Back in 2012, openSUSE, SUSE's community Linux distribution, wasn't looking so good. The project was missing deadlines and had to be completely reorganized. Eventually, openSUSE 12.2 appearedin September, and since then openSUSE seems to have been on the right track. At the least, openSUSE is on time for the first, and only, beta of its next release, openSUSE 12.3.
OpenSUSE may not get the ink Fedora, Mint, or Ubuntu Linux do, but its parent Linux distribution, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) is still one of the major server Linux distributions. Linux professionals know you ignore openSUSE and SUSE at your own risk.
OpenSUSE is also the one major distribution that has stayed true to the KDE desktop environment, instead of GNOME or one of the many GNOME desktop spin-offs such as Cinnamon and MATE. This beta uses the KDE 4.10 RC2 of KDE workspaces and applications.
The final release of KDE 4.10 is set for the first week of February. Thus, when openSUSE 12.3 goes final, it will ship with KDE 4.10.
It's not all KDE though. OpenSUSE is incorporating tools from other desktops as well. For example, the XFCE file manager Thunar is included. This features tab support, improved bookmark handling and a check for free space before copying starts. OpenSUSE also includes LXDE's respected PCMan file-manager.
Under the hood, openSUSE will be using the 3.7.1 Linux kernel. The most significant improvements here are in networking. 3.7 incorporates TCP Fast Open, which can speed opening up Web pages from 10 to 40%. It also includes Server Messenge Block (SMB2) protocol for Windows PC file support.
This kernel also does a great job of supporting ARM processors. This leaves the door open for easily porting openSUSE to ARM-powered systems such as the ARM-based Samsung Chromebook. Indeed there are earlier openSUSE builds for the Chromebook are already available.
As for applications, besides the KDE family, openSUSE 12.3 will ship with LibreOffice 3.6 for word processors and Firefox 18 for Web browsing.
Want to check it out for yourself? The openSUSE 12.3 beta is now available for download. Enjoy!