SUSE 10.1 beta 6 hit the mirrors yesterday and announcements  went up all over the web. Seems everyone is following development of 10.1 with great interest. This release brings lots of improvements and a new surprize or two. Overall, we are starting to see the release the 10.1 will become.
OSNews  was full of tidbits concerning the development of 10.1. Some highlights include a new roadmap and development plans. They include the interesting quote, "we will go to a bi-weekly schedule and have one more beta." We can expect one more beta, dubbed 8, on or about March 17 and release candidate 1 around March 31. Significant to close followers and testers was the news that all release candidates will only come in the form of delta isos or in the factory tree. We can expect the final announcement on April 13.
Not ones to take much of a vacation, plans for 10.2 were also announced. Testing will start with Alpha 1 on June 16 and 10.2 final can be expected around year's end.
Our subject today, 10.1 beta6 is much improved and evidence starts with a much slimmer "annoying bug list." The few items remaining are:
- The CD 1 needs to remain in the cd drive after installing from it. Do not remove it during the reboot and wait for YaST to request CD 2.. Otherwise the installation of packages from CD 2-5 will fail afterwards Bug 153073 .
- The partitioner is broken in some cases Bug 151947 . which might result in:
- mixed up filesystem types - for example one chooses ext2 and the partition is getting formatted with reiserfs
- creates double or totally obscure entries within the fstab of the system
- makes inproper proposals for a standard partitioning
- Download of Release Notes will fail.
- The online test with download of Updates will fail.
The first thing I noticed upon boot of the installation system was the appearance of a new menu screen. It is a very attractive more tasteful blue and very closely matching the rest of the new theme we've seen recently. They state in red letters that this is a preliminary theme and request no complaints. They would get none from me as I think it looks really great.
The next thing that I noticed was that hard drive installs, or probably any of the manual installs for that matter, have now returned to their fully functional status. Woohoo! <snoopy dance> And from there the installer is pretty much as we encountered last time, not forgetting the recent addition of a hostname configuration step and the tidied-up software selection screens we found in the last beta.
Towards the end of the install, I did encounter the failed online test and received a chance to view logs, however some Release Notes did present themselves. One warning involved a work around if needed for slow fonts in mozilla due to pango.
Earlier in the install process, I did have some trouble with some packages not being installed properly. The errors stated trouble with db similar to the one we get after install when trying to use the package manager. In fact, installation stopped completely here a time or two. I was left with the busy cursor for extended periods, at which point I had to restart. The package counter and timer were way off the mark this time as well. So, my installation was still a bit challenging here.
Upon boot, kde looked its usual wonderful self, but gnome was broken once again. Gnome would start here and a desktop appeared along with the usual icons. I got an empty panel on top of the screen and nothing at the bottom. Gnome was fairly crippled at this point. Whether this is a result of more package installation bugs is up for speculation, although I'm fairly sure it must be.
After install, the software package system showed more signs of improvement. This beta brings the return of the installation sources catagory and a full listing of individual packages either installed or installable. However, packages still can't install due to that db recovery problem.
The yast online update has a new look, in fact it's a new method. It is now executed through the firefox browser as opposed to an application very similar in appearance and functionality of the regular software packager. There were no updates available and I doubt they would have installed at this point anyway.
Another newcomer to 10.1 is Kerry. Kerry is a kde front-end for Beagle. With initial integration on December 16, it brings a nice looking graphical interface to an established desktop search tool. It differs from the regular Beagle interface slightly, but does integrate into KDE wonderfully giving a more uniform environment. The usual functions are present with a variety of search capabilities and one can view the file in an associated program or in a file manager. It's a nice addition.
So, we are beginning to see some vast improvements in the functionality and usability in some of the system tools as well as more integration of some applications with the differing desktops. We are able to get more of a glimpse into what 10.1 might become and how some of the newer tools might appear and function. We also now have a peak into what further improvements will be made to theming of the installer and bootloader. We will not be privy to a beta7 and will have to wait for a beta8 around March 17. Allowing more of a lapse in time of internal testing as well as keeping beta7 internal, we have high hopes for the improvements awaiting us in beta8.
Some new version number highlights this release are:
- Full List  as tested.
Some changelog highlights include:
- update patches.drivers/e100-ethtool-sefltest.patch
fix ethtool -t support
- add patches.arch/ppc-iseries-double-phys_to_abs.patch
Fix double phys_to_abs bug in htab_bolt_mapping
- update to 2.6.16-rc5-git2, netfilter, xfs, x86_64 fixes
disable FUA in libata
-Fix partition table reading for DASDs
- Stop using bash's =~ operator
- Fix missing columns in banshee
- Update to version 2.5.92
-lots and lots of bug fixes
- added system info tab
- call beagle-shutdown on KDE logout
- Ensure exclusive access to CollectionDB instances
- Add patch to fix tab keynav.
- disabled DRI when switching to radeon driver (Bug #152473)
- disabled DEBUG info for ACPI code
- Full Changelog  since beta 5.