I realised that the last time I took a look at the upcoming GNOME / openSUSE release was When I wrote this post .Though MANTIS was supposed to be out in July 2012 according to original schedule it will bet out only in September 5th 2012 according to the roadmap page in openSUSE website. This is probably due to "A Series of Unfortunate Events"(1,2,3,4,5) akin to Lemony Snicket's. Any way we are finally at the threshold of another release.
I downloaded the openSUSE 12.2 RC 2 GNOME live ISO which is available through development version download page. I burned / wrote it onto a flash drive using SUSE Studio Image writer. There is a hiccup here if you are using imagewriter in openSUSE 12.1 / GNOME 3.2. It will open from from GNOME Applications menu only if edit the menu using alacarte(Menu editor) and change the startup command to "gnomesu imagewriter %F". SUSE Studio Image Writer needs to be run in admin mode :-(.
After writing the ISO onto the flash drive Changed my BIOS settings to make my flash drive the first boot device.The new GNOME desktop is minimalistic as usual.
Minimalistic Default Desktop
The desktop is much sleeker and better looking.You will notice that the thick scrollbars in Nautilus and other applications have been transformed to nice looking ones which change colour to light blue when pressed with the mouse.
Thick and unappealing scrollbars in GNOME 3.2 / YaST
Sleeker scrollbars in GNOME 3.4 / YaST
GNOME system monitor reveals that Mantis will ship kernel version 3.4.6. Current kernel on my system is 3.1.10 from "Main Update" repository.
GNOME System Monitor
The quality of IOS is quite good.On the RC2 live ISO almost all applications work. I even tried browsing the internet and it works.
openSUSE page in firefox
It was a pleasant surprise that Nautilus in GNOME 3.4 has media previews enabled unlike GNOME 3.2 where we need sushi to preview various media like pdfs,audio,image etc:
Folder preview works on GNOME 3.4 / Nautilus
LibreOffice in openSUSE 12.2 features a better looking splash screen. It is sleek and integrates well with default wallpaper.
Libreoffice splash in openSUSE12.1
Libreoffice splash in openSUSE12.2
There is working version of accessibility switcher in GNOME 3.4. It Doesn't work in GNOME 3.2. The accessibility switcher is a cool tool. Once you press the windows key or super key and enter the GNOME Application switcher screen you can switch between the DASH toolbar on the left, the Top bar, Windows tab, Applications tab and search tool on the top right using the key combination "Ctrl+Alt+Tab"
openSUSE 12.2 RC2 has a preliminary version of gnome-shell-extension-prefs.It doesn't work in RC2.The final version may have a working version. I guess this tool would probably be useful for manipulating the various settings of the GNOME shell extensions.
GNOME Shell Extension Preferences
The gnome-tweak-tool or "Advanced Settings" tool has a lot of cool options in GNOME 3.4.
Enable Power Off by default
Show all the window manipulation buttons(maximize,minimize,close) in all the applications
Change the dynamic workspaces to 'n' number of static workspaces
Enable icons on desktop by making Nautilus as default desktop manager
Enable location bar or folder path instead of the hierarchical menu in Nautilus
There is much improved and better looking palimpsest or Disk Utility tool in 12.2. The one in 12.2 shows whether the disk is in use or not and clearly states where it is mounted.Th previous tool is good but the interface is not polished.
Disk Utility in 12.1
Disk Utility in 12.2
When I opened the YaST software manger I realised that the 12.2 repositories are already up and ready to use :-)
YaST showing 12.2 repositories