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review: opensuse 12.2

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I’m going to put my conclusion to this review right up front – OpenSuse 12.2 is a solid desktop and server operating system built on the incremental improvements that have been made across the linux ecosystem in the last 10 months. Whilst that sounds rather like damning with faint praise, in the current operating system ecosystem, there will be many who will find such an unspectacular and solid release, reason for wild celebration. OpenSuse is not trying to shoe-horn a tablet UI onto a desktop machine, ala OSX 10.8, Windows 8, and Ubuntu. OpenSuse is putting out a solid OS that provides its users with a system that they understand and meets their needs, is stable and performant, which in this day and age, is rather refreshing. Installation I won’t bore you with a long drawn out explanation of the installation, other than to say, it was straight-forward and uneventful. The installer is straight forward and simple, but also provides enough options to satisfy the advanced user. New Features bowels A huge number of the new features are found deep in the bowels of the system: It uses the 3.4 linux kernel, which introduces improvements to the btrfs file system,

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KDE SC 4.8 – Is KDE In A Permanent Feature Freeze?

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On 22 December, KDE unleashed its first release candidate of the next major iteration of the 4.x series on an unsuspecting pre-Christmas world. KDE 4.8 is a major release number. As such, I was hoping for some pretty cool new features. However, looking at the release announcement, I see that there are only three new features worthy of mention, being: implementation of Qt Quick in Plasma Workspaces; dolphin’s file view has been rewritten. This has some really nice performance improvements, and some pretty slick animations when resizing windows; KSecretService, enabling password storage which is available to non-KDE apps on the plasma desktop and vice versa. There’s also the ubiquitous catch-all of “bug fixes and performance improvements”. Hardly worthy of a major release number bump. Initially, I thought there must be more. However, when I looked at the full feature list on KDE.org’s techbase website, looking through the full feature list on yielded a handful of complete features, all of which were completely underwhelming. So where are the features? When the KDE 4.x series was first launched, there was a lot of talk about early releases stabilizing the frameworks underlying KDE SC and achieving feature parity with the 3.x series. Once

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KDE 4.6 Beta 1 – a first look

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The first beta release of KDE SC 4.6 was released yesterday. OpenSUSE had packages up almost immediately, so being curious as to what’s new, I’ve downloaded and upgraded to the new release. These are my impressions thus far. KDE’s release notes tout the following (main) features of the 4.6 release: libplasma now does does something with QML for widgets on devices – why this is the number one feature listed on a PR release about the new release I do not know. It’s hardly sexy; the reintroduction of activities, which now includes starting and stopping applications as part of an activity. This sounds interesting – more below; optimization of Kwin. The release notes say that this will LEAD to smoother window management and more stunning desktop effects. So I’m guessing these aren’t in this release; faceted browsing in dolphin. What I think this means is that you can filter particular files by various categories in a folder view; git plugin for dolphin – yawn; introduction of akonadi to the PIM applications. KWIN Optimisations This is actually really hard to show, because any screen capture program I use to show the improvements will be jerky and completely defeat the purpose. However,

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KDE SC 4.5 – Desktop Activities Exposed

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KDE SC 4.5 RC1- The (well) hidden features

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This is the third in a series of posts about the pre-releases of KDE SC 4.5. This one is about the first release candidate. In the previous posts about beta 1 and beta 2 I went over the new features in 4.5 – few as they are. I also pointed out that one of the focuses of this release is stability. Obviously RC 1 adds no new features, so what is there to talk about? Well, there’s more stability – since beta 2 was released, 1233 bugs have been reported and 1165 have been closed – pretty impressive. Despite there being no new features in the RC, there is one new feature that overlooked in my previous posts. The new configuration dialog for the oxygen style. In KDE SC 4.4, this was hidden. When you set the oxygen style in the appearance configuration module, there were a few configuration options, but possibly not enough for the die-hard KDE users who like to configure every aspect of their desktop to within an inch of its life. So in this release of KDE SC, you have the ability to tweak a whole bunch of aspect of the oxygen style: So what are

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KDE SC 4.5.0 – Beta 2 – Another Quick Look

Having given a quick overview of the first beta of the latest KDE SC release last week, a couple of days later, beta 2 was released. So dutifully, I have updated to KDE SC 4.5 beta 2 to see what’s changed. Stability According to the release announcement “1459 new bugs have been reported, and 1643 bugs have been closed, so we’re witnessing a lot of stabilization activity right now”. So for those who left comments on my last post bemoaning the KDE developer’s lack of enthusiasm for bug fixing – kerblam! take that! In fact, I have indeed noticed some stability improvements myself, so the empirical evidence is backed up by the anecdotal. In beta 1, there seemed to be a reasonable amount of instability in kwin. Compositing would turn itself off rather regularly, and on the odd occasion, X itself would give up the ghost altogether. With beta 2, no such misfortunes have befallen me. More Things I’ve Noticed Calendar Plasmoid There has been a nice update to the calendar plasmoid, which can be accessed by clicking on the clock on the main panel. Now this shows PIM and calendar events using Akonadi marking the relevant date in the

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A Quick Look at KDE SC 4.5 Beta 1

The latest in the 4.x series of the KDE Software Compilation is due to be released in early August 2010. With the first beta of this release recently unleashed, I thought I’d download the openSuse packages and see what 4.5′s got in store for us. So What’s New? The Beta 1 release announcement lists only 4 major new features, which seems a little underwhelming. These are: A reworked notifications area; Window tiling; Webkit in konqueror; Stability improvements. One of the big upgrades that was scheduled for KDE SC 4.5 was porting the PIM (ie. kmail, korganizer, kaddressbook) applications to the Akonadi framework. Unfortunately, that process won’t be completed in time for 4.5.0, and will be delayed until 4.5.1. This is a little disappointing given that Akonadi has been full of promise for quite some time, with no real user visible outcomes. It would have been nice to see what Akonadi will bring to the party. However, it’s better to wait until all the kinks are ironed out. But unfortunately, it leaves the KDE 4.5 feature cupboard a little bare. That being said, there are a whole bunch of little improvements that I’ll talk about later on in this article. Reworked

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