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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


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!

Sneak Peeks at openSUSE 11.1: Improved Installation, Easier Administration

December 13th, 2008 by

Welcome to the first in a series of Sneak Peeks at openSUSE 11.1! With less than a week to go until the release of openSUSE 11.1,we’ll be talking about the great new innovations included with openSUSE 11.1. To kick things off, we’ll be discussing how most people will be kicking off their openSUSE 11.1 experience: the installer.

The Installation: Building on a great base

openSUSE’s installation has long been regarded as one of the best in the Linux world. Never before has that compliment been more accurate than in openSUSE 11.1. We started by building on the great base built in openSUSE 11.0 this past summer: a sleek new look, and a simpler installation process.

Installation - welcomeInstallation - Desktop SelectionInstallation - Installing openSUSE

New Partitioner

The updated new installer features an updated look, as seen above, but there is one very big improvement, and most users won’t even see it. It’s the new hard drive partitioner. Luckily, in most cases, the installer can recognize what needs to be done to a user’s hard disk to enable them to use openSUSE, often while keeping their previous operating system and files intact. However, many times advanced users wish to make their own custom partition table, and the improved partitioner helps them do just that.

Partitioner 1Partition 2Partition 3

This partitioner was the subject of usability testing, and was designed to accommodate the needs of our users.

You can also get a quick guide to the installation of openSUSE 11.1 in our Installation Walkthrough.

Help driver development with Smolt

Smolt notification

Upon logging into your openSUSE desktop, you’ll be asked to send some hardware information to the Smolt Project. Smolt is a combined effort of Linux distributions and projects including the Fedora Project and openSUSE. Together, collecting the types of hardware in computers running Linux helps put pressure on hardware manufacturers to support Linux better, which is better for everyone.

Getting a rough estimate of the number of users for different types of hardware is also helpful to the developers of device drivers for Linux, which gives them a better idea of what drivers they should help work on to help the most amount of users. It’s one click, it helps you, it helps openSUSE, and it helps the entire Linux community!

Continual improvements to managing software

Recommended Software

GNOME SOftware manageropenSUSE 11.1 features even more improvements to installing, removing, and maintaining software. In addition to openSUSE’s famous 1-Click Install feature, openSUSE now features a new way to discover new software.

The software manager now recommends or suggests software for your computer depending on what is already installed. These packages aren’t required by another applications, but instead extends their functionality or compliments them. It’s a fun way to discover new things you can do with your computer! Simply select the software, click Install, and the rest is taken care of.

The new KDE updater

KDE users now have a new method of keeping their computer up-to-date. Introducing the new openSUSE Updater for KDE, based on PackageKit. This new updater brings openSUSE into a cross-distro standard with PackageKit, plus enables new functionality within the updater.

Packagekit 1PackageKit 2

The new updater still uses the openSUSE software management system, libzypp, so users still get the speed and other advantages of using our modern, state-of-the-art software management system. Advanced, modern tools wrapped up in one easy to use updating application for KDE.

GNOME users will continue to use their PackageKit-based updating application.

Ready for openSUSE 11.1?

This is just the start of what’s available in openSUSE 11.1! openSUSE 11.1 ships December 18th, 2008 for both download and boxed editions, so stay tuned for more Sneak Peeks and all other news about openSUSE 11.1!

Sneak Peeks at openSUSE 11.0: A Plethora of Improvements

June 19th, 2008 by

In this final Sneak Peeks article we will be taking a look at some of the other improvements making their way into openSUSE 11.0.


Sneak Peeks at openSUSE 11.0: Talking GNOME with Vincent Untz

June 18th, 2008 by

Just a few hours before openSUSE 11.0 is officially released! Here we’ll take a look at GNOME in openSUSE 11.0, and talk to Vincent Untz, openSUSE developer and a member of the GNOME Foundation Board.


Sneak Peeks at openSUSE 11.0: KDE with Stephan Binner

June 17th, 2008 by

With openSUSE 11.0 just a few days away, it’s time to look at one of the stars of the show: KDE. In openSUSE 11.0, you get two KDEs for the price of one. Here we’ll take a look at what’s coming in KDE, and talk to one of openSUSE’s KDE contributors, Stephan Binner.


Sneak Peeks at openSUSE 11.0: Compiz, with Dennis Kasprzyk

June 7th, 2008 by

There have been several changes with the Compiz setup in openSUSE 11.0, including both exciting and new features in Compiz Fusion, and extra developments behind-the-scenes which make running and managing Compiz easier. Today we will be taking a look at these, and we’ll be catching up with Dennis ‘onestone’ Kasprzyk, a Compiz Fusion core developer and openSUSE user, to find out more.


Sneak Peeks at openSUSE 11.0: Package Management, with Duncan Mac-Vicar

June 6th, 2008 by

In this article we will be covering all of the changes in and around the package management stack in the upcoming openSUSE 11.0. There have been a plethora of both visual and behind-the-scenes changes. We’ll also be talking to Duncan Mac-Vicar, YaST team lead, ZYpp and KDE developer, to find out a little more later.


Sneak Peeks at openSUSE 11.0: New Installer, with Stephan Kulow

June 5th, 2008 by

I’m glad to announce the beginning of the Sneak Peaks at openSUSE 11.0 series! Over the next few weeks we will be taking a look at all of the exciting changes and improvements in openSUSE 11.0, with each article being followed by an interview with a developer in the field.

Today we will be taking a look at the new installer that has been developed for openSUSE 11.0, offering significant improvements over our previous version, with an incredibly appealing look, easier to complete, and a lot faster. We will also be talking to Stephan Kulow, KDE core developer and openSUSE project manager.

Digg this story! http://digg.com/linux_unix/Sneak_Peeks_at_openSUSE_11_0_New_Installer_with_Kulow


Sneak Peeks at openSUSE 10.3: A Plethora of Improvements

October 2nd, 2007 by

With this last article the Sneak Peeks 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.


Sneak Peeks at openSUSE 10.3: Virtualisation

September 27th, 2007 by

Some changes in openSUSE 10.3 have ensured that if you are interested in just about any type of popular virtualisation, then openSUSE is the operating system to be on. From Xen to VirtualBox, QEMU and KVM — it’s all available in the new version. Today we’ll be going through a few of these new additions and we’ll be talking to Frank Kohler, the project manager for Virtualisation at SUSE, to help us learn a bit more.