Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Installing openSUSE 10.2 on a Compaq laptop (Part 1)

Filed under
Reviews

My favorite distro faces an uncertain future, so I decided to install openSUSE 10.2 over it on my Compac Presario V2000. Also because... OK, I'll come clean: the real reason was for the eye candy. I wanted Beryl, with the cube, the wobbly windows, the "magic lantern" window minimizing effects, rain, snow -- you know, Eye Candy.

This laptop has an ATI Radeon XPress 200M chipset in it, which requires the installation of ATI's proprietary drivers in order to enable accelleration, and (unlike an NVidia chipset) also requires Xgl in order to get the special effects. There are Xgl packages out there for Debian Sid, but they're old and not maintained. Xgl still runs, but it makes the OS extremely flaky and crash-prone. (If you're thinking about buying a laptop, and want to use Beryl, get one with an NVidia graphics chipset and save yourself some hassle.)

One thing to note: if you have questions, the openSUSE Wiki has answers. That "search" box is your friend. openSUSE is extremely well documented. (Of course, it also helps to have a second, working, Internet-connected computer around when installing any Linux distro.)

So, I downloaded the i386 DVD via BitTorrent and burned it. (Yes, it took a while, but having only 1 DVD instead of 5 CDs to shuffle through makes it worth it.).

My laptop has a, shall we say, unusual partitioning scheme, mainly because Compaq uses a small FAT32 partition at the very end of the drive as a recovery partition, and it wouldn't budge when I tried to move it. That's why partitions hda3 - hda6 are sandwiched between partitions hda1 (Windows) and hda2 (that FAT32 partition). Anyway, I already had Debian/Kanotix on the laptop, with a separate /home partition (highly recommended!), so it was just a matter of refreshing my memory as to which partition was for /, /home, and swap. Only the / (root) partition needed to be reformatted. Everything on /home was staying. I booted from a live CD (the GParted disc is good for this) and got rid of my old ~/.kde folder and ~/.kderc file before installing openSUSE; otherwise, KDE wouldn't have gotten the openSUSE treatment. (openSUSE renamed my existing "Desktop" folder by itself.)

There's not a lot to say about the straightforward installation process. A complete set of installation screenshots are available here. The only things I messed with were the partitioning scheme (in order to use my existing layout); the software choices; and making sure GRUB was installed on hda.

(This laptop has a 1280x768 screen. openSUSE configured it properly, which was impressive.)

With the installation done, it was time to enable the laptop's built-in wireless chipset (Broadcom BCM4318) using ndiswrapper. Ndiswrapper enables Linux to use Windows drivers for wireless cards for which open-source drivers don't (yet) exist. On your typical HP/Compaq laptop, the drivers are located in C:\SWSetup\WLAN. For this laptop, they're named "bcmwl5a.inf" and "bcmwl5.sys." Then it's a matter of pulling up a console window, becoming root, and installing the drivers.

# ndiswrapper -i /media/hda1/SWSetup/WLAN/bcmwl5a.inf

Then check to see that installation was successful.

# ndiswrapper -l
installed drivers:
bcmwl5 driver installed, hardware present

Next, the "preferred" way to enable wireless is through YaST. (Personally, I think it's easier from the command line, using "iwconfig," but that's a Debian user talking.) The ndiswrapper howto on the openSUSE wiki tells you how -- although one thing's not very clear. During installation, SUSE probably detected the wireless hardware and configured it incorrectly. You have to delete the wireless controller from the "Network Card Configuration Overview" list, and then add a new (wireless) one.

After the YaST part is done, the KNetworkManager applet will automagically appear in your "system tray." My gripe with KNetworkManager is that it'll look for, and connect to, the first unencrypted wireless connection it can find -- even if it belongs to your neighbor (heh, serves him right). If your wireless connection is encrypted, you have to select "Connect to Other Wireless Network..." and tell it your SSID and WEP key.

One other thing to note. For some reason, openSUSE doesn't include the Ksynaptics control panel module, which lets you fine-tune your Synaptics touchpad. Personally, I hate tapping like Mr. Grant hates spunk. To disable it, one has to edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf (as root) and add a line to the synaptics InputDevice section, just prior to EndSection:

Option "MaxTapTime" "0"

Restart X, and tapping should be gone.

In part 2: Installing the ATI driver and Beryl; Conclusion.

More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

  • Arm Server CPUs: You Can Now Buy Ampere's eMAG in a Workstation

    Avantek offers the system with three optional graphics cards: AMD FirePro W2100, a Radeon Pro WX 5100, and the NVIDIA Quadro GV100. OS options are variants of Linux: Ubuntu, CentOS, SUSE SLES, and openSUSE.

  • A General Notification Queue Was Pushed Back From Linux 5.5 Introduction

    Red Hat has been working on a "general notification queue" that is built off the Linux kernel's pipe code and will notify the user-space of events like key/keyring changes, block layer events like disk errors, USB attach/remove events, and other notifications without user-space having to continually poll kernel interfaces. This general notification queue was proposed for Linux 5.5 but has been pushed back to at least 5.6. This Linux kernel general notification queue builds off a standard pipe and allows user-space applications to efficiently become aware of changes to block devices (disks), keys, USB subsystem happenings, and other possible events. The proposed documentation spells out more of the planned functionality and behavior.

  • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the weeks 2019/48 & 49

    Once again I’m spanning two weeks; besides the normal work on getting you openSUSE Tumbleweed updated and timely delivered, the release team has been working together with the build service team to implement/stabilize the OBS-internal staging workflow. There is (should) not be any real noticeable difference for the contributors – except the new used URLs. The Factory Staging dashboard can now be found at https://build.opensuse.org/staging_workflows/1 During the last two weeks, we have pushed out 10 Tumbleweed Snapshots (1121, 1122, 1123, 1124, 1126, 1127, 1128, 1202, 1203 and 1204) containing those changes...

  • Rugged Coffee Lake PCs offer up to two PCIe slots and two HDD bays

    Nexcom’s fanless, Linux-ready “NISE 3900 Series” features an 8th Gen Coffee Lake CPU with triple display support plus M.2, mini-PCIe, 3x GbE, 10x USB, and 2x serial ports. Six different models have various combinations of PCIe, PCI, and SATA. Nexcom announced a new series in its NISE family of industrial computers that follows recent models such as the Apollo Lake based NISE 51. The rugged NISE-3900 Series systems run Linux Kernel 4.9 or Windows 10 on Intel’s 8th Gen Coffee Lake CPUs, including the quad-core Core i3-8100T and the hexa-core, 2.1GHz i5-8500T and 2.4GHz i7-8700T.

  • More new books from The MagPi and HackSpace magazines

    If our recent release of Retro Gaming with Raspberry Pi, Getting Started with Arduino, and Coding the Classics isn’t enough for you, today sees the release of TWO MORE publications from Raspberry Pi Press!

OSS Leftovers

  • Ardour Digital Audio Workstation Finally Adds Native MP3 Importing Support

    While lossy compression audio formats like MP3 are not recommended for use within professional audio tasks, for those using the open-source Ardour digital audio workstation (DAW) software as of today there is finally native MP3 import support. Obviously it's better working with lossless audio formats as source material for Ardour and other digital audio workstation software suites, but given how common MP3 content is, there certainly is relevance to being able to import MP3s into DAWs. But historically due to licensing/patent issues, MP3 support within Ardour hasn't been possible -- thus leading to common complaints/questions by users over the years.

  • Certbot Leaves Beta with the Release of 1.0

    Earlier this week EFF released Certbot 1.0, the latest version of our free, open source tool that helps websites encrypt their traffic. The release of 1.0 is a significant milestone for the project and is the culmination of the work done over the past few years by EFF and hundreds of open source contributors from around the world.

    Certbot was first released in 2015 to automate the process of configuring and maintaining HTTPS encryption for site administrators by obtaining and deploying certificates from Let's Encrypt. Since its initial launch, many features have been added, including beta support for Windows, automatic nginx configuration, and support for over a dozen DNS providers for domain validation.

  • Open Repos provides code metrics on open source projects

    GitClear is offering Open Repos as a free product, though it is not open source. GitClear’s paid product offers many of the same insights and more. Long-term plans include allowing projects to embed an Open Repos view of a project in their site, and “improving data quality before adding features.”

  • Improvements in LibreOffice’s PowerPoint presentation support

    LibreOffice’s native file format is OpenDocument, a fully open and standardised format that’s great for sharing documents and long-term data storage. Of course, LibreOffice does its best to open files made by other office software as well, even if they’re stored in pseudo-“standards” with cryptic and obfuscated contents. Compatibility with PowerPoint PPT(X) presentations is therefore a challenge, but developers are working hard on improvements… A few months ago, we announced an initiative to improve the support of PPT and PPTX files in LibreOffice. Lots of great work happened since then and the results are collected below!

  • People of WordPress: Jill Binder

    Jill Binder never meant to become an activist. She insists it was an accident. Despite that, Jill has led the Diversity Outreach Speaker Training working group in the WordPress Community team since 2017. This group is dedicated to increasing the number of women and other underrepresented groups who are stepping up to become speakers at WordPress Meetups, WordCamps, and events. [...] The following year her internship advisor, who had become a client, was creating the first ever BuddyCamp for BuddyPress. He asked Jill to be on his organizing team. At that event she also moderated a panel with Matt Mullenweg. Then, Jill was invited to be on the core organizing team for WordCamp Vancouver. Part of this role meant reviewing and selecting speakers. From 40 speaker applications the team had to pick only 14 to speak.

  • Mint: Late-Stage Adversarial Interoperability Demonstrates What We Had (And What We Lost)

    In 2006, Aaron Patzer founded Mint. Patzer had grown up in the city of Evansville, Indiana—a place he described as "small, without much economic opportunity"—but had created a successful business building websites. He kept up the business through college and grad school and invested his profits in stocks and other assets, leading to a minor obsession with personal finance that saw him devoting hours every Saturday morning to manually tracking every penny he'd spent that week, transcribing his receipts into Microsoft Money and Quicken.

    Patzer was frustrated with the amount of manual work it took to track his finances with these tools, which at the time weren't smart enough to automatically categorize "Chevron" under fuel or "Safeway" under groceries. So he conceived on an ingenious hack: he wrote a program that would automatically look up every business name he entered into the online version of the Yellow Pages—constraining the search using the area code in the business's phone number so it would only consider local merchants—and use the Yellow Pages' own categories to populate the "category" field in his financial tracking tools.

today's howtos

Programming: Kotlin, Python and More

  • Android’s commitment to Kotlin

    When we announced Kotlin as a supported language for Android, there was a tremendous amount of excitement among developers. Since then, there has been a steady increase in the number of developers using Kotlin. Today, we’re proud to say nearly 60% of the top 1,000 Android apps contain Kotlin code, with more and more Android developers introducing safer and more concise code using Kotlin. During this year’s I/O, we announced that Android development will be Kotlin-first, and we’ve stood by that commitment. This is one of the reasons why Android is the gold partner for this year’s KotlinConf.

  • Google Reaffirms Commitment To Kotlin Programming Language For Android

    Google is continuing to embrace Kotlin programming for Android, making more Android APIs accessible by Kotlin, Jetpack Compose as a UI toolkit catered to Kotlin, and Kotlin extensions for more Google libraries. Google is also working to offer more Kotlin + Android learning material, working with JetBrains on improving the Kotlin code compiler, speeding up the build time of Kotlin code, and other improvements.

  • Comparing equivalent Python statements

    While teaching one of my Python classes yesterday I noticed a conditional expression which can be written in several ways. All of these are equivalent in their behavior...

  • Serving Files with Python's SimpleHTTPServer Module

    Servers are computer software or hardware that processes requests and deliver data to a client over a network. Various types of servers exist, with the most common ones being web servers, database servers, application servers, and transaction servers. Widely used web servers such as Apache, Monkey, and Jigsaw are quite time-consuming to set up when testing out simple projects and a developer's focus is shifted from producing application logic to setting up a server. Python's SimpleHTTPServer module is a useful and straightforward tool that developers can use for a number of use-cases, with the main one being that it is a quick way to serve files from a directory. It eliminates the laborious process associated with installing and implementing the available cross-platform web servers. Note: While SimpleHTTPServer is a great way to easily serve files from a directory, it shouldn't be used in a production environment. According to the official Python docs, it "only implements basic security checks."