According to plan, today openSUSE 12.3 Beta sees the light. The beta comes with mostly smallish changes as we’re in serious testing waters now – we hope you’re out there to help us clear the way to the final release! The first RC is already coming on February 7 so this Beta needs a good workout. As is tradition in openSUSE, the Beta will be celebrated with a BetaPizzaParty at the Nuremberg headquarters on Wed 30th of Jan starting 16:00 CET! Read on to find out a bit more about the Parties and Pizzas and what’s new and about the awesome 12.3 Polish Hackaton which is being organized this weekend at the SUSE headquarters!
Coolest things first: to make the release even better, we’ve organized a hackathon in Nuremberg! The goal of the meeting is to squash bugs, polish up some features, close the seams to make it all look and work well. We have a list of about 240 bugs to work on and hope to significantly reduce that number. Of course, there will be snacks, food and fun in between the hacking and anyone is welcome to join also remotely.
We will have a G+ Hangout, starting at 10:00 CET until about 12:00 CET, pause for lunch and continuing around 14:00 CET until an undetermined time.
If you’d like to be in the hangout, find the event here!
Secondly, it’s time to organize a BetaPizzaParty in the coming weeks! In Nürnberg we have the usual event (this time planned for Wednesday the 30th at 16:00) flooded with Pizza at the SUSE offices and we’re hoping other SUSE offices will join our fun. Be sure to check the wiki page! for locations. History tells us it would be extremely surprising if there would be nothing organized in Greece – anyone up for organizing one in Brazil? Taiwan? India? But if there’s no party around, you can organize your own. Get the Pizza (and a place to eat it with room for testing laptops)! It’s not a big deal – do it in a local pizza place, at your home or in a room in your office… Just invite friends & colleagues and who knows, if you put your party on the wiki, a new friend will show up!
Don’t forget the party part of a BetaPizzaParty! Make sure you’ll have some fun at some point. One way of doing that is of course to not just order pizzas but make your own following this awesome Geeko Pizza Party Recipe.
Testing and even helping out!
Of course the focus of the BetaPizza Party is on openSUSE 12.3 Beta. This means installing it and submitting bug reports when you bump into trouble. You can download the openSUSE 12.3 Beta from the openSUSE download site. It might make sense to download it and put it on an USB stick or a DVD so people can get to work right away!
Bugs should be reported and can be tracked via Bugzilla. Find a how-to on reporting bugs on the wiki.
Discussions about openSUSE development takes place on the factory mailing list. openSUSE Factory is the development release of openSUSE. If you want to help out, please see the wiki page on contributing to Factory. Contributing is easy and very welcome! We happen to have this awesome tool called the Open Build Service. Think of it as a Github for packagers: Branch, Update and create a submit Request for a Package. In openSUSE terms you’ve just BURPed and we’ll be proud of you ;-)
OBS has a commandline but also a easy browser interface – you can even fix and build packages from a mobile phone or a Windows desktop!
And now for an overview of what this new Beta brings.
Desktops and apps
The Beta comes with 4.10 RC2 of KDE’s workspaces and applications. KDE has announced a third RC due to some late changes and this version is part of a testing sprint organized by the KDE Quality team. openSUSE KDE packagers have build a special live Image to test this release but we urge you to get the Beta packages from software.opensuse.org as they are of course newer.
File manager Thunar (well known to XFCE users as it is the default file manager there) introduces tab support, improved bookmark handling (including easily adding remote bookmarks), improved UI and a check for free space before copying starts. There have also been extensive performance improvements.
Another filemanager part of this release is PCMan, part of the LXDE lightweight desktop. The 1.1 release brings some UI improvements like disabling items which cannot act (like ‘copy’ on selected items) in the menu and toolbar, the option to ‘treat backup files as hidden’, the ability to change the colums in the Detailed List View and search engine support. Underlying improvements were made to stability and performance, as well as bringing new support for unmounting removable media without ejecting them and some other small changes.
In the browser area, the latest Firefox 18 is part of this release as well, bringing better performance and scaling of web content to openSUSE 12.3.
This version brings us up to kernel 3.7.1, bringing a bunch of fixes and new features over the 3.4 release in openSUSE 12.2. New and improved features include:
- support for metadata checksums and improved quota support in Ext4
- I/O failure statistics, subvolume quotas, quota groups, snapshot diffs, faster fsync and the ability to disable copy-on-write on a per-file base in btrfs
- userspace probes for performance profiling with tools like Systemtap or perf and a new “perf trace” tool modeled after strace.
- Many improvements to networking. The TCP protocol performance work with support for the TCP “Fast Open” mode for both clients and servers and TCP Early Retransmit (RFC 5827) as well as inclusion of the a “TCP small queues” feature and a new network queue management algorithm designed to fight bufferbloat. Other low-level protocol enhancements include support for checkpointing and restoring TCP connections and a new tunneling protocol that allows to transfer Layer 2 Ethernet packets over UDP. New is experimental SMBv2 protocol support as well as stable NFS 4.1 and parallel NFS support and the ability to have safe swapping over NFS/NBD.
- The kernel now allows for Android-style opportunistic suspend and has support for suspending to disk and memory at the same time which prevents these “yup, ran out of battery so now you lost data” annoyances with suspend-to-ram.
- In the security area we see added support for signed kernel modules, the Intel “supervisor mode access prevention” (SMAP) security feature, VFIO, which allows safe access from guest drivers to bare-metal host devices and a sandboxing mechanism that allows to filters syscalls.
- Other improvements include the ability to do SCSI over Firewire and USB, support for the PCIe D3cold power state; and the usual huge number of new and improved drivers.
LLVM, which was extensively described for Milestone 2, is updated to the final 3.2 release.
Other larger changes in this version unclude an update of gdb to 7.5 and postgresql got updated to version 9.2.
LibreOffice 3.6.x will be what ships with openSUSE 12.3 as we’d like to ensure availability of a dependable and a stable set of office tools for everyone, but 4.0 packages will be available and openSUSE 12.3 contains all the required dependencies for users to build 4.0 themselves if they like.
libzypp 12.6 got further improvements and bugfixes, while some more work in the package management area is coming for RC1 including an update to PackageKit and a solution to the PackageKit-blocking-zypper issues.
Note: as part of the SuSEconfig removal work, permissions now applies changes following installation or upgrade, to ensure new permissions are effective regardless of package installation order.
Have a lot of fun
You can get the goodies at this page. Have fun – we think it’s already a pretty decent release and we’re working as hard as we can to make it even better. Whatever bugs you find, remember: even a Beta testing (with or without Pizza Party) is about having fun! It doesn’t matter what technical knowledge you have – as long as you are having fun. And don’t eat too much pizza, overeating tends to be unhealty.
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