Feeds

openSUSE 11.4 rocks despite missing GNOME

Speed, LibreOffice, and more

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Fork, yeah: LibreOffice replaces OpenOffice

LibreOffice came about last year when the majority of OpenOffice developers, concerned about the future of the project under new owner Oracle, broke away. The Open Document Foundation forked the OpenOffice code and rebranded it Libre Office.

Fedora, Red Hat and Ubuntu are also jumping ship to the new LibreOffice, making it, in effect, the new default office suite for Linux, but openSUSE gets the distinction of shipping it first.

At the moment the LibreOffice fork of OpenOffice isn't radically different from its older sibling, though you will find a few new features in this release, including a new, improved search bar and a revamped print dialog. The best news though is that, for now at least, most OpenOffice plug-ins seem to still work with LibreOffice. That may change as time goes on and the two projects move further apart, but hopefully, with the majority of the Linux community moving to LibreOffice, plugin developers will follow suit.

The latest version of openSUSE also sees Firefox 4, still a beta at the time of writing, as the default web browser. The Firefox 4 beta was stable enough, though in some cases your favorite plug-ins might not yet be updated. If Firefox isn't your bag, Chromium, the open source version of Google Chrome, is available in the main contrib repository.

openSUSE LibreOffice

Reassuringly, OpenOffice plug-ins still work with the new LibreOffice

Other GNOME apps have also been updated to the latest stable versions including the latest releases of Banshee, openSUSE's default music app, Evolution, the default mail client and F-Spot, which - despite the popularity of Shotwell in other distros - remains the default photo application for openSUSE 11.4. OpenSUSE throws in a few extra apps as well, like GIMP and Inkscape for graphics work and the very handy GNOME Do for launching applications and searching for files.

openSUSE 11.4 includes the updated Linux kernel, version 2.6.37, which brings several new features including multi-processor support for the ext4 filesystem, openSUSE's default. Provided you have a dual-core machine, the new kernel should bring a significant speed boost, particularly when transferring large files. The new kernel also brings the usual spate of new hardware drivers, including drivers for some new input devices from manufacturers like Wacom.

Installing openSUSE from the DVD was a breeze, easier in fact than installing Windows 7. Thankfully openSUSE automatically sets up disk partitions, the one installation task that often confuses Linux newcomers. When it comes to speed, this release is no slouch, both the GNOME and KDE desktops were snappy and well stocked with all the default apps most users would ever need.

On the GNOME side there is the peculiar menu-bar setup that may throw off users coming from other distros. Rather than the typical GNOME menu items on the top bar, openSUSE ships with its own custom GNOME menu that cops the look and function of the Windows start menu. Fortunately, a few preferences tweaks and you can have the typical GNOME menu bar in the top menu bar.

OpenSUSE also proved particularly snappy in virtual machine, even with very little RAM (512MB). In fact it was difficult to tell that it was a virtual machine, not a native installation. OpenSUSE is also aware of when it's running in a virtual machine and will automatically install a set of virtualized drivers for improved performance.

Overall openSUSE 11.4 offers a stable, fast user experience regardless of the desktop you use. The speed, coupled with some nice new applications for both KDE and GNOME, will make 11.4 a worthwhile update for any openSUSE fan. ®

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
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
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
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.