openSUSE 11.1 unleashed
Today openSUSE 11.1 was released to the public, so it’s time to say a few words again, already. It feels like 11.0 was released yesterday since this was an unusually short release cycle (6 months vs. the normal 7-9 months). It’s also a special release because openSUSE 11.1 is the code base for SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 (SLE), due out in the first half of 2009. It’s surely not the most polished nor least buggy openSUSE release to date, but at least it looks like we won’t see a repeat of SUSE Linux 10.1*, as some people may have feared. With some online updates 11.1 can become a very enjoyable release.
As always the impressive openSUSE KDE-team worked tirelessly to make the KDE experience extra pleasing.
KDE 4.1.3 is shipped, with everything which that entails. Additionally it’s enhanced with a lot of backported features from the upcoming KDE 4.2 – such as panel hiding, windows can cover panel, the KWin cube effect, PowerDevil power management, full featured Folder View widget, taskbar tooltips, multirow systray, possibility to hide systray icons and more. A special openSUSE feature is the hidden by default controversial desktop toolbox – the “cashew” (looks like a GNOME logo) in the top right corner.
Amarok 2.0 and early versions of KDE 4 DigiKam, KDE 4 NetworkManager applet, KDE 4 Kerry etc. are available too. As these programs progress, better versions will become available via the openSUSE Build Service repositories.
KDE 3.5.10 is available too, on DVD installations – at the desktop selection step, click on “Other” to select KDE3, along with Xfce, text based installation and icewm. This is the last time the KDE 3 desktop will be officially included in openSUSE media. Packages may be maintained by community members on the Build Service for future versions, who knows.
A lot of interesting things actually happened “around” the distro this time – not just in the technology itself.
For the first time openSUSE is built in the openSUSE Build Service for example.
The Contrib repository saw it’s humble beginnings. This repository will let non-Novell employees build and maintain official packages. For users it will mean more packages being available in a single frozen repository – instead of having to use lots of ever-changing, experimental Build Service repositories that cause conflicts and other problems – if you’re not careful.
Exciting strides have been taken in the field of software freedom. Adobe Flash, Agfa fonts etc. have been dropped from the DVD media – this means the DVD media is now redistributable and is licensed under GPLv2 – allowing commercial and non-commercial redistribution. Adobe flash-player will be pulled in as an update, if you don’t want it uninstall pullin-flash-player. Agfa fonts are replaced by Liberation Fonts.
OpenJDK and a web start plugin is installed by default instead of Sun Java, and works very well for many Java applets. A newer and even better version of OpenJDK is already available on the Build Service. Sun Java 1.5 and 1.6 is still available via the official non-oss repository if you need it.
The inclusion of SELinux should also interest a lot of people – even though it’s not very integrated, and it isn’t running by default – AppArmor is.
Have a lot of fun with openSUSE 11.1!
* The uninitiated may not know that SUSE Linux 10.1 – which formed the base of SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 – was probably the worst release of a GNU/Linux distribution in this millenium due to horribly broken package management.