The openSUSE team has announced the release of first beta of version 12.3 which is intended for testing. I like openSUSE for their awesome KDE integration and I look forward to the final release which will also bring KDE 4.10. The good news for KDE fans is that this beta of openSUSE brings KDE 4.10 rc2, so you can test KDE as well as openSUSE 12.3. Since KDE's 3rd RC got a bit delayed openSUSE couldn't include it.
So how do users test the rc3? Jos Poortvliet writes on the official blog:
The Beta comes with 4.10 RC2 of KDE’s workspaces and applications. KDE has announced a third RC due to some late changes and this version is part of a testing sprint organized by the KDE Quality team. openSUSE KDE packagers have build a special live Image to test this release but we urge you to get the Beta packages from software.opensuse.org as they are of course newer.
XFCE users will now be able to enhance productivity as Thunar introduces tabs support (unlike Nautilus which is on its way to become the most un-usable file managers ever). The new Thunar also brings improved bookmark handling (including easily adding remote bookmarks), improved UI and a check for free space before copying starts. There have also been extensive performance improvements.
Thuar and Dolphin are not the only file managers which are 'evolving' into better file manager, contrary to Nautilus. LXDE's file manager PCMan is upgraded to version 1.1 which brings some UI improvements like disabling items which cannot act (like ‘copy’ on selected items) in the menu and toolbar, the option to ‘treat backup files as hidden’, the ability to change the colums in the Detailed List View and search engine support. Underlying improvements were made to stability and performance, as well as bringing new support for unmounting removable media without ejecting them and some other small changes.
This release runs on the Linux kernel 3.7.1 so one can expect better hardware support and many new features. This is what Poortvliet has to say about the core system features:
- support for metadata checksums and improved quota support in Ext4
- I/O failure statistics, subvolume quotas, quota groups, snapshot diffs, faster fsync and the ability to disable copy-on-write on a per-file base in btrfs
- userspace probes for performance profiling with tools like Systemtap or perf and a new “perf trace” tool modeled after strace.
- Many improvements to networking. The TCP protocol performance work with support for the TCP “Fast Open” mode for both clients and servers and TCP Early Retransmit (RFC 5827) as well as inclusion of the a “TCP small queues” feature and a new network queue management algorithm designed to fight bufferbloat. Other low-level protocol enhancements include support for checkpointing and restoring TCP connections and a new tunneling protocol that allows to transfer Layer 2 Ethernet packets over UDP. New is experimental SMBv2 protocol support as well as stable NFS 4.1 and parallel NFS support and the ability to have safe swapping over NFS/NBD.
- The kernel now allows for Android-style opportunistic suspend and has support for suspending to disk and memory at the same time which prevents these “yup, ran out of battery so now you lost data” annoyances with suspend-to-ram.
- In the security area we see added support for signed kernel modules, the Intel “supervisor mode access prevention” (SMAP) security feature, VFIO, which allows safe access from guest drivers to bare-metal host devices and a sandboxing mechanism that allows to filters syscalls.
- Other improvements include the ability to do SCSI over Firewire and USB, support for the PCIe D3cold power state; and the usual huge number of new and improved drivers.
This release comes with Firefox 18 and LibreOffice 3.6.x. Packages for 4.x are already available for openSUSE (I tried them last night but it was crashing when you check for the version number). So if you want you can safely try them and if it doesn't work out well, you can go back to stable release of LibreOffice.
I hate comparison but openSUSE seems to be getting better and better with every release. I have downloaded the beta to play with and may share my thoughts on our Google+ page (check out KDE page as well if you are a KDE fan). If you are an openSUSE user or what to try a really great OS, you should go ahead and download it from this page.