openSuSE 11.3 Released

Right on schedule, openSuSE 11.3 was released yesterday (15 July).
Written by J.A. Watson, Contributor

Right on schedule, openSuSE 11.3 was released yesterday (15 July). As usual, it is available as a "full download" DVD, and as KDE and Gnome LiveCD versions. The LiveCD distributions are actually hybrid ISOs, which you can simply dd to a USB thumb driver to create a bootable LiveUSB media.

I have installed the KDE Live version on four of my laptops:

- Fujitsu Lifebook S6510 (Intel Core2 Duo, 965 graphics, 5300 WiFi), absolutely routine installation, no problems or adjustments necessary.

- HP Pavillion dv2-1010ez (AMD Athlon Neo, ATI graphics, Atheros WiFi), absolutely routine installation, no problems or adjustments necessary.

- HP 2133 Mini-Note (VIA C7-M, Chrome9 graphics, Broadcom WiFi), installed successfully, but requires additional download and installation of openchrome graphic driver and b43 WiFi driver. I have done this on both the WXGA (1280x768) and WSVGA (1024x600) models.

Here are a couple of general tips about installation:

- If you are installing on a system that doesn't have an active internet connection (as I have been on my laptops while watching the Open), there will be quite a lot of updates that still need to be downloaded and installed after you finish. Once you boot, and configure the WiFi (or whatever) connection, you can pick up all the updates at once by going to Computer, YaST, Online Update, then just click "Accept" (add any optional updates that are available, if you like).

- When you setup Wireless access, it will want you to use the KDE Wallet to manage and secure the wireless keys. If you don't want to do that, just click "Finish" as soon as you get into the Wallet setup. You'll have to enter the Wireless Key again the next time you reboot, but after that it should be remembered and connected automatically.

- On the HP Mini-Notes, after the openchrome driver is installed, the desktop fonts are rather large, you can reduce those by going to Configure Desktop, Appearance. I reduced them by two points (9->7 and 8->6).

I've noticed one other thing while doing these installations. I doubt that this is specific to openSuSE, it is more likely part of the latest KDE release, but I generally don't use KDE, so I haven't noticed it before. When you plug in a USB drive it pops up the Device Notifier as usual. But in addition to the usual "2 actions for this device" or whatever, there is a symbol you can click that will just mount the drive, without opening or running anything else:

Monitor Preferences

I often find this to be just what I want to do. Also, once a removable device is mounted, if you go back to the Device Notifier and place the cursor on it, it will show you the available space on the drive:

Monitor Preferences

Again, I find this very useful, as it saves me from having to either go poking around looking for this information, or starting a terminal window to get it.

Oh, and one other thing. The Device Notifier has been moved to the System Tray, where it only shows when necessary, rather than being always present on the Panel. That's a nice change to reduce screen clutter.

Summary: This is the best and most pleasant to use release that I have seen from openSuSE yet. Definitely worth a try!

jw 16/7/2010

P.S. The screen shots were made on the WSVGA HP Mini-Note, at 1024x600.

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