"Autumn is traditionally a lively period in the Linux world,
with both Ubuntu and Fedora releasing new versions of their popular
distributions at this time of year. Ubuntu 9.10, 'Karmic Koala',
was released in late October and Fedora 12, 'Constantine', arrived
on the 17th of November. Squeezed between the two was a new edition
of openSUSE, version 11.2, which hit the streets on the 12th of
November. openSUSE also has fixed release intervals, but the new
eight month cycle means there is no longer a fixed release month.
French distributor Mandriva also released the latest Mandriva 2010
in early November.
"What all of the major distributions have in common is the
switch to using Ext4 as their default file system. All of them use
the Linux 2.6.31 kernel. Kernel-based mode setting (KMS), included
in the kernel in all four systems, now leaves it to the kernel to
select screen resolution with most graphics chips. The benefit is
the lack of flicker when starting X Server and better reliability
when resuming from suspend to RAM, with KMS taking care of
reinitialising the graphics core. Linus Torvalds has since
concluded kernel 2.6.32 development.
"Ubuntu and Fedora both traditionally use GNOME as the default
desktop and both now include the latest version (2.28). In openSUSE
and Mandriva, it's KDE which is pre-selected during installation.
openSUSE 11.2 is the first version for a very long time in which
the distribution – traditionally KDE-centric, but
increasingly GNOME-oriented following its takeover by Novell
– returns to its roots. The KDE3 era is definitively over at
both openSUSE and Mandriva, as both now officially no longer