SUSE 10.2 alpha 1 tested
Well, here we go again. With hardly any break at all those poor opensuse developers, who have once again been chained to their desktops and only let loose for the occasional bathroom break, have released the next version's alpha 1. I can feel the excitement starting to mount already -albeit a just a slight tug at this point. SUSE 10.2 alpha 1 seems little more than a bug fix/update release.
I had difficulties finding the isos on too many mirrors and the ones I found offered speeds about the size of dial-up. However, I'm sure that situation has improved greatly by today. Nevertheless, this time I downloaded the torrent and gave that a go. That worked out fairly well. At times the isos came in at about 50k/sec, but at other times it came in at over close to 300. I'd say it averaged at close to 200.
We were already informed that the graphical install was broken, but I tested it anyway. It gets through the first cd, but after the reboot, it can't restart the xserver and this is where it fails. Then, I attempted a hard drive install in text mode. I didn't have much luck with that as it got as far as package selection and errors out stating it could not read the package list. As a result, I can report that the hard drive install method is broken as well. So, I ended up booting back to my everyday desktop to burn 5 cds. Upon boot I set the options for text and went through a regular cd source install. This went fairly well. The SUSE text install is a thing of beauty. If you've never seen it, you should try it at least once. I've never seen a text install mimic its graphical counterpart in such minute detail. The only problem encountered was with the package selection which I find cumbersome, yet no reflection on SUSE. I just initially installed the default KDE package selection amounting to 1.9 gigs. I figured I'd install the rest after boot as I wanted to test the software manager anyway. The install went like clockwork. The downloading of release notes did fail as predicted, but displayed the releases notes from the cd.
I then tested the update option and it too failed. I had my SUSE 10.1 final install that I attempted to upgrade and it gets through the first cd and upon reboot it can't mount or read the remaining install cds.
After boot I saw no new graphics/images whatsoever. Even the new KDE 3.5.3 was started with the old 3.5.1 splash. Now the cat is out of the bag. This release does include the new kde 3.5.3. SUSE developers had released their rpms for 3.5.3 back when KDE announced and so it was really no surprize that it was included in the alpha. I always enjoy SUSE's implementation of KDE. They add some wonderful extras and yet don't mangle it beyond recognition or functionality. My favorite addition is the menu search, which is still present.
SUSE released fixes for their software manager last week as well. The only trouble was, the folks suffering from the original ill effects were the ones who probably would have problems trying to install the fixes. Fortunately, the patched libzypp is included in the alpha too. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to test it extensively as there were no updates for SUSE 10.2 alpha 1. I can report that the install of about 600 packages off the cds went just fine without error and the system as well as the apps performed quite well afterwards.
They updated the kernel to 188.8.131.52 on May 23 and have been patching, patching, patching on it since. Vanilla kernel 184.108.40.206 was released on June 5. Many of the other major apps have seen lots of work as well. Compiz and xgl have been improved quite a bit, Beagle's been getting a lot of attention, and zen makes several appearances in the changelog as well. But the contenders for the most worked upon is tied between amarok and yast. You can find the complete Changelog since 10.1 here.
Firefox has been updated to 220.127.116.11, gcc is now 4.1.2_20060531, whereas OpenOffice and Xorg have only seen a sub-minor version jump. Apache's not been touched, whereas php and mysql have seen just a bit of work. Just about every rpm has jumped up an internal version number or two. You can read the full rpmlist here.
So, that's about it this time. The graphical and harddrive source installer is broken as well as the update option. It looks like fresh text install from cds is one's only option. KDE has been updated to 3.5.3 and SUSE has shipped their patched software manager in this release. There were a lot of little big fixes and enhancements, but overall, this release seems like more of a bug fix release for 10.1, if you could in fact actually do an update. Let's hope the installer is fixed before the next release.