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Product highlights

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openSUSE 11.3 contains a long list of features including the following highlights.

Top Features

It has been a long time coming, but it's finally here! Don't let the version number fool you! The openSUSE 11.3 release features new improved versions of more than 1,000 open source desktop applications. openSUSE also includes a full suite of server software and a rich selection of open source development tools. And as with previous release openSUSE is offered as a retail box available in some shops or to be ordered here.

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Netbook Support

If you use a small, lightweight netbook 11.3 has a lot to offer for you. You will not only benefit from the improved hardware support but also from the two netbook desktop environments this version brings.

The KDE project brings you the Plasma Netbook Workspace that is made specifically for those kinds of devices. It brings a "Search and Launch" interface which provides convenient access to your applications in a beautiful way. Of course it is built on top of a rich internet experience with a lot of mail, micro blogging and social networking.

But that is not everything! The MeeGo project, headed up by Intel and Nokia, develops another visually rich netbook user interface and the openSUSE Goblin team packaged this for you in the openSUSE Build Service for 11.3. MeeGo on openSUSE (Code named Smeegol) brings many additional features which include one of the best media enjoyment experiences thanks to the latest and greatest that Banshee offers, and will include the Amazon MP3 store when it is released. It also adds additional social media functionality, including Digg, Facebook, MySpace and Flickr.

All major desktop environments including GNOME and KDE will run fine on a netbook - just in a smaller resolution


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Smartphone Support

The world is mobile and openSUSE is too. Are you one of the increasing number of app-addicted and always online people with a smartphone? Look no further for an operating system that lets you interact with all the current devices, be it the increasingly popular Android®, the chic iPhone® or the business workhorse BlackBerry® - you can manage them all. Sync your music, access your photos or use your phone to supply internet access, simply be mobile!


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Secure backup and file sharing in the cloud

With openSUSE 11.3 we provide a personal cloud for our users. With SpiderOak we provide an easy, secure and consolidated free online backup, sync, sharing, access & storage solution for openSUSE 11.3.

  • Access all your data in one de-duplicated location
  • Configurable multi-platform synchronization (Linux, Mac, Windows, smartphones)
  • Preserve all historical versions & deleted files
  • Share folders instantly in web ShareRooms with RSS
  • Retrieve files from any internet-connected device
  • Comprehensive 'zero-knowledge' data encryption
  • 2 GBs Free / $10 per 100 GBs / Unlimited devices
  • 15% discount for openSUSE users buying additional space! Just use the promotion code "opensuse" and you're in the game.


As Spideroak is not yet fully open source you can find it on the non-OSS add-on DVD


Support for the new Btrfs file system

Btrfs has been developed to become the next generation default Linux file system. openSUSE is the first distribution that lets you choose Btrfs in the installer.

The installer will warn you that Btrfs is still experimental, so be cautious of using it on production system. You also have to remember to setup a separate /boot partition as the boot loader will not boot from a Btrfs partition yet.

Package management with zypper

Zypper, openSUSE's command line package manager, received again a lot of love for openSUSE 11.3 and we taught zypper:

  • improve package dependency handling: if a package is removed, dependencies by this package can be removed now easily by using the option -clean-deps
  • to list packages that cannot be updated and to tell you why using zypper up package

Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment (LXDE)

Thanks to the outstanding support of Andrea Florio, openSUSE 11.3 now ships with LXDE. The “Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment” is a new player in the openSUSE desktop selection and is an extremely fast performing and energy saving desktop environment. It comes with a beautiful interface, multi-language support, standard keyboard shortcuts and additional features like tabbed file browsing. LXDE uses lesser CPU and RAM than other environments. It is especially designed for computers with low hardware specifications.

Under the hood

Base System

  • Linux 2.6.34 which as usually brings a lot of new or updated drivers and assures better hardware support. The key features are:
    • support of a number of Intel processors and chip sets which will be delivered in the future
    • improved virtualization
    • more efficient usage of energy saving features provided through state of the art hardware
  • Alsa 1.0.23
  • Graphics drivers:
    • X.org 7.5, xserver 1.8 packages
    • Kernel Mode Setting (KMS) enabled by default for ATI, Intel and Nvidia
    • Nouveau is the default Nvidia driver
    • Radeon video driver has superseded radeonhd
  • hal is not used in the base system and the GNOME desktop anymore. The KDE desktop still requires hal
  • The conntrack – network filtering system has been added. These are userspace tools that allow system administrators interact with the Connection Tracking System, which is the module that provides stateful packet inspection for iptables.
  • Upstart is included as optional init system
  • Grub2 is included for evaluation but not integrated

Package Management

  • Improved package dependency handling: if a package gets removed, dependencies needed only by this package can also be removed by YaST and zypper (using option –clean-deps)
  • Better control over package selection: The zypper package selection code has been enhanced to support the following syntax for use with zypper in, zypper up, zypper rm commands: [+/-]repo:type:nameOPversion.arch
  • zypper will notify about updates with vendor changes (from a different repository)

Desktops

GNOME Desktop

openSUSE 11.3 comes with GNOME 2.30.1 and the following changes:

  • GNOME 3.0 preview is available with GNOME Shell and the new accessibility stack (disabled by default)
  • Tracker is the default file indexer, replacing beagle.
  • Empathy is the default IM client for GNOME. Empathy supports now sending files via drag and drop and the IRC module now includes support for common IRC commands such as /join.
  • Access to iPhone and iPod touch files from nautilus. Rhythmbox can also play music from those devices.
  • Transmission is shipped with DHT enabled
  • Tomboy’s start-up time has been drastically improved. Syncing notes can now be done automatically by enabling it in the preferences.
  • Nautilus’ user interface now includes a new split view mode and the default is set to browser mode.
  • Simple right-click menu item to open a an archive file (zip, .tar.gz, etc.) in nautilus.
  • Improved selection of screen-savers and games installed by default.
  • Complete move away from hal to udisks/upower.
  • Removal of the GNOME 1.x stack.
  • Massive improvements to Banshee - the default media player
    • new grid view for albums,
    • automatic play queuing modes to ensure non-stop playback,
    • gap less playback eliminating the annoying little gap between tracks,
    • new extensions such as showing Wikipedia information for current artist, related YouTube videos and much more,
    • support for audio equalizer.
  • Evolution has improved imap (imap+) implementation with live view updates, non-blocking operations and IDLE support. 'evolution --express' provides better user experience for netbook users.
  • Huge improvements to YaST-GTK Software Management:
    • general improvements to the interface,
    • simple check-box interface to install/remove software,
    • improved search box,
    • "Available", "Upgrades", "Installed" tabs have been removed and replaced by optional status filters,
    • "History of changes" (from Menubar -> Extras) shows a history of all installed/removed packages and repositories,
    • "Summary of changes" box that shows all changes to packages in the current package management session, and allows you to "undo" changes,
    • option to close package-manager or return to it after all installation/removal is done is shown in the summary box that pops-up when user hits the "apply" button,
    • options "Clean-up when deleting packages" and "Allow vendor change" are now available (Menubar -> Options), and
    • buttons to "Upgrade patches" and "Upgrade all" are shown when the "Upgradeable" filter is selected.

KDE Desktop

openSUSE 11.3 comes with KDE SC 4.4.4 and the following changes:

  • openSUSE specific changes:
  • Highlighted KDE SC 4.4 new features:
    • System Settings
      • New Removable Devices module allows the configuration of automounting for individual memory sticks, cameras, media players and optical disks.
    • File Management
      • Desktop Search is integrated in Dolphin - search by tag, rating or file metadata. Use the timeline:/ URL to view files you worked with on a given day
      • Dolphin now supports SVN version control when browsing a working copy
      • Better Desktop Search performance from the new Virtuoso backend
    • Workspaces and Window Management
      • Stability and speed improvements to Plasma Desktop and KRunner (alt-f2 dialog)
      • Utility widgets such as Device Notifier and Network Management can be added to the system tray
      • Network Management widget can be used in place of KNetworkManager
      • Plasma Netbook workspace specifically for smaller screens
      • Social Desktop widgets allow you to integrate your desktop with online services
      • Oxygen Window Decoration now contains openSUSE Ozone's features
      • Window Tabbing allows arbitrary windows to be grouped together
      • Quick Window Tiling by dragging to screen sides, Quick Maximise by dragging to top
      • Keyboard widget adds a virtual keyboard for touchscreen users
    • Games
      • New: Granatier (throw bombs) and Palapeli (jigsaw puzzle)
    • Personal Information Management
      • KAddressBook has been completely rewritten to use the new Akonadi PIM framework
      • KMail adds Mail Archiving and increased usability for configuring the mail header view
    • Multimedia
      • Amarok is now at version 2.3, “Areas such as podcast support and saved playlists have seen huge improvements, as has the support for USB mass storage devices (including generic MP3 players)”.


LXDE Desktop

The LXDE (Lightweight X11 desktop environment) desktop in version 0.5.5 has been added to and integrated into openSUSE 11.3.

Some details of the integration:

  • Lxdm 0.2.0 as default Login Manager
  • Pcmanfm 0.9.7 completly rewritten with GVFS and Trash support
  • LXDE Control Center (LXCC) is included
  • Lxdm-conf configuration tool is included
  • Gnome-keyring support out of the box
  • Brasero as cd and dvd burning tool without any GNOME dependencies

Further desktop changes

  • Xfce 4.6.1

Applications

  • SpiderOak client, Secure backup and file sharing in the cloud (in Non-oss). With 15% discount for openSUSE users buying additional space! Just use the promotion code "opensuse".
  • GoogleCL (in Contrib)
  • OpenOffice.org 3.2.1 - the free and open productivity suite - brings faster start up times, make further strides in compliance with ODF 1.2 and improves support for other common office document types.
  • Mozilla Firefox 3.6.6. It supports a new type of theme called Personas, which allow users to change Firefox’s appearance with a single click. The protection from out-of-date plugins to keep users safer as they browse got improved and the mozilla developers brought JavaScript performance, the overall browser responsiveness, and startup time up to speed.
  • Rosegarden 10.04
  • Thunderbird, the award-winning email application from Mozilla, was updated to version 3.0.5 which includes a number of stability and security fixes.

Development environment

  • GCC 4.5 with better link-time and whole-program optimization.
  • GDB 7.1
  • Mono 2.6.4

IDEs

  • Netbeans 6.8
  • KDevelop 4.0
  • Qt-Creator 1.3.1
  • Monodevelop 2.2.2

Server

  • New MariaDB package
  • New MySQL Cluster package

Virtualization

  • Xen 4.0
    • Provides users with significant performance and scalability gains and memory optimizations. It includes numerous new features including VGA passthru support for HVM guests and high-performance USB passthru support to both PV and HVM guests.
  • The KVM package provides a nimble virtualization solution for modern x86 hardware. The recent 0.12.3 version of the qemu-kvm userspace tool (including selected patches up to 0.12.5) in conjunction with the kvm modules native to the 2.6.34 linux kernel combine to provide the following features:
    • Ever improving reliability and compatability with a myriad of guest OS's
    • Save/restore/migrate/live migrate features
    • Sound support, memory ballooning, pci passthrough, wide range of disk formats supported
    • Block and network virtio drivers for Linux and Windows guests for improved performance
    • KSM support
    • Vhost-net backend
    • Qemu emulation mode
    • Coexistence with qemu package
    • Interoperability with libvirt, vm-install, virt-manager
  • VirtualBox-ose 3.2.6
    • The vbox kernel module package was split into host and guest parts. Now the guest additions are part of openSUSE LiveCDs so all vbox features like screen resizing, shared clipboard, seamless mode etc. are available after boot up of the 11.3 LiveCD in virtualbox
    • The new version of virtualbox-ose brings a lot of improvements like teleportation (aka live migration), branched snapshots, memory ballooning or VNC server feature

Derivatives

There are some live distributions based on openSUSE, aiming to make non official versions for special purposes. See Derivatives.

More

The completed features for 11.3 are available at openFATE