The SLED 11 desktop
The first thing you'll notice is that Novell has reverted to a “green” theme with the latest version of SLED which now resembles even more the interface of the community OpenSUSE 11 distribution as they are developed from a common code base.
SLED 11's compositing desktop is enabled by default and sports a new configuration interface with a much nicer layout.
Here you can set custom key strokes for the fancy 3D effects and window manipulation.
As before, holding down the Ctrl + Alt keys and pressing the left mouse button will create a 3D cube. Moving the mouse to rotate the cube and display other desktops. The desktop in front of the cube when you release the mouse key will be the desktop that comes into focus.
The overall look-and-feel and the level of application support in SLED 11 is best described as evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, but with every step it takes, Novell certainly does get closer to producing a “mainstream” desktop operating system that would not be uncomfortable in the hands of an average office worker.
For example, SLED 11 includes the Novell Edition of the OpenOffice.org 3.0 office productivity suite, which has better support for Excel's VB macros.
Further evidence of Novell's adoption of, and collaboration with, Microsoft technology is in the advancement of Mono-based applications like F-Spot for photos and Banshee for music.
Another notable addition is PulseAudio for audio configuration and overall device support has improved, especially with 3G mobile broadband cards which are now “plug and play” if there is a driver available.
All up, Novell with SLED 11 has made a good thing even better and we recommend you give it a run.
Time will tell whether the commercial ISVs can further validate the platform with more applications – a key factor in getting the Linux desktop in business.
- Andrew Glassock, IDG Australia's (publisher of TechWorld) information systems manager, did the SLED 11 installation and most of the review. Andrew's interests include sailing and figuring out what to do when Windows XP is no longer supported. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.