OpenSUSE release boosts cloud support and desktop integration

New release adds desktop integration of open source cloud storage and computing services.

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OpenSUSE has launched its version 12.1 release, targeting increased cloud security and usability.

The Linux distribution is the first to support ownCloud with SUSE's own mirall desktop integration. Part of the KDE family, ownCloud is designed to enable universal access to files through a web interface or WebDAV protocol.

The OpenSUSE board stated that, for end users, its mirall file synchronisation feature "makes the difference between thinking that ownCloud is interesting and being able to actually use it".

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The firm claims cloud technology, like having our files on Dropbox, friends on Facebook and music on Spotify were arguably dangerous from a security and privacy management point of view.

"While not solving all problems yet, ownCloud aims to bring these services back under your control," it added.

The release also includes a virtualisation and cloud repository, which includes the latest versions of Eucalyptus, OpenNebula and OpenStack for OpenSUSE 12.1. In addition, the latest virt-manager and open-vm-tools extend support for managing other virtualisation technologies like VirtualBox, KVM and Xen 4.1.

The new repository and virtualisation tools are also designed to help SUSE Studio users build custom 12.1 versions for deployment to EC2 or other cloud infrastructure platforms.

Other featured improvements range from desktop functionality to improved management control, as well as an industry inclusion of the Go programming language, Google's new open development language.

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Designed as a rapid, easy language for programming multi-core, networked machines, OpenSUSE said Go would enable time-saving capabilities including garbage collection and run-time reflection.

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Snapper is another new tool that employs the snapshot functionality in the B-tree file system (btrfs) for viewing older versions of files and revert changes. And its integration into the zypper command line package manager allows roll back of system updates and configuration changes.

OpenSUSE 12.1 also includes the latest Gnome 3.2 desktop, which is touted as having been debugged and given a user experience update, with an updated shell and improvements to the handling of multiple-screen setups.

"While the big updates include Snapper and ownCloud, there are also many smaller enhancements like the improvements to YaST or the work on zypper. And that is only what our own community did. I would not be surprised if OpenSUSE's latest update has over 300,000 improvements that resulted from efforts in the open source community," said OpenSUSE board member Bryen Yunahsko.

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