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Features 15.2

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openSUSE 15.2 – Leap

The following pages go into some details on what is new in this openSUSE release. Too much information? Check out the Feature highlights instead.

Linux kernel

Leap 15.2 will use the 5.3.18 Linux Kernel. This is an update from the 4.12 Linux Kernel, which was in Leap 15.1. The kernel in Leap is the same kernel used in SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 Service Pack 2. This kernel version is maintained by SUSE. This Linux 5.3 kernel introduces support for AMD Navi GPUs, and new IPv4 addresses. RISC-V code improvements are made with this updated kernel and it's compatible with Intel Speed Select used in Intel Xeon servers.

Hardware Support

Leap 15.2 works with x86_64, ARM (aarch64, armv7) and PowerPC (ppc64le), and deployment scenarios can be run for physical, virtual, host and guest, and cloud.

GNU Compiler Collection

GNU Compiler Collection 9, GCC 8 (Leap 15.1) and GCC 7 (Leap 15.0) are available.

Caveats

   On Arm targets (arm*-*-*), a bug in the implementation of the procedure call standard (AAPCS) in the GCC 6, 7 and 8 releases has been fixed: a structure containing a bit-field based on a 64-bit integral type and where no other element in a structure required 64-bit alignment could be passed incorrectly to functions. This is an ABI change. If the option -Wpsabi is enabled (on by default) the compiler will emit a diagnostic note for code that might be affected.
   Support for a number of older systems and recently unmaintained or untested target ports of GCC has been declared obsolete in GCC 9. Unless there is activity to revive them, the next release of GCC will have their sources permanently removed.
   The following ports for individual systems on particular architectures have been obsoleted:
       Solaris 10 (*-*-solaris2.10). Details can be found in the announcement.
       Cell Broadband Engine SPU (spu*-*-*). Details can be found in the announcement.
   A change to the C++ std::rotate algorithm in GCC 9.1.0 can cause ABI incompatibilities with object files compiled with other versions of GCC. If the std::rotate algorithm is called with an empty range then it might cause a divide-by-zero error (as a SIGFPE signal) and crash. The change has been reverted for GCC 9.2.0 and future releases. For more details see Bug 90920. The problem can be avoided by recompiling any objects that might call std::rotate with an empty range, so that the GCC 9.1.0 definition of std::rotate is not used.
   The automatic template instantiation at link time (-frepo) has been deprecated and will be removed in a future release.
   The --with-default-libstdcxx-abi=gcc4-compatible configure option is broken in the 9.1 and 9.2 releases, producing a shared library with missing symbols (see Bug 90361). As a workaround, configure without that option and build GCC as normal, then edit the installed <bits/c++config.h> headers to define the _GLIBCXX_USE_CXX11_ABI macro to 0.

General Improvements

GCC 9 provides general improvements. the following built-in functions have been introduced.

   __builtin_expect_with_probability to provide branch prediction probability hints to the optimizer.
   __builtin_has_attribute determines whether a function, type, or variable has been declared with some attribute.
   __builtin_speculation_safe_value can be used to help mitigate against unsafe speculative execution.

New language improvements include: OpenACC support in C, C++, and Fortran continues to be maintained and improved. Most of the OpenACC 2.5 specification is implemented. See the implementation status section on the OpenACC wiki page for further information.

C family

   Version 5.0 of the OpenMP specification is now partially supported in the C and C++ compilers. For details which features of OpenMP 5.0 are and which are not supported in the GCC 9 release see this mail.
   New extensions:
       __builtin_convertvector built-in for vector conversions has been added.
   New warnings:
       -Waddress-of-packed-member, enabled by default, warns about an unaligned pointer value from the address of a packed member of a struct or union.
   Enhancements to existing warnings:
       -Warray-bounds detects more instances of out-of-bounds indices.
       -Wattribute-alias also detects attribute mismatches between alias declarations and their targets, in addition to mismatches between their types.
       -Wformat-overflow and -Wformat-truncation have been extended to all formatted input/output functions (where applicable) and enhanced to detect a subset of instances of reading past the end of unterminated constant character arrays in %s directives.
       -Wmissing-attributes detects instances of missing function attributes on declarations of aliases and weak references.
       -Wstringop-truncation also detects a subset of instances of reading past the end of unterminated constant character arrays,
   If a macro is used with the wrong argument count, the C and C++ front ends now show the definition of that macro via a note.
   The spelling corrector now considers transposed letters, and the threshold for similarity has been tightened, to avoid nonsensical suggestions.

C

There is now experimental support for -std=c2x, to select support for the upcoming C2X revision of the ISO C standard. This standard is in the early stages of development and the only feature supported in GCC 9 is _Static_assert with a single argument (support for _Static_assert with two arguments was added in C11 and GCC 4.6). There are also new options -std=gnu2x, for C2X with GNU extensions, and -Wc11-c2x-compat, to warn for uses of features added in C2X (such warnings are also enabled by use of -Wpedantic if not using -std=c2x or -std=gnu2x).

   New warnings:
       -Wabsolute-value warns for calls to standard functions that compute the absolute value of an argument when a more appropriate standard function is available. For example, calling abs(3.14) triggers the warning because the appropriate function to call to compute the absolute value of a double argument is fabs. The option also triggers warnings when the argument in a call to such a function has an unsigned type. This warning can be suppressed with an explicit type cast and it is also enabled by -Wextra.

C++

   New warnings:
       -Wdeprecated-copy, implied by -Wextra, warns about the C++11 deprecation of implicitly declared copy constructor and assignment operator if one of them is user-provided. -Wdeprecated-copy-dtor also warns if the destructor is user-provided, as specified in C++11.
       -Winit-list-lifetime, on by default, warns about uses of std::initializer_list that are likely to result in a dangling pointer, such as returning or assigning from a temporary list.
       -Wredundant-move, implied by -Wextra, warns about redundant calls to std::move.
       -Wpessimizing-move, implied by -Wall, warns when a call to std::move prevents copy elision.
       -Wclass-conversion, on by default, warns when a conversion function will never be called due to the type it converts to.
   The C++ front end has experimental support for some of the upcoming C++2a draft features with the -std=c++2a or -std=gnu++2a flags, including range-based for statements with initializer, default constructible and assignable stateless lambdas, lambdas in unevaluated contexts, language support for empty data members, allowing pack expansion in lambda init-capture, likely and unlikely attributes, class types in non-type template parameters, allowing virtual function calls in constant expressions, explicit(bool), std::is_constant_evaluated, nested inline namespaces, etc. For a full list of new features, see the C++ status page. 

Fortran

   Asynchronous I/O is now fully supported. The program needs to be linked against the pthreads library to use it, otherwise the I/O is done synchronously. For systems which do not support POSIX condition variables, such as AIX, all I/O is still done synchronously.
   The BACK argument for MINLOC and MAXLOC has been implemented.
   The FINDLOC intrinsic function has been implemented.
   The IS_CONTIGUOUS intrinsic function has been implemented.
   Direct access to the real and imaginary parts of a complex variable via c%re and c%im has been implemented.
   Type parameter inquiry via str%len and a%kind has been implemented.
   C descriptors and the ISO_Fortran_binding.h source file have been implemented.
   The MAX and MIN intrinsics are no longer guaranteed to return any particular value in case one of the arguments is a NaN. Note that this conforms to the Fortran standard and to what other Fortran compilers do. If there is a need to handle that case in some specific way, one needs to explicitly check for NaN's before calling MAX or MIN, e.g. by using the IEEE_IS_NAN function from the intrinsic module IEEE_ARITHMETIC.
   A new command-line option -fdec-include, set also by the -fdec option, has been added to increase compatibility with legacy code. With this option, an INCLUDE directive is also parsed as a statement, which allows the directive to be spread across multiple source lines with line continuations.
   A new BUILTIN directive, has been added. The purpose of the directive is to provide an API between the GCC compiler and the GNU C Library which would define vector implementations of math routines.

Networking

Leap 15.2 uses Network Manager by default for both laptops and desktops

Security

Leap 15.2 has received all necessary backports and uses the same Enterprise Linux Kernel that SUSE uses.

dehydrated / letsencrypt

Dehydrated is a client for signing certificates with an ACME-server (currently only provided by Let’s Encrypt) implemented as a relatively simple bash-script.

It uses the openssl utility for everything related to actually handling keys and certificates, so you need to have that installed.

Other dependencies are: cURL, sed, grep, mktemp (all found on almost any system, cURL being the only exception)

Current features:

  • Signing of a list of domains
  • Signing of a CSR
  • Renewal if a certificate is about to expire or SAN (subdomains) changed
  • Certificate revocation

systemd

Leap 15.2 has systemd version 234. This is the same version that was in Leap 15.0 and 15.1. The following info pertains to the 234 version:

Support for dynamically creating users for the lifetime of a service has been added. If DynamicUser=yes is specified, user and group IDs will be allocated from the range 61184..65519 for the lifetime of the service. They can be resolved using the new nss-systemd.so NSS module. The module must be enabled in /etc/nsswitch.conf. Services started in this way have PrivateTmp= and RemoveIPC= enabled, so that any resources allocated by the service will be cleaned up when the service exits. They also have ProtectHome=read-only and ProtectSystem=strict enabled, so they are not able to make any permanent modifications to the system.

MemoryLimit= and related unit settings now optionally take percentage specifications. The percentage is taken relative to the amount of physical memory in the system (or in case of containers, the assigned amount of memory). This allows scaling service resources neatly with the amount of RAM available on the system. Similarly, systemd-logind's RuntimeDirectorySize= option now also optionally takes percentage values.

In similar fashion TasksMax= takes percentage values now, too. The value is taken relative to the configured maximum number of processes on the system. The per-service task maximum has been changed to 15% using this functionality. (Effectively this is an increase of 512 → 4915 for service units, given the kernel's default pid_max setting.)

The SystemCallFilter= unit file setting gained support for pre-defined, named system call filter sets. For example SystemCallFilter=@clock is now an effective way to make all clock changing-related system calls unavailable to a service. A number of similar pre-defined groups are defined. Writing system call filters for system services is simplified substantially with this new concept. Accordingly, all of systemd's own, long-running services now enable system call filtering based on this, by default.

A new service setting MemoryDenyWriteExecute= has been added, taking a boolean value. If turned on, a service may no longer create memory mappings that are writable and executable at the same time. This enhances security for services where this is enabled as it becomes harder to dynamically write and then execute memory in exploited service processes. This option has been enabled for all of systemd's own long-running services.

The unified cgroup hierarchy added in Linux 4.5 is now supported. Use systemd.unified_cgroup_hierarchy=1 on the kernel command line to enable. Also, support for the "io" cgroup controller in the unified hierarchy has been added, so that the "memory", "pids" and "io" are now the controllers that are supported on the unified hierarchy.

A new command "systemctl revert" has been added that may be used to revert to the vendor version of a unit file, in case local changes have been made by adding drop-ins or overriding the unit file.

PHP 7

Printing System

Leap 15.2 has CUPS X.X.X (15.1 - 2.2.7). CUPS is a modular printing system which allows a computer to act as a print server. A computer running CUPS is a host that can accept print jobs from client computers, process them, and send them to the appropriate printer. CUPS consists of a print spooler and scheduler, a filter system that converts the print data to a format that the printer will understand, and a backend system that sends this data to the print device. CUPS uses the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) as the basis for managing print jobs and queues. It also provides the traditional command line interfaces for the System V and Berkeley print systems, and provides support for the Berkeley print system's Line Printer Daemon protocol and limited support for the server message block (SMB) protocol. CUPS comes with a built-in web-based interface.

Containers

Leap 15.2 is filled with several containerization technologies like Singularity, which bring containers and reproducibility to scientific computing and the high-performance computing (HPC) world. Singularity first appeared in the Leap distribution in Leap 42.3 and provides functionality to build smallest minimal containers and runs the containers as single application environments. Another official package in Leap 15.2 is libcontainers-common, which allows the configuration of files and manpages shared by tools that are based on the github.com/containers libraries, such as Buildah, CRI-O, Podman and Skopeo.

Office and Groupware

Libreoffice

LibreOffice is a free and open source office suite, a project of The Document Foundation. LibreOffice is a comprehensive office package featuring a word processor, a spreadsheet, a presentation program, and much more.

More information about the below new features included in the LibreOffice version in Leap 15.2 can be found in the Release Notes:

Writer

  • Added option to mark comments as resolved in Writer tdf#119228 (Scott Clarke, Codethink)
  • Fix missing change tracking layout of numbers and bullets of lists tdf#42748 (László Németh, NISZ)
  • The btLr text direction is now available in Writer Text Frames as well blog post (Miklos Vajna, Collabora)
  • It is now possible to comment on Writer images and charts blog post (Miklos Vajna, Collabora)
  • It is now possible to automatically avoid overlapping shapes with a new wrap option blog post (Miklos Vajna, Collabora)
  • Add proposal for anchored object overlapping to OASIS ODF draft core commit 9e827baed18bbcd410029dbcb81ac5a0da2cc6b4
  • Make it possible to set anchored object to overlap tdf#124600

350px-LO_6.4_Writer_Wrap_menu_path_for_shapes.png

  • The "Allow overlap" checkbox is located in the edit option of the Wrap function for shapes.

350px-LO_6.4_writer_shapes_wrap_-_allow_overlap_-_checkbox.png

  • Uncheck "Allow overlap" to automatically disable the overlapping of shapes.
  • Improved performance when importing files with many bookmarks core commit b5b607cf5afe6ebf5964102770a52965f5b98533 (Michael Stahl, CIB)
  • Selection of drawing objects anchored at-paragraph works more consistently and user-friendly now core commit 91b2325808a75174f284c48c8b8afc118fad74e4(Michael Stahl, CIB)

Tables

Important improvements in table handling (László Németh, NISZ):

  • Fast table moving & deletion: Cut command cuts the selected table instead of removing its text content tdf#118311
  • Fast table row/column moving & deletion tdf#127759
Cut command cuts the selected table rows or columns, if they are selected by enhanced table selection (clicking in front of them)
After that, paste command inserts the removed table part before the actual row/column
  • New Paste Special menu options for pasting table data into tables (in table popup menu and Writer’s Edit menu)
Paste Special menu option "Paste as Nested Table" tdf#37156
  • Paste Special menu options "Paste as Rows Above" and "Paste as Columns Before" tdf#64902
  • Improved drag & drop mouse operations to move table data
move the selected table instead of duplicate it tdf#84806
move rows and columns (selected by enhanced table selection) and wholly selected tables by inserting new table rows above or columns before instead of overwriting cells of the target table. In the case of moving (not copying, i.e. without using the key Ctrl during drag & drop), the selected rows and columns are removed completely, instead of emptying their cells. tdf#35570

Calc

  • Improved selecting cells which contain hyperlinks tdf#126393 (Samuel Mehrbrodt, CIB)
  • On MM:SS or [MM]:SS or MM:SS.00 or [MM]:SS.00 pre-formatted cells a two digit groups input like 12:34 is now accepted as minutes:seconds value instead of the usual hours:minutes:00 value; to force the usual hours:minutes:seconds input on such cells enter three digit groups like 12:34:00. tdf#76441 (Eike Rathke (Red Hat, Inc.))
  • Improved scalability of formula-groups computation on CPUs with large number of cores by potentially threading multiple independent formula-groups together. core commit 845e1c (Dennis Francis, Collabora)
  • Implemented a parallelized version of super scalar sample sort algorithm (read the paper here) to speed up sorting. This is now used in pivot-table creation where some sorting is required. core commit 46d0af (Dennis Francis, Collabora)
  • Shading of columns/rows headers is removed; the headers are drawn flat now. tdf#127508 (Heiko Tietze)
  • Deleted a 15 symbols limit to password length for XLSX files tdf#97086 (Eike Rathke, Red Hat)

Performance improvements

  • speed up opening of XLSX file with lots of comments tdf#129228 (Noel Grandin, Collabora)
  • speed up loading Calc documents with lots of COUNTIF() tdf#128812 (Noel Grandin, Collabora)
  • speed up saving XLS with lots of styles tdf#126021 (Noel Grandin, Collabora)
  • speed up loading of change-tracking ODS files tdf#125688 (Noel Grandin, Collabora)
  • speed up copy operation with lots of comments in Calc tdf#76324 (Noel Grandin, Collabora)

Impress and Draw

  • Added 'Remove Hyperlink' to context menu in Impress tdf#111707 (Samuel Mehrbrodt, CIB)
  • Added 'Consolidate Text' which combines multiple selected textboxes into one (primarily to simplify editing fragmented content from imported PDFs). tdf#118370 (Justin Luth, SIL)

900px-640_PDF_import_Combine_Text_Boxes.png

  • Combine text boxes from e.g. imported PDF files in Draw
  • Interaction now only executed in presentation mode (when clicking on an object). For edit mode, a context menu "Execute interaction" was added. tdf#125748 (Samuel Mehrbrodt, CIB)
  • Image Maps now respect the setting to require Ctrl+Click to follow the hyperlink (Samuel Mehrbrodt, CIB)
  • Hyperlink in Image Maps now work in Slideshow too tdf#74045 (Samuel Mehrbrodt, CIB)

Performance improvements

  • Speed up opening of some PPT files tdf#121740 (Noel Grandin, Collabora)
  • Speed up: Long operation during typing in list with animations tdf#129708 (Serge Krot, CIB)

ThunderBird

Mozilla Thunderbird is a free email application that’s easy to set up and customize. It’s loaded with great features. Leap 15.2 ships with Thunderbird 68.5.0. Some new features in Thunderbird 68.5.0 are:

  • Support for OAuth 2.0 authentication for POP3 accounts
  • Support for Client Identity IMAP/SMTP Service Extension

Fixes include:

  • Status area goes blank during account setup
  • Calendar: Prevent calendar component loading multiple times
  • Calendar: Today pane did not retain width between sessions

Browsers and Web Search

Chromium

Chromium is the multi platform open source web browser which is the base of Google Chrome. The minimalist design is part of Chromiums major goal of becoming the tabbed web shell. Being built upon WebKit engine Chromium provides latest HTML5 and CSS3 features to its users.

  • multi-process architecture - each site instance or plugin runs in separate process which for end users means better security and stability
  • themes - makes chromium easy to fit into your desktop design
  • extensions - enhance the functionality of browser via HTML, CSS and JavaScript
  • preferences sync - keeping the same settings, bookmarks, extensions and theme over multiple machines
  • incognito mode - private browsing prevents storing history or cookies by visited websites
  • DNS prefetching - faster address to IP resolution

Firefox

Firefox is created by Mozilla, a global non-profit organization dedicated to putting individuals in control online. Leap 15.2 ships version with Firefox's Extended Support Release (ESR) 68.5.0. The version addresses Security Vulnerabilities and was first offered to ESR channel users on February 11, 2020.

Desktop Environments

Xfce

The release of the Xfce desktop 4.14 is the new stable version that supersedes Xfce 4.12.

display-general.png

In 4.14, the main goal was to port all core components to Gtk3 (over Gtk2) and GDBus (over D-Bus GLib). Most components also received GObject Introspection support. The release provides polishing for the user experience and introduces quite a few new features, improvements and fixings.

The main highlights of this release are:

  • The window manager received a slew of updates and features, including support for VSync (using either Present or OpenGL as backend) to reduce or remove display flickering, HiDPI support, improved GLX support with NVIDIA proprietary/closed source drivers, support for XInput2, various compositor improvements and a new default theme.
  • The panel got support for RandR's primary monitor feature, improved window grouping in the tasklist plugin (better UX, visual group indicator etc), a per-panel “icon-size” setting, a new default clock format and clock format evaluator as well as an improved default panel layout.
  • The desktop now has support for RandR's primary monitor feature, an orientation option for icon arrangement, a “Next Background” context menu option to advance the wallpaper and it now syncs the user's wallpaper selection to AccountsService.
  • A completely new settings dialog to manage color profiles has been created. For most users this means out of the box support for color-managed printing (through cupsd) and scanning (through saned). For monitor profiles you will have to install an additional service like xiccd.
  • The display dialog received a lot of attention during this cycle and a big feature: Users are now able to save and (automatically) restore complete multi-display configurations, which is especially helpful for those who frequently connect their laptop to varying docking stations or setups. Furthermore a lot of time was spent on making the user interface more intuitive and a hidden option was added to support RandR display scaling (configured via Xfconf).
  • We added an option to enable Gtk window scaling to the appearance dialog and a monospace font option as well. However we had to drop theme previews as they didn't produce consistent results with Gtk3.
  • While we decided to drop splash screens from the session manager, we added lots of features and fixes instead. Among them are hybrid sleep support, improvements to the default session startup avoiding race conditions, a feature to add and edit autostart entries, a switch user button in the logout dialog and improved session chooser and settings dialogs (the latter with a new tab that shows saved sessions). Furthermore you can now run commands not only "autostart style" at login time, but also when your computer suspends, logs out etc. Finally Gtk applications are now session-managed over DBus and screensavers are also communicated with (e.g. inhibited) over DBus.
  • As always, Thunar - our file manager - received a lot of features and fixes. Among the visible changes are the completely reworked pathbar, support for larger thumbnails as well as support for a "folder.jpg" file altering the folder's icon (e.g. for music album covers). Power users will also notice the improved keyboard navigation (zooming, tab navigation). Thunar's volume manager has gained Bluray support.
  • Our thumbnailing service tumbler received a lot of fixes and support for the Fujifilm RAF format.
  • The application finder can now optionally be opened as a single window and can now be more easily navigated with the keyboard only.
  • The power manager received a lot of bugfixes and some smaller features, including support for the XF86Battery button and for the newly created xfce4-screensaver. The panel plugin also saw several improvements: it can now optionally show the remaining time and/or percentage and it now relies on UPower's standard icon names to work with more icon themes out of the box. With LXDE moving on to a QT base the LXDE panel plugin was dropped.

GNOME

GNOME 3.34 (codename Thessaloniki) is in Leap 15.2. The GNOME 3.34 introduces custom folders in the application overview. Simply drag an application icon on top of another to create a folder. Folders are automatically removed when all icons have been dragged out of them. Icons in the application overview can be grouped together into folders. Drag an icon on top of another to create a group. Removing all icons from a group will automatically remove the group too. This makes organizing applications much easier and keeps the application overview clutter-free.

icon-grid-drag.png

The overview visual style was refined as well, including the search entry field, the login password field and the overview window highlight border. All these changes give the GNOME desktop an improved overall experience.

There are also many other smaller improvements in this GNOME release like:

  • Several applications have received new icons, including Photos, Videos, and To Do.
  • Terminal now supports right-to-left and bi-directional languages.
  • Some animations in the overview have been refactored, resulting in faster icon loading and caching.
  • Files now warns users when attempting to paste a file into a write-protected directory.
  • The accessibility feature Pointer Location has been updated to work under Wayland sessions now. When the feature is enabled, pressing Ctrl will highlight the pointer location on the screen.
  • The Activities hot-corner can now be disabled by setting org.gnome.desktop.interface.enable-hot-corners to false.
  • Settings has a refined Wi-Fi list that is easier to read. Search sections can now be reordered by dragging them in the list. The Night Light section has been moved to the Display panel.
  • Software has a larger assortment of featured applications.
  • Polari now displays a banner notifying the user when the app is offline.

KDE and Qt

Qt 5

Qt 5 was updated to version 5.12 Long Term Support (LTS). The new solid development base provides better performance, refined experience and thousands of bug fixes. Qt is a full development framework with tools designed to streamline the creation of applications and user interfaces for desktop, embedded, and mobile platforms. The version fully support Qt for Python, making all of the Qt APIs available to Python developers. Qt 5.12 contains the second Technology Preview for Qt for WebAssembly. With Qt for WebAssembly, you can compile a Qt application to run in any modern Web browser. Even though Qt for WebAssembly is still marked as a Technology Preview, it is pretty functional.

Plasma

Plasma 5.18 LTS is the third long-term support release from the KDE Plasma team. Leap 15.2 includes this new LTS version. Plasma 5.18 will be updated and maintained by KDE contributors for the next two years (regular versions are maintained for 4 months). In Plasma 5.18 you will find neat new features that make notifications clearer, settings more streamlined and the overall look more attractive. Plasma 5.18 is easier and more fun to use, while at the same time allowing you to be more productive when it is time to work.

If you are thinking of updating or migrating your school, company or organization to Plasma, this version is your best bet, as you get the most stable version of Plasma *and* all the new features too.

Plasma 5.18 is even more user-friendly as we have added more features that let you work, play and express yourself better. Take the new Emoji Selector: it is literally always just two keystrokes away. Hold down the Meta (Windows) key and press the period (.) and it will pop up. Click on the icon that best represents your feelings and you can paste the emoji into your email, social media post, text message or even your terminal.

Continuing with improvements to the overall look, Plasma 5.18 comes with better support for GTK applications using client-side decorations. These applications now show proper shadows and the resize areas for them. GTK apps now also automatically inherit Plasma's settings for fonts, icons, mouse cursors and more. Plasma now starts significantly faster and start-up scripts have been converted from bash to C++ and now run asynchronously. There is also much better support for public WiFi logins.

To help relax your eyesight, there's a new system tray widget that lets you toggle the Night Color feature. You can also configure keyboard shortcuts to turn Night Color and Do Not Disturb modes on or off.

NightColorWidget.png

System Settings

There are quite a few new things in Plasma 5.18's System Settings. First and foremost is the optional User Feedback settings. These are disabled by default to protect your privacy. The System Settings Virtual Desktops page has been rewritten for Wayland support and there is a new panel for managing and configuring Thunderbolt devices.

That said, if you do decide to share information about your installation with us, none of the options allows the system to send any kind of personal information. In fact, the Feedback settings slider lets you decide how much you want to share with KDE developers. KDE developers can later use this information to improve Plasma further and better adapt it to your needs.

UserFeedback.png

Other notable changes in this release include:

  • Discover is greatly improved. Now also supports fwupd allowing to upgrade the computer's firmware.
  • Improved external monitor dialog and workflow
  • Improved media player widget.
  • Many improvements for Wayland support everywhere.
  • Fractional scaling is now supported on Wayland.
  • XdgStable, XdgPopups and XdgDecoration protocols are now fully implemented.
  • Wayland now supports virtual desktops, and they work in a more fine-grained way than on X11. Users can place a window on any subset of virtual desktops, rather than just on one or all of them.
  • Initial support for using Wayland with proprietary Nvidia drivers has been added. Graphics are also no longer distorted after waking the computer from sleep with Nvidia drivers.
  • New accessibility feature that lets the user move the cursor with the keyboard when using libinput
  • Many improvements in Plasma's System Monitor, ksysguard.
  • Flatpak portal support

Frameworks

KDE Frameworks are over 70 addon libraries. Frameworks 5.68.0 is expected for the Gold Master. The newer KDE Frameworks had made changes to several packages including Baloo, Breeze Icons, KAuth, KActivities, KConfig, KIO, Kirigami, KWidgetsAddons, KWayland, Oxygen Icons and more.

Applications

KDE Applications were updated to version 19.12.3 with many new features and usability improvements. The version includes New releases of Choqok 1.7, KPMcore and KDE Partition Manager 4.1.0 and KPhotoAlbum 5.6.

openSUSE technologies

Snapper

Snapper is a tool for managing BTRFS and LVM snapshots. It can create, diff and restore snapshots and provides timelined auto-snapping. Scripting with it is now easier than ever thanks to its new machine-readable output. The Snapper plugin for libzypp has also been reworked to not depend on Python, making it usable in systems with a very reduced set of packages.

YaST

Installer improvements

The openSUSE installer remains as powerful and versatile as ever, allowing to easily tweak every single aspect of the system including the mitigation for CPU based attacks like Spectre or Meltdown. But power should not be at odds with usability, and the installation process of Leap 15.2 presents several improments in this area, like a more user-friendly dialog for selecting the system role, improved information about the installation progress, better compatibility with right-to-left languages like Arabic and many other small enhancements.

As always, Leap provides a smooth and uniform experience in all kinds of hardware, from small single-board computers like Raspberry Pi to powerful mainframe systems. But without renouncing to the specifics that make those platforms great. Thus, the Leap 15.2 installer offers a better management of storage devices for Raspberry Pi, a more accurate detection of MS Windows partitions encrypted with BitLocker and mechanisms to take advantage of some of the some brand new features of the IBM zSeries mainframes, like Secure Boot or automatic configuration of I/O devices.

YaST improvements

YaST is the most complete configuration tool for Linux. Leap 15.2 is the first openSUSE release to introduce a gradual change that splits system’s configuration between /usr/etc and /etc directories. YaST supports that new structure in all the affected modules, offering to system administrators a central point to inspect the configuration that will help them during the transition and beyond.

Leap can be executed on top of the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), delivering the power of openSUSE to the Windows world. The YaST version in Leap 15.2 improves the compatibility with that platform, specially when executing YaST Firstboot in order to perform all the needed initial adjustments.

Another goal of this new version of YaST is improving the experience and possibilities of configuring the network. The YaST Network module has been extensively reworked and now is more robust and consistent, not only in the surface but also under the hood, which opens new possibilities for future enhancements.

The YaST Partitioner keeps being the most powerful tool to configure all kind of storage technologies in Linux, both during installation of the system or at any later point. In this release, apart from several usability improvements, it incorporates the possibility of creating and managing Btrfs file-system that expands over several devices and also allows to use more advanced encryption technologies.

But those are not the only YaST module that has been improved. The Software Manager is now faster, the NFS module is more robust and functional, YaST NTP Client now uses systemd timers to configure periodic clock synchronizations... The full list of modules that has received other small fixes and usability enhancements also includes Keyboard, Bootloader, Kdump, Security and more.

AutoYaST

AutoYaST is a system for unattended mass deployment of openSUSE Leap systems using an AutoYaST profile containing installation and configuration data. Using AutoYaST, multiple systems can easily be installed in parallel and quickly. They need to share the same environment and similar, but not necessarily identical, hardware. The installation is defined by an XML configuration file (usually named autoinst.xml) called the “AutoYaST control file”. It can initially be created using existing configuration resources easily be tailored for any specific environment.

AutoYaST is fully integrated and provides various options for installing and configuring a system. The main advantage over other auto-installation systems is the possibility to configure a computer by using existing modules and avoiding using custom scripts which are normally executed at the end of the installation.

Many aspects has been polished at all levels in this release, more configuration options has been added and the possible errors in the user's profile or the installation process are now handled and reported in a more sensible and informative way.

Applications

Multimedia

VLC

VLC 3.0.7 is the seventh update of "Vetinari":

  • Improvements for HDR support on Windows, including for HLG streams
  • Improvements on the Blu-ray support, notably for menus

Numerous security issues:

  • 1 high security issue, 21 medium and 20 low security issues were fixed, ranging from integer overflow to buffer overflows, with out-of-read violations and stack overflows:
* Fix a buffer overflow in the MKV demuxer (CVE-2019-14970)
* Fix a read buffer overflow in the avcodec decoder (CVE-2019-13962)
* Fix a read buffer overflow in the FAAD decoder
* Fix a read buffer overflow in the OGG demuxer (CVE-2019-14437, CVE-2019-14438)
* Fix a read buffer overflow in the ASF demuxer (CVE-2019-14776)
* Fix a use after free in the MKV demuxer (CVE-2019-14777, CVE-2019-14778)
* Fix a use after free in the ASF demuxer (CVE-2019-14533)
* Fix a couple of integer underflows in the MP4 demuxer (CVE-2019-13602)
* Fix a null dereference in the dvdnav demuxer
* Fix a null dereference in the ASF demuxer (CVE-2019-14534)
* Fix a null dereference in the AVI demuxer
* Fix a division by zero in the CAF demuxer (CVE-2019-14498)
* Fix a division by zero in the ASF demuxer (CVE-2019-14535)

GNU Health

GNU Health, the award-winning health- and hospital management system, comes in version 3.6.4. It has an updated GUI and is prepared for COVID-19 pandemic tracking, including updated ICD-10 codes and improved laboratory functions.

Furthermore, it can directly interface with Orthanc, the free PACS Server, which is now as well shipped with openSUSE.

OnionShare

OnionShare 2.2 is an official package in Leap 15.2. OnionShare lets the user share files securely and anonymously. It works by starting a web server, making it accessible as a Tor Onion Service, and generating an unguessable URL to access and download the files. It does not require setting up a separate server or using a third party file-sharing service. Files are hosted on the machine the program is run on. The receiving user just needs to open the URL in Tor Browser to download the file.

Syncthing

Syncthing is an application that synchronises files across multiple devices. This means the creation, modification or deletion of files on one machine will automatically be replicated to other devices. The official release version in Leap 15.2 is version 1.3.4.

What else is new

Orthanc

Orthanc is a RESTful DICOM server for healthcare and medical research

Orthanc aims at providing a simple, yet powerful standalone DICOM server. Orthanc can turn any computer into a DICOM store (in other words, a mini-PACS system). Its architecture is lightweight, meaning that no complex database administration is required, nor the installation of third-party dependencies.

What makes Orthanc unique is the fact that it provides a RESTful API. Thanks to this major feature, it is possible to drive Orthanc from any computer language. The DICOM tags of the stored medical images can be downloaded in the JSON file format. Furthermore, standard PNG images can be generated on-the-fly from the DICOM instances by Orthanc.

For openSUSE we have packed Orthanc together with various plugins. Orthanc is integrated with GNUHealth

Java

GNU Octave

Pagure Git hosting forge server

Introduced in Leap 15.1, the Pagure Git hosting forge server software has been updated for Leap 15.2. Like with Leap 15.1, an openSUSE-flavored theme is provided as the default.

Pagure provides an easy, customizable, lightweight solution to setting up your own full-featured Git repository server. It is similar to other popular Git-based forges, allowing developers and contributors to share and collaborate on code and content. However, it also has some unique features not found in any other Git forge providing the basis for decentralized, federated software code hosting and development.

For Leap 15.2, Pagure has been updated to version 5.10.0. Some highlights of the new version:

  • More administrative functions included in the "pagure-admin" CLI tool
  • More scopes supported for cross-project (instance-wide) API tokens
  • New API endpoints for accessing and manipulating project data, aimed at supporting CI/CD workflows and infrastructure
  • A view mode to see the history of commits to a file
  • Improved graphs for showing project statistics
  • Support for pushing via HTTP(S) using HTTP Basic Auth (using API tokens with "commit" scope) if enabled by instance administrator

Please read "/usr/share/doc/packages/pagure/UPGRADING.rst" for details on how to handle upgrading from 5.5 to 5.10.0.

DNF package manager

DNF is a next-generation dependency resolver and high-level package management tool that traces its ancestry to two projects: YUM (Yellowdog Updater, Modified) and libsolv. DNF was forked from YUM several years ago in order to rewrite it to use libsolv and to massively restructure the codebase so that a sane API would be available for both extending DNF (via plugins and hooks) and building applications on top of it (such as graphical frontends and system lifecycle automation frameworks).

DNF provides the following over YUM: a maintained and documented Python API, enhanced problem reporting, advanced tracking of weak dependencies, support for rich dependencies, and more detailed transaction information while performing actions.

The DNF Python API is stable and supported, while the underlying libdnf and hawkey APIs (both C/C++ and Python) are unstable, and will likely change in future releases.

With Leap 15.2, DNF has been rebased to version 4.2.19, which brings many fixes and improvements.

Some highlights:

  • Colorized output when supported in the terminal by default
  • Support for variables in repo IDs
  • Support for loading vars and repo definitions from multiple directories

In addition, a lightweight C implementation of DNF called "Micro DNF" is now included. It is designed to be used for doing simple package management actions when you don't need full-blown DNF and you want the tiniest useful environments possible. This is useful for the case of minimal containers and appliances.

Finally, an experimental alternative PackageKit backend to use DNF is also available.

DNF is currently not configured with openSUSE repositories for software management by default.

Tilix

Tilix is a tiling terminal emulator which uses the VTE GTK+ 3 widget with the following features:

   Layout terminals in any fashion by splitting them horizontally or vertically
   Terminals can be re-arranged using drag and drop both within and between windows
   Terminals can be detached into a new window via drag and drop
   Tabs or sidebar list current sessions
   Input can be synchronized between terminals so commands typed in one terminal are replicated to the others
   The grouping of terminals can be saved and loaded from disk
   Terminals support custom titles
   Color schemes are stored in files and custom color schemes can be created by simply creating a new file
   Transparent background
   Background images
   Quake mode support (i.e. drop-down terminal)
   Custom hyperlinks
   Automatic (triggered) profile switches based on hostname and directory
   Supports notifications when processes are completed out of view. Requires the Fedora notification patches for VTE
   Experimental trigger support (Requires patched VTE, see wiki)
   Experimental badge support (Requires patched VTE, see wiki)

Base operating system