For the longest time I was always a huge fan of OpenSUSE. Up until about a year ago that was all I used on the Linux side of things, but Ubuntu’s quickly rising popularity caused me to start using that more. Tomorrow, however, will mark the release of OpenSUSE 10.3, and I flipped through a lot of documentation today to see what it was going to include.

I started over at the review of the first release candidate, and then moseyed on over to the OpenSUSE news page to see what they’ve had to say the last few weeks. From what I’ve seen I think it will be time to rekindle the old flame when OpenSUSE 10.3 is released tomorrow. :)

–One Click Install (More Info)–

SUSE engineers recognized the hassle that installing some applications presented. They understand the burden of needing to locate packages, add repositories, and then perform the install process. The solution? One-Click Install! There is a package explorer website setup that will aid users in finding packages, and once they have found what they are looking for they just press the One-Click Install button to initiate the installation. A wizard will automatically begin, and the necessary repositories will be added:

OpenSUSE One Click Install

The installation process will then continue, and in no time at all you should have your new program running. I like how this works, and it’s nice to see that more steps are being taken to make software installation easier.

–Compiz & Compiz Fusion (More Info)–

I’m a sucker when it comes to eye candy, and OpenSUSE 10.3 is putting a lot of it at your fingertips. Compiz features will be available out-of-the-box, and Compiz Fusion can be installed using the One-Click Install that I mentioned above. Before diving into enabling these features let’s drool over a collage showcasing the Linux goodness:

OpenSUSE Compiz 

To get Compiz up and running just enable Desktop Effects in GNOME, or type gnome-xgl-switch -enable-xgl (in GNOME or KDE) into the terminal.

To get Compiz Fusion installed you’ll have to take advantage of the new One-Click Install. Click here for more information on doing that.

–KDE 4 and GNOME 2.20–

OpenSUSE KDE Games OpenSUSE 10.3 will have the latest version of both the KDE and GNOME desktop environments. KDE 4 and all of its glorious features will be included. For the players out there you’ll be pleased to know that there are several games bundled with it: KMahjongg, KMines, KPatience, KReversi and KSudoku. Many of these had been included in previous versions of KDE, but now in KDE 4 they have been revamped to include better graphics! Suddenly I have an urge to play Reversi. :D

And we can’t forget about the inclusion of GNOME 2.20! Normally I’m more of a KDE fan myself, but the SUSE engineers have found ways to make me yearn for a sampling of what GNOME has to offer. It started with the unique Start Menu, called SLAB, that they created (pictured below), and now they have a sweet World Clock Applet that can be retrieved from the tray. Among other elements of the GNOME Desktop, SLAB has received some minor updates to the appearance.


–And More–

You thought that was it? I don’t think so! OpenSUSE 10.3 has hundreds of improvements, bug fixes, and enhancements that will please users in ways they didn’t even know was possible. ;) Take a look at some of the other significant enhancements:

  • There have been a lot of changes to the bootup process, and the result is phenomenal to say the least. You should find that your computer reaches the login screen in about half the time that it did in OpenSUSE 10.2.
  • You only need to download 1 CD for installation! There will now be a CD for KDE, and another for GNOME that will be used for installing OpenSUSE. Prior to this there were 5 CD’s available, three of which were required for installation. Now you just have to pick the desktop environment you want, and then download only that CD.
  • Better multimedia support, which prompts you to install codecs that currently aren’t on your system.
  • Includes the latest 2.3.
  • Includes a program called Giver that can be used to transfer files with other Giver users. Any Giver users on the network are automatically recognized, and the transferring works without any extra configuration.
  • And there’s still more!