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Sneak Peeks at openSUSE 11.0: Talking GNOME with Vincent Untz

June 18th, 2008 by

Just a few hours before openSUSE 11.0 is officially released! Here we’ll take a look at GNOME in openSUSE 11.0, and talk to Vincent Untz, openSUSE developer and a member of the GNOME Foundation Board.

openSUSE News: What kind of changes have happened “behind the scenes” in GNOME that users might not see right away, but are important? (Like performance increases, backend changes, etc.)

Vincent Untz: Several things have changed:

  • PulseAudio: Instead of using esound as the sound server, we now use PulseAudio. It’s basically much better :-) A cool thing, for example, is that you can set the volume of the stream of each application, instead of just having a global volume. Another cool thing is that you can use Bonjour/Zeroconf/mdns&dns-sd to find out about PulseAudio servers on the network and dynamically move a stream to this server.
  • PolicyKit: This is a new technology to make it easier to change some system setting. An example is how you change the system timezone in the clock applet, for example.
  • PackageKit: For now, we only use this for the notification icon that tells you about update. But it’s a framework to make it easier to handle packages from applications. It’s full of Libzypp love in openSUSE. :-)
  • 3-D effects: Not strictly GNOME, but I think it has improved quite a bit now. XGL is not required anymore (with AIGLX) and so more people can use this.
  • Less divergence from upstream. We started some serious work to send more patches upstream and remove changes that will never be accepted by upstream and that are not that interesting to us.

openSUSE News: How does openSUSE GNOME differ from “stock” GNOME? What kind of added features or improvements would openSUSE users see that may not be in other distros?

Vincent Untz: It’s kind of hard to reply to this for one reason: we’re trying to be as close as upstream as possible. However, things that are important and that we change:

  • Artwork, obviously. This helps having a unified look & feel with the rest of the distro (splash screen, e.g.).
  • Default configuration — like panel layout, including gnome-main-menu, and some settings in some applications.
  • Bug fixes: We backport many bug fixes from SVN to get something more stable.

We also have some brand new stuff when it comes to things where we have developers. For example, we use NetworkManager 0.7 (which is still unreleased), but Ubuntu still ships the old 0.6 (Fedora uses 0.7, I believe).

I think the main point here is that we’re trying to do development upstream, and then polish things where they can be polished for the integration with the rest of the OS.

openSUSE News: Can you talk a bit about the relationship between GNOME and openSUSE?

Vincent Untz: Well, some of the developers in the openSUSE GNOME team are GNOME contributors (some are really deeply involved in GNOME). For example, Federico is a GTK+ maintainer, Rodrigo co-maintains the control center, I maintain a few modules, etc. It’s not just about code (Federico has been on the GNOME Foundation board for a few years, I’m on it right now, etc.)

We’re trying to do our development upstream, to also upstream bugs (bugs opened in bugzilla.novell.com but that really should be in bugzilla.gnome.org), etc. Basically, we’re trying to be a good GNOME citizen :-)

openSUSE News: What kind of plans are on the table for openSUSE 11.1 and GNOME?

Vincent Untz: We’re starting to discuss this, and we have a list of ideas at http://en.opensuse.org/GNOME/Ideas/11.1.

There will be the new rewritten GDM, better integration of the PulseAudio features, better printing administration, integration of the Telepathy framework, etc. All of this is “maybe”, of course ;-)

openSUSE News: Anything else you’d like to mention or add?

Vincent Untz: Also quite important to mention the whole community that is doing an awesome job — people are helping with many things, from bug triage, to organizing meetings, giving ideas, testing, etc.

openSUSE News: Thanks for taking the time!

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10 Responses to “Sneak Peeks at openSUSE 11.0: Talking GNOME with Vincent Untz”

  1. cyrov

    Loved Gnome in OpenSUSE 11!

  2. Meh. It’s all about KDE in my opinion. GNOME is nice looking, though.

  3. David

    Is it true that KDE is now going to be the desktop of choice on openSUSE?

    • greenmachine

      KDE 3, KDE 4, and GNOME will all be fully supported in openSUSE 11 (as shown on the installation screenshots.) This is one of the unique aspects of openSUSE – both major desktops are supported.

  4. Hello all,

    How does SUSE 11.0 package gnome? With Ubuntu I can install a very minimal gnome system that runs on a computer with as little as 96 MB RAM. But when I tried SUSE 10.3, just trying to install gedit made it pull in gstreamer, gnome-audio, and many more advanced memory-eating gnome components that I don’t remember now. Anyone know if Gnome is more modularized and with less dependancies in SUSE 11.0?

    And on another note, can we please have a Gnome traditional installer CD, in addition to the live CD?


  5. zakir

    well the open suse graphics are awsome man .. thumbs up , by the way iama gnome lover :P

  6. joe7d6

    I’m a suse user for years.
    11.0 ought to be the best suse/linux release ever (hopefully).
    I have tried *buntu for its last three releases but all went back to suse.
    As a desktop linux, it’s definitely the most usable linux in the market. (Praise the laptop support and DE’s polishness!)

    I have been using kde for at least a year and now found myself using gnome. Guess what I need is a stable desktop with maturity :p
    (I took Digikam with me which is the closest thing to Lightroom under linux.)
    As for kde 4.1, the desktop looks really promising(albeit quite different from 3.5). Time is needed for the developers to iron out all the bugs.

    Thanks for all the good work!

  7. Andreas

    Hi you all there at openSUSE!

    Just before the release of openSUSE 11.0 I want to thank you for making this possible to us – wow, thankyou so much! I use Suse or openSUSE since years and it got better and better – great work! Really, I enjoy it. YOU DO A GOOD WORK folks! Keep doing it! Be encouraged!

    I bless you with wisdom, revelation, knowledge and much, much fun to make it even greater than this, much greater! Take it in Jesus Name! – I believe God can bless you much more than any man could do. ;) – I believe if a man is blessed by God than he is really blessed!

    Bye and thanks!

  8. kwins

    I think GNOME most come whit new background and some change. Look KDE they come whit new change and background and most peopel like that in my opinion.

    But Team of Suse or OpenSuse Keep going strong whit the good work



  9. OS2user

    openSUSE 11.0 GNOME and new to Linux:
    1. how do I add the classic top panel/taskbar?
    2. how do I activate additional workspaces _W/O_ using Compiz?
    3. how do I get rid of that awful new “Computer” menu and revert to the previous classic one?
    4. how do I find out, which parts of the file system tree are located on which physical partitions? Or in other words: which mount point is used for each existing partition mounted to the FS tree? The Expert Partitioner does not reveal that information.
    5. For how much longer will the restriction to just mere IDE 15 partitions exist, if one isn’t going through the nuisance of adding hwprobe=-modules.pata to the kernel. How and where does one make that stick and be permanent?