Running 12.3 just now and in my opinion its one of the best distro's out there.
The beta preview of openSUSE 13.1, released this month, shows this distro is waddling in the footsteps of its Linux brethren. Codenamed, rather curiously, Bottle, openSUSE 13.1 has had work done under the hood that lays the groundwork for forthcoming features. The lower levels have had major updates in this version, such as …
Have been trying 12.3 on a Virtualbox for a while now and it does seem pretty good, though the most recent metal I have goes with 12.2. To be honest, with one exception, there's not a lot of difference IMHO. It's the exception that bugs me, especially as I prefer KDE 3, which is the continued move to kill HAL. I expect the move will continue, yet I see no improvement in HAL's replacement in 12.3 any more than I have in successive issues since 11.4, my last real favourite.
I'm hoping for a lot from 13.1 as I suspect that it will become my next big upgrade project for at least two servers and a few desktops. This is all encouraging but I'll hold my enthusiasm overall for the final release. I'm pizza'd out as it is!
Likewise. My machine at home started off life as 10.1 (I think) and I just upgraded through all the releases with no problems at all. I did try Mint on my laptop, but although it's pretty it just doesn't have some of those nice 'touches' that OpenSuSE does (think ls -l aliased as ll out the box and others too numerous to mention here). I'm a coward (and it's my 'work' OS) so I'll wait till the official release, but I'll upgrade. I do love my Geeko.
Writing this on one of my 12.3 installs and very happy with it. I'm a KDE fan and occasional KDE contributor so I'm slightly biased, but as the author points out, the other killing side of (Open)?SUSE is YaST, which is a great admin tool. Not too long ago I moved my servers from Debian to OpenSUSE largely on account of the ease of administration, be it local or remote.
Ok, I'll stop bleating about it now. :-)
I've gone the opposite direction - for years I was a SUSE and openSUSE user, but these days I've fallen in love with Debian. Hard to beat the ability of the apt system to undo a fouled-up software installation. openSUSE has excellent software installation tools in YAST and zypper, but apt has the best ability I've found so far to clean up a software installation dependency disaster.
I've even gotten used to Gnome 3, which I thought would be impossible. Once you add the minimize and restore buttons to the windows, add a start menu, and get used to the launcher being at the top of the screen instead of the bottom, its no real trouble. Seems a bit more peppy than the KDE desktop on Debian.
Wonder what they've broken this time
I've been playing with SUSE / OpenSUSE for over a dozen years, and have a few boxes at home with physical or virtual installs; primarily to keep some of my own kit aligned with the corporates I play with (They like SUSE at it comes with a physical licence they can file, and Yast / KDE are the closest they're going to get to a Microsoft desktop and Control Panel). Anyway I've come to hate YAST distribution upgrades (but not as much as Windows upgrades) as every install has broken something. The breaks are generally trivial and easily fixed but I'd wish they'd hack their own take on the RPM meta data to also include the hardware requirements, and regression test environment information, so in combination with a bit of hardware detection YAST could forewarn you that an upgrade isn't going to work, or that package X hasn't been tested on your kit, rather than leave you trying to trawl the logs post install for some info. From memory my last few attempts to upgrade have run into the following issues:
10 -> 11 didn't like / recognise the embedded ATI ES1000 graphics on my Dell PowerEdge server, and as it had no 3D support, it was no good for KDE4.
11 -> 12 GeForce 7300 not detected, stuck with 640x480 graphics on both the Grub console and in the Xorg config.
12.2 -> 12.3 Grub2 failed to update on completion, on a LVM based build, also mySQL init.d scripts non functional.
Re: Wonder what they've broken this time
It's odd that naysayers pop out of the woodwork whenever a new distribution of an operating system is released. Maybe they feel they need the attention?
As a naysayer counter, I can state that I have been using SUSE/OpenSUSE since version 7 and I cannot remember that last time I had an upgrade/installation problem - it just works. That's despite using the oft slagged off Yast and RPMs. Even Windows Update works pretty flawlessly for me, even I do not really like Windows or Microsoft products at all.
Re: Wonder what they've broken this time
The compatibility issues that you mention are precisely where the big players make their money with "enterprise" versions (RHEL, SUSE) which are certified against specific hardware.
If you have a requirement of continued hardware / software compatibility within and/or across version upgrades, then a certified combination is what you, or your clients, want. Be aware that there are costs involved and other disadvantages that may make in-house certification more attractive, or even just paying some grunt to fix the bits that break during upgrades. It's horses for courses.
Your idea of adding hardware dependency info to the RPM probably does deserve some thought. Have you considered approaching any vendors with the idea?
Re: Wonder what they've broken this time
Right with you there. If I'm running "community" versions of a distro, I kind of expect to hit problems during upgrades and am pleasantly surprised when I don't get any. For critical servers, I'll run a commercial version and make damn sure I've checked the compatibility matrix before I start, although some vendors habit of changing chipsets without changing their model/type numbers can still catch you out. Mind you, given the budget I'll still put in IBM Power servers and AIX, damn near bulletproof upgrades across generations of servers and a piece of piss to admin...
I've been using openSUSE for a few years now, on and off: on with it being an excellent place to move from windows, the off being that it used to break with increasing numbers of updates and that encouraged experimenting with other distros. Having been mostly off for a while using Sabayon first (that would also break with updates, due to kernel/graphics driver incompatibility) and then Pear linux (getting too Mac-like) I returned to openSUSE 12.3 this spring.
It's been great. I love to tools baked into KDE, updates have been pretty much problem-free, and everything has kept working quickly and reliably. Looking forward to this next update and continuing with the OS into the future.
opensuse + build studio...
I am a firm suser, predominantly because the IT admins used it at my work desk so I continued to use it at home. I prefer KDE and plasma is becoming quite nice.
The build studio from suse really is a nice system - ok a but clunky but much easier than doing it on a local box.
Lots of software not in repos turns up on the suse studio. You can roll your own and others can use it too ;-)
Yast is nice enough and webmin plugs the gaps.
Suse/opensuse stopped the annoying trend of having their own kernels, and so kernels are more vanilla, mean out of kernel patches (e.g. alx and ralink stuff) are doable.
LVM booting works fine. EFI seems to do the right thing.
I am however running 12.2 , a down grade, as something broke. It may not have been Suse's fault but perhaps a kernel regression and I'll mention it here in case it happens to someone else.
I bought a box to finish my thesis on and stuffed it full of memory (32GB) for my molecular modelling.
The machine kept locking up randomly with 12.3 (kernels 3.7 -> 3.10). It took me 6 weeks to diagnose before I finally figured it out. I stuck my "spare" SSD (opensuse 12.2) in the machine to confirm.
Due to the large amount of memory the cheap drive ( WDC WD10EZEX-60Z) in this HP box ( p7-1414) it kept going to sleep for too long. The root filesystem would slowly die (as device files became hung) and the machine would finally hang.
Basically, with so much memory the disk would go to sleep and stop responding (I suspect this is a "green" powerdown thing. I had a nightmare with green drives and a 3WARE RAID card...)
Sometimes a distro upgrade is best left to when you have time to deal with the burn in period...
Re: opensuse + build studio...
"Sometimes a distro upgrade is best left to when you have time to deal with the burn in period..."