No irony here - I mean it.
First and foremost reason: KDE 4.4 is finally in the stable repos - just in time before the 4.5 final release (sigh…)
As the SuSE people decided against a separate 4.4 repo - maybe with the 11.3 release already in mind - it's only been in Factory up to now. I had it for a few months and was ruefully forced back to 4.3 by some nasty package conflicts (the phrase "symbol lookup error" comes to mind).
What's to look forward to: an improved device manager with customisable automount, inline spell check in all KDE editors, screen edge window maximisation "inspired" by Windows 7 (I feel embarrassed to mention it, but it's pretty comfortable on a Win7-SuSE dual boot), improved icon handling in vertical panels - at least, OTTOMH, that's what I missed most after the downgrade. Not to mention major new versions of Digikam, Kontact/Akonadi, Amarok. Touchpad support is buffed up with Synaptik - am I going to get sideways scrolling back?
On desktop alternatives: I've no experience with LXDE, but I think it's a good move to include a supposedly very light-weight and resource-saving alternative - in my case it might squeeze a few more minutes running time out of Tisiphone's venerable battery. Definitely looking forward to trying that one. There's a new Gnome included, too, but seriously: how many people choose openSuSE for Gnome support?
On the package handling side, they have announced some work on zypper, included a KDE-app for package installation on demand, and the KUpdateApplet seems to be able to do distro upgrades by now. (Not sure I trust this feature. To me, the KUpdateApplet is a YaST-interfering nuisance I tend to kick from the autostart ASAP, while distro upgrades usually screw up my system already when done from a setup DVD. The combination seems a tad unfortunate - how much, we'll see next year with the 12.0 upgrade).
Under the hood: apart from a recent kernel, I mostly noticed two things: btrfs file system support is included in the installer - thanks, but no thanks! OpenSuSE actually warning about a feature being experimental sets off all my alarm bells, and I'm rather attached to my data. As default Nvidia driver they chose nouveau, which has been reported somewhere not to support desktop effects. We'll see - usually I've switched pretty fast to the closed source ones for exactly these reasons anyway.
Well, let's hope I will not be forced to blog from Windows next week.