Singing the OpenSUSE Package Manager Blues

Opinion: My current favorite Linux desktop is OpenSUSE 10.1, but there's this one rather large fly in the soup-a rather broken package management system. (

My current favorite desktop Linux is OpenSUSE 10.1. I can say all kinds of good things about it, except when it comes to the package manager. Unfortunately, the package manager, which the administration tool YaST uses for adding new programs and updating old ones, currently has serious problems.

The default package management software in SUSE 9 and 10 was YOU (YaST online update) in YaST2 and the susewatcher system tray applet. This, however, has been replaced by Libzypp in 10.1.

Libzypp is a back-end program that uses RPM (RPM Package manager) packages for installing, removing, and querying program packages. This new program is an attempt by Novell to marry the best features of SUSEs yast2 package manager and Ximians libredcarpet.

/zimages/7/128936.gifClick here to download the Cyber Cynic podcast OpenSUSE 10.1: Almost Great.

This back-end software works with the ZMD (ZENworks Management Daemon) to create the new system-tray notification applet, zen-updater.

The idea was a good one. If it worked, users would get a command-line tool for running updates, rug, and a way to provide common handling of packages and patches.


When it works, it works quite well. Cenuij, a UK-based SUSE user, gives an excellent explanation of how the new system works and how to make the most of it.

However, it doesnt work that well all the time. The combination of yast2 and libredcarpet is only half-baked. In my experience, and those of many others, the new package manager is extremely slow and often breaks.

These problems can show up in a number of ways.

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