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YaST Survey Started

October 1st, 2007 by

We have just published a survey on YaST, our systems management and installation framework.

If you use any of the distributions openSUSE, SUSE Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop or SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, I encourage you to participate in our survey to support us improving YaST. The survey will be online until mid November and the results will be published on openSUSE.org.

Click here to take the survey.

By the way, if you would like to know more about YaST, visit the openSUSE YaST wiki page.

Thanks for participating in the survey – and a big THANK YOU to Anica to design this together with quite a couple of different stakeholders in YaST,

Andreas

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43 Responses to “YaST Survey Started”

  1. ken

    when you install software from yast or doing an update it has to
    refresh its self from every repository if you have alot of repositories configured on yast this can take a long time even with cable internet.maybe if we were given the option on when we can have yast check to see if its list is up to date with the repos this will cut the load the way smart installer does it

  2. Darkelve

    I agree with Ken, and I would like to add that, when you add repositories to install certain software like nvidia drivers or the latest version of Wine, you do not always want to keep the update source after. So I think it might be a good idea to provide and option to install something from an installation source and not “remember it” (delete it from the sources right after the package(s) installed successfully.

  3. Olivier

    I would add to that that yast Package management should take a few hints from Smart :

    – simultaneous upload of updates and packages, maxing out on available bandwidth
    – autodetection of repositories and any changes to them

    Also, there should be the option to automatically do background upload of update packages by category :
    – security
    – recommended
    – by source

    When the toolbar icon shows available updates, it’s really annoying to have to wait for even the repositories to refresh.

  4. user

    smart as openSUSE native package manager

  5. bigtomrodney

    I think SUSE need to stop reinventing the wheel. The last feww efforts have been poor. How about just using Smart? Mistakes have been made in YaST Software Management and attempts to fix it have fallen short. The 9.3 system was better in terms of the user experience, even if it did take a while to refresh.

    In the current direction the best we can hope for is reimplementing all of the Smart or Synaptic functions – so why not go straight for it and make Smart the default?

    • henne

      smart cant even handle architectures right. Before you say something about quality of a package management solution you should be perfectly clear on what the requirements are. For your occasional package install smart might be okay but for the rest its not. I encourage you to digg a little deeper in features of all the package managers and see for yourself.

      • bigtomrodney

        Realistically though SMART has provided a more stable and reliable footing for SUSE package management than zypper or zmd/rug. My post was not so much to point out the strengths of SMART as to point out the flaws in the existing and previous system. It is a rather noticeable blemish on a distro famed for its enterprise approach and polish.

        • No, smart is not a solution, please suggest a realistic/working approach.

        • Stefan

          So, if you use terms like realistic/working:
          A SW install – even of a small package – with the current zypper or yast takes unbelievable long (because of file downloads) and also sets my system under heavy loads.
          It’s just unusable in it latest incarnation.

          Smart (shell) on the other side just works fast and reliable and does his job in a smart way.
          E.g. by recognizing when “SUSE factory” repository changed to a regular “SUSE 10.3″ repository and notifying me.

  6. another user

    +1

  7. Ron

    Couple of ideas on how to improve YAST/Zypper software management:
    1. The Problem: reading/loading the repository info (both local files and online data) on every YAST software management task. For example go into “Online Update” it reads the data, go into “Software Management” it reads the files, exit/re-enter “Software Management” it reads the files, shell out to the terminal and do stuff with zypper and it reads the files, repeat ad nauseum.

    2. A Solution: Don’t reload the zypper.db and rpm databases on every operation! Sheesh, read the damn files into memory ONCE okay? Set a flag that says “Hey I already did that, don’t waste time doing that again; look over here, see the files are open, in memory; don’t talk to the repository web sites I’ve already done that too – see the flags showing the success and the timestamp, I did it just 30 seconds ago and so nothing could have changed since then right? so leave the web alone..okay thankyou.”

    3. The Problem: data transfers from repositories are too slow and time consuming.
    4. A Solution: rdiff. I already have 95% of the data, just send the 5% that changed. Maybe create checksums on repositories so Yast can quickly compare the local info to the repository, “Oh hey look it is the same, no need to download anything…move along, nothing to see here folks”

    And in general I agree with the other posters regarding the craziness of having a new package management system with every other release. Also it seems without any kind of community input regarding the design of such. Although the above survey looks like a chance to provide some input. Anyways I really like the completeness of the current/old YAST package manager. I definately find the new GNOME interface lacking – at least as of 10.3rc1.

    • Benjamin Weber

      1. The Problem: reading/loading the repository info (both local files and online data) on every YAST software management task.

      2. A Solution: Don’t reload the zypper.db and rpm databases on every operation! Sheesh, read the damn files into memory ONCE okay?

      Tricky one to implement, as each module is a self contained programme, one can’t just leave stuff in memory incase something else is going to use it. In 10.3 the data is read from a database which is much quicker.

      What can be done is not checking for refreshes within a certain time frame, Zypper already does this, and the timeframe length can be configured in zypp.conf. Generally though it’s safer to re-check that the repositories are up to date (a relatively quick operation).

      3. The Problem: data transfers from repositories are too slow and time consuming.
      4. A Solution: rdiff. I already have 95% of the data, just send the 5% that changed. Maybe create checksums on repositories so Yast can quickly compare the local info to the repository, “Oh hey look it is the same, no need to download anything…move along, nothing to see here folks”

      Metadata diffs would indeed be extremely useful, particularly for frequently changing repositories such as packman where they could cut down the required download from several megabytes to several kilobytes.

      Regarding repository checksums this is already implemented of course, the new metadata will only be downloaded if the repository has indeed changed. The problem is that some repositories such as packman and some build service repositories change every couple of hours.

      And in general I agree with the other posters regarding the craziness of having a new package management system with every other release. Also it seems without any kind of community input regarding the design of such.

      The package management has not in fact changed with every release, in 10.1/10.2 there was also ZMD which we recommended removing, but it has been possible to use just the libzypp stack has been there since 10.1. Each version has seen significant improvements to this of course, in 10.3 it is signifcantly faster, it is finally possible to install a package in under 10s using zypper.

      There is no need to complain about the lack of community input, you can get involved. Join the yast-devel and or opensuse-ux mailing lists (lists.opensuse.org) and help discuss how to improve things. Suggestions and UI mockups etc are always welcome.

      • Ron

        Thanks for the clarifications on the challenges. For better or worse I am not a developer so my suggestions will likely hit wide of the mark as you kindly pointed out regarding keeping the databases loaded in ram. I also appreciate the info on zypp.conf and it’s configurability – I’ll have to read up on it in the documentation, once I look for and find it ;-)

        One thing I would like to point out in defense of my slightly exasperated nitpicking though…I did say that the package management changes with every OTHER release, not “every release” as you misquoted :-). And your testimony bears this out: 10.0 to 10.1, introduction of zmd; 10.1 to 10.2, no change; 10.2 to 10.3, major change to the backend for the better and major change to the GMOME front end for the worse (imo). Sorry to nit pick, but I don’t like to be corrected for a mistake I didn’t make – it clouds the discussion.

        Bottom line – I like the improvements, there is room for more improvements, and some things have not been an improvement. The usual. I’ll consider getting involved in the mailing list(s).

        Thanks again for your kind response.

  8. Wish1: APT based Yast

    Wish2: LSB-compliant Yast ( & SUSE )

    Wish3: Replace Yast with Debconf :))

    Juhász Andrea http://321.hu/Elig

    • Olivier

      Replace opensuse with ubuntu ? ;-)

      • Lake-end

        Are you serious? I´d rather take a beating than to change Ubuntu :)
        It´s not that I haven´t tried every flavour (k/x/-)ubuntu and different versions, but honestly I like openSuse a LOT more. That´s not saying the Ubuntu is not the correct distro for you.

        Cheers.

    • Andreas Jaeger

      YaST and openSUSE are already LSB compliant, there’s nothing to do. Why do you think we are not?

    • Adam

      I agree completely, on the APT base and replacing yast with debconf.

  9. Overall, i really like YaST. I have tried Smart and some KDE-tools, but right now i’m back at using YaST. But there is one issue i have had real troubles to solve, and i hope a future version of YaST will make this much easier.
    My Suse-machine is connected to a local Windows network, so i want to browse this network. The firewall-module of YaST wasn’t of any help. At last i found this tutorial, which helped me out (sort of – i still have to type “smb:/computername” in Konqueror to find anything). The situation i’m in is probably typical for a linux-newbie, so it would be good if YaST had a very simple way of doing this. Something like “check this box if you have a single Suse-computer connected to a local windows-network”.

  10. Andrew Sorensen

    I think the little opensuse updater app should ONLY refresh the update channel, and nothing else, unless user tells it to refresh all as a option… this would improve the update checkers time, as I have many repos added.

    • Benjamin Weber

      There has been some discussion about this, the problem is that any repository can issue patches. One possibility would be to only refresh repositories that already had patches, but a repository could add patches at any time.

      • mattie

        or have the user choose which should be checked..
        I know, not always the best solution to let the user choose ;)

  11. Richard

    The thing that I hate, is that I have a cap on my broadband, which I often go over, and am throttled back to dial up speed. Often I have been doing an update on dial up speed, and it has errored out, leaving me having to start it again from scratch, now downloading a huge update like openoffice, having it screw up near the end and having to restart is a pain. Is there anyway to make it that when that happens, the download of the file can pick up from where it left off?

    • Vic

      Comment by Richard
      The download of the file can pick up from where it left off?

      Use KGet
      System > Desktop Applet > KGet (Download Manager)
      Copy your link into there
      It is resumable

      If you use Firefox
      The add on DownThemAll
      dTaOneClick is also resumable

  12. emuace

    YaST is good, but sometimes it annoys me. For example I don’t like when while loading reposietories it shows another and another window and i can’t simply do anythink comfortably then, e.g. I can’t write my code in kdevelop ’cause I still have to change the active window. Sometimes loading takes some time so make that process more quiet and I will be happy :) Sorry for my english ;]
    P.S. I agree with Richard – an option to restore installing of software (or all system) would be cool

  13. bengan

    I’d like to have a way for portage (gentoo) to be integrated in Yast. This is for tracking bleeding edge software that I really want/need to follow. It’s ok to use a normal configure/make/make_install to do that but I think that portage is an excellent software management for source.

  14. Hi,

    Instead of Yast updating the repository every time (since Yast repository update takes longer time than Ubuntu repository), two provisions can be provided; one provision to turn off the repository automatic update and another to manually update it.

    The only slow part in openSUSE (most often irritates me to extremes) is Yast repository updates.

  15. HG

    The survey is flawed in many ways. Here are some classical mistakes done in the survey:

    “How would you compare YaST to setup/configuration tools on other platforms like Fedora, Ubuntu, Windows etc.?” You are asking the compare YaST to many different things in one question. You are simultaneusly asking if it is better or worse than Fedora and if it’s better or worse than Windows. Impossible to answer as it really is better than some of these options (IMO all Linux/unix variants) and worse than others (IMO Windows and OS X). So how should I answer?

    The other similar is “you use YaST for…” and then the choices are only installing, only administrating, only installing and entire administrating… all ready getting impossible. In real life, YaST is so limited in functionality, that you can not use it for *entire* administrating. So the normal choice would probably be “for installing and all the administration that can be done through YaST” and together with that you could have “for installing and some of the administration that can be done through YaST”. Besides, is it possible to really install SUSE without YaST? If not, as I think, why have that there at all.

    Better survey would have been to rate (typical -2,-1,0,1,2) and maybe comment all modules and to be able to mark which ones are used or relevant. Now there is a choice for me to type them all in there. Well I do not remember them all and do not wish to fire up YaST to see what was there.

  16. Sean Kelley

    I like a lot about OpenSuse. But one thing I have never enjoyed was the package management.

    My wish is for:
    1) Apt like tool that works well with the command line
    2) No refresh of repos on install of packages
    3) Install based on packages by default – not patches
    4) Command line tool searches all listed repos by default – not just he update ones

    I am so used to working with debian repositories and using apt-get that it is really my benchmark for tools I expect to see in other distributions.

  17. Richard

    Rhonald, just go into your repositories and turn off the update, and do it manually when you want to

    I don’t know if this is possible, but I would like to update from versions within Yast. Meaning when 10.4 is released, rather than download it, burn it to a cd, or dvd, I would like to simply go into Yast, and have Yast download the updates and upgrade from 10.3 to 10.4. Is this possible?

  18. GregJ

    Seems that the main issue with “YaST” is actually with “yast sw_single” and it’s reading of cached package info.

    Seems since RAM is dirt cheap these days and my /var/lib/zypp directory is only 93M, the simplest solution is to daemonize zypper and replace it with a command passing script.

    With a “quit” command to unlock the RPM database this might take a few hours to implement.

    This plus a nightly cron job to run “zypper ref” and an /etc/zypp/zypp.conf with repo.refresh.delay = 1440 # 60 * 24 min

    Of course, this ignores zypper’s key handling, and a way to force a refresh…

  19. PhillyMuscle

    I am forced to use the ncurses based YaST mostly because of all the repositories I subscribe too (almost all of the buildservice ones).

    I write code and work in Monodevelop (I know, evil right?), and I’m a heavy VM user since I’m in a Windows shop at work that allows me to use Linux to develop Win software [but I work on Java/SAP stuff].

    So, when I need to grab a simple package really fast and install it to do something, say… Scribus… it takes me almost 20 minutes because it has to refresh every stinkin repository.

    Oh and worse, if you do a base OpenSUSE install, say 10.3, and then you need to update the system before you start installing your stuff because you want all the all the latest pataches… there is nothing equivalent to “make -j” so you can take full advantage of your quad-cpu-dual-core multithreaded high-bandwidth goodness.

    Nope, you gotta download everything one package, slowly, at a time. Grr.

    I hope OpenSUSE 11 addresses this.

    And more… like all the pain of trying to use java on x86_64 vs i386.

    • Anonymous

      > I am forced to use the ncurses based YaST mostly because of all the repositories I subscribe too (almost all of the buildservice ones).

      I don’t get why someone has to subscribe to “almost all buildservice repositories” and why this does require text-based software management.

    • Benjamin Weber

      You can disable the repository refresh for a particular repository using either yast -> software repositories, or “zypper mr –disable-autorefresh ” when the repositories are up to date it takes zypper/yast approximately 1s per repository on average on my machine. Of course if you disable autorefresh you have the risk that the filename the package manager is looking for on the mirrors has since changed and it won’t be able to find it, but you can refresh manually in that case. One of the biggest culprits for slowing down the refresh process is the packman repository which changes almost every hour, meaning a new 5mb download of metadata every hour.

      • Jop

        Going to software repositories to enable or disable refresh is not the most comfortable way to do it. Although it’s the only one now.
        I agree with many things said. Here are my 2 cents:

        – Don’t update repositories when running the PM by default. Place a button in it so they can be updated at will.
        That way there’s no need to code a time check to update repositories as it would rely on user.
        Make that button two, so with the second you can choose which repos to update.
        Yeah, I know, that’s like Smart does it and you must be tired of hearing about Smart but it has its features. ;)

        – Make those darn popups one and update its content instead of calling the modal popup window for every repo so it doesn’t steal focus. If it could also stay still in one desktop and not follow you around your cube (or whatever ;)) it’d be awesome.

        The idea would be to use Software repositories as few times as possible, leaving it to set up repositories and mirrors.
        I think the rest is fine for me. :)
        Sorry I’m a lil late, I missed it. Hope someone reads it though.

  20. This survey is currently closed. Please contact the author of this survey for further assistance.

    ???

  21. chrys

    introduce the idea of Metalink in Yast for download;
    Do you download the first with all packages and then to install them, similar to apt-get or aptitude.