Novell has released the last public version of OpenSuse 11.0 for testing, before the software's final release later this month.
OpenSuse 11.0 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) appeared on Thursday, the same day Novell revealed strong growth in its Linux business, strengthening its position against Linux market leader Red Hat.
Features added to OpenSuse 11.0 since version 10.3, the latest stable version, include Linux kernel 2.6.25, Xen 3.2 virtualisation, windowing engine X.Org 7.3, version 2.22 of the Gnome desktop manager, and both versions 3.5.9 and version 4 of the KDE desktop manager.
OpenSuse 11.0 also includes a new package management system that is designed to deliver significantly better performance.
Since the previous beta, released in mid-May, developers have fixed 578 bugs and resolved another 1,118, developers said in a statement. However, the software is still not ready for production use, due to significant problems with the Grub boot loader, Nvidia graphics drivers and Gnome desktop manager.
Downloads are available from the OpenSuse developer site. One additional internal release is planned for 12 June, followed by a final release date of 19 June.
OpenSuse originated in 2005, with Novell's decision to begin developing the existing Suse Linux Professional product in collaboration with external developers, including bringing the community into the beta-testing process. Previously all development had been done in-house. OpenSuse is comparable to Red Hat's Fedora, which is also developed collaboratively.
Novell released its financial results on Thursday, announcing that its Linux business topped $29m (£15m) in the second fiscal quarter of 2008, up 31 percent over the same period a year ago.
Other business units also saw healthy growth according to Novell, with only the Workgroup business unit continuing to underperform, down one percent in the period that ended 30 April.