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Sneak Peeks at openSUSE 10.3: A Plethora of Improvements

With this last article the Sneak Peak series comes to an end for this release. But don’t worry: it’s tightly packed with an extra share of information on the latest openSUSE 10.3 goodies! Today we’re going through all those things that either didn’t get the chance to have their own article, or are extra convenient small improvements that haven’t been properly covered. As you will know, it is all those extra little things that really contribute to a great user experience on the Linux desktop.

Today we’ll be taking a look at: the new updater applet; redesigned network card module; OpenOffice 2.3; Xfce; the new Kontact; Giver, an easy file sharing tool; KIWI, a system image generator; and much more! We’ll also be getting some closing thoughts from Andreas Jaeger, director of openSUSE, to find out about plans for the future and community contributions.

openSUSE Updater as an Upgrade Tool too

RPM “updates” are specifically defined to refer to RPM patches; for example, as issued in the openSUSE 10.3 Update Repository. RPM package “upgrades” refer to any newer, full RPM package, as you would see in Packman or the openSUSE Build Service.

In openSUSE 10.2, the openSUSE updater acted as just that — simply an updater, providing you with all the official RPM updates. In openSUSE 10.3 however, it provides you with he option of acting like both an updater and an upgrader.

Guru Repository Merging into Packman

Pascal Bleser (yaloki) has long since been one of the most prominent, helpful, and commited openSUSE community developers, providing the whole community with thousands of extra packages in his Guru repository — undoubtedly the second-most-popular 3rd-party repository.

Xfce 4.4.1

openSUSE is all about choice — giving you the option of any desktop environment you require, which of course includes the lightweight Xfce desktop environment.

Redesigned Network Card Module

Among other things, the openSUSE User eXperience team has been working on improving usability in the YaST network card module. After conducting a large network card survey the new module was launched into factory with a different organisation, making it easier to accomplish all tasks. The new one is simpler, clearer, and better reflects the more common situations and usage of the network card module:

OpenOffice.org 2.3

OpenOffice.org developers, which includes many SUSE developers, have been working hard over the past few months to get the new 2.3 release out. With every release it consistently proves to be the most comprehensive office suite available, with countless fixes and features.

Community Repositories

Another YaST module recently added is the wonderful Community Repositories module which provides you with a nice list of the main official openSUSE repositories, popular repositories from the openSUSE Build Service, and other repositories added by the community from other locations.

KDEPIM Enterprise Branch

openSUSE 10.3 will also contain the KDE Personal Information Manager (Kontact) from the new Enterprise branch.

KIWI — Roll Your own System Images

One of the most significant ongoing projects in openSUSE is KIWI — a tool for building all kinds of system images. The eventual plan is to integrate KIWI with the openSUSE Build Service, but it offers a huge range of capabilities even right now.

Unlike other system image tools, KIWI is completely configurable and has a very clean design. You can specify exactly the packages that you want, and you can build a full range of images including Live CDs, Installer Images, virtualisation systems like QEMU/VMware and Xen images, network (pxe) images and more. It is even now used as the base for LTSP in openSUSE.

All the Latest Free and Open Source Software

As usual, openSUSE 10.3 will of course come with all the usual latest free and open source software. Take a look at the Product_Highlights/10.3 page on the wiki to get a quick run-down.

openSUSE 10.3 is coming!

openSUSE 10.3 will be released this Thursday, the 4th of October, so stay tuned for the official announcement, which will be right here at news.openSUSE.org!

Source & More Details on openSUSE.org

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