Linux 184.108.40.206, glibc 2.9, KDE 4.1.3 (3.5.10 is also available as an option), GNOME 2.24.1, OpenOffice.org 3.0, GIMP 2.6.2, and more or less all the software updated to their current versions is what the v 11.1 DVD is all about. What sets the openSUSE DVD apart from other distros is that the 3.5 branch ofKDE is also available for those who still don't want to switch to KDE4 for whatever reason.
The first thing you'll notice during the installation is the brand new 'free'licence, which finally replaces the old Novell EULA. The distro, which is an aggregate of various free software, has been relicensed under GPL version 2. This means the DVD now doesn't contain non-free software like Adobe Acrobat Reader, Flash, and the like, any more. This also means you are not required to select an 'Accept' check box any more, but Simply move on after reading the licence (if you so choose).
The rest of the installation routine has remained very similar to openSUSE 11.0 (if not exactly the same-you can read my article on v 11.0 in LINUX For Yous August 2008 issue if you want to know the steps). The other thing to note is the redesigned partitioner. Although ra hoped that any change introduced should make things a bit easier (or more appealing?), I felt that's certainly not the case here. In fact, the redesign is sort of awkward and may leave you a bit puzzled.
After installation, the boot-up time and overall performance of the desktop is pretty decent, and comparable to the preVious version. Here again, there's nothing much to report as we've already talked enough about the recent KDE and GNOME versions, and have seen how they look and feel in the distros that have been bundled with LFY since November. However, if! may add, the all-around green openSUSE theme that was introduced in version 10.3 and continues till date can get on your nerves, and I personally would appreciate it if they switched back to the pleasant bluish look and feel.
One thing ra still like to report is that openSUSE's default selection of applications and the overall integration of the desktop is still top-notch. Although ra have preferred it if the SUSE folks did something about the Slab menu that they introduced in GNOME with SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 in 2006. Not that I'm saying it's not pretty compared to the default GNOME menu, but when it comes to usability, it's a hideous show-stopper, expecting the user to wait and click several times to find and launch an application. I guess if the GNOME users are looking for a better menu alternative, Gimme [www. beatniksoftware.comlgimmieIMain_Page] is a much better option, with some good features, although ita. still need some love from the UI design team to make it prettier.
Something else that's new with vI 1.1 is the complete integration of Package Kit (the GUI package manager front-end introduced by the Fedora camp) across desktop environments. Likewise, along with the YaST's software manager, you can also use this front-end (available in the menu by the name of Add/Remove Software) instead. Personally, ra have preferred if there was only one frontavailable by default. And considering that the YaST package manager GUI for GNOME is so hideous-looking, ita. be neat if the SUSE team focuses on the development of Package Kit full time (to make the GUI better and the software work faster). Not that I'm very comfortable with PackageKit either, as I use the traditional YaST package manager that is accessible from KDE.
Something very handy about the distro is that the package manager automatically installs things like Flash or Fluendo plug-ins for MP3 support and nvidia/ ATI graphics drivers the moment you try and install anything using YaST for the first time. So, if you are a free software purist, you better disable the non-free repository first
Personally, 10 recommend adding the Packman repository before doing anything. and then simply executing zypper dup from the command line as the root user. This will pull in all the codec libraries from this third-party repository and you'll have pretty decent multimedia support without trying to search and select the codecs manually. Of course, anything that you find missing afterwards can be searched for later.
By the way, if you use one of those Broadcom wireless chipsets, then you can install the broadcom-wl-kmp¬default (as well as broadcom-wl) package from the Packman repository. These are the Linux drivers that were finally released by Broadcom a while back, so there's no need to depend on ndiswrapper or fwcutter for wireless support any more (if you so choose).
The final point to mention here is that the KDE 4.1.3 version offered is not the vanilla upstream version. It has a handful of features backported from the KDE 4.2 beta branch also, which is indeed nice for us KDE users. However, I'll say why settle with 'some' backported features only. when kde.org hosts a KDE 4.2 RC Live CD (which I was talking about earlier; and by the time you read this, the final version would be out) on an openSUSE ILl base?