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It makes sense that they should standardize on a single package manager, but merging the two and trying to cram them into an almost-release-candidate distribution seems retarded to me. I'm sure they have good reason.
They probably want to road-test Red Carpet/YaST integration in time for SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (http://www.novell.com/products/desktop/preview.html) so they can solve the kinds of bugs you mentioned.
In Novell Linux Desktop 9, their current enterprise desktop offering, the two are seperate - which is a complete pain. You can use Red Carpet to install updates and new packages from the Internet (http://www.novell.com/documentation/nld/nld_deployment/data/bu4rlng...).
However, you can also use YaST, which not only does the above but also lets you install patches from a CD, as well as add/remove packages from the original install set (http://www.novell.com/documentation/nld/nld_deployment/data/bsj9mwg...).
The same kind of problems exist during deployment and administration. If you want to deploy NLD, you don't use Red Carpet or ZENWorks, you use AutoYaST instead (http://www.novell.com/documentation/nld/nld_deployment/data/bt056w8...).
Once you've used AutoYaST to deploy NLD, though, it's back to ZENWorks and Red Carpet to perform software delivery (http://www.novell.com/documentation/zenworks7/lm7install/data/bxg22...) and - more importantly - lock down desktops (http://www.novell.com/documentation/zenworks7/lm7install/data/bxg2x...).
Basically, it's a mess to work with and the sooner Novell integrates Red Carpet & ZENWorks with YaST the better. This looks like the first step in a long overdue direction.