although, at the time of writing this entry, RC2 has just been released and it looks like 12.1 will be available on time as indicated by the countdown graphic on the right of this blog page.
Special Thanks to Mike Veltman for the VMWare ESXi environment across his Lab for us to play with 12.1 RC1.
During the installfest, I opted to use VirtualBox on Windows 7 to simultaneously install both openSUSE 11.4 and 12.1 RC1. I wanted to see the differences (if any) between the current stable openSUSE and the new major version change (11 to 12).
Here are the side-by-side installation screenshots between 11.4 and 12.1 RC1:
On boot, you'll see a general darker green versus lighter green theme between 11.4 & 12.1.
By default, KDE is the preferred graphical desktop environment for both 11.4 and 12.1 RC1. I also wanted to give the new Gnome 3.x a try/shot/go. However, I only added the Gnome post-installation. It was described in the list of annoying bugs that the installer would hang if we go into the Software Selection and made some changes. Perhaps, the installer could offer one more option of installing both KDE4 and Gnome3 upfront at this stage (allowing multi-selection)?
Minor change here at partition setup. The 11.x design seems to indicate users have to choose between a partition based or LVM based partitioning scheme. The 12.1 design doesn't give that "choose-between-the-camps" feeling and still provide the partition based scheme by default with also additional options of having a separate partition for user home.
Most notable, of course, is the ability to use Btrfs (pronounced "butter-f-s") as the default filesystem. I have heard alot about it but have yet to fully tried it out. I am sure it will be covered in a much later blog entry.
openSUSE 11.4 and 12.1 RC1 installed, booted up into the default KDE4 graphical desktop environment.
One more minor thing, I bring up YaST-Software Management, select the Patterns view and chose to install both "GNOME Desktop Environment" and "GNOME Base System" pattern (as seen in screenshot above). Click Accept and you will have the opportunity to explore the GNOME 3, in addition to the default KDE4 desktop environment.
To switch between the two, simply log off and at the login screen, choose either GNOME or KDE4 (via the little green stripped button) before providing your user password to login.
Below is a few screenshots of the GNOME3 desktop environment.
Personally, I have not decided which will be my "production" desktop environment. I've been using GNOME for quite a while before switching to KDE4 when 11.x came around and preferred it. With the new major version of GNOME, I am willing to give it a try and decide which is my preferred desktop environment. For now, on my 11.4 systems, my choice is KDE4.