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Sneak Peeks at openSUSE 11.1: The Latest GNOME Desktop

December 16th, 2008 by

In our continuing series of Sneak Peeks at openSUSE 11.1, we’re introducing the newest version of the GNOME desktop into openSUSE. openSUSE 11.1 will contain the latest version of the GNOME desktop, GNOME 2.24. Not only does this new version bring with it great new features, but as always the GNOME developers in the openSUSE Project have added our own unique polish to make a truly unique, polished desktop experience.

GNOME Desktop w/ SUSE GreeterGNOME Desktop

New in GNOME 2.24

As always, a new version of GNOME means new features and enhancements that make using your computer easier. Many times, they’re small features that once you start using them, you can’t live without. One example is the new tabbed browsing in Nautilus, the file browser.

File Broswer with Thumbs

Communication

openSUSE 11.1′s GNOME Desktop includes some of the latest and greatest in communication and organization tools in Evolution, Pidgin, and Ekiga. The newest version of Evolution contains new functionality to make anyone who sends out many similar emails a day, or those who are fans of Google’s online communication tools very happy.

Evolution can now save mail as templates. Need to have a simple, standard message to send out to contacts who all ask the same question? Or do you want a standard message to send to new clients? Either way, you’ll find a use for this handy feature.

Living in the Gmail universe, but don’t want to lose the safety and speed of having a desktop client? Now with Evolution, your Evolution Address Book can be synchronized with Google Contacts, meaning you now have the full range of Google support: Gmail through IMAP mail support, Google Calendar which synchronizes with your Evolution Calendar, and now contacts synchronization support.

Frequent instant messengers will be happy to see that the new version of Pidgin, our multi-network instant messaging and chat client, is included.

Pidgin can connect to all of your different instant messaging clients and social networks, including AIM, MSN/Windows Live, Yahoo! IM, and MySpace Chat. Pidgin also serves as an IRC chat client, through which community support for openSUSE can be received.

What to talk with your friends or family by voice or face-to-face? Meet Ekiga, the openSUSE Internet telephony client.

With Ekiga, a compatible microphone or webcam, and an SIP account (all of which can be set up upon first running Ekiga), talking to your friends, family, or colleagues is easy and free if they’re also using a SIP client. With an appropriate SIP call out plan, you can make affordable voice calls over the normal phone system, right from your computer!

Entertainment and Multimedia

When the work is done, it’s time to play! openSUSE 11.1′s GNOME contains some of the best multimedia playing and building applications available, from Banshee, our state-of-the-art music player; to Brasero, an innovative DVD and CD burning application which enables you to make videos from your computer burn on a DVD to share with friends and family; to F-Spot, an amazing yet amazingly simple photo organizer.

openSUSE’s Banshee Media Player is incredibly powerful, yet dead-simple to use. Bring over music from another operating system, a CD collection, or an MP3 player, and Banshee will catalog and apply cover art to them all. Organize and enjoy your movies with the video playback features. Stay up to date and entertained with your favorite audio and video podcasts, or listen to one of many streaming radio stations available. You can even discover new music with Last.fm, a music social network that’s built right in to Banshee.

Several new features are available in Banshee in openSUSE 11.1. Banshee now supports compilation albums. So whether it’s the greatest hits of the ’90s or the soundtrack to your favorite movie, Banshee now recognizes and correctly organizes compilation albums.

The developers of Banshee have taken special attention to the look and feel of Banshee. One of the areas this is most noticeable is the new Now Playing window. Although this pane is meant for showing videos, new in Banshee is that when playing audio, this window displays the album cover and song/show information, making it perfect for parties so your friends can see what’s playing.

Banshee also now supports Internet Radio. The application comes pre-installed with dozens of stations already, ranging from all spectrums of music to talk. Want to add more? As long as the Internet radio stream you wish to add has a compatible stream, it’s as simple as a click of the mouse in Banshee.

Managing photos on openSUSE is easy and fun with F-Spot, the photo manager. With F-Spot, you can browse your photo collection by date or tags, and making basic photo corrections is a snap. You can even export your photos to Internet photo websites, such as Flickr, Picasa, or SmugMug. F-Spot is also extend-able, with extensions written to make F-Spot even more powerful or more useful, such as an extension to export photos to Facebook. These are easily installed with just a few clicks of the mouse.

F-Spot in openSUSE 11.1 features a redesigned user interface, giving easy access and better descriptions to the photo editing tools, as well as easier access to photo metadata information in the sidebar.

Every now and then, you may have had duplicate photos show up in your library. What’s more annoying than that? Having to delete each one, one by one. Now, not only does F-Spot prevent duplicate photos by detecting duplicates upon importing new photos, but with a click of a mouse, F-Spot will analyze your entire photo library for duplicates and eliminate them.

You’ve got music, video, and photos on your computer. But what if you want to take them off your computer once in a while? With Brasero, the CD/DVD burning utility, it’s as easy as can be, and is included in openSUSE!

With Brasero you can save movies on DVDs to watch on your TV, save songs and other audio shows on CDs to play in the car, or burn ISO images onto discs.

Finally, when it’s just time to have fun, there’s Cheese. Cheese is a webcam studio app that, with a compatible webcam, allows you to take pictures or videos of yourself and your friends.

With Cheese, you can apply special effects to the pictures or video, and make a funny video to upload to YouTube or other video sharing website. You can even apply multiple effects, to create a unique image!

Configuration Improvements

openSUSE 11.1 features several new improvements for the GNOME desktop’s administration and configuration, including further YaST integration with GNOME, setting up 3G cellular data connections, and more.

YaST Integration Improvements

Even with the improving integration of YaST into GNOME, YaST has still remained with the same button and UI structure of it’s KDE counterpart, which doesn’t exactly match GNOME. With openSUSE 11.1, YaST has been given a visual refresh. Now, at the top of every YaST screen is a short description of what the YaST module does, with a link to getting further help. The buttons have also been relabeled so they match the GNOME standard, meaning YaST now truly looks at home on the GNOME desktop!

Cellular Broadband Connectivity

Since openSUSE 11.0, openSUSE has been able to easily connect to cellular broadband networks (with the correct card installed in the computer). This continues for openSUSE 11.1, with NetworkManager handling the connectivity. So connecting to cell networks is nearly as simple as connecting to a WiFi hotspot.

Multi-monitor Support

Another feature that has been in openSUSE for a while is the great multi-monitor support. With a simple applet and automatic configuration of extra monitors, using more than one monitor in openSUSE 11.1 is as simple as can be.

New Login

openSUSE 11.1 includes a revamped login screen for GNOME. Simply click on your name, and enter your pasword. No more having to remember and type both usernames and passwords, it’s a simple process. Plus, access accessibility and multi-monitor settings right from the login screen, making the experience more open to everyone. In addition, the background in the login screen is time sensitive: if it’s midnight where you are, your screen is a pleasant dark color. If it’s high noon, you’re in for a bright login!

Counting Down the Days

With only days to go until openSUSE 11.1 is released and you can try these features for yourself, so get ready! Plus, there are more Sneak Peeks coming in the next few days, so stay tuned to openSUSE News for all things openSUSE!

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38 Responses to “Sneak Peeks at openSUSE 11.1: The Latest GNOME Desktop”

  1. mlasars

    Even i don’t use gnome at all, it looks like a good overview!

    Thanks!

  2. Chris

    Is gnome any good? I always thought all the good applications like k3b or kopete or amarok are made for KDE. So i’m not sure what gnome has to offer;-)

  3. sofie

    Chris,

    Gnome is very easy to use. It is stable and the network facilities are better. Everything works out of the box with samba shares.The menu’s are more intuitive than KDE.The looks are less “loud”, that’s what i like about Gnome. Once Gnome tou stick to it.

    Sofie

    • Chris

      Ok it’s not “loud”, i agree. But i like it colorful and with lots of features, i think KDE has more to offer of what i need;-)
      What sounded nice was F-Spot, perhaps I’ll try gnome once in the future;-)

    • Amiel

      I don’t know how you can say the network facilities of Gnome are better. I am experimenting with Gnome at the moment and am frustrated with the lack of transparent network access.

      In KDE I could open a file from sftp, ftp, smb or many other protocols and work with them like local files – directly from the open file dialog. (save them etc)
      In gnome… I have have to “connect to server” and then go the file open dialog. After this annoying extra step… files open read only.

      Gnome network support seems useless to me compared with KDE’s ioslaves.

  4. nothing interesting.. except that girl

  5. Bobby

    Gnome is really not bad and as Sofie said, it’s easy to use but KDE is the better, more powerful and beautiful desktop imo. I have both KDE and Gnome installed but I like the KDE programmes more than the Gnome ones apart from Evolution, which I found to be very good until I had some keyring problems in openSuse 10.1 I think it was so I switched to Kmails which has improve a lot in the KDE 4 version. i was also in love with GQView until Gwenview reached 4. the only Gtk applications that I stick to are OpenOffice and the Fox. KDE is trying with Konqueror but it’s still a long way behind Firefox. KOffice also lags behind OpenOffice.
    I feel at home with KDE but I visit brother Gnome now and then to see how he is coming along ;)
    Linux is all about choice so love and respect to all Gnomies.

  6. Reichmanix

    I am looking forward to downloading the new release tomorrow.

    OpenSUSE 11.0 seems to be way more responsive than Ubuntu 8.10 on my machine.

    After being impressed with 11.0 I may even buy the box set of 11.1 as well.

    Honestly I am a XP man at heart, but really have enjoyed using OpenSUSE and will continue to do so.

  7. Andy

    I’m not a fan of Gnome, but you OpenSuSE developers know how to design a desktop?
    Once exams are over I’m going back to OpenSuSE

  8. Mike

    I use openSUSE because it’s the best KDE desktop in the universe. However it’s GNOME support is really good too, if you like to mess about in GNOME. Personally, if I was a GNOME follower though, I’d probably be using openSolaris…

    KDE is my killer app. I miss it every single day that I must survive on work’s Windows XP laptop. Actually come to think of it, GNOME is better than XP too. Actually WindowMaker+GNUstep is better than XP, and even twm is… no that’s stretching too far.

    Looking forward to my xmas break and an update to openSUSE 11.1, and KDE 4.2 when it comes out in January.

  9. Ralph Martin

    A lot of nice features, I’ve been looking forward to this release and especially for the new adds on Nautilus, hopefully support for video has been improved so you can play different video file extensions.

  10. But… when will we see a “sneak peeks” for openSUSE 11.1 with KDE? :-)

  11. Ryan

    While listening to http://www.novell.com/feeds/openaudio/ “Linux Drivers”, I was looking at my SD, XD, Compact Flash, slots on my computer with curiosity. Never really used them and always wanted to know if they work. So, I plugged in a SD card and, sure enough, F-Spot launched, and it launched another window on top of it asking if I wanted to copy my pictures into F-Spot. And it created an nice looking icon on my desktop that looks like an SD card that behaves like a drive. And this is on 11.0. Very cool! Also like the fact that all the hardware worked after the install. As a computer tech, I don’t like having to install chip set drivers, network card drivers, printer drivers, and so on, in addition to the OS like with XP or Vista. Most people don’t know what that stuff is anyway. Very nice job!

    HP Pavilion a6130n

  12. Ralph Martin

    People might choose a desktop based on the different apps it brings with, and the ones that you can get besides the default ones.
    There are some people that select a desktop based on how useful it is for work they do with it.
    Other people like me has chosen Gnome because its design and elegance. Even though I also use it to install Oracle database and Jdeveloper; I just want to have fun with it and continue to lear more about linux.

    I have use openSuse since version 10 and I think this is if not the most one of more stable and reliable linux Distro.

  13. Spazzie

    Gotta love the 1990′s look and feel of linux in the 21st century. Where is the GUI innovation within? What a dissapointment great software is wrapped around a crap GUI!

  14. MrViklund

    Well… Good for the Gnome people.
    But I’m not a big fan of Gnome. KDE is the future of Linux desktop and comparing Gnome with KDE Gnome looks like something from the stone age. But, it os functional and works well I might add. But, in my opinion I think that OpenSUSE should go with KDE as the standard desktop with the installation.

  15. Emrah Ra┼ča

    I use openSUSE 11.0 with Gnome desktop system. Gnome is very useful, stable and cool. New Banshee features excellent, thanks for good overview…

  16. xavier

    IMO, KDE is far better than GNOME. I feel GNOME so limited, I can do almost nothing with it, try to write fish:// in nautilus.
    In addition, KDE is more beautiful and powerful.

    But there are some great apps. for GNOME that I find very useful and professional as THE GIMP, I don’t use Evolution but I now that is a very solid app.

  17. Freddy

    I love the KDE desktop, but on my IMac i have only 512 MB, and Gnome is better for my system.
    And with Gnome i can do great things to.
    Thanks for the overview.
    Freddy

  18. If the multiple desktop applet works with my Nvidia 7600GT graphics, I will most likely switch to OpenSuSE as my primary OS… hoping!

  19. Happy Gnome

    I suppose the KDE vs Gnome argument will carry on forever. I think its a matter of personal preference. I have been using Gnome for years, and I am very happy with it. I guess its what you are used to.

    I think the new features are great, and the OpenSUSE guys have done a great job of putting it all together. Green is the new Blue :)

    Can’t wait till this new release!

  20. BabyNinja

    I have to come to GNOMEs defense here. I always read all the comments all over the interweb regarding KDE as the better desktop, so I tried it on my laptop numerous times. I always end up going back to GNOME however. For one thing, KDE ran much slower on my computer. Opening internet pages, running programs, etc. were all laggingly slow. One of the other things that made me go back to GNOME is how when I plug in a drive or CD, it mounts an icon on my desktop. When I want to burn an ISO or some other file all I have to do is right click and the option is there. Overall I just think it is faster, more stable, and more convient. KDE looks absoulutly awesome though!

  21. dave

    I was using KDE and OpenSUSE for a long long time now, but I buy a new pc and the network card was not working on OpenSUSE 11.0. Thats why I try Ubuntu and Gnome and, I must say Gnome is better that for 2 years ago, far more stable. I was pro KDE but the new KDE4 is not really stable and KDE 3 don’t get much attention anymore so I try Gnome and plan to go back to KDE 4 when it’s good for use (my personal opinion I thing it will take a year or so) I like Gnome it’s easy to use and it’s a there. My pc is running nicely now so I pass this OpenSUSE release.

    But I still mis Yast, and some OpenSUSE extras :(, but the Deb packet-manager is far better than the OpenSUSE RPM version (sorry developers)

  22. On all the previous releases, I always used kde 3.5. Found that it was just more stable that 4. However, with this release, I think it’s time to try Gnome :)

  23. NomadeWolf

    I’m a Gnome lover.
    Why? It’s simpler, more intuitive and responsive to use.
    Also it has a more elegant interface.
    The first time i installed Linux, i used KDE because i was told that was the best. And i kept using it for a while.
    When i tried OpenSuSE, i installed it with Gnome as default by mistake, and i loved it!
    KDE is more powerfull and has more features, but i don’t need those extra features and i like the feel of Gnome better.
    Also, OpenSuSE is the best Linux distro. I tried others, but SuSE is more stable and has better support. It could be faster, but i always think that, no matter how faster it might be :)

    Cheers.
    And to all KDE users, two things:
    - Respect ;)
    - And give a try on Gnome, you won’t regret

  24. I’m a KDE guy but recently I’ve moved over to Gnome. Somehow I find it getting better now. The 2 KDE apps I must have in Gnome though are Amarok and K3B.

  25. marc

    Super happy with 11.0 and waiting for 11.1

    Can someone tell me if it is also an online update or do I have to burn a DVD and reinstall everything?
    It is not clear to me

  26. Jon

    I agree with the criticism that Gnome and really all of the the other desktops including Windows are not pushing the envelope when it comes to desktop innovation but my preference would have to be Gnome for Linux, for me KDE looks looks like it was designed for a child and is trying to hard to be interesting. I can’t talk technically about which one is better but from a users perspective I much prefer the way Gnome looks, feels and acts. Just my 2 cents :)

  27. Maxime

    Indeed! The only interesting feature is…the girl. Since brief I am discovering the Xfce Desktop and that one is quite interesting. I used to start, like one of the entries above, with KDE though it always got muddled up in the end and in consequence opted for GNOME. GNOME is in facto more ‘beautiful’ than KDE. OpenSuse is nice however also quite heavy on the system. And I never got my bl…y Broadcom wireless working.
    After having used Ubuntu8.10 for awhile, solely because everything indeed works straight out of the box, I went today back to Fedora. Fedora 10 is a cracker and I managed to get everything working like with Ubuntu. Fedora gives one the Red Hat feel and in due logic respect the GNOME Desktop comes in view. If anyone could explain to me in plain English how to get the Broadcom wireless working with OpenSuse I may give the new edition a go otherwise I stick with Fedora. Too many distros out there anyway, if you ask me. Have not said that, no-one was asking my opinion anyway thus I stop here.

  28. embril

    I disagree with anyone who says that KDE is slower than Gnome. And I’m not buying the “well on your hardware maybe, but not on mine” argument, either. I’ve extensively used OpenSUSE, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Slackware, Fedora, FreeBSD, Debian and its been my consistent experience that KDE is faster than Gnome on both of my computers – one having about twice the hardware performance specs as the other. Gnome is consistently more sluggish on every system I’ve tried in which both desktops were available. I believe KDE is far more attractive and polished than Gnome. With the beautiful KDE4 improving with leaps and bounds daily, stabilizing and a rapidly growing list of apps being created for it by a very active and growing developer network, KDE is my choice, hands down. The only reason I’d even consider using Gnome at the moment is that KDE4 still still needs to reach feature parity with KDE3.5 and stabilize a little more before its ready to completely replace KDE3.5. At that point, it’ll be KDE4 all the way. A lot of distros try to push Gnome as the primary desktop with a lot of hype for some reason, but the rhetoric just doesn’t match the reality. Quite simply, KDE is more integrated, polished, attractive, useful and powerful than Gnome. Gnome makes for a better desktop than Windows, but compared to KDE, it still seems clunky and unattractive.

  29. Necrolin

    I used to like KDE. That was in the year 2000. Since then KDE has been as stable as Charles Manson on crack. Crashes, segmentation faults, instability. No thanks. I recently tried KDE again. Every time I come back I feel disappointed.

    Gnome is user friendly, clean, and has the right mix of features to make it useful and efficient. I love it. =)

  30. cranstd

    “Banshee also now supports Internet Radio. The application comes pre-installed with dozens of stations already, ranging from all spectrums of music to talk.”

    I believe this statement to be in error. After I performed a clean install of openSUSE 11.1, there were no radio stations pre-installed in banshee. YMMV.

  31. John J

    I have tried both KDE and Gnome recently. I find that Gnome is very simple to use but lacks options for tweakers. KDE wasn’t stable in 4.0.x versions but 4.1.3 that is in opensuse 11.1 is stable. I like KDE because it runs better than Gnome on my machine and I also think KDE looks better. I think Gnome is good for servers or people who don’t want to change/tweak the desktop enviroment too much. I found that I quickley outgrew Gnome…

    My 50 cents

  32. Franklin

    Banshee in the openSUSE 11.1 live CD does not allow access to network drives. I have a NAS and another machine that is automatically picked up by Nautilus as long as the network connection has already been first established, but Banshee does not have this capability.

    Media > Import Media
    Then select either Local Files or Local Folders.
    Nowhere does it allowing selecting a networked machine.

  33. ttyX

    Only thing I dislike in the gnome edition is the opensuse custom menu and other than that its just fine ;)

  34. Soorya Raj

    I am going to download openSUSE 11.1′s GNOME version as KDE 4.2 is very slow on my computer. I came to know that openSUSE GNOME is more attractive and stable than Ubuntu 8.10. Great Job!