New releases: OpenSUSE, Mandriva Xfce, Slackware

By   |  May 4, 2008

As many of us enjoy the last hours of an extended long weekend the May Day holidays have been a busy period for free software developers. Among the releases of the past week are a new beta for OpenSUSE 11.0, Slackware 12.1 makes a showing, Mandriva adds an Xfce version, gNewSense 2.0 peeks out and, of course, OpenBSD 4.3 is released along with a new song that is causing much debate.

OpenSUSE 11.0 beta 2
The openSUSE team announced OpenSUSE 11.0 beta 2 on Saturday. Some of the main changes in this release include glossy new openSUSE 11.0 artwork for login and splash screens as well as in improved live installation. Downloads can be found at Of course, this is a beta release so there are a number of bugs lurking around. Some of the most annoying are listed here (with some fixes) and lesser-known ones can be filed at The next beta release, beta 3, is scheduled for May 13.

Slackware 12.1
Patrick Volkerding this week announced the release of Slackware 12.1, the first edition of the year which he says is a “must-have upgrade for any Slackware user”. Slackware 12.1 ships with Xfce 4.4.2, the lightweight but visually appealing desktop environment, and KDE 3.5.9. This release also includes support for HAL (the Hardware Abstraction Layer) which allows the system administrator to add users to the cdrom and plugdev groups. Slackware 12.1 uses the kernel which includes features such as journaling filesystems, SCSI and ATA RAID volume support, SATA support, Software RAID, LVM (the Logical Volume Manager), and encrypted filesystems.

There are two kinds of kernels in Slackware — the huge kernels, which contain support for just about every driver in the Linux kernel. These are primarily intended to be used for installation, but can be run in regular use. The other type of kernel is the generic kernel, in which nearly every driver is built as a module. Slackware 12.1 can be downloaded from one of the mirrors.

Mandriva 2008.1 Xfce edition
Thanks to the efforts of the Mandriva Linux Xfce development community, an Xfce version of Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring One has been released. As with the KDE and GNOME versions, this edition is an installable live CD edition of Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring, but this time featuring Xfce as the desktop environment. As with the other One versions, three images are available, with different sets of languages on each. According to the release announcement “this is an unofficial release, but the Xfce development volunteers will attempt to address any problems or questions about this release”. Download the default language set here and the alternative language set here.

gNewSense 2.0
Brian Brazil and the team behind the ultra-free gNewSense Linux distribution have released a beta of the forthcoming 2.0 (or Deltah) series. gNewSense is based on Ubuntu but strips the distribution of non-free components to provide users with a truly free operating system. gNewSense is backed by the Free Software Foundation. Among the changes in this release are that gNewSense is now based on Ubuntu Hardy released last week; the distribution has new artwork; the browser has been changed from Firefox to Epiphany, the Gnome browser; non-free GLX has been removed from X/mesa; and there is now support for Debian source packages.

OpenBSD 4.3
OpenBSD head Theo de Raadt today announced the workers’ day release of OpenBSD 4.3. This is the 23rd release on CD-ROM and 24th via FTP. “We remain proud of OpenBSD’s record of more than ten years with only two remote holes in the default install,” said De Raadt. OpenBSD 4.3 inlcudes extended support for Sparc64, hppa, mvme88k and sgi platforms. OpenBSD 4.3 highlights include: Gnome 2.20.3, GNUstep 1.14.2, KDE 3.5.8, Mozilla Firefox, Mozilla Thunderbird, MySQL 5.0.51a, OpenMotif 2.3.0, 2.3.1, PostgreSQL 8.2.6 and Xfce 4.4.2. A full list of changes in this release can be found here. And in keeping with tradition the OpenBSD team has also released a new song to honour the latest OpenBSD version which is causing much debate. Download OpenBSD from one of these FTP sites.


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