openSUSE 11.4 – A New Hallmark For The openSUSE Project

Dear openSUSE Community. Users. Contributors. Fans and friends. The time has come: openSUSE 11.4 has arrived!. After 8 months of hard work, you can learn what is new, download it and upgrade!

We are proud to announce the launch of 11.4 in the openSUSE tradition of delivering the latest technology while maintaining stability. The 11.4 release brings significant improvements along with the latest in Free Software applications. Combined with the appearance of new tools, projects and services around the release, 11.4 marks a showcase of growth and vitality for the openSUSE Project! Read on for more details about this release…

Get 11.4

Base System

openSUSE always concentrates on a stable foundation that is usable for different workloads. The base system of 11.4 brings better scalability and performance, an enhanced boot processes and significantly faster repository refresh, package install and update.

11.4 is based around Kernel 2.6.37 which improves the scalability of virtual memory management and separation of tasks executed by terminal users, leading to better scalability and performance and less interference between tasks. The new kernel also brings better hardware support, with open Broadcom Wireless drivers, improved Wacom support and many other new or updated drivers. It also supports the improvements to graphic drivers in the latest Xorg and Mesa shipped, so users will enjoy better 2D and 3D acceleration.

New tools for an enhanced boot process. The latest gfxboot 4.3.5 supports VirtualBox and qemu-kvm while Vixie Cron has been replaced with Cronie 1.4.6 supporting the PAM and the SELinux security frameworks. The more experimental software options include GRUB2 and systemd.

The ZYpp package management introduces a MultiCurl backend, support for zsync transfers, and Metalink download support. With simultaneous downloads from multiple servers, and fetching of only changed parts of files, the result is a significantly faster repository refresh, package install and update. The new backend gives better support for network proxies and allows for HTTP BASIC password-protected repositories. On the desktop, KPackageKit replaces the KDE applet and both KDE and GNOME applets now default to installing all package updates, not just patches.

Desktops and Applications

openSUSE is committed to flexibility and choice, providing all major desktops and a full range of applications, well integrated and supported. The desktops and applications of 11.4 take the next step with a revamped user experience, all the popular up to date Free Software applications and consistent functionality even in lighter desktops.

The KDE Plasma Desktop 4.6 introduces script-ability to window manager KWin and easier Activity management as well as improvements to network and bluetooth handling. Stable GNOME 2.32 improves usability and accessibility. 11.4 also has GNOME Shell, part of the upcoming GNOME3, available for testing. This brings a fully revamped user experience with a visual and intuitive way of launching and switching between applications, making heavy use of 3D acceleration, window tiling, integrating notifications and messaging in the shell. Xfce 4.8 now makes use of the GIO VFS implementation for better remote file system browsing as well as udev, ConsoleKit and PolicyKit. The lighter weight LXDE 0.5 hasn’t seen any major changes with this release but continues to enhance stability and usability with a series of bugfixes, improved file association and theming.

Firefox 4.0, first to ship in 11.4, introduces a major redesign of  the user interface with tabs moved to the top of the toolbar, support for pinning of tabs and more. Firefox Sync synchronizes bookmarks, history, passwords and tabs between all your installations. Firefox 4 also supports newer web standards like HTML5, WebM and CSS3. 11.4 includes even more of the popular up to date Free Software applications as it’s the first major distribution to ship LibreOffice 3.3.1. Delivering it’s cleaner, faster code base and features like import and edit SVG files in Draw, support for up to 1 million rows in Calc and easier slide layout handling in Impress. 11.4 also débuts the result of almost 4 years of work with the Scribus 1.4 release based on Qt 4 and Cairo technology. Improved text rendering, undo-redo, image/color management and vector file import are highlights of this release.

openSUSE offers deep integration of all these technologies. By carefully creating ‘patterns’ of software, openSUSE ensures consistent functionality even in lighter desktops like XFCE and LXDE. Keyboard shortcuts are set, menu layouts tweaked, user-friendly file associations chosen and branding and theming integrated. 11.4 furthermore improves on the LibreOffice and Firefox integration in KDE Plasma, using native file dialogs, oxygen styling (also for GTK applications) and respecting the user’s mail client and browser choices.

Professional tools for administrators and developers

openSUSE aims to be the perfect power tool for system administrators to keep their network safe and their systems under control. And as developing and maintaining free software is the bread and butter task of the openSUSE Project the distribution naturally brings everything a software developer needs. 11.4 ships the latest virtualization and web server stacks and all the major development languages, platforms and associated IDEs.

11.4 brings the latest virtualization stack with Xen 4.0.2 introducing memory overcommit and a VMware Workstation/player driver, VirtualBox 4.0.4 supporting VMDK, VHD, and Parallels images, as well as resizing for VHD and VDI and KVM 0.14 with support for the QEMU Enhanced Disk format and the SPICE protocol. As guest, 11.4 includes open-vm-tools and virtualbox-guest-tools, and seamlessly integrates clipboard sharing, screen resizing and un-trapping your mouse.

openSUSE ships with the latest web server stack featuring Apache 2.2.17, lighttpd 1.4.26 and ngninx 0.8.54. As well as the main databases like version 9.0.3 of PostgreSQL, a release that brings major features like easy-to-use replication, a mass permission-changing facility, and anonymous code blocks. And MySQL 5.1.53 (community edition), and its fork MariaDB 5.1 that offers a drop-in replacement with better performance and some extra features are complemented while SQLite features a new transaction control mechanism using a write-ahead log.

openSUSE 11.4 comes with all the major development languages, platforms and associated IDEs. Qt 4.7.1 and QtCreator 2.1 bring a better and faster WebKit and support for the QML Declarative language, also supported in the KDE Development Platform 4.6 which in turn introduces a ‘Mobile Build Target’ for a thinner version of its libraries. The GNOME 2.32 platform brings Vala and Python support to Anjuta and Glib 2.26 supports Gsettings. 11.4 ships with GTK+ 3 bringing improved device input handling, fully Cairo based drawing (with multiple backends) and much easier theming to developers who want to develop for the upcoming GNOME 3 release. For developers who are interested in working on LibreOffice, openSUSE offers the unique advantage of using a ‘split build’, making it easy to get involved.

Around 11.4

Additionally to the distribution the openSUSE project also provides a variety of tools, projects and services to its fellow Free and Open Source community members and its users. Supporting 11.4 are Tumbleweed, a rolling release repository, the Build Service to easily create and release open source software and 11.4 inside susestudio for you to experiment with.

For this release we are particularly pleased to introduce Tumbleweed, a rolling release repository containing the latest stable versions of projects instead of relying on a rigid, periodic release cycle. The project does this for users that want the newest, but stable software. Additionally the popular third-party package provider Packman has reorganized and optimized its repositories for the openSUSE 11.4 release. The Packman team, which provides a large number of new and updated packages for openSUSE, simultaneously introduces support for Tumbleweed.

The Free and Open Source software developers are greatly aided in the distribution of their software by the innovative technologies developed or initiated by the openSUSE Project. Like the newly released Build Service 2.1.6 which provides the infrastructure to easily create and release open source software for openSUSE, Fedora, Debian and many other Linux distributions and projects like Bretzn or Appstream which support developers in building and distributing their applications and users in getting it.

We are also happy to also announce that Novell’s SUSE Studio, building upon openSUSE technology like KIWI, offers 11.4 as a base to build appliances upon from its convenient webinterface. We invite anyone to visit susestudio.com to experiment with 11.4, to create custom versions as Live CD, USB or VM images and to share them on susegallery.com!

Get 11.4 now

openSUSE is now available for immediate download. You can also purchase a retail box with 11.4 that includes 90-day installation support, physical media, and a printed Getting Started guide. Read more about what is new in openSUSE 11.4 in our Product Highlights!

Thanks!

openSUSE 11.4 represents the combined effort of thousands of developers who participate in openSUSE and projects shipped in openSUSE. The contributors, inside and outside the openSUSE Project, should be proud of this release, and they deserve a major “thank you” for all of the hard work and care that have gone into 11.4. We hope that 11.4 is the best openSUSE release yet, and that it will help to encourage the use of Linux everywhere! We hope that you all have a lot of fun while you use 11.4, and we look forward to working with you on the next release!

About the openSUSE Project

The openSUSE Project is a worldwide community that promotes the use of Linux everywhere. It creates one of the world’s best Linux distributions, working together in an open, transparent and friendly manner as part of the worldwide Free and Open Source Software community. The project is controlled by its community and relies on the contributions of individuals, working as testers, writers, translators, usability experts, artists and ambassadors or developers. The project embraces a wide variety of technology, people with different levels of expertise, speaking different languages and having different cultural backgrounds.

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