openSUSE 12.1 arrives with systemd and Btrfs
Following two release candidates and a slight delay, the openSUSE project has published version 12.1 of its Linux distribution. The major update to the openSUSE operating system introduces a number of platform changes and new features. Based on the 3.1 Linux kernel, openSUSE 12.1 offers a choice of the GNOME 3.2 or the KDE 4.7 desktop environments and is the first distribution to ship with colour management tools for both. Users looking for a minimal, lightweight desktop can alternatively select from either Xfce or LXDE desktops which, according to the developers, haven't seen any major feature updates since the last openSUSE release.
The release improves boot time, using the new systemd init system and includes support for the Btrfs filesystem, although the Ext4 filesystem is still the used as the default filesystem. Built-in packages include Firefox 7.0.1, LibreOffice 3.4.2, version 2.4.3 of the Amarok music player, GCC 4.6 and X.org 7.6. "The openSUSE distribution and its thousands of open source applications are the result of contributions from individual testers, writers, translators, usability experts, artists, ambassadors, packagers and developers having a lot of fun working together to create a uniquely powerful set of tools and products," said Jos Poortvliet, openSUSE Community Manager for SUSE.
The update to openSUSE is also the first to incorporate a new release numbering system; the previous release was openSUSE 11.4. From 12.1 onward, the 8 month release cycle will see a x.1 release in November, an x.2 release in July and a x.3 release in March when the cycle starts over again. So, the future releases of openSUSE will be 12.2 in July 2012, 12.3 in March 2013 and 13.1 in November 2013.
Further information about new version, including a full list of changes, can be found on the openSUSE 12.1 highlights wiki page and in the release notes. Version 12.1 of openSUSE is available to download as ISO image for 32- and 64-bit systems from software.opensuse.org; a retail edition, which comes with a 300 page printed manual, should also be available to purchase from various sources soon.
Update: An overview of these and other advances in openSUSE 12.1 can be found in a feature article on The H Open: