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A Quiet Launch For OpenSUSE 10.2

Novell's OpenSUSE project has released the latest version of its namesake Linux distribution, OpenSUSE 10.2. But you wouldn't know it if you were waiting for an official announcement from Novell.

The latest version of OpenSUSE 10.2 upgrades nearly all of the core packages, including the Linux kernel. OpenSUSE 10.2 includes the "pirate" 2.6.18.2 kernel, Firefox 2.0 and new versions of both the GNOME and KDE desktops.

The 10.2 release also marks the debut of the ext3 Linux filesystem as the default filesystem, a duty that previously went to ReiserFS. The recently released 2.6.19 kernel introduces the ext4 filesystem as the successor to ext3.

The new OpenSUSE release also improves upon the package manager stack, with the opensuse-update new update notification applet and the zipper console application.

OpenSUSE 10.2 follows the 10.1 release by nearly seven months. The OpenSUSE effort typically releases two versions a year and is considered to be a faster developing distribution than Novell's flagship SUSE Linux Enterprise distribution (now at version 10), which typically has an 18-month release cycle.

One thing developers should feel good about is the fact that they're covered under the terms of Novell's recent patent covenant with Microsoft guaranteeing that Microsoft will not sue for alleged intellectual property infringement.

But according to OpenSUSE developers in a recent online chat, the deal doesn't go far enough to protect them.

Nat Friedman, Novell's chief technology and strategy officer for open source, indicated that changes to protect individual developers are now on the table.

Though Novell may be eager to engage its developers about OpenSUSE, it apparently isn't as eager too broadly promote the latest OpenSUSE release, at least not from a public relations point of view.

There was no formal press release or even note the release of OpenSUSE 10.2 on its PR blog. The company hadn't returned a request for comment.