There is a lot of buzz in the tech media world about the upcoming Ubuntu Karmic Koala release, but it's not the only Linux release on its way from a major vendor. Novell's (NASDAQ: NOVL) community-driven openSUSE project is nearing completion of its next major release, version 11.2
The first release candidate for openSUSE 11.2 was released this week and includes the latest Linux 126.96.36.199 kernel, social networking support and the inclusion of the GNOME 2.28 desktop, among other new features. While both the latest GNOME and KDE desktops are part of the openSUSE 11.2 release, the KDE desktop will now become the default choice for desktop GUI instead of GNOME. The move to make KDE the default choice is not seen by openSUSE as a shift, but rather a choice for users.
"We made a decision to have a default selection on the desktop screen so when users install openSUSE, if they don't know whether KDE or GNOME is for them, they can simply move forward and KDE will be installed," Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier, Novel's openSUSE community manager, told InternetNews.com. "Some think this is important from a usability standpoint, to have a default, and since KDE is still chosen by the majority of our users, we ultimately went with KDE."
Brockmeier added that both KDE and GNOME have healthy futures at openSUSE. With the KDE choice, openSUSE will now stand apart from several other Linux distributions in default desktops. The GNOME desktop is the default choice for numerous other Linux distributions, including Fedora and Ubuntu, although KDE is available as an optional choice.
The openSUSE 11.2 release will also mark the debut of a new Web-based front end for the distribution's setup tool, YaST (Yet another Setup Tool). Brockmeier said that with WebYaST, system administrators will be able to manage their openSUSE machines over a Web interface instead of using SSH (define) or needing to be at a computer for the Qt or Gtk interfaces.
Social media integration is provided by way of several new applications. Among them is the choqok KDE client for Twitter and identi.ca, KDE's kopete instant messaging client, which now includes support for Facebook IM. For GNOME users there is the inclusion of the gwibber application for Twitter support.
With openSUSE 11.2, new installations will now have the ext4 Linux file system available for use. The ext4 file system is an evolution of the ext3 file system, which is the standard used by previous versions of openSUSE as well as most other Linux distributions.
The new openSUSE release will also mark the debut of a new type of digital medial release with a Hybrid ISO image. The Hybrid will enable users to boot the ISO images from USB or an optical media drive. Previously, it required separate ISOs, or a separate tool in order to convert the CD iso for USB use.
There are two major milestones left before openSUSE 11.2 is considered to be generally available. The final release candidate is scheduled to be released on October 29, with the final general availability set for November 12. The openSUSE 11.1 release came out in December 2008.
Article courtesy of InternetNews.com.