openSUSE 11.4: Have it your way

openSUSE 11.4 on SUSE Studio from day one

SUSE Studio Dister
The openSUSE folks released openSUSE 11.4 yesterday, and there was a lot of attention given over to Tumbleweed and updated packages, the usual stuff — but the most interesting feature to me is that you can easily roll your own version of openSUSE 11.4 from day one.

In the release notes for 11.4, you'll find all the biggies — New kernel, X.org, improvements to the Zypper package management stuff, new KDE, solid GNOME 2.32, etc. But nestled way down in the release notes you'll find the aside that 11.4 is available from day one in SUSE Studio.

This means you can log into SUSE Studio and use its point-and-click interface to customize your own openSUSE 11.4 images. Want a LXDE-based live CD? Add your own custom packages? With a bit of work, you can create your own openSUSE distro as a live CD, virtual machine image (VMware, Xen, VirtualBox, or KVM), or an image for a USB stick.

This is one of openSUSE's killer features that has yet to be matched by any of the other distros. Most distros have some tools that allow creation of custom distributions, but none of them are as easy to use as SUSE Studio. And if you're not crazy about using a proprietary tool to manage a custom distro, you can export the Kiwi configuration for the appliance and build it in the openSUSE Build Service (oBS) or your own version of the oBS. While SUSE Studio isn't open, the backend (Kiwi, oBS) tools are. This is for more advanced users, but it gives total control over the process.

It hasn't always been like this. SUSE Studio has been around for a few years now, and there's usually been a lengthy wait to use SUSE Studio with the latest openSUSE release. Nice to see that openSUSE is finally available in SUSE Studio at first launch. If you want it your way, give SUSE Studio and openSUSE 11.4 a shot.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

IT Salary Survey: The results are in