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Computers & Software

Initial Experience With OpenSuSE 11.2

I attempted to upgrade both Krell, my ToughBook laptop, and SuperSluggo, my main computer to OpenSuSE 11.2 this weekend. Since SUSE was my first Linux I have remained partial to it, only using Ubuntu at one time on a now defunct partition of my wife’s computer, MonsterMagnet. Anyway, the SuperSluggo upgrade from OpenSuSE 10.3 to 11.2 went pretty well as these things go. I selected the update option instead of new installation — with all the time and energy spent in tweaking my setup I can’t bear to think of wiping it out and starting all over with a new installation. I realize that updating can cause problems, and so I braced myself for a long hard slog this weekend.

Well as mentioned it wasn’t quite as bad as it could have been. The installation program didn’t touch my 2 MS Windows partitions, and didn’t hiccup once during the process. On the other hand, after installation and rebooting, I was rudely dumped into a Linux console with a login prompt blinking at me. No X11, No KDE!  I actually wasn’t too surprised. I knew the Nvidia card I have would require downloading proprietary drivers which can’t come with an open source distribution like OpenSuSE. So I rebooted to the “failsafe” mode of 11.2, and, surprise, surprise! The same thing happened! Just a command prompt, still no graphics! So I used the ncurses form of Yast2 to add the Nvidia repository, installed the Nvidia driver, and rebooted to a pretty green high resolution graphical screen! KDE 4.3 was up and running smoothly. In fact the desktop seemed much faster and more responsive than the 10.3 distribution version. Programs generally work fine, though Amarok crashed on startup. I installed the mp3 support from the OpenSuSE site, after which Amarok starts up fine (but still won’t play mp3s — I haven’t figured out why yet). Overall I am pleased with the upgrade thus far.

Poor Krell the laptop hasn’t fared so well. I had 11.1 running on it, tried the zypper dup route to upgrade over the internet, but entered into an intractable hell of dependency warning messages. I then tried upgrading via the downloaded DVD, but the installation halts with an error message saying the CD can’t be mounted on some subdirectory of /var. I think my partitions on Krell may be too small; Krell contains a Windows XP partition besides the Linux one. But I am not sure. I may use GParted to expand the root partition and see if that works. Otherwise, maybe it’s time to switch to Ubuntu on Krell.

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.

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