OpenSUSE 13.1: Major community Linux has a new version

OpenSUSE 13.1: Major community Linux has a new version

Summary: The latest edition of SUSE's community Linux distribution is ready to use.

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Red Hat has Fedora and SUSE has openSUSE. Both are community-based Linux distributions that point the way to their business distributions: Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) for Red Hat and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) for SUSE. Today, it's SUSE's turn to look into the future of enterprise Linux with the release of openSUSE 13.1.

OpenSUSE 13.1 KDE desktop
Here's the openSUSE KDE desktop at work.

Perhaps the first thing serious Linux users will notice about this release is that it arrived on schedule. OpenSUSE's chief rival, Fedora, has fallen behind in its forthcoming release. OpenSUSE hit its deadline in no small part because of its use of openQA, its automated testing service. OpenQA has proven its worth. I expect other Linux distributions to start using it.

Jos Poortvliet, openSUSE Community manager, explained: "This release is more than the sum of its parts. We made big changes to our testing." 

Agustin Benito Bethencourt, openSUSE Team Lead, added, "We have significantly increased the overall QA/testing effort, reinforcing the stability of openSUSE 13.1, that has been declared by our community a long maintenance term version. Both elements together makes openSUSE a solid choice for those who use Linux-based distributions to work every day."

I'd agreed with them. This is a rock-solid Linux distribution. OpenSUSE's parent company, SUSE, agrees. The company has made openSUSE 13.1 an "Evergreen" or long-term support release. That means it will be supported for at least three years.

This version of openSUSE also comes with native support for the ARM 7 architecture. There are also openSUSE ports for ARMv6 and ARMv8 (AArch64), but these are experimental and openSUSE offers no guarantees for how well they'll work... or not.

As for the release itself, openSUSE 13.1 features the KDE 4.11 Plasma Desktop as its default desktop. If you like, openSUSE also natively supports GNOME 3.10. It also comes with xfce, LXDE and Enlightenment as desktop choices. Personally, I prefer the elegant dark green look of openSUSE KDE.

OpenSUSE comes with the usual best of breed open-source desktop programs. These include Firefox 25 and Chromium 31 for Web browsing; Thunderbird 24 for e-mail; and LibreOffice 4.1 for its office suite.

For developers, openSUSE includes GCC 4.8, the Mono 3.2.3 .NET runtime, and the Qt 5.1.toolkit. The operating system also comes with the the latest Rails 4 and Ruby 2.0 releases as well as PHP 5.4.20, which includes a build in testing server.

Under the interface and applications, you'll find the Linux 3.11.6 kernel. In addition, openSUSE's development team has been working on improving Linux's memory use. These changes include improvements to page reclaim and Zswap. The net result is that openSUSE 13.1 will work better on systems with low memory.

The openSUSE crew have also been working hard on improving the Btrfs (aka Butter FS) file system. Btrfs still isn't the default file system — that's still Ext4 — but openSUSE believes that Btrfs is stable enough for everyday use. That said, openSUSE recommends XFS for large file data storage.

Me? I'd run Btrfs on a desktop, but I'd stick with Ext4 and XFS for servers. 

Thinking of servers, openSUSE now supports Samba 4.1 as a file server for Windows PCs and Linux desktops and other systems on an Active Directory-based networks. For a database manager, openSUSE now defaults to MariaDB instead of MySQL, but MySQL is still included in the package. If you want to use openSUSE as a Web server, Apache 2.4.6 is what you're given. You can, of course, always use say Nginx if you'd prefer a faster Web server.

OpenSUSE also comes with OpenStack Havana, but it doesn't limit itself to OpenStack for its cloud usage. This Linux also includes s3fs, a file-system in userspace (FUSE). This enables you you to mount an Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) bucket as a local file system. 

Put all this together and you get a Linux that's good for desktop users, system administrators, and cloud managers. I've only started to work with openSUSE 13.1 but I really like what I've seen so far.

Interested in checking it out for yourself to see what the SLES of tomorrow will look like? You can download openSUSE  and install it from a USB stick, DVD, or CD. Current openSUSE 12.3 users can upgrade their systems with Zypper. As always, reviewing the operating system's release notes before installation is a good idea.

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Topics: Enterprise Software, Cloud, Linux, Open Source, Servers, Software Development, PCs

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22 comments
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  • OpenSUSE 13.1: Major community Linux has a new version

    Great Job to all.
    RickLively
    • Upgrading it with terminal...

      ... first time and almost without problems. Now only one thing missing is new boot menu still showing "Open SUSE 12.3" instead of OpenSUSE 13.1. However the system itself with all applications were upgraded well.

      I have googled the issue and found similar things happened globally. I guess we got to wait for new updates coming...
      MacBroderick
  • Nah, nothing can come close to Slackware

    Slackware is simple, lightweight and robust.
    Ram U
    • You also left out "fast".

      It performs faster that most of the others leaving out a good bit of the bloat.
      jessepollard
  • OpenSUSE 13.1: Major community Linux has a new version

    An OS where the community sits around all day discussing the proper flags for compiling the kernel. Sounds like a blast.
    Loverock.Davidson
    • Meanwhile in Windows World

      Little Johnny is wondering how he can raise the money for 3 bitcoins so he can pay the ransomeware develops to decrypt his files.
      Alan Smithie
    • I think only the developers worry about that one

      Most Linux users don't compile their own kernels and the ones that do usually use the menu-driven configuration tool, leaving low level decisions to the kernel developers.
      John L. Ries
    • A blast

      Loverock's idea of a blast is discussing anti-malware programs and how exciting it is that MS has brought back the start button.
      timdor
    • When your only arguments are zombie lies ...

      ... you're only helping the other side.

      So thanks.
      shipoffools
    • With Incredible Irony

      With incredible irony, LD turns an even *deeper* shade of green! :-D
      ricegf
  • Best Distro Out There

    The BMW of the Linux World.
    Alan Smithie
    • I would that it had a wider selection of software

      Fedora and Debian do much better in that regard.
      John L. Ries
    • Alan Smithie: "Best Distro Out There"

      Why do do say that? Please let us know the features that rock you.

      The last I used openSUSE, at 11.x, the features that stood out for me were delta RPMs and the YaST GUI for creating and modifying AppArmor profiles. Sadly, though, I found updating with the zypper CLI to be less stable than with Debian's apt. What intrigues me most about openSUSE 13.1 as discussed in the article is that it is an evergreen release which provides 3 years of 'maintenance'. Nice.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
      • os 12.3 drew me back

        zypper was a mess in the 11 but greatly improved with 12.1 (i would say it rivals aptitude now, and is fast and stable). it was zypper and snapper (with btrfs integration) that drew me back. i use it at work, surrounded by Ubuntuists who usually are impressed by KDE's ability. it is rock steady and holds its own with my Mac using colleagues for usability and configuration too.
        there is OBS which answers the software need like PPA only you add repos with one click, not by running some command line incantation. and Tumbleweed is the "rolling release" that Canonical is still figuring out.
        it's not perfect, no, but after trying lots of Linux flavours for about 12 years, this is the distro i keep returning to. you should check it out
        Michael Lockhart
    • BMW blows!

      Chevrolet Nova SS rules! And KISS rocks! Emacs users do it better!
      hanszurcher
      • Vim FTW

        I only have 10 fingers, so I prefer vim. ;-)
        ricegf
  • Evergreen

    Please note that:
    * Evergreen is NOT a SUSE initiative but entirely volunteer-run
    * Neither Evergreen nor SUSE offer 'support' for openSUSE, only maintenance (security- and stability updates). This is like with other Linux distributions: Support is what you get on SLE and RHEL. Community distributions have community support on their forums of course.

    -- Jos Poortvliet
    openSUSE Community Manager
    jospoortvliet2
  • OpenSUSE is great and so it Cr OS Linux

    If you prefer intuitive Cinnamon desktop rather than GNOME 3.10, download a lightweight Cr OS Linux (getchrome.eu) which is based on openSUSE with Google Chrome and Google Drive Linux client InSync.
    janmarian
  • Easiest install I've done

    I installed this morning. It went like a breeze. You even now have the option to choose and add update and develop / debug repositories before the install, so updates and mods can be downloaded as part of the install.
    Opengl 3.1 is a built in option once the install is done.

    All in all, it's a great system. As SJVN stated, please read the release notes to keep up with recent changes.
    purevw9