Novell Delivers openSUSE 10.3 Linux Development Release
Published: October 9, 2007
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
Commercial Linux distributor Novell last week announced that it has completed its openSUSE 10.3 development release and now has it available for Linux enthusiasts to play with and to put through the paces to help find bugs in the code before it is eventually rolled into the commercial SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Enterprise Desktop variants sometime in the future.
The openSUSE 10.3 development release has been in the works since May, and went through seven alpha releases, three beta releases, and one release candidate before being internally released on September 27 to contributors to the project and publicly released on October 4.
openSUSE 10.3 is built on the Linux 2.6.22 kernel and is supported on 32-bit X86, 64-bit X64, and 64-bit PowerPC processors. Among the new features in this distro is preliminary support for the KDE 4 graphical user interface; specifically, some KDE 4 applications are in openSUSE 10.3, while the full KDE 3.5.7 release, which is the most recent stable variant of that interface, is there, too. A preview version of the full KDE 4 GUI is also in the distribution, but this is not intended for production use (if you can call it that when you are talking about a development release that doesn't have tech support except for installation). As has been the case since Novell took over SUSE nearly four years ago, the Gnome interface is the default on openSUSE 10.3, and Gnome is at the 2.20 level. The Compiz and Compiz Fusion 3D interface extensions are also in the distribution (the latter being the convergence of the Compiz and Beryl projects, which are forks of each other that have been brought back into resolution). Compiz is part of the distribution, while you have to get Compiz Fusion through the repository.
The new distribution includes a new feature called 1-Click Install, which allows open source software packages to be installed on openSUSE with a single click from the openSUSE Build Service. In the past, adding packages forced users to bounce back and forth between repositories and package managers, and this was annoying. openSUSE 10.3 includes the GNU gcc 4.2.1 compiler set and the libzypp 3.12.1, which is the package dependency resolving engine at the heart of the YaST installation tool and the openSUSE Build Service. OpenOffice 2.3 is also thrown in to the mix, and so are the Banshee and Amarok MP3 players. Novell's own AppArmor application security framework is also included with all of the latest patches.
The new SUSE development release also includes a number of virtualization technologies, first and foremost being the embedded Xen 3.1 hypervisor. The latest updates of the open source QEMU and KVM virtualization hypervisors are also now included in openSUSE 10.3, and so are the paravirt-ops and vmi kernel extensions that Novell and VMware have created to run VMware's Workstation and ESX Server hypervisors. The updated development release from Novell also includes support for VirtualBox, an open source virtual machine hypervisor from a German company called Innotek, a vendor of application software for IBM's and Microsoft's OS/2 operating system that is moving out into the desktop virtualization space to take on VMware, Parallels, and others in the virtualizing of Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X environments on 32-bit X86 and 64-bit X64 machinery. VirtualBox 1.5 is packaged as part of the distro.
While openSUSE 10.3 is available for download, if you want CDs and DVDs as well as a manual and some installation support, you have to pony up $59.95 in the United States.
In a related announcement, Novell also said that it is looking to hire a Linux chief evangelist to work for the openSUSE project. The job opening is in the company's Open Platform Solutions group, and Novell warns potential applications that the chief evangelist will be on the road about half the time during the business week. The job also entails interfacing with OEM partners who contribute to openSUSE and to other key Linux package maintainers that are key to the openSUSE distribution. This person will be the face of openSUSE in forums, chats, Webcasts, and other public events, and will organize the first openSUSE conference as well. You need a bachelor's degree and five years of contributing to open source projects to land the job. If you want to apply, you can do so by sending an application to email@example.com.
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