The GNU/Linux distribution openSUSE 13.2 was released today. I have been watching their countdown on their website the last days to be honest. I was really looking forward to this. openSUSE 13.2 ships with some of the newest technology and features from GNOME and KDE, and the openSUSE team has improved and cleaned up some code for their own tools. It also comes with the Linux kernel version 3.16. I gave it a spin today, so read on to find out about my first impressions.
So what is new in openSUSE 13.2?
This release ships with the Linux kernel version 3.16, which is a rather new kernel that improves the performance of Btrfs (the default file system for the root partition), and XFS. Other improvements worth to mention are related to NVIDIA Nouveau (the open source driver for NVIDIA cards), as well as more features for Intel and AMD graphics.
The code for their very own YaST has been cleaned up properly after the conversion from the YCP programming language to Ruby now. They made the conversion to Ruby for the 13.1 release, but has improved the code with this new release. For those who don’t already know, YaST is the distributions setup and configuration tool.
As for the desktop environments you have the brand new GNOME 3.14, and on the KDE side of life you have the Plasma Workspace 4.11.12 and Plasma 5.1, the next generation workspace, as a technical preview version. You also have other desktop environments to choose from, and you can read about those here.
Another improvement with this release is made for the installer, which should now be less cluttered and act more welcoming to use for new users.
There are other new features as well in this new openSUSE release which I haven’t mentioned here. You can read about all the new features on their features wiki page.
Let’s see some screenshots, shall we? Taken from here. I will only show the KDE and GNOME ones, since they are the main desktop environments in openSUSE. Follow the link above to see the others.
Choosing desktop during installation.
GNOME with a YaST app folder.
GNOME lock screen.
KDE Plasma 4 workspace.
KDE Plasma 4 workspace with the YaST control center open.
My first impressions
I like(d) openSUSE 13.1 quite a lot, and I used both GNOME, KDE and Xfce for a while with that release. I liked the openSUSE branding and the overall solid product. It just worked, for the most part. The only negative I remember now was with the live DVD, which didn’t have that much “disk space” for actually doing much (at least with KDE, if I remember correctly), which was sad. So that was a good release in my opinion, and so thought others as well.
So what about openSUSE 13.2? My first impressions are that things just work. I haven’t found any major bugs the first hours of trying out both GNOME, KDE, the newly polished installer and YaST in general. I downloaded the ISO which is about 4.5 GB and I’m running the distro installed in VirtualBox (one install for GNOME and one for KDE, to keep things clean/tidy). The first thing that struck me when the desktop was loaded, was that the default wallpaper was a bit hypnotizing/tiresome, but that is just a minor thing that is easy to change. GNOME 3.14 was actually working properly, which is more that I can say for my try with it in Arch Linux a while ago, same was reported in Manjaro for some, as far as I understood.
I had no need to install the guest additions in VirtualBox to get openSUSE 13.2 to fill my screen, like I had to with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS for example. I installed and booted into the system with no problems in VirtualBox, and the openSUSE artwork/branding which met me was looking good, just like in the last release. In this release you will see a brand new color scheme, to name one example.
The Linux Action Show did have some critique to this release, but that was for the RC edition. Anyway, I think some of it is still valid. For example, the installer used in Ubuntu could be said to be more user friendly than the one in openSUSE 13.2 when it comes to partitioning. Both for the layout and options presented with those steps concerning the partitioning.
All in all openSUSE 13.2 looks like an important release for the openSUSE community, and I’m happy that this release seems to be a solid one. I do recommend this distro because of what I have seen, read and experienced so far. And of course because openSUSE has something unique to offer the GNU/Linux world. This is a good distro both for businesses, system administrators and for your everyday desktop needs. Also for different kinds of servers. What I haven’t yet been taken a closer look at (among other things) for this release is the live DVDs, Plasma 5 technical preview and Snapper, which I might cover in the future. That is all I have to say for now, maybe I’ll add more to these first impressions later. We’ll see.
Read up on, and download openSUSE 13.2
To read more about openSUSE 13.2, head over to their release news page and their wiki portal. There you will find some good and interesting information/documentation. Now go get your fresh copy of their new distro release over at their download page. Enjoy!