release.

winchuff wrote:
I don't think this should lead us to write off this distro as 'broken'.

Obviously, openSUSE as a distro isn't broken. Nobody said that. This alpha release, however, is. That's why it's....an alpha release.

re: openSUSE 10.3 Alpha 6 Report

I've tried it too, i thought i might as well give the new one cd installation a try while i'm at it... (big mistake)

i'm a gnome lover, so i chose the gnome 2.19 CD despite the W.I.P warning that coolo gave us, i just have to learn the hard way, if i wasn't like that, life would be too easy for me to handle. what i found was that THE WHOLE FREAKIN SYSTEM IS BROKEN, you can't add repos with the new zypper (if you used yast it will hang, and if you used zypper CL it will JUST not work) and, of course, no sound, no control center or gnome-main-menu (SUSE menu) for gnome, half of the applets are not working, gdm is broken, blah, blah, blah...

the only thing i did get working was 'smart' - after manually downloading and installing it from the factory repo, i thought maybe i could fix the system by updating faulty packages and installing the missing dependencies, but no, that would have been too easy (and we don't want that)

so i gave up..

i know it's an alpha and all, but as far as i know it's supposed to be the last one, i mean the former alphas were far more stable than this, we're supposed to be heading forward, not falling down on our asses, or am i making a big fuss about nothing? i don't know, i just can't let myself be more assed about it, i just installed the new compiz-fusion along with the new screenlets-0.8, and i just wanna say "MACs, watch out!" Tongue

re: SUSE 10.3 ALPHA 6

You'd a thunk that by now - almost everyone would understand WHAT ALPHA MEANS?

Apparently not.

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