Over the past few months we've taken both Fedora and Ubuntu out for a spin, so when the openSUSE project announced the latest testing (or "beta") version of its Linux distribution had been released, we couldn't resist the temptation.
We booted the LiveCD Gnome-based version of openSUSE 11.1 beta 4 in a virtualised environment using VMWare Workstation. We then installed the operating system on a virtual hard disk to test it out.
We found openSUSE to be very fast in a virtualised environment compared to our previous Ubuntu experiences, but there's nothing scientific in this test.
The operating system is broadly friendly and easy to use, but some bugs remain — for example, we couldn't get the bundled version of OpenOffice.org to run.
openSUSE could also do with some polishing in places. For example, Ubuntu hides all terminal-style messages behind a pretty exterior during boot up, while openSUSE occasionally shows the user its inner workings.