>openSUSE 11.4 really contains few major updates specific to the distribution itself.
A sign of maturity of the current state. Changing everything everytime would be a major nuisance.
>One thing that users may find off-putting about openSUSE is the number, or lack thereof, of packages available
I just counted, not all that much. The "missing 5000" may just be those packages to have a quality like a 1999 instance of sendmail.
Which in itself makes me wonder how Debian can claim to have 29000 packages in squeeze when their entire FTP pool merely returns 17k. Well, thanks to the reference in its Wikipedia page, it turns out that they like to boast using the number of binary packages, rather than source, which obviously gives you a high number if you put each library into its own package (cf. for example SUSE Shared Library Policy).