The openSUSE project announced the release of the sixth milestone of openSUSE 11.4 for testing. This is the last milestone release for openSUSE 11.4. So, the main focus of this release is on bug fixes and QA. This does not however mean that this is not an exciting release.
One of the most exciting changes in this release is the complete removal of HAL. With this, openSUSE is the second major Linux distribution after Ubuntu to have completely removed HAL. Now the functions of HAL will be taken over by udev, udisks and upower. Not only are udev, udisks and upower more modern than HAL, they are also more actively maintained.
Another thing that was originally planned for openSUSE 11.4 was to replace SysV init with systemd. However, they have run into some problems with integrating systemd. So, atleast for openSUSE 11.4, SysV init will not be replaced.
openSUSE 11.4 M6 will also have WebYaST installed by default. WebYaST is a tool which allows users to configure the computer remotely from a web browser. Packages for WebYaST was first made available for openSUSE 11.3.
So, far what we have talked about are mostly changes under the hood. openSUSE 11.4 M6 also has a few visible changes. The final wallpaper, splash-screen and branding for openSUSE 11.4 have been included in this release. The most recent versions of various software like X.org, VirtualBox etc. have also been included in this release.
Regarding the desktop environment, openSUSE 11.4 M6 ships with KDE SC 4.6 RC2. A few days ago, the final release of KDE SC 4.6 was made available. This will make it to openSUSE in the first release candidate which is scheduled for 10th February. The recently released Xfce 4.8 is also available for those who prefer a lighter DE.
This release will be followed by the first release candidate which will be released on 10th February and the final release in March 2011. There will be possible some more release candidates in between.