Saturday, April 29, 2006

Updating Suse 10.1 to RC-3

In the prior post I write about upgrading my RC-1 ISOs to RC-3. That succeeded, and I burned new CDs from them and installed RC-3 over RC-1. The installation went smoothly and without any incidents. Here are some of the new features that now seem to work (for me) on RC-3.
  • I can now easily suspend the computer under Suse. There is a new radio button on the logout dialog. When I suspended the computer I watched the notebook go into text mode and then watched status messages flash across the screen as Suse 10.1 saved everything to disk, then it shut down. Windows, by contrast, flashes a low-res graphic on the screen while a progress bar slowly moves across the screen. I don't care one way or the other for the eye candy. What mattered was the time it took to suspend, and in either case (Suse or Windows) it was essentially identical (no, I will hold a stop watch and time it). And Linux came right back up after the suspend as successfully as Windows does.
  • I can now save my current session (setup) when exiting Gnome. This was broken in earlier releases up to and including RC-1.
And here's what's not quite right.
  • Even though suspend now works, it hooks grub (the bootloader) such that when the notebook is turned back on it boots directly into Linux. It bypasses the grub boot-up menu. I suspend Windows quite a bit, usually to go and do some task in Linux. But it looks like I can't suspend both and use grub to select the one to wake up.
  • Sound and wireless networking are still not working. Wireless isn't working because the driver isn't finding and loading the microcode file for the hardware. It's not obvious how to fix that, but it's certainly not being installed during initial installation. Once again bone-headed ideology triumphs over a good user experience.
One final comment. I noticed that automatic detection and mounting of hardware, specifically USB-based thumb drives and my Western Digital Passport, do not occur unless you're in init level 5. I dropped down to init level 3 (text mode) to install a driver. When I plugged in the Passport it did not automatically mount under /media. I know what the device was, so it was a simple mount command to mount it on /mnt. I would have thought the auto-mount capability would be available from run level 3 on up, but I guess not.