Software management in OpenSuse 10.3

The software management for OpenSuse 10.3 is in heavy development. Compared to 10.2 zmd was dropped, leaving yast and zypper. Both work now basically.


OpenSuse’s software management was in heavy development since Novell took over Suse. For OpenSuse 10.0 and 10.1 yum and especially XML Package metadata (often called “yum metdata) support was included as an option. Later on, the XML Package metadata became the new standard format for all OpenSuse versions. But the old formats, namely the old yast format, where still there and had to be managed as well.

Additionally, a variety of tools were included into OpenSuse. Especially OpenSuse 10.2 hat no less than 6 tools which could manage the software, with three of them (semi-) official. And not all of them where compatible to the others, and changes made in one tool were not necessarily seen by other tools.

Preparations for OpenSuse 10.3

So the OpenSuse folks decided to cut down everything not needed. Repository wise this meant to focus on the XML Package metadata only. And in regard to the used tools this meant to drop zmd/rug for OpenSuse 10.3 since it is mainly targeted at enterprise solutions.

Some days ago now it was announced that yast and zypper both reached a working state. Now both can be used to modify the repositories and both will see the changes made by the other. And even better .repo files can also be copied by hand to the appropriate folder (/etc/zypp/repos.d) and both tools will see them and will adopt the changes.
This is quite an improvement compared to the mixed situation introduced with OpenSuse 10.2: finally the system administrator does not have to care about which tool is used or what is added by hand. It will just work. And since the repo files are exactly the same as yum uses you can even install yum on OpenSuse 10.3 and just use it if you make sure yum checks for /etc/zypp/repos.d instead of /etc/yum.repos.d.

However, at the moment everything is still Alpha. So it is open for testing, but still closed for real usage. Also, some things are still broken which some users might expect:

  • Media handling, this is the most broken part
  • patches with scripts and delta rpms
  • Disk usage calculation (should) be broken

But there is plenty of time till the final OpenSuse 10.3 release, so these will be gone by then.

Anyway, it is very nice to see OpenSuse coming back to its feet again in regards of software management. Together with the Build Service there is really big potential in OpenSuse’s future!


2 thoughts on “Software management in OpenSuse 10.3”

  1. I’ve successfully been using the slightly modified version of rug available in (

    While providing a good set of commands (what I was also missing when using smart), it no longer depends on zmd, is fast and uses less memory (thanks to new sleeping functionality).

    So.. I wonder what does this all mean to rug? Will it be removed, or will opesuse 10.3 provide the very same experimental(?) version of rug? Or what will be the default command line package managing software, then?

  2. Hm, that depends on the changes involved with your rug version. If the rug version works in the background with the XML Package metadata than there should be no problem.
    However, if it needs some libraries or other stuff from the original zmd you might run into problems.

    However, since this rug version is modified (as you wrote) it is most likely that the developer of this modified version takes care of the problems.

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