Well, it's that time of year again. Buttercups are blooming, little birds are making their way back, and a beta 8 of SUSE is released ... BETA 8? Wow. Have you ever known a release to go through so many betas? According to the Roadmap, there may only be one or two release candidates though, and we can expect some kind of word as to the final release date sometime around April 13. But these things tend to change often and we'll be right here to keep you posted. We weren't privy to the beta7, so could we expect some major improvements this public release? Well, let's find out.
The install disk boot screen didn't seem updated from the last time , perhaps the fonts were a bit more sharp or "in focus." The install went extremely well here, utilizing my favorite method of using hard drive sources. Not one problem was encountered. It went like clockwork. The tv card configuration took a little longer than one might expect, but it ended up working fine. Package selection and installation was textbook. The internet testing and downloading of the Release Notes worked this time.
There is a new updated wallpaper for KDE and gnome. Wow it looks great, and it matches the theme that appears to running throughout all of suse lately. I didn't see too many major upgrades of software, although there were quite a few minor version number updates and many SUSE build number upgrades. The changelog was bursting at the seams with bug fixes and feature patching. I didn't really see too many new applications in the menu, but they are so full, it'd be hard for any one person to detect one or two new additions from memory. The lovely new "My Computer" interface was introduced last beta and it's looking really great.
The major focus of this release seemed to be bug fixes. Yast once again takes up a major portion of the changelog and the software manager is almost functioning normally. In fact, the software manager is working great. I just had minor difficulties with the system update module. It took forever to do it's thing and then it finally shot errors and appeared to be unable to install the packages. I'm a bit confused as the web interface to the online update  that we discovered last beta and was spoken of in the Release Noted seemed to be missing. Instead, I got the regular appearing interface, much like the software manager or system update tool. There were no updates available, so its complete functionality wasn't tested. In the system tray sits a new Zenworks , a replacement for SUSEwatcher.
Gnome was back to good working order this release as well. It's still at version 2.12, but the theme is updated a bit to now include blue windecs. All the other window managers are still included, although I didn't detect any major differences in any of them, except maybe icewm had a different but almost matching wallpaper (to gnome and kde).
Xgl and compiz are included again this time, with some improvements showing in the changelog. However it would not function here with nv and I had trouble building the nvidia drivers. It shot all kinds of ugly errors like "assignment makes pointer from integer without a cast" and "implicit declaration of function âremap_page_rangeâ." Yuk! So although there appears to be a menu entry for switching to XGL, it didn't work here for me. Maybe someday. There is also a compiz gui configuration as well.
The most annoying bugs list was of little or no consequence this time. Primarily, it speaks of backing up the rpm database before doing any updates to assist with bug squashing and xen-libs was left out of the iso, so it'd have to be downloaded.
Some other Release Notes notes:
APIC is now enabled by default, so one might need to to use nolapic or noapic as boot parameters if they need to disable that. If your cd/dvd drives fail to umount, it's due to a new mounting mechanism. One would need to right click on that media in "My Computer" to umount.
So, all in all, I'd say the SUSE team are getting there. 10.1 is shaping up to be a great release. I have high hopes for them getting the XGL to work for the final release (for all). I encountered very few little bugs this time. Zapping crashed out on me and the desktop shortcut to OpenOffice is basically non-functional. The menu enteries work fine as well as starting it from the cli. The system update tool is about the only other application with which I can recall having any problems.
Package Version Highlights:
- full rpmlist by cd 
- full rpmlist alphabetically 
- Modify Alt-F2 Run Dialog to update ~/.recently-used-apps
- Updated to latest upstream release, which fixes the HAL part of
- Updated gnome-screensaver-autostart.patch.
- fix default wallpaper initialization
- add openSUSE feed to feed readers
- fix sysinfo:/ to display the graphic card info correctly
- allow to hide wallpapers from configuration (#156170)
- install startkde.suse.sh only for older distributions
- Update config files for IDE ACPI support.
- export __put_task_struct_cb for xpmen (141533)
- add patches.drivers/ide-acpi-support
Add ACPI support to IDE drives (#145591 - FATE #151275)
- lots of fix patches
- update to 2.6.16-rc6-git1
- updated ast driver (Bug #157879, X.Org #4937)
* fixed MMIO mode issue; display abnormal if set 2D acceleration
option as MMIO mode
* IA64 zx2 fix (Bug #157610)
- kill xvkbd at startup to prevent multiple xvkbds running
(Bug #149957, comments #10/11)
- Make sure the scripts in xinitrc.d are executed on login.
- added $LOAD_OSS_SEQ_MODULE in sysconfig/sound for (optional)
auto-loading of snd-seq-oss (#155332).
- fix bugs in drain with PCM rate plugin (taken from upstream).
- Add simple configuration gui
- Minimal session support
- Fade plugin fixes
- Skydome support
- Better window stacking support
- update from SVN (fixes several bugs)
(Bug 157374 - kerry translations (German) partly lacking)
(Bug 157372 - kerry crashes when only one result, and result is
(Bug 157371 - Kerry Beagle initial help text is not localized to
- update Identity maps for all architectures (#146261,#155323)
- fixed default value for DisplaySize 15' 4/3 (#156462)
- fixed display detection for ASUS MV6 laptop (#157587)
- fixed parsing of MetaModes/ConnectedMonitor in ParseConfig.pm
- fixed MetaModes setup for Nvidia based Laptops
- set highest priority of colordepth setup to GUI value
- Add white list of cards
- Together with Mesa update fixes most of bug #157051
- Xgl update to CVS 2006-03-13:
- Fix for TEXTURE_RECTANGLE (e.g. i915).
- GL_ARB_vertex_program and GL_ARB_fragment_program support.
- Remove renderbuffer from context.
- New automatically generated code that includes GenProgramsNV fix.
- Add GetProgramStringARB implementation.
- Fix glx screen wrapping
- tweaked bookmarks (fixed URLs)
- added Khmer (km-*) to pango locales (#157397)
- find-debuginfo: only "strip-debug" for static libs,
do not use "strip-all" there
- Make KMP sub-packages require kernel-$flavor instead of kernel
- patch for improved debuginfo extraction (#150940)
- updated to the final OOO_2_0_2 sources
- updated ooo-build to version 2.0.2:
- updated extra translation sources: Greek, Macedonian, Welsh
- added java-1_4_2-gcj-compat-devel gcc-java xalan-j2 xerces-j2
- re-enabled screen resolution 1280x800
++++ Full Changelog  since beta6.