After almost a month of radio silence, the YaST Team is back with another development report. The two latest sprints brought:

  • New features like:
    • More general LUKS2 support in the Partitioner
    • Mechanisms to detect if the system boots using EFI both in AutoYast rules and ERB templates
    • Enhanced handling of NTLM authentication in linuxrc
  • Usability improvements in several areas of YaST
  • Dropping some legacy features to have a more sane code-base
  • More internal refactoring in the area of software management
  • Many fixes here and there

So let’s dive into the details.

New Features

As already explained in this same blog quite some time ago the YaST Partitioner can be used to set up several kinds of encryption, but “Regular LUKS2” was not one of those. That was intentional because using LUKS2 comes with many challenges, as summarized in this Bugzilla comment. But now the time has come to start introducing experimental support for general LUKS2 encryption. Initially it will be available in openSUSE Tumbleweed and pre-releases of SLE-15-SP4 but only if the environment variable YAST_LUKS2_AVAILABLE is set. Check the description of this pull request for screenshots and more information.

Support for LUKS2 in AutoYaST will have to wait a bit, until we have received some feedback from interactive installations and ironed out all the details. But AutoYaST users can meanwhile test and enjoy another new feature available also in Tumbleweed and 15.4 pre-releases - support for identifying EFI systems in dynamic profiles, which includes both rules and ERB templates. Learn more and see some examples in the description of the corresponding pull request.

The last feature for Tumbleweed and the upcoming 15.4 that we want to highlight in this report is the brand new support for NTLM authentication in linuxrc. The authentication process is actually delegated to curl. Passing credentials to curl through the linuxrc parameters is as easy as you can see in the following examples:


Usability Improvements

Sometimes, you don’t need to introduce a whole new shiny functionality to enhance the life of the end users. Small improvements can also have a big impact… although “small” doesn’t always mean “easy to implement”. In that regard we would like to highlight that:

  • We improved filtering and sorting in the list of DASD devices in s390 mainframes
  • The installation on that architecture will run in graphical mode if executed in QEMU and a Virtio GPU is detected
  • Configuring the custom boot partition in YaST2 Bootloader is now more robust and intuitive

Less Code, Fewer Problems

Going even further, enhancing the software is sometimes not even a matter of adding or polishing functionality but a matter of cleaning up features that are not longer useful, removing code and infrastructure in the process. Simpler usually means more robust and maintainable.

In that regard, you can check this pull request about management of group passwords or this other about the obsolete format to configure the partitioning proposal.

Internal Changes and Fixes

If you are interested in technical details and having a look to the YaST internals, we also have a couple of pull request that could be interesting, like this fix for the detection of duplicated LVM structures and this improvement in the way YaST manages the initialization of its user interface.

Talking about internals, we mentioned several times our ongoing effort to restructure how software management works in YaST. You can see some more technical details in this gist if you have an interest in the design of computer programs and APIs.

Winter is coming

It’s less than one month to the official start of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. We keep working hard and we hope to give you at least another update of the YaST status before that date. Meanwhile we can only remind you, no matter in which part of the world you are, to have a lot of fun!