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openSUSE 12.1: Controversies in VirtualBox

Posted 02-02-2020 at 11:16 PM by wagscat123
Updated 02-14-2020 at 08:39 PM by wagscat123

openSUSE 12.1 was released November 16, 2011. openSUSE attempted to change their versioning scheme, as the major version bumps such as 10.3 -> 11.0 didn't intentionally have any meaning. The scheme was to fit with the 8 month release schedule at the time, with November releases being .1, July releases .2, and March releases .3.

This version of openSUSE introduced major changes at all levels of the distribution. Most significant perhaps is the switch to systemd, which replaced the decades old System V init for booting the system, shutting it down, managing services, and many other functions. systemd also absorbed the functions of other daemons and replaced the old init's configuration files and scripts with new ones, making the switch quite disruptive to some users. It was a major controversy, and remains one with the recent vote within the Debian project on init choice in mind. openSUSE decided to continue to support and provide a boot time option of using the old sysvinit for this release.

openSUSE 12.1 was also the first version of openSUSE to ship with GNOME 3 by default. GNOME 3.2 sometimes starts and runs in its default mode in VirtualBox (granted 3D acceleration is on), and sometimes doesn't. Oddly enough the GNOME 3 Preview in openSUSE 11.4 ran better. When the right hardware acceleration for the GNOME 3 Shell isn't available, the GNOME 2-style interface ("Fallback") loads. GNOME 3 was simpler but frustrating for many users, with changes such as the removal of a maximize/minimize button, heavier graphics, and more difficulty with customization overall. Also controversial was the replacement of having a window list on one of the panels and a menu system to access applications was the Activities view, where users usually with a mouse and keyboard use a tablet-friendly design to search for apps and switch to windows by clicking on their preview. The GNOME 2 Fallback interface uses the same GNOME Panel with GtK3 underpinnings, but uses the upstream default 2-panel setup instead of openSUSE's old customized GNOME experience.

KDE's Dolphin and a few other applications had a cleaner look with the menus hidden by default in some programs and a new taskbar theme. This was also the first release of openSUSE to include Chromium, the open source browser that's the foundation for Chrome, Edge, Opera, Safari, and most extant browsers. Firefox however remained the default. Finally, the first kernel in the 3.x series was included, although the only real change in the 3.x series was the versioning scheme - major version bumps no longer mean anything and are just to keep the version number tidy.

Another major change was the addition of Snapper, and the more visible inclusion of the advanced BtrFS filesystem. BtrFS notably had the ability to keep snapshots of files, which could be managed with Snapper. This made restoring the system or a file to a previous state through the filesystem possible in a user friendly way.

An older version of the VirtualBox Guest Additions is included. At least some features work, and you can resize the window or move the cursor in and out of the virtual machine without much struggle. To get the GNOME 3 preview working as well as possible, you have to go the Display tab in the Virtual Machine's settings and enable 3D acceleration.

Back one, openSUSE 11.4:
Up next, openSUSE 12.2:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 121-activities.jpg (63.4 KB, 1 views)
File Type: png 121-booting.png (107.2 KB, 4 views)
File Type: png 121-gnome.png (173.7 KB, 3 views)
File Type: png 121-kde.png (192.6 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg 121-login.jpg (38.3 KB, 0 views)
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