OpenSUSE 11 a redemptive OS with a Mactastic shine

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2008 is proving to be a banner year for Linux distributions; so far we've seen Ubuntu 8.04 and Fedora 9, both of which go a long way toward making Linux painless for newbies.

You can now add OpenSUSE, the community-driven sequel to Novell's SUSE Linux distribution, to the list of significant releases. Version 11.0 of OpenSUSE is set to ship this week, ushering in a number of new features and solving most of the problems that saw OpenSUSE 10 get off to a bumpy start.

Many Linux purists will bristle at the mention of Novell since the company caved in and signed a patent protection agreement with Microsoft. Novell's business decisions, however, have little, if anything to do with OpenSUSE 11, and it's worth moving beyond the rhetoric to check out the new OpenSUSE release.

You're probably used to choosing your desktop - generally GNOME or KDE - before you download, but that isn't necessary with OpenSUSE since the live DVD takes an everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach by including the GNOME, KDE and XFCE desktops as well as just about every package under the sun.

If you haven't got the bandwidth (or time) for the 4.5 GB DVD download, there are live CDs with either GNOME or KDE and somewhat fewer included packages.

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