OpenSUSE 12.1 is looking good
[Update: I installed 64 bit today. And I discovered that there is still a problem with mounting “/tmp” from swap, in a 64 bit system.]
[Update2: I withdraw the first update. It turned out to be due to user error (my error).]
Release candidate 2 (or rc2, for short) is now available. So, naturally enough, I have been testing it. I have already installed it on my newest system. And the installation on an older 32 bit system is underway as I write this. In both cases, I installed using the 32 bit DVD. I will try a 64 bit install tomorrow, but I don’t expect that to be very different from what I have been seeing today.
Thus far, everything has gone pretty well. The only problems were ones that I had expected. I’ll comment on those below. The 12.1 release is more-or-less frozen at this point. Only show stopping bugs (if any) will be fixed before the final release. So what I am seeing with rc2 should be very close to the final release.
The kernel installed with rc2 is version 3.1.0.
There were problems with the DVD install for rc1. Those problems appear to have been resolved. The installation has been relatively smooth sailing. I successfully used the software selection part of the install to select a variety of software. I included KDE, Gnome, XFCE and LXDE, as I intend experimenting with all of those. And I made sure that I installed the default kernel on my newer Dell laptop (see discussion below).
Changes from rc1
Wireless (wifi) worked out of the box. With rc1, the broadcom adapter on my Dell laptop worked on a boot from the live KDE version, but it did not work on the version installed from the DVD. The change for rc2, is that it now includes all of the firmware that is in the live versions. Incidently, to get wireless working on my rc1 install, I had copied over the firmware (in “/lib/firmware” from the live CD version to the system I had installed from DVD. I’m glad they are now including all of the firmware. That should improve the chances that wireless interfaces will work out of the box (i.e. without adding drivers from other sources).
Software selection now works properly from the DVD, as mentioned above.
I setup my swap partition to be encrypted with a random key. Swap is now being added properly. With rc1 and earlier releases, I had manually do “swapon -a” if I wanted to use encrypted swap.
Mounting “/tmp” as tempfs (which is roughly the same as mounting from swap) now works correctly. Having that work is one of the points of using encrypted swap.
What is still broken
There are a few things that are still broken. The most serious is that the 32 bit desktop kernel still will not load on my laptop. This is a problem from the kernel developers, rather than from the opensuse folk. I am not surprised. The correct solution for users, is to install a 64 bit system on 64 bit hardware. Don’t try to get by with a 32 bit system. If you still have good reasons for a 32 bit install, then be sure to install the default kernel. The installer will probably select the desktop kernel, and if that won’t load you will have a problem. However, if you also installed the default kernel during the software selection phase (as I did), then you will still be able to boot your system. In my case, I cannot access all of the 6G of memory. I would need the desktop kernel to load to access all memory in 32 bit mode. Note that I will be installing a 64 bit system tomorrow. The 32 bit install is only for testing purposes, but not for regular use.
The network setup is still a bit iffy. When the newly installed system first boots, the network probably won’t be working. But it should start working on the next reboot. This is a minor annoyance and inconvenience. I doubt that this will be fixed in time for the final release, as it is not a show stopper problem. If you switch from using “ifup” for your network, to using NetworkManager, you might have the same problem – the network won’t function properly until after a reboot.
That’s it for the problems that I have found. Perhaps more will turn up. There are likely to be bugs in various applications, but I don’t think of those as problems with a distro release.