When Attachmate finalized its $2.2 billion purchase of Novell last April, many wondered if the new owner-- known for its terminal emulation and NetIQ software -- had what it takes to grow Linux, or open source software.
Its first move -- separating its Novell and Linux brands -- sent a strong message that Attachmate was serious about giving the Linux brand a big push of its own, separate and distinct from Novell's extensive portolio of management products and service contracts.
Attachmate also promised to give the Linux distribution's open source project, openSUSE, independence and room to grow and prosper.
Though only a point release, openSUSE 12.1 offers a myriad of new features and enhancements designed to optimize the Linux distribution's cloud, virtualization and management capabilities, and is reportedly the first to support Google's Go Programming language.
Supporting the latest Linux 3.1 kernel, or example, enables openSUSE to better perform in mixed IT environments including private and public clouds, openSUSE maintains. The project also notes that users of SUSE Studio users will be able to build unique versions of the 12.1 release with custom packages, artwork and scripts that can be deployed to Amazon EC2 and other cloud platforms.
It also supports the KDE-backed ownCloud via its Mirall desktop integration. "ownCloud is a free software project developing a cloud computing solution (basically an online storage with a variety of access options including web access) which is easy to deploy for home users and which keeps them in complete control of their data," the press release noted. "The openSUSE community has developed the ope source Mirall tool which makes deployment and use of ownClowd very easy and also mirrors the files locally and for offline usage."
The openSUSE Virtualization and Cloud repository offers the latest versions of Eucalyptus, OpenNebula and OpenStack for version 12.1. Version 12.1 also includes enhanced virtualization manager and open-VM-tools for managing Xen 4.1, KVM and VirtualBox, openSUSE also noted.
openSUSE 12.1 also features enhanced management capabilities, including the integration of Snapper and Tumbleweed as well as systemd. Snapper allows users to use snapshots in btrfs to view older versions of files and , if necessarym, the ability to revert files. Tumbleweed, a version of openSUSE with rolling updates including the latest stable versions o all software packages, was developed by noted SUSE kernel engineer Greg Kroah-Hartman.
Jos Poortvliet, openSUSE Community Manager, said all of the new features are exciting but he pointed to two new ones as key in the management space. "I'm glad to see the integration of systemd into openSUSE. Besides the synergies in its development across distributions benefit Linux overall, it brings us a modern init replacement that is well integrated into openSUSE 12.1. Users will benefit from the faster booting as well as the new ways to control daemons and processes," he said.
"openSUSE 12.1 is the first distribution that offers btrfs as complete system," Poortvliet added in his email statement to the press. "The snapshotting that BtrFS provides is integrated in the system as a safe-guard to allow easy roll-back of changes.”
Version 12.1 also boasts a notable distinction among Linux distributions. It incorporates support for both the KDE and GNOME user interfaces with color management. Its inclusion o the GNOME Shell 3.2, moreover, offers deeper integration with collaboartion tools such as calendars and the workflows support touch-screen devices with support for smaller screens, multi-screen setups and autoamtic rotation.
openSUSE is the first major Linux distribution to ship both GNOME and KDE with color management.
The eight-month effort by openSUSE comes just about a week after the release of Red Hat's open source community upgrade, Fedora 16.
One openSUSE develop noted in a press release that the open source project is on new schedule going forward.
“With openSUSE 12.1 we changed the way we number release. With an 8 month release cycle, we release the x.1 release in November, the x.2 release in July and the x.3 release in March. So, the next releases are: 12.2 in July 2012, 12.3 in March 2013 and 13.1 in November 2013," noted Andreas Jaeger, openSUSE Product manager for SUSE: