Welcome to Our openSuSE 12.1 Info Website!

    What has happened to us???
Prophesying what would become of the children of Israel, of which the British -and- American people are descendants, the Eternal God declared long ago, " Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD. If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit." (Leviticus 26:2-4). "But if you do not obey Me ... if you despise My statutes ... I also will do this to you: I will even appoint terror over you .... I will set My face against you, and you shall be defeated by your enemies. ... I will break the pride of your power ..."
(Leviticus 26:14-19; New King James Version).
And that is just the highlights of that chapter. Please read the whole thing for more info.
"For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments." (1 John 5:3).

There, in those few verses, both cause and effect as to the currently hopeless state of the once proud British -and- American nations are summarized.
(For proof and more Info, read the book The United States and Britain in Prophecy),

We like to Brag 'bout our Linux use -but- we think that it would be more appropriate to call us a LinWinux user. Why?? Well, our Main, and Primary System, is Linux -but- shortly after we login in to Linux we execute VMware and bring up Win2K. Then a lot of our time is spent in Windows using Homesite to write these Web Pages. Most of our dealings with Linux are involved with testing new releases -and- getting VMware to work so that we can use use the afore mentioned Combos. Local Networking is also heavily used so that we may test out our Web Pages before putting them up on our site. I should mention that we also use Windows Vista and Windows 7 inside VMware. These are mainly to check out problems our customers are having.

This is a Triple Boot System so that we can have ALL of our OS's on one machine. The first two are Windows Media Center and openSuSE Linux. The third one is the "latest" version of openSuSE that is in developement. We couldn't properly test VMware, inside a verion of Linux, inside another exection of VMware. So, that is the main reason for the Triple Boot.   And yeah... we're Braggin'.   Went through a lot of headaches and a Full System Crash and Restore in order to get that setup. Things are simple -- once -- you do them a couple -or- more times -but- that First one is a Bear.

  openSuSE 12.1

OS Information
		  OS:            Linux 3.1.0-1.2-desktop i686
		  Current user:  ctaylor@dusty-tr2
		  System:        openSUSE 12.1 (i586)
		  KDE:           4.7.2 (4.7.2) "release 5"
Display Info
		  Vendor:        nVidia Corporation
		  Model:         GeForce 7300 LE
		  2D driver:     nvidia -or- nouveau
		  3D driver:     NVIDIA 285.05.09 -or- nouveau Gallium (7.11)

As stated on the 11.4 Page, we are trying to understand a lot and are using both of these versions to do it. Probably will get 12.2 involved before it is over.

  Public Release

Alllllrighty now!! The day arrived and we got the PR. Started a download which said it was gona take 9 hours!! Killed it and found another Mirror. This one said only 4 hours so we took it and then went off to run errands while it did its thing. Afterwards the MD5 was checked and a DVD created. We are going to do a Full Clean Load/Install into our Test Partition. Over writting the current RC2. ( And we moved this PR section to the top.)
 30 Nov 2011   We don't believe that it is really ready for 'our' Prime Time use. To many glitches and even though we like it ... it feels uncomfortable. May wait for 12.2 before switching out... or at least KDE 4.8. Most, if not all, of 'our' uncomfortableness is with the GUI operations and the changes made.

 SuSE 12.1 PR Install  

  1. Preps - Downloaded iso and Burned DVD
  2. Created a 12.1 dir on the L: drive and saved the personal configs for both us and root
  3. Re-Boot with DVD - License is correct - for 12.1
    Language and Keyboard both for English, USA. Mouse and GUI work.
  4. Analyzing 'Puter... seems satisfied.
  5. Install Mode - New. Auto Config - NO!!
  6. Time Zone - Time and Date correct. Set it for Phoenix, AZ USA
  7. Desktop Selection - KDE Desktop
  8. Suggested Partitioning - We edit the Partition Setup. Have 2 Hard Disks.
  9. Create New User. Do NOT use as admin. - NO Auto Login.
  10. Set root password.
  11. Installation Settings.
      Booting -> Boot Loader Installation -> Boot Loader Options
        Turn OFF Set Flag Active
        Turn OFF Write Generic Boot Loader
      Leave ON Boot from Extended Partition.
     The above settings were made cause of our Triple Boot System.
  12. Software - Make our selections - Tons of Stuff!!!
    Especially Need GCC and Kernel Sources.
    Thoughts about NOT installing apper and the Packagekit stuff but then did anyway. Someone has to test it.
  13. Firewall & SSH - Disable. Messes with our VMware.
  14. Install....
  15. Hostname and Domain - dusty-tr2 / TRComputing
    NO to change hostname via DHCP
  16. Network Config - Everything looks good ... use it.
  17. Test Internet connection - said it failed and then said Success.
  18. Loading the Package Manager
  19. Online update - Do it.
  20. Hardware config - Do it
    alevt and nxtvepg were installed for the TV card.
  21. DONE!! And claims to be good!!
  22. First Login - OK! - Remove DVD
  23. Do a Re-Start to check the settings.
    Did NOT see the New System. Expected.
    Into root of 11.4 System to fix Grub.
  24. Re-Booted and could get to New System.
  25. Copied inxi into /usr/bin
    This can be a very handy command. It will tell you all about your computer. Things you need to know. A copy may be obtained at: inxi options
    Thanks 'oldcpu' for telling us about it.

Allllrighty now. The PR was brought down and it installed on the first try. The little 'inxi' command showed us that we are operating off of the nouveau driver by default. It is ok -but- no 3D and the screen movements do not seem as clean and snappy as the nVidia driver. However, the first item we will setup / install is the Networking. Both local and distant. We are setting this up first so that we can move data between the "New SuSE System" and the others. We found in the past... just because it is loaded does not mean it will get started. It didn't and even after we got it started we couldn't share between our Little LappyTop and this Main System. Can with 11.4 -but- NOT with 12.1.
Found reason was; we hadn't gotten everything fixed that needed fixin'.
    httpd.conf, mod_userdir.conf and smb.conf
had to be edited or copied over( from saved files). Then we could access the Main System from the Lappy. In fact at this moment we are using Homesite on the Lappy to edit this file on the Main System.

Now then, please remember -or- learn for the first time, that our public_html dir sources are on the L: drive on the Main System -and- it is a Windows FAT drive. Permissions are not as strict on those. -AND- almost everything can read or write to them. Accessing from Windows and SuSE was the main idea on that Partition in the first place. However, we didn't even think about accessing it from another computer at the time. Didn't have this Little LappyTop then. So, another little benefit of multiple Hard Discs, Multiple Partitions, Multiple OS's and Multiple Computers - ALL operating on the same thing. Course, IF you aren't careful, things could get just as nasty as they are nice.
    NTFS in My Linux
    Start Over
    Two HDs
Basically, the above references tell you about our trials and tribulations in setting up openSuSE Linux, VMware (with 3 or 4 Operating Systems) and Windows Media Center. This involved, at the time, storage considerations and sector sizes. We wanted to get the most efficient use of 600GB's of HD space. JFYI.


At this point....

Now then, at this point we have a basic install. The only extras have been the installation of the inxi script and the Networking Setup.

Next we will install the nVidia Driver. This nouveau Driver doesn't have 3D and it does not operate as smoothly as the Native Driver. Ok, as soon as we wrote that we thought (do that sometimes) "better check on that". Well, sure enough they have encorporated 3D in nouveau via the MesaDrivers. In further reading they were not listed as being the stablest. So for now we will just dump nouveau and use nVidia Native. Please jump to: nVidia

 Error!! Error!!  We wanted to send this, our latest, up to our Site for others, and us, to see before installing the nVidia Driver. However, when we tried to connect to our Site we got a:
    "This Connection is Untrusted"   Uploaded later with 11.4 -- NO Problems
warning. It claimed that Firefox was asked to connect securely but they couldn't confirm that the connection could be trusted!! Hmmmmmm... that's news to us. Has been secure for the last 7 or 8 years. Now then, the real problem came when we added the Desktop Camera to the Panel. We like to have the Camera readily available, especially during these New Installs. Then we just moved our mouse over the Panel and the Thumbnails of our open Windows were showing. It froze... the System just froze with one of the Thumbnails still showing. We could move the mouse and the cursor moved -but- no actions from button clicks... nothing, nada. No responses from Keyboard Entries either. We have a reciever for the KB and Mouse which flashes a lite when there is input. It flashed for both items of input but nothing happened... Nothing would work. Only a Power Off. -- Interesting... we can still edit this file which is on the Main System ... that is locked up, frozen. Closed it out before the Power Off Re-Set.

Power Back ON... and up in New SuSE 12.1

 nVidia Display  In hopes and faith we are going to continue with the nVidia Driver. The nouveau Driver could possibly be the problem for the Lockup -- wishful thinking??? Maybe... and maybe not. However, after jumping through all the 'Hoops' we have the nVidia 285.05.09 Driver installed.

 24 Feb 2012  As talked about in Starting Over, we had a hard Hard Disc Crash. Mechanical kind. Bearings or something. Made a lot of noise... and then it died. Anywho, we decided to "Restore" the System with this new Version of openSuSE. Right now we are wondering IF we made the correct decision. We get these random "hangs". The System Locks-Up. No KB, No Mouse ... Not even a blinking cursor. The after a few secs it is ok. This is one of the items we were experiencing in the "Test" versions. Had hopes that things were corrected -and- now with the New KDE 4.8 also. -But- that is not the case.

Another thing is the Power. IF we leave the machine and the screen saver kicks in, sometime after the Processor Fan kicks into High Gear. Hitting a key, or moving the mouse, will bring it out of ScreenSaver -but- the Fan is still Full Bore. Have to ReStart the PC in order to get it to quite down. Had this problem before... need to see what fixed it and IF it is the same. ... Nope. Well, leastwise not at first guess. The previous one was cause of PowerDevil. (openSuSE 11.0 - 11.1) It was somehow causing Xorg to use a lot of power. But, we waited 20 minutes with No VMware going and ... nothing. Then we started up VMware and waited another 20 ... nothing. So, still don't know what is kicking in the "Hyper" Drive.

 Personal Files  These would be .alias, .bashrc, .function and .xinitrc.

 VMware Install  Now we need to install our illustrious VMware. Please jump to that section. Ok, we were successful. This later part is being type in via Homesite inside Windows 2K inside VMware inside openSuSE 12.1.

 Today is 18 Nov 2011 Now we will spend a few days on further testing BEFORE we commit to this as our Main System. Need to see IF we get any more lockups.


   Good Results and Problems

Thought about putting in this section possibly to late. Not sure that we will be able to remember all the little problems. Guess if they are that little they are not important to remember.

  1. First problem was a try at connecting to the Internet to put this up on the Web. Only mentioned here but Described above in the Install section.
  2. Inside KDE3 could not get System Info to work.
  3. In KDE4 we get periodic delays, or lockups. We can move the mouse or try to scroll the page and ... nothing. Then all of a sudden it does it. This includes typing. No letters and then bam... they are there.
  4. 29 Nov 11 - The System has been up continuously for days. Still running ok -except- for that annoying delay. Most of the time spent in KDE4.
  5. Can not set Background Colors for Desktop. In Previous versions we could set the 'here-gear' background image and make it Red. In this version, the 'here-gear' Thumbnail does not show in the selections. Get the name -but- no image. However, IF selected it will become the background image on the Desktop. Still can not change whole screen color though. There are a number of other background images that do not show as Thumbnails in the selections.
  6. Flash Drive. Evidently there must be some setup. I plugged in my Flash Drive and lo and behold Win2k inside VMware saw it -but- openSuSE 12.1 did not.


Previous Start of this Page

At this late date we are adding this little note. We have placed a lot of information on this Web Page. Some will consider it an over-kill... others will say it is not enough. -But- we decided to really, really investigate as much as possible -and- to put it all in one place. Along the left side you will find 'in page jump points' to all the sections (UNLESS we forget one). We just got tired of NOT knowing and doing things by rote. Annnnddd... it got to be a big pain in the arse to hunt for the info all the time. (Memory is failing and I forget.) In addition we want to say that we have read many, many forums and included some of the conversations in here. Credit has not necessarily been given to all. IF you see something in here that you feel you deserve the credit for, please send us an e-mail and we will take care of it. Thanks to all for your words.

Now then, we have stated further down that things have changed -or- been misunderstood. We are placing this statement here at the beginning in hopes that all will read it.
Everything in these WebPages is subjective. At the time the data was learned it was correct -or- at least our interpretation of it at that time was. It worked for our purposes. Everything is presented to be of benefit IF it can.

Allllrighty now... We have a brand new version. We don't think that we are gona do anything with the 'First' - M1 - version. There usually really isn't that much of a change from the previous versions to warrent playing with it. The more knowledgeable Gurus can have fun with it. Besides we have spent most of our time getting the color changes and other subtlties on this WebPage going. As in the previous versions, our main goal is to get SuSE, excuse me, openSuSE, working with VMware so that we can use/play with Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 on our machine for testing and learning/maintaining about the Windows Systems so we can service our customers... and continue to impress our friends and relatives. Having everything on 'One' Machine is very, very convenient.
    You can find out about our Windows adventures in other places on our site... IF you are interested. Just click on the SiteMap Button above... It may, or may not, be up-to-date. Depends on our latest interests and involvements... since these pages have turned out to be mostly for ourselves anyway.


Milestone 2

Ok. Here it is, on time, the second Milestone and we will bring it down and try it in our Test Partition. Please refer to Power Management below about downloading. It can be a problem.

 Milestone 2  Well, either we got a bad download -or- the disk creation was bad -or- both!! Anyway we could not install M2 on the first try. The disc creation was NOT totally clean. We did not specify "Verify data" after the Write and it did not Automagically open the drive door when finished. Then at first it could not read the disc. Shut things down and went to work. Upon return, and system fire up, it could read the disc. So we tried it. Got the selection page and we selected install. Got the curtain page with the Lizard and the progress bar showed ... NO progress! Now then, the "image" had been saved in an NTFS partition and was created from there. Having experienced some problems before, with creation from an NTFS whilst using K3B, we decided to copy the file over to a Linux ext4 partition and try to create the disc from there. We also selected verify the disc. It did and the drive door opened on completion. Now to try it.

Ok. It worked. We were able to install it on the Test Partition. However, we could not get the nVidia drivers to work. However, the nouveau Driver worked.

First experimented with NTFS in SuSE 10.3, then got more into it in SuSE 11.1 and 11.2. We found at that time that NTFS gave me better Disc Space management. Less wasted. Will have to check these newest openSuSE systems to see IF that still holds true.
Refer NTFS in: SuSE 10.3 and Starting Over


Changing Partition Name

In order to change -or- create a Partition name -or- Lable you use:
    tune2fs -L some_label /dev/sdxn
Got this from (where else) openSuSE Forums Members hcvv and gropiuskalle.


Milestone 3

Alllllrightly now... here it is "The Day After" and we do not have a release of M3. I'm sure there is a good reason. These release dates are only approximates anyway. We mean there is one heck of a lot of stuff in one of these operating systems. Annnddd... we must keep it all co-ordinated. One thing can -and does- affect another. Well, when you read the Forum messages -completely-:
Coolo's announed delay to Official 12.1 M3 due to testing team finding kernel oops with 3.0rc6 kernel.

So, this means we are getting the 3.0 Kernel in this release of openSuSE. Cool!!! (no pun intended)

 19 Jul 11  Well, it was placed on the availability and we brough down a copy about 8:10PM. Will now replace the M2 version out on our TestPartion.

Hmmmm... nVidia Drivers do not work. Neither did the nouveau Drivers. Matter of fact, the only way we can get into the Graphical Desktop is through FailSafe!!

 from oldcpu on the Forum:  My experience is 'x11failsafe' boot code will typically force the loading of the 'fbdev' driver (its one of the boot codes in Fail Safe and also safesettings). If one does not use any boot codes (other than the default), then the PC with nVidia hardware with no proprietary driver will attempt to boot the nouveau driver. If one specifies the boot code 'nomodeset' the pc with attempt to boot to the 'nv' driver.

 What does "x11failsafe" mean??   It uses the VESA or the fbdev driver instead of nv for nVidia or ati/radeon/radeonhd for ATI .
(VESA is an Xorg driver for generic VESA video cards. It can drive most VESA-compatible video cards, but only makes use of the basic standard VESA core that is common to these cards. The driver supports depths 8, 15 16 and 24. )
(Radeonhd Status 09/2010: Linux distributions, including Novell's openSUSE, have now abandoned radeonhd as the default driver, instead are using the radeon driver. radeon has more features, including Kernel Mode-Setting support and more 3D support, and it supports all Radeon generation from original R100 Radeons to R800 Radeons (HD 5000 series). Radeonhd can be continued to be updated as long as there are people find it useful. )
Soooo... what it really means is that we are not using the nVidia drivers that we installed. Instead we are using the default VESA Driver.
-BUT- we are corrected again. We are told that it uses FBDEV and not VESA, at least in this version of openSuSE. The "x11failsafe" came about in openSuSE 11.0 as a result of many people having problems if they had to work on the CLI. The end result was/is that you are essentially able to re-boot up in the same Graphics Environment that you performed the install in.

Exactly. It's not expected that you know what x11failsafe is.
In short, it means that X.Org uses xorg.conf.install instead
of xorg.conf, which I'm calling a failsafe X configuration.
It's expected to work. Otherwise the installation wouldn't
have been possible.
 x11failsafe also helps when X using xorg.conf still starts,
but freezes the machine or results in a blank screen. You
cannot detect such a scenario automatically at all. You find
more details about this in Bug #246158.

 What is "nomodeset"??   The newest kernels have moved the video mode setting into the kernel. So all the programming of the hardware specific clock rates and registers on the video card happen in the kernel during initial boot rather than in the X driver when the X server starts.

The "nomodeset" kernel parameter turns off this feature and leaves the system BIOS video setting in place during boot.

 inxi  Inadvertently got knowledge of this script from 'oldcpu' on the openSuSE forums. This is a really slick tool which you might want to obtain, IF you don't have it already.
   Inxi: A full featured system information script

Inxi offers a wide range of built-in options, as well as a good number of extra features which require having the script recommends installed on the system. Check recommends to see what's needed for each extra feature. Check sources for latest inxi version number.
inxi options


The nouveau Driver

As mentioned above, we had trouble with this -and- as it turns out, so did a lot of other people. There has been a fix created and all we have to do is deciper how to use it. We get twisted in some of these conversations. Ok, as far as we understand it:

  1. Use a Repository from Johannes Obermayr at:
  2. Install: drm-nouveau-kmp-default-20110721.2009_k3.0.0_rc7_2-1.1.i586
  3. Install: xorg-x11-driver-video-nouveau-0.0.16.git20110719.0009-1.2.i586
  4. Presumably this eliminates the "blacklist nouveau" and the change in KMS_IN_INITRD that were put in for the nVidia Driver. Refer: KMS

Ok now. We fought with this for hours and hours. Conversed with others out on the Forum. It will NOT work on our System. Not worth it at this time to pursue any farther. It is all gona change with each new milestone and the next one is due in a couple of weeks.

As of Beta-1++, nouveau was blacklisted and the Native nVidia driver used. The conflict on nVidia was in KDE4. There is a work-around. Other than that, the nouveau did NOT work well on my system. The windows were to floaty and VMware would just disappear! Upon bringing it back it would be just like it was when it left. -But- it shouldn't leave in the first place!

  Mode-setting    'x11failsafe' parameter. Xperts, some help!


  Milestone 4

In advance we have given this one a bigger headline cause, we really do expect it to be much better than number 3 -and- either the nVidia Drivers will work -or- at least the nouveau Drivers will function properly. Then we will try our VMware.

 Disappointment  Big time!! They did not have a "normal" release. The person responsible for it was on/or going on vacation. Therefore, the only way you could get the latest and greatest was to do a 'zypper dup'. We did. It still would not install our nVidia dirvers. So we wait for the next Milestone in September.


Milestone 5

Word is out on Aug 30th that M5 will be on time and available on Sep 1st. There were some notes about the latest Xorg not being ready but the one from version 11.4 should work. Hopefully they will have fixed things so we can install our nVidia drivers... and test VMware.

Allllrighty now!! It is on time. Brought it down and made a DVD. Brought down the Live CD also but have not created one... yet. Now to set it up on our Test Partition and go for it.

 Disappointment... Again  Our nVidia 7300 LE card is NOT working. In fact, we once again had to finish the install in failsafe mode.

According to the forum messages, we are not alone in this delima. Others are having problems with the display. Annnnddd... it is not only nVidia. However, one of the victims has a card similar to ours. His is a 7300 but it is a GT. There seems to be a hint of the new kernel causing these problems. Have to wait and see if nVidia and the new kernel can get together. Maybe in M6 which is a week and a half away.


Milestone 5++ ... MS5++

One of our fellow SuSE'ers, lwfinger, on the Forum suggested a way to get the latest. This was picked up by another Fellow SuSE'er, gavinto, and between the two of them we have a way of almost getting the M6-Beta. This will involve setting the Repositories correctly and then using zypper.

  1. Using YaST => Software Repositories, disable all existing repos, and add a new one for "Factory oss" and another for "Factory non-oss" These have URLs that are similar to the existing "oss" and "non-oss" except for changing "distribution/12.1" to "factory".
  2. Update the system with "sudo zypper up". You must use zypper as YaST does not understand that it can update from factory. This step will update 1200 -or more- packages.
  3. Reboot.
Now then, we added the 'Factory source' Repo to that so we can add items like nVidia and VMware. These both require some compilation and the need of the sources of certain files and headers in the kernel.

 Quanta  After accomplishing the above, Quanta was installed and tested. For the first time it DID NOT complain about any missing files.
Feb 29, 2012/5:05amHas a One Click install at: kde3-quanta This was found during our last Crash Recovery. Also Refer: openSuSE Quanta

 Local Network  We'll make this the second item to install. That way we'll be able to view our WebPages before we send them up to the net. Please see: Local Network Ok. After setting that up -and- linking symbolically to the /windows/L/public_html we can run our WebPages locally... and it worked the First Try!!


Milestone 6 -- Beta 1

They have changed. Instead of Milestone 6 it is going to be called a Beta. Annnddd... today, the day of release we find that it is going to be delayed for a week or two. Claim some problems and that it will be better to fix them BEFORE releasing. I agree... but still disappointed. ( see MS5++ above)

 Oct 1st  Ah... it became available. We downloaded it and are burning the DVD. Will try install after errands have been run.

 DISAPPOINTMENT!!   Well now, after all this waiting and anticipation the Beta was/is a real big flop, as far as we are concerned. From reading the first reports in the forum ... we are not alone. The little joy that we had with MS5++ quickly waned with the nVidia install on this Beta 1 version. Only way we could get a Desktop was with x11failsafe. Annnddd... that does not use the nVidia Driver.

nVidia has not released a new driver, for our card, since August 17th. So, we either wait for a Driver from nVidia -or- until openSuSE releases something that will work with our card.

 Oct 3rd  After playing with various items in an attempt to get the nVidia Driver working, we gave up. Then we could not get the default display to work. Strange. So, a re-install was required instead of beating heads again the wall. After the re-install the Desktop came up fine. This time the Display was NOT offset by a 1/4 inch. In fact it looked pretty good. It was using the nouveau Driver. However, it was NOT as good as with the nVidia Native Driver.

Also with this Beta copy, we were able to get VMware installed. -But-, when it was fired up, it complained about the 3D graphics. Evidently these are not there in this nouveau Driver. Other than that we were able to use Homesite inside Win2k inside VMware to edit these pages... across drive bounaries. The WebPages are on a Windows NTFS Drive and Win2k is in VMware on my home Dir. Sooooo... we can Network Locally.


Release Canidate 1

Well, this was supposed to be out on the 13th, which might not have been a good idea. Anyway, it got pushed out to the 18th. Probably cause the last one was late -and- they/we had lots of trouble with it. Hopefully this delay will prove more fruitful that the last one.

Well, it got pushed again. Now we are waiting for the 21st... Got it on the 21st.

Ok. Wish that we hadn't. On the forum the message title was "RC1 is a Wreck!". And we have to agree with that one. The biggest problem was/is; you could not select anything in the Software section -- during the install. All software additions and removals had to be performed AFTER installation. -But- after that we guess it did operate pretty 'normal'. We did manage to get a working RC1 -and- finally got our nVidia drivers to work. Did learn some things about nouveau and did get it working also. At start-up you must use "nomodeset" to get the Native nVidia drivers in operation. Without the "nomodeset" you get nouveau.

Annnddd... tah, tah, ta taaaa... we got VMware to work. In fact we are at this moment in Homesite inside Windows 2K inside VMware writing this section of the WebPage. However, we are experiencing momentary ocurrances of dead time. Whilst typing in these words we have at times experienced no response times. In fact we just did. Got as far as the 'i' in experienced and then nothing. After a couple of seconds, the rest of the word appeared and we could continue on typing. No real sequence, just a random occurance and sometimes it is a delayed response to a mouse click and others a delayed response to the keyboard.

Card:   nVidia G72 [GeForce 7300 LE]
bus-ID:   01:00.0
X.Org:   1.10.4
drivers:   nvidia (unloaded: fbdev,nv,vesa,nouveau)
Resolution:   1280x1024@50.0hz
GLX Renderer:   GeForce 7300 LE/PCI/SSE2
GLX Version:   2.1.2 NVIDIA 285.05.09
Direct Rendering:   Yes


Release Canidate 2

Well now, this one didn't start out good. On the Release Day it was stated in the downloads that it was ready -but- all we got was "Not found". Later when it finally became available we started the download. It took over 4 hours!! Then it didn't work! After creating a disc and trying to install it go to the initial selections and then a splash screen and no farther. Had to bring down another copy. We found another site and it was faster. Only took an hour.

Another disc was created and we did the install. This time we were able to make our choices and start the installation. It got to a section where it was cheking the WLAN, said it wasn't available but was going to turn it off anyway. Then it hung... required a Power Off Reset. ( gota get me a Reset Button).

After the restart it finished the install and then allowed us to log on. Could not get on the Internet. Re-booted and then we could get on the Internet. ( someone else had mentioned this on the Forum)

nVidia and VMware were installed following the procedures elsewhere in this document.



Well, here it is, the day before the GM release. We decided to honor the declaration that we had 127 updates. It didn't work with the "Updater" in the TaskBar at the bottom of the Desktop screen. However, it did via Yast2. -But- there was a minor problem there with xen-kernel. Missing some dependancies. We just clicked on Cancel and continued on. Not using Xen anyway. It completed and we still have a working system. The General Public, of which we are members, does not get to download the GM release for some reason. But that's ok. We have the latest updates and things appear to be good. So waiting till next week for the Official Release will be tolerated. Hopefully it will be better than these last test releases.

Have seen some reports. Most are Good.


  System Environment - for openSuSE 12.1 & 12.2 & 12.3

    We think it only fair to inform all readers of the System Environment this Operating System is being placed on / worked with / worked on. Different strokes for different folks. You may not experience the same successes, or failures, as we do because of different hardware. Our plans are to be more informative on this installation -but- right now this is a start. The latest change to this was/is the video card. Everything else remains the same... for all 3 systems.

Harware Description
Item Specifics - HP m7480n Pavilion Computer.
  Brand: Hewlett Packard Memory(RAM): 4 GB (Got a smokin' deal on 2GB)
  Model: Pavilion m7480n Hard Drive Capacity: (2) 300GB Drives
  Processor Type: Intel PentiumD 940 (P) Operating System(s): Windows XP Media Center/SuSE 12.1 
  Processor Speed: 3.2 GHz Optical Drive: Lightscribe DVD + DVD ROM
  Video Card: GeForce 7300LE GTX 560 Sound/Audio: Realtek ALC 882 chipset
  TV/FM Tuner: Hauppauge WinTV HVR-1600 :
  Wireless Keyboard & Mouse with USB receiver/transmitter, Modem, Memory card reader, Network Integrated 10/100 Base-T, Wireless LAN 802.11 b/g, Remote Control - USB infrared remote and receiver
  Even though it is not included in the name, the processor is Dual-Core. An "older" technology but still a Multi-Core. Does make it faster. (...yes I am proud of it.)
  Printer: HP cp1700 Router: NetGear RT311    WNDR3700
  Printer Server: NetGear PS110 Switch: NetGear FS108
  ETH0: 82801G (ICH7 Family) LAN WLAN: Atheros AR5413 802.11abg NIC
  : :

The following requirements should be met to ensure smooth operation of openSUSE 12.1 & 12.2:

  • Pentium III 500 MHz or higher processor (Pentium 4 2.4 GHz or higher or any AMD64 or Intel EM64T processor recommended)
  • Main memory: 512 MB physical RAM (1 GB recommended)
  • Hard disk: 3 GB available disk space (more recommended)
  • Sound and graphics cards: supports most modern sound and graphics cards, 800 x 600 display resolution (1024 x 768 or higher recommended)
  • Booting from CD/ DVD drive or USB-Stick for installation, or support for booting over network (you need to setup PXE by yourself, look also at Network install) or an existing installation of openSUSE, more information at Installation without CD

The GRUB bootloader co-operates with other operating systems on the same machine. openSUSE can be installed on one free harddisk partition, while preserving existing installations on other partitions.


  USB Ops

Here... we have... a failure to communicte. Plugged in our USB Flash or Jump Drive and it did not recognize it. Could have sworn that we used this..?? Anywho right now it is NOT seen.

 March 12th, 2012  Well, here it is, 2 1/2 Months later and we have been using the Jump Drive -but- don't remember what fixed it... other than we installed the latest OS and got some updates. How-some-ever, today it no worky again.

Now we have two Jump Drives and Both are made by PNY and both are 8GB in size. The main difference in the two is; our first one has a light on it that lights up when it is active and the second one doesn't. The first one is the one that we carry with us on service calls. It has been working fine. Now, it is not recognized and we don't get asked what we want to do with it. We can use the udisk commands to mount, unmount and show info; -but- it will not ask when we plug it in.
    fdisk -l
    udisks --mount /dev/sdg
    udisks --show-info /dev/sdg
    ls -F /media/18E1-167C/
    udisks --unmount /dev/sdg

The second one, the second Jump Drive, will ask what we want to do and we can select the operations. Don't know what has changed.

Did we ever mention how much we 'Hate' Computers!!! We just started up VMware and then fired up Win2K. We then plugged in our Jump Drive and... and the "Device Notifier" showed up with the questions of what we wanted to do with it... in both Systems!!! The Linux one just flashed and then the VMware one took over -and- we said ok. Then we Disconnected the Jump Drive from VMware and checked the Linux side. It was listed in the Devices Available!! So, once again it is working and once again we did nothing to fix it. Just Hate it when that happens.

Refer: USB Flash Drive Not Auto mounting on openSUSE 11.3 / GNOME 2.30.2 on openSuSE forums.



Until they get the nVidia drivers to work in this version, we are not even gonna try to get VMware installed. ... Well, they got something. Please see nomodeset and MS5++.

Using the MS5++ we attempted to install, -and- succeeded, VMware. This required a patched patchfile. vmware2.6.39patchv3.tar Now please notice - even though it says it is for kernel version 2.6.39 - it has been modified to work with kernel version 3.1.

  VMware 7.1.4  

Make vmware workstation 7.1.4 running with opensuse 12.1 (kernel 3.1)


download the lastest vmware workstation 7.1.4 (the patch is only for this version)
download the patch vmware2.6.39fixedv3.patch
download the patch patch3031vmware741.patch


Proceed to the normal installation of workstation, if you have an older version, it will be replaced by running one of the following under the root account:

sh VMware-Workstation-Full-7.1.4-385536.i386.bundle
-or for 64-bit-
sh VMware-Workstation-Full-7.1.4-385536.x86_64.bundle


Now then, we don't want anyone thinking that we did this all by ourselves. We're old and smart -but- not that smart. Our intelligence has increased with the Internet. We can usually find what we need with some educated guesses and searching. What most of these pages are is; a collection of others work from the Web. We try to credit all -and- IF you find something that you have not been properly credited for - drop us an e-mail and we will try to get things corrected.

Copied from: openSuSE Forums The patch works for the latest... as of 25 Sep 11 ...
( We have included this un-install procedure in case you do like I do... screw it up, and have to start over. The following gets a cleaner install.)
However, the user must uninstall the VMware-Workstation and delete the "vmware" directory in "usr/lib".
Otherwise, when you try to rerun the script you will get a message that it has already been applied. In addition, you will not be able to install the tools. (YES, there are other ways -but- this is the simplest. IF you do not understand it ... please call one of your Guru friends.)

To resolve this issue, follow the steps below:

  1. Open a konsole or xterm and log in as "su -"
  2. Uninstall the VMware Workstation. Type in: vmware-installer -u vmware-workstation
  3. AFTER changing to /usr/lib delete the vmware directory by typing: rm -rf vmware
  4. Reinstall VMware-Workstation ... (We're using the 32-bit version)
sh VMware-Workstation-Full-7.1.4-385536.i386.bundle

The following is a scenario of steps to follow AFTER installing VMware Workstation.
( Some, if not all, of this will require root privilages.)
$ mkdir /tmp/vmware 
$ cd /tmp/vmware
$ cp -R /usr/lib/vmware/modules/source/ .
$ cd /tmp/vmware/source

Copy vmware2.6.39fixedv3.patch to the source directory.

$ for i in ./*.tar; do tar -xf $i; done
$ for i in ./*.tar; do mv $i $i.orginal; done

$ patch -t -f -p1 < vmware2.6.39fixedv3.patch

Copied from: Weltall's blog
IF you have the 3.1 kernel the following patch is also needed.
Copy patch3031vmware741.patch to the source directory.
$ patch -t -f -p1 < patch3031vmware741.patch

now we re-create the tar's:
$ tar cf vmblock.tar vmblock-only
$ tar cf vmci.tar vmci-only
$ tar cf vmmon.tar vmmon-only
$ tar cf vmnet.tar vmnet-only
$ tar cf vsock.tar vsock-only

$ cp -vf *.tar /usr/lib/vmware/modules/source/

Launch VMWare Workstation 7.1.4.

Upon this Launch you will recieve a message box containing the following:

As you can see you are given the option to continue... which I did and all was fine. Matter of fact I am writing this portion in Homesite inside VMware inside openSuSE 12.1.

Refer: openSuSE Forums -and- Weltall's blog also Workstation User's Manual

 Feb 29, 2012/8:34am   As mentioned elsewhere we had a Hard Disc failure on Feb 1st, 2012. We had Win2K and Vista Virtual Machines saved -but- not Windows 7. In addition, we didn't have the versions with our utilities in them saved.



How to tell if your processor supports VT (Virtualization Technology) -and- if it is 32 or 64 bit. (This is really Hardware Assisted Virtualization.) Use the following command sequence:
     cat /proc/cpuinfo | egrep --color '(vmx|svm| lm)'
If your system supports VT, then you'll see vmx or svm in the list of flags. If it is 64 bit capable, then you will see lm in the list... even IF you are only using it as 32-bit. It will list the flags for all the Processors -or- Cores present:

flags     : fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 
clflush dts acpi mmx fxsr sse sse2 ss ht tm pbe nx lm constant_tsc pebs bts pni dtes64 
monitor ds_cpl vmx est cid cx16 xtpr pdcm lahf_lm tpr_shadow
flags     : fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 
clflush dts acpi mmx fxsr sse sse2 ss ht tm pbe nx lm constant_tsc pebs bts pni dtes64 
monitor ds_cpl vmx est cid cx16 xtpr pdcm lahf_lm tpr_shadow

For a virtual machine running a Windows operating system, having the incorrect HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) installed makes the guest operating system always spin in its idle loop instead of halting. A virtual machine with 2 or more vCPUs configured should be running with a Multiprocessor or SMP HAL. A virtual machine with 1 vCPU configured should be running with a Uniprocessor HAL.

VMware does not recommend that you use VT for 32-bit guests, because they say it will actually hurt performance. We can vouch on that. It does. Check out our Win2k VMware Install. You will find notations there that say running two processors is not cool. However, they do enable the feature..?. As you will find, IF you investigate further, a lot depends on the idle state. Do they halt or loop??? Annddd... Think about it. You have a Host System -and- a Guest System. Let each have their own Processor... as we think the default settings will do. Sounds good anyway. Also see: High CPU utilization in VMware Knowledge Base.

Refer: VMware Knowledge Base and Use Four-Way Virtual Symmetric Multiprocessing and CPU feature flags and their meanings
THE cpufeature list and x86info


  Grub Boot/Menu

Grub (GRand Unified Bootloader) menu boot options:

  •  showopts   - Options after this one will be displayed.
  •  apm=off   - Advanced Power Management
    ACPI - Advanced Configuration and Power Interface
    Set to off -cause- most systems don't have or need them. Hmmmm...???
  •  noresume   - If software suspend is enabled, and a suspend to disk file has been specified, using this argument will give a normal boot and the suspend data will be ignored. Disable the resume functionality of the kernel. Any swap partitions that were being used to hold system images to which the kernel could be restored will revert back to available swap space.
    Why???????????????? It is used in the FailSafe boot... NOT the Normal one.
  •  nosmp   - Use of this option will tell a SMP kernel on a SMP machine to operate single processor. Typically only used for debugging and determining if a particular problem is SMP related.
  •  maxcpus=0   - The number given with this argument limits the maximum number of CPUs activated in SMP mode. Using a value of 0 is equivalent to the nosmp option.
  •  edd=off   - Enhanced Disk Drive Services Wiki EDD
  •  powersaved=off   - supports APM and ACPI: three battery states, proper standby/suspend, cpu frequency scaling and other power management tasks.
    Daemon that waits for apm and acpi events or for socket connections from an authorized user. It may also generate self defined events while polling the hardware (battery, cpu, temperature).
  •  nohz=off   - It disables dynamic ticks in the kernel. It's basically a way to keep your system a little cooler and use a little bit less energy while running. For desktop users, it currently looks like there will be little need to have it on, but for servers, it might be worth it in the long run.
  •  highres=off   - disables High Res Timers. The new kernel ALSO enabled high resolution timers (HPET). Again, better performance, again, can cause issues.
  •  processor.max_cstate=1   - Time Stamp Counter (TSC) AMD f CPUs
  •  nomodeset   - Beginning with openSUSE 11.3 we switched to KMS (Kernel Mode Setting) for Intel, ATI and nVidia graphics, which now is our default. If you encounter problems with the KMS driver support (intel, radeon, nouveau), disable KMS by adding nomodeset to the kernel boot command line. To set this permanently, add it to the kernel command line in /boot/grub/menu.lst. This option makes sure the appropriate kernel module (intel, radeon, nouveau) is loaded with modeset=0 in initrd, i.e. KMS is disabled.

    We do believe that the nVidia cards (and other's) problems are in this DRM-DRI module. I have been looking and looking for what in the Kernel affects the Display. This is it. Now that I know where it is... further investigation is required. Perhaps a Vanilla Kernel would be required -but- we'll wait and see if the SuSE folks fix it. IF it gets released and there is still no fix, we will then jump over to a Vanilla Kernel. ( See... we learn something new every release. )
    In the rare cases when loading the DRM ( Direct Rendering Manager ) module from initrd is a general problem and unrelated to KMS, it is even possible to disable loading of the DRM module in initrd completely. For this set the NO_KMS_IN_INITRD sysconfig variable to yes (-OR- IF it is KMS_IN_INITRD set it to no) - via YAST, which then recreates initrd afterwards. Reboot your machine.( IF you change it manually, outside of Yast, make sure you execute mkinitrd.)
    DRI ( Direct Rendering Infrastructure )

    Alllllrighty now!! Finally got a driver to work. NVIDIA.285.03. However, this was AFTER updating the system to the latest. Read about it in the Forums. (actually above in M5++) Experiences with 12.1 MS5 ++ In addition we booted up in safe mode and used nvida-config to set up nVidia. Re-booted and it worked without "nomodeset x11failsafe". -AND- that was the first time ever that we could boot-up without nomodeset on our nVidia 7300 LE card.
    Well all is NOT well. When we log out of our user and then try to log into root... it hangs 4/5ths of the way through. -But- we can log into the user account!!

    On Intel without KMS the Xserver falls back to the fbdev driver (the intel driver only supports KMS); alternatively, there is the intellegacy driver (xorg-x11-driver-video-intel-legacy package) which still supports UMS (User Mode Setting). To use it, edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-device.conf and change the driver entry to intellegacy.

    On ATI for current GPUs it falls back to radeonhd. On nVidia without KMS the nv driver is used (the nouveau driver only supports KMS).
  •  x11failsafe   - See Above
  •  vga=0x31a   - VGA (Video Graphics Array) refers to the display hardware first introduced by IBM in 1987. Since then it has been expanded. This particular parameter that we are using specifies 1280x1024 16-bit resolution. Now the write up that this refers to claims that the boot loaders want this value in Decimal. We've only seen it in Hex. Another thing to investigate!! OK. We did. The Grub Manual says they can be either.
    Linux screen text mode resolution Grub Settings:
    640x480 800x600 1024x768 1280x1024
    256 0x301 0x303 0x305 0x307
    32k 0x310 0x313 0x316 0x319
    64k 0x311 0x314 0x317 0x31A
    16M 0x312 0x315 0x318 0x31B
    An Example: vga nomodeset

Refer: Boot Prompt


  Linux Boot Process

6 Stages of Linux Boot Process (Startup Sequence)

by Ramesh Natarajan on February 7, 2011

Borrowed from: The Geek
also refer: PCLinuxOS-Forums ... Hey, we get our info where we can and this was

an interesting discussion.

another: Inside the Linux boot process
one more: Boot Stages
another: Linux Man Page

Press the power button on your system, and after few moments you see the Linux login prompt.

Have you ever wondered what happens behind the scenes from the time you press the power button until the Linux login prompt appears?

The following are the 6 high level stages of a typical Linux boot process.


  • BIOS stands for Basic Input/Output System
  • Performs some system integrity checks
  • Searches, loads, and executes the boot loader program.
  • It looks for boot loader in floppy, cd-rom, or hard drive. You can press a key (typically F12 of F2, but it depends on your system) during the BIOS startup to change the boot sequence.
  • Once the boot loader program is detected and loaded into the memory, BIOS gives the control to it.
  • So, in simple terms BIOS loads and executes the MBR boot loader.

2. MBR

  • MBR stands for Master Boot Record.
  • It is located in the 1st sector of the bootable disk. Typically /dev/hda, or /dev/sda
  • MBR is less than 512 bytes in size. This has three components 1) primary boot loader info in 1st 446 bytes 2) partition table info in next 64 bytes 3) mbr validation check in last 2 bytes.
  • It contains information about GRUB (or LILO in old systems).
  • So, in simple terms MBR loads and executes the GRUB boot loader.


  • GRUB stands for Grand Unified Bootloader.
  • If you have multiple kernel images installed on your system, you can choose which one to be executed.
  • GRUB displays a splash screen, waits for few seconds, if you don’t enter anything, it loads the default kernel image as specified in the grub configuration file.
  • GRUB has the knowledge of the filesystem (the older Linux loader LILO didn’t understand filesystem).
  • Grub configuration file is /boot/grub/grub.conf (/etc/grub.conf is a link to this). The following is sample grub.conf of CentOS.
  • #boot=/dev/sda
    title CentOS (2.6.18-194.el5PAE)
              root (hd0,0)
              kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.18-194.el5PAE ro root=LABEL=/
              initrd /boot/initrd-2.6.18-194.el5PAE.img
  • As you notice from the above info, it contains kernel and initrd image.
  • So, in simple terms GRUB just loads and executes Kernel and initrd images.

4. Kernel

  • Mounts the root file system as specified in the “root=” in grub.conf
  • Kernel executes the /sbin/init program
  • Since init was the 1st program to be executed by Linux Kernel, it has the process id (PID) of 1. Do a ‘ps -ef | grep init’ and check the pid.
  • initrd stands for Initial RAM Disk.
  • initrd is used by kernel as temporary root file system until kernel is booted and the real root file system is mounted. It also contains necessary drivers compiled inside, which helps it to access the hard drive partitions, and other hardware.

5. Init

  • Looks at the /etc/inittab file to decide the Linux run level.
  • Following are the available run levels
    • 0 – halt
    • 1 – Single user mode
    • 2 – Multiuser, without NFS
    • 3 – Full multiuser mode
    • 4 – unused
    • 5 – X11
    • 6 – reboot
  • Init identifies the default initlevel from /etc/inittab and uses that to load all appropriate program.
  • Execute ‘grep initdefault /etc/inittab’ on your system to identify the default run level
  • If you want to get into trouble, you can set the default run level to 0 or 6. Since you know what 0 and 6 means, probably you might not do that.
  • Typically you would set the default run level to either 3 or 5.

6. Runlevel programs

  • When the Linux system is booting up, you might see various services getting started. For example, it might say “starting sendmail …. OK”. Those are the runlevel programs, executed from the run level directory as defined by your run level.
  • Depending on your default init level setting, the system will execute the programs from one of the following directories.
    • Run level 0 – /etc/rc.d/rc0.d/
    • Run level 1 – /etc/rc.d/rc1.d/
    • Run level 2 – /etc/rc.d/rc2.d/
    • Run level 3 – /etc/rc.d/rc3.d/
    • Run level 4 – /etc/rc.d/rc4.d/
    • Run level 5 – /etc/rc.d/rc5.d/
    • Run level 6 – /etc/rc.d/rc6.d/
  • Please note that there are also symbolic links available for these directory under /etc directly. So, /etc/rc0.d is linked to /etc/rc.d/rc0.d.
  • Under the /etc/rc.d/rc*.d/ directories, you would see programs that start with S and K.
  • Programs starts with S are used during startup. S for startup.
  • Programs starts with K are used during shutdown. K for kill.
  • There are numbers right next to S and K in the program names. Those are the sequence number in which the programs should be started or killed.
  • For example, S12syslog is to start the syslog deamon, which has the sequence number of 12. S80sendmail is to start the sendmail daemon, which has the sequence number of 80. So, syslog program will be started before sendmail.

There you have it. That is what happens during the Linux boot process.


  Booting Choices

Booting with systemd or sysvinit

By default, openSUSE now boots using systemd. In case of trouble, you can switch back to the old way using sysvinit by pressing the F5 key on the boot.
If you want to switch to sysvinit permanently, install the sysvinit-init package. To switch back to systemd, reinstall the systemd-sysvinit package.
(Use Yast2)

 Another way described:  
To select systemv as default, run the following (as root):

rm /sbin/init
ln -s /sbin/sysvinit /sbin/init

To select systemd as default, run the following:

rm /sbin/init
ln -s /bin/systemd /sbin/init

And then we have the adding to the grub kernel line:
  Edit the file /boot/grub/menu.lst and add "init=/sbin/sysvinit" at the kernel line options

Please read up on these operations BEFORE attempting any of them. A little Googling can go a long way. However, IF you don't understand... don't do it!!

Short list of differences with integration of systemd compared to SysVinit

Remember that one goal of systemd is collaboration between distributions so that we can share more than we do right now across distributions. Therefore some of the changes below are done to unify systems:

  • /var/run + /var/lock + /media are unconditionally mounted as tmpfs now
  • temporary files are created via /etc/tmpfiles.d thus obsoleting /etc/tmpdirs.d
  • agetty is used instead of mingetty
  • systemd does not support /etc/mtab being a regular file, and requires it to be symlink to /proc/self/mounts. systemd.rpm creates the link. untrusted 'user' unmount is not supported by the kernel's mounts file, the next version of util-linux will add support for a private mtab, and is expected in December 2010.
  • serial console setup using agetty is built into systemd and does not require any configuration
  • /etc/init.d/boot.d support will probably disappear in some future systemd release. It would be best to provide alternative unit files for those files.
  • systemd really respects noauto in /etc/fstab, even for crypted partitions (/home for instance). Either remove noauto or add "comment=systemd.automount" to have automount working

will give you a report of the systemd use in the computer. Also the list of the services.

 System Shutdown with systemd  

To halt and poweroff the system when using systemd, issue halt -p or shutdown -h now on the command-line or use the shutdown button provided by your desktop environment.
Note: A plain halt will not shutdown the system properly.

 systemd: Supplying Service Start-up Parameters  

systemctl only supports "standard" parameters (see http://www.freedesktop.org/wiki/Software/systemd/Incompatibilities).
You can bypass this new behavior by calling the start-up script directly, for example:
   cd /etc/init.d
   ./apache2 <your_parameters>

 Booting with systemd or sysvinit  

By default, openSUSE now boots using systemd. In case of trouble, you can switch back to the old way using sysvinit by pressing the F5 key on the boot.
If you want to switch to sysvinit permanently, install the sysvinit-init package. To switch back to systemd, reinstall the systemd-sysvinit package.

    Road to Systemd for openSuSE 12.1


  KDE4.x    -and-    KDE3 is back

KDE (Kool Desktop Environment) SC (Software Compilation) 4.7 released Jul 28 2011.
KDE (Kool Desktop Environment) SC (Software Compilation) 4.8 released Jan 25 2012.
     ... see further down... KDE4.8 and KDE4.8.1

Well, since we can't get a proper display driver installed we haven't messed with this latest version. We would really like to in order to check out some of the "problems" that we had experienced in the previous openSuSE version. We were more or less told that those conditions and problems could not happen and did not exist. Well they did and do! Just have to wait.

 KDE4.7 does not finish loading   There might be a situation in which the graphic driver might create a conflict when starting KDE4.7. This situation happens after the login but before finishing loading the desktop, making the user wait indefinitely at the loading screen. Until now the only users confirmed to be affected by this are the ones that use Nvidia drivers and KDE4.7.
A solution for Nvidia users is to edit the file at /home/user/.kde4/share/config/kwinrc and change the option Enabled=true to false in the [Compositing] section. Now then, you ask how do I do that if it won't boot??? Boot up in Failsafe Mode.
For more information look at this thread: [1].
Refer: Arch Linux

Ok now, as noted above, we got something to work with our nVidia Driver. But, this 4.7 version still has some problems. The sidebar on the icons that appears when you hover over it does not always disappear when you leave. Don't know about the windowing problems yet. Haven't had enough to test it. When this first comes up after the install the Desktop is blank!! They got rid of that Desktop Folder up in the Left Hand Corner... Hoorah!
Oh Darn!! It is back in RC1.

Still have this problem:

  1. Have two Dolphins open.
  2. Left click and hold on one item in one of the Dolphins.
  3. Drag it to the other one.
  4. It may, or may not, highlight the area that you are dragging over.
  5. Annndd still have the problem of a lower window when clicked on, gets attached to the cursor as if you had done a click and hold to move it.
This was reported to KDE as:
   Bug 283358 - Single Left-click for focus becomes a move.
Ok. Christopher Feck replied and we have a possible fix -or- work-around.
  - run "oxygen-settings" from Konsole
  - disable the "Windows' drag mode" on the Widget Style / General tab

 Widgets  The two that I like to have on my Desktop are: Hard Disk Status and System Monitor. In this version, at least this Beta version, the Hard Disk Status appars the same as in 11.4. -But- the System Status is different in that the sections are NOT labled and we can find no way of enabling them.
 Later Note:  Well, they are labled... and they are not. It depends on what you have showing in conjunction. We had the Temperatures showing and they seemed to mess up the labeling. -And- when they were labled the Temps didn't make any sense to me. Have to investigate this more.

 Floating  Now this may be a setting somewhere in the "options" for KDE4.7 -but- right now we're not to sure we like this "floating" concept on movement of the Desktop Windows. It seems a little to free. Moves a little more -or- less than one is expecting. Further evaluation is needed.
We did. The "floating" actions are cause of nouveau and not because of KDE4.7.

 Lockups  We have experienced, twice, a TOTAL System Lockup. We could get mouse movement -but- that was all. No keyboard response and no mouse clicks honored. It made me really, really consider installing a Re-Set Button!! The only alternative was to Power Off. I mention this here cause in reporting another Bug to KDE, I saw that others were reporting this action, or lack of it, to KDE. Maybe not a SuSE System problem???

Martin Schlander has information on reducing the slowness of KDE, if you think it is to slow. Please refer: mschlander

 Appearance & Themes -- KDE4.7 

  • Window Decorations
  • Theme Manager
  • Icons

 Application Launcher  The Kickoff Application Launcher provides a lot of functionality. We don't even have to use the other tabs in most cases - we can just start typing in the name of the program and it shows up. What can be easier than that? Not only that we can, after finding the program, right click it and add it to our favorites so when we first click the application launcher it's right there! We find this highly intuitive. Of course you can just put icons in the panel or desktop as well, but most have the habit of going to the "start" menu, from Windows experience, so this feature can be actually very helpful and beneficial to them.

Well now, the previous paragraph was a quote from somewhere else and we forgot to include from where. However, as we have begun to use this more and more, we are finding that we don't necessarily agree with all that was said.

 Menu Style  You can easily switch between new Kickoff Menu style and the good old classic menu style in KDE 4. All you need to do is right click on the menu button to see the context menu. Then click the menu item "Switch to Classic Menu Style".

If you want to move back to new kickoff menu style, select "Switch to Kickoff Menu Style" in the context menu of start button.

KDE4.8 - Released

KDE (Kool Desktop Environment) SC (Software Compilation) 4.8 released Jan 25 2012.

 26 Dec 11/11:12am   Refer: KDE4.8 RC -or- KDE Software Compilation 4 (KDE SC 4)

We haven't said much 'bout this version cause... it was the Holidays, we got our new HTC Rezound Smartphone and other personal stuff. Besides they were only releasing Preliminary versions and we didn't have time right then to examine those... properly. On top of that we had our first Hard Disk Crash. We mean literally. A bearing, or two, went out in the Drive. We had to get another. Then we had to reset up our System. Takes time... takes time. (For anyone interested, the Recovery can be found in - Starting Over.)

Anyway, we have it... the 4.8 version of KDE. Was in great anticipation of it -cause- we had hopes for lots of improvements. We were disappointed. Upon installation we lost our Desktop!! Well, only the icons -but- that is almost everything... isn't it??? Frantic and further investigation could find 'no' cure for the situation. It appears that others have experienced the same 'shock' but no one has come up with a reason -or- fix... yet. The good part is that once again the "Desktop Folder" in the upper left hand corner is gone. So now we just pick what we want on our Desktop and make it 'Personal' again.(Yes... we know that we could have removed it in the Previous Versions ourselves -but- well, it didn't seem correct. We don't believe that it is going to stay gone anyway... it didn't the last time. )

Spent a lot of time on the above, but also trying to find out why there are no System Notification Sounds. There is a correction found by Lord_Emsworth at Forums #86. Seems that the Full Pathname is needed. You need to add: "/usr/share/sounds/" to the front of all the items in that Notifications Section. Which by the way is found by clicking on "Configure Desktop" in the Launch Menu and then on the third item in, at the top.

And in the Forums #84 message from Tyler_K, we find how to change the Logon so that we get back our "User" selections.    Use:
   kdm-branding-upstream   instead of  kdm-branding-openSUSE

Allllrighty Now!! It is really, really simple to get the above view. (IF... you are using KDE4.6 -or- and I think, KDE4.7 it is different. Please see: KDE4.6 -or- 4.7)

  1. Click on the SuSE Orb in the Lower Left hand corner.
  2. Click on Configure Desktop
  3. In the window that pops up, under Workspace Appearance and Behavior, Click on Window Behavior and then Select Task Switcher IF it is not already selected..
  4. In the line - Effect, select Cover Switch from the dropdown menu.
  5. Click Apply down in the lower Right hand corner.
  6. Press and hold the Alt Key, then hit and release the Tab Key... keep the Alt Key held down.
  7. Your windows will look similar to the picture above.
  8. IF you click on one of the side windows it will become the center... and the window of focus when you finally release the Alt Key.
  9. Enjoy and show off your new found toy.
A little note to those of you with VMware and possibly other Virtual Systems. IF you are in a VMware Window, the Alt-Tab key combo will not work...at least NOT for this application. It will work for an application inside the Virtual Machine. IF you are outside the VMware window then the combo will work -and- your VMware window will be one of the stack.

KDE4.8.1    &   Cursor 'problem' possible fix

Well, we got the KDE4.8.1 update and the "Desktop Folder" is back. Thought that it would be -but- had hopes that it wouldn't. Unfortunately, the stops -or- hesitations -or- delays in cursor operations are still there.

Well, there is another possibility. Another user had this same problem and in talking about it on the forum, he got some suggestions as to what he might do to get things fixed.

We checked out these references and it looks like adding:
to the menu.lst bootline has helped.

Refer: Same problem openSuSE Forums and the search led to openSuSE Forums and the 'fix' was/is Mailinglist Archive: opensuse
The fix was found by using words from the first reference to search the Web. What fix - what words???

These words: "SuSE problem with hard drive IO blocking other activities" without the quotes. The fix: Eliminate the stops, hesitations -or- delays in cursor ; in fact System ; operation.    There now... we've beaten that problem to death. -And- guess what?? It did NOT totally fix the problem.


KDE3 -- has been restored

Well, in reading over some reviews we have found that KDE3 is back. So we are going to try it and see if there is better performance. Not happy with this new KDE4. We have read that we can have both installed at the same time and they will use each others stuff. Just have to switch at boot time. No. One can not have them both operational at the same time.

Allrighty now!! After a couple of misses we got the KDE3 working. We were able to bring VMware up with no problems and the nVidia Driver works fine also. However, in order to make proper selections as the Login Screen, we had to go back and add in kdebase3-session. For some reason it did not get added in with the rest of the KDE3 Stuff. At first Launch... we like it.

Ok. Have to admit, that even though KDE3 seems faster -and- at this point more reliable than KDE4, (which shold be all there is to it -but- we are still indecisive) ... we still kinda miss the looks and some operations of KDE4. So further testing will be required to make our final choice -but- at this time... KDE4 is pulling hard. Maybe with a couple of updates it will ... ... win??..!.?..

 Appearance & Themes -- KDE3 

  • Window Decorations - RISC OS
  • Theme Manager
  • Icons


   How to Use KDE Plasma Activities
   KDE Plasma Workspaces


  System Notes

Mime Type Icons can be found at: [/usr/share/icons]
KDE4 sysinfo "My Computer" at:	 [/usr/share/kde4/apps/sysinfo/about/images]
Desktop menu entry files at:     [/usr/share/applications]
application's icon:              [/usr/share/pixmaps]
directory of C header files:     [/lib/modules/]
list of TV stations:             [/etc/X11/xawtvrc]
Wallpapers:                      [/usr/share/wallpapers]


Emoticons at:                    [/opt/kde3/share/emoticons/Default]

Karamba & Sensors at:            [/opt/kde3/share/applnk/Utilities]
Karamba Themes at:               [/home/ctaylor/.kde/share/apps/superkaramba/themes]
In /etc/bash.bashrc:
This will make the prompt char on the next line:
	    _p="\012 #"

In /etc/bash.bashrc set the prompt to this to get the title lines you want.
    PS1="${_u}:\w${_p} "


  The Central Processing Unit and Memory

This CPU, in our HP m7480n, has a lot of the new features, but not all. One of them is a Virtualization feature. Not sure how much it is needed or what it does ... yet, but when we fire up VMware 7 after a PC Power Down, it enables the virtualization capability. Leastwise, we get a message to that effect.

    CPU Information
    Processor (CPU):  Presler 940 Intel(R) Pentium(R) D CPU 3.20GHz
      Speed:  3,200.87 MHz
      Cores:  2
      Temperature:  40 °C
    Memory Information
    Total memory (RAM):  3.4 GiB (Actually 4GB of DDR2 SDRAM)
      Free memory:  1.8 GiB (+ 1.3 GiB Caches)
      Free swap:  4.0 GiB

We got this system in January of 2007... 5 days before they released Vista. It is the fastest system we have ever owned and ... YES I am still proud of it.

   Pentium D
   Another Pentium D Info
   x86 Virtualization
   Intel Core


  Power Management

As mentioned above, Milestone 2 was on time and we started the download before taking my dog for her morning walk. During the walk it hit me... we have the Newly Operational Sleep Mode in effect!! Hmmmmm... will it stay on cause of the download -or- will it go to Sleep Unconditionally??? It did the later and screwed up our download. So, whenever we are doing lonnnggg downloads ... we must cancel Sleep Mode.

  Refer: Power Management

Well, this Sleep Mode is NOT very reliable. Especially IF we happen to have VMware going. When we bring it back up ... it doesn't fully recover. We'll see things start happening and, and almost make it. Then it just goes to a black screen and we can do nothing but power Off. That of course messes everything up. So, we try to remember to at least stop VMware if we are going to be away for a time. It doesn't always happen -but- more times than we like.


  Disable Akonadi in KDE SC 4.7

We found this little jewel on the Net, once again whilst searching for something else. The original Author is: Martin Schlander. We just copied his stuff over to here so that we don't loose it... just the verbiage. If you want to see his and it hasn't disappeared, it can be found at: mschlander

How to avoid the Akonadi PIM framework of KDE is a very frequently asked question. Akonadi is started when logging into a default KDE session – and includes a mysql server – this is a bit of a waste of system resources since (in my personal estimation) the majority of KDE users won't use Akonadi for anything at all.

So here's how to make Akonadi not start in KDE SC 4.7.

Step 1
Disable KRunner runners that will start Akonadi. Press Alt+F2, click on the “wrench”, uncheck “Calendar Events” and “Contacts” runners, click on “Apply”.

Step 2
Tell the digital clock not to display calendar events. Right click the digital clock (in your panel), Digital Clock Settings, Calendar, uncheck “Display Events”, click “Apply”.

Step 3
Don't use applications that need/start Akonadi, such as Kontact/KMail/KOrganizer, Konversation and Kopete.

That's it. Next time you boot Akonadi won't start anymore – at least not until needed.

Personally Martin Schlander is a huge user of Akonadi and the applications mentioned above, so this post should not be seen as any kind of vendetta against Akonadi or KDEPIM developers or anyone else. The purpose is solely to help KDE users who don't need Akonadi get a leaner and cleaner system.



Restricted formats/12.1


  PERMISSIONS!! & File Systems

openSUSE 12.1 uses btrfs by default. The following descriptions were obtained from Linux Tweaks.


Ext2 is Linux's 'old standby' filesystem. It was the default for most of the major early Linux distributions. While it has been mostly supplanted by versions 3 and 4, ext2 is still popular on USB and other solid-state devices. This is because it does not have a journaling function, so it generally makes fewer reads and writes to the drive, effectively extending the life of the device.

Recommended Use: USB/Solid State Drives, or any case where you need high stability with minimal reads/writes.


The most notable difference between ext2 and ext3 was the introduction of journaling. In short, journaling filesystems are meant to recover more gracefully in the event of a system crash. Whenever you find yourself in doubt about which filesystem to use for Linux, ext3 is nearly always a good bet. It�s extremely mature, extremely well supported, and contains all the features you�re likely to need for a desktop OS.

Recommended Use: If you have no specific reason for another filesystem, ext3 is an excellent default.


The most recent in the ext filesystem line, ext4 includes many major improvements over ext3 like larger filesystem support, faster checking, nanosecond timestamps, and verification of the journal through checksums. It�s backward and forward compatible with versions 2 and 3, so you can mount a ext2 or ext3 filesystem as ext4, and the other way around. You may however lose some of the benefits of the newer versions when mounting as the older. Many of the modern Linux distributions now offer ext4 during the install, and some are using it as the default.

Recommended Use: Ext4 should be stable enough for desktop and server needs. If your distribution offers it as an install choice, it should be a good choice for nearly any usage needs.


Btrfs is still in development, and may not yet be ready for production server use. That said, it has been included to some extent in the Linux kernel and is available as an install option in some distributions. Some of the interesting features include transparent compression, snapshots, cloning, and in-place conversion (with rollback) from ext3 and 4. According to the lead developer, Btrfs aims to �let Linux scale for the storage that will be available.� Btrfs, once completed and matured, will likely be a strong contender in the Linux filesystem world on both desktops and servers.

Recommended Use: Eventually, Btrfs should make for an excellent filesystem for servers and other high-bandwidth high-storage devices.



Winetricks is a very handy tool. All you have to do is open a terminal and type winetricks and a window comes up that helps you install things that your windows application may need. MScorefonts? Done. DirectX? Done. Check it out, it can be very useful.



We haven't done much with this cause we really do not trust the Wireless stuff. Never had wireless capability till about a year ago when we got a Wii. The only reason for that was to use NetFlix. Our current System, HP 7480, came with an Atheros AR5413 wireless card that we have never used. Always had an ethernet connection. Felt that they were faster and more secure.

However, since we now have all the necessary equipment, we will try to use it "just to see how it works." It only has 802.11 abg so it will not be fast. Atheros WiFi cards are notorious for not 'coming back to life' once they have been powered off when run with Linux. So this will be another test. We have been having some bad experiences with the Sleep Mode in 11.4. Have to see if it is better in this version. (The claim is that openSuSE will properly wake up the Atheros card... we shall see.)


  Networking - Mainly Local - Samba

 Samba:  This is at the top and repeated/copied from version 11.4 cause... it, or they, didn't get started. Two routines, smb and nmb need to be running in order to properly access the other systems and drives between Windows and Linux. They didn't get started automagically.

 30 Jun 11  Annnddd... later we are finding nmbd NOT running. So this has been added to REMIND ME ... check smbd -and- nmbd ANYTIME you do NOT have communication between the Systems on VMware and your Main System. Also see the Apparmor note a little further down.

 26 Mar 12   Ok, we got another. I couldn't access my "New" Laptop from my Desktop. Kept getting server timeout. Searched the Web and the first item mentioned using:
    rcnmb restart && rcsmb restart
which for lack of anything else... I did and... it fixed the problem!! Then I got to thinking (which I forgot to do in the first place) Hey! Why didn't I read my reminder above?? -But- since the restart commands will start a non-running nmb or smb that could have been the case. It just so happens that the individual that was having my same problem is also using openSuSE 12.1. Co-incidence???

 What we need:  

  1. apache2 - running and started in runlevels 3 & 5
  2. dnsmasq - running and started in runlevels 3 & 5
  3. nmb - running and started in runlevels 3 & 5
  4. smb - running and started in runlevels 3 & 5
  5. smbpasswd -a username (as root)
  6. NO Apparmor!!!

Oh Bummer!  Well, it finally caught up with us. We copied the http.conf  file from 11.3 to 11.4 AFTER saving the newest one. To many changes and it did not work. That was why apache2 was not starting. Put back the newest one and apache2 is now running. Now to see if our local stuff will work.
Injected Note: In this version, 12.1, we didn't copy the previous versio -but- we did edit the current one. Ok, in the System Runlevel Services apache2, nmb and smb are enabled with a Yes. (Simple Mode)
Still can not get nmb to run..?.!

Ok. Should have been smart enough to look here sooner -but- we weren't. In the /var/log/samba/log.nmbd it tells me why it can't start.

[2011/02/03 00:12:57,  0] lib/fault.c:250(dump_core_setup)
  Unable to setup corepath for nmbd: Permission denied
[2011/02/03 00:12:57,  0] nmbd/nmbd.c:857(main)
  nmbd version 3.5.6-2486-SUSE-SL11.4-i386 started.
  Copyright Andrew Tridgell and the Samba Team 1992-2010
[2011/02/03 00:12:57.586374,  1] ../lib/util/params.c:513(OpenConfFile)
  params.c:OpenConfFile() - Unable to open configuration file "/etc/samba/dhcp.conf":
        Permission denied
[2011/02/03 00:12:57.589025,  0] nmbd/nmbd.c:861(main)
  error opening config file
So, now our quest is why can it not read the configuration file???

 Samba and Apparmor  Well, this is it. Seems that there is a problem with the apparmor security. We didn't think it was running cause ... we tried to stop it with
   'rcapparmor stop'
and the command was not recognized. Then after embarrassing ourselves and telling everyone on the forum that apparmor 'was not' a problem on our system cause it wasn't running, only to find out that it was!!
When you go into Yast2 and then System Services (Runlevels) we find out that:
     aaeventd -and- boot.apparmor
are both running. We stopped them and then we were able to start smb and nmb. Now we can properly access all our Windows Neighborhood -and- the word is; they are gona fix it before the release.

 The Good  Gota have a good note in here somewhere. We were able to transfer this WebPage up to our site via this installation of openSuSE 12.1 Beta.

   Some changes are needed to obtain local operations.

One of the things I like about Linux is... I can setup my own WebSite Locally. I'm sure it can be done in Windows -but- it is more fun and understandable, to me, here in Linux. Please read the following changes carefully -AND- back up your originals BEFORE you make any of these changes.

The httpd.conf file and the mod_userdir.conf file... both found in /etc/apache2.
In the httpd.conf file ... add the Include for mod_userdir.conf and the other changes. I am allowing FollowSymLinks cause ... I have a SymLink to my local WebPages over on a Windows drive so I can Edit and View in both Systems. (Dual Boot)

ln -s /windows/L/public_html public_html      ...which results in...
public_html -> /windows/L/public_html/      ...in your home dir.

(Of course, this assumes that the public_html that was originally there was empty -and- was removed.)

These were the changes to the httpd.conf file:

# added 13 Jul 09
Include /etc/apache2/mod_userdir.conf

# forbid access to the entire filesystem by default
<Directory />
    Options Indexes FollowSymLinks
    AllowOverride None
    Order deny,allow
    Deny from all
    Allow from dusty-tr2.TRComputing
... and in the mod_userdir.conf file ... un-comment the UserDir:
# the UserDir directive is actually used inside the virtual hosts, to 
# have more control
UserDir public_html


   Firefox   and   Thunderbird

Now then, we have our Local WebSite set up on our Windows L: drive. Long time ago when we started all this we had to have a VFAT drive as a common area between our Windows and Linux. We decided to put our WebSite there so that we could edit it from either System... and it worked. How-some-ever, we have a problem... now that we are doing 'other' things.

Just what are we doing??? Trying to create an Un-Ordered List of our Site with PHP through Firefox. This list will eventually be used for creating a SiteMap with Slickmap.css.

So what's our problem?? We can't write to the dirs inside our WebSite!! Seems that in our fstab we don't allow 'other' to write to the dir. What we have is:

/dev/disk/by-id/ata-ST3300631AS_5NF1J2GA-part5 /windows/L  vfat  users,gid=users,umask=0002,utf8=true 0 0
Which needs to become:
/dev/disk/by-id/ata-ST3300631AS_5NF1J2GA-part5 /windows/L  vfat  users,gid=users,umask=0000,utf8=true 0 0
Ok, that worked. The thing I'm working on is at: WebSiteDir and WebSiteMaps.

 Thunderbird  We had a minor delima here. As stated previously, we want to test this, openSuSE 12.1, for a while BEFORE installing it as our Main System. Now then, in order to properly test this we need to use it. We have been signing on to 12.1 almost as our regular system. Problem was/is that our E-mail was still over on 11.4.

Now you might ask, "Why is that a Problem?". Well, cause, we save, or we should say "pack-rat" a number of our E-mails in the delusional mind that we will need to read them again -or- forward them. Then they get forgotten and we have a big mail folder. Also would like to read E-mails whilst in either System and have them all. So.... in this Newest Thunderbird E-mail then allow you to pick a directory in which to hold your E-mails. Yes, I'm sure it was there before -but- we didn't pay any attention to it ... cause ... we didn't need it. Now we do. They are -not- links. We are using the actual dirs and files in both. Only one System is up at a time so there is no problem.

 Firefox  Well, we have what we consider a problem ... in the design. There is a Firefox icon in the System Tray ... continuously. Problem is once it is clicked on it becomes an "opened" indicator and can not be used to open another copy of Firefox, which we do a lot! Yes, we can put our own there -but- then there will be two. Not enough thought on this one.

 Firefox 8  As of December 16th, 2011 we have this version of Firefox installed on our 12.1 System. -But- it is different from the ones on SuSE 11.4 and Windows. Oh, this gets so trying at times. We thought that we had both SuSE Systems at the same level. Either we don't -or- there are some setting that need to be changed in the 12.1 System.

 26 Dec 11/4:40am  Now to make matters worse... 9.0.1 is out!! And it looks different in our Windows XP Media Center.

Refer: Mozilla Story


   MySQL Installation and Configuration Ops

Working on this 12.1 WebPage and the previous 11.4 Page at the same time. Never got it all done in the previous one. At any rate, one of the last items to be 'properly' setup was MySQL and our Customer Database. Yes.... it should have been amoungst the first -but- it wasn't. The reference is to what we did in openSuSE 11.3 and any changes for this version will be mentioned here. Yep... you read that right. 11.3
Right now please see: MySQL & phpMyAdmin



This is right above the nVidia info cause that is what this will primarily be used for. However, it is a separate entity. Sax3 will not be tested with our 11.4 sytem cause it is working -and- it is working with nVidia drivers.

Info for our Monitor is at:
    Sony HS95


  nVidia, the Display, the Kernel and some VMware

We happen to like nVidia. It was, and has been in all our HP computers. SLAP!! Dohh!! Our very first HP had an S3 Virge in it. The rest have been nVidia. So, what??! Well, it appears that we are going to have to get more involved in the nVidia Drivers. We are having one heck of a time getting proper operations in this new openSuSE version. Think we need to investgate nouveau and the native ... more.

 Injected Note:  As it turns out, KDE and nVidia don't get along well. Just search for "nVidia KDE" on the Net and you'll see what I mean. Nothing meant against either ... just a note. Please see KDE4 above for more info.

Our other reason for wanting to delve into this more is... after installing the native driver -and- finding out that it didn't work, we couldn't get back to the nouveau driver that did work from the install ... of the Beta. So, we need to find out what modules get affected and changed ... and put them back. Reversing our steps did not work.
 Note:  Well, it turns out the main reason we could not get the nouveau back was ... nVidia created a file, nvidia.conf, that contained a blacklist nouveau. So, when we removed the one from the 50-blacklist.conf the other was still there.

This area was picked to talk about the Kernel cause modules need to be modified and created for use of the nVidia drivers. The same for VMware -but- we'll just put it all here.
My board is an: NVIDIA GPU product= GeForce 7300 LE -- with a Device PCI of 0x01D1
(Vendor is nVidia and the 0x01D1 is the Device ID) PCIDatabase.com
If you have a problem, PLEASE read this first: nVidia Bulletin

Now then, we don't remember the dates that we installed each of these drivers -but- these are their release dates. We had hopes that the final one would be better -but- alas, it is not. We are still getting those cursor delays, hesitations -or- freezes -or- whatever you want to call them. In fact it is a System Lock-up cause for a couple of seconds you can't do anything. From the discussions read, we had hopes that a new Video Driver would be the fix. So far, nope. We'll have to jump over to the openSuSE 12.2 milestones and see if things are better.
NVIDIA-Linux-x86-285.05.09.run - 05 Oct 2011
NVIDIA-Linux-x86-290.10.run - 22 Nov 2011
NVIDIA-Linux-x86-295.20.run - 13 Feb 2012
NVIDIA-Linux-x86-295.33.run - 24 Mar 2012

 Egg All Over face   Now then, we have been playing with the SuSE, and now openSuSE Systems, for a long time. Most of what we put in these WebPages comes from info that we find on the Net whilst attempting to get SuSE working on our System -with- VMware and an nVidia video card. As we are learning... we are finding out that either not all that we have learned was permanent -or- things have changed. Usually the latter -but- it is a combo of both. Then there is also that other thing "miss-interpretation". She can be real mean.

What brings this about is... we have a better understanding of the video operations that go on in Linux. (or at least we think we do) With this knowledge it seems that the "nomodeset" parameter is NOT needed with your nVidia Driver IF everything is working properly. In fact the the only parameter we should need is: vga=0x31a which sets the display to a 1280x1024 16-bit resolution. -But- the rest of this is all worth knowing... in case you might need it.

The following was added in my mad scrambles to get my nVidia card working. More info on it can be found at: nVidia Bulletin

The workaround:
Section "ServerFlags"
Option "IgnoreABI" "true"
Refer: ABI

 FIBMAP  We seem to have a problem. A number of people have run into this... that is why we found the answer on the openSuSE Forums. What are we talking about?? Well, if you are here that is possibly one of the reasons. You get:
  FIBMAP: Invalid argument
scrolling hundreds of times up your screen, either at bootup -or- when you jump into a terminal with an Init 3. The answer/fix is fairly simple. Simply:
  zypper rm preload preload-kmp-desktop
from a terminal window and things should be ok. This came from a message of the past, which we have included:

This isn't new. The FIBMAP ioctl tries to determine the actual block on disk
that a file is using. Most likely it's coming from preload, the tool that
tries to check what things are in use and load them into memory so they will
start quicker on future boots, and it is probably trying to map something that
doesn't support mapping, such as a tmpfs or similar

This message has been around forever. At some point someone should probably
fix the preload code to check to see if the filesystem in question supports
mapping before trying to do it, and just hide the error message

Now we get back to what this section is about.
Items Needed:

  1. kernel sources - 2.4.7 and newer - naturally we need the 3.1.0
  2. kernel Syms
  3. X.Org - ver 1.0 thru 1.11
  4. Kernel modutils - 2.1.121 and newer
       insmod --version    shows we have ver 3.13
  5. glibc - ver 2.0
  6. binutils - ver 2.9.5
  7. GNU make - ver 3.77
  8. gcc - ver 2.91.66
  9. nVidia installer http://www.nvidia.com/Download/index5.aspx
    Helpful: nVidia Installation Guide which is included in the downloaded files.
  10. ...patience

All of the following can be, and some are, affected by this driver installation.

  • /usr/X11R6/lib/modules/drivers/nvidia_drv.so
  • /usr/X11R6/lib/modules/extensions/libglx.so.x.y.z
  • /usr/X11R6/lib/modules/libnvidia-wfb.so.x.y.z
  • /usr/X11R6/lib/modules/libwfb.so -> libnvidia-wfb.so optional
  • /usr/lib/libGL.so.x.y.z/usr/lib/libGL.so.x.y.z)
  • /usr/lib/libnvidia-glcore.so.x.y.z
  • /usr/X11R6/lib/libXvMCNVIDIA.a and
  • /usr/X11R6/lib/libvdpau.so.x.y.z,
  • /usr/lib/libcuda.so.x.y.z,
  • /lib/modules/`uname -r`/video/nvidia.o or
    /lib/modules/`uname -r`/kernel/drivers/video/nvidia.o
  • /usr/lib/libnvidia-tls.so.x.y.z and
  • /usr/lib/libnvidia-ml.so.x.y.z
  • /usr/bin/nvidia-installer
  • /usr/bin/nvidia-xconfig
  • /usr/bin/nvidia-settings
  • /usr/bin/nvidia-smi
  • /usr/bin/nvidia-debugdump

      Finally we get to the procedures....!!
To perform these operations we need to get into a Terminal as root.

# Prevent nouveau and nVidia conflicts by BlackListing nouveau.

    echo "blacklist nouveau" >> /etc/modprobe.d/50-blacklist.conf

** Now then, you put the following code in a file, call it say
... NoKMS.sh and save it in the same dir that you saved the nVidia
file in. Execute it as: sh NoKMS.sh

# Kernel Mode Setting is NOT supported by nVidia, so we remove it.
# recreate initrd without KMS, if the use of KMS is enabled in initrd
if grep -q NO_KMS_IN_INITRD=\"no\" /etc/sysconfig/kernel; then
sed -i 's/NO_KMS_IN_INITRD.*/NO_KMS_IN_INITRD="yes"/g' /etc/sysconfig/kernel
if grep -q KMS_IN_INITRD=\"yes\" /etc/sysconfig/kernel; then
sed -i 's/KMS_IN_INITRD.*/KMS_IN_INITRD="no"/g' /etc/sysconfig/kernel

OR you could just edit the "/etc/sysconfig/kernel" file and change the "no" to "yes".

***** Ok we have a change here. In openSuSE 12.1 the "logic" has been changed.
***** The setting is now called KMS_IN_INITRD and it is set to "yes". We
***** must change it to "no" in order to use our nVidia Drivers.
Change the script file accordingly.

After changing the above file, do a "mkinitrd" (IF you did not do it in a script) then
Reboot your machine 'shutdown -r now' and enter 'nomodeset 3' on the Boot Options: line.(without the quotes)

Use the nVidia installer that you downloaded. Switch to the dir where you
saved it and execute the following:
(Type in "sh NVIDIA" and then hit the TAB key to finish the name.
Then enter a "-q" Then hit ENTER) Example:

sh NVIDIA-Linux-x86-xxxxxx -q

The -q means use the default answers, which are usually yes. You might want to use -aq to avoid the licensing question.

Now pay attention here. The nVidia installer will tell you to use SAX2.
DO NOT!! It is no longer available. They are working on a SAX3 -but- it is NOT ready yet. Now then, we get a big OK and it was succesful -but- the script itself finished with a SIGABRT. We still have been able to use the installed product. So, IF it says OK, ignore the SIGABRT.
After the install is finished you need to execute:

"modprobe nvidia"

Modprobe is used to add a loadable kernel module (LKM) to the Linux kernel or to remove an LKM from the kernel.
Refer: WikiPedia

Now do a "shutdown -r now" and login normally. Well, that is not totally
true. You will probably have to place a "nomodeset" in your boot parameters.
Also, it has been learned there is a KDE4 conflict. IF the Logon does not finish loading you probably need to edit a file in KDE4... which is described in the KDE4 section.

IMPORTANT: You need to recompile and install the nVidia kernel module
after each kernel update. This is done with the following command:

sh NVIDIA-Linux-x86-xxxxxx.run -K

IF you need to UnInstall it do the following:
sh NVIDIA-Linux-x86-xxxxxx.run --uninstall

    openSuSE nVidia Cards     Practical Graphic Card Theory in openSUSE
    Modify xorg.conf for better performance
    nVidia Settings


  HD Layout

This is some more input we are putting in here... just because. Some may have the resources to duplicate this and want to do it. What?? Have a Triple Boot. Why? Cause we use VMware a lot. What has that to do with it?? Well, you are not really supposed to run a Virtual Machine inside another Virtual Machine. AND we would like to test out the VMware operations BEFORE we commit to a particular version of Linux.

Now in case you haven't noticed or surmised or whatever, we Dual Boot with Windows Media Center. This has evolved into a Triple Boot with our "Normal Linux System" and the "Newest System Under Test". The hardware is composed of two (2) 300GB drives. HD1, the main drive contains ALL of the operating systems.

Disk /dev/sda: 300.0 GB, 300069052416 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 36481 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x70987098

Device    Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1               1       10199    81923436    7  HPFS/NTFS             WinDrv C:
/dev/sda2           35529       36481     7654941    c  W95 FAT32 (LBA)       WinDrv Recovery
/dev/sda3   *       10200       35528   203455192+   f  W95 Ext'd (LBA)	      Extended Partition
/dev/sda5           10200       10461     2104483+  82  Linux swap / Solaris  openSuSE 11.4
/dev/sda6           10462       15934    43961841   83  Linux /               openSuSE 11.4
/dev/sda7           15935       29260   107041063+  83  Linux /home           openSuSE 11.4
/dev/sda8           29261       29526     2136613+  82  Linux swap / Solaris  openSuSE 12.1
/dev/sda9           29527       32251    21888531   83  Linux /               openSuSE 12.1
/dev/sda10          32252       35528    26322471   83  Linux /home           openSuSE 12.1
HD2, the second drive contains only data.
Disk /dev/sdb: 300.0 GB, 300069052416 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 36481 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x03ce34a8

Device    Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdb1               1       34443   276663366    7  HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sdb2           34444       36481    16370235    f  W95 Ext'd (LBA)
/dev/sdb5           34444       36481    16370203+   b  W95 FAT32

The reason for the little FAT partition on the Second Drive is; we needed a common area for data between Windows and Linux. Also to save some Recovery data. If and when we crash or update to a newer system we want to be able to access the data. In the past NTFS was not readable by our Linux's right out of the Box -AND- it was not writeable at all. I guess now, with the Newer Systems, it is more of a security blanket.



Updates... think we've said this before -but- we'll say it again; We hate Updates. Really, for the most part they are good -but- there are those times when you wish the dev's would have left things alone. Anyway, what brings this about is some chance reading on the openSuSE Forums.

PackageKit, KPackageKit, Apper. Seems that PackageKit is another install/update package. What's wrong with Yast2??? PackageKit is a system designed to make installing and updating software on your computer easier. -BUT- that is what Yast2 is for!! Why do we need two... especially when one causes lots of problems... packagekit. It is our humble opinion that you just dump PackageKit, KPackageKit and Apper (which is apparently a replacement for KPackageKit).

Controlling the beast....
To disable it at startup:
Personal settings --> Startup and Shutdown --> Service Manager

then uncheck "Apper Monitor" in the list of "Startup Services".

To just disable it:
1. hit kicker menu and type into search field "kpackagekit", run it
2. in kpackagekit window go to settings
3. set Check for updates to "never"

To totally remove it:
Open a terminal window and do:
   su -c 'rpm -e kpackagekit'
   (enter rootpassword)

 19 Dec 11/6:49pm  Been away for a while. We got a 'new' Toshiba Laptop... from a friend. Spent some time on it figuring things out and playing with Vista. Which, by the way, should not have been installed on that System. However, for the time being we are going to keep it that way till we get finished learning. Need more info for serving our Customers. -But- we may put a Linux System on it -but- for now we will leave it alone. It has 2Gb of RAM with an Intel Celeron. It will be interesting to compare its operation with Vista vs Linux.

Ok. Back to the Subject at hand... Updates. Seems that there have been a number of Updates to the 12.1 code while we were gone. Maybe they will make it more likable. We see that they have a KDE 4.8 out and maybe it will operate more to our liking... IF it is in the Updates for 12.1. Nope. Didn't see them. However, there were a lot of updates so we will install them and see if things are better.

 27 Feb 2012/4:48am   In our HD Crash Recovery, we installed 12.1 and KDE 4.8 as our Main/Base Linux System. Everything was gone, so what the heck.



A software repository is a collection of RPM packages (the openSUSE packaging format) and metadata for the available packages.

The following is a suggested setup by jdmcdaniel3 on the openSuSE forum.

 2. Display All openSUSE Repositories as Entered in your Computer ...       

Command: zypper repos 

# | Alias                  | Name                       | Enabled | Refresh
1 | openSUSE:/12.1:/Update | openSUSE:/12.1:/Update     | Yes     | Yes    
2 | packman                | packman                    | Yes     | Yes    
3 | repo-debug             | openSUSE-12.1-Debug        | No      | Yes    
4 | repo-debug-update      | openSUSE-12.1-Update-Debug | No      | Yes    
5 | repo-non-oss           | openSUSE-12.1-Non-Oss      | Yes     | Yes    
6 | repo-oss               | openSUSE-12.1-Oss          | Yes     | Yes    
7 | repo-source            | openSUSE-12.1-Source       | No      | Yes    

 If you have more than ten total repositories listed above, you could cause yourself   
 some trouble.  In general, repositories must be given a priority when you have        
 more than ten.  If you do not understand how this works, please ask for help.         
 Listed below are the recommended repositories you should keep in YaST. (?=Version)    

 1) Packman-1  - http://packman.jacobs-university.de/suse/openSUSE_1?.?/Essentials/    
 2) Packman-2  - http://packman.jacobs-university.de/suse/openSUSE_1?.?/Extra/         
 3) Packman-3  - http://packman.jacobs-university.de/suse/openSUSE_1?.?/Games/         
 4) Packman-4  - http://packman.jacobs-university.de/suse/openSUSE_1?.?/Multimedia/    
 5) Main Update Repository  - http://download.opensuse.org/update/1?.?/                
 6) Main Repository - http://download.opensuse.org/distribution/1?.?/repo/oss/         
 7) Main Repository - http://download.opensuse.org/distribution/1?.?/repo/non-oss/     
 8) Update Debug Repository - http://download.opensuse.org/debug/update/1?.?/          
 8) Debug Repository - http://download.opensuse.org/debug/distribution/1?.?/repo/oss/  
10) Source Repository - http://download.opensuse.org/source/distribution/1?.?/repo/oss/

From gropiuskalle on the Forums:
When using multiple repositories one -has to understand- the concept of either switching packages to one repository or setting priorities for each repo (preferably both). If one does not, packages will only be managed by the original repository, even when other repositories offer more current versions.
From man zypper:
-p, --priority <positive-integer>

Set priority of the repository. Priority of 1 is the highest, the higher the number the lower the priority. Default priority is 99. Packages from repositories with higher priority will be preferred even in case there is a higher installable version available in the repository with a lower priority.
In setting the priorities, we need to decide who we trust more. Who has the latest -but- better still, who has the most reliable software???? This is only neccessary when more than one Repo has the code we desire.

This is the well-known third-party Packman repositories for openSUSE. Packman now provides four different repositories, each offering a selection of the Packman software, in addition to the larger common repository.
How to get software from Packman

From caf4926 on the openSuSE Forums:
Re: Kernel 3.0
   You can download the source and build yourself
   or this repo:
    Index of /repositories/Kernel:/HEAD/standard

Fix for the Nouveau problems made available?
in jobermay'rs factory repo
   Index of /repositories/home:/jobermayr/openSUSE_Factory

Refer Repos:
  http://download.opensuse.org/distribution/12.1/repo/non-oss/    distribution/12.1 Non-oss
  http://download.opensuse.org/distribution/12.1/repo/oss/          distribution/12.1 oss.
  http://download.opensuse.org/factory/repo/non-oss/    Factory Non-oss
  http://download.opensuse.org/factory/repo/oss/          Factory oss.


  TV Section

A PC is a PC. Not if it's the Pavilion Media Center m7480n Desktop PC. It's also a TV. The built-in TV Tuner and Personal Video Recorder (PVR) let you watch, pause, pause, rewind, and record live television on your Media Center PC. You can store up to 176 hours of Digital video on the 300GB hard drive. An online Electronic Program Guide (EPG) lets you review the TV schedule and select individual episodes or entire series, so you can watch your favorite shows on your own time, at your own convenience.

Other than bragging about our 'puter, this is here for a reason. We hope to get the TV card working in this version of SuSE. So far we have not had much luck... -but- then we weren't really trying all that hard. The TV portion of our 'puter has not been very high on the list. We didn't pick it intentionally in the first place. It just happened to be in the PC that we purchased. We were looking at all the other features more than at the TV part.

The card in this PC is a Hauppauge WinTV HVR-1600. This card is capable of TV and FM.


  The Printer

HP Color Inkjet cp1700 Printer

Well, we wasted a lot of time cause of some directions we found on installing this. YaST Printer module They were directing us to /usr/share/cups/model/HP and and our printer flat out was NOT there. So we found, and went, to the above page and clicked on the Install selection on the Left. NOT the Install Wizzard -but- just the Install. Then followed that through the Maual portions and saw a different directory mentioned, /usr/share/ppd/HP. This dir contained our printer, the cp1700. Now that we have the correct information we will try the Yast2 setup again.

 UNCLE!!  Ok now, in all fairness we need to mention that during this fiasco we installed HPLIP software according to the instructions presented in the above pages. Then when we went back to Yast2 we used the info that we found in these procedures. Now we don't know whether our printer was in the directory mentioned above -before- we did this latest HP install -or- not. And we are NOT going to remove and/or re-install this to find out. We'll see how it goes when and IF we try out openSuSE 12.2.

Now this was NOT a good scenario description -but- we, as can be discerned, got a little confused on this ourselves. Will try to do better in the Next One. We have a little better understanding of it now and know what to look for.

 PRINTERS!!! March 13th - 14th, 2012  Boy it is really to bad sometimes that we need these things!! We do believe that printers are the most NON-STANDARD thing in Computing. Anywho, what are we so upset about??? Another day has been wasted "fixing" a problem that shouldn't be there in the first place. We fired up our VMware today and got a message: "Direct rendering not available.". What???

Well, to keep this short, suffice it to say that we had to add ourselves to the "video" group in order to get rid of that message -and- presumably the 'problem'. Now this came about somehow by messing with the printer -but- we have absolutely no reason -or- understanding as to how or why.

HP Linux Imaging and Printing - HP Color Inkjet cp1700 Printer
Summary of Available Features in Various Linux Distributions (see note13):
Distro-Version	Installer GUI14  Scan3  Fax5  Status  PhotoCard4  USB  Parallel  Network1
SUSE Linux 11.4   Yes      No     No    No    Yes       No       Yes    No       Yes
SUSE Linux 12.1   Yes      No     No    No    Yes       No       Yes    No       Yes
All information provided is believed to be accurate but is not guaranteed.
1 Network support indicates built-in ethernet and/or wireless networking. Alternatively, many devices may be operated on the network using an external JetDirect print server. Not all network configurations are supported. Please refer to the HPLIP FAQs for more information.
3 Scan supported means that PC initiated scan using a SANE compatible software application is supported over parallel, USB, or network (depending on I/O connection). Information on digital sending products is covered in note 9, below.
4 Photo supported means that the printer's photo card slots are readable using either USB mass storage (USB only) or hp-unload (USB, parallel or network).
5 Fax supported means that PC initiated fax send is supported using hp-sendfax, once an appropriate CUPS fax queue is set up. Fax support varies on Linux distributions, based on the availability of python-dbus version 0.80 or greater (versions before 0.80 will not work with HPLIP). Click on the model name of each printer to get more detailed information.
9 Device supports digital sending, not standard scanning protocols. See this KB article for more info.
13 The "Summary of Available Features in Various Linux Distributions" table lists available features for distros that are supported by the HPLIP automatic tarball installer. Distros that are not listed will require a manual install procedure (See this page for more information).
14"Qt3" and "Qt4" refer to the supported UI toolkit. If "Qt3" is indicated, then the distro supports a GUI interface using the Qt3 UI toolkit. The Qt4 toolkit is not supported for the distro in this case. If "Qt4" is indicated, then the distro supports a GUI interface using the Qt4 UI toolkit. In this case, the Qt3 UI toolkit may also be available and used if desired. The appropriate UI toolkit will be automatically installed by the HPLIP installer.
15"Recommended" means that the printer is fully supported in HPLIP and is recommended for use on your Linux system. For information of what "fully supported" means, see this KB article.

 Problem:   "File /usr/lib/cups/filter/hpcups not available: No such file or directory"
Ok now, to our shame, all we did in the above previous was print a test page. However, later, AFTER a FULL shutdown and restart we could not print from within Thunderbird e-mail. Got the above message. Searching the Web we find things...
<!-- ========================================================== -->
Adding the user to "sys" group will solve the first problem (at least it did for me). I'm still working on the second.

I have a solution for the second issue.

It appears that HPLIP is putting stuff in one directory /usr/lib64/cups/filter, but CUPS is putting stuff in /usr/lib/cups/filter. So to fix my problem I linked the following files into /usr/lib/cups/filter so CUPS can see them.

Refer: Linux Questions
<!-- ========================================================== -->


Didn't work!! So we take our usual "Brute Force" method.
Restarted the System --- and it worked!!

Ok. A little more clarification here, both for ourselves and anyone else that cares to read this. The above 4 files were created from the:
    hplip-3.12.2.tar.gz     file
that was downloaded in one of the steps above... when we started trying to fix this mess in the first place. We sometimes wish we didn't have such an attachment to our printer. It has been good to us for all these years and we don't want to part with it just cause of some software. However, it is no longer supported by HP and we suspect that those who are making patches for it may quit soon also. This tar file has the source ... so it may come to us reviving our programing skills and making changes to accomodate future versions of SuSE. We'll see.... The Lord will show us the way just as He has this time.


  Neato Stuff


  Features of 12.1

Wiki - Linux  -   Changes
openSuSE 12.1 - Upcoming Features
Product Highlights
Here's some interesting things you can expect to see when you try openSuSE 12.1

  • 1.1 Snapper, Btrfs snapshot support
  • 1.2 Tumbleweed complete
  • 1.3 Desktops
    • 1.3.1 From KDE
    • 1.3.2 From GNOME
    • 1.3.3 Other
    • Unity
  • 1.4 Packages
  • 1.5 Application management
    • 1.5.1 Bretzn
    • 1.5.2 Appstream
  • 1.6 Boot procedure
    • 1.6.1 systemd
    • 1.6.2 Dracut
    • 1.6.3 Grub2
  • 1.7 GSOC projects
  • Further changes have been made for systemd to replace the InitV system. The default is still InitV and we encourage testing of systemd so that we can switch the default for the next release.
  • We're focusing on the GPLed OpenJDK version now, this milestone is the last one that comes with the binary Java provided by Oracle.
  • GNOME 3.1.5 is another step closer to GNOME 3.2
  • glibc has been updated to version 2.14
Linux 3.1 Kernel
1. Prominent features
     Btrfs: Automatic defragmentation, scrubbing, performance improvements
     sendmmsg(): batching of sendmsg() calls
     XEN dom0 support
    Berkeley Packet Filter just-in-time filtering
     Wake on WLAN support
     Unprivileged ICMP_ECHO messages
     setns() syscall: better namespace handling
2. Driver and architecture-specific changes
3. VFS
4. Process scheduler
5. Memory management
6. Networking
7. File systems
8. Crypto
9. Virtualization
10. Security
11. Tracing/profiling
12. Various core changes


  From Windows to Linux

From Slashdot by JCholewa (34629) on Wednesday November 16

In POSIX systems (Linux, Unix, BSD, QNX, Mac OS X in some cases, et al), files are split up depending on their role. You know how your settings go in "%APPDATA%\", libraries to in "%SYSTEMROOT%" and other stuff goes in "%PROGRAMFILES%\"? Well, in these systems, it is split up moreso, Generally, all binaries (the executable files) go into "$PREFIX/bin/", global configuration files go into "$PREFIX/etc/", unchanging data files go into "$PREFIX/share/", libraries go into "$PREFIX/lib", log files and changing system files (the print spool, for instance) go into "/var/". Just like in Windows, the system magically handles it all. (note: $PREFIX is usually "/usr", but it is sometimes something else -- I won't get into it here, but there are pretty good reasons for this).

> what do I do if I want to install software but it's not an rpm or whatever it is suse uses. (Damn, I miss MSIs & EXEs!)

That's a weird one. What do you do if it's not an msi or an exe in a Windows system?

rpm is the equivalent of msi, except that the package management is generally easier to work with. In suse, you go into Yast's "Software Management" app and it will list most programs (several thousand, generally, organized in categories and easily searchable) that people would need to install. Think of it as "Windows Update", but instead of offering programs that Microsoft makes, it offers programs that everyone makes (or like an app store, except that it's been in Linux for over a decade and doesn't cost money). On the command line, the equivalent is "zypper". You'd type "sudo zypper install firefox", for example, and firefox would be updated. But anyway, if you're using Yast, I suggest going into the "Software Repositories" section, clicking the "Add" button, choosing the "Community Repositories" radio button, and clicking next. The "Packman" repository is highly recommended, as it has a lot of apps that the SuSE people lack.

rpm files are what you use as an *alternate* solution if the program is not in an available repository, not as your primary means of installing stuff. Repositories can manage installation of prerequisites. You might have tried to install a program requiring .NET in Windows at one point and received an error stating that it was not installed. In the repositories, and situations like that would be subverted by the repository manager going online and downloading/installing what it needs to install the package you actually want.

Sometimes, a developer will release the equivalent of an exe installer for their product. nvidia is an example. This is a TERRIBLE IDEA that you sometimes just can't work around. Running an unknown executable as the administrative user is just asking for pain. I know, because one of my scientists here wiped out his server's entire filesystem by running an install script as root, and I had to pick up after him. rpm (in suse, mandriva, pclinuxos, red hat, et al) and deb (in debian, ubuntu, mint, et al) and various others give limited powers which simply allow the application to get its files in the right place and do some basic maintenance (like starting a daemon if it's a server app).

The third option that people seem to think is ubiquitous in Linux (it isn't ... unless it's a hardcore science research app) is that you're given the source code and you have to compile it. In 90% of these cases, the only real problem is that you might not have a prerequisite app or library installed to complete the compilation. Package management helps with that, but it's better to avoid having to do this. Still, most of the examples you just go to the command line, visit the directory, type "./configure && make install" and have some coffee. I don't remember when I've had to do this on my home machine.

> Also, is there any mail client I can use to connect to my exchange server for work email? (using MAPI \ RPC over HTTPS)

Exchange is a tricky beast. I don't think the protocol is even now publicly available (I may be wrong), so mail apps have to do weird things like (in the background) access OWA (exchange webmail) and parse the data. I use a java app called Davmail ("http://davmail.sourceforge.net") which does this and converts the information on the fly to regular email protocols (like POP, IMAP, SMTP, Caldav, LDAP) that can be used with any mail program (you set the server to "localhost" in the mail program). I prefer kmail, and one of my coworkers here uses Thunderbird, in this way.

Unfortunately, I don't know anything much about the protocols you mention above, so this might not have been useful.