openSUSE Leap 15.3 – A stable base with modern applications

Its interesting to watch Youtube reviews for openSUSE Leap 15.3. One of the main critics is that it doesn’t offer the latest KDE and GNOME desktop versions. “The software is quite old.” Yes, that is not very interesting for a reviewer. Because as a reviewer, you like to point out what is new. And what is exiting. And the goal of openSUSE Leap 15.3 is to not be exciting. The goal is to be stable.

openSUSE Leap and SUSE Linux Enterprise have moved closer together over the last few years. I remember all the effort that has been put into making sure that the codebase for the base packages of openSUSE Leap and SUSE Linux Enterprise were similar. In may 2015 (yes, that is a while ago) Richard Brown announced that the latest SUSE Enterprise Sources where now available in the Open Build Service and he presented the vision for a new stable release version, which would be named openSUSE Leap. But after that, there was still a lot of work. It took a couple of releases (42.1, 42.2, 42.3 and then 15) before the base packages of Leap and SLE were completely aligned. From openSUSE Leap 15 and onwards, SUSE officially supported organizations who wanted to migrate from Leap 15 to SLE 15. And this new release takes that integration even further. From openSUSE Leap 15.3 and onwards, the binary packages of the base of Leap 15.3 and SLE 15 Service Pack 3 will be identical. The packages on top of that base will be ‘community backports’. And these packages will work on both Leap 15.3 and on SLE 15 Service Pack 3.

So you will get a rock solid distribution, because it needs to be enterprise grade. Enterprises don’t have the time, nor the willingness to mess with software. They want to get work done. The software should just work. And that is exactly what you should expect from openSUSE Leap 15.3. This might be a bit boring for a reviewer or for a Linux enthusiast. Because a typical Linux enthusiast wants to try out the latest and greatest software. They want to play around with the new KDE Plasma 5.22 (released on the 8th June 2021). Or they want to play with the new GNOME 40 desktop (released on the 24th March 2021). They can, if they install the latest openSUSE Tumbleweed.

openSUSE Leap 15.3 is based on the Linux 5.3.18 kernel, which was released on the 18th of December 2019. The GNOME desktop is version 3.34 (the same as Leap 15.2), which was released on the 12th of September 2019. And the KDE Plasma version is 5.18 LTS (the same as Leap 15.2), which was released on the 11th of February 2020. Only the XFCE desktop has seen an upgrade to version 4.16, which released on the 22nd of December 2020. You get the idea, the software is at least 6 months to well over 1 year old. Tried and tested software, so to speak. But what is new?

What is new in openSUSE Leap 15.3?

Package name Leap 15.2 Leap 15.2
with updates
Leap 15.3
with updates
Tumbleweed
(Jun 2021)
Audacity 2.2.2 2.2.2 2.2.2 3.0.2
Calibre 3.48 3.48 3.48 5.21
Chromium 81 91 91 91
Darktable 2.6.3 2.6.3 3.4.1 3.4.1
Digikam 6.4 6.4 7.1 7.2
Elisa 20.04 20.04 20.04 21.04
Flatpak 1.6.3 1.10.2 1.10.2 1.11.1
GIMP 2.10.12 2.10.12 2.10.12 2.10.24
GNOME Shell 3.34 3.34 3.34 40.0
GNOME Applications 3.34 3.34 3.34 40.0
GNU Cash 3.9 3.9 3.9 4.5
Hugin 2019.2 2019.2 2019.2 2020.0
Inkscape 0.92.2 0.92.2 1.0.1 1.0.2
Kdenlive 19.12.3 20.04.2 20.04.2 21.04.1
KDE Plasma 5 desktop 5.18.4 5.18.6 5.18.6 5.22.0
KDE Applications 19.12.3 20.04.2 20.04.2 21.04.1
Krita 4.2.9 4.2.9 4.4.2 4.4.5
LibreOffice 6.4.2 7.1.3 7.1.2 7.1.3
Linux kernel 5.3.18 5.3.18 5.3.18 5.12.9
Mozilla Firefox 68.6 78.11 78.11 89.0
Mozilla Thunderbird 68.6 78.10 78.11 78.11
OpenShot 2.4.1 2.4.1 2.4.1 2.5.1
Rapid Photo Downloader 0.9.22 0.9.24 0.9.26 0.9.26
Scribus 1.5.5 1.5.5 1.5.6 1.5.7
Telegram 2.0.1 2.1.11 2.5.8 2.7.5
VLC 3.0.7 3.0.13 3.0.13 3.0.13
YaST 4.2.82 4.2.93 4.3.62 4.4.0
  • In green, I highlighted the packages that are significantly changed in comparison to Leap 15.2.
  • In blue, I highlighted the packages that are changed compared to Leap 15.2 at time of its release, but which are now also available in updated Leap 15.2 installations.

From the table, it becomes clear that some of the bigger productivity applications are kept up-to-date both in Leap 15.2 and Leap 15.3, such as: Darktable, Digikam, Inkscape, Krita, LibreOffice, Firefox ESR, Thunderbird and VLC. openSUSE can still do a better job if they kept GIMP up to date as well, but even GIMP is not too far behind. The point that I like to make is that if you just want to use your computer, openSUSE Leap 15.3 should suffice for that. Not everyone needs the transparent panel functionality that is offered in the KDE Plasma 5.22 desktop. And not everybody needs the new horizontal layout of GNOME 40, when the vertical layout has been refined a lot over the last 10 GNOME iterations. Sure those features are nice to have. But they won’t break the user experience when they are not included. Remember: only a year ago, everybody thought these experiences where the best thing since slided bread.

The upgrade experience

This time, I have decided to upgrade both my laptop (the HP Pavilion 14-ce0830nd) and my desktop (the HP Pavilion Power 580-146nd). The openSUSE installer did ask me to make some manual choices about package conflicts. That might be the result of me having ~10 additional repositories enabled. So my system is not really a stock installation. Without some technical knowledge, I think the questions on file conflicts are not easy to resolve for a new Linux user. This is also a problem during regular updates, so this is a broader openSUSE issue. The YaST installer just offers too much technical choices. Most of the time, there is only 1 valid option. Yes, please make the required changes; downgrade the package or change the repository. Of course I don’t want to keep a package with broken dependencies. And of course I don’t want to delete the application, which I want to keep using. If YaST just removed those choices, in most cases the user doesn’t have to make any manual changes. End of rant.

On the laptop, I had to make more manual choices and this seemed a more complex installation. After the installation, I had to re-install some packages (gnucash, hedgewars and wesnoth) that were not transferred correctly. And I have also removed all (openSUSE Leap 15.2) packages that were left without a repository. Most of these (library) packages had a more modern version in Leap 15.3, but because the version number is included in the package name (instead of in the version number) they were not removed.

On the desktop, I tried to directly upgrade the system with the proprietary Nvidia drivers, which didn’t work out. I did have a successful installation, but I could only use the command line. After running YaST from the command line and re-installing the Nvidia packages (nvidia-computeG05) and rebooting, my system showed the login screen and my problem was resolved. A lesson for the future: when upgrading, do not enable the Nvidia repository. Install these proprietary drivers after the upgrade. After the installation, I had to re-install the same packages (gnucash, hedgewars and wesnoth) that were not transferred correctly. But now that is all said and done, I am very happy that both my systems are running on the latest and greatest openSUSE Leap 15.3.

Published on: 13 June 2021

Jun 12th, 2021

openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2021/23

Dear Tumbleweed users and hackers,

Today, the weekly review reaches you a little bit late: I was out early yesterday to enjoy the weather. Here, the sun is finally coming out for more than just a few minutes. But, back to the important things that are the openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots. Namely, we have released 6 snapshots (0603, 0604, 0605, 0606, 0609, and 0610) in the last week.

The major changes included:

  • Linux kernel 5.12.9
  • Mesa 21.1.2
  • KDE Plasma 5.22.0
  • libxml 2.9.12
  • Apache 2.4.48
  • PHP 7.4.20
  • Chrony 4.1
  • cURL 7.77.0
  • Mozilla Thunderbird 78.11.0
  • OpenSSH: move of the distro default config to /usr/etc. Admin config is supposed to be in /etc. Make sure to check the .rpmsave files after the update. Best to put config snippets in /etc/ssh/sshd_config.d/*.conf files to inherit distro config changes

The changes planned for the future snapshots include:

  • python3x packages will no longer provide a python symbol. This caused some confusion in the past when people expected ‘python’ to be the legacy python2, but python3x provided it as well.
  • Linux kernel 5.12.10
  • GNOME 40.2
  • systemd 248
  • KDE Gear 21.04.2
  • Cinnamon 5.0

Jun 11th, 2021

Lists of Tiddlers using Multiple Tags | TiddlyWiki

A simple and easily understandable way to create lists from multiple tags in TiddlyWiki.

Plasma, Mesa, curl Update in Tumbleweed

Three openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots were released this week with the possibility of another snapshot being released over the weekend if it passes openQA testing.

The latest snapshot, 20210609, brought an update for KDE users; Plasma 5.22.0 was released just days ago and improves stability and usability across the board, according to the release announcement. Developers put in a lot of work on the aesthetics of the release. The big new feature in the release is called Adaptive Transparency, which provides a pleasant translucent panel and panel widgets that become entirely opaque if there are any maximized windows; this is done to avoid any visual distractions when users need to focus. The new version also opens up on a speed dial page in System Settings that gives users direct access to the most commonly used settings, as well as to the ones accessed the most. Mozilla Thunderbird renewed an expired keyring in the 78.11.0 version and fixed two Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures. Wireshark 3.4.6 fixed a display filter crash and macro filters’ handling of escaped characters. A major version update for the basic directory structure was made with the jump of the filesystem package from version 15.5 to 84.87. GNOME 40 also received some updates in the snapshot with an update of gnome-software to version 40.2; some crash fixes were made and an improvement in reporting errors low disk space for Flatpak were made. Other packages to update in the snapshot were git 2.32.0, powertop 2.14, xfce4-settings and nftables 0.9.9.

The 20210605 snapshot provided an update of curl 7.77.0, which fixed three CVEs; CVE-2021-22901 could be tricked into using already freed memory when a new TLS session is negotiated or a client certificate is requested on an existing connection using the curl library. Printing protocol cups-filters updated to version 1.28.8 and fixed several memory leaks and provided some fixes for grayscale mode. A major version update of chrony 4.1 arrived in the snapshot. The newer implementation for Network Time Protocol added support for Network Time Security (NTS) authentication and added support for Advanced Encryption Standard keys with the low-level cryptographic library Nettle. Multiple patches were added for the the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture package and the asla-plugins package in the update to versions 1.2.5. The command line utility package for container images and image repositories, Skopeo, updated to version 1.2.3 and added a fix for login and logout registry arguments. An update of yast2 version 4.4.9 disabled hibernation based on products and virtual machines. Other packages to update in the snapshot were libvirt 7.4.0, kmod 29, vim 8.2.2918 and more.

The 3D Mesa package and Mesa-drivers package updated to versions 21.1.2 in snapshot 20210604. Some flickering when rendering was fixed on Intel’s Tiger Lake chips with the Mesa update. Most of the updates included changes for AMD and Intel, but there was a decent amount of arm fixes. Multiple fixes were made in the update of apache2 2.4.48, which added SSL related inquiry functions to the server Application Programming Interface. The update of the Thunderbolt 3 device manager bolt updated to version 0.9.1, which fixes journal and now has a host identification for embedded thunderbolt controllers. Redis 6.2.4 fixed a few crashes and a CVE that exploited an integer overflow bug. The zypper package added hints to trust GPG key prompt in the version update to 1.14.45; the package also received a translation in Kabyle , which is a language spoken in north Africa. Other packages to update in the snapshot were remmina 1.4.18, xapps 2.2.0, hwdata 0.348 and more.

The syslog-ng Insider 2021-06: Alerting; EoL technologies; Google Summer of Code;

Dear syslog-ng users,

This is the 92nd issue of syslog-ng Insider, a monthly newsletter that brings you syslog-ng-related news.

NEWS

First steps of sending alerts to Discord and others from syslog-ng: http() and Apprise

A returning question I get is: “I see, that you can send alerts from syslog-ng to Slack and Telegram, but do you happen to support XYZ?” Replace XYZ with Discord and countless others. Up until recently, my regular answer has been: “Take a look at the Slack destination of syslog-ng, and based on that, you can add support for your favorite service”. Then I learned about Apprise, a notification library for Python, supporting dozens of different services. This blog is the first part of a series. It covers how to send log messages to Discord using the http() destination of syslog-ng and an initial try at using Apprise for alerting.

https://www.syslog-ng.com/community/b/blog/posts/first-steps-of-sending-alerts-to-discord-and-others-from-syslog-ng-http-and-apprise

Changes in technologies supported by syslog-ng: Python 2, CentOS 6 & Co.

Technology is continuously evolving. There are regular changes in platforms running syslog-ng: old technologies disappear, and new technologies are introduced. While we try to provide stability and continuity to our users, we also need to adapt. Python 2 reached its end of life a year ago, CentOS 6 in November 2020. Using Java-based drivers has been problematic for many, so they were mostly replaced with native implementations. From this blog you can learn about recent changes affecting syslog-ng development and packaging.

https://www.syslog-ng.com/community/b/blog/posts/changes-in-technologies-supported-by-syslog-ng-python-2-centos-6-co

Google Summer of Code 2021

This year, the syslog-ng team participates in Google Summer of Code (GSoC) again as a mentoring organization. Two students paid by GSoC work on syslog-ng under the mentoring of syslog-ng developers. One of the students works on MacOS support, including the new ARM-based systems, while the other one is working developing on a new regular expression parser:

https://summerofcode.withgoogle.com/organizations/5548293561516032/

WEBINARS


Your feedback and news, or tips about the next issue are welcome. To read this newsletter online, visit: https://syslog-ng.com/blog/

Foster openSUSE Leap 15.3 Growth

The release party in the openSUSE bar continues on more than a week after the release of openSUSE Leap 15.3, yet that’s not the only thing soaring for the project.

The adaptation of the new release continues to show a steady increase on metrics.opensuse.org as a pattern trends up and to the right with 40,000 installations a week after the release. Major increases in adaption traditionally happen within a few months after a release as users are expected to upgrade to the latest minor release within six months of its availability.

An area where the project can use help is with the promotion of openSUSE Leap 15.3. Users can find new Leap flyers in the github artwork repository along with updated banners and a new Leap image.

Community marketing has been emphasizing the use of Leap on servers, workstations, desktops and for virtualization and container use. Migration projects and user acceptance testing also benefit from the newest Leap. Large development teams can run and test workloads that can be lifted and shifted to SUSE Linux Enterprise Linux 15 Service Pack 3 for long-term maintenance if needed. The newest minor version is rock-solid and simple to upgrade from Leap 15.2. openSUSE Leap 15.3 is built with the exact same binary packages as SLE.

The community is supportive and engages with people who use Leap through community channels like the mailing lists, Matrix, Discord, Telegram and Facebook. Help to promote the release by giving a review on DistroWatch or do a review of the release through a video or blog.

The release team also wants users’ feedback and can take a survey about the release until June 16.

New Rebuilds Look to Advance New Hardware

Developers of the openSUSE community are making advances toward even broader hardware support through the FrontRunner project.

FrontRunner is a rebuild of SUSE Linux Enterprise from sources in the Open Build Service (OBS) that provides community collaboration through openSUSE’s Step effort. FrontRunner rebuilds all sources in one project that include and stage changes to advance architecture enablement for future Leap releases.

“I am excited how FrontRunner opens up a new approach for openSUSE and SUSE to jointly enable new hardware architectures for openSUSE Leap,” said Dr. Gerald Pfeifer, chair of the openSUSE Board and Chief Technical Officer at SUSE.

openSUSE Leap inherits its base from SUSE Linux Enterprise.

“FrontRunner provides a staging area to feed back into SUSE Linux Enterprise, allowing for new levels of collaboration,” Pfeifer said.

Step, which was started in February, is designed to expand more architecture availability for future openSUSE Leap and SLE releases. FrontRunner rebuilds were established within the Step effort under the openSUSE:Step:Frontrunner namespace in OBS.

FrontRunner seeks to fix the rebuild failures in older releases and make advances enough to the point where community suggestions can be staged to further the development platform. This benefits things like older armv7 hardware so that it is not blocked on processes and is open to pioneer advances with other architectures.

“FrontRunner is about well tested changes that we want to merge in the next Service Pack,” said Milisav Radmanic, SLE Engineering Director. “Getting these new platform and architecture developments are a game changer.”

Step can already stage agreed-upon fixes for reproducibility and cross architecture builds. FrontRunner will provide precursor testing to match with implementation challenges and the project’s goals.

FrontRunner aims to build all sources in a single layer, which includes patches that are meant to land in a service pack. This could then make it into a Leap point release or maintenance update. With FrontRunner’s rebuild of SLE sources and Step as an intermediate building block, the builds are expected to enable community distributions like openSUSE Leap or other community derivatives.

Unlike openSUSE Leap, openSUSE Step and FrontRunner are not intended to be end user distributions. They serve to advance SLE and Leap.

openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2021/22

Dear Tumbleweed users and hackers,

This week was definitively amongst the more interesting ones for Tumbleweed. There was a change of the basic filesystem layout called UsrMerge. Unfortunately, despite all planning and testing, some users still ran into issues. In some cases, it could be pointed to an ‘unexpected’ setup (root on zfs, /usr/lib/debug as sep mount point…) and in some cases, the reason for the failure is not yet fully understood. But this might sound scarier than it is: a lot of users have also reported that the process worked flawlessly on their systems. Together with a full rebuild using GCC 11 snapshot 0527 was definitively huge. Besides that, two more snapshots (0601, and 0602) were published.

The major changes in this week are:

After having slowed down Tumbleweed a bit to settle the UsrMerge dust, we could catch up with the stagings projects and have not that many things left in the queue. But that is just today and things can change quickly there. The current plans for future snapshots include:

  • Linux kernel 5.12.9
  • systemd-experimental (pstore, repart, homed, userdb)
  • Mesa 21.1.2
  • libxml 2.9.12: http://xmlsoft.org/news.html
  • Cinnamon 5.0
  • curl 7.77.0
  • systemd 248
  • KDE Plasma 5.22.0
  • python3x packages will no longer provide a python symbol. This caused some confusion in the past when people expected ‘python’ to be the legacy python2, but python3x provided it as well.

El repositorio experimental de Bzip2 cambia de encargado

El repositorio estable de Bzip2 lo mantiene Mark Wielaard en Sourceware. En 2019 empecé a mantener un repositorio experimental en GitLab, con la intención de actualizar los scripts de compilación y comenzar un port a Rust. Desafortunadamente, he dejado olvidado este proyecto.

El nuevo encargado del repositorio experimental de Bzip2 es Micah Snyder. ¡Gracias, Micah, por continuar el trabajo!

Jun 4th, 2021

Bzip2's experimental repository is changing maintainership

Bzip2's stable repository is maintained at Sourceware by Mark Wielaard. In 2019 I started maintaining an experimental repository in GitLab, with the intention of updating the build system and starting a Rust port of bzip2. Unfortunately I have left this project slip by.

The new maintainer of the experimental repository for Bzip2 is Micah Snyder. Thanks, Micah, for picking it up!