Scott: I wanted to take a moment and post a list of the major improvements from OpenSUSE 10.3 over previous versions.
1. Improved boot times - down to just about half of what it used to be (27 seconds from 55 seconds)
2. One-Click Install - installs your RPMs and adds their associated package repositories
3. Package Management Overhaul - ZMD removed, replaced with improved libzypp, zypper, and OpenSUSE Updater
4. Compiz and Compiz Fusion - many added features, effects, and functionality for your 3D accelerated desktop
5. KDE 4 - option to check out the developments in the KDE 4 Desktop Environment
6. Gnome 2.20 - Tomboy sync between computers, evolution attachment reminder
7. 1-CD Installation/Multimedia Support - One CD for KDE installs, one CD for Gnome installs - no more 5-disc downloads
8. Codec Installer - ability to install needed codec support with the click of a button
9. Virtualization - many developments in OpenSUSE’s virtualization support
10. Tons of other sweet stuff - updater tool, repository merge (packman and guru), XFCE 4.4.1 availability, localization, OpenOffice 2.3, community repositories already available, KDEPIM enterprise branch, Giver, and KIWI
That is a very quick summary, more details as follows:
OpenSUSE 10.3 - Improved Boot Times
OpenSUSE 10.3 will include some great improvements to the init boot scripts which will dramatically decrease the time your computer takes to boot up. These come as the result of many different tests and research.
Tests done using a Sony Vaio VGN-FE11S, with completely default installs, local users, and IP configured via DHCP.
10.2 => 55 seconds
10.3 Beta 1 => 27 seconds!
OpenSUSE 10.3 - One-Click Install: Hassle-Free Installation of Software
Once you click on 1-Click Install you are guided through a wizard that guides you through the simple process of installation the application. It will automatically add the repository for you and install the package.
OpenSUSE 10.3 - New Package Management
OpenSUSE 10.3 is set to contain a new, significantly improved and more mature package management stack by default. ZMD, the package management component causing problems in SUSE Linux 10.1 and to a lesser extent in OpenSUSE 10.2, has been completely removed and is now replaced by the new libzypp and its tools.
zypper, an advanced, featureful command-line tool
OpenSUSE Updater, a software updater applet that notifies you about software updates
OpenSUSE 10.3 - Compiz and Compiz Fusion
Compiz and Xgl are two classic examples of where SUSE engineers have revolutionised the Linux desktop. OpenSUSE 10.3 will contain the latest Compiz 0.5.4 installed by default, and Compiz Fusion - the result of a merge between the Compiz and Beryl communities - will be available in the official online repository for all to get through YaST.
1. having native KDE window decorations while still running compiz
2. Blurring of windows (such as inactive/background windows)
3. The ability to highlight particular areas of the screen or to just draw on any part of it - useful for presentations
4. The animation plugin produces beautiful window effects on window transformations.
5. Added cube effects, incl. viewing all desktops at once
6. Added accessibility features and functionality
CompizConfig Settings Manager
Compiz Fusion has a completely new manager for handling its plugins and settings, as well as all settings belonging to Compiz itself: ccsm. It has a more accessible and intuitive design while still retaining all the same configurability.
There are now a couple of possiblities, a Ring Switcher and a Shift Switcher. The Ring Switcher rotates the Windows as you press Super+Tab, and the Shift Switcher focuses onto one window while placing the others to the side; you can then shift which window is focused, while throwing the others to the side.
OpenSUSE 10.3 - KDE 4
The old component-style of packaging for KDE has also gone, and applications are now in separate individual packages. Games are the first components to be included in KDE 4. If you would like a LiveCD with KDE 4 on it, see the KDE Four Live CD.
OpenSUSE 10.3 - SUSE-Polished GNOME 2.20
The new Note Synchronisation feature allows you to synchronise your notes with all the computers that have Tomboy. If you mention an attached file in an email you are sending, and forget to attach it, Evolution will now pop up a little reminder asking you if you really wish to send the email without an attachment. There is also considerable work done on the new GTK+ front-end to YAST.
OpenSUSE 10.3 - 1-CD Installation & Multimedia support
In the past, OpenSUSE releases were primarily provided over 5 open source software (OSS) CDs, 1 optional non-oss add-on CD, or the 1 DVD which was the sum of those CDs. Though you only needed 3 of the first 5 OSS CDs for a default KDE and GNOME installation, it was not seen as an ideal scenario. Now the 5 OSS CDs have been commpletely dropped, and in their place comes two new CDs.
1 OSS CD for a complete KDE installation
1 OSS CD for a complete GNOME installation
An extremely nice feature in the installation of OpenSUSE 10.3 is the new default option of adding repositories before the installation. OpenSUSE has always had a default installation for each desktop environment, but it has also always given you the choice of installing exactly what packages you want from the given media.
OpenSUSE 10.3 - OpenSUSE Codec Installer
Now, with a completely default OSS installation, if you try to play an MP3 (in Amarok or Banshee) you will get a nice little dialog informing you that you have attempted to play an audio file that is currently not supported. It also gives you the option to install the additional codecs providing you with MP3. This link will take you to a place where you quite simply only need to click on one link, and, using One-Click-Install grab the GStreamer Fluendo codec for you and install it (not available in RC1, but will be in the final release), leaving you ready to play MP3s straight away!
OpenSUSE 10.3 - Virtualization
VirtualBox - VirtualBox is a wonderful new open source virtualisation product, with a huge range of capabilities, and excellent documentation. As well as having nice enterprise features, for the regular openSUSE user it can be a great tool for trying out new installations or live CDs of openSUSE, and even other operating systems and distributions altogether.
Xen 3.1 - openSUSE gets all the enterprise Xen virtualisation features, such as full support for Xen 3.1 virtualization on both 32- and 64-bit x86-based architectures with the capability to host 32-bit virtual machines on 64-bit virtualization host servers. It also features support for both paravirtualization and full virtualization on the same server, leveraging both Intel VT and AMD Virtualization (AMD-V) processor capabilities. Also, a fully graphical and command-line virtual machine management tools for easy virtual machine (VM) administration and configuration, as well as tools for VM installation and lifecycle management.
VM YaST Module - To help with setting up and configuring Xen, openSUSE even has a nice Install Hypervisor and Tools (in the yast2-vm package) module which can do a lot of the work for you. After the install has finished you’ll have two extra YaST modules to create and manage virtual machines.
Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) - Also in this release is the latest Linux kernel virtualisation infrastructure, KVM. KVM itself is to be considered experimental, but it is progressing very quickly. The latest versions come with reports of even better performance and Windows Vista support.
OpenSUSE 10.3 - A Plethora of Other Great Improvements
OpenSUSE Updater as an Upgrade Tool too - ‘updates’ refers to patches, ‘upgrades’ refers to package versions - the OpenSUSE Updater tool does both of these important tasks
Guru Repository Merging into Packman
Xfce 4.4.1 - An impressive lightweight desktop environment - somewhere between window managers and full-blown desktop environments like KDE or Gnome
OpenSUSE Community Translations - The community is now able to participate in localization efforts
Redesigned Network Card Module - The new one is simpler, clearer, and better reflects the more common situations and usage of the network card module
OpenOffice.org 2.3 - bunches of new features - really there are too many to list
Community Repositories - added new Community Repositories module which provides you with a nice list of the main official OpenSUSE repositories, popular repositories from the OpenSUSE Build Service, and other repositories added by the community from other locations.
KDEPIM Enterprise Branch - This version contains a whole bunch of fixes and a few handy new features such as the Favourite Folders container
Giver - Easy Local File Sharing - To transfer images, files or even folders, all you have to do is drag it onto the person you want to send it to. They will get a small dialog asking them to accept or decline receiving the file. If they accept, it’ll pop up right onto their desktop. Simple!
KIWI - Unlike other system image tools, KIWI is completely configurable and has a very clean design. You can specify exactly the packages that you want, and you can build a full range of images including Live CDs, Installer Images, virtualisation systems like QEMU/VMware and Xen images, network (pxe) images and more. It is even now used as the base for LTSP in OpenSUSE.
Full details are available from the OpenSUSE Sneak Peeks page.
If you have any additional information or corrections to this list, please let me know!