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openSUSE 11.4 Milestone 2 review

by Ken Hess

The official OpenSUSE 11.4 release is due out in March 2011 and there’s at least one very good reason to anticipate its arrival with excitement. Ken Hess explains all…

This article is due to appear in issue 94 of Linux User & Developer magazine.openSUSE 11.4 Milestone 2 review Subscribe and save more than 30% and receive our exclusive money back guarantee – click here to find out more.

There’s nothing quite like looking at a new Linux version—especially a minor release that promises to bring so much to the user as does OpenSUSE’s latest effort: 11.4. OpenSUSE 11.4 might prove to be the best upgrade since the leap from OpenSUSE 10.X to 11.X. Though these early “Milestones” as they’re called, are alpha versions, 11.4 Milestone 2 is very stable and surprisingly responsive, even installed into a virtual machine the speed enrichments are quite striking. That performance boost is one of the big improvements over earlier versions with 11.4’s new kernel (2.6.36) and updated Xorg packages. Expect impressive boot times and enhanced performance for application launches.

Starting with installation, 11.4 offers a simplified installation wizard with only a few questions standing between DVD boot to usable system. Compared to a Windows 7 installation, OpenSUSE can boast a simpler and faster procedure. The only OpenSUSE installation step that remains somewhat cryptic to would-be adopters is that of the disk layout and partitioning. Confusing disk options aside, 11.4’s installation and initial setup is easy for the new Linux user.

openSUSE 11.4 Milestone 2 review

At its current development stage, 11.4 contains several package updates, most notably GNOME 2.32, KDE 4.5.1, kernel 2.6.36 RC 4 and 3.3 alpha. By the time 11.4 ships in March 2011, it will contain GNOME 2.32 with the latest patches and bug fixes and the KDE 4.6.0 incarnation.

In addition to updated packages and newer versions of the major desktop managers, OpenSUSE 11.4 will arrive with some intriguing additions such as Smeegol, Meego’s attractive Linux desktop for small screens, as an alternative desktop choice. Users currently may choose from GNOME, KDE, XFCE, LXDE, a minimal X environment or the legacy character-based (command line) interface. 11.4 also includes the System V (SysV) init scripts replacement, systemd. Systemd is a system and session manager for Linux and is generally compatible with the SysV and Linux Standard Base (LSB) init scripts. Cronie crontab manager replaces the Vixie cron and adds anacron for additional scheduled job functionality.

Page 2 – Verdict

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    • micah

      You realize that this is a development release, right? Considering that there’s four more milestones after at as well as two release candidates, and that the Linux kernel it’s based on is itself a release candidate (2.6.36rc4), it’s hard to understand why you would knock Milestone for turning off “new users.” You can even read in the openSUSE Newsletter that essentially only a bare minimum of testing has been done on Milestone 2, and what was done was quite painful to the developers. It’s not meant for new users anymore than an alpha of Ubuntu!

      That said, I’m quite pleased with the stability of this early development version. There’s a few rough edges, of course, but what’s really impressive is that they added a ton of little fixes: there’s a new icon set, it seems, and they’ve now moved all of the programs that showed up under “System” in the Application Browser into the Control Center or YaST. Now the application browser is much leaner and isn’t filled with stuff that was and should be in the control center.

      If work continues at this rate, 11.4 should be a worthy success to 11.3 — which, for what it’s worth, already consider probably the finest general-purpose desktop distro.

    • Baldemar Huerta

      All well and good, but I’m not using Suse for freaking GNOME. If i wanted that, there are plenty of ‘tards out there living really kick ass lives.

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