It Comes In Green - openSUSE 11.4 and GNOME 3.0 Stable

11.4 was released on March 10th. There seems to be a number of issues with this release. On my less than one year old netbook, it was reported to have a failing drive when I booted up the Gnome version but not by the KDE Live CD. I don't think the drive is failing as neither openSUSE 11.3 or WindowsXP currently installed is reporting any problems with the drive. The default browser and office suite is Firefox 4.0.x beta and LibreOffice 3.3.1. I recently installed it on a Acer business class system where I had Fedora 14 installed ... wish I had kept 14 installed. The installation of openSUSE 11.4 didn't go smoothly. The first obstacle was that I had to manually remove Fedora LVM partitions because the partitioner in 11.4 would fail and hang using GParted and rebooting. I was able to then successfully install 11.4 with a couple of minor bumps in the road. Then I applied the usual updates and other applications but I could never get commercial DVD playback to work properly. Totem/MPlayer would not produce any sound. I then installed VLC, only to have it play the audio briefly and intermittently. I tried two different DVD players and two different DVDs with the same results. MP3's seemed to play okay. GNOME 3.0 has taken center stage with its stable release on April 6 from the GNOME organization. Fedora 15 will be the first major distro release with GNOME 3 as the default desktop on Fedora 15 in May. I have played with the final beta of Fedora 15 and it is definitely a major change in the GNOME desktop and somewhat controversial, just as Unity is turning out to be controversial in the 11.04 Natty release, both are generating a lot of discussion. Not to be undone, the SUSE developers has now put together GNOME 3.0 one click install for openSUSE 11.4 to replace the default GNOME 2.x desktop on 11.4. You can access the one click install at GNOME 3.0 Stable and it does work, basically identical to that offered on Fedora 15 from what I can have observed. I might recommend openSUSE 11.4 if you want to play with GNOME 3.0 but some of the issues I have already observed is that simple operations like ejecting a DVD is not easy since there is no "desktop" where you can find the icon, do a right click and eject. You may have to use the file manager or a terminal session for some operations. GNOME 3.0, while stable, is not mature and not well supported in the virtual environment. Also, that some KDE components do not behave well with GNOME 3.0 has been reported. You can test drive GNOME 3 from the GNOME organization at Try It! where they offer two live CD's as well as an USB bootable implementation.