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

DragonFlyBSD's HAMMER2 Gets Basic FSCK Support

While the Copy-on-Write file-system shouldn't technically require fsck support, basic file-system consistency checking support has been implemented anyhow. In the initial implementation, the fsck code for HAMMER2 cannot repair any damaged file-system but can only verify that the file-system is intact. Read more

A Look at KDE Plasma 5.17 Beta and Report From Akademy 2019

  • KDE Plasma 5.17 Beta Run Through

    In this video, we look at KDE Plasma 5.17 Beta, enjoy!

  • TSDgeos' blog: Akademy 2019

    It's 10 days already since Akademy 2019 finished and I'm already missing it :/ Akademy is a week-long action-packed conference, talks, BoFs, daytrip, dinner with old and new friends, it's all a great combination and shows how amazing KDE (yes, the community, that's our name) is. On the talks side i missed some that i wanted to attend because i had to extend my time at the registration booth helping fellow KDE people that had forgotten to register (yes, our setup could be a bit easier, doesn't help that you have to register for talks, for travel support and for the actual conference in three different places), but I am not complaining, you get to interact with lots of people in the registration desk, it's a good way to meet people you may not have met otherwise, so please make sure you volunteer next year ;) One of the talks i want to highlight is Dan VrĂĄtil's talk about C++, I agree with him that we could do much better in making our APIs more expressive using the power of "modern" C++ (when do we stop it calling modern?). It's a pity that the slides are not up so you'll have to live with KĂŠvin Ottens sketch of it for now.

Programming Leftovers

  • DevNation Live: Event-driven business automation powered by cloud-native Java

    DevNation Live tech talks are hosted by the Red Hat technologists who create our products. These sessions include real solutions and code and sample projects to help you get started. In this talk, presented by Red Hat’s Maciej Swiderski, Principal Software Engineer, and Burr Sutter, Chief Developer Evangelist, you’ll learn about event-driven business automation using Kogito, Quarkus, and more. Kogito is a new Java toolkit, based on Drools and jBPM, that’s made to bring rules and processes to the Quarkus world. This DevNation Live presentation shows how Kogito can be used to build cloud-ready, event-driven business applications, and it includes a demo of implementing the business logic of a complex domain. Kogito itself is defined as a cloud-native business automation toolkit that helps you to build intelligent applications. It’s way more than just a business process or a single business rule—it’s a bunch of business rules, and it’s based on battle-tested capabilities.

  • NVIDIA Video Codec SDK 9.1 Brings CUDA CUStream Support, Other Encoder Improvements

    Following the February release of Video Codec SDK 9.0, NVIDIA recently did a quiet release of the Video Codec SDK 9.1 update that furthers along this cross-platform video encode/decode library.

  • Mike Driscoll: PyDev of the Week: Peter Farrell

    This week we welcome Peter Farrell (@hackingmath) as our PyDev of the Week! Peter is the author Math Adventures with Python and two other math related Python books. You can learn more about Peter by visiting his website.

  • Mutation testing by example: How to leverage failure
  • Reuven Lerner: Looking for Python podcast co-hosts

    As you might know, I’m a panelist on the weekly “Freelancers Show” podcast, which talks about the business of freelancing. The good news: The same company that’s behind the Freelancers Show, Devchat.tv, is putting together a weekly podcast about Python, and I’m going to be on that, too! We’ll have a combination of discussion, interviews with interesting people in the Python community, and (friendly) debates over the current and future state of the language.

  • Getting started with data science using Python

    Data science is an exciting new field in computing that's built around analyzing, visualizing, correlating, and interpreting the boundless amounts of information our computers are collecting about the world. Of course, calling it a "new" field is a little disingenuous because the discipline is a derivative of statistics, data analysis, and plain old obsessive scientific observation. But data science is a formalized branch of these disciplines, with processes and tools all its own, and it can be broadly applied across disciplines (such as visual effects) that had never produced big dumps of unmanageable data before. Data science is a new opportunity to take a fresh look at data from oceanography, meteorology, geography, cartography, biology, medicine and health, and entertainment industries and gain a better understanding of patterns, influences, and causality. Like other big and seemingly all-inclusive fields, it can be intimidating to know where to start exploring data science. There are a lot of resources out there to help data scientists use their favorite programming languages to accomplish their goals, and that includes one of the most popular programming languages out there: Python. Using the Pandas, Matplotlib, and Seaborn libraries, you can learn the basic toolset of data science.

Excellent Utilities: Liquid Prompt – adaptive prompt for Bash & Zsh

This is a new series highlighting best-of-breed utilities. We’re covering a wide range of utilities including tools that boost your productivity, help you manage your workflow, and lots more besides. There’s a complete list of the tools in this series in the Summary section. The Command Line Interface (CLI) is a way of interacting with your computer. And if you ever want to harness all the power of Linux, it’s highly recommended to master it. It’s true the CLI is often perceived as a barrier for users migrating to Linux, particularly if they’re grown up using GUI software exclusively. While Linux rarely forces anyone to use the CLI, some tasks are better suited to this method of interaction, offering inducements like superior scripting opportunities, remote access, and being far more frugal with a computer’s resources. For anyone spending time at the CLI, they’ll rely on the shell prompt. My favorite shell is Bash. By default, the configuration for Bash on popular distributions identifies the user name, hostname, and the current working directory. All essential information. But with Liquid Prompt you can display additional information such as battery status, CPU temperature, and much more. Read more