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openSUSE 12.3: Getting better and better [Review]

openSUSE 12.3 has been released on time and this release shows how it’s getting better and better with time.

OpenSUSE has its special place among the GNU/Linux distributions and one of the reasons is that the team contributes heavily to core projects like the kernel, LibreOffice, Gnome and KDE. So most of the work done by the openSUSE developers benefits the entire free software world and not just the distribution. Another reason being like a typical GNU/Linux distribution, openSUSE offers a solid and appealing platform for open source technologies. It enables you to use what KDE, Gnome, XFCE, E17, and other such projects are creating without coming in between you and your favorite technologies. openSUSE’s target audience has always been the enthusiasts, developer but it is also an amazing OS for beginners or casual PC users who want something that just works.

openSUSE – PC is personal again

It’s a typical Linux distribution which allows you tinker, hack and play with it. To most of us a PC is more like a big boy’s toy where you do a lot of things – it’s like Lego block. I really dislike the idea of dumbing down an OS to a level that it is reduced to an ATM machine where you can’t do much. It does work for some people – like my grandma – but it doesn’t work for someone like me who ‘plays’ with his PC as well. So openSUSE still retains that ‘playfulness‘ of PC if you combine it with right DE, which I will talk about later.

What’s new?

The flip-side of monitoring a project very closely is that you know what’s coming up before hand. Since I have been using RC of 12.3 for a while and I reported it in my stories, there is nothing much to excite me – I already knew what’s coming!

We covered it weeks ago that openSUSE brings OpenStack (Folsom) packages for those who are in cloud. Another major decision that openSUSE took was to switch to open source MariaDB from MySQL in the face of problems the project is experiencing under Oracler leadership. MySQL is still a part of our distribution, so not much will change for the average user as both databases have been part of openSUSE for a long time already.

Brothers in ARM

openSUSE is investing quite a lot of resources in ARM and ARM 64bit, which makes sense as ARM is about to make inroads into the server space where SUSE is one of the market leaders behind Red Hat. As we speak there are at over 4,000 build packages for ARM which puts openSUSE ahead of any Linux distribution which supports ARM’s AArch64 architecture.

The preview images for installation of openSUSE on ARM are expected to be released soon. Interested users can already start digging here.

We are looking for aspiring bloggers and journalists for The Mukt. If you are interested, apply now!

The community is also planning to release a stable openSUSE 12.3 for ARMv7 shortly after the x86 and x86_64 versions which were released today which means you may ble able to run openSUSE on ARM’ tablets such as Nexus 7.

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Swapnil Bhartiya

A free software fund-a-mental-ist and Charles Bukowski fan, Swapnil also writes fiction and tries to find cracks in the paper armours of proprietary companies. Swapnil has been covering Linux and Free Software/Open Source since 2005.

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