Home > SuSE, openSUSE > Novell Management Tool, YAST, Gets FreeNovell Management Tool, YAST, Gets Free Eugenia Loli 2004-03-19 SuSE, openSUSE 54 CommentsReversing a long-standing position, Novell plans to adopt a widely used open-source license for its Linux management tool in a plan to spread the program and make its SuSE Linux product more popular.About The Author Eugenia LoliEx-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker.Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 54 Comments 2004-03-19 3:29 am I guess this means people can develope cool modules for YAST now (i dont know if they couldnt before, call me ignorant… people complained about its license,,, but it was one of the reasons i started using and continue to use SUSE.the page doesnt want to load right now… does anyone know if that means the yast modules are changed or can you just plug into yast? 2004-03-19 3:35 am Now if only they would release the iso’s for free. That would increase their popularity…though probably not their revenue (by much anyways.) 2004-03-19 3:40 am I can’t get on news.com, oh well. Neither Novell’s or Suse’s site have anything on this. My question is this just the old YAST or YAST2? 2004-03-19 3:43 am I cant check in the article, but what about the installer? 2004-03-19 3:59 am “If they really want to push this within their company, they should be working with their own engineers to get it working with both Fedora (a test version of Red Hat’s Linux) and Debian,” a noncommercial version of Linux, Perens said. –Bruce PerensYeah, that makes total sense! SuSE should shift support away from their own distro (read, revenue) to help others. If they work on Fedora, they’re really working for RedHat since RedHat will base their Enterprise software on Fedora.And of course Bruce wants help with his silly “UserLinux”, which he (unsuccessfully) tried to get going many years ago.If he wants YAST to work on those platforms, he can migrate it. What a bum.And to whoever said SuSE should provide ISO’s: if you’re that desperate, do what I did and download it via FTP and show some damn appreciation. 2004-03-19 3:59 am good PR move by Novell, but they will still get the bad PR unless everything is open. YaSt was a way for SuSe to gain an advantage, I suspect that ‘advantage’ will be traded in for edirectory or other propriatry software. It’s a great start, they make thier living off others code its nice to see them return the favor. 2004-03-19 4:03 am Novell has really impressed me as of late.1) They reaffirmed their committment to KDE.2) They integrated SuSE in a way that maintained the company’s integrity.3) They came out against SCO.4) Now, they GPL Yast.Very cool Novell! 2004-03-19 4:06 am It’s not that far off, many Red Hat developers do work & package software for Debian they wrote while working at Red Hat it helps to make standards. 2004-03-19 4:08 am I should shut up and stop posting but i’m pretty excited about his, I _never_ installed SuSe for these type of reasons, if they change thier outlook i’ll definatly give them a try. 2004-03-19 4:11 am If you can make this Yast thing work in other distros, why then would I give a shit about using Suse, since Yast was supposed to be one of the main draws ? 2004-03-19 4:13 am Great news, it means that everybody will be able to use what is probably the most powerful set up tool every invented.Not without glitches, though: an install and setup of Mandrake can feel much smoother.Open sourcing it should help remove those issues. 2004-03-19 4:15 am To me YAST is very slow when compared to something like Drake.Whats so great about it? 2004-03-19 4:16 am hi“And of course Bruce wants help with his silly “UserLinux”, which he (unsuccessfully) tried to get going many years ago.”Userlinux will be a subset of debian and a very recent effort. The older effort is LSB not userlinux.He is saying that technology should reach other distros too.Like rpm from redhat and apt-get from debian. it can be done and its being doneeven at the kernel level redhat people work with debian to push certain things like their buffer overflow protection mechanism.regardsJess 2004-03-19 4:19 am Novell plans to adopt a widely used open-source license for its Linux management tool in a plan to spread the program and make its SuSE Linux product more popular.LOL @ those guys, YAST was pretty much the only unique proprietary feature they had in their favor, now they give it away to their competitors. It might give YAST a good chance of being implemented in other versions of Linux, but that’s not about to put more money in Novell pockets, but rather give what could have been a money making advantage over everyone but Red Hat away.Seems a pretty desperate move so early in this acquisition, combined with their press release about a future press release yesterday, things must not be going as well as they had hoped. Not surprising, considering their track record. 2004-03-19 4:20 am Not necessarily.I don’t use Suse because of Yast, then I’d rather use Mandrake. I use it because it is stable, complete and very well integrated. 2004-03-19 4:28 am Their overall behaviour does’t feel as if they were ‘desperate’, on the contrary, it feels as if they know very well what they are doing. 2004-03-19 4:33 am Well, if YAST would become like a standard, i.e. the defacto Linux configuration tool that could give SUSE quite a nice advantage as SUSE/Novell knows YAST much better than anybody else.Anyway, from a home user’s point of view YAST may seem like the biggest plus SUSE has. But SUSE/Novell have other aces in their pockets besides of YAST that makes SUSE Linux a very interesting OS from a corporate point of view. And corporate/business market is what they are after, not so much some home users/hackers etc. 2004-03-19 4:40 am It helps Novell by giving them credibility and reputation. I think Novell has decided, as IBM has, that the money in the OS market of the future is going to be made on support, not on charging for cool software; thus it’s in their interest to gain the goodwill of developers they’ll need to work with in the long run, rather than hold on to something that isn’t going to make or break their business.Of course, it remains to be seen whether or not this idea of how the market will play out is true. I think it’s got a chance, especially if companies are willing to work together and contribute their software to making the whole system better. I think that’s what Novell has in mind. 2004-03-19 4:51 am I think this move clearly shows that Novell doesn’t have the home desktop market in it’s sites, as they’re giving up the one tool which set Suse apart for the home pc and which home user’s cared most about. There’s too little money to be made in the home desktop market (for now) as there are many free alternatives and only a small user base. So, they’ll instead gain acceptance with this good PR move.However, they have nothing to worry about as they still will have plenty to set them apart in the business market once they integrate all the Novell business tools.They know Redhat won’t adopt Yast as Redhat has their own tools and adopting Yast would just be an admission that Suse had better tools, so it’s not even like their supporting competition (as Redhat is probably their main competitor).It’s kind of a smart move for them, but there is something to be said with the argument that holding the home pc market share will inevitably increase your business market share (just look at MS). If smaller distros adopt Yast, the chances of me being an exclusive Suse user had just dropped. 2004-03-19 4:55 am Whoever said that Novell is doing this out of desperation is totally off, I think. It’s way too early to tell how successful SuSE is going to be for Novell. I don’t think many (if any) old distros will switch to YAST. Why? They already have their own gig going, like the RedHat spokesperson said. But, the article sounded like some vendors are thinking about using YAST as a platform for their implementing their configurationt tools on Linux. I’ve seen there is a -devel package for YAST, so it’s my guess this was possible already. But perhaps open sourcing it will give it the extra boost and acceptance out there. And maybe a few more people to improve it, even.Time will tell. 2004-03-19 5:16 am You’re precisely right. SuSE is not (and never really was) aimed at the home user market. Indeed, the home user market is pretty much a non-factor for Linux, at the moment. There is no money to be made there. However, there is money to be made in the business market, and that’s what Novell is targetting.This actually works out quite well for Novell. They have lots of good cards in their hand. They’ve got Ximian, and all the enterprise technologies (Mono, Evolution, Redcarpet) that go with that. They’ve got SuSE, and the experience, technologies (SLES), and customer base that go with that. What Novell is betting is that companies will go with Novell because they want excellent integration of all of those components. Open-sourcing YaST doesn’t detract from this goal (its a part of a whole), but it does burnish their image in the community, as well as preempt any unfavorable comparisons to RedHat (whose tools are all Open Source). 2004-03-19 5:18 am maybe they’re just opening a great tool for the benifit of others. maybe they would like to make use of the open source model and get the community involved to improve yast. 2004-03-19 5:51 am YaST is an excellent tool, and this is a good thing for it to get GPL’d. As for the Novell comments, SuSE Linux 9.0 and the coming 9.1 are aimed at the home user, not the corporate desktop if you read the press releases. This is a good thing as that is what is needed. SuSE will not be coming out with thier business platform until after the release of SuSE 9.1. Is the same with SuSE 9.0 which is geared as a home desktop, where the Enterprise version is SuSE Linux Desktop 1. They are going after all the markets, and it’s about time someone did. 2004-03-19 6:29 am i don’t know what else they could do convince people that they are serious about the home desktop.Suse 9.1 Personal will cost $ 30With 9.1 Pro you’ll get more value for your money than you could ever dream: 5 CDs, 2 double DVDs, the usual 1,000 pages manuals…And in fact you are getting two operating systems in one, because it will work both with 32 and 64 bit CPUs: try to get the same value for money from Microsoft! 2004-03-19 7:00 am Always cool to have more GPL software. I know that YAST is the installer for SuSE, but isn’t it also the update mechanism for it (like RedHat’s up2date). It seems (in that area) that it would duplicate the function of RedCarpet (by Ximian, owned by Novell).Is there some advantage to YAST over RedCarpet? I use RedCarpet to update and install of all of my software with Fedora. Why would YAST be better? 2004-03-19 7:11 am PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Consider what words you use in your articles….YAST doesn’t get Free it get’s GPLed it’s a huuuuge difference.As long as irresponsible journalists keep misusing the word free people will keep misunderstanding the licensing issues.Eugenia, could you write just “GPLed” or whatever rather than free futurewise? 2004-03-19 7:14 am I think I would be a better idea to use the LGPL license so big companies will also use yast.LPGL let people at clossed source modules. Can be handy for some things. 2004-03-19 7:45 am I think Red Hat made the wrong move, and they should change their strategy quick. If they don’t, the ironic thing is that Red Hat Linux will start resembling something like Novell NetWare — a niche, if even that.It’s like the two have traded places or something, and only because Red Hat can’t see the forest for the trees. Linux and OSS is still a wild, open frontier, and there are yet more avenues to move into. It’s just a matter of “If you build it, they will come”…No reason to settle down, because one can strike gold twice, or even three times.The distro I’ve always used was Slackware (recently switched my server to Gentoo though), but “market-wise”, I’ve been a Novell fanboy since the acquisitions. I have a hunch that they’re going to get a lot of shit done right, without taking away too many “choices”. If anything, Novell knows the meaning of the words “integration” and “simplicity”, so couple that with Ximian and SuSE and I see nothing but good things.But anyways, back to the subject:emerge YaST 2004-03-19 8:20 am “YAST doesn’t get Free it get’s GPLed it’s a huuuuge difference.”I couldnt agree more. The FSF’s choice of the word “free” is unfortunate and will always cause confusion and misunderstanding for many people as the word has two distinct meanings. What is most annoying is hearing Linux users who should know the difference demanding software be made available to them at no cost. 2004-03-19 8:33 am “emerge YaST”ROFLMAO!Seriously though, could this be another little step towards less distro wars and more cooperation instead?(Gentoo with YaST? Not a bad idea at all, the best of both worlds) 2004-03-19 9:23 am Just because they open source it, dosent mean that it will ge ported to a lot of other distros. Mandrakes’ Drake tools are open source, and while they are used in some spin off distros you dont see them being ported to Gentoo or Debian or Slack, even though they’ve always been open source and always been one of the best collection of tools around.Why?I dont know, but I dont see why YAST would be treated any differently even if it was open sourced. 2004-03-19 10:11 am “Just because they open source it”It was already open source. 2004-03-19 10:30 am “Just because they GPL’d it” then. 2004-03-19 12:38 pm Finally! I had some hopes that Novell would be smart enough to do this. It’s the right choice and it _will_ make me consider using this distribution in the future (as long as all distribution specific parts are Open Source). 2004-03-19 12:44 pm It was already open source.No, it wasn’t. You could read the source, but it was _not_ compliant to the Open Source Definition. The term has been introduced by the Open Source Initiative, so this definition should be the only valid one. Claiming that YAST would have been Open Source is a misconception (and this possible misconception was the reason why Richard Stallman was against using this term in the first place).http://www.opensource.org/docs/definition.phpJust the read the first(!) paragraph. 2004-03-19 12:58 pm It was already open source.It was Open Source from the beginning, but not Free Software. 2004-03-19 1:01 pm “i don’t know what else they could do convince people that they are serious about the home desktop.”Maybe you’re right in many ways. But SUSE/Novell is a company that clearly aims to become a big major player in OS industry and not to stay as a niche product maker only. They won’t get that growth from home users, so they clearly target the corporate desktop and servers.Home users are not their most important market.Besides, if they really wanted to make especialy their home users very happy, I think that they would have started to use better update and package management tools long time ago already, something like YUM or APT-RPM. Business users may be happy with the current update and package management tools of SUSE Linux, but home users haven’t usually been too happy.However, if SUSE had tools like Debian’s Apt repositories, it would not only mean more work for them but besides they could not so easily sell updates, upgrades and extra sofware packs for extra money anymore…As far as package management goes, there simply are much better alternative distros like Mandrake, Debian, Alt, Xandros, Libranet, Lindows, etc.etc. Heck, even lots of hacker distros like Arch, Gentoo, Lunar, or Sorcerer win SUSE Linux hands down in package management, IMHO. 2004-03-19 2:44 pm After reading the article I didn’t think it meant Novell would be offering YAST for free. Most likely developers that wish to use the tool in their distro will have to pay some sort of fee. This would be a better marketing strategy for Novell. I also highly doubt the end user will be impacted by this except to get the benefits of a great tool.What Novell is planning could help adopt more Windows, OSX, IRIX and Unix users to Linux. Also I hope this move will curb the M$ propaganda b.s. that Linux is difficult to use. As well as opening the eyes of others to the possibilities of Linux. 2004-03-19 3:47 pm Yast and Debian…. mmmmmmmmmthat will be a tasty combo methinks… 2004-03-19 4:01 pm This is probably going bye bye pretty quickly, although I will try to say it in a way that is not offensive.In the Linux world, Mandrake is considered somewhat of a joke. Only Windows users actually tend to install and use it, while the UNIX converts simple look at it and laugh. Nothing Mandrake does will be taken seriously for a long time yet, whereas SUSE will certainly be taken seriously because of the backing of Novell. Perhaps this is a shame, I have never used Mandrake long enough to know, but I believe reputations are generated for a reason.Even if nothing is done to get YAST ported to Debian and Fedora etc, its already being used, current license and all, on Suns Java Desktop. I believe that Novell is a big enough and trusted enough name that many other companies will use it also.Also, for the person saying they should have used the LGPL, I believe that would have been a bad move. LGPL is like the BSD license, people can do whatever and the original author doesn’t have to recieve a thing. Why would Novell want to basically _give_ YAST away after all the fighting in the past that SUSE have done to keep it, well, not entirely free.Don’t take this as me being a zealot, I am not, this is simple what I believe. I think its a bad idea for developers to cater to those that will not work with them. The GPL is the only such license that basically says “we will scratch your back if you scratch ours”. Most based on the BSD license basically say “here, we spent many hours on this, but take it, modify it, and don’t bother giving anything back”.There is the argument that the developer should get to control what happens with his code, if he wants to close his modifications, he should be able to. At the same time, its simply not fair. They didn’t write most of it, others spent hours coding it, why should you be able to take this work, and not add anything, but still make money? The GPL doesn’t say “if you make changes, even if you don’t release it, its mine, all mine”, it states that if you do release something, you must make your changes available to the public. This seams fair, and anything less is undeniably bad business, and it would certainly leave a sour taste in my mouth to know I made someone a billionaire will I am still working at 7/11 for $7 an hour, and without even a mention.This turned into a rant, sorry. I think its on topic though, I mean YAST is going to GPL 2004-03-19 4:05 pm BLAHI know LGPL isn’t exactly like to BSD license, it simply allows you to link against it, and keep that closed. They would still be using Novell/SUSE’s work for nothing though, which still makes my point valid.If they don’t want to work with Novell/SUSE, they shouldn’t use their software full stop, its almost insulting imo. 2004-03-19 4:26 pm It was already open source.It was Open Source from the beginning, but not Free Software.It’s still not free software. Did you read the article? It’s GPLed software… 2004-03-19 5:27 pm Yast is ok. Its not the be all an end all of setup an configuration programs.I actually prefer Anaconda/Kudzu and the various redhat setup tools. I also have used the Gnome System Tools, formerly Ximian setup tools. These are also written in such a way that they are independent and can be used separately. 2004-03-19 6:05 pm YAST is a great setup tool. Anyone who would criticise it in that way has an axe to grind. 2004-03-19 9:49 pm Yast is the best system configuration tool out there.Anybody who compares it to Drake hasn’t really used bothrigorously. Drake is far slower than Yast and far less capable — test it on a PII with 192M Ram and you’ll see the speed difference.Hoever, that doesn’t mean YaST is great.One particular area is the network configuration. It’s done completely wrong. Try usinging it for a laptop with an onboard ethernet card and a pcmcia wireless card. Thentry changing locations which have different network configurations. SCPM only partially helps this situation. 2004-03-20 4:33 am In fact Suse does have apt, but it is not officially supported.Now, while official support could be important in principle, de facto it doesn’t make any difference: if you put only the components ” base, security, updates” in your sources.list you have a full. basic Suse distro. But you can add a lot of more components as well, which will give you all sort of nice, fancy packages.Personally I find it easier than URPMI and, having used Debian based distros quite a bit, I find that Suse apt4rpm breaks yoour system much less than Debian apt, provided of course that one uses it with a bit of common sense. 2004-03-20 1:41 pm In fact Suse does have apt, but it is not officially supported. Now, while official support could be important in principle, de facto it doesn’t make any differenceYeah, I know that there’s an unofficial APT4RPM port for SUSE. I’ve tried it and didn’t find it too good, sorry. The SUSE repositories that I could find via APT4RPM web site were quite lame when compared to Debian or Mandrake repositories, much smaller.For example, I remember that even the first software pacakages that I tried to install using it could not be found. So, what did I do? I simply gave up using SUSE at home – because there simply are much better alternative distros as far as package management goes. That’s something that that, I think, may not be too uncommon experience, and that people at SUSE should think about more if they want to become more popular among home and individual, non-business users too.Personally I find it easier than URPMIMaybe APT4RPM especially with Synaptic is easier to use than Mandrake’s urpmi. But you forget that also Mandrake has APT4RPM and Synaptic, and better repositories too.having used Debian based distros quite a bit, I find that Suse apt4rpm breaks yoour system much less than Debian apt, provided of course that one uses it with a bit of common sense.It is just plain nonsense to say that the highly tested, praised and official Debian APT tends to break system more than the unofficial APT4RPM for SUSE. But like you say: provided of course that one uses it with a bit of common sense.Of course you can break anything if you don’t read the manuals, don’t use it according to guidelines etc. And it is probably the same with Mandrake’s official repositories though I haven’t tested Mandrake enough to say for sure.The truth is that Debian’s APT with its well tested official repositories containing more than 10 000 officially tested pacakages is still the model that the APT4RPm project tries to reach.Though, APT4RPM has had some features that Debian’s APT has lacked. And some distros like Conectica and Alt Linux use APT4RPM officially, and what little I have tested Alt & Conectiva, their repositories were quite good (well tested and not so small as the unnofficial SUSE repositories) and worked quite well via APT4RPM and Synaptic. 2004-03-20 2:15 pm Security is yet another thing to think about when using some unnofficial repositories. How can I know that I can really trust some third party unnofficial SUSE repositories? Or do I know that they are really up to date, and don’t have broken packages? Who is responsible if something breaks?The Debian project has put very much time, skill and energy to keep its repositories and package managemnt tools secure, stable and trustworthy. I simply cannot trust some unnoficial third party SUSE respositories and package tools to the same extent.I think that currently, some APT-like system is the best alternative we have for package management and for solving dependencies under Linux-based distros, and it seems to stay that way still for a long time. (Though of course experts may be able to solve package dependencies by themselves just fine too, like it is with many Slackware users, but for common users and for people who have better things to spend their time with it is a pain in the ass to try that.)Read almost any SUSE review and you notice that people tend to like SUSE quite a lot – except its package management that is lacking when compared to many alternatives. If SUSE used something like APT4RPM officially, it would help them to gain much more popularity among home and individual users, I think.By the way, YUM would be another good option besides of APT4RPM. AFAIK, also Fedora uses YUM. YUM might actually also suit RPM-absed distros batter than APT4RPM as APT was originally designed to work with Debian’s deb pacakages and repositories. 2004-03-20 8:49 pm Only a few issues:1) It is unknown to me that Mandrake has apt and Synaptic (PCLinuxOS does, but it is not quite the same as Mandrake): could you please post a link?2)As to Suse apt having too few packages, Synaptics is telling me that there are almost 4,000 available. That is the highest number that I found available in any distro bar Debian (and maybe Gento, but I don’t use it)3) I never break my system with Suse apt: _very_ occasionally I come across a broken package, and the simple solution is to remove it.4)Debian apt, again: I have used it for quite a while now: while in the past it wouldn’t break your system, now it does so on a regular base. I am not the only one who is saying that: the highly skilled, highly praised Libranet developers sent us an email saying exactly the same thing, and therefore they have setup a (free) secure update ever since.Of course if you use Woody and only Woody you won’t have any trouble, but if you use Testing or Sid, Debian is the first to tell you that you do so at your own risk: logical conclusion: Debian Testing and Sid are just as unofficial as Suse apt. 2004-03-20 10:29 pm And BTW, quality matters more than quantity, IMO.Debian Sid has around 13,000 packages, but quite often I don’t find what I want: many packages are only available for RPM distros.With Suse that is hardly ever the case. 2004-03-20 11:02 pm Replies:1.) Accrording to the APT4RPM website Mandrake’s APT4RPM is unnofficial like SUSE’s too: http://apt4rpm.sourceforge.net/But Mandrake officially supports the similar URPMI anyway. What such system does SUSE support officially? If I have problems with the unofficial SUSE APT4RPM implementation, at least I cannot ask SUSE nor look to their (otherwise excellent) documentation for help.2.) It’s been maybe two years since I tried SUSE, and its unofficial APT4RPM. Perhaps the amount of packages has increased since? Only thing I know is that many quite common packages that I tried to install using it were not available in any of the SUSE repositories they list on the APT4RPM website then. I haven’t checked the situation after that.3. & 4.) “I never break my system with Suse apt: _very_ occasionally I come across a broken package, and the simple solution is to remove it.”So what’s the advantage of SUSE’s unofficial APT over the official Debian APT in that respect? You remove the broken packages just as easily in Debian… And there are many other – officially supported and developed – methods to fix the potential problems too. There’s e.g. the command apt -f install to fix broken packages etc. – which often only alone does a fine job.The simple fact remains that SUSE’s APT4RPM is only an unofficial third party add-on not in any way officially supported by SUSE.What about the security and trustworthiness of APT4RPM for SUSE? Maybe some home users are happy to use it, but at least many business users just couldn’t trust such unofficial third party sofware and the related repositories.However, if you, and many other people, can make good use of that sofware, that’s just fine. But I myself rather choose a distro that officially supports such technology.As to Libranet, their problem has been that they have tried to use both stable, testing and unstable Debian repositories at the same time with their relaases, and not only that but some extra sources like Debian’s experimental repositories and some KDE3 sources too etc. So, no wonder if the Libranet system got broken easily.However, I know about the new so-called Libranet secure update system, and it seems that they have done quite fine job fixing that previous problem, so congrats for them for that.Anyway, if you use for example Debian testing and even with perhaps some extra software packages from unstable, I’d say that you have quite a stable system, and probably more so than some other distros achieve with their “stable” releases. Also, many people are happy users of Debian unstable too, and claim that their systems are actually quite stable.As for SUSE, I have nothing against SUSE, and SUSE Linux is one of the best distros ever, but I just hope that they would support APT4RPM, YUM or some such technology officially. Maybe then I could consider using SUSE again too… 2004-03-20 11:19 pm “Debian Testing and Sid are just as unofficial as Suse apt.”That’s not true. Debian testing and unstable are official Debian branches. Their repsositories are hosted on Debian servers, and Debian develoeprs work to develop them officially.“And BTW, quality matters more than quantity, IMO.”Agreed very much…:)Anyway I haven’t had troubles finding and installing suitable open source or even commercial Linux software on Debian though.As a last note, of course Debian have many problems too. For example, their release cycle is all too slow, and thus the Debian stable releases contain too old sofware from a desktop user’s point of view. But now I’m slipping too much out of focus here… 2004-03-21 7:18 am I don’t have very much to add. We largely agree.Only, Suse apt has indeed changed a lot in the last two years: it goes through cycles of maturity and stability, but it grows all the time.I have also a couple of complaints with Suse: configuration of hardware can be a pain, Libranet does it much better.And Suse Kde is *very* slow and bloated.I hope that kernel 2.6 and Kde 3.2 are going to improve things. 2004-03-26 11:16 pm Yast is the only reason i switched from BSD to linux, I was shocked to find out it wasnt open source.