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Saturday, June 16, 2007

openSUSE 10.3 Alpha 5 thoughts and hopes

Since my main desktop/workstation operating system is openSUSE, I have been following the development for the upcoming 10.3 release. It looks pretty certain that 10.3 will release with the 2.6.22 kernel, which is pretty good news for many mythtv users. As I have mentioned before, the the ivtv driver (for hauppauge TV tuner cards) has been integrated directly into the kernel for this release, thus removing many of the problems associated with out of tree drivers.

Alpha 5 seems to have some stability problems in the new GTK+ edition of YaST. Continually, I am receiving X warnings about missing theme elements. Also, pidgin seems to be missing from the installation DVD (although libpurple is included); thus I had to manually download and install pidgin from the Factory repository.

As usual, the latest evolutionary updates have been integrated for most packages.

Now in Factory, GCC has been updated to version 4.2. As a software developer, this is one of the most important behind the scenes changes for me. Specifically, this release finally brings support for OpenMP to C and Fortran (which I don't use). Since openSUSE is the base platform for all software that I write, I plan on taking full advantage of this technology (sorry if you're on a system that hasn't updated to GCC 4.2 yet, or otherwise doesn't support OpenMP). Essentially, this will simplify the development of paralizable code for use on multi-core processors. I hope to see all major OSS vendors migrate to at least GCC 4.2 in the next year or two, to take advantage of this new technology.

However, if I am going to be writing software that will use OpenMP, I need to be able to configure the compiler to use it with the autotools. The development version of autoconf (upcoming 2.62) has support for detecting the necessary configuration options for detecting how to tell a compiler to build with OpenMP support enabled. With any luck, the autoconf guys will be able to release the update before the software freeze for 10.3.

The only other package that I am interested in is Keith Packard has shown some pretty fancy stuff with hotplug input/output. Very cool for laptops, as well as people with USB tablets. Hope that the timing works out here with 7.3 and openSUSE 10.3 as well! Current estimates are for 7.3 to arrive in August, which may just squeeze in before the package freeze.

Anywho, I have had enough.


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