OpenSUSE, SUSE's community Linux, may not be as sexy as Fedora, Mint, or Ubuntu, but it's still a strong, popular Linux for both servers and desktops and it's good to see the latest version finally arrive after months of delay.
First due on July 11th, openSUSE didn't make its release date because, frankly, it wasn't ready for prime time. OpenSUSE release manager Stephen "Coolo" Kulow said in June, “our development project, is still far too unstable. Things have improved.
Andreas Jaeger, openSUSE's program manager told ServerWatch's Sean Michael Kerner that the openSUSE developers had” concentrated on stabilizing the release.” The resulting Linux distribution may not always have the latest software, such as the newest editions of Firefox and KDE, but it should be very stable. Rock-solid reliability and performance have long been openSUSE hallmarks.
OpenSUSE, as always, supports multiple Linux desktops including KDE 4.x, GNOME 3.4, and Xfce 4.10. KDE, however, is its main desktop. OpenSUSE 12.2comes with KDE 4.8, but the developers will be updating it to the latest and greatest, KDE 4.9.1 within the next week.
Under the hood, openSUSE now uses the 3.4.6 Linux kernel. Thus, it has better Brtfs file system and graphics driver performance. Server and datacenter administrators will like that the kernel enables them to cap CPU usage across groups of processes.
When it comes time to boot the system up, openSUSE now uses GRUB2. Looking ahead to the day when Windows 8 systems try to lock out all other operating systems, openSUSE has a Fedora-like plan in place to deal with Windows 8's Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) lock-in.
For desktop users, openSUSE comes with the latest version of the best open-source office suite: LibreOffice 3.5. When it comes to your Web browsing needs, openSUSE defaults to Firefox.
All-in-all, the new openSUSE sounds very promising. If you want to check it out for yourself, there are many openSUSE 12.2 versions available for download. Personally, I'm going to wait until KDE 4.9.1 is available before trying it on the desktop.
One nice feature about openSUSE is that you can do in-place upgrades of your existing openSUSE installations, going all the way back to openSUSE 11.2. Since I run openSUSE on my in-house servers, where the desktop doesn't matter so much, I'll give that a try first. If you also like openSUSE for your servers, I recommend you not wait to give it a run too. Enjoy!