OpenSUSE beats Ubuntu to the punch

Novell released OpenSUSE 10.3 today, beating Ubuntu to its 7.
Written by Christopher Dawson, Contributor

Novell released OpenSUSE 10.3 today, beating Ubuntu to its 7.10 release by 2 weeks. While I'm still downloading as I type this, the improvements to OpenSUSE look at least as extensive as those for Ubuntu. I'll get back to you with some impressions from the classroom next week after I've had the weekend to explore and use the system.

For now, screenshots and promos from Novell highlight changes in everything from package management to the applications menu (already a feature I really like for its navigability). Built-in support for VirtualBox virtualization makes for easy installs of parallel operating systems (do I see side-by-side comparisons of Vista, Ubuntu, and OpenSUSE in our future?) and a new installation architecture allows for 1-click installation of new programs.

As with Ubuntu's upcoming release, OpenSUSE's improvements make it even more attractive for the mainstream user (even MP3 playback is functional out of the box), while providing new features and tweakability for power users. A release for Novell's EduCD (a collection of education-centric add-ons) hasn't been scheduled, but a fair amount of server and desktop software is already available from the education repositories.

A couple caveats: Don't try to upgrade your existing OpenSUSE installations from the repositories. Between excessive traffic and a large warning on the OpenSUSE website against such an upgrade, it probably isn't a good idea. I tried it anyway and ran into too many problems (ultimately, I just never got it installed; the results could have been an unstable system, though).

Download times (even via torrents), also seem to be pretty long, so start this one Friday night, watch a movie or two, and get your system up and running over the long weekend.

I'll post any additional hurdles I encounter this weekend, myself. Feel free to talk back with any problems or suggestions.

More testing to follow...Happy downloading!

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