OpenSUSE 12.1 is set to be released later today. In this article are the first benchmarks of openSUSE 12.1 compared to the earlier openSUSE 11.4 release.
In terms of what is new for this popular Linux distribution, openSUSE 12.1 ships with the GNOME 3.2 desktop complete with a relatively stock GNOME Shell. KDE SC 4.7 and Xfce 4.8 desktops are also available. At its heart is the Linux 3.1 kernel, which is a step-up from what is found in Ubuntu 11.10. The openSUSE 12.1 desktop experience is certainly different from the customized GNOME2 desktop used by SUSE. Other critical components include GCC 4.6, X.Org Server 1.10.4, and Mesa 7.11. The GCC 4.6 compiler stack in openSUSE 12.1 also integrates Google Go programming language support. The openSUSE 12.1 release also moves closer to supporting LLVM's Clang C/C++ compiler as a viable alternative to GCC. There is also now Nouveau 3D acceleration enabled by default for Gallium3D, but I have noticed some peculiar Nouveau issues on openSUSE 12.1 already.
Like Ubuntu and Fedora, openSUSE 12.1 also pulls in all of the latest code to take advantage of the newest Linux virtualization features and cloud computing support. There is OwnCloud, Eucalyptus, OpenNebula, OpenStack, etc. Xen, KVM, and VirtualBox are all supported under openSUSE 12.1.
These screenshots and benchmarks today are from an early copy of the gold master version of openSUSE 12.1 that was made available to the press days in advance of Wednesday's official public launch.
OpenSUSE 12.1 also moves along with the systemd integration. The openSUSE 12.1 installer also allows a root Btrfs file-system by the check of a box. An original feature in openSUSE 12.1 is Snapper, which allows system rollbacks similar to Fedora's RPM plug-in for taking Btrfs snapshots on Yum transactions. openSUSE Snapper allows creating Btrfs copy-on-write snapshots and then there is a GUI for viewing these snapshots and reverting changes. Snapper is integrated into SUSE's zypper package manager.