Development versions of packages listed in Release Notes

With regard to the inclusion of packages in distros that are ‘not intended for end users’, and the recent controversies such as the KDE 4.0 release in openSUSE 11.0 (and probable future issues with such things as KOffice 2.0 in openSUSE 11.2), I propose a way to keep ‘regular users’ better informed of this advice, which is sometimes not dispensed with clarity or through the right channels. I have copied this suggestion to openFATE (#308180]( but I’m also posting it here in the hope that it will be picked up by developers before the impending 11.2 release. It would be interesting to read other users’ feedback.

I suggest that all packages known to be in an alpha, beta or other development state are noted as such in some single, central place. The Release Notes might be a good place for this, as it would allow last-minute inclusions, and also ensure the majority of users would be informed during the installation process. There wouldn’t need to be too much detail, just a simple list with perhaps a brief, optional summary of the state of each relevant package. The below is my example of how it might read. There might be legal or technical implications to be taken into account.

Alpha, beta and development versions of software packages

openSUSE distribution releases sometimes include development versions of certain software packages. This can be due to a number of reasons, such as compatibility with other software or hardware. These programs may be lacking some features, designed for testing use, or may be unstable and not recommended for regular users. Other packages may be relatively stable, but labelled as ‘beta’ or ‘development version’ on an almost permanent basis, because of ongoing changes and improvements.

Throughout the product lifecycle of openSUSE releases, updates to packages are made available through the ‘Software Update’ mechanism. From time to time, these may include final versions of packages previously provided as development versions in the original distribution.

The following list summarizes packages contained in this release that are known to be ‘development’ versions. It is intended as a guide for users who might not wish to run unstable versions of software. The list is not exhaustive and there may be some omissions.

  • Kaffeine 0.9pre2* - Latest development release. Included for better stability than alternative versions.
  • K3B alpha3* - Latest development release. Included for better stability than alternative versions.
  • KOffice 2.02* - Development release. Not intended for end users.
  • Kompozer 0.8a4*** - Bugfix / development release, included for compatibility purposes.
  • SeaMonkey 2.0RC2** - Bugfix release. Should be stable for most purposes.
  • Thunderbird 3.0b4 - Bugfix release. Should be stable for most purposes.
  • Not included on GNOME Live CD
    ** Not included on KDE Live CD
    *** Included on DVD version only

Obviously, my own list is just a mock-up and probably incorrect anyway. Perhaps there would even be a way to automate the generation of this list by assessment of package names (rather hopeful I suppose). There could also be a link to a wiki page on, though this assumes users have an Internet connection and hence I don’t see it as so practical. Is this idea practical or possible for 11.2?