openSUSE 11.4 - A new life

As many of you know, and the rest, well they'll know by the end of this sentence, openSUSE 11.4 released yesterday, the 10th of March, 2011. It'll be the seventh straight release I use, and the 4th release since I became associated with the Project.

To download visit :

Unfortunately, my old machine is still running on 11.3, and the all new Vostro I got today has, wait for it, Windows Vista, both of which I plan to amend tomorrow. Sadly, that was not possible today because seeding the ISO was, I felt, more important than selfishly enjoying Geeko glory. So, no donut, oh sorry, screenshot for you.

The journey to openSUSE 11.4 has been anything but smooth. [1] says well why.
But I'd like to add to that.

The initial rumours about Novell, openSUSE's primary being up for sale did not go down well with the community, as we have seen the last major sale of a Free Software leaning company, Stanford University Networks, as very unfavourable to the FOSS community, with important jobs axed, opensolaris dead, and left to potentially rot, with Libreoffice being a bold step by the people who care, to infuse life into the best office suite in the world.

The sale to Attachmate that eventually followed, did not help cool matters, due to the following,
1. No one had ever heard of it.
2. The sale of those patents to a shady conglomerate!

However, Attachmate seems to be serious enough about the feasibility of SUSE to run it as a separate division. And THIS is what they have to say about openSUSE. May be lip service, or may not be.

Now to the many firsts. openSUSE 11.4 is the first major distribution release to have stable LibreOffice, has Firefox 4, GNOME 3 preview(optional), KDE 4.6 and loads of other new stuff like Scribus 1.4, KOffice 2.3.1, etc. Also new is the support for Tumbleweed, a rolling release.
A more detailed Product Highlights is available.

But these are not the only important changes. Many new faces in every team, marketing collaboration days, a great openSUSE Conference, attempts at clearly defined strategies and trademark guidelines, all this has worked to largely improve the cohesive co-operation that is the openSUSE project.

We have had our share of growing pains, with membership issues and policy being cause for heated debate. Stability has always been the strength of the openSUSE distribution. The openSUSE community has done well to learn that it has to show the same stability in every step, not just in the lines of code. We have come out of it, not just better, but cleverer. We are a community that has a worldwide spread, contributors and users alike. In our do-o-cracy, we are not judged by our race, sex, or politics, but by our actions. A great example would be our team of 125 Ambassadors, who come from a whooping 47 countries. Another new initiative to overcome the gender divide otherwise stark in FOSS is the Women of openSUSE Project.

We have been lucky to have partners like OMG!SUSE! at our side.

With a clearer sense of identity and purpose, we hope to march from strength to strength, so that we can continue to bring to you, openSUSE, all of it!
(Now, now I can't promise what the next release number will be, so hang on for the ride!)

Join us in making the world Greener (most puns intended)!

As we heard in Batman Begins, "It's not who you are underneath - it's what you do that defines you."