How would I upgrade without losing all my settings, applications, etc? Is this possible or do I need to do a clean install? And if I don’t do a clean install, what issues might arise? (I’m assuming that I’d do this when 11.2 is released)
The upgrade option is only available with the DVD and is only intended to enable you to move between adjacent versions. So, assuming it works, it may or may not work between 11.0 and 11.2.
When I last used it, it took a day to complete because it updates individual files one at a time rather than laying down blocks of files on a partition.
So a fresh install is many times faster.
The main issues if you are doing a fresh install are:
whether you have made any changes in /etc files which you will need to make manually after the install
backing up mysql databases which will be overwritten (this is a trivial task if you use mysqldump)
adding multimedia codecs and other applications which will not be installed with a fresh install
Note: I am assuming you have a default installation with a separate /home in which case all settings held in /home will be retained as openSUSE will normally only make the fresh installation over /. If it suggests doing anything else, use expert mode to direct it only to install the new version to /