openSUSE 10.3 almost ready

We’ve been hard at work on openSUSE 10.3, to be released in a couple of weeks. RC1 marked the “transition point” for me. I’ve moved my main machines over to 10.3 RC1 from 10.2. It’s very nice to be running the latest GNOME again. Some major things I was involved in for the 10.3 cycle:

  • Lots of Banshee work, of course. The latest release (0.13.1) is in openSUSE 10.3, and we will be pushing major updates into the proper channels when they are ready. We plan to deliver support for the new disgusting iPods in the coming weeks, probably just after the final release of 10.3.
  • The new codecs installation web application. We have hooked into the proper places in GStreamer to handle “codec missing” problems in Totem and Banshee.

    If you are missing a codec, you will be taken to the new codecs web application. Depending on what codecs you are missing, what’s displayed on the web page will change. For instance, if you installed from only the OSS media and tried to play an MP3 through a GStreamer application, you will be given a 1-Click Install option for the Fluendo MP3 decoder (which is now shipped and installed by default through the non-OSS patterns, like the DVD).

    What we are able to offer for our users through this web application will likely change for the better in the future, but we have a wonderful solid starting place for the release.

  • Shipping Brasero. This is a new all-singing-all-dancing CD/DVD burning application for GNOME with a lot of potential and very active development.

    Because Brasero is so new, this decision was initially a bit daunting, especially when coupled with the bad experiences some of our users had with previous versions on openSUSE 10.2, but it has been rock solid in all testing so far. Kudos Brasero developers! In openSUSE 11 we will investigate making Brasero the default burning application for GNOME (currently it is still Nautilus, but Brasero is installed by default).

openSUSE 10.3
openSUSE 10.3 RC1 – Click for Full Screenshot

One of the first things I did after switching my primary machine to 10.3 was some theme work. I am a big fan of Gilouche — great color scheme and it has some wonderful custom theme polish for the new GNOME Main Menu, Application Browser, Control Center shell, and the new International Clock. However, I really like the Clearlooks Gummy theme that is new in GNOME 2.20. So naturally I had to combine the two. Garrett will investigate making it official, but I am going to link to my version right now for anyone interested in using it now.

Anyway, here is Gummy Gilouche! It’s featured in the screenshot above, so click it for a better preview. I disabled the gradients that are drawn on the tabs. If you want to enable or disable certain things in Clearlooks or this Gilouche derivative, see Marco Barisione’s post for details.

I highly recommend everyone check out openSUSE 10.3 – the RC1 is solid, and the final release will be out soon. Keep it on your radar!

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28 Responses to openSUSE 10.3 almost ready

  1. I suspect you didn’t test Brasero very hard. :) Here’s some comments from someone who did…

    http://qa.mandriva.com/show_bug.cgi?id=32116

    the ‘can’t burn long audio CDs’ bug *just* got fixed on the 0.6 branch in SVN today, so I would heavily advise you guys to backport that patch:

    http://svn.gnome.org/viewcvs/brasero/branches/brasero_0_6/src/burn.c?r1=250&r2=362

  2. Thanks for the heads up! We have done a lot of testing, but never did manage to run into this. Banshee is the preferred way of burning audio CDs in openSUSE, so it’s not a huge issue, but I will track the issue to see if we can apply the patch before 10.3 goes GM. We are currently in a “Blockers only” phase though, and this is far from a blocker.

  3. That patch also appears at quick glance to only affect the NCB backend. We are using the wodim, etc. backends directly, so this may not actually affect our builds in 10.3. Nevertheless I’ll keep an eye and test this case. Thanks again!

  4. Eugenia says:

    I can’t believe that suse does not have a faded background color behind the “favorite apps” and “recent apps” headers, and these headers are not bold!!!

    I filed a similar bug report on both suse and gnome bugzillas a year ago about the Control Center app, and no one has added this so GLARINGLY OBVIOUS usability enhancement yet! :(

  5. yep, it should be easy enough to test – just try and burn a 70-74 minute long audio CD.

    I don’t know exactly what state of brasero you guys are using, but you may also want to check that the other issues mentioned in our bug report are addressed in your package.

  6. Eugenia says:

    Here’s my take on SuSE’s start menu. To me, this looks much easier to digest and sort out in my brain rather than the current menu…

  7. Eugenia, the font issue in the main menu is most likely a theme issue. If you note in my post that the theme I was using was literally a merge of two themes, I easily could have overlooked something. Most of the visual elements of the main menu can be controlled by themes. I know in SLED these elements were a larger font size and bold.

    Thank you for also linking directly to the image I posted instead of… this post? (Sarc.)

  8. I like Eugenia’s take on it.

  9. The only thing the mockup really adds is a nice user photo/information box at the top right, which I do really like. I will bring it up with the powers that be. Apart from that, the main menu itself already supports the separation and more prominent titles — it’s just an issue with my theme.

  10. Pingback: Eugenia’s Rants and Thoughts » Blog Archive » Glaringly obvious usability omissions

  11. Eugenia says:

    I now link to your post, but I don’t think it’s the theme to blame. I think that the font not being bold with fading color is universal and IMO needs fixing.

  12. Eugenia says:

    Please also upload a shot with the default theme. Defaults is what matters anyway.

  13. Travis Reitter says:

    Aaron,

    The theme looks really cool – but are you sure you included the Metacity Theme?

    I installed the tarball via the Appearance control panel and it doesn’t seem to think it has a Metacity theme.

  14. Travis: I did not include a metacity theme explicitly. The metacity theme is referenced in the index file as “Inverted” (I like it better than the Gilouche metacity theme) which I assumed was one of the themes provided by the new clearlooks (gummy).

  15. Aaron: You’re right. I noticed it selected the Inverted Metacity theme, but I just didn’t have it installed.

    It looks really good — especially if you go off the deep end and change the main color to green :)

  16. Wade Menard says:

    Why doesn’t my radio plugin work like that? The artist is always the station name, not the actual artist as it is in your screenshot, so recommendations etc is querying against the station name not the actual artist. I downloaded and installed openSUSE 10.3 (OSS) RC1 in a VirtualBox and have the same behavior.

  17. Love the theme aaron, the old Gilouche theme for clearlooks is broken slightly as it was designed for gnome 2.12 IIRC this is a great update to that theme.

    Of course the colours of gilouche are brilliantly chosen and are far superior to the theme colours for almost any other theme I’ve used. This is a welcome addition :)

    WRT slab/gnome-main-menu I’d really like to see this bring some new consistency, the icon sizes, tile text, and the number of tiles on each of the pages varies too much. It would be great to see these things polished up.

  18. Michael says:

    Aaron: I love that theme, very, very nice! It doesn’t feel as cold as the GNOME default and the tabs look much better.

    I had to change the icon theme name to “gnome” btw, “GNOME” did not work for me.

  19. @Wade: My apologies – the screenshot is a bit misleading when it comes to Banshee. It didn’t dawn on me that it may cause some confusion until long after I made the post. The functionality you see in the screenshot with the fixed up metadata and cover art is due to a patch that I am working on. It’s almost complete, and will be in the next release. http://abock.org/~aaron/hotradio.diff

    @Karl: Agreed. There are some touches that could be applied to bring out more consistency in the main menu and app/cc shells.

    @Michael: Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll see if changing the icon name affects it here (GNOME worked fine for me).

  20. Pingback: UFies.org

  21. Eugenia says:

    I updated my mockup with a new, better IMO, option:
    http://eugenia.gnomefiles.org/images/suse.png

  22. Eugenia: This is indeed a theme issue, but it was broken in the old Gilouche theme. I have fixed Gilouche and committed it upstream. We will do our best to slip a new release in for 10.3 before the final release, but it is very, very late in the process. If we can’t slip it in, we will ship it as an update shortly after the release.

    Here’s how the Main Menu looks with the fixed Gilouche theme:
    http://abock.org/~aaron/slab.png

  23. Eugenia says:

    Only the bold is the theme issue. My problem is the whole usability of that panel.

  24. The main menu, the application browser, and the control center shell are all very usable. We have conducted many tests and design iterations for theses components. However, that doesn’t mean they couldn’t become more usable or intuitive over time. Designing good software requires an iterative approach.

    I really like most aspects of your mockup — but I wouldn’t call the improvements or changes fixes to “bugs” in the current iteration. They are possible enhancements. Software improves over time, but it doesn’t mean that early iterations are inherently bad or unusable. There’s always room for improvement, and I think we have done a great job so far.

  25. Kevin Dupuy says:

    Looks great, Aaron! I’m using Beta 7 and am waiting for my pre-ordered box to show up! Hey, do you happen to notice that the fonts look worse with SUSE 10.3 than 10.2? On my system they look horrible, with the same settings as on 10.2.

    Thanks, and great job on Banshee!

  26. Vikas says:

    Hi Aaron,

    Got to your site while trying to google about customizing the main menu in OpenSuse 10.3.
    Nice post. However, I have a question about the screenshot you have posted:
    – How do you get those timezones on the calendar app in the panel, looks really nifty. Maybe
    I can chuck gworldclock out, if I get that working!

    Thanks!

  27. Remove your current clock applet, and add to the panel the International Clock Applet. You can then add time zones/cities you care about.

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