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Novell releases OpenSUSE 11.3, takes usability to a new level

Ubuntu is not the only popular Linux distro in the market: in fact, way before the Debian-based fork was even conceived, at least three other Linux distributions were considered to be wildly popular with the Linux crowd. And one of them is Novell’s OpenSUSE, which had just received a new release a couple of days ago. So what improvements does version 11.3 of Novell’s distro bring to its users?

Read on to find out more.

In the Linux world, where a common joke states that there are more Linux distributions than actual users, news of a new release often fails to gather the same kind of publicity and interest usually found in the Windows and OS X world. Which, for the most part, seems to suit the closely-knit Linux community fine. After all, it makes little sense telling a Windows user about a new Linux release, especially if said Windows user has not even heard about the alternative system’s existence.

However, when it is an extremely popular distribution that is getting an upgrade, the whole world suddenly seems to take notice, and such is the case with Novell’s new release of its community-developed distribution, OpenSUSE 11.3.

Released on 17 July this year (only a couple of days ago), OpenSUSE 11.3 will feature various additions and improvements, although the biggest improvement an end-user will probably be interested in will be the optimizations which the OpenSUSE team had made to ensure that 11.3 will run well on netbooks. According to the team, OpenSUSE 11.3 will provide netbook users with a choice of two user interfaces: the KDE-based Plasma Netbook Workspace and the MeeGo Desktop interface, with the latter being a joint effort between Intel and Nokia.

Desktop and notebook users, on the other hand, will get to choose between four of the latest desktop environments: KDE SC, GNOME , XFCE and LXDE. And while OpenSUSE has always been associated with KDE as the default interface, a bonus awaits those who choose to go with GNOME, as OpenSUSE features both the preview build of the upcoming GNOME 3.0, along with the current stable version 2.30.1

Also contributing to the distro’s out-of-the-box friendliness are the latest version of the Linux kernel (2.6.34) for greater hardware compatibility, the Nouveau driver for Nvidia graphics cards, and the inclusion of several new applications such as SpiderOak (a cloud-based backup utility), Rosegarden for editing audio files, and support for iPhones, Blackberries and Android-based smartphones.


On the (slightly) more technical side, OpenSUSE 11.3 also includes the new Grub2 bootloader, along with experimental support for Oracle’s Btrfs file system , although none of these are selected in the default install. In fact, unless you’re very confident of running your system on Btrfs and dealing with potential data loss, we’d recommend that you stay with ext4 or ext3.

And if that has caught your interest, the OpenSUSE 11.3 isos can be downloaded from OpenSUSE’s website, or you may also choose to purchase the retail edition of the OS.

Source: OpenSUSE

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