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openSUSE Weekly News, Issue 203 is out!

November 26th, 2011 by

We are pleased to announce our Issue 203 of openSUSE Weekly News.

openSUSE Weekly News

203 Edition

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Published: 2011-11-26

We are pleased to announce our 203 issue of the openSUSE Weekly News.

You can also read this issue in other formats here.

Enjoy reading :-)

openSUSE 12.1: All Green!

This Special Corner is about Postings about openSUSE 12.1 into the Community and the

Community Articles

Nice and positive review of openSUSE 12.1 on the Linux Action Show on 20th Nov 2011. The
YouTube video is embedded below… you may fast-forward to 30:10 where they finally got down
to the review of openSUSE 12.1.

Most interesting (the best) comment on that YouTube page was from Jos Poortvliet (our
openSUSE Community Manager), “VERY nice review guys! Fun to see how opinions on openSUSE
have changed in the last year – from ‘meh, yeah, is that distro still alive?’ to the
awesomeness now :D If you ever wanna talk about it with me – I’d be happy to be on the

As with most things in life, its all about perception and goodwill. openSUSE 12.1 is
polished and enjoyable but a number of the great features mentioned, including SUSE Studio and openSUSE Build Service, have been around for a
while… anyway, I’m just happy & enjoying the goodwill towards openSUSE. :)

In the Press

Major updates have been coming fast and furious in the world of
Linux distributions this fall, and this week is no exception. Now joining the ranks of
Ubuntu 11.10, Fedora 16 and many others is OpenSUSE 12.1, which on Wednesday made its

OpenSUSE is currently the fourth most popular Linux distribution on DistroWatch, behind just Mint, Ubuntu and Fedora. I last wrote about OpenSUSE back in March, shortly after
its last major version, 11.4, arrived on the scene. As I noted then, the free and open-source operating system offers a lot of compelling
features to explain its popularity, including stability, power and ease of use.

With this new release, however, OpenSUSE brings even more to the table — not to mention
a new numbering scheme, which is why it’s now 12.1. Ready for a look? Here’s a small
sampling of what OpenSUSE 12.1 has to offer. (…)

This tutorial shows how you can set up an OpenSUSE
desktop that is a full-fledged replacement for a Windows desktop, i.e. that
has all the software that people need to do the things they do on their Windows desktops.
The advantages are clear: you get a secure system without DRM restrictions that works even
on old hardware, and the best thing is: all software comes free of charge.

I want to say first that this is not the only way of setting up such a system. There are
many ways of achieving this goal but this is the way I take. I do not issue any guarantee
that this will work for you! (…)

We were never really excited about openSUSE, but 12.1 is well
positioned to change this: it adds some state-of-the-art technology to the highly polished
desktop openSUSE is known for…

OpenSUSE 12.1, you say? Did we miss 12.0 then? No, this is the first release in the
distribution’s slightly altered release numbering: from now on openSUSE will not have a .0
release but only .1, .2 and .3 releases. Because the distribution is following an
eight-month release cycle, from now on the November release will always be the .1 release,
the July release the .2 and the March release the .3. (…)

Header PictureBoard Election 2011

This years openSUSE Election Committee is in the pleasant position to announce the 2011
Board Elections.

So, if you want to participate in the openSUSE board and influence the future direction of
the project please stand up and announce your candidacy. If you want to vote for the
candidates, please make sure your openSUSE membership is approved. If you are a contributor of openSUSE but you are not a
member yet, apply for membership now
and be a part of the changes to come. (…)

You wan’t to see the present canidates? Look there.

The openSUSE Board Election 2011 is starting today .

In this election we will have 3 seats to get elected, These seats are currently held by
Rupert Horstkotter, Pavol Rusnak, and Bryen Yunashko. Only Pavol Rusnak is available to get

The candidates:

  • Pascal Bleser

  • Richard Brown

  • Manu Gupta

  • Marcus Moeller

  • Chuck Payne

  • Pavol Rusnak

  • Will Stephenson

  • Andrew Wafaa

Details on http://en.opensuse.org/openSUSE:Board_election_2011#Candidates

Header PictureStatus Updates

Team Reports

Header PictureBuild Service Team

Build Service Statistics. Statistics can found at Buildservice

Header PictureopenFATE Team

Top voted Features

Network installation could be improved by running package download and package
installation in parallel.

I wanted to open a fate feature about this when I first heard of plymouth, but


really makes me think we should go this way.

Ray’s comment starting with “Every flicker and mode change in the boot
process takes away from the whole experience.” is especially interesting. Is it
okay to track the “don’t show grub by default” here?

An easy way to remove Software! For example: you installed an application with “1-click install” (which will install all the packages that you need), there should be an easy way (also with 1 click) to remove what you have installed with that 1-click operation… in another words: an “1-click Uninstall” to remove installed software (dependencies and packages included).

Every single bug or feature that anyone has developed for GRUB 0.97 has been
rejected by the upstream project in favor of using GRUB 2. There has been resisitence in
the distribution community to switching boot loaders, but this stalemate isn’t
going to go away. The code itself isn’t well written or well maintained. Adding a
new feature involves jumping through a lot of hoops that may or may not work even if you
manage to work around all the runtime limitations. For example, a fs implementation has
a static buffer it can use for memory management. It’s only 32k. For complex file
systems, or even a simple journaled file system, we run into problems (like the reiserfs
taking forever to load bug) because we don’t have enough memory to do block mapping
for the journal so it needs to scan it for every metadata read. (Yeah, really.)

We need a feedback about packages that are preferred by users and actively used. Debian already has a tool named Popularity contest (popcon)

* reusing popcon will give us results that are directly comparable with Debian and Ubuntu

* packagers team can take care of the package

* we need a configuration dialog in YaST that is visible enough

* we need a server infrastructure on opensuse.org. (There are certain privacy issues, see Debian FAQ for details)

Recently requested features

Features newly requested last week. Please vote and/or comment if you get interested.

I’d suggest making the window frame (the top bar) in a different colour, maybe green, if the window is active.

MGSE (Mint Gnome Shell Extensions) make Gnome Shell to look somewhat familiar to Gnome 2 users, by returning classical DE elements such as taskbar, desktop, main menu and multi-window workflow.
The extentions can be optionally enabled and disabled.

Some screenshots are here:


Please help us – the users, who decide to use in the real business the Linux PIM management.
Please make possible for us to choose – will we use the Semantic Desktop or just would like to switch it off for some reason.

Since years the idea of so called Semantic Desktop is taking huge time and efforts but results still are unappealing.

I admit the work of the developers and any one should be thankful for their efforts in making KDE the best free desktop ever. But… please give some chance to users to choose what they need and prefer.

Crystal kwin decoration is now at version 2.1 but kde-extra repo for openSUSE 12.1 still shows 2.0.5

Since KDE 4.3 the battery widget does neither provide the remaining time nor a GUI way to change it.
openSUSE follows upstream while other distributions patch this.

It is only shown in the popup, after you click on the widget. It is not shown directly and not shown mouse-over.

I would like to request that a feature be added that allows a user to specify the encryption strength for their encrypted LVM. Previously on 11.4, the installer would accept the unlock key and then format the LUKS container to its own default (at the time I think 256bit aes-xts-something), which is overkill for a netbook, and may not be user-desirable. OpenSuSE 12.1 doesn’t do this, honoring the LUKS setup that already exists, but nevertheless, being able to choose the bit strength and encryption type (such as aes-cbc-essiv, etc) would be nice. I would be willing to provide any help documentation for a “help” or “what is this?” button on this section (and it could be made part of the “custom (for experts)” section of disk partitioning.

Feature Statistics

Statistics for openSUSE distribution in openFATE

Header PictureTranslation Team

Header PictureIn the Community

Events & Meetings

You can find more information on other events at: openSUSE News/Events. – Local Events

openSUSE for your Ears

The openSUSE Weekly News are available as podcast in German. You can hear it or download
it on http://saigkill.homelinux.net/podcast.


Header PictureNew/Updated Applications @ openSUSE

Several of you has all kind of non feature (mostly called bugs) with Gnome3.2 and kde4

I will just copy/google translate/paste here the comment made by Sebastian Siebert on
his blog

Okay, now that was a long night for me was. ﷽ I’ve researched intensively since
yesterday evening after the problem of GNOME 3.2 and the XvBA hardware acceleration on
openSUSE 12.1. Here, a blog reader has pointed out that the direct installation of the
AMD Catalyst could solve the problem. However, I think the direct installation of
anything since like AMD will move the existing files, and thus endangering the integrity
of files. But I had to start somewhere and so did the RPM package and direct install AMD
compared. I could detect no difference in principle, except that some files were
installed in a different directory, where they had really nothing to be related. I could
at first make any sense why the RPM installation failed. To me a very banal story is
remembered. A specific search path ld.so.conf could possibly be kicked out in openSUSE
12.1. I have my current openSUSE 11.4 /etc/ld.so.conf compared with that of openSUSE
12.1 and lo and behold some search paths were removed. I have the necessary path to
/usr/X11R6/lib/ or created and /usr/X11R6/lib64 in /etc/ld.so.conf.d/fglrx.conf for the
fglrx driver, and lo and behold “vainfo” tells me that everything is in order. Now comes
the interesting question: Is the problem fixed with GNOME 3.2 now? The answer: YES! ﷽
So, dear people, you invite the makerpm-ati-down script with the updated packaging
script installs the driver as usual and have fun with the new openSUSE 12.1 and the AMD
Catalyst driver. (…)

Header PictureSecurity Updates

To view the security announcements in full, or to receive them as soon as they’re released,
refer to the openSUSE Security Announce mailing list.

Table 1. openSUSE Security Announcement
Package: bind
Announcement ID: openSUSE-SU-2011:1272-1
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2011 13:08:45 +0100 (CET)
Affected Products: openSUSE 11.4 openSUSE 11.3
Description: An update that fixes one vulnerability is now available. It includes one version

Header PictureKernel Review

The patches for real-time support are now based on a much more
recent kernel version. Torvalds has revoked a change merged into 3.2 which had come under
widespread criticism from developers. AMD and Intel have released new graphics

With the release of real-time (RT) kernel 3.0.9-rt25, Thomas Gleixner
has declared that the Linux
-based RT tree is now ready for use in live systems. He noted that this new
version series represents a major leap forward and that development has run pretty smoothly,
despite major revisions to many of the core techniques.

Gleixner has now handed over responsibility for maintaining RT patches for Linux 3.0 to
Steven Rostedt, who recently released a pre-release version of Linux
for evaluation. Gleixner has ported the changes aimed at improving
real-time properties to pre-release versions of Linux 3.2 (1, 2, 3). The RT patch has shrunk
substantially in the process, as some of the changes have now been incorporated into the main
development tree.

Rares gives his weekly Kernel Review with openSUSE Flavor.

Header PictureTips and Tricks

For Desktop Users

You may already know, but openSUSE released
v12.1 of the community distribution this week. With a new number before the decimal point, I
thought it would be a good time for a fresh, clean install on my aging laptop. I could just
upgrade my existing v11.4 installation, but I like to see what the new install looks like
from time to time. Doing a clean install also means I can share the process with you

Clean installs do require a bit of preparation, though. You will be wiping your
partitions, so you want to preserve your existing data, and a bit of your configurations
before embarking on a new install. In this post, I’ll share what I did.(…)

For Commandline/Script Newbies

1. Introduction

Welcome to the second part of our series, a part that will focus on sed, the GNU version. As you will see, there are several variants of sed, which is available for quite a few platforms, but we will focus on GNU sed versions 4.x. Many of you have already heard about sed and already used it, mainly as a substitution tool. But that is just a segment of what sed can do, and we will do our best to show you as much as possible of what you can do with it. The name stands for Stream EDitor, and here “stream” can be a file, a pipe or simply stdin. We expect you to have basic Linux knowledge and if you already worked with regular expressions or at least know what a regexp is, the better. We don’t have the space for a full tutorial on regular expressions, so instead we will only give you a basic idea and lots of sed examples. There are lots of documents that deal with the subject, and we’ll even have some recommendations, as you will see in a minute. If you require futher assistance please visit our Linux Forum. (…)

1. Introduction

In this case, the title might be a little misleading. And that is because awk is more than a command, it’s a programming language in its own right. You can write awk scripts for complex operations or you can use awk from the command line. The name stands for Aho, Weinberger and Kernighan (yes, Brian Kernighan), the authors of the language, which was started in 1977, hence it shares the same Unix spirit as the other classic *nix utilities. If you’re getting used to C programming or know it already, you will see some familiar concepts in awk, especially since the ‘k’ in awk stands for the same person as the ‘k’ in K&R, the C programming bible. You will need some command-line knowledge in Linux and possibly some scripting basics, but the last part is optional, as we will try to offer something for everybody. Many thanks to Arnold Robbins for all his work involved in awk. (…)

For Developers and Programmers

In my last article, I looked at some of the ways in which you can use Vimscript, Vim‘s built-in scripting language, to set up that text editor to do exactly what you want it to. Apparently you liked what you saw and asked for more, so here are some additional tips and tricks to help you get Vim to jump through the hoops of your choice, including techniques for specifying ranges to work on, accepting user input, and debugging. (…)

For System Administrators

This is a detailed description about how to set up an OpenSUSE 12.1 64bit (x86_64) server that offers all services needed by ISPs and
hosters: Apache web server (SSL-capable) with PHP, CGI and SSI support, Postfix mail server
with SMTP-AUTH, TLS and virtual mail users, BIND DNS server, Pureftpd FTP server, MySQL
server, Dovecot POP3/IMAP, Quota, Firewall, Mailman, etc. Since version 3.0.4, ISPConfig
comes with full support for the nginx web server in addition to Apache; this tutorial covers
the setup of a server that uses Apache, not nginx. (…)

This guide shows how you can upgrade your OpenSUSE 11.4 desktop and server installations to OpenSUSE 12.1. (…)

openSUSE 12.1 is just released, to have some of the very nice features i need to setup a
complete new system. So what features are the one you want to have:

  • Btrfs – Btrfs is a new filesystem which make usage of B-trees so take a look at
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Btrfs with this FS we can have a very great

  • snapper – snapper is a new system which comes around with openSUSE 12.1 it can
    handle Btrfs snapshots and gives new features to openSUSE such as restoring config
    files after a failure or restore failed upgrades. (…)

PHP is an open-source server-side scripting language and it is a widely used. The Apache web server provides access to files and content via the HTTP OR HTTPS protocol. A misconfigured server-side scripting language can create all sorts of problems. So, PHP should be used with caution. Here are twenty-five php security best practices for sysadmins for configuring PHP securely. (…)

There are many occasions where you need to create connections to machines and services that are protected by firewalls because it is appropriate to adequately protect them, but for which the creation of a VPN becomes an excessive burden.

For this reason, the ability to port forwarding via SSH is very useful for creating an encrypted tunnel from one machine to another, allowing you to enable only local access (such as a MySQL only listens locally) safely, with the only the problem that in case of problems, the SSH connection (and its tunnels) could fall.

Here goes a quick and valuable tip people don’t usually know, or at least a couple of
friends of mine were not aware of. The two keywords will be SOCKS and SSH.

Connecting over to a remote server, one can bypass unauthorized access blocked by
usually our network firewall. The most common examples given are restricted access to
Facebook, MSN or torrents. We can also have unlimited access to all kinds of contents thanks
to the nice sysadmin managing the network who puts no barriers whatsoever, but we may not
trust him or the network users to permit unencrypted data flowing openly. Having some way to
establish an encrypted connection to a known network who we trust, or distrust less, and
tunneling over it would be safer. This is where SOCKS and SSH can be much of helpful!

Header PicturePlanet SUSE

The real great feature in openSUSE 12.1 for me (as I am a server administrator) is btrfs
& snapper. After installing the new server environment i guess its time to talk about this
feature a bit in detail. (…)

On the internet are many places to download ICC profiles, which promise to implement
standards. But how reliable are these profiles and why should users and distributors care
about their quality?

Why quality counts? For many users is real value in reliable colour space definitions.
Most professionals and advanced amateurs know that wrongly implemented colorimetry can cause
them unwanted modifications and will sum up over repeated conversions and colour space
assignments until the error has rendered the colour material useless. But profile conformance
to the standard, which these profiles claim to represent, is not so obvious. A profile checker
can only detect conformance to the ICC standard itself, which is about the file format, but
not about the quality of the encoded data.

The preferred solution for professionals is to download ICC profiles only from trusted
vendors. Unfortunately for the open source community, most ICC profiles for common standards
are restrictively licensed and allow no modifications. However these licenses are a reaction
to people, who want to push stuff at whim and fake profile names. After all spreading low
quality fakes will mostly harm users. Such faked profile made it in many open source packages.
It would help the open source community, if vendors license their ICC profiles for standard
conditions after the new non restrictive ICC profile license. Then faking profiles, by the
reasoning of providing them under a free license, would not be needed any more. (…)

Lotus Notes is
what I use at work and the latest v8.5.3 works well on openSUSE 11.4. Although it installed
without a hitch on 12.1, things goes awry when I start using it. Here are my observations and
how I managed to get it working again. :)

For starters, Lotus Notes 8.5.3 only managed to render about half of its interface. For
example, I could see my inbox but email preview pane is blank. Integrated SameTime worked but workspaces
and replication tabs were blank too. I suspect it could be some incompatibility or confusion
with the GTK libs and I was right… Google is my friend and I discovered a brilliant soul who
had the same challenge, created a bug report
against openSUSE and even created a workaround/fix.

I’m happy to announce that I’ve managed to squeeze this new feature in just in time for
the 3.5 code freeze.

What’s new?

As I’ve mentioned briefly in G+, I’ve been working on brushing up the age-old autofilter
popup window in the past few weeks. I have no idea how old the old one is, but it’s been there
for as long as I remember. In case anyone needs a reminder as to what the old one looks like,
here it is.

Header PictureopenSUSE Forums: A big hand for the release of openSUSE 12.1 !

This is a repeat from last week. openSUSE 12.1 is new, we still like to draw your attention to this article in the New User HOWTO/FAQ subforums. Like with every openSUSE release our admin oldcpu has prepared a document for new users to read before starting to install openSUSE 12.1. If you’re new to openSUSE, this is a must-read, if you’re already an openSUSE user, even very experienced, the article still deserves your attention.

openSUSE 12.1 is out for a week now, title says it all: an extensive thread on user experiences and opinions. The overall impression is that 12.1 is a very nice and stable release. For some users there maybe issues/lack of knowledge on the new features, but hey, we have the choice, for example to keep on using sysvinit instead of systemd. Interesting read.

openSUSE Language specific subforums:

We now host the following language specific subforums under the umbrella of the openSUSE Forums:
Main forums, english
Nederlands (Dutch)
Français (French)
Deutsch (German)
Ελληνικό (Greek)
Magyar (Hungarian)
日本語 (Japanese)
Pусский (Russian)

Header PictureOn the Web


Linux creator Linus Torvalds spoke at the LinuxCon Brazil event this week, and had some choice words for makers of proprietary technology, especially Apple and Microsoft. Mashable picked up this dig from Linus at these tech giants, regarding the much discussed secure boot feature that Microsoft is backing, which could lock Linux out of Windows 8 PCs: ““Technologies that lock things down tend to lose in the end. People want freedom and markets want freedom.” Torvalds compared secure boot to Apple’s use of Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology. Notably, Torvalds had a decidedly anti-Apple stance in the comments. (…)

Reviews and Essays

Since the source code is usually available, software under a free or open open source license can be re-used within another software project rather easily. That is, after all, the whole point of FLOSS. But the potential for FLOSS license violations within software projects is, like any other license, always there.

Critics of FLOSS licenses are usually quick to point out that the very openness of FLOSS source code actually promotes more license violations. Protect yourself, these critics urge, and avoid FLOSS altogether–or at the very least purchase commercial compliance services and products. (…)

Many people think Ubuntu codenames are funny, weird, strange and what not. Do you know that all Kernel releases have their names too.

Most of the Linux 2.6 and 3.x kernels include a name in the Makefile of their source trees, which can be found in the git repository. Everything else will look less ridiculous when you look at these codenames as some of these are really hilarious. (…)

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