Opensuse 12.2 Beta2, after a week

I have been testing Beta2 for over a week now.  Apart from the installation problems, it seems mostly to be pretty good.  I not run into many problem.

Installation

Getting it installed is the hard part, as described in an earlier post.  If anybody reading this is still having problems with that plymouth/Yast interaction, then please check the comments on the earlier post.

The good news is that the problem is solved, and I expect the next release (probably the rc1 release) to be free of that problem.

I also ran into problems installing grub2, but when that failed I could fall back to legacy grub.  A newer version of grub2 has been checked in, and hopefully will fix most of those problems.

Plymouth

This is the new splash software, that gives an animated screen during bootup.  It mostly looks okay.  It has a bunch of white blobs that slowly coalesce into a single blob.  There is also a horizontal progress bar.  I am inclined to think that they should remove that progress bar.  The animation already gives sufficient indication of progress, and the progress bar is a bit ugly.

When using encrypted partitions, plymouth does a reasonably good job of prompting for the encryption key.   On the test partitions of my newer laptop, I am encrypting both swap and “/home”.  Plymouth is prompting for the key for swap in the early part of boot (running from “initrd”), so that the swap is available early enough to allow resuming from hybernation.  However, note that I have not tested hybernation.  Because plymouth continues running after the switch away from “initrd”, it tries the same encryption key for “/home” and since that works it does not prompt a second time for the key.  On an older test machine, I use an encrypted LVM, and plymouth handles the prompt for that, too.

Gnome 3.4

I still don’t much like Gnome 3, but it is getting better.  There is now an “Advanced Settings” application which gives a little more user control.

Gnome 3.4 did start up on all of the three systems where I tried it.  On my older test system, it started up in fallback mode (which I prefer anyway).  This is better than earlier 12.2 milestones where it just crashed.  It starts up in full Gnome 3 mode on my newer laptop, and seems to work okay.

The one place where I had problems was my main desktop, where Gnome comes up in full mode but with a broken hard-to-read screen.  I clicked whether “System Settings” is supposed to be, but that configuration application never did come up.  Logging back into KDE, I used the magic incantation

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.session session-name gnome-fallback

after which Gnome 3.4 came up in fallback mode on the next login.  It was mostly good in fallback mode, and the screen was quite readable.  But the “System Settings” application still would not load.  There must be something that it does not like about my graphics card or the nouveau driver.

XFCE

XFCE is now at version 4.10.  I have not run into any problems.  Nor have I noticed any major differences from the earlier 4.8 version.

KDE 4.8.4

I am still mainly a KDE user, so this is the desktop that I primarily used.  It has mostly been working as expected.  The power manager options are a little changed.  I can now tell it to never dim the screen, and I have done that on my newer laptop which is prone to freeze when the screen is dimmed.  Note that even with no dimming, the screen is still turned off after an idle time.  That turning off has never cause problems.  It is the brightness change of dimming that has triggered freezes.

If I click the option “Different widgets for each desktop” in the Desktop Settings configuration screens, the screen goes black.  I can still type into a terminal window, but I cannot get to the logout options.  I had to use CTRL-Backspace-Backspace to restart the desktop.  But that’s a one time issue, so not a reason for concern.

I still don’t like Apper, so I disable that from starting.  I’ll occasionally start it manually, or handle updates with Yast online updates.

Yast

I have not run into any problems with Yast.  I did see some segfaults with Beta1, but I have not seen any with Beta2.  However, there have been reports of others having problems.  The indications are that this is being fixed for the final release.

Overall

Apart from the install problem, this looks more solid than 12.1 did when it was in beta testing.  While 12.2 has been delayed, it looks as if it will be a good release when it is finally out.

 

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About Neil Rickert

Retired mathematician and computer scientist who dabbles in cognitive science.

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