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OpenSUSE 12.1 ships with GNOME 3.2, SystemD, Snapper, Go tools

Nov 16, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

The OpenSUSE project released version 12.1 of its enterprise-focused Linux distribution, featuring Linux 3.1, GNOME 3.2 and support for KDE's “OwnCloud” cloud platform. OpenSUSE 12.1 introduces the SystemD configuration utility and Google's Go programming language, and further integrates the Btrfs file-system with a “Snapper” tool for rolling back system updates and configuration changes.

A bare-bones beta of OpenSUSE 12.1 was released in early October, with the primary purpose of giving OpenSUSE developers a chance to get better acquainted with GNOME 3.2. According to the community project — which is closely backed by Attachmate and its new SUSE (formerly Novell) business unit as an upstream contributor to SUSE Linux — GNOME 3.2 is a major improvement over the controversial GNOME 3.0. (The latter shipped as a preview version in the previous OpenSUSE 11.4 release in March.)

OpenSUSE 12.1 showing video player in GNOME 3.2

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With GNOME 3.2n OpenSUSE offers "deeper integration of collaboration tools such as calendar notifications, chat and a centralized online accounts configuration," says the OpenSUSE project. "The UI elements and workflows are touch-screen friendly, equipped to handle smaller screens, multi-screen setups and automatic rotation for touch screen devices." Other touted GNOME 3.2 features are said to include a new document manager, as well as quick preview in the Nautilus file manager.

OpenSUSE 12.1 with GNOME 3.2

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Other recent Linux distros, including Fedora 16 and Linux Mint 12, have also adopted GNOME 3.2. However, due to continuing discomfort with the radical new interface, Mint 12 is offered with extensions that let users customize the environment to look and act more like the familiar GNOME 2.3.2.

KDE also supplied

OpenSUSE 12.1 also supplies the long-time GNOME desktop rival KDE 4.7, and the distro is touted for being the "first major Linux distribution" to ship both GNOME and KDE with color management tools. In the case of KDE, these are the new KolorManager + Oyranos color tools, says the project.

Other new features in KDE 4.7 are said to include the introduction of the Apper software manager, as well as a new Plasma Active tablet interface. OpenSUSE 12.1 also provides lightweight desktop alternatives in Xfce and LXDE, although neither has seen a major feature update since OpenSUSE 11.4, says the project.

KDE 4.7 activities menu in OpenSUSE 12.1
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OpenSUSE 12.1 debuts a Snapper tool that builds on the snapshot functionality in the now fully supported Btrfs file-system to let users view older versions of files and revert changes. Snapper is integrated into OpenSUSE's Zypper package manager to let users roll back system updates and configuration changes, says the project.

Like Fedora 16, OpenSUSE 12.1 fully implements Systemd as the new init configuration tool, controlling and speeding up the boot process, according to the project. Noted features of Systemd are said to include a "powerful" socket- and bus- activated service system, as well as tight integration with the Cgroups kernel feature, providing better security and control over processes.

Interestingly, SystemD was said to have been "developed in close cooperation with fellow Linux Distribution Fedora," showing that community rivals can still get along despite the more fierce competition among their backers: SUSE and Red Hat, respectively.

All systems Go with new Google language

The new release is also the first major distribution to ship Google's open source Go programming language, says the project. Touted for being fast and easy-to-use, Go is said to be optimized for working with multicore, networked machines, and providing easier development of garbage collection and run-time reflection code.

OpenSUSE 12.1 also adds Google's Chromium 16 to the standard repositories as an alternative web browser to the default Firefox 7. The latest version of the LibreOffice productivity suite and Thunderbird email client are also said to be available among other apps. In addition, with OpenSUSE 12.1, the Tumbleweed rolling-update version of the distro now contains the latest stable versions of all OpenSUSE software, says the project.

OwnCloud support leads cloud enhancements

Designed for both desktop and server use, OpenSUSE 12.1 is built on the latest Linux 3.1 kernel. This makes the distro "even more versatile and extensible for supporting mixed IT environments including public and private clouds," says the OpenSUSE project.

The project also puts in a plug for SUSE's SUSE Studio web-based appliance-building service. SUSE Studio can be used to develop different versions of OpenSUSE 12.1 with custom package selections, artwork, and scripts, for deployment to Amazon EC2 and other cloud platforms, says the project.

OpenSUSE 12.1 is said to be the first Linux distribution to support the KDE-backed OwnCloud cloud platform. In fact, the project has developed its own Mirall desktop integration application designed expressly for the open source OwnCloud. The cloud platform is said to offer an easy web interface suitable for home users, while posing minimal server requirements.

OpenSUSE also supports the latest versions of the Eucalyptus, OpenNebula, and OpenStack cloud platforms, says the project. Virtualization updates are said to include new virt-manager and open-vm-tools that support Xen 4.1, KVM, and VirtualBox.

Stated Bryen Yunahsko, member of the OpenSUSE Board and SUSE marketing lead, "We're standing on the shoulders of the gigantic open source community. I would not be surprised if openSUSE's latest update has over 300,000 improvements that resulted from efforts in the open source community."


OpenSUSE 12.1 is available now for free download in its final stable version at the OpenSUSE 12.1 download page. More information on OpenSUSE 12.1 may be found in this SUSE announcement, as well as this very similar OpenSUSE announcement on, and even more can be found in this OpenSUSE 12.1 feature overview.

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