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GNOME on openSUSE 11.4

March 3rd, 2011 by

The upcoming new release of openSUSE 11.4 will be shipped with the latest and greatest GNOME 2.32. GNOME 2.32 is the last release in the GNOME 2.x series and has a number of final refinements to offer openSUSE users a stable base for the next 8 months. At the same time, the openSUSE GNOME team is already busy preparing for GNOME 3. A preview of GNOME 3 and the new GNOME Shell will be available in openSUSE 11.4.

Features and improvements in 2.32

There have been several small updates to Mousetweaks, which makes it easier to use a mouse for those users who may have limited mobility. It now has updated documentation including an updated manual and man pages so users can now see all the options they have and look up how things are supposed to work.

The Evince document viewer has improved accessibility support. Through the use of the AtkText interface  Orca, the GNOME screen reader, is now able to read documents in Evince. The maximum zoom level has also been increased when viewing a document. Annotation support has been improved and you can now add annotations from the side panel, change the default properties including author, color, transparency and more. Evince now supports “SyncTeX” which enables synchronization between a TeX source file and the resulting PDF (or DVI) output.

Empathy, the universal instant messaging client, now allows you to group a contact’s information together using “metacontacts.” For example, if one of your contacts uses multiple instant messaging accounts you can now link the different services together under one name for your contact. Empathy has also added live contact search, which allows you to type into the contact list to quickly find somebody. The new and improved Empathy in GNOME 2.32 also adds chat logging support and the ability to import security certificates.

Eye of GNOME, Totem and GNOME System Tools all come up with minor tweaks like enhancing image contrast, automatically deinterlacing interlaced videos and setting up permissions for home directories. For openSUSE’s vast international audience, this latest release of GNOME 2 will support over 50 languages.

Outside of the official GNOME release, openSUSE 11.4 will bundle a number of great third-party GNOME applications including Banshee, GIMP, AbiWord and more! Some of the major highlights include:

F-Spot 0.8.2 is the default photo management application for the openSUSE’s 11.4 GNOME desktop, but Shotwell 0.8.1 is included as well bringing a number of major new features with it such as video support for all major fileformats, video uploading to YouTube, Facebook and Flickr, monitoring the library directory and writing metadata behind the scenes to give users a more responsive interface.

Media player Rhythmbox 0.13.3 “Country Rain” is available in openSUSE 11.4. This will most likely be the last stable release before the move to GNOME 3 and introduces several new features and bugfixes. Most prominent are the reimplementation of source lists, updated notifications, MPRIS and MediaServer2 support and a new context pane tab showing links to various websites.


The popular media player Banshee is updated to 1.9.3, a development release close to the final 2.0. Some highlights of this release are: a “Now Playing” simplified mode, play queue shuffle action, improved cover art downloading, MusicBrainz ID support and improved Last.fm integration. Banshee 1.9.3 also includes several developer features like an improved WebBrowser API for WebKit browsers and DBus API additions. Finally, device support has been greatly improved! Among others, Banshee now works better with the Droid X, Galaxy Portal, Xperia X10, Maemo and MTP capable devices in general.

For developers

openSUSE 11.4 has a lot to offer GNOME developers. Starting GNOME development is a matter of a few simple clicks in YaST, while GLib 2.26 now includes support for GSettings, the replacement for GConf as well as GDBus. Anjuta users can now enjoy full support for Vala and Python projects while MonoDevelop users get a myriad of new features and improvements from MonoDevelop 2.4. And good news for those anxious to adapt their applications to GTK3 or write new applications with this latest GNOME framework: openSUSE 11.4 is the first major linux distribution to ship GTK 3.0 so developers, Start Your IDE’s!

Getting GNOME 3

gnome shell showing several windows

For those of us anxious to try out GNOME 3 and GNOME Shell, Vincent Untz, openSUSE GNOME packager and until recently GNOME release manager has the following to say:

“You can test a beta version of GNOME Shell, which will be a core part of GNOME 3. Note that GNOME Shell has already moved a lot since the version we include in 11.4.”

There is also a GNOME 3 live USB test image available from another openSUSE GNOME contributor, get it from fcrozat’s home repo. Once openSUSE 11.4 is out, openSUSE users can easily be up to date with GNOME development using the GNOME OBS repositories.


In short, openSUSE 11.4 will offer a stellar experience for desktop users and developers alike. If the GNOME desktop isn’t quite your cup of tea, you’re in luck! openSUSE 11.4 will ship with updates to KDE, LXDE and XFCE which we’ll cover in another article. Stay tuned!

Article contributed by Manu Gupta

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12 Responses to “GNOME on openSUSE 11.4”

  1. thank you so much nice post good article

  2. Mark

    Its nice to hear the good things
    Waiting for GNOME 3

  3. Chameleoned

    Long live opensuse and the gnome project. Glad to witness the quality of opensource surpassing branded code. Much obliged.

  4. Chameleoned

    I know what I would definitely buy: a 13″ Skiff Reader-like tablet featuring opensuse gnome flavoured touch-edition distro with stylus.

  5. Daos

    Is this means openSUSE 11.4 will have GNOME as its default DE?
    It is a pity if so. I like GNOME but prefer KDE and IMO openSUSE used to be best KDE-distro on my expirience. There is too many well made GNOME-disrto too choose from. But if even openSUSE choose GNOME as its dafault (and I suppose most polished) DE there is nothing left to choose really well made KDE-distro.
    Anyway I will give 11.4 (GNOME) release a try because I disappointed with 11.3. With 11.2 it was better experience.

    • @Daos,

      No. The default is still KDE. Nothing’s changed on that front. But you’re missing a bit of the significance here. openSUSE actually ships with multiple desktops right out of the box. KDE, GNOME, XFCE, LXDE. All of them very well polished and ready to use. People don’t have to choose openSUSE for its desktop, but rather for its underlying operating system strength and then pick what they want to use as an interface. This is a unique advantage we offer over other distros. While other distros may offer multiple desktops, they’re often shipped as a secondary project with its own media.

      It’s all about choice, and while I’m a GNOME user myself, I’m sure you’ll continue to love our KDE offering. See you on Thursday at a download near you!

  6. trock

    I keep trying KDE and always end up going back to GNOME. GNOME seems to be more pragmatic and functional while KDE emphasizes great style and glitz. GNOME still seems more stable.

    • Chamaleoned

      Same here. I even have regrets and remorse each time I switch to a new release of KDE — I keep thinking over and over while installing it: “GNOME works, I like it, why am I doing this…?”

  7. Ricardo Chung

    Options are. So why feeling in conflict or remorse ? You can have it all ! Test it ! Use it ! Enjoy it ! Try one Desktop in one computer and the other Desktop in another one. Do not limit yourself. openSUSE gives you the choice and opportunity to free your desktop anytime you want. ;-)

  8. James Mason

    With 3D acceleration working in VirtualBox, you can try any of the desktops out, virtually, and still get a good feel for it.

    • Chameleoned

      VirtualBox and VMware Player are indeed helpful. I have OpenSolaris 2009.06 in an Oracle’s virtual machine and PC-BSD 8.2 amd64 in VMware’s Player. I have them in a desktop archiving machine (Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400) with limited network resources, but in my daily working laptop (AMD Turion TL50 64 X2) I have openSUSE 11.4 64 since RC1 dual-booting with Vista 32. Although virtual machines are great to test-drive nothing beats actual hardware interaction, so the only linux distro I always install to the HDD is openSUSE’s. While KDE accomplishes things, GNOME adjusts to about any whim I happen to have and that is mighty fine.

  9. Konrad Beringer

    The version 11.4 is running in different points much better than the previous one.

    1. I’m missing “system recovering point” as installed in MS systems, With this tool would be for normal user testing of modifications much easier.

    2. Audacity is not running in 64 bit version, why??