I’ve been relatively displeased with 11.0 for some time on the thinkpad X30 laptop. Too many items just don’t work correctly. Now that there is no pressing need for the laptop to be usable, I’ve updated from 11.0 -> 11.1 using zypper.
Turns out that matters have gotten worse in many ways. Let’s start with the worst. Support for intel i830 graphics is terrible. The keyboard becomes disabled after you type ‘sax2 -r -m 0=intel’ or any other combination of sax2 and xorg that includes intel. An external keyboard may have allowed me to not use the poweroff button, but I did not test that. The prior working xorg.conf works only when the ‘vesa’ driver is used. Perhaps the 2.6.30 kernel will provide some relief here, 2.6.29 does not. Not a major regression from 11.0 as I had to disable all desktop effects and disable DRI to use the ‘intel’ driver there. Just seriously annoying.
KDE4.1, a wonderful desktop environment if you enjoy hard locks and random crashes. Fortunately, there is a KDE4.2 repo as there was for 11.0 and that is soon fixed.
The thinkpad_acpi module, which once allowed control of the fan, no longer works for that. I haven’t been able to find if there is a new manual control structure. The only setting is auto, which typically doesn’t start the fan until somewhat higher than I would wish and cannot anticipate when I will be doing something cpu intensive. Unfortunately that means the temperature is 10C higher on average than it would be were the fan at it’s lowest setting. Still, the auto setting works slightly better in 11.1 than 11.0.
The network manager applet for KDE4 is unusable for encrypted wireless networks, though it may be usable for unencrypted ones. Unfortunately, it looks like the same bug is afflicting the kde3 network manager applet. That was not the case in 11.0. Perhaps I will test nm-applet from gnome or discover that the problem is with networkmanager itself.
Certain keys still generate no events and suspend-to-ram fails on resume with the same black screen and frozen keyboard as faced me in 11.0 and was one of the major annoyances there.
Now for the good. Just as in 11.0 there has been a lot of attention to appearance. Essentially everything looks great. Subjectively, many fonts seems crisper than 11.0.
There seems to have been some speed improvements in terms of startup and shutdown times. In 11.0, kdm would not start until after all the init scripts had finished. Not so in 11.1. I flipped to the first tty after kdm started and noticed a significant number of services that were still finishing up. Looks like the graphical login manager is started in parallel with other init scripts.
The yast network controller appears to have gotten enough improvements that I don’t mind networkmanager not working properly. In fact, I may simply forget about networkmanager entirely. When using networkmanager in 11.0, there was always a delay while the interface got an ip. Now the interface gets the ip in parallel with kdm and is ready by the time kde4 starts.
On a side note most yast modules seem faster. I wonder if the speed improvement is one reason that sax2 was unable to generate an appropriate xorg.conf.