Wednesday, June 22, 2011

openSUSE 12.1 Milestone 2

Jos Poortvliet has announced the availability of the second milestone release of openSUSE 12.1 - now with Firefox 5 and a more stable Flash support on 64-bit architectures: "About 3 weeks after the first milestone for openSUSE 12.1, today the second milestone has been made available. Following the roadmap, this is the second of six milestone until the openSUSE 12.1 release in November. The first milestone had a huge number of changes and improvements on top of the latest openSUSE release. Again, many packages have been updated: Firefox 5-rc, Horde 4 packages, 'The Board', Rawstudio, LLVM/clang 3.0 snapshot, many smaller updates to KDE and GNOME applications and desktops." Refer to the release announcement for additional details. Download (mirrors): openSUSE-KDE-LiveCD-Build0072-i686.iso (671MB, MD5, torrent), openSUSE-GNOME-LiveCD-Build0072-i686.iso (668MB, MD5, torrent), openSUSE-KDE-LiveCD-Build0072-x86_64.iso (672MB, MD5, torrent), openSUSE-GNOME-LiveCD-Build0072-x86_64.iso (685MB, MD5, torrent).

Space freighter plunges into southern Pacific

Europe's unmanned ATV 2 space freighter Johannes Kepler burned up on reentry early this morning as planned, after undocking from the International Space Station yesterday.

Contact with the Automated Transfer Vehicle 2 was lost at 8.41pm GMT (3.41pm ET) at an altitude of 80km, just before the vehicle fell into the southern Pacific Ocean.

There was one unplanned manoeuvre, following a warning from NASA that a piece of space debris was set to approach within 50 meters of the ship about two hours after it left the ISS. Using its last tonne of fuel, the ship fired its thrusters briefly to move out of danger.

"The mission of ATV-2 has been very smooth and we have encountered during these four months only very minor issues that were quickly taken care of by our teams," says Nico Dettmann, head of ESA’s ATV programme.

"ATV has shown again its capabilities in servicing the Station, and we are looking forward to the next, Edoardo Amaldi, which will be shipped to Kourou in August for launch in early 2012."

Just before hitting the atmosphere, Johannes Kepler was commanded to begin tumbling to make sure it would disintegrate and burn up safely.

Pieces such as the heavy docking adapter and main engines – designed to withstand extreme heat – struck the ocean at around 4pm ET. There were no hazardous materials aboard.

The freighter's last moments were recorded by a prototype 'black box' provided by the US Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies. It collected information on acceleration, roll, pitch and yaw rates, temperatures and GPS coordinates.

The black box was then left to decend on its own, protected by its own heatshield, and transmitting its stored data via the Iridium satphone system.

The information will help to predict what happens to space hardware as it reenters and comes apart, and should help in designing future spacecraft so that they break up into less hazardous fragments on reentry.

"We broke many records with ATV-2," says Alberto Novelli, head of ESA’s ATV Mission Operations.

"Not only was this the heaviest payload ever launched by ESA and the Ariane 5 rocket, but the ATV’s engines also achieved the biggest boost for human spaceflight since the Apollo missions to the moon: we raised the Space Station’s orbit by more than 40 kilometres."

pfSense 2.0 RC3

Chris Buechler has announced the availability of the third release candidate for pfSense 2.0, a FreeBSD-based operating system for firewalls: "I'm happy to announce what will likely be the final 2.0 release candidate, RC3, is now available. RC2 was a snapshots-only tag. The mirrors are currently syncing, with a few of them done already and the remaining will sync within the coming hours. There are considerably fewer open issues on 2.0 right now than there were on 1.2.3 when it was released, and no major outstanding problems. 2.0 has gotten widespread use in production environments over the last year plus including in our most critical networks, and looks to be ready for release. We expect final release within a month, and consider RC3 the preferred release for all new installs." Here is the full release announcement. Download: pfSense-2.0-RC3-i386.iso.gz (96.5MB, SHA256), pfSense-2.0-RC3-amd64.iso.gz (110MB, SHA256).

Scientific Linux 5.6

Troy Dawson has announced the stable release of Scientific Linux 5.6, a distribution built from source packages for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.6, with extra packages that could be useful in scientific and academic environments: "Scientific Linux 5.6 has been released for both i386 and x86_64 architectures. It has a new graphical theme called 'Atom Shine' provided by Shawn Thompson. Scientific Linux release 5.6 is based on the rebuilding of RPMs out of SRPMs from Enterprise 5 Server and Client. It also has all errata and bug fixes up until May 13, 2011." Some of the extra application, tools and drivers added the distribution include Alpine, IceWM, Intel wireless firmware, Sun Java, KDEEdu, multimedia support, OpenAFS, R, YumEx and many others. Please read the release announcement and release notes for further information. Download: SL.56.061711.DVD.i386.disc1.iso (4,167MB, MD5), SL.56.061711.DVD.x86_64.disc1.iso (4,172MB, MD5).