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openSUSE 12.3 preview

openSUSE 12.3 Milestone 2 was released two days ago, a month after Milestone 1 was released. The final edition, openSUSE 12.3, is not expected until around the ides of March 2013, so a milestone release offers a good opportunity to see what goodies will be on the final version.

I haven’t used openSUSE since version 7.3, when it was still called SuSE Linux. Back then, the most important features that made me a fan were the installer and the set of tools that came with YAST, the distribution’s graphical management application. Much like Mandriva‘s/ROSA Linux‘s/Mageia‘s administrative tools, they are much better than what’s available on any other distribution.

The tools I used back then are still there, and a few more have been added. The first two screen shots show YAST’s components. This shows the tools in the upper section of YAST’s window.

These are the tools in the lower section.

Like PC-BSD (see PC-BSD 9.1 preview), openSUSE’s team makes a DVD installation image available with which you can install a system running KDE, GNOME, LDXE and Xfce. However, unlike PC-BSD, which only provides support for GNOME 2, openSUSE ships with GNOME 3. Unfortunately, the DVD image failed to install, so I had to use the Live KDE and GNOME installation images. The following screen shots are from a test installation of openSUSE Live GNOME.

Aside from Deepin and Pear Linux, the major Linux distributions are still bent on shipping what a developer called a “pure” GNOME 3 desktop. Never mind that the so-called “pure” desktop is mostly annoying. That’s why Cinnamon and MATE are very popular alternatives.

This is a screen shot of the “pure” GNOME 3 desktop showing the Date widget. The desktop is powered by GNOME 3.6.3.

Another view of the default desktop.

The Activities view.

Partial list of installed applications.

Using the Live installation images, no Office suite is installed.

A search for a firewall returned nothing. I later found that it’s because the firewall configuration utility is under YAST, and not a standalone application. So, yes, there is a firewall in openSUSE.

A view of installed Internet applications.

The next 6 screen shots are from a test installation of the KDE edition. This first one shows the default desktop, which is powered by KDE 4.10 Beta 2.

This one shows the desktop with the Kickoff menu. Not my favorite menu, but that’s the default on almost all KDE desktops. A nasty bug causes the panel to vanish when using the menu’s search box, so be warned.

KDE has some cool desktop effects. Many are not really useful, but they are nice additions to the desktop. This screen shot shows the desktop Cube effect.

This one shows the desktop Cylinder effect.

And here is the desktop Spherical effect.

This last screen shot shows YAST as it looks in KDE.

If you would like to take openSUSE 12.3 Milestone 2 for a spin, download an installation image for your platform here.

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