Feeds

OpenSUSE 11 a redemptive OS with a Mactastic shine

For newbies and Linux dark-lords

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Review 2008 is proving to be a banner year for Linux distributions; so far we've seen Ubuntu 8.04 and Fedora 9, both of which go a long way toward making Linux painless for newbies.

You can now add OpenSUSE, the community-driven sequel to Novell's SUSE Linux distribution, to the list of significant releases. Version 11.0 of OpenSUSE is set to ship this week, ushering in a number of new features and solving most of the problems that saw OpenSUSE 10 get off to a bumpy start.

Many Linux purists will bristle at the mention of Novell since the company caved in and signed a patent protection agreement with Microsoft. Novell's business decisions, however, have little, if anything to do with OpenSUSE 11, and it's worth moving beyond the rhetoric to check out the new OpenSUSE release.

You're probably used to choosing your desktop - generally GNOME or KDE - before you download, but that isn't necessary with OpenSUSE since the live DVD takes an everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach by including the GNOME, KDE and XFCE desktops as well as just about every package under the sun.

If you haven't got the bandwidth (or time) for the 4.5 GB DVD download, there are live CDs with either GNOME or KDE and somewhat fewer included packages.

Take that, Mac

The most noticeable thing when you start up OpenSUSE is the new installer which is just about the slickest setup app this side of Mac OS X. The easy-to-follow installer will walk you through everything with a level of handholding even Ubuntu can't match. Note that if you opt for the DVD installer you'll have the option to install all three desktops, while if you opt for the GNOME only distro you won't see the new installer.

On the KDE side you'll have the option to install either KDE 3.5 or the new, more experimental KDE 4. We did our testing on the release candidate build, which didn't offer the recently unveiled KDE 4.1 beta, though we've found the 4.1 beta to be more stable and useable than KDE 4.0.

Shot of the Open Suse Installer

Open SUSE's Slick Installer - Click to Enlarge

Given that KDE is in something of a transitional phase we opted to install just the GNOME desktop.

Bespoke Gnome - Not Just a Band Name Anymore

Once OpenSUSE finished installing (around 30 minutes on our three-year-old Toshiba laptop) and rebooted, we were confronted with one of the most heavily customized versions of GNOME that you're likely to come across.

Shot of the GNOME controller center

GNOME Control Center - Click to Enlarge

It might take seasoned GNOME vets a bit to work out what all OpenSUSE has done, but once you figure it out, the customizations are actually quite nice - for instance the somewhat scattered system configuration panels are all unified in one spot and there's a slick KDE-esque launch panel.

If you're a OpenSUSE 10 user, most of this will look familiar since the customized interface made its debut there (it's also part of SLED 10, Novell's corporate Linux desktop).

While there are OpenSUSE downloads with non-OSS software available (which include things like the Flash plugin, MP3 codecs, etc) installing such software from the normal installation isn't hard. Just point your favorite browser over to the OpenSUSE Community site and click the installer links.

And now to the major issues.

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Sign off my IT project or I’ll PHONE your MUM
Honestly, it’s a piece of piss
Return of the Jedi – Apache reclaims web server crown
.london, .hamburg and .公司 - that's .com in Chinese - storm the web server charts
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
Torvalds CONFESSES: 'I'm pretty good at alienating devs'
Admits to 'a metric ****load' of mistakes during work with Linux collaborators
Ploppr: The #VultureTRENDING App of the Now
This organic crowd sourced viro- social fertiliser just got REAL
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.