The developers have updated their applications: digiKam 3.0 can now generate slide shows in various video formats and make images accessible to other network devices via DLNA. The included version of LibreOffice is 3.6, as the current LibreOffice 4.0 didn't manage to make it into the distribution. In the Kontact 4.10 (KDE) and Evolution 3.6.3 (GNOME) PIM tools, the developers say that they've improved the email search feature. Version 2.7 of KDE's Amarok audio player offers improved desktop and iPod integration. VirtualBox 4.2 supports Windows 8 guests and allows users to limit the network bandwidth of virtual machines.
A reworked version of Apper, a KDE frontend for PackageKit, has been included for 12.3 as a software management tool. Apper augments the various options in the YaST software manager for sorting program packages according to "Patterns", "Package Groups" and "RPM Package Groups" with a fourth category – which doesn't necessarily make things clearer when managing program packages. Ultimately, Apper/PackageKit, YaST and the Zypper command line tool access the same RPM database and the same repositories. Consequently, the tools can't be used simultaneously: when the YaST software manager is running, Apper refuses to even search for program packages.
In the LAMP stack, MariaDB has replaced the previously used MySQL as the default database. The included version of PostgreSQL, 9.2, is the first to offer a JSON data type complete with the relevant features and is said to be significantly faster in certain application scenarios. New in openSUSE is the current version of the EC2-compatible OpenStack cloud software (Folsom); the developers are already working to integrate the upcoming version of OpenStack (Grizzly). Python versions 3.3 and 2.7.3 are included; the default for Python scripts remains Python 2. Version 5 of the Qt toolkit has not yet made it into the official openSUSE repository.
OpenSUSE 12.3 is based on kernel version 3.7, which offers extended hardware support as well as improvements in areas such as the system's network support. Among these improvements are the integration of the SMB 2 network protocol and of Google's TCP Fast Open TCP extension. The Device Mapper is now capable of handling RAID level 10. Btrfs, the "next generation filesystem", is now said to offer improved performance, especially with write operations that originate from virtual machines. The openSUSE installer offers to install the system on this new filesystem, which is still classed as experimental, although the default filesystem remains Ext4. The open source Nouveau driver should now work with almost any NVIDIA card.
Kernel version 3.7 offers considerable improvements especially for the ARM platform: due to its multi-platform support for 32-bit ARM architectures, images can now be booted on multiple ARM platforms. More importantly, however, kernel version 3.7 supports the 64-bit ARM instruction set, priming Linux for the upcoming 64-bit ARM servers. The openSUSE developers have already ported most of the program packages to the Aarch64 64-bit ARM architecture; openSUSE 12.3 for 64-bit ARM should be ready in a few weeks.
The traditional System V init was fully replaced with systemd (version 195) in openSUSE 12.3. Systemd now controls the suspend and hibernate states, which means that, when a notebook's lid is being closed, the notebook will now also go into hibernation if no user is logged into the system. Version 195 of the new init system brings with it various new command line tools as well as a journal for system messages that can be accessed via the journalctl tool. The systemd-ui program package allows users to install the systemadm graphical systemd configuration tool.
X Server 1.13 offers improvements in the hybrid graphics that are increasingly used in notebooks. The new distribution includes version 4.7 of the GCC GNU Compiler Collection and version 2.17 of glibc, which is the first to support ARM's 64-bit architecture.
The live media with the GNOME and KDE desktops now include GIMP and LibreOffice, which boosts their size to around 900MB and makes them too big to fit on a CD; the developers recommend the use of a USB flash drive. To make a variant of openSUSE that fits onto a CD available, the developers are offering a recovery system that includes the Xfce desktop and is around 500MB.
The live installation images and DVD images for 32-bit and 64-bit x86 systems are available to download from software.opensuse.org. A detailed listing of all new features can be found on the features page, while an overview is available in the announcement at opensuse.org.