Both openSUSE Leap 15.3 and SUSE Enterprise Linux 15 SP3 are already in the oven and almost ready to be tasted. But although they smell delicious, the openSUSE volunteers and the great SUSE QA team never give up in challenging our beloved distributions to find the corner cases that need more polishing. Since we want to make sure each possible problem have a solution or a documented workaround at the release date, the YaST Team invested quite some time during the last sprint investigating and solving some problems related to AutoYaST, system migration, registration and other tricky areas.

But we also found time to work on more blog-friendly topics like:

  • Improvements in the AutoYaST functionality to configure questions during the installation
  • Better handling of path names in Arabic and other right-to-left languages
  • Progress in the refactoring of YaST Users
  • Possibility of installing with neither NetworkManager or wicked

Let’s dive into the details.

One of the many features offered by AutoYaST is the possibility of specifying a so-called ask-list, which lets the user decide the values of some parts of the AutoYaST profile during the installation. That allows to fine-tune the level of flexibility and interactivity, with a process that is highly automated but still customizable on the fly. During this sprint we basically rewrote the whole feature to make it more robust and powerful, while still being fully backwards-compatible. See more details in the corresponding pull request including technical details, before-and-after screenshots and a link to the official documentation that explains how to use this reworked feature.

And talking about before-and-after screenshots, let’s see if you can spot the differences in the following image.

Arabic path names

Exactly. In the upper part, the right-to-left orientation of the Arabic writing mangles the mount points and the device names, moving the initial slash of paths like /dev/vda to the end. This is just one of the many interesting software development problems you don’t normally think about, but that makes life as a YaST developer a constant learning experience. If you want to know more about Unicode directional formatting characters and how we solved the problem, check this pull request at the yast2-storage-ng repository.

And talking about challenges and learning, sure you remember we are in the middle of a whole rewrite of the YaST mechanisms to manage local users. We already have a new version of the installer that works perfectly using the new code, including the creation of brand new users and also importing them from a previous installation. We are now integrating that new code into AutoYaST and we will be ready soon to discuss the best procedure and timing to introduce the revamped yast2-users into openSUSE Tumbleweed in a way that it brings all the benefits of the rewrite to our users without any disruptive change in the surface.

Last but not least, we would like to mention a new feature we already submitted to the Tumbleweed installer in search for feedback from you, our beloved users. :wink: In a nutshell, it offers the possibility to install the distribution without NetworkManager or wicked, for those users that want to manually configure an alternative network manager (like systemd-networkd) or that simply want a network-less operating system. Please check the corresponding pull request and reach out to us to tell us what do you think. Remember you can do that at the yast-devel and factory mailing lists at openSUSE, at the #yast channel at Freenode IRC or directly commenting on GitHub.

While waiting for your input, we will keep working in polishing the upcoming releases and bringing new features into Tumbleweed. Stay safe and have a lot of fun!