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Sneak Peeks at openSUSE 11.1: Improved Installation, Easier Administration

December 13th, 2008 by

Welcome to the first in a series of Sneak Peeks at openSUSE 11.1! With less than a week to go until the release of openSUSE 11.1,we’ll be talking about the great new innovations included with openSUSE 11.1. To kick things off, we’ll be discussing how most people will be kicking off their openSUSE 11.1 experience: the installer.

The Installation: Building on a great base

openSUSE’s installation has long been regarded as one of the best in the Linux world. Never before has that compliment been more accurate than in openSUSE 11.1. We started by building on the great base built in openSUSE 11.0 this past summer: a sleek new look, and a simpler installation process.

Installation - welcomeInstallation - Desktop SelectionInstallation - Installing openSUSE

New Partitioner

The updated new installer features an updated look, as seen above, but there is one very big improvement, and most users won’t even see it. It’s the new hard drive partitioner. Luckily, in most cases, the installer can recognize what needs to be done to a user’s hard disk to enable them to use openSUSE, often while keeping their previous operating system and files intact. However, many times advanced users wish to make their own custom partition table, and the improved partitioner helps them do just that.

Partitioner 1Partition 2Partition 3

This partitioner was the subject of usability testing, and was designed to accommodate the needs of our users.

You can also get a quick guide to the installation of openSUSE 11.1 in our Installation Walkthrough.

Help driver development with Smolt

Smolt notification

Upon logging into your openSUSE desktop, you’ll be asked to send some hardware information to the Smolt Project. Smolt is a combined effort of Linux distributions and projects including the Fedora Project and openSUSE. Together, collecting the types of hardware in computers running Linux helps put pressure on hardware manufacturers to support Linux better, which is better for everyone.

Getting a rough estimate of the number of users for different types of hardware is also helpful to the developers of device drivers for Linux, which gives them a better idea of what drivers they should help work on to help the most amount of users. It’s one click, it helps you, it helps openSUSE, and it helps the entire Linux community!

Continual improvements to managing software

Recommended Software

GNOME SOftware manageropenSUSE 11.1 features even more improvements to installing, removing, and maintaining software. In addition to openSUSE’s famous 1-Click Install feature, openSUSE now features a new way to discover new software.

The software manager now recommends or suggests software for your computer depending on what is already installed. These packages aren’t required by another applications, but instead extends their functionality or compliments them. It’s a fun way to discover new things you can do with your computer! Simply select the software, click Install, and the rest is taken care of.

The new KDE updater

KDE users now have a new method of keeping their computer up-to-date. Introducing the new openSUSE Updater for KDE, based on PackageKit. This new updater brings openSUSE into a cross-distro standard with PackageKit, plus enables new functionality within the updater.

Packagekit 1PackageKit 2

The new updater still uses the openSUSE software management system, libzypp, so users still get the speed and other advantages of using our modern, state-of-the-art software management system. Advanced, modern tools wrapped up in one easy to use updating application for KDE.

GNOME users will continue to use their PackageKit-based updating application.

Ready for openSUSE 11.1?

This is just the start of what’s available in openSUSE 11.1! openSUSE 11.1 ships December 18th, 2008 for both download and boxed editions, so stay tuned for more Sneak Peeks and all other news about openSUSE 11.1!

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62 Responses to “Sneak Peeks at openSUSE 11.1: Improved Installation, Easier Administration”

  1. Wilson Phillips

    Having tested the installer in 11.1 RC1 64bit, I have to say that I was very pleased. It worked flawlessly. Hardware support was excellent as well. Even my newer Atheros wireless card was identified and working on the first boot. You folks have outdone yourselves. My hat is off to all involved.

  2. skrates

    As much as I hate to give nonconstructive positive criticism. I have to agree with the above commenter.

    The base system of opensuse 11.1 is amazing, and what you guys have done with KDE 4 is better than in any other distro out there at the moment. Well done!

  3. Chris

    Thanks for the information! I’m always interessted in information about releases, please give us as much as possible, especially the end user part.

  4. Robin

    The first screenshot of the KDE updater is actually the kpackagekit control module.
    I wonder if both frameworks will work well together and if this is supported.

    I tried the kpackagekit with the RC1 live CD but there were some issues (packages shown twice, installed twice, could not be removed, other strance errors etc), but maybe those are already fixed.

  5. Cococlocko

    I hope that the Toshiba Tecra A9 is fully supported,
    and the fingerprint and ACPI is working.

    Greetings

  6. Velocity

    I hope this Version is a time ticker and not a shipstopper. Andreas please read my comment on the rc1 announcement, almost at the bottom of the page/
    Velocity

  7. BAM

    I downloaded RC4 because I had misplaced my 10.3 Live CD and I needed to do some partitioning. The new YaST was a pain in text mode, which I use most of the time (over SSH to manage my servers). 11.0 would not use my USB mouse until I manually added it, and even then my scroll wheel wouldn’t work. I’m thinking that some old code should be put back…

  8. Ed

    It is great that OpenSuSE 11.1 is about to be released and the KDE4 integration certainly looks good; however, what is the exact time of the release? By this I mean that we know that it is going to publicly available on December 18th but at what time exactly – 1200hrs GMT? Or is availability tied into 1200hrs EST (Eastern Standard Time for East Coast US)?

    There was great confusion over this during the last 11.0 release whereby half the world was expecting it to be available due to being ahead of EST and so a lot of people had to wait more that the current “4 days to release” too see it all. Clarification as to when things are going to be available would be great!

    • Good question. I’ll try to get an answer for that.

      I know that 11.0 came out at 900hrs EDT, so it’s possible it’ll be the same time.

      • Ed

        It looks like the OpenSuSE homepage counter rolls over at 1400hrs GMT. This corresponds with 0900hrs EST (not EDT as you mentioned – this finished a while ago). So, for more than half of the world it looks like the release date may be more than what the counter really says it is. Not sure as to whether someone can make the counter smart enough to pick up the localtime setup from your web browser and update appropriately. :-)

        I am surprised that this release time is not mentioned elsewhere. Then again the OpenSuSE servers generally go into global meltdown on the release date and most people can’t get to the release until the following day – a good reason to use the torrent! Here’s hoping this is not the case! ;-)

  9. Anon

    is there any chance of giving us a live KDE cd without OpenOffice on it. I’m on dial up speed, and OpenOffice just means that the cd takes around 24 hours to download. Perhaps a dial up friendly KDE and Gnome live cd.

    I always spend the 24 hours downloading the live cd, installing it, then deleting the things like office that I don’t need or want, lol

    • Grósz Dániel

      I think SUSE Studio will be your friend when it’s made public.

    • XCG

      Usually there’s also a MiniBoot CD (71MB) for network installation available. Using this MiniCD you can select the packages to download by yourself.

  10. Doug HASLETT

    Have been testing since the alpha stages x86-64 on Asus Gaming series laptops; G1S-B1 (Intel C2D/nVidia GeForce 8600M GT/Intel 4965) and G2K-A1 (AMD x2 Turion/ATI 2600 HD/AR5418). Each have 4GB DDRII 800 SoDimm RAM, but C2D only runs 667! Have an Intel Turbo Memory card, not sure if it is being utilized at all or not effectively (*Enhancement maybe, SMOLT data sent). Wireless works on install {out-of=the-box}, I just connect, biggest item for me with laptops.
    I like the way the bootloader recognizes all the other GNU/Linux on HD w/o me having to figure it out & add by sda # or (hd0,#-1).
    RC1 screwed up the video display on G1S, can not properly reset for Full screen use, defaults back to 15″ 4:3 vs 15.4 WS! Previous version worked fine!
    Wish had Google Earth, Skype, etc on install (like sabayon 3.5.1 does)
    * Would like 2 know if upgrades from RC1 can be installed automatically, or should I download 18dec08 release & burn DVD iso?*

    • kriskami

      re: upgrade from RC1 – go to terminal (e.g. Konsole, type in sudo zypper dup (sudo – superuser do, zypper – app operating RPMs, dup – distroupgrade)

  11. I installed openSUSE and will be testing it out as my primary distro because Ubuntu no longer supports Xen. I have to admit I was a bit disappointed with one part of the openSUSE 11 installation. There were problems with installing a bootloader on an external USB drive. Ubuntu was flawless, so you might want to look into this. Otherwise, it was a smooth experience for me.

  12. Nicolas Stouff

    Well, as much as I love openSUSE, I must say that the RC was a bit deceptive.
    My screen resolution was stuck at 1024×768, even if I could change it back to 1200×800, it wouldn’t stay after a reboot, and the distro would set it back to an innapropriate resolution.

    Second problem, my wifi card. A broadcom 4311. I installed the firmware and the windows driver with ndiswrapper. But, even if network-manager connected wihout a problem to my network, no connection was active, and Firefox still displayed an error.
    Otherwise, everything feels smooth, polished, and pretty much professionnal. Much more professionnal than others (like Ubuntu or Mandriva, to stay with a KDE4 based distro).

    I must say that if the screen and wifi issues are worked out for the main release, I will probably switch to 11.1 (I’m using Kubuntu 8.10, but I’m dissatisfied with many aspects of its KDE4 integration). GNOME is fine, but I’m feeling more and more attracted by KDE4, and GNOME seems stuck at the same place since so long…

    Well, excellent job, you all SUSE developpers, and congrats. Can’t wait to try out the final release.

    • andrewk

      I can understand that. I ran away from Kubuntu for the same reasons. Based on a review, I tried Opensuse 11.0 and felt at home instantly. And besides that: everything worked like a charm, also instantly. I installed the proper nVidia-drivers just by selecting the package-source. Offcourse there are some disadvantages, but they are small and few.
      If 11.1 is just as good as 11.0, I’m a happy user.

      Counting the days……

    • Tommyo

      broadcom drivers have been even easier right out of the box for 11.0 and I assume will be for 11.1 too. No need for ndiswrapper anymore, as broadcom released a binary, and the packman repos include it. Just add package b43 and you should be good to go.

  13. Minton

    While the whole installation workflow really DOES become better, I must say that new partitioner is a pain-in-the-ass. I did a few fresh installs of Beta 5 and RC1 on several machines (for workflow and localization testing) and every time usage of expert partitioner was damn unobvious and took a long time. The previous version was not that beautiful and had a lot of buttons, but it’s usage was a straight-ahead thing. With the new tree view it is not. Now I have to select a desired partition in one branch of the tree, then click on another branch to edit the settings for it, then click to switch back to partition tree, doubting, have my settings been saved or not, and the same cycle for every partition. If it is the result of usability tests, then it failed to be really usable…

    • ConteZero

      You’re right, new partitioner interface is not usable, I really don’t understand how they can call it “big improvement”.

      • Bob Smits

        I agree with the other comments about the 11.1 partitioner’s usability. One options that should be added is the option to just use all the existing partitions the way they are without shrinking them or otherwise moving them. Then all I need to do is set my /home not to be formatted and I’m ready.

        The other problem area is Yast software management. Someone thinks it’s a feature to have the software managment module simply disappear when it’s done installing the currently selected software, even if you have a lot more to install. This isn’t a feature – IT’S A BUG!

        Bob

  14. Hoovan

    Will installing this OS upset my Windows Vista install-I really want to try this OS but dont want to have to reload Windows Vista as I would have to buy it-and Im not rich. Thnks Hoovan

    • Ed

      Yes, it will work.

    • anon

      Hi

      I run OpenSUSE with Vista.

      I will say, that if you install it, you can partition to run both opensuse and Vista, but grub will replace the windows boot, so if you delete opensuse you will have to learn how to repair the windows boot.

      My suggestion, run the live cd, get to know the operating system and then decide if you want to install it. Once installed it runs perfectly with vista. I keep most of my files in the windows partition and access them through opensuse.

    • Should not be a problem IF you follow the directions. You can set up a dual boot via grub and you can even select which one gets priority. This is done during the installation. After installation, when you fire up your system, you’ll have 10 sec to decide on which system to use at boot time. I have mine set to openSuSE for the default. If I don’t touch a thing it will boot up in openSuSE. If I want to go to my Windows all I have to do is hit the down arrow key to move to the Windows selection. I even have my recovery partition listed so I can go to it if necessary. (HP has a 4GB recovery partition instead of disks.) I, and others, have been using it this way for a long time. As long as you read the instructions/rules and obey them you will be alright.
      Welcome to the openSuSE Linux World,
      Chuck

      • In the ‘boot’ folder on the Vista DVD you find a program called
        ‘bootsect.exe’.
        With ‘bootsect /nt60 c:’ you can write a Vista compatible bootsector, with
        ‘bootsect /nt52 c:’ you can write an XP compatible one.
        This will allow you to change between Vista’s BOOTMGR and XP’s NTLDR.

    • ForeverNoob

      You can install grub to openSuse root partition leaving Vista’s bootloader untouched, then use Neosmart’s EasyBCD (http://neosmart.net/dl.php?id=1) to add a new entry for openSuse in Vista’s boot menu.

    • krishna

      it will work with out a problem.but i would suggest you to go through the procedure first.vista has a ‘bit diffender’ which takes care of NTFS partitions.so please be careful while partitioning.

  15. Cyc

    Hi,

    I’ve tried to install openSusE 11.1 RC from an 8GB USB memory, and I failed. I already followed the instruction here: http://en.opensuse.org/SuSE_install_from_USB_drive. I also tried with 11.0 and failed.

    I can boot from USB,
    can choose to install from ‘Hard Drive’.
    But then it goes to text-based mode telling me it can find something…

    i tried to copy the .iso to the 8gb usb memory. but it said the file size were too large.

    Can someone help me?
    I got 2 notebook that DVD-rom were somewhat broken.

    thanks

  16. John

    Good job, keep up the good work. Can’t wait to upgrade even though I know the servers will be dead on the 18th.

  17. Ed

    Here is hoping that KDE4.1 will be the needed improvement in 11.1!

    Huge SuSe fan here, and loving the KDE4, but I can’t stand the way the ‘buntu’s dumb everything down.

  18. Even not having what i really whised (http://opensuse.awardspace.com) i can’t wait until Thursday!!! Men, this has to be beautiful!!! It’s going to be the best opensuse ever!!! :D

    I bet the servers won’t handle all the downloads LOL no matter how strong they are LOLOL!

  19. Anon

    miniboot is no good. I’ve tried this, and for some reason, on dial up speed, it takes about an hour longer to download all the packages I use than it would take to download the cd. This is without installing openoffice and any of the games which i also delete from the cd install.

  20. Jack Jill

    Is the Laptop hard disk load cycle bug fixed in opensuse ?

  21. Jeffro

    Looking forward to the release!

    Question about the Smolt data, though. I manage to find creative ways to screw up my system – usually nothing that requires a reinstall, but oftentimes something that would be fixed quicker with a reinstall. Will data on my machines be recorded and taken into account each time I break things?

    I’m all for the data collection, but I’d hate to feel like I was “stacking the odds” toward my already-very-well-supported hardware and potentially taking away developer time from more obscure stuff.

  22. Peter

    Is Full Disk Encryption now supported by the Installer?
    Or just the /home partition?

  23. Desiderius57

    I Have tried Opensuse 11.1 Rc1 64 bit KDE version. I have a DELL XPS M1530 laptop Intel T9300 CPU 3GB RAM 250GB hard disk and so on.
    Although My network card was recognized my laptop was unable go online with automatic DHCP settings. I haven’t got Internet connection behind rooter. Then I setup manual IP address, Gateway address and I had Internet connection.
    I wanted to install some new things but the contact with repositories was very unstable. I can’t make wifi connection. The HAL is recognized the wifi card but YAST no.
    I think it is a little annoying…

    Sorry for my poor English :-)

  24. Federico Kereki

    “The software manager now recommends or suggests software for your computer depending on what is already installed. These packages aren’t required by another applications, but instead extends their functionality or COMPLIMENTS them.”

    So the software manager picks extra packages that PRAISE other applications? Sounds lame, and not interesting at all; I´d rather install packages that COMPLEMENT other packages.

  25. Really looking forward to 18th for final release … thanks to everyone for keeping up the distro.

  26. Thomas Goettlicher

    I just want to complete your paragraph about the KDE updater. With openSUSE 11.1 we ship two different updaters for KDE.

    kupdateapplet, formally known as opensuse-updater (10.2), opensuse-updater-kde (10.3) and kde4-opensuse-updater (11.0). In 11.1 this applet has a plugin which supports PackageKit.

    Additionally there is as a different application called KPackageKit (the left screen shot). It is new in 11.1.

  27. Anonymous Cow

    Related to the installer screenshot #2:

    “No preference of desktop environment” my ass. GNOME comes before KDE and as such will likely be clicked by the real beginners (and IMHO, KDE is better, for reasons Linus gave).

    (I do reckon that the layout was already the same on 11.0 but I did not notice until now because I always install Minimal X.)

    Moo.

    • R. J.

      Rubbish

      When I came from windows to linux, specifically OpenSuse, I did not pick a desktop environment because it was the first, I picked one because it was what I wanted after looking around, as most new people do.

    • GNOME is before KDE because the list is in alphabetical order.

      Trust me, I understand your concern. This was an issue a few years ago when this screen first came into existence in the installer, and alphabetical order was determined to be the fairest way to do this.

  28. Shawn

    I was just curious of openSUSE 11 or 11.1 has the same option as Ubuntu has and that’s an OEM installer. I’m in the computer business as an OEM/system builder and wanted to install openSUSE on my desktops/laptops but didn’t want to worry about the end user trying to figure out or be given their username and password. I know Kiwi has a program that has an OEM module I guess you’d call it, but wasn’t sure if I had to re-spin my own openSUSE or if the default openSUSE had one hidden somewhere. Thanks in advance for any info I can get regarding this. By the way, I’m already a Novell partner, but they only support the SLEx versions, but I feel the openSUSE ones are more versatile.

  29. DLaValle

    I see from the installation screen for desktop that KDE 3.5 is available in “Other”. Will OpenSuSE be providing security updates for KDE 3.5 in 11.1?

  30. Chris

    Why, in the desktop selection screen, couldn’t it be an option to choose more than one?

    I vastly prefer KDE 3.5 over 4 at this point, because I can’t configure KDE 4 the way I’d like yet. I am not opposed to using KDE 4, just waiting until it’s usable the way I’d like. To that end, I like to have both installed. I use KDE 3.5 most of the time, and check in on KDE 4 occasionally when updates are released.

    It would be easier if one could simply install both from that selection screen, rather than having to try to figure out what packages are needed to get a fully functional separate version later (the meta-packages have been iffy for me.)

    Or is this an option if installing from the mini-cd? It seems in that case you have more choice in the beginning over what to install; perhaps I’ll try that for 11.1.

    • Beineri

      openSUSE doesn’t use meta-packages for several versions now. Instead we have patterns. You can easily add more (desktop) patterns by changing the software selection on the installation option summary screen.

  31. Teruel deCampo MD

    My windows manager is Compiz-fusion on the top of kde3.5 (opensuse 11). Now seems that all the effort goes into kde 4.1. Should I install kde 4.1 knowing that I run Compiz all the time or should stay with 3.5? Well I ordered a couple of boxes from Novel with overnite delivery, so hope is not like the last time and they arrive soon after release.
    BTW all of you (aka opensuse team) are just unbelievable. Merry Christmas and thanks you all.
    -=terry=-

  32. Darren

    I’m hoping that hardware support will also include older devices like the Sound Blaster Audigy LS (SB0312) with full Game/MIDI port & audio I/O support. At the moment, it shows up in the hardware, but still doesn’t work, no matter how much I fiddle with the sound settings, so I have to use the onboard sound as my primary sound card instead to get audio on Linux.

  33. fabrice

    Hi! I have installed and tested test 11.1 RC1 64bit on my Dell Optiplex 960. No problem at installation, but just atfter restart with the login screen: the xserver cannot be started.
    My graphic card is an ATI Radeon 3470 HD with dual display port connectors (with adapter for DVI) and my screen is a Dell 2408WFP.
    It works when I boot into the failsafe mode, of course!
    Have anyidea?

    • Adrian

      Darren

      If you are using the closed source ATI drivers make sure that you diable the ‘atieventsd’ daemon. This is loaded when you install the proprietary drivers but as far as I (or others) can tell it has no function other than hang to during log ins/outs and so kill the X server.

      Go to Yast >> System >> System Settings (runlevel) , and choose to disable it.

  34. Cae

    One important thing is whether it will work Out-Of-The-Box with the netbooks, e.g. the Asus EEE 1000H that comes with 802.11n (rt2860 & WPA of course) and bluetooth.

    :D

  35. JoeTheCowboy

    RE: Comment by “Cae” above — I just bought a Lenovo Ideapad S10 and have the same question. Can I expect 11.1 to install and work on this netbook? I’ll be installing using an external USB DVD drive.

    • hoshi

      Got DVD today, made an Update on my Lenovo Thinkpad R61 from 11.0 ti 11.1

      All Works like befor!

      Great work!

  36. Drew Smith

    I have just started to use Suse (I am a regular Fedora user) – it tool me while to get the wireless card in my laptop to work bc43XX. I used fwcutter to get it to eventually work,

    Is there better support for my wireless card in this upgrade or will I have the same problems again?