After eight months of planning, packaging, adding features, fixing issues, and testing, openSUSE 13.1 arrives this week in stable form. The team is happy to report that this release benefited from improvements to the testing infrastructure (the automated openQA testing tool) and much attention for bug fixing.
According to an official statement, "While a combination of over 6000 packages supporting five architectures can never be perfect, we're proud to say this really does represent the best Free Software has to offer."
The btrfs filesystem has received a serious workout and while not default, is now to be considered stable for everyday usage. Recent statistics show openSUSE having at least 440,000 regularly updated installations (for comparison, that is about twice the Fedora userbase).
This release introduces the latest OpenStack Havana with almost 400 new features. Web developers benefit from an updated Ruby 2.0 on Rails 4 with improvements from core classes to better caching in the Rails framework, and the latest PHP 5.4.2 comes with a built-in testing server.
End users can now mount Amazon s3 buckets as local filesystem and use much-improved Samba 4.1 with better Windows domains support.
"openSUSE 13.1 is rock solid. Upgraded my primary workstation when RC2 was released and have had no issues. Everyone put in a tremendous amount of effort and the community pulled together to knock it out of the park. I don't think there is any distribution that can compete on all fronts with openSUSE: performance, stability features, you name it, the release just rocks," said Robert Schweikert, SUSE engineer, openSUSE Board member and openSUSE Packager.
openSUSE is "unique" among the major Linux distributions in that it delivers all major free desktops on an equal footing — officially developed and supported. These include GNOME, KDE's Plasma Desktop (the openSUSE default desktop), Plasma Netbook, Xfce, LXDE, and E17.
openSUSE 13.1 continues to integrate work on the ARM architecture. In addition to ARMv7, openSUSE now comes with special Raspberry Pi images and a much more complete AArch64 port. Having contributed key ARMv8 technologies such as QEMU user mode support to the ARM ecosystem, openSUSE is making more than 6,000 packages for each of these new architectures available for testing.
openSUSE 13.1 includes a number of evaluation technologies, such as preliminary Wayland support with Weston compositor in GNOME Shell and KDE Plasma Desktop, as well as improved support for ultra high resolution in applications and shells. In addition, the openSUSE YaST team has ported YaST to Ruby, allowing a much wider audience to contribute to this tool.