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The openSUSE project's mailing list has seen a flurry of activity in the past few weeks. The bone of contention: A proposal by developer Frank Karlitschek, who's also a KDE board member. Karlitschek proposed to make KDE the distribution's default desktop, because it's reportedly the most widely used desktop among openSUSE users. The project doesn't currently offer a default desktop. KDE and GNOME appear on the installation screen in alphabetical order and neither are preselected. The squabbling could in part be caused by old resentment harboured since the time when Novell selected GNOME as the default desktop for Enterprise Linux – openSUSE (called Suse Linux at the time) always used to be a KDE-based distribution, which only changed with the takeover of the Nuremberg SuSE company by Novell in 2003.

openSUSE's product manager Michael Löffler tried to defuse the situation, announcing that he would discuss the topic with the openSUSE Board and reach a decision by mid August. The decision was made on the 20th of August: From openSUSE 11.2, scheduled for release this November, KDE will be preselected by default in the installer on the openSUSE DVD – those who simply accept this selection get KDE installed on their disks. Choosing GNOME or a different desktop like Xfce, however, also remains possible without any problems. Löffler said should GNOME become the favourite desktop of openSUSE users one day, the default selection can simply be changed.

Despite this decision, the grumbling on the mailing list continues. Christian Jäger even went so far as to submit two new feature requests for openSUSE 11.3: One for GNOME as the default desktop, and one for the return to the original state: openSUSE without a preselected desktop. As was to be expected, both requests were rejected by the release team.

In a surprise announcement two weeks ago, parent company Novell advised that a dedicated team of ten company employees will work exclusively for the openSUSE project from now on. It appears that the Novell employees responsible for openSUSE until now have worked on the basis of ("when time is left, please work on the openSUSE project"). Novell is also changing the support scheme for openSUSE. From the forthcoming version 11.2, openSUSE releases will only receive bug fixes and security updates for 18 months, instead of the current two years. A sixth milestone of openSUSE 11.2 with Linux kernel 2.6.31 RC6, Firefox 3.5.2, KDE 4.3 and a beta of GNOME 2.28 has been available for testing since last weekend.


CentOS logo About three months after the release of RHEL 4.8, the CentOS developers have finally released version 4.8 of the free Red Hat clone. The latest release updates the version 4 branch of the distribution to the level of the corresponding original. Although CentOS 4.8 still offers some new hardware support, the developers point out that the version 4 series, like RHEL 4, will from now on only receive security updates and bug fixes. Support of the release is scheduled to continue until the end of February 2012. The relatively long delay between the release of RHEL 4.8 last May and that of CentOS 4.8 was probably caused by the internal problems the project experienced during that time.

Mandriva Linux & Sabayon

Mandriva logo The beta of Mandriva Linux 2010 released last week provides an outlook on the next major release of the popular French Linux distribution. The release team plans to complete the final version of Mandriva 2010 by the beginning of November. Sabayon logo The forthcoming 5.0 release of Sabayon Linux has been slightly delayed. If possible, the makers of the Gentoo spur still want to release before the end of September. Sabayon 5 was originally scheduled to be released this month.


FreeBSD logo With the release of a third beta, the FreeBSD developers are working their way towards the forthcoming version 8.0, which is due for release at the end of September if everything goes to plan. According to the developers, the current development will mainly focus on fixing bugs before the final release. A new version of OpenBSD – 4.6 – is scheduled to be released on the 1st of October. FreeBSD, as a version of Unix, is of course not affected by the recent Linux kernel vulnerability.

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