Configuring OpenSuse 10.3 Part 3

Setting up a Linux system always involves some customization, and so to avoid reinventing the wheel each time you do it, I urge you to keep an installation diary that records exactly the steps you took to achieve your perfect system.  The previous 2 parts of this series of posts described setting up dual booting and NVIDIA drivers.  Since then, I have changed from the method of installing the NVIDIA drivers I originally described to the one-click installation on the OpenSuse web site.  This latter method works well, and there is no need to recompile the drivers each time the linux kernel is updated.  In the course of doing this, I discovered Compiz-fusion, which gives your desktop the neatest special effects.  Now I can rotate my desktop as a transparent cube floating in space, filled with the swimming mammals from the Atlantis screensaver.  There are a bunch of youtube videos of this desktop manager in action, e.g. this one.  With all the jiggling windows, windows that burn up when I close them, and other special effects, it’s amazing that I have gotten any real work done at all.

I realize I have not talked about any configuring yet.  I promised to go over my svk configuration, but I have talked enough about svk on prior blogs.  The TV card story is a nice one.  I snagged an old Hauppauge WinTV card that uses the bt 878 chipset for only 99 cents (ok, plus $10 shipping).  I have one of these cards in each of my computers, and they all work great, both with Linux (I use tvtime as the viewing application) and with Windows.  There are a lot of newer cards out there, but Linux compatibility is always a question, so I always go back to a card I know works.  The exact model I got was the Hauppauge WinTV PCI TV tuner, model #44001 rev B110.  Mind you this is just an analogue card, and not fancy at all.  But it works!

I still haven’t written much about configuration: will save it for next time.  One last funny story, I guess.  The new computer would freeze occasionally when I had lots of windows open (in Linux).  I wasn’t sure what was causing this, but when I checked memory usage something struck me as strange.  My swap memory space was extremely low.  This seemed odd, as I thought I had reserved a full 8 Gb of space as a swap partition when I installed my system (I have 4 Gb RAM).  It turns out I had reserved only 8 megabytes, not gigabytes!  I downloaded and used GParted to resize my swap partition, which it did very nicely without messing up my files.  Now I have tons of virtual memory and no more crashes!

Next: DVDs, Printer setup, Sleep mode.

By mannd

I am a retired cardiac electrophysiologist who has worked both in private practice in Louisville, Kentucky and as a Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado in Denver. I am interested not only in medicine, but also in computer programming, music, science fiction, fantasy, 30s pulp literature, and a whole lot more.


  1. Stange how with 4GB of RAM you can still manage to use swap…

    My openSuSE 11.0 with opens with; KDE3.5.9, full options on compiz-fusion, 2xkonqueror & 1xFirefox browsers and a newsreader in ~ 512MB RAM. During the 16hr day I go up to about 1GB of RAM used, I have pushed it up on purpose once and managed 1,5GB by opening 40 tabs in Firefox.
    Swap has never been used.

  2. You know you are probably right. It would crash when running spamato on my email; I get hundreds of stupid spam messages per day and it does seem like spamato stresses the system. But it could have been unrelated to the swap. It did stop happening when I enlarged the swap space; maybe there is something intrinsically bad about having essentially no swap space even with lots of RAM.

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