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openSUSE Weekly News, Issue 160 is out!

January 29th, 2011 by

We are pleased to announce the new openSUSE Weekly News.

openSUSE Weekly News

openSUSE Weekly News

160 Edition

Published: 2011-01-29


We are pleased to announce our 160 issue of the openSUSE Weekly News.

You can also read this issue in other formats. Just click here.

Enjoy the reading :-)

Counter for openSUSE 11.4

Header PictureAnnouncements

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Back in October, at the openSUSE Conference, several meetings and hallway discussions occurred on the topic
of “Installation ofApplications” on openSUSE. As of today, we still have a very
package-centric approach, while users usually do not think in terms of packages but in terms
of applications: people want to use Firefox, LibreOffice or Frozen Bubble.

We investigated the best way to approach this issue and come to a fast resolution. With
several people from various distributions already working on some technologies that are
related to this, we realized this could be a prime example of Collaboration Accross Borders.
This lead Vincent Untz to contact several people from different distributions, to see if he
could spark an interest in a cross-distribution meeting on this topic. It turned out that
everyone replied enthusiastically! That’s how the App Installer
saw the light.

This meeting occurred over three days last week at the Novell/SUSE offices in Nuremberg,
with 15ish participants, from five distributions: Debian (Enrico Zini, David Kalnischkies),
Fedora (Richard Hughes, Florian Festi), Mageia (Michael Scherer, Olivier Thauvin, Samuel
Verschelde), openSUSE (Duncan Mac-Vicar, Michael Schroeder, Pavol Rusnak, Vincent Untz),
Ubuntu (Michael Vogt, Sebastian Heinlein). Frank Karlitschek and Garrett LeSage joined this
group of distribution-oriented people. This was a fantastic set of people to tackle the topic,
some of those having a background on user experience, others on low-level bits of packaging

During these three days, we looked at various bits of technologies, including Debtags, the Ubuntu Software Center, the Open
Collaboration Services specification
and more. This helped us know what is available
today and where we stand. We quickly agreed that we wanted to share the architecture to
provide an Application Center for each distribution, even though some distributions might
choose to have a different set of policies.

The group worked intensively to define the architecture, from the bottom to the top: this
includes the definition of a an application metadata format, how to create it and from which
sources (push as much information as possible upstream!), how to handle user-generated
metadata, the protocol used to communicate between the distribution server and the Application
Center client, as well as the user interface. The group is working on properly documenting the
technical results of this meeting to let the wider community understand the overall
architecture. Watch the video
of a presentation delivered on the last day to Novell people to get an overview of what got

The meeting turned out to be even more productive than originally planned, and all
participants agreed on a concrete plan with an aggressive time line to push this effort
forward! Stay tuned!

Youtube and m4v video file

Many thanks to all the sponsors of this event: Novell for kindly hosting and sponsoring
several attendees, Canonical and Red Hat for sending people, and Debian for sponsoring one

Article contributed by Vincent Untz

Novell hosted the first Bretzn Sprint in the SUSE office in Nürnberg between 21th and the 23st of January.
The objective of the sprint was to create an proof of concept application store for openSUSE.

This meeting is a direct follow up of the Cross-distribution meeting on application installer which took place in the 3 days
leading up to the Bretzn sprint. During this meeting developers from Debian, Fedora, Mageia, openSUSE, and Ubuntu Linux distributions decided to work together on common APIs and code for
application stores on Linux.

The Bretzn Sprint was dedicated to the development of a proof of concept of this idea,
using existing components like the MeeGo
client and libattica as starting points.

Attendees of this meeting where Will Stephenson, Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, Frederik
Gladhorn, Mateu Batle Sastre, Eugene Trounev, Vincent Untz, Pavol Rusnak and Frank
Karlitschek. This team brought together a wide range of skills, as can be seen in the results
of this highly productive sprint.

In just two and a half days, they managed to create a working application store client for
openSUSE and KDE. The server part was based on OCS
(Open Collaboration Services), which already did everything needed for the server side and
just needed some data inserted to be shown in the client. The client in turn was created by
using the MeeGo Garage client, and adapting it to be a more KDE-like application, by using the
various KDE widgets and other tools, removing the duplication of functionality which was
covered by the KDE libraries.

Finally, a new application view was created, to replace the existing which was never as
pleasing as the original authors wanted it to be. This was done by using Qt Quick, which has allowed for the
rapid construction of a much more pleasant look. The new interface is the result of a
brainstorming session involving all members of the sprint, based on the results from the
cross-distribution meeting. While this work is still in progress, it already
represents an improvement over the old interface.

Article contributed by Frank Karlitschek

openSUSE project manager Stephan Kulow has announced that openSUSE
11.4 Milestone 6 (M6) is ready for testing. With M6, the pace of development is starting to
slow down as the focus switches towards QA and bug fixing.

The project has been evaluating systemd vs SysV init to manage system and service startup, and has
decided to stay with SysV init for 11.4 due to issues in getting the last 10% of the
integration perfect.

M6 sees the completed removal of the HAL hardware abstraction layer, to be replaced with
the more up-to-date and actively maintained udev, udisks and upower suite. HAL was already
scheduled for removal in 11.3, but it was retained while the last few software packages which
depend on it were ported to udev and company.

Branding and artwork has had a lot of attention, with the addition of the final
wallpapers, splash screens and branding for 11.4. The default wallpaper is called Celadon
Stripes, taking its inspiration from the color codename for this release.

New software added in Milestone 4 includes the WebYaST stack. WebYaST is the web-based
admin tool developed for SLES, now available for openSUSE. Professional sysadmins and those who just like to
comfortably administer their openSUSE servers will appreciate WebYaST. Also on the server
side, the latest versions of the Horde groupware suite are now in openSUSE.

Software updates this milestone include the update of XOrg to 7.6, VirtualBox 4.0.2, GnuCash 2.4, and Scribus 1.3.9. A lively
on the opensuse-factory list about whether to include the stable Firefox
3.6.13 or a Firefox 4 beta centered around the limited availability of popular extensions for
version 4 versus the short upstream maintenance period of Firefox 3 releases. As this article
was published, the discussion was leaning towards taking a Firefox 4 beta and online-updating
it to the final release when it becomes available.

Updates are flowing thick and fast to the KDE workspace and applications. KDE 4.6RC2 is on M6, and
will be updated to 4.6.0 final
for the first Release Candidate. The accompanying flurry of application releases include
Amarok 2.4.0, Digikam 1.8.0, KOffice 2.3.1, k3b 2.0.2,
KDevelop 4.2, KMyMoney 4.5, Rekonq 0.6 and
BlueDevil 1.0.1. Fans of the Oxygen style will also see it in GTK applications, thanks to the
native port of Oxygen to a GTK style in the form of the oxygen-gtk package .

As the GNOME project prepares for GNOME 3, the
focus at openSUSE is on stabilisation and polish to GNOME 2.32. Bugfixes to PulseAudio, GDM
and gnome-main-menu will ensure that 11.4 brings incremental refinement to GNOME users.
Clutter 1.5 is included to support the latest available preview of gnome-shell, and the gramps genealogy tool is added in version 3.2.5.
The GNOME team is preparing an 11.4-based Live CD that will include GNOME 3 when it is
released in March.

The XFCE desktop is updated thanks to the hard work of the community to version 4.8, bringing with it
far too many improvements to mention.

A list of most annoying bugs is being compiled; please check it before installing. We
look forward to your bug reports and test
experiences too. Automated testing and the
openSUSE Factory team have been active to ensure that your download of M6 will be at least
minimally functional.

Release Candidate 1 is scheduled for February 10 and brings with it a hard freeze.
openSUSE 11.4 is planned to be released in March 2011.

Board Election 2010

The last few weeks in the openSUSE project have been very interesting. Two seats on the openSUSE Project
were up for election. The Election
closed the polls on Wednesday, and we are pleased to announce the

  1. Henne Vogelsang (125 Votes)

  2. Peter Linnell (72 Votes)

  3. Sankar P. (71 votes)

  4. Sebastian Kügler (64 votes)

  5. Chuck Payne (39 votes)

  6. Nelson Marques (23 votes)

  7. Kostas Kodouras (20 votas)

220 of the 469 openSUSE members voted.

We at the News Team wish the new board members all the best and Have A Lot Of Fun!

Header PictureHackweek VI

It’s Hackweek again in SUSE
land for the next five days. It’s the sixth edition and there already is a nice list of projects in openFATE.

I haven’t decided, what I’ll work on, yet. There are four projects I’m thinking about. I
entered all of them in openFATE for now, will sleep for a night, and then take a decision
tomorrow morning, when I’ll start hacking. If you have input, preferences, what you would like
to see happen, or if you would like to join me in one of these projects, please let me know.

These are the projects I have in mind:

Developer sprint support tool

We have discussed this a couple of times in the KDE community, as there are happening a
lot of sprints there, and it would be great to have a tool, which supports taking care of the
administrative aspects, helps with reporting of results, and supports the productive process.
This would be a nice one-week project, especially, if somebody else would like to join the fun
and help developing it. It would certainly also benefit openSUSE and other communities.

Read more in openFATE #311141.

One-click appliance installer for SUSE Gallery

Once-click install works nicely in openSUSE for packages. But we don’t have a comparable
mechanism for appliances on SUSE Gallery yet. It would be great, if you could just click on a
button on an appliance page in SUSE Gallery and the system would automatically take care of
installing the appliance, so you could use it right away. This could simply be downloading it
and running it in KVM or something different depending on the type and content of the

Read more in openFATE #311142.

Alternative configuration backend for KDE applications

This is a fun idea from the area of cross-desktop configuration. It wouldn’t be the first
attempt to come up with some cross-toolkit, cross-desktop, cross-platform configuration system
for desktop application, but I’m not aware of any attempts from this angle so far. The idea
would be to extend kconfig_compiler to support other configuration backends than just KConfig.
This could be QSettings, or dconf, or something completely different. There probably are some
practical obstacles I didn’t consider yet, but it would be interesting to see, if it’s
possible to move KDE apps to use a GNOME configuration backend by a simple recompile.

Read more in openFATE #311144.

Humane address book for the cloud

This project goes back to some of my roots. Something like ten years ago I rewrote the KDE
address book library and worked quite a bit on KAddressbook, the application to handle
contacts in KDE. Back at that time I was deep into the vCard format, and thought it would be a
good idea to give the user all the power the format provides. While a couple of good things
came from that, I now think, that this approach was a bad idea. Address book data should be
handled in a way, which is more natural than assuming people are just a list of alphabetical
ordered contacts with a lot of sophisticated data fields. Especially these days, where lots of
personal data is stored in the cloud, there must be better ways how to make use of the
technology we have at hand, and put it to use in a way, which puts people first, and the way
how they think about dealing with their data, information about other people, and their
relationships to them.

Read more in openFATE

First day of Hackweek 6 is
almost over and my progress is quite good so far. The first step wat to make Gammu connect to the Series60 applet and retrieve basic

$ ./gammu/gammu identify
Device               : 5C:57:C8:xx:xx:xx
Manufacturer         : Nokia
Model                : E52 (RM-469)
Firmware             : 3.0
IMEI                 : 359000000000000

That was pretty easy. If you want to try it, you need to install Series60 applet into phone (manually
for now, but autoinstallation is planned for future) and configure gammu to talk to

connection = blues60
device = 5C:57:C8:xx:xx:xx

Second thing I choose to implement was manipulation with contacts. There are some oddities
in the applet (like it simply crashes when giving it wrong contact ID to retrieve), which I
will try to fix in future, but for now I stick with existing applet and code functionality
only in Gammu. And it

$ ./gammu/gammu getmemory ME 215
Memory ME, Location 215
Last name            : "Gammu"
First name           : "Test"
Mobile number        : "123456"
General number       : [home]"654321"
Email address 1      : "gammu-users@lists.sourceforge.net"

0 entries empty, 1 entries filled

Tomorrow I should be able to implement calendar, let’s see how will it go.

PS: All code is is available in our Git

Its Hackweek number six at SUSE as you might have heard. Hackweek is great as employees
are encouraged to work on a free software project they want. I work on my project Kraft and really appreciate the time that I can
spend on it.

What I intend to do can be summarized with Share your
. Up to now, Kraft is working fine for a single user. But what if a team
wants to use Kraft and share number cycles (which are base for the document numbering like
invoice number), documents and template catalogs? Well, as long as they share the same
database, it might work (I didn’t test deeply) but if they happen to be on different locations
it becomes difficult. I try to make that possible.

My development target for Kraft is simplicity. For the user of course, but also for the
setup. The server to share data, which is obviously needed, must work on a cheap hosting
offer, and it must work with a weak internet line. So a database connect via internet is not

I decided to investigate in ownCloud and enhance
it with a plug-in called KitoC. ownCloud is a project started
by Frank Karlitschek and implements a handy but scalable WebDAV Server beside more. Seems to
fit my needs perfectly. Yesterday I implemented the number server function in KitoC after good
conversation with Cornelius at breakfast in the office. Not very much achieved yet, but had to
learn a bit of ownCloud first. I keep you posted.

As all of you know already, Hackweek number 6 started yesterday. What I’ll be doing? Last
Hackweek I started with project to run pastebin for openSUSE.
Thanks to you I received quite some feedback. Mostly positive. The rest that wasn’t entirely
positive contained some feature requests :-D I guess it can count also as positive feedback in
the end. One big feature was already implemented. Our pastebin support image pastes as well as
code one. This was done mainly to help Sirko and our artwork team. Although user interface wasn’t really intuitive, it
worked (UI is much better now in git repo, will be deployed in the end of the week). Other
feature people asked for was ability to log in. So they’ll have their own history, control
over their pastes and they’ll be able to skip spam checker (some people really need to paste
something that looks like spam). So I decided that this Hackweek I’ll be working on this
feature. Currently I got OpenID working for authenticating users. But there is still many
features missing and I’ll need to find a way how to make it work within our openSUSE
infrastructure. So far I didn’t succeeded in getting OpenID from our servers. So first two
days are over and I made some progress, but there is still long way to go.

That was for “what’s going on” part. I’ve got also something else to share with you. Do
you know Ohloh? It’s site that collects various
data regarding open source projects. And openSUSE Paste is one of them. One really cool feature they’ve got is journal. You
can post short message regarding your project. I really like that. Writing blogposts takes
quite some time and blogpost should be long. But I’m trying to make journal entry on Ohloh as
soon as I’ve got something especially when I don’t feel that it is worth whole blogpost. Even
things that I’m blogging about probably appears on ohloh first. So if you are openSUSE Paste
fan, you should follow it on Ohloh

Third Hackweek 6 day went a
bit differently than I planned, but there is still lot of progress.

I’ve added some more calls to the Series60 remote protocol, so that some things now work much faster (eg. getting
number of contacts, calendar entries). The applet now also has a function to toggle Bluetooth
so it does not have to be done elsewhere in phone menus.

On Gammu side I focused on messaging support, so now
Gammu can list messages in the phone or send new

Modification of calendar entries is left for tomorrow, hopefully I will get to it and the
support will be more or less complete and I will have Friday for final cleanup.

And as usual – all code is is available in our Git repository and check documentation for information
how to set it up.

My project for Hackweek IV was to bring openFATE to mobile devices, and have a shared
framework, so we can easily create mobile versions of other opensuse sites, for example the
build service.

I decided to use the jquery mobile framework and together with Andre we created a rails
plugin that automatically switches iPhones and android devices to the mobile version. (Use
this link to test the mobile version with your desktop browser) (…)

Hackweek 6 is over and my
project is done – Gammu can now talk to Symbian phones.
All the work is based on Series60 –
remote applet
. The changes on Gammu side were not just to implement new protocol,
but also some more general improvements it enforced. I think the diffstat summary tells how
much was changed:

166 files changed, 23126 insertions(+), 15738 deletions(-)

All code is is
available in our Git repository and
check documentation for
information how to set it up. There will be testing release incorporating these changes next
week to give broader audience chance to test it.

So now Gammu has long requested support for Symbian and we need other challenge. That
seems to be Android right now and there are already two approaches which might help there. One
of them is porting Series60 applet to Android, what is planned by Series60-remote author.
There is also other promising way, where I can not share much details right now, but I can
give you a little

$ gammu identify
Device               : 5210
Manufacturer         : HTC
Model                : unknown (HTC Nexus One)
Firmware             : FRG**
IMEI                 : **************8
SIM IMSI             : **************7

Yes, getting basic information already works for the developer working on it :-).

Header PictureStatus Updates

Header PictureDistribution

The complete SMB
Traffic Analyzer
(SMBTA in the following) software package (up to date Samba
including SMBTA VFS module, smbtad and smbtatools) are now available in openSUSE’s Tumbleweed distribution, making it ready to run SMBTA
out of the box. Since my blog is read by quite some people outside of the openSUSE
community, I am using this space to shortly introduce the Tumbleweed project, as it might
raise interest to those who were not aware of it.

openSUSE Tumbleweed is a project to provide the
openSUSE Distribution in form of rolling updates. At a
glance, this means in the ideal world: Install Tumbleweed once, and never run out of updates
or maintenance, as Tumbleweed will update itself to always match the current package
versions that openSUSE’s maintainers or the according open source projects consider as the
current stable release of a package. In difference to the openSUSE Factory distribution, which
simply provides the current development state of openSUSE, Tumbleweed will not provide unstable or experimental packages. The projects idea
was being discussed for longer time in the community, and finally brought to life and
implementation by Greg Kroah-Hartman, who announced a
Tumbleweed repository in the openSUSE Buildservice
. In it’s current form,
Tumbleweed is driven by a number of package maintainers and developers who want to make
Tumbleweed to happen, and relies on package maintainers to support Tumbleweed by submitting
their packages to the repository.

It’s very easy to jump from openSUSE 11.3 to Tumbleweed
by using zypper, to give it a try. I run it successfully in a virtual machine since
Tumbleweed was announced, and consider to make it my distribution for development/work as it
brings advantages that I don’t want to miss. Being able to release a new SMB Traffic Analyzer version and having it available for users and packaged in
a distribution
in a matter of hours is one of them. Read more about that on
the Tumbleweed page in the openSUSE

Team Report

Header PictureBuild Service Team

Build Service Statistics. Statistics can found at Buildservice

Header PictureGNOME Team

I’ve finally added the Compiz packages to my development repository and unity itself
alongside with some tools.

There are several bug reports on launchpad concerning ATI users, involving RADEON DRM
driver and FireGL (fglrx) drivers. Unfortunately for me, I’m also a very happy ATI

I’ve struggled yesterday with some ABI problems on compiz, this was mainly because I
had git snapshots from different days, and updating and rebuilding it, really solved the

Today I’ll be implementing the required patches for compiz by Ubuntu,, and hopefully
this will enable me to test Unity, this time on a spare laptop with Intel Graphics
chipset. I was hoping to pop some screenshots today, unfortunately, I’m having a couple of
problems with Compiz that hopefully a couple of missing patches will solve.

I’ve left behind the ‘clutk’ package, as it’s currently broken and I need to take
closer look into ‘glew’ and work it out. Something for monday/tuesday spare time.

For the time being, the only screenshot I have to show is the one of CCSM
(compizconfig-settings-manager) with the Unity plugin.


Header PictureKDE Team

I’ve just pushed the relevant buttons to make the release of 4.6.0 a public fact.
Packages should appear shortly for your favourite operating system, I know that openSUSE
packages are available from Factory now, so start your zypper already.4.6.0

The release is actually a pretty big thing, it adds a lot of new features, some of
which very visible, others being less noticable. There’s the mobile profile for example,
which makes it much easier to use KDE frameworks in your mobile application. Then we have
the re-vamped activity manager, that adds a way to group applications in their context and
makes it possible to manage these activities like sessions. So head over and read what’s
new in the Plasma
, the applications and the
KDE development

What’s been going on in the openSUSE KDE team this week? The news on everybody’s lips
is that the KDE project released 4.6.0 yesterday. Naturally, we’ve got it available for
download for all current openSUSE releases as we prepare 4.6 for openSUSE 11.4. 4.6 brings
better performance and improved power management control to the Plasma workspaces. The KDE
4.6 application releases include features such as navigation capabilities in the Marble
map app, more ways to search your files in Dolphin, and photo sharing via social networks.
KDE 4.6.0 is currently available in the KDE:Distro:Factory repositories. A KDE:Release:46
repository will shortly be made available, providing the point releases in the KDE 4.6

Figure 1. Plasma Desktop with Dolphin browsing this week’s modified files, and Speaker Setup

Plasma Desktop with Dolphin browsing this week’s modified files, and Speaker Setup dialog

Figure 2. Krita, KPlato, KSpread, KWord, about to transform into Calligra Office

Krita, KPlato, KSpread, KWord, about to transform into Calligra Office

Figure 3. Amarok 2.4.0 playing last.fm using Phonon 4.4.4 and GStreamer

Amarok 2.4.0 playing last.fm using Phonon 4.4.4 and GStreamer

Figure 4. Some code I wrote with my feet in a bucket of water in 2004

Some code I wrote with my feet in a bucket of water in 2004

But that’s not all that we’ve been up to. Amarok 2.4.0 continues to help you
rediscover your music, with better automatic playlists and removable device support. We’ve
packaged KOffice 2.3.1 including the realistic natural medium paint app, Krita. KDevelop
4.2, also released today, is already on our mirrors. C++ and PHP coders should check it
out for its powerful code completion and refactoring support, augmented with better search
and replace, improved Kate text editor, and QtHelp documentation support. digiKam 1.8.0
leads the way in professional Free Software photo management.

The team continues to work to prepare openSUSE 11.4. The openSUSE updater applet is
being replaced by the more polished KPackageKit from KDE. Our beta testers have already
resolved several critical bugs before 4.6.0 was released, and is assessing PulseAudio and
the range of Phonon sound system options for the best audio experience when 11.4 is
released. All dependencies on the old HAL system for hardware in KDE have now been
replaced with udev, and have received a lot of testing. KSynaptiks has been configured by
default to allow touchpad taps, but disable the touchpad when typing. And the team has
been assiduously packaging new dependencies in KDE’s 4.6 releases so they are fully
featured, including the Okteta hex editor plugin for KDevelop, the R backend for the
Cantor math app, and the new speaker setup config module.

Artwork and branding for 11.4 is nearly complete, featuring the Celadon Stripes
wallpaper by KDE’s Ivan Čukić . The mysterious-looking upstream default wallpaper ‘Horos’
is also available – just install the package kdebase4-workspace-branding-upstream. KDE’s
Oxygen look and feel becomes possible in GTK apps by installing the new Oxygen GTK theme.
And a number of minor tweaks to the default KDE in a new installation of 11.4 add up to
improved performance, for example by deferring starting services until they are needed.

If you want to join the fun or just need a helping hand, the expert and fanatical
openSUSE KDE team can be found in #opensuse-kde on IRC, at
or at http://en.opensuse.org/Portal:KDE. You
can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

The Webslice applet has been in Plasma (kdeplasma-addons, to be precise) since 4.4
already. It allows the user to display a part of a webpage on the desktop. This can be
useful for monitoring only a specific part of a webpage, or just to display something

The Webslice applet has been written by Richard Moore and me as a functional
prototype, but didn’t see much love since it was added to Plasma for 4.4 in 2009. Its
basic mechanism is that you specify a “slice” within a website, which is a rectangular
region. This region then gets shown in the applet, and resizes dynamically with it,
zooming the “slice” in and out. The widget basically worked, but had two significant
problems: Resizing was very sluggish and bound to a kept aspect ratio, and you needed to
know CSS2 selector syntax to actually use it.

Earlier tonight, I’ve committed a set of changes which address these problems, and
backported them after review on the plasma-devel mailing list to the 4.6 branch, so these
changes become part of Plasma 4.6.1, which will be the first service and translation
update to 4.6.0, which we released yesterday.


Figure 5. performance


First, the resize issue. The Webslice applet Figure 5, “performance” uses a
webkit view, which displays the page and is positioned (basically scrolled with scrollbars
switched off) and zoomed to fit into the area the applet covers — fairly simple in fact.
The performance problem was caused by too much resizing which got passed down the stack
(if you scroll and zoom a website every couple of milliseconds, it becomes quite heavy on
the CPU easily. I’ve addressed this by cleaning up the codepathes that lead to resizing,
so that it only causes the resize (and thus the repositioning and zoom of the webpage)
when absolutely necessary. Resize events from the applet are now compressed a bit, so that
we don’t get more than 10 resizes a second. That’s “good enough” for the user to see what
effect his mouse-dragging has, but doesn’t have the sluggish effect. Then, while resizing,
I’m freezing webkit’s tiled backing store, for an additional performance boost. The result
is very noticeable, the lag and CPU-hogging while resizing is gone, and the sizing of the
applet is much less unwieldy with these changes. In that process, I’ve also switched to a
non-fixed aspect ratio. Bug #1 thoroughly fixed.

improving interaction

Figure 6. improving interaction

improving interaction

Next-up, slice selection. As I already mentioned, that was neither easy, nor
user-friendly. (If you’re running, 4.4+, give it a shot, it really sucks ;-).) First off,
you need to know CSS2 selectors (they’re quite easy, in most cases you want #myid for an
element in the page being marked with id=”myid”), but still limit the utility of the
widget to a rather select group. (Does this make the widget 1337?)I’ve been pondering how
to best offer this to the user. It should be easy to pick a slice from all the elements
that are there. The first thing I did was to turn the lineedit where you’d input the CSS
selector (#myid or whatever) into an editable combobox, already containing elements to
choose from. That made picking a slice much more “determistic”. Still, the #myid names are
not always telling you what part of the page their actually displaying, so some more
feedback is desirable. My approach there is the following: When the user opens the
configuration dialog Figure 6, “improving interaction”, the page is zoomed out and fully
shown in the webslice applet, it switches to a preview mode. The user can now enter a
different URL, and temporary load this in the slice applet. The combo box containing the
elements is now updated to contain the elements of the new page. Website picked, now let’s
pick a slice. By selecting a slice from the combobox, the preview mode highlights the
position of the currently selected slice in the widget. You apply and it zooms in there. A
nice touch is that you can “scroll” through the slice by hovering over the combobox, or
flip through them using the arrow keys while focusing the combobox. All in all, not quite
unintrusive changes, but considering the widget wasn’t of much use due to above described
problems anyway (there was one bug filed against it — likely a bad sign, I’m not that good
a hacker). Marco and Aaron were kind enough to review the patches and agreed that they
won’t hurt much, but do provide a nice set of improvements we’d like our users to get
fairly quickly, not just next summer with 4.7.

There are a couple of loose ends left for 4.7, though. As I wanted to keep the
possibility of a backport open, I’ve not changed any strings in the widget, adding an
explaining tooltip here or there might be useful, but also some more flexible sizing
options (what proportions to use for the initial rendering — that matters for fluid
layouts, how to clip if the size of the widget doesn’t match the aspect ratio of the
slice, etc. I’ve chosen “sane defaults” for these things now, but it’ll probably be nice
having that available as an option to the user.

Create your own webslice Plasma widgets in 4 minutes

There’s one neat thing left to tell about the webslice: You can easily create your own
preconfigured slices. In order to do that, copy and rename the .desktop file, change name,
comment, icon, if you wish, then add a line


Copy the file to ~/.kde(4)/share/kde4/services/, run kbuildsycoca4 and add your newly created webslice to your Plasma using the
widget explorer.

A possible direction we can take this is to add a webslice category to
opendesktop.org, and start sharing our webslices with each other…

Header PictureopenFATE Team

Top voted Features

Features with highest vote, but no one has been assigned to yet.
We are looking for volunteers to implement.

“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).”

“We need a replacement for sax2 in 11.3, as a safety measure for when auto
configuration fails to detect certain monitors/keyboards/mice. (…)”

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

“Idea from community member Raúl García. Same concept as MSI packages for
Windows but exploiting the One Click Install concept of openSUSE (and therefore
inheriting the simplicity, code and security. (…)”

“The YaST Qt package manager should provide as much information in the
“Installation Summary” view as zypper, esp the overall download size to expect
and how much disk space will be freed/used after performing the operation.”

“The YaST2 sw_single dialog for conflicts, vendor change, architecture change
etc. is very scary for many users.

The dialog asks the user to select one of usually three offered solutions for each
problem without giving much help. This is a cause for many complaints, and contributes
to myths of RPM dependency hell still existing today. (…)”

Recently requested features

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

If the user adds a repo via the community repos list he should be able to remove
them via the same way, i.e. have a list where he can de-select and thus remove the
repos. That way if he e.g. added some repo which messed-up his system he could just
bring up that same list de-select the repo and yast would “update” all
installed packages from that repo to the original state and remove the repo

In YaST’s software management it’s the same, you add/remove/refresh from
within the same list.

It seems that OpenSUSE 11.4 still ships cyrus imapd 2.3.16. The 2.3.16 is listed as
“legacy” at the Cyrus-Homepage .

Would it be possible/better to change to 2.4.6 (or whatever version will be recent

Romanian keyboard is not listed to other international layouts during the openSUSE
installation. It can be choosen only after the openSUSE installation through Control
Center -> Keyboard -> Layouts.

Please add the romanian keyboard mapping to the openSUSE installation.

Merge YaST and Control Center together, and make this more structurate.. many
similar settings are present here and there…

Add ratings and reviews to all the packages in Software Manager, feature implemented
already in Linux Mint and soon to be in Ubuntu.


This project is not about an address book. It’s not about listing contacts in
alphabetical order, having fields for titles and middle names, zip codes, and different
types of phone numbers, it’s not about concepts like meta-contacts, contact
syncing, IM status notifications, device capabilities, or about formats, APIs, or other
technical questions. (…)

Moving to a new version often (always?) requires manual configuration of the new
release to incorporate all the changes made over the life of the current system. If
these changes were logged to a central file, we would, at a minimum, have a list to work
with for manual changes, but longer term that log could serve as a data source to
automate the configuation process. (…)

One openSUSE dvd that can be used for installation and also for live demo (like
Ubuntu, Fedora… etc)

We can have MintMenu by default in openSUSE

1. It is a fork of our own slab

2. It has lots more functionality than our slab and yes more popular too

3. Better UX

It already exists at OBS

Feature Statistics

Statistics for openSUSE 11.4 in openFATE

Header PictureTesting Team

The next Testing Core Team IRC meeting will be Jan. 31, 2011 at 18:00 UTC.

In our meeting, we will be discussing our experiences with 11.4 M6 and discussing bugs
that we have encountered.

The QA tests of team member Bernhard Wiedemann are proving to be exceedingly valuable
in preventing problems at release time, even though he only tests on the limited hardware
of KVM virtual machines. These tests are improving daily. For example, the x86_64 DVD for
M6 is too big to fit on a standard DVD. To prevent such an event in the future, Bernhard
has added a check that will fail any future build that exceeds the limit.

It is extremely important to test M6 so that as many bugs as possible are found and
fixed before the GM comes out in March. Remember that your hardware may have problems not
seen by other testers. Unless you find such bugs and file a report on them, they may not
be fixed by March.

Header PictureTranslation Team

Header PictureIn the Community

Postings from the Community

Last week I attended two very interesting developer sprints at the SUSE office in

More and more people in the Linux world realize that a nice application installer
(Application Store) is needed to make the Linux platform more attractive for normal users
and third party developers. The current package managers expose way to much complexity to
the end users. The normal users doesn´t care about dependencies, libraries and other
internals. But the user cares about things like screenshots, description texts, ratings.
tags, comments, recommendation from friends and other features which current package
managers don´t provide. So the idea grow to build a better tool for finding and installing
applications which sits on top of the current package management.

It´s part of the Bretzn project to build something like this. The first sprint last week
brought people from all major Linux distributions on one table to discuss ways to work
together to build a common application installer API and infrastructure. Developers from
RedHat, Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu, openSUSE, Mandriva and Mageia met and discussed ways to make
this happen. After 2 and a half days we all agreed on an architecture and we will work in
the next few month to bring this to all majors distributions. I´m happy that OCS was chosen
as the standard API to access App Store Servers.

The second sprint was the Bretzn sprint which took place directly afterwards and was all
about coding.

Several people from openSUSE and KDE met to build a proof of concept implementation of
an Application Store for openSUSE and KDE.

This second sprint was also super productive so after another weekend we have a basic
App Store client together with a server running.

All the basic features are in place and it just needs a bit more polishing.

There is a news story coming up with some more information and screenshots. So stay
tuned if you are looking for more information. :-)

In May, the dutch “HCC” computerclub will organize a Linux day. They have asked me if
I’d be willing to give a talk there – cool, I can do that. And if I could also set up and
staff a booth. Slightly harder to do that on my own – so I hereby would like to ask any
dutch openSUSE users who are willing to help out to contact me!

Maybe we can do more than only that booth, there are plenty of events in the Netherlands
and of course we should organize a openSUSE 11.4 release event to get to know each other!

Talking about local openSUSE, look at this site and find
the openSUSE article by HeliosRed :D

Still at Linux Conf Australia. Have new pictures, see below. A few notes:

  • I spoke with some local Novell/SUSE people – and we made a deal that we’ll work
    more together to promote openSUSE in Down Under.
    Sorely needed, our technology can contribute a lot to the work people here are doing.
    And I bet we can learn a thing or two too…

  • Yesterday I attended talks about Koji (Red Hat build system)
    and Fedora
    . Koji – let’s just say we need to communicate OBS a lot better. Will make the lives of
    many sysadmins quite a bit easier. Seriously, Koji is nice but: command line only (web
    interface just monitors and can restart tasks); runs on local hardware and thus only
    builds for your own architecture; doesn’t really support building for other distro’s –
    surely not Ubuntu and Debian like OBS can do; you can’t just point it to a SVN or Git
    repository – no, first have to create source RPM’s by hand. And there’s more – just
    showing how awesome OBS really is. I do think OBS needs a name change – to something
    like Open Build Service. To make clear it ain’t just openSUSE

  • The Fedora talk was also interested and the Fedora Project Lead is a cool dude. I
    spend some time with him during the Penguin Dinner and he invited me to a cross-distro
    discussion panel at FOSDEM together with the Debian project lead. We seem to be very
    much on the same page and I look greatly forward to that!

  • The Friday keynote by Mark Pesce was
    awesome, be sure to to check the video’s on blip! There is an upload/network
    issue, so they won’t be there anytime soon, unfortunately. He spoke about freedom, mesh networking, facebook and more. Oh and it’s 18+
    rated – including juicy quotes on Steve Jobs you
    don’t want to miss!

All in all – great day which isn’t over yet. I’ll be giving a 90
sec lightning talk
at the closing ceremony, showing off the awesomeness of SUSE Studio. Mostly due to that being the only thing
I could whip together into a PDF quick enough – ImageMagick’s “convert” tool to the rescue!
But it will give a taste to people, show them (open)SUSE is more than relevant: you really
need to some SUSE knowledge on your CV if you want to be a good sysadmin ;-)

Of course the result will end up on the openSUSE marketing resources page here – I just need
darix to upload it as the PDF is more than the 2 MB limit.

openSUSE for your Ears

The openSUSE Weekly News are available as livestream or podcast in German. You can hear it
or download it on Radiotux.

From Ambassadors

What a cool and productive week! But let me start from the beginning …

A couple of months ago we decided to start a hackerspace in Prague called brmlab. Most of the members deal with hardware, but there
are also couple of software guys like me. At the end of November we were contacted by Tomeu and he asked if they can organize GNOME Python Hackfest in our
hackerspace. I was more than delighted about the idea, so we agreed and started to plan
things. In the end we had 9 FOSS hackers working on GNOME and Python and I think they
enjoyed their time in Prague. Hackerspace is a great concept, because these folks didn’t
have to spend extra money on renting some place and our members had opportunity to meet
foreign FOSS developers and try exotic hardware like OLPC XO-1.

Figure 7. Blogposts from Tomeu
and J5 about the

Blogposts from Tomeu and J5 about the event

I had to leave the guys on Tuesday evening, because I spent the rest of the week in SUSE
office in Nuernberg. The first three days were dedicated to Cross-distribution meeting about application installer organized by Vincent. It went more than well, we discussed
and agreed on many things, which is great and in the end we were able to give a presentation + we also created a
nice AppStream
as a starting point for any future work.

Figure 8. Vincent wrote a nice summary for openSUSE
. (It is not yet there, but should appear soon.)

Vincent wrote a nice summary for openSUSE News. (It is not yet there, but should appear soon.)

This meeting was immediately followed by Bretzn hackfest
organized by Frank. The main focus of it
was implementing some of the things we agreed on previous meeting from the KDE/Qt
perspective and porting MeeGo Garage to openSUSE. During it I was mainly dealing with
appdata.xml format we described in the AppStream meeting – I created an XML schema so we can
validate it and also developed a proof-of-concept generator of this piece of metadata in
Python. (git repo) Hope we can get it in
createrepo and dpkg-scan* utilities soon.

Figure 9. Frank’s summary about the hackfest will appear on Planet openSUSE soon

Frank’s summary about the hackfest will appear on Planet openSUSE soon

I would like to thank GNOME Foundation and Collabora for sponsoring the GNOME Python
Hackfest, Novell for sponsoring the Bretzn Hackfest and Canonical, Debian, Mageia, Novell
and Red Hat for sending their people to AppInstaller Meeting! It’s really nice and
encouraging to see folks from various companies working on one common goal.

And yeah,

so see you there!

Here in Greece we celebrate the new year except from gifts but also by cutting a New
Year’s Pie where inside there is a coin hidden. Whoever finds it wins a special gift and is
meant to be lucky the new year. A local Linux User Group located in Volos called Volug and
LinuxTeam Teilar in Larisa which both teams consist of colleagues had two small parties for
cutting the New Year’s Pie. I was there to celebrate with those people and inform them about
openSUSE and openSUSE community. They were all interested about openSUSE distribution. I
answered many questions about Tumbleweed and Evergreen and informed them about our new 11.4
and OBS as many of them where interested about the work that is done by openSUSE community
and by the Greek Community. I had some cds/dvds and posters with me which i gave them. In
the future we will make some events together. Unfortunately we did not took any pictures. I
would slightly have won the hidden coin at the first party but the next person got it.

Photo of the New Year’s Pie

Figure 10. Happy New Year All!!!!

Happy New Year All!!!!

George Bratsos aka


Header PictureNew/Updated Applications @ openSUSE

I have updated apache2-icons-oxygen with icons
from KDE 4.6 RC2. Thanks Nuno & Co! Now Apache’s directory listings look a bit better

See it in action here. If you want
to download the tarball/rpm, go to the Build

“VLC media player is a highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video
formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, …) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various
streaming protocols. It can also be used as a server to stream in unicast or multicast in
IPv4 or IPv6 on a high-bandwidth network.

The last days i’ve updated or added new Packages:

Have a lot of fun with it :-)

Today we released our first stable release of LibreOffice. That is really rather exciting !
and a major milestone. Of course, if you have a GNU/Linux or Unix distribution, most likely
your packagers already knew our release timetable, and have distribution packages ready for
you to use. If you can use those, do – they are likely to be better integrated with the
system, and somewhat faster.

If you are a Windows or Mac user though, it is a great time to try out LibreOffice,
directly from our download site.

Why LibreOffice ?

Apart from all the obvious reasons – of loving Freedom, Free Software, and fun, open,
community development. LibreOffice is just better, much better, check out our (still
expanding) New
page – showing off what people can expect to enjoy in LibreOffice. As I get
time, I’ll add some highlights of my own appended here.

What next ?

As we work in a much more conventional Free Software project mold, we are releasing a
point-zero release. This will not be perfect, but is any
software ? what we will be doing is rapidly iterating it, via many minor point releases,
towards perfection. We’ve published our timeline for that. Something
you don’t like ? some hideous translation or crasher bug ? we can include that fix soon, so do
get stuck in and help out.

Perhaps the more interesting piece is the commitment to move to a six month release cycle,
that is well aligned with existing Free Software community and distribution release cycles. We
hope this will help get the latest, and best LibreOffice into users’ hands as quickly as

How do I get involved ?

LibreOffice is a project, almost uniquely suited to scaling to hundreds of people working
on it – there are problems, missing features and bugs everywhere. There are millions of
malnourished lines-of-code, awaiting your loving ownership, and remedial care – can you help
them ? If so, please head to our developer instructions
grab the code from freedesktop’s git repository, and get stuck in, we’d love to work with you.
We have many Easy
designed for beginners to get involved – ranging from zero programming skill
required, to some heavier lifting for the elite. As you do that, please do say hello on IRC:
#libreoffice on irc.freenode.net, where much of the team
hangs out.

Of course, if you want to mirror our binaries – and we are only 11Gb small (compared to
70Gb+ for OO.o), then drop a mail to , we use
Peter’s excellent mirrorbrain – we have good
coverage, but it can always improve. If you just like web banners that point to us there is
just such a image.

Who did this thing ?

Well, in fact many people, far more than I can write down in one place – there are
extensive credits here for all of
the many individuals that have struck their blow for freedom with us; I am incredibly grateful
for their support and friendship.

However, of course, some people have put more than the usual effort into this release –
and here is where I forget people and offend at least someone. For various reasons: new
packaging, and split help – the Windows build sucked a lot of mental energy this cycle, with
Fridrich and Tor bearing the brunt of the pain. Similarly, Kendy battled the split help
indomitably at great length, while managing the Novell team too. Then of course, the Steering
Committee have put in lots of time with my personal favorite of Italo – creating and massaging
press text and briefing many. The poor translation team, worked incredibly well under very
tight deadline pressure to make up for the late strings that routinely needed shoving in, with
Andras doing fantastic work getting their changes merged. Then finally, the website, its
infrastructure, mirroring, scripting, design, artwork, and volume of text, polish, translation
and beauty, as always – done on the very cusp of release swallowed much sweat and tears
particularly from David, Christian, Florian, Thorsten and Sophie. My profound thanks to all of
these, and more who worked so hard to get the release out – oh, and especially to the many
un-sung hackers who got really stuck into triple reviewing, and fixing nasty blocker bugs
before final code freeze.

SMBTA Stresstest 0.0.2 is
available in SUSE Studio
, an appliance made for testing the SMB Traffic Analyzer
software suite. A side effect of being a test is that SMBTA Stresstest can easily be used by people interested in trying SMB Traffic Analyzer.

Since version 0.0.1 of SMBTA Stresstest, a new
release of SMB Traffic Analyzer
brought changes that are affecting the testing
appliance. Actually, SMBTA Stresstest includes a patched version of
with changes that did not made it into the 1.2.2 release. SMBTA
Stresstest now creates directories and human readable filenames which should make it much
easier to interpret the results of a machine generated traffic scenario. :)

  • there is now smbtatorturesrv, a small server
    application distributing unique filenames and paths to several smbtatorture processes on
    the net

  • now six users are running the smbtatorture application, creating more diverse
    traffic (compared to 2 users in the former release) and are employing the
    smbtatorturesrv process.

  • now three shares are being used while in operation, compared to 2 in the former

SMBTA Stresstest is maintaining an open port 3491 to allow queries from the smbtatools

You can download SMBTA Stresstest from the SUSE Studio Gallery. For more
information on SMB Traffic
Analyzer, visit it’s homepage

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.

Header PictureKernel Review

Kernel version 2.6.38 supports AMD’s new Fusion CPUs and offers 2D
and 3D acceleration with many current GeForce and Radeon graphics cards. Power economy for
the graphics cores in Intel processors and chip-sets has been improved; new page flipping
features aim to eradicate image flickering, tearing and incomplete rendering issues.

Less than five days after closing the 2.6.38 merge window, Linus Torvalds has already issued the second release
candidate of Linux 2.6.38. Last Saturday’s fast follow-up wasn’t due to a major flaw in
2.6.38-rc1; it had more mundane reasons. On Sunday, Torvalds travelled to this year’s Linux.conf.au (LCA), which, despite the flooding,
is being held in Brisbane this week. Before travelling, Torvalds wanted to test whether he had
installed all the kernel development and release components he needed on the computer he
intended to take.

In his release email, Torvalds indicated that he will now be stricter and disallow
anything that doesn’t explicitly promote stability; any further major changes will have to
wait until release .39. The current development state of 2.6.38 is, therefore, unlikely to
differ much from the final release expected in late March or early April.

The Kernel Log is therefore already in a position to provide a comprehensive overview of
the most important new features of release .38. As usual, we will split the information into
several articles which will eventually cover the various functional areas of the kernel. The
first part of the “Coming in 2.6.38” mini series describes the changes to the kernel’s
graphics hardware support; over the coming weeks, further articles will cover advances in
terms of network support, storage hardware, file systems, drivers, architecture code, and
kernel infrastructure. (…)

Hello, people! Welcome to the last edition of KWN of January! We have cool updates from
the kernel world, so keep reading… (…)

Header PictureTips and Tricks

For Desktop Users

Previously we have looked at some tutorials for anyone, new or advanced, to try his/her hand at creating artwork in GIMP because it CAN accomplish phenomenal works, especially in conjunction with other open-source software. Here’s a fun tutorial to cartoonify photos in GIMP (like you see in ads all over the web), here’s another one on creating image maps, and there’s also one on creating a zoom effect on screenshots. I’m certainly really excited about GIMP if you can’t tell already. (…)

For Commandline/Script Newbies

“Linux is as solid an operating system as you’ll ever use — but that doesn’t mean that the hardware you’re running it on is equally solid. Hard drives are as prone to errors as are file systems. And no matter how stable an OS is, it can’t prevent you from accidentally deleting files and/or folders. But don’t despair: Linux is equipped with a number of tools that can help you repair filesystem errors and reclaim deleted files. Which tools? To start, e2fsck, scalpel, and lsof will get you the farthest. Let’s take a look at how each of these can be used to help your file systems be free of errors and your files be freed from accidental deletion.” (…)

Special built-in environmental variables are positional parameters which hold command-line arguments to positions with the names 1,2,3,4, etc. which are indicated by $1,$2,$3,$4, etc. Argument $0 is the name of the script. These parameters are named positional because within the script the reference is to the position they occur on the command line. (…)

For Developers and Programmers

Python is a high-level, object-oriented language with a comprehensive standard library. Typically, one can develop complex applications in Python very quickly compared to some other languages. Multimedia applications are used in a broad spectrum of fields. Writing applications that work with images, videos, and other sensory effects is great. Not every application gets to make full use of audio/visual effects, but a certain amount of multimedia makes any application very appealing.

In this article by Ninad Sathaye, author of Python Multimedia, we shall cover the following recipes:

* Adjusting brightness and contrast

* Swap colors within an image

* Change the color of a flower (…)

Regular Expressions are the Swiss Army knife for searching through information for certain patterns. They have a wide arsenal of tools, some of which often go undiscovered or underutilized. Today I will show you some advanced tips for working with regular expressions. (…)

For System Administrators

This guide explains how you can run virtual machines with VirtualBox 4.0 on a headless OpenSUSE 11.3 server. Normally you use the VirtualBox GUI to manage your virtual machines, but a server does not have a desktop environment. Fortunately, VirtualBox comes with a tool called VBoxHeadless that allows you to connect to the virtual machines over a remote desktop connection, so there’s no need for the VirtualBox GUI. (…)

One element that is often not know, or that should be measured after a problem statement or after a change in the infrastructure is the network .

But how do you accurately measure the speed between two servers?

Someone use ftp, scp or other file transfer protocols, these can give some indication, but probably you’ll measure the limit of your disks or CPU.

In this article I will show you 3 way to measure the bandwidth from the command line, without using the disks. (…)

Header PicturePlanet SUSE

Having a distribution that gives you a two year support for ALL editions is another
fascinating aspect of the openSUSE distribution. Being in a community that allows you to say
that you think that this is not enough and that you want to do something with it is another
one. Wolfgang Rosenauer believed that something like that would be useful to users and gave
birth to Project Evergreen.

Hi Wolfgang, I have some questions about the Evergreen Project that I got from a few
people I talked about it. Let us start…

Header PictureOn the Web


What’s new in this release (see below for details):

  • Support for multiple icon sizes in winemenubuilder.

  • Improvements to the help browser.

  • Initial stab at DOSBox integration.

  • Various MSI fixes.

  • Some fixes to the Wine debugger.

  • Various bug fixes.

(…) Other Sources: h-online

Call for participation

The Samba eXPerience 2011 in Göttingen, Germany is the 10th(!) international Samba conference for users and developers. Meet the Samba
Team and discuss requirements, new features and get an update on current developments! The
conference is organized by SerNet.

May 9th – 11th, 2011 – Hotel Freizeit In Göttingen –


“Novell has announced that Dell has become the latest participant in the SUSE Appliance Program. This
program allows the use of SUSE Studio to
develop software applications and for their subsequent distribution. According to Novell,
just a few weeks after its introduction in mid-2009, 2,000 ISVs had signed up.

This post is not intended as criticism of the openSuSE project in any way. Most of what
I am writing about here concerns their next release,
which is currently at Milestone 5. I understand quite well what pre-release software is, and
the uncertainty and instability it can be subject to. What I am trying to do is bring some
attention to something I have noticed, which concerns me, and perhaps get some comments from
others who have similar/better/worse experiences. If I am very lucky, I might even hear from
someone who can point out that I am doing something wrong!

There has been quite a bit of commentary and speculation about the Novell takeover and
the possible impact on the SuSE/openSuSE products and development. (Note that I am avoiding
the patent controversy here, intentionally.) The official statements from Novell and SuSE
have been basically that there should be little or no impact, product development and
releases should continue as normal. However, I have been following the openSuSE 11.4
(factory) pre-release development pretty closely because some of the newest things being
developed are important to my Lenovo S10-3s netbook (Broadcom brcm, and Synaptics ClickPad).
What I have seen and experienced since the sale/takeover was announced has been troubling –
or else I am doing something wrong.

First, the openSuSE ISO images are supposed to be what they call “hybrid
images”, which can either be burned to a CD/DVD or copied directly to a USB flash
drive. Writing to USB can be done either directly with dd
(for hard-core old geezers like me), or using the openSuSE Imagewriter utility. It has
always worked quite well for me, until sometime around their 11.4 Milestone 5 release.
Suddenly, the USB image wouldn’t boot. I tried both the 32 and 64 bit images, and I
tried using both dd and Imagewriter, and it just won’t boot. It goes through what
should be a process of reconfiguring the disk label, and then panics. Ugh. It still works
when burned to a CD, so the basic Live image is ok. When this first happened, I believe it
was shortly before Christmas, I assumed that it would be noticed and fixed in short order.
It has been this way for a month now, and it is still the same as of the most recent daily,
Build 1030.

LibreOffice 3.3 wasn’t even released yet when plans for upcoming versions were
being hammered out. A release plan is now in place as well as a development philosophy.

According to the foundation, time-based release plans are more productive than the
commonly subscribed “ready when ready” model. They say it “enforces
discipline, gives predictability, and allows more regular releasing.” The time
intervals are uneven because bug fix incremental versions are easier and quicker to ready
than a major version with new features. They have also taken in consideration
synchronization with some distributions on six-month release schedules to minimize lag
between LibreOffice releases and getting into the hands of users. So, their goal is to
release every six months. To aid in this and possible accelerate the release cycle, they
plan to release daily snapshots and employ an automated build process.

The idea of one universal package format for all distributions has been batted around a
few times over the years. One of the most notable was Ryan C. Gordon’s idea of FatELF files. Reactions varied from supportive to
skeptical to down right opposed. Well, it seems a new team from major distributions is
coming together to implement a “common application installer API and

Developers from RedHat, Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu, openSUSE, Mandriva and Mageia got
together last week at the SUSE office in Nürnberg to discuss how they might implement a
universal application installer they are referring to as an Application Store. This is in
response to the belief that end users aren’t interested in libraries, dependencies,
compatibility, and other technical details. They think users only care about screenshots,
basic descriptions, ratings, user reviews, and such. The idea is to define and write a tool
to find and install applications. (…)

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3 Responses to “openSUSE Weekly News, Issue 160 is out!”

  1. zczc2311

    With 36 Days to go before 11.4 I still cannot get my head around 147 Critical and Major Bugs.
    It really makes me very very sad and I know there is no answer in this process – As I said it makes
    me very very sad :-(((( I installed 11.3 on a friend who asked for it but now hates it with all its bugs – No other friend is prepared to risk this now.

    In the Commercial World I spend most of my time in – I get the usual “Come back in 5-10 years and we will have a serious look at Suse Linux.

    I am sad that I cannot share the beauty of Suse Linux, despite its bugs – but if you cannot easily Burn a CD/DVD Project or play music files etc. No friend is going to give me a break in wanting to try it.

    Although I live in the far away lands of Australia, no matter how I demonstrate how much better things are with Suse Linux – I cannot convince many to try and these same people fiends/associates respect me technical skills to try it – But they never come around.

    At last could I think we have 4 only registered members of OpenSuse – Many talk, but no one acts – Its a very hard push to start change ! In Australia we have a far different way of managing DATA for .gov.mil etc. etc. That is the first sticking point.

    Good Luck to the team with 11.4 – I may be one out of 4, but you have my vote as always

    • Ricardo Chung

      Sorry to hear that sadness from you. oS 11.4 is a work in progress as openSUSE is not a commercial product. Many innovations and tested software are integrated in the commercial SUSE Linux Enterprise products and other Free Open Source Projects too beyond the frontiers of this project. It depends on volunteer contributors and developers to deliver each package. So I would invite you to make your contribution to the openSUSE Project for making you happier again.

      • Scott

        Absolutely it is a work in progress and not meant for System Critical Enterprise Services for which we have SLES and SLED – I am so with that thought as I try to find bugs, accurately and professionally conduct myself, report them, try to offer innovative solutions with words and thoughts; but at the end of the day its Market Acceptance of our OpenSuse that determines its uptake and confidence.

        I am one of the 4 only Member in .AU – Can you imagine what it is like living in Australia, about the same size as the USA, where we are the only 1st World country in the Southern Hemisphere. It changes many thinks, many terms, many thoughts and whilst we are quick to say something is wrong – we offer the solution before the criticism.

        .AU rightfully or wrongfully, is a hard market to appeal to – I am a technical person and I understand our OpenSuse – Mr and Mrs Average Market (NOT Companies) don’t want to touch anything that gives them too many problems in using the software apps and O/S

        Small type problems are forgiven by Market Average, too many will cause Market Average to reply with the standard ‘Come back in 5 years and I’ll see how much better things are then’
        – This is why I am a bit sad with so many contributing to the Open Project – If our OpenSuse had far far few problems (bugs) Market Average would have no issue in acceptance of our OpenSuse – This is why I lament so!

        Me personally, I really don’t matter and in retrospect our small population Market does not matter -In .AU everyone knows this…- I’m not Market Average

        Its also very hard when there are only 4 Voices in the whole of .AU – I hope recent conference changes that around full 360 to huge changes in .AU