I dont think live update will be there actually, its only going to be featured in 11.2 and up as far as I know.
As for a forced update to EXT4, no I dont think its going to happen…
For many EXT4 is still too new
And no, I dont think there will be any risks for updating.
Even if you have to burn a new disk for 11.2 you can tell the installer not to touch your home partition.
You may want to try the 11.2 DVD version, that is if you have a DVD burner.
If not you can still customize things on the live CD.
not true in the case of ext3 -> ext4. You can keep your ext3 fs, upgrade with zypper, change entries in /etc/fstab from ext3 to ext4, add the ext4 module to /etc/sysconfig/kernel (if it’s not there already) and that’s about it. One may need to do further tweaking (including some FS options) and for all files to use extents, one may need to run e4defrag