It was only the next day as I was having my lunch (I know it sounds surreal, but it was really so) when it finally dawned on me. We have "Rescan Disks" button, hidden in "Hard Disks" configuration screen and it does exactly what Jozef wanted to do: re-reads partitioning configuration.
Not that I would want to encourage you to use different tools than our partitioner *, but sometimes you really want/need to do it. Perhaps you don't feel comfortable with clickety interface, you are much more familiar with CLI tools and you want to use GUI just for some minor adjustments (e.g. defining mount points) ... Whatever, if you want the partitioner to pick up your hand-made configuration, press "Rescan Disks" button.
( *) it is not a supported scenario and if you do so anyway and run into problems, you should not ask us for help in Bugzilla :) in other words, do what I suggest here only if you know exactly what you are doing )
Come to think of it, hard disks and partitions are not the only two types of storage devices. You might want to use CLI utilities to create e.g. LVMs or RAIDs (even during installation, necessary tools are in inst-sys because partitioner calls them for you if you use clickety approach) Wouldn't the "Rescan" button be better off on the main partitioner screen? Like this:
Bright future ++In openSUSE 11.2, we will be (among other things) working on improving the usability of partitioner interface. That includes resolving currently opened usability-related bugs, but for example also reducing the time user spends in the interface searching for the right dialogs and right buttons performing the most common tasks (which is, in my opinion, one of the most prominent usability flaws of the partitioner).
As for the new feature set, partitioner plans for 11.2 are still mostly up in the air, but you can already try an hors-d'oeuvre from our YaCHT kitchen, brought to you by the main cook captain Arvin. Coded with love and passion, try it :D A nice tool to visualize the structure of storage devices on your system, to show where the volumes are mounted and how are they bundled into LVMs/RAIDs. The whole thing will look even cooler in the future and the graph nodes will be clickable.
Oh, and before I forget: there are two "easter eggs" in the screenshot in Arvin's blogpost. Let's see if you can find them :) I found one and, looking for some well-known mathematical constant, such as π or e, I did not see the forest for the trees :D