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openSUSE 12.3 Milestone 1 is Ready for You!

November 8th, 2012 by

News fresh from the Factory: the openSUSE Release team has made the openSUSE 12.3 Milestone 1 available for testing and feedback. There has been lots of plumbing in the infrastructure, with most prominently the removal of SuSEconfig – the capitalization of its name should give a hint about its age. If you want to get a taste of the upcoming release or want to help test and develop this awesome, green Linux distribution: come and get it!

Updated infrastructure

With Milestone One of openSUSE 12.3, things start getting interesting. For starters, the init system continues to evolve rapidly. Sysvinit has now been removed, following some discussion. Given complete dominion over the boot procedure and device management, systemd has swallowed udev and udisks whole, and the result is systemd v195, up from v44!. This offers the following features:

  • Completely migrated to /usr
  • Improved journal data and queries
  • Additional conditions for unit files (the systemd equivalent of /etc/init.d/ scripts under sysvinit)
  • /media temporary mount points are now under /run/user/
  • Suspend, hibernate and the laptop lid switch are now handled by systemd

Watch a video presentation from OSC12 about developments in systemd on the openSUSETV channel on blip.

Dracut and PackageKit

Discussions about Dracut vs the custom mkinitrd scripts are ongoing. Currently, different scripts are used to create images in different places and Dracut offers an opportunity to fix that – but it is in dire need of more testing and also still lacks a number of features. There are also talks about what to do with PackageKit: the current zypper backend does not work very well and the new PackageKit (which brings a great many desirable changes) really needs a fully rewritten version.


Another piece of long-time S.u.S.E., SuSE, SUSE and openSUSE infrastructure to be demolished for 12.3 is SuSEconfig, probably the most annoying command to enter manually. SuSEconfig was created to replace /etc/rc.config and the often-criticized direct modification of config files by YaST, as a modular host for configuration scripts to apply system-wide changes after installing or removing groups of packages – for example, rebuilding the font database, applying policy stored in a standard format in /etc/sysconfig to the actual config files, or migrating gconf schemas after a version update. Performing these actions once after installing a group of packages reduced installation time. With the trend to performing these actions in post-install/post-uninstall specfile stanzas, or via rpm triggers, the move to dynamic self-configuration by Xorg and NetworkManager, and the removal of slow operations at install time, SuSEconfig is without a role for the first time in more than 12 years, and sysadmins’ pinkie fingers will get a much-needed break.

Software changes

This milestone of course also brings many newer versions in toolchain and for end users. GNOME is now updated to version 3.6 and this milestone also includes the 1.0 version of GStreamer. The software collection from KDE is incremented to 4.9.2 with Qt 4.8.3 underneath. Firefox and Thunderbird are updated to latest stable 16.0.2 releases and colord-gtk and nginx are new. Removals include the Evolution GroupWise connector, removed due to lack of maintenance. F-Spot likewise falls by the wayside, as does the Sabayon configuration management tool. The Smolt hardware tool was dropped as it was deemed to have served its purpose.

In the toolchain and platform section we have the following major changes:

  • Switched to libpng 1.5
  • binutils 2.23 (previous was 2.22)
  • gcc has been updated to 4.7.2 release
  • We are now shipping bison 2.6 and flex 2.5.37
  • Python 3.3 is now shipped (up from 3.2)
  • Mesa 9.
  • xf86-video-ati 6.98.1 (CHANGES??)
  • xf86-video-intel 2.20.12
  • We are now shipping the stable 3.6.3 kernel

Helping out easier than ever!

As expected from a development release, there is still a lot of work to do, so your input at this early stage will be a huge help in making the final release into the beautifully polished work that we aim for. openSUSE 12.3 Milestone 1 has a list of most annoying bugs here, please add issues you find and help fix them. My old blog about BURPing on build.opensuse.org is still relevant: find a how-to for fixing issues here.

See for yourself what the next version of openSUSE has in store for you at our download center.

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38 Responses to “openSUSE 12.3 Milestone 1 is Ready for You!”

  1. Hi !

    Good news!!
    Spreading to spanish speakers:

    Thanks to the developers team !!

  2. Hmmm … if you haven’t changed the installer it’s in better shape then Fedora 18 ;-)

  3. CHris

    Great.. ditching the unique & powerful Zypper/Yast and replacing it with the generic & terrible Redhat Packagekit.. yeah great news :(

    For god’s sakes why are OpenSUSE dev’s so intent on gutting out everything that made Suse unique & powerful to replace them with Fedora/RH tech???

    If I wanted green Fedora i would install Fedora & apply a green theme..
    Sad to see OpenSUSE being absorbed by the borg of Linux :(

  4. Becky

    Have to agree with Chris here…..

    It’s fair to follow on some of the Red Hat idea’s…. like rationalising the files systems/structures… but for the gods sakes, don’t screw up anything to do with the way the users configure SuSE…… it’s what makes it great and allows me to recommend it to clients as an alternative to the Redmond monster…..

    I’ve played with Fedora – on and off – and it’s probably the least enjoyable thing to configure on the planet…. even behind Windows…..!

    • Raymond Wooninck

      PackageKit is not going to replace YaST and/or Zypper. At this moment both the Gnome and KDE desktops are already using PackageKit to notify the user of possible updates, etc. However this is based on an old version of PackageKit and the question was raised if we should update PackageKit to its newer version (which would require a rewrite of it’s zypp backend) or to replace it with a different tool/notifier.

      So there will be no change to the way that openSUSE is working with the configuration tools. YaST will remain the main tool.

      • Pierre

        PackageKit disappointingly never work quite well for, so I would recommend to develop an own update-notifier/handler that simply works and is rock stable. :)
        It does not need any more than that, a simple working tool and I am sure that the openSUSE devs are way good enough to handle that task!

        Thanks for that amazing openSUSE 12.2 release. Hopefully 12.3 will become as stable as 12.2!

        One question left: What happend about discussion on changing the release procedure? Is there any change planned, like 1 release each year or will openSUSE stay at the 8-month release schedule?

        Greetings from Berlin, Germany!

      • Pierre

        PackageKit disappointingly never worked quite well for, so I would recommend to develop an own update-notifier/handler that simply works and is rock stable. :)
        It does not need any more than that, a simple working tool and I am sure that the openSUSE devs are way good enough to handle that task!

        Thanks for that amazing openSUSE 12.2 release. Hopefully 12.3 will become as stable as 12.2!

        One question left: What happend about discussion on changing the release procedure? Is there any change planned, like 1 release each year or will openSUSE stay at the 8-month release schedule?

        Greetings from Berlin, Germany!

      • BartOtten

        Please, support PackageKit even more! I think it would be ‘less smart’ to introduce another system besides PK. Let us please please please unite as much as possible with other distributions. We still can have our unique features (YaST ahhhhh) but we should think about the users for one second and the amount of developers….

        1.) PackageKit tends to unite package handling using backends. A year ago I scripted some sort of ‘One click install’ for KDE.org, until is appeared to be already there as a ‘plugin’ for PackageKit. This way KDE could make installing apps from KDE.org as simple as a click on the button, for various distributions. From a a softwaredistribution point of view that is very nice. Imagine techwebsites that review for example Rekonq, and a button under the article ‘Install now’. PackageKit makes this possible. Maybe it needs more attention….than give it more attention ;-)

        2.) How would we call the new notifier? YaN? NotifieR1000 (NR1000)? I think the Linuxphere should stop starting new projects that are (almost) duplicates, and use it’s time to improve existing projects. I know that everyone wants it’s own ‘the best’-app, but the result is a bunch of ‘so so apps’ that are not userfriendly.

        Conclusion: Zypper is…amazing. No doubt. Combine it with a userfriendly PackageKit (combo Yast sw_single and appstore?) and we have the best installer from all OSes.


  5. condor_85

    Mitici!!!! OpenSuse super stabile!! Aspettando OpenSuse 12.3 versione definitiva!! Complimenti

  6. Opensuse 12.2 seemed like too much of a hybrid of old and new systems, such as systemd being introduced but only being used in parallel with the old sysvinit which retained control of many processes. there are other examples of similar ‘transitions’ with multiple systems governing a single process.

    Opensuse 12.3 will be most greatly appreciated if it completes this transition of these many new technologies leaving a stable and coherent base on which to build.

    Chief amongst this bifurcated and inconsistent systems is package updating, specifically, the fact that suse has two largely separate systems for the process that conflict with each other:


    This needs to be sorted out, leaving one coherent system to govern the package update process!

    When the solution for this problem is being pondered it needs to weigh in the requirments of the new apper/appstream based opensuse app-store that really needs to finally arrive with 12.3:


    Lots of fine work has been done to create the prerequisites of an opensuse app-store, not least of which was changes to packagekit i believe, now is the time to see the fruits of that labour.

    With that said, other updates I like to see from opensuse 12.3 in march are; KDE 4.10, kernel 3.7, further Owncloud integration, and a green opensuse theme.

    Looking forward to it.

  7. Scott Boston

    SUSE Add / Remove / System configuration unit – is better than any other Distro. Why mimic Red Hat ? I recently installed the Fedora 18 Beta – I spent an hour trying to find the configuration tool. Darned if I could even find it. Blew it away and went to OPEN SUSE. Ubuntu wasn’t bad – but that stupid Unity – not doing that.

    • Scott Boston, you couldn’t test Fedora 18 Beta simply because it hasn’t been released yet (shall be available at end of November 2012). Most likely you tested Fedora 18 Alpha or some rawhide snapshot which are actually released for testing and bug tracking.
      I’m using openSuse, but Fedora or Ubuntu are IMO not significantly worse. You’d better try them with Xfce window manager – you’ll be amazed.
      Frankly speaking I was rather disappointed after upgrading to openSuse 12.2, enough to try Fedora, Ubuntu and its derivatives.

  8. Martyn

    I have to say that the strucuture OpenSuse and Suse put on the config files are something I’ve taken forward and implemented equivalents of on other platforms for my own use – just to make better sense of the configuration. This is particularly with things like apache where the default config file layout is crap in comparison. Its a shame to see Opensuse bow to pressure on this.

  9. Robert

    Just please change the suse firewall.

  10. Mario

    PackageKit is a neutral layer between the user and the package manager. It includes frontends for KDE and Gnome, and backends for different package managers (yum, urpmi, pacman, apt-get, zypper, etc). It is intended to be a unified way to maintain most linux distributions using a simple set of commands (or GUIs). So is not a replacement for zypper.

    But developers should take a look on Ubuntu forums because I think (at least in Kubuntu flavor) it got replaced because of bugs.

  11. PhillipS

    I feel the same as Chris, he that does not “Lead is a Follower”, looks like what made openSUSE to be loved is changing. I also see the old versions LibreOffice 3.5.4 and MySQL 5.5.25a. At least I can get them as part of the standard package from “….”. I will wait for the next Milestone.

  12. Hennes

    I have to say that I also agree with Phillips and Chris. Just think about that change.

  13. J. Michael G.

    What I want to see is a DVD / ISO of openSuSE v12.x with KDE v3.5.10 that really works on Acer BZ452 and BZ600 laptops.

    Screw KDE v4.x; ‘Activities’, as far as the user is concerned, are just renamed ‘desktops’. An Akamai db might turn the crank for some, but had KDE config files just been migrated into XML ones, that could have sufficed.

    This chasing of the latest-n-greatest just leaves any mass group of probable adopters behind, and so they must use Win/x by default. Because THAT’S WHAT WORKS and that THAT’S WHAT THE VENDORS PUSH.

  14. Edouard

    Hope the firewire stack works properly. Since 12.1 it’s not. A simple DV video grab is sending me back 10 years behind mucking around with pci TV cards. I’ll give it a go but Linux mint debian based will probably rea

    • Edouard

      damn keyboard … probably replace 8 machines here.

    • I really like the Ubuntu/Debian for scripted installation work on servers. I’ve run SuSE for a couple of years, now… but, the stupid YAST shenanigans really ANNOY me (overwrites configurations — especially manual ones). I have one DESKTOP running SuSE and I don’t want to run servers with YAST!

      The DOWNSIDE to Debian derivatives is the insistence of the upstream to incorporate GnuTLS into everything.

      GnuTLS is a nightmare.

      If Debian(s) would just dump GnuTLS for straight OpenSSL, life would be a lot simpler and enjoyable.

      Fedora sucks.

  15. David

    “Removals include the Evolution GroupWise connector, removed due to lack of maintenance.”

    If it was stable then it wouldn’t need maintenance. If it doesn’t need maintenance because it works, then why remove it?

    • PhillipS

      The more the code the more the bugs will be. What was stable is not working anymore so great as the “core and GUI” got changed. This is a ongoing circle where Linux is by the Technical for the Technical. It took years to solve the “key-ring login issue” (windows drive mapping). Now we have Gnome, just as KDE starting all over again. The new generation “visioneers and coders”. Instead of getting together and make better quality and more M$-compatible software we have a lots just redesigning the wheel. Libre Office 3.6.3 kicks-ass (not sure why SUSE Milestone did not include it). Lucky we have Debian, Mint and Ubuntu. I am from South Africa and very proud what Mark Shuttleworth did and still doing. Africa’s first “Man-on-the-Moon”

    • PhillipS

      I forgot to add, hopefully we will soon get someone that does Linux as what “Google did for Android”

      • David

        Actually, with the ARM project, I think that is exactly is what is happening. I see tablets in openSUSE’s future…

  16. Adenozinas

    Concerning testing. I’d like to help out as many mortal users would as well. I’m not fond of reinstalling Linux often on my “physical machines”. Could one test milestones on virtual machines ?

    • David

      Yep! I have it running in VMWare Player just fine. 12.3 M1 even includes the VMWare Tools – no need to install them.

  17. PhillipS

    Not sure about 12.3 but certainly the previous versions does work with VBox 4.2.4 and 4.1.22

  18. packagekit currently has too many bugs, first thing I disable on new install

  19. expecting the final release for KDE 4.9.2 and kernel 3.6.3

  20. daemonas

    YaST & zypp are SYMBOLS, defining OpenSUSE good enough.
    Leave & let die would not be a wise option…
    (Tax always be linux icon or what..?)

  21. Sayth

    PackageKit needs a lot of work. I remove it straight away otherwise it always inteferes with me using zypper as PackageKit seems to always have it locked.

  22. When I think about suse, the first thing comes to my mind is rock solid stability and zypper. As long as these 2 exists to produce the image of Opensuse, existing users will be happy and attract more users. (As it did me)

  23. Please add the latest version of kernel, firefox, Openoffice.org/LibreOffice and vlc media player.
    Thank you.

  24. paavel

    I used OpenSuSE when its desktop was KDE 3.5.x, of course i tried KDE 4.x.x version but i dont like it, i dont like newest GNOME either.

    Now i use Ubuntu 12.04 LTS on my desktop computer with Unity :-) (now i like it)

    In servers i hate debian based distros… sorry folks! I use CentOS because i see its more logical and easier to handle, and of course it have long support ;-)