11 Prime Features of openSUSE 11.1 - A Comprehensive ReviewBy Angsuman Chakraborty, Gaea News Network
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I hope you all remember our detailed reviews on Fedora 10, Windows 7 and Ubuntu 8.10. But we are not finished yet. Open Suse is coming out with their new version of 11.1 and we are at it. openSUSE 11.1 beta 4 is just released, while the official launch of the final version is on 18 December, 2008. We took a detailed look into openSUSE 11.1 beta 4 and here are the gems we found.
Some of the key new features include an improved KDE desktop experience, better synchronization with the iPod with an updated Banshee Media Player, and many other improvement and refinements in the openSUSE desktop. Also included are software updates including GNOME 2.24, KDE 4.1.3, OpenOffice.org 3.0, and Firefox 3.0.3 - confirms the developers. There is more after the break and nice pictures too.
1. Gnome 2.24.1
openSUSE 11.1 comes with GNOME 2.24, which was released last month. That includes a handful of nice improvements, such as an improved support for tabbed file browsing. OpenSUSE’s GNOME environment ships with a great assortment of default applications. One particularly pleasing addition to beta 3, for instance, is Tasque—a to-do list utility that can integrate with the likes of Milk web service.
Moreover, SIP-based audio/visual conferencing client called Ekiga, that works with USB webcams and headphones and is compatible with any SIP-compliant service also gets upgraded. The Main factors of GNOME 2.24 like Evince, Empathy, Eog all get a pretty improvement.
The developers are working on Battery Applet, CPU Frequency Applet, Invest Applet, Keyboard Applet,Mini Commander, Modem Lights, Stickynotes, Trash Applet and etc for the time being. Also games like Aisleriot, GlChess, Sudoku and etc will be worked upon too.
GNOME 2.24.1 works over the bug fixes of GNOME 2.24 and other subtle issues which should come very handy for openSUSE users.
Gnome 2.24 also includes much needed enhancements for mobile users, with better Bluetooth support and support for Offline access to Exchange servers using the Evolution 2.24.1 application which, if in effect, will be a very good addition.
2. KDE 4.1.3
- The version of KDE shipped with beta 3 is 4.1.2. It’s usually pretty solid, and it has some good features- like the Folder View plasmoid- that provides tangible improvements over the previous KDE series.
- Another thing that is particularly exciting about the KDE environment in beta 4 is that it includes Amarok 2.0 beta 2 as the default music player. While you may be interested in Amarok, so here is what the Amarok developers claim to have improved upon
- Playlist and statusbar recieved major attention
- database/statistics import from Amarok 1.4
- major overhaul of the Last.fm integration
- sorting by year and album in the Collection Browser is possible again (small, but often requested)
- shortcut to jump to current track in the playlist
- many bugs squashed and stability fixes
- a transition from SQLite to embedded MySQL (that is perhaps a major development)
3. Open Office ORG 3.0 (OOo)
The OpenOffice.org (OOo) project ranks high among the most popular open source software applications. The cross-platform productivity suite has been developed to its newer version of 3.0 and all set to release with openSUSE in the next month.
- OOo 3.0 includes the first major implementation of ODF 1.2. The new version of the format brings a new formula language and a new metadata system based on W3C’s Web Ontology Language and Resource Description Framework.
- OOo 3.0 also includes import filters for Microsoft’s controversial Office Open XML format (OOXML), support for Microsoft’s format will ensure that OOo users can still read documents produced by Microsoft Office users.
- OOo 3.0 includes OOo Calc, the suite’s spreadsheet program, has a new solver component, introduced a new collaborative editing feature,
- OOo Writer, the word processing program, added a new annotation feature and a new zoom slider.
4. Linux 126.96.36.199 Kernel
This is another significant improvement for openSUSE. 2.6.27 Kernel has improved upon numberous areas. Some of them are
- A new filesystem (UBIFS) optimized for pure flash-based storage devices
- The page-cache is now lockless,
- Improved Direct I/O scalability and performance,
- Data integrity support in the block layer for devices that support it,
- XEN support for saving/restorig VMs,
- A new ath9k driver to give support for the wireless series from Intel and other network cards
- Several bug fixes.
5. Mono 2.0.1
Mono 2.0 is a portable and open source implementation of the .NET framework. Mono 2.0.1 works on the bugs and fixes them accordingly. Some of the major features include
- Extensive support for databases: PostgreSQL, DB2, Oracle, Sybase, SQL server, SQLite and Firebird.
- C5 Generics Library: we are bundling the C5 generics collection class library as part of Mono.
- Compatibility with C# 3.0
- Has improved support for Windows.Forms such as ADO.NET, ASP.NET, SYSTEM.XML etc.
6. CUPS 1.3.9
The Common UNIX Printing System provides a portable and better printing layer for UNIXŽ operating systems. CUPS 1.3.9 has worked on security, documentations and job scheduled queues.
7. Virtual Box 2.0.4
VirtualBox is a general-purpose full virtualizer for x86 hardware. Targeted at servers, desktop and embedded use, it is now the only professional-quality virtualization solution that is also Open Source Software.
The main updations on this edition focusses on
- Virtual USB Controllers
- Remote Desktop Protocol: Unlike any other virtualization software, VirtualBox fully supports the standard Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and allows you to run the virtual machine remotely .
- USB over RDP: With this unique feature, a virtual machine that acts as an RDP server can still access arbitrary USB devices that are connected on the RDP client, which is another great feature to boast of.
Some Webcam and framegrabber drivers had been removed from the kernel, but are now re-enabled in beta 4. There are a host of new webcam drivers now. You can go and check them out if you are too keen to keep a track of everything.
9. Finger Print Reader
Finger Print Readers are more sensitive and accurate in openSUSE 11.1. Only one fingerprint per user can be registered. The user’s fingerprint data is stored to /etc/pam_thinkfinger/login.bir . We will have to see how does it work actually.
10. Inclusion of Normad
Nomad is a set of components that provide an unmatchable remote desktop experience to openSUSE 11.1
This is the core set of components that make up Nomad:
- Proxy X server
- Session manager
- Connection handler
- Client program
- Compositing manager extensions
With the receiver- sender paradigram. Normad can be a notable option for openSUSE 11.1
With the likes of Firefox 3.0.3 and Banshee 1.3.3 (don’t know yet if it is the exact version) which has iPod upgradation in-built, the software package will be nothing less than attractive for normal users.
The proposed features are quite impressive for openSUSE 11.1. The first look at the beta 4 version seemed relatively stable. But I had to make two user accounts (initial installer wizard and a second time during the post-install configuration process) while going through installation which was mildly annoying. Mono integration is a big win for many software developers, and the distribution also has great support for desktop search integration via the Beagle indexing system. openSUSE KDE also shines brightly and so considering all these and ignoring minor glitches, I will be waiting for openSUSE with high expectations.
Tags: ASP, Claim, CUPS 1.3.9, Gnome 2.24.1, KDE 4.1.3, Linux 188.8.131.52 Kernel, Mono 2.0.1, Open office, Open Office ORG 3.0, Open Source, openSUSE 11.1 beta 4, openSUSE 11.1 review, openSUSE review, Sybase, Virtual Box 2.0.4