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Do-No-Evil Saturday - Part I: Big Week of OpenSUSE 11.1

SUSE KDE
It came a long way



Preparation



OpenSUSE 11.1 packaging photos appeared in the official OpenSUSE Web site and those who were impatient got the distribution a little bit early (thus not the final version), then posted this video, among others.





Ahead of this big release, the OpenSUSE Web site also published some detailed previews, namely:

1. Sneak Peeks at openSUSE 11.1: Improved Installation, Easier Administration

Welcome to the first in a series of Sneak Peeks at openSUSE 11.1! With less than a week to go until the release of openSUSE 11.1,we’ll be talking about the great new innovations included with openSUSE 11.1. To kick things off, we’ll be discussing how most people will be kicking off their openSUSE 11.1 experience: the installer.


2. Sneak Peeks at openSUSE 11.1: The Latest GNOME Desktop

In our continuing series of Sneak Peeks at openSUSE 11.1, we’re introducing the newest version of the GNOME desktop into openSUSE. openSUSE 11.1 will contain the latest version of the GNOME desktop, GNOME 2.24. Not only does this new version bring with it great new features, but as always the GNOME developers in the openSUSE Project have added our own unique polish to make a truly unique, polished desktop experience.


Before Release



Jon Brodkin, who writes over at IDG (this reaches several of their domains), claimed that OpenSUSE was getting "more open":

Novell Inc.'s openSUSE project is becoming more open, as a new release due out Thursday includes licensing changes that make it easier to redistribute the Linux operating system, as well as a build service that will encourage more contributions from open-source developers.

OpenSUSE previously used a standard user license agreement and contained some proprietary software -- namely Adobe Acrobat and Sun Java -- that made it difficult to redistribute the open-source software, says Joe Brockmeier, Novell's openSUSE community manager. OpenSUSE 11.1, the release that will be announced Thursday, modifies the license to eliminate some of the legal headaches and removes the proprietary software, which now must be downloaded separately


The following Ars Technica article, "The lizard roars: openSUSE 11.1 coming this week," received a lot of attention too.

OpenSUSE 11.1, the next major version of Novell's community-driven Linux distribution, is scheduled for release on December 18. The new version will include updated software and some important new features that enhance the quality of the distribution.


Slashdot's headline, in an item which linked to the Ars Technica article, stated that "openSUSE Launches 11.1", but this was posted on the 15th or 16th of December (2 days early), which would prove deceiving to most readers. SUSE Blog/Rants rightly said that OpenSUSE fans were jumping the gun.

Quick little sidenote, OpenSUSE 11.1 GM is not available, and won’t be for a few more days. If you see a torrent of it, it’s likely a release candidate. If you actually see a real torrent that claims to be a GM, then I will consult my sources on whether this is possible. But as of yet, I wish people would not say that “OpenSUSE 11.1 has been released” when it actually hasn’t been.


Later on came this coverage from Kristin Shoemaker, who covers a lot of OpenSUSE news.

On Thursday, the openSUSE project will make available its stable 11.1 release. I was fortunate enough to take a sneak peek at the new release this week, and while the changes aren't quite as dizzying as those between 10.3 and 11.0 (understandably), they work nicely to make this new release both eye-catching and functional.


A couple of days before the release, The Register covered this too.

The next big release of Novell’s community-driven SUSE Linux distro is set to land on Thursday. Ahead of that, the firm has released details about what customers can expect from version 11.1, including a new licence in which the EULA has been ditched.

New features include an improved KDE desktop experience and better synchronisation with Apple's iPod and Android G1 phone, said Novell.

It will also come loaded with GNOME 2.24.1, KDE 4.1.3, OpenOffice.org 3.0 and Firefox 3.0.4 software updates.


Release



Here is the main page with an announcement, which was followed by media coverage that includes:

Ars Technica: OpenSUSE 11.1 released. Lizards dance with joy

OpenSUSE 11.1 has finally been released and it has finally convinced Ryan Paul to switch from Ubuntu. We published his early look this past Monday, which is a great overview of the update.


PC Pro: Novell delivers OpenSUSE 11.1 details

Novell has released further details of what we can expect from the next version of its SUSE Linux distro.

One of the more notable changes is an alteration of the licence governing the software, which Novell hopes will encourage further contributions from the open-source community.


Jacqueline Emigh, who covers a good deal of Novell, wrote about this too :

Beta News: OpenSUSE 11.1 Linux OS leaves beta

The newest edition of the Novell-sponsored OpenSUSE Project's Linux OS, contains a number of new enhancements built both internally and through the open source community.


Heise: OpenSUSE 11.1 has arrived

The OpenSUSE developers have delivered version 11.1 of the OpenSUSE distribution, just in time for Christmas. As well as the updates to the component packages of OpenSUSE, some innovation has taken place compared to the previous version.


Linux Pro Magazine: openSUSE 11.1 Unveiled

OpenSUSE 11.1 rolled out today, sporting more than 230 new features, many updates, and a brand new license. The newest release is also the first built entirely on the openSUSE Build Service.

According to the announcement, openSUSE 11.1 also includes Liberation fonts, improvements to YaST, and updates to Gnome, KDE, and OpenOffice.


Lots more coverage can be found elsewhere on the Web. There is also a free training course and help with multimedia. Prior to the announcement came this advice on ways of downloading OpenSUSE.

Interviews



The latest Zonker interview comes from Ron at DaniWeb, where they discussed the release shortly after its availability.

Joe "Zonker"Brockmeier is the Community Manager for openSUSE. He has been involved with Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) since 1996 when he discovered FOSS while a college student and was hooked. For most of his career he has worked as a technology journalist covering Linux and open source topics. Most recently, he was Editor-in-Chief of Linux Magazine prior to joining Novell in February of 2008.


Ahead of the release there were some more chats with him, namely:

1. Q&A with Joe Brockmeier at Novell

If you read the Linux section of the Neowin forums recently, you will know that Neowin was recently given the opportunity for a Q&A session with Joe Brockmeier. Also known as Zonker, Joe has been using Linux since 1996 and currently works as the openSUSE Community Manager at Novell. I had a few questions of my own, but found the best questions came from our members.


2. Open Source Matures

In this IT Link podcast hosted by Mike Vizard, the community leader for Novell's Open SUSE operating system, Joe "Zonker" Brockmeier, explains the crucial role that vendors are now playing in helping the open-source software development model mature.


Reviews



The conclusion reached by Linux Format is that OpenSUSE may be shy of Fedora when it comes to certain features, but the overall impression is positive.

Rounding off a stellar year for the Linux world comes the release of OpenSUSE 11.1. Anyone who is a part of the community will agree that 2008 has really pushed the boundaries of what is possible with Linux in its many different incarnations. It's also been just over five years since Novell announced their intention to take over SUSE Linux in a move that sent ripples throughout the community. Back then it was seen as a desperate attempt by Novell to strike back against Microsoft which had famously beaten Novell with Windows NT 4 and 2000. So what has the five years done for SUSE? Are things really better under Novell, or are they just kidding themselves?

[...]

Overall, if we only had one word with which to describe OpenSUSE then it would have to be 'polished'. It doesn't have the stunning bootup that is a mark of Plymouth (found in Fedora) or the blatant ease of use that Ubuntu brings, but it is a looker and also provides a solid development platform to move forward to the next release of OpenSUSE.


Susan Linton of TuxMachines reviewed this distribution and she's quite OK with it, though not entirely excited.

Still, I found myself disappointed by openSUSE's jumping a bit too hard and fast onto the ease-of-use bandwagon. The tendencies of Linux distribution developers lately to make Linux easier and easier while sacrificing convenient customization is beginning to go too far. While Linux should be easy for new users, making it more difficult and less secure for experienced users isn't the answer. Hopefully, openSUSE and other distributions can find the happy medium and not slip too much further down that slope.


Jason Perlow, an IBM employee who has a history with OpenSUSE, called it tough love and considers it not to be a leader.

Over the years, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with the SUSE distribution. During its life as SUSE Linux Professional, it was an incredibly polished commercial distribution with a huge amount of built-in software. In many ways, it was the ultimate Linux for those of us who swore by it for its stability and ease of use. When it migrated to an Open Source community project, I had a lot of hope that it would become immensely popular and take its place as the #1 free end-user Linux distribution with a stable support cycle.

[...]

That being said — had I not cared immensely about the future of openSUSE, I’d probably just format my computers with Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex and say goodbye. But I’m committed to tweaking this release for my own personal use and getting it to work right, because the essentials for a top distribution are all there, and as a “Power User” the raw technology does fit the bill. Watch this space for future developments.


Miscellaneous



Looking back, OpenSUSE 10.2 reached the end of its life cycle.

"With the release of an squirrelmail security/regression fix on December 16 we have released the last update for openSUSE 10.2.

It is now officially discontinued and out of support.


Looking ahead, here are some things that will come to Control Center via Novell.

It is almost Christmas and things are getting more quiet and there is now some time to look at pending TODOs. I mean all those things that did not make into 11.1 because priorities.


For more news from last week, there's this accumulation.

Welcome to issue # 50 of openSUSE Weekly News!

In this week:

* Pre-order openSUSE 11.1 * Wanted: Tester from SUSE Studio * Password Protect for GRUB * KDE4-Repository changes * SELinux in openSUSE 11.1


More reviews of OpenSUSE 11.1 are likely to come next week.

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