The openSUSE project has released version 15.2 of its distribution leap. There are several fields with big changes to the predecessor. The developers particularly point out that Leap 15.2 has learned about this with regard to artificial intelligence (AI).
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Tensorflow is now included in the scope of delivery of the system. Tensorflow enjoys a high reputation in the AI environment because it massively facilitates the modeling of self-learning algorithms. When using Tensorflow, users and scientists do not have to worry about building an environment for their AI algorithm first – instead, they define their algorithm directly in Tensorflow. This then takes care of the execution of the code – either on servers, desktops or mobile devices.
PyTorch and ONNX, which openSUSE is now also shipping as the tail of Leap 15.2, hit the same notch: PyTorch is similar in type and objective to tensor flow and also makes it easier to model environments for machine learning. ONNX acts as an intermediary between different AI tools and, thanks to its open format, makes it easier to share and reuse results between AI environments.
In addition, the developers in Leap 15.2 improve the capabilities of the system with regard to the visualization of data. Grafana and Prometheus are included for the first time. The former is considered the gold standard for the visualization of data in modern IT environments. The latter originally started his career as a tool for monitoring, alerting and trending system parameters (MAT). Meanwhile, Prometheus can also be used excellently in the AI context, for example to collect metric data from the runs of AI algorithms and to make them available to Grafana for visualization.
On board for the first time: A real-time kernel
The Linux kernel has a key innovation as the foundation of the distribution. For the first time, a real-time kernel is part of the distribution. He works on certain tasks within guaranteed deadlines. This function plays a major role in embedded computing and in general when using microprocessors. This is the case, for example, with an airbag control unit in which it is important that the airbag is deployed within a predetermined interval from the triggering event (“accident”). Until now, openSUSE was not used for such scenarios due to the lack of a real-time operating system, but now Leap 15.2 allows openSUSE to be made the foundation of corresponding systems.
In addition, version maintenance was also planned for the kernel; Leap 15.2 comes with Linux 5.3 and inherits its innovations.
Kubernetes and CRI-O included
OpenSUSE Leap 15.2 also does a good job when it comes to containers. For the first time, the container orchestrator Kubernetes is now part of the distribution scope of delivery. This is supported by openSUSE Helm, the quasi-official package manager for Kubernetes. Leap 15.2 therefore allows you to start a Kubernetes environment and run productive workloads in just a few steps. Although Leap 15.2 also supports Docker as a runtime environment for containers, the developers in the new distribution primarily rely on the Container Runtime Interface of the Open Container Initiative (CRI-O).
Admins can also use Cillium for Kubernetes environments in Leap 15.2. This hooks into the container runtime environment and uses the packet filter BPF in the Linux kernel to secure connections there.
Better auto installation
The developers have massively revised YaST and especially its automation tool AutoYaST. The ability to automatically supply many systems with Linux plays an increasingly important role in times of large platforms. AutoYaST now offers dozens of additional adjustment screws to automatically determine individual parameters of the later system. On top of that, AutoYaST now outputs better structured error messages if the profile for automatic installation has an error. This saves the administrator time when debugging.
For manual installations, YaST now offers better support for languages whose text direction is from right to left (for example Arabic). If the user installs SUSE on a system with a CPU that is affected by Specter or Meltdown, the installer activates the corresponding workarounds on request.
If the user uses YaST in the installed system, he benefits from better support for Btrfs file systems and encryption. In Leap 15.2, openSUSE also begins migrating configuration files from / etc to / usr / etc. YaST is already designed for this. End users configure their services with YaST regardless of whether the configuration file of a particular service is in / etc or in / usr / etc.
New KDE plasma, new GNOME, new Xfce
All three standard desktops from openSUSE Leap are updated in Leap 15.2. At KDE, the project relies on version 5.18 of Plasma, which the developer has provided with LTS support. GNOME jumps from 3.26 to 3.34 and thus also contains some visual innovations. Xfce includes Leap 15.2 version 4.14, which the Xfce project released a few months ago after several years of development. The following applies to all three environments: The optical changes are done carefully. So, unexpectedly, users don’t sit in front of a completely new work environment.
openSUSE Leap 15.2 is a cautious update with a lot of model maintenance on the one hand and massive innovations in terms of containers and AI on the other. Those who use the system on the desktop primarily benefit from the model maintenance for the kernel and the Destop environments. Leap users should start updating to version 15.2 as soon as possible. Because from the appearance of a successor, there is only six months of support from the project for the previous version of Leap. However, regular security updates play an important role, especially on desktops.