(TL note: nareshov's diary)

Posts Tagged ‘OpenSUSE

Exploring OpenSUSE’s KDE Desktop – 1

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After the installation earlier it was time to get KDE4 up. I’ve noticed that OpenSUSE has been one of the first ones to provide KDE4 packages in 2007 itself. It has a strong and large KDE team. First I had to update OpenSUSE. This involved adding three repositories using zypper:

zypper ar suse-oss

zypper ar suse-non-oss

zypper ar suse-update

as explained in But wait, don’t do that! seems to be the default mirror and possibly a large number of people are using it without realising that it terribly slows down things for everyone. The right thing to do would be to use a mirror close to you. Look at and use the right one. So, with the above supported official repositories I updated my system, it required two updates – one to fix zypper and the next to boot a newer kernel and other libs. Next task was to fix mp3 support in Amarok’s xine. This required the Packman repo:

zypper ar suse-packman

– note that I’ve chosen a different mirror from the one mentioned by default in I kind of understand that OpenSUSE (like Fedora) are very careful when it comes to patented/licensed stuff unlike Kubuntu where mp3 support and the like can be easily pulled in from non-free repos in the same mirror. I haven’t added anymore repositories as I fear breakage. For KDE4 I added the repositories as listed in Again, I used a mirror. That means I couldn’t use the one-click .ymp installer. I manually looked into the .ymp files and installed it off of Yast2. If you’re running an amd64 installation like I am, you’ll probably encounter “RPM dependency hell” when you’re trying to install a KDE4 package through Yast. Fear not. In YaST2’s menu, click on Package > All Packages > Update if newer version available. Do that first and then modify your KDE4-DEFAULT.ymp to use your mirror site and install off of it. Now I shall talk a bit about KNode – a newsreader for KDE. While I love its functionalities (mark cross-posts read in other groups on their first encounter, …) more than any other newsreaders out there, it’s funny and annoying while I’m configuring it the first time. I’m referring to its Account Setup dialog box: KNode's Accounts dialog box is a big joke So, here’s when the fun starts. Focus on the “Server” text field and try pressing TAB. What do you expect? Go to the “Port” field? No! Keep pressing TAB and go crazy >_>

Next, I tried OpenSUSE’s Akregator. Earlier on Kubuntu it was nice reading the various default feeds (mostly planets of Ubuntu, Kubuntu, KDE, Debian…). OpenSUSE’s default feed selection looks good. Notice the security feeds! (Look carefully, “Affected products”, OpenSUSE isn’t listed!) OpenSUSE's Akregator default feeds That’s all for now! More later.

Written by Naresh

April 10, 2008 at 3:44 am

Yet another new beginning

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Howdy all, it’s a yet-another-distro-hop post!

I had Debian/Kubuntu for more than a semester now. For the past few weeks I was on Kubuntu Hardy. Drastic changes (as expected) were taking place everyday. A couple of days ago X started crashing whenever I played a h264 video using mplayer. It was quite random. The same video would play again, randomly. Decided to resurrect my FreeBSD installation and headed over to boot it. Didn’t happen. Hardy’s grub recognised my (hd0,1,a) as jfs o_o. I even reinstalled FreeBSD (it’s always a breeze). Didn’t work. I redid it with the FreeBSD’s bootloader overwriting Kubuntu’s grub. I could boot into FreeBSD now. Fine. Let’s go back to Hardy and check newsgroups now (using KNode, keeps my unread items, read items in shape). Didn’t work. Couldn’t boot into Kubuntu now. Oh, and, I had made this terrible mistake of installing Kubuntu on JFS partitions (fsck.jfs latest version dates back to 2006). So I dug through my old CDs to get a live image so I could chroot into Kubuntu and restore the grub. First, I tried the ‘Ubuntu Server 6.06 (i386)’ CD, it couldn’t chroot into my amd64 installation >_>. Next was the Fedora rescue CD. For some reason it couldn’t mount the JFS partition (methinks it was missing JFS support in kernel). Next up was the ‘OpenSUSE 10.3 (x86_64)’ DVD. Although I could see from ‘dmesg’ that it recognised the partition as JFS, it failed to mount it.

I assumed my Kubuntu root partition was a goner and started off with a fresh OpenSUSE installation. I chose ‘minimal graphical environment’ thinking that the installation time would be small. For some reason the network didn’t work after installation. I redid it but this time chose KDE as the default desktop (and XFS root partition). Smooth. Installation is just a smooth ride. It installed most packages I would have manually installed on Kubuntu (like Adobe Flash plugin, good-looking monospace fonts, interesting console-utilities…).

OpenSUSE 10.3 has an annoying proxy related bug. Something to do with the format of the /root/.culrc file. The installation sets up:
# Changed by YaST2 module proxy 09/04/08
--proxy-user "proxyuser:proxypass"
--proxy ""

which is supposed to look like:
# Changed by YaST2 module proxy 09/04/08
# Fixing a most-annoying-bug for 10.3
--proxy-user = "proxyuser:proxypass"
--proxy = ""

Once this was fixed, I proceeded to disable my installation DVD as a software source and added the suse-oss, suse-non-oss and suse-update repositories using zypper. All that was left now was a zypper refresh && zypper update and a reboot. The first update was a fix for zypper (which takes care of reading the /root/.culrc properly). The subsequent updates take place after the reboot (see screenshot).

If somebody knows the equivalent of Debian/Kubuntu’s following few steps for OpenSUSE please let me know:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig-config, selecting the option that enables sub-pixel font-rendering and applying as a default throughout the system. Thanks!

OpenSUSE 10.3, with a working update-manager

Written by Naresh

April 9, 2008 at 7:15 pm

A New Semester

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Been a week since the new semester began. All the initial registration/post-registration/add-drop exercise is finally over (damn! we need to replace those UG office clerks by software :X).

The first week tends to be a little boring and happens to give me time to check out distros 🙂 (Has this become a semesterly-routine after I’ve started using Gentoo :})
This semester’s distro check was special. Tired of endless compiles on my 1800Ghz AMD64 machine I went out looking for candidates that could replace my Gentoo.
First, it was OpenSUSE. The last time I tried OpenSUSE was version 10.0 – had given up after experiencing KDE apps crashing. This time, it was beranger’s blog that prompted me to give it another shot and 10.2 ended up occupying my harddisk for a couple of days :P.

OpenSUSE seems to not respect GNOME’s default look and try customise it with mono-goodness (sarcasm? maybe). Novell is into UI and Interaction design research and all that, maybe they are doing a better job. Probably just me not able to cope up with a new default GNOME look-feel-experience after using upstream’s for a long time. OpenSUSE did have a lot of packages and yet there were several unofficial repositories floating around. IIRC there was privoxy in one of them but no tor 😐 (which I need in order to browse sites such as Orkut in my campus). For some reason, the beagled seemed to use up a lot of CPU although I thought it must’ve finished the first-time crawl after the install. The package-manager (Yast2) did a nasty job (refreshing mirror info) at every fireup – was annoying.

Next up was OpenBSD. I had tried this one out once during it’s 3.8 days. Now it’s 4.1 and expected my sound device to work. Unfortunately it didn’t. All that disabling and enabling USB etc. just made me give up on this. Their packages are sweet though. KDE was well packaged (except for konqueror crashing at times when I’m browsing the openbsd ftp mirror). GNOME was stuck up at 2.8 I think.
Ah yes, I tried FreeBSD before this and after too. I had done a silly thing with

setenv ftp_proxy username:passwd@proxy:3128

and blamed fetch for timing out 😛 (that was silly of me, I even managed to get people flaming on wget vs. fetch on ##FreeBSD =P.
The correct scheme was

setenv ftp_proxy http://username:passwd@proxy:3128

. For some reason portsnap never worked for me. (It could fetch, but not extract). Was a little weary of the i386 packages. Thought they were suboptimal. Tried out amd64 too. No ease. FreeBSD doesn’t satisfy my desktop-usage needs.

After seeing Rohit going ga ga over freeculture and fedora thought I’d try fedora too! Oh yeah, Manu Vajpai was distro-hunting too. He too was “let’s try this one out dude”. Since my DVD writer doesn’t seem to write properly I started using my brains a little and downloaded the fedora install cd’s kernel image and initrd and put in on my /boot. I quickly downloaded the F-7 DVD from one of the mirrors on LAN onto my hard disk. Next boot was a simple grub command line invocation to boot fedora’s installer kernel and point at my DVD iso on the hard disk. Installation was fast :}. The fun ends soon though. For some reason I wasn’t comfortable even after disabling SELinux. There was no linuxdcpp in the repositories – which gives you a clue that there is something missing here, more like, “this distro is so damn US-centric that it doesn’t even have a p2p program that’s immensely popular in Europe and LANs in India”. Probably something else. They’re one of the few distros that have Indic fonts.

It looked like I missed an important distro. Yes – Debian. I was playing with debian when amd64 port was still unofficial. Now the port is not only official but has plenty of packages that interest me. No need for unofficial repositories and all related hassle. I used a netinstallation CD which was a weekly snapshot of the testing version. Unlike Fedora or OpenSUSE, this netinstall CD has support for (authenticating) proxy! This is amazing for us “third world” countries who depend on proxy servers while some institutes enjoy class A networks. Well, let’s leave that for another day. I upgraded to sid/unstable and nothing has broken so far – unlike ubuntu in the < 6.04 days (haven’t used the recent versions and don’t plan to).
Debian is maturing. It’s always been. Today, I see useful apps such as the module-assistant. Handy when it comes to dealing with nvidia drivers. The Iceweasel and Icedove is something else. Doesn’t matter to me as long as it does my job like Firefox and Thunderbird did.

TODO: get ZFS-fuse working 🙂

Written by Naresh

August 8, 2007 at 11:49 pm