openSUSE: Porting YaST to Ruby

Warning to my new NaBloPoMo readers: This is one of my geeky, technical posts. It’s about the Linux operating system. It’s been sitting in the queue for a little while.

openSUSE 13.1 Release is ComingA few weeks ago, openSUSE Community Manager Jos Poortvliet talked with members of the SUSE YaST development team on porting YaST to Ruby. I’ve long said that the best thing about openSUSE as a distribution is the one-stop configuration tool called YaST. My feelings about this are even stronger since I’ve spent more time with Ubuntu.

Before reading this interview, I was mystified why other Linux distros didn’t adapt YaST’s open-source code to create “Yet another Setup Tool” for their own systems. Now I know: You almost had to be a SUSE employee to learn YaST’s custom programming language!

That changes with openSUSE 13.1. YaST is now written in the popular Ruby scripting language. Apparently, once the team decided to make the switch, it was easier (though time-consuming) to port than they originally projected.

Mini-Review: My Testing

The best thing to report after playing with the new YaST in the release candidates is that existing users aren’t likely to notice much difference. The KDE interface doesn’t look any different, and performance is pretty much the same, at least in the VirtualBox I’ve got the RC running in. I look forward to running it on its own partition soon.

Learning About and Getting openSUSE 13.1

openSUSE 13.1 is due for release on November 19. If you can help test, go get Release Candidate 2 at If you want to learn more about the release, visit the Portal or check out the News site.

I’ve also been curating openSUSE desktop news at