OpenSUSE 12.3 puts finishing touches on its desktop offering
After a shorter release cycle than usual, due to the delay of the previous release, the openSUSE developers have released openSUSE 12.3, putting what they call the "finishing touches" on the distribution's UEFI boot infrastructure and package management tools. This latest release of openSUSE also completes the project's integration of systemd and updates all of the included desktops and associated software components. KDE 4.10 and GNOME 3.6 are the two defaults, Xfce 4.10 is available from the repositories as are LXDE and Enlightenment E17.
Both the GNOME and KDE editions of openSUSE 12.3 come with a new theme and the KDE version introduces a new package management tool called Apper, a KDE-centric frontend to PackageKit. For developers and system administrators, the new release also includes some noteworthy changes. The openSUSE developers have decided to switch from MySQL to MariaDB as their default; PostgreSQL 9.2 is also available. OpenSUSE 12.3 is also the first release of the distribution to include the complete OpenStack package selection. An update to the upcoming OpenStack Grizzly, which is due in April, is being worked on and will be available from the distribution's repositories.
Under the hood, openSUSE 12.3 ships with a kernel based on the 3.7 upstream release and uses PulseAudio 3. The new kernel brings significant improvements for ARM-based systems, including support for the 64-bit ARM architecture that will be available in several upcoming server products. The X-Server has been updated to version 1.13 and delivers better support for the hybrid graphics solutions that are increasingly common in laptop computers.
The live images of openSUSE are now approximately 900MB in size and therefore cannot be burned to CD; the developers recommend that users copy them to USB drives instead. A new rescue version of the distribution that uses the Xfce desktop can still be burned to CD, however. All images can be downloaded from the openSUSE servers. A detailed list of all new features in version 12.3 is available, as are upgrade instructions from various older openSUSE releases.