The OpenSUSE Linux distribution has reached another milestone with the release of 11.4 including a preview of the upcoming GNOME 3 desktop environment.
The default desktop environment is KDE 4.6.1 and GNOME 2.32, but GNOME 3 – due for final release next month – has been included as an option.
The GNOME project has set up a website to promote the transition from version 2 to 3 at: www.gnome3.org.
As usual, all of the base software has been updated with 11.4, including kernel 2.6.37, new graphics and display drivers, and the hardware abstraction layer (HAL) has been removed.
On the desktop version 11.4 ships a pre-release of Firefox 4, the next generation of the popular open source Web browser, and Chromium, the open source version of Google’s Chrome.
Novell was acquired by Attachmate late last year in a deal worth $US2.2 billion. The company plans to run the SUSE Linux operations as a separate business unit from Novell.
Jos Poortvliet, OpenSUSE community manager at Novell, wrote on his blog that the release is the biggest ever, with many launch parties happening around the world.
With the 11.4 release OpenSUSE introduces a “rolling release” option with Tumbleweed, which upgrades packages over the Internet as they become available thus avoiding a fork-lift upgrade to the next point release every nine months.
Other application enhancements include the new LibreOffice 3.3.1 instead of the incumbent OpenOffice.org and KOffice 2.3.1.
The main e-mail and groupware client in OpenSUSE remains Evolution and the IM app Empathy has better contact management.
For music Banshee, Amarok and Rythmbox are all available.
A number of graphic design apps have also been updated, include the Scribus page layout tool which is upgraded to version 1.4
OpenSUSE 11.4 ships with a number of virtualisation options like Xen, VirtualBox and KVM.
One the server side this release bundles updated clustering, management tools and databases.
For developers Qt and GTK+/Mono development environments are available along with the standard set of open source programming languages.
The OpenSUSE project is online at: http://www.opensuse.org/en/
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