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OpenSUSE 11.0 proves chameleons can take on Herons any day

OpenSUSE 11.0 GNOME desktop versionOpenSUSE has always been an odd sort of Linux distribution. It's always been reasonably user friendly, very stable, and quite nicely pulled off the not-so-easy task of being good for new users while offering advanced and power users the flexibility and freedom they require.

Yet OpenSUSE often gets a bad wrap. There's that whole Novell/Microsoft/the world is ending conspiracy thing going on, for one thing. Certainly when Novell bought SuSE, it was disturbing. What were Novell's intentions? Where were things going to go from this point? Was openSUSE going to suffer for it?

Suffer? We probably wouldn't go as far as to say that. Were the changes and improvements to the distribution immediately after Novell took the helm earth-shaking? No, not particularly. They were modest, and worked well enough, but nothing that seemed leaps and bounds beyond the previous versions.

Nothing seemed leaps and bounds beyond -- until now. Today, OpenSUSE officially rolled out the 11.0 release. OpenSUSE seems to have scrutinized itself, from the kernel to the community. The developers pushed away from what seemed like an "adapt to survive" mode, and rolled out a release with changes so dramatic and beautiful that the distribution's chameleon ("geeko") mascot seems less cute and instead genuinely fitting.

If we had one word, and only one word to use to describe OpenSUSE 11.0, it would be this:

Fast.

Yes, dear readers. We just used the word "fast" (boldface, even) in relation to an OpenSUSE release. It starts and runs applications quickly, and we can say completely honestly, it installs quickly. We aren't just talking system updates and "here and there" YaST additions. No... You can boot the liveCD and have a complete OpenSUSE 11.0 system on your hard drive in what seems even slightly less time than an Ubuntu install.

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Tags: installer, linux, livecd, novell, opensource, opensuse, opensuse 11, Opensuse11, osupdates, tweet-this