OpenSUSE Linux Rants

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October 29, 2007

SUSE Admin Job Announcement

by @ 11:41 am. Filed under General SUSE, Work-Related

Job information is as follows. Please contact Jana directly.

Position: Sr. SUSE Linux Architect/ Analyst
Start Date: ASAP
Duration: 14+ Months
Rate: Negotiable
Location: Peoria, IL
Job ID: 10-5-OSTA

Provide technical expertise, consultation and guidance for the development, deployment, support, as well as performance tuning for Linux (SLES 9/10sp1) for the power and x86 processor chipsets.

PRIMARY RESPONSIBIBITIES include but not limited to:
The candidate will be expected to have experience with network based enterprise deployments of SUSE Linux enterprise server.
Must possess a deep technical knowledge of SUSE Linux Enterprise server and have hands-on experience in deploying and troubleshooting systems in a large scale enterprise environment
Must possess a deep technical knowledge and have hands-on experience with driver integration for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for both Intel and Power based platforms
Must possess an expert level of knowledge for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server provisioning tools
Must possess excellent interpersonal and communication (both written and verbal) skills with the ability to interact effectively in a working team environment

Experience with provisioning enterprise Linux server builds using YaST or other automatic network based server build solution required
Experience with Bash shell scripting required
Experience with Setup and creation of a network deployment depot
Experience with implementing, configuring, maintaining and troubleshooting SUSE Linux Enterprise Server
Experience with System p Virtualization technologies (Power 5 + virtual I/O)

Special Requirements:
This individual will normally work first shift, although they need to be shift-flexible. They will be expected to work additional hours when required, including 2nd shift, 3rd shift, weekends and holidays. This individual will be expected to be on a rolling call list to provide after hours support. They will be asked to carry cell phone and/or pager.

The external associate will provide knowledge transfer to existing team members whenever possible. Recommended activities include:
Providing mentoring and guidance to team members on their areas of expertise
Attending and actively participating in Action in Review (AiR) and/or Action Oriented Debrief (AOD) sessions (Lessons Learned sessions)
Communicating lessons learned or best practices to team members
Submitting lessons learned or best practices for publishing within knowledge repository when the potential for reuse in other areas exists
Creating any documentation necessary to support, sustain, or reinforce knowledge sharing activities and ensuring it is stored where the team can access it if the associate transfers to another assignment. (ex: job aids, process and procedure, reference documentation, contact lists, background on strategy decisions, etc.)

For more information, please contact:

Jana Schoberg
Resource Manager/ Technical Recruiter
WiseChoice IT
414.773.0670 – phone
414.607.2066 – fax – email – website – LinkedIn

October 16, 2007

The One Great Use for Windows

by @ 9:29 pm. Filed under General Linux, War

There is one thing that I think really applies to the Windows operating system. This:

October 15, 2007

Linux the Scapegoat for Patent Lawsuits

by @ 10:50 am. Filed under General Linux, Linux News

The whole patent thing for software especially where it challenges Linux and other open source projects is absurd in my mind. It is apparent that there is still room to make money in software. That said, there have been many trends lately for movement to open source. Do not misunderstand me as saying that open source is taking over the software industry. I guess problems arise when companies say, “Well, there is someone who has money who is selling Linux. Let’s see what patents we own that we can use to get money from them.” I’m not informed enough about the case to know whether the whole “IP Innovation LLC suing Red Hat and Novell” thing is of this nature, but boy it sure smells like it to me. Groklaw has already jumped on this one. According to what they’ve found, M$ is making Steve Ballmer’s predictions come true. A Microsoft Exec went to the owner company of IP Innovation in June, and an Intellectual Property expert when there at the beginning of October. The suit was then filed on October 9th. Coincidence? Nope. If the ruling is made for IP Innovation, M$ will have a precedent and then could unleash their attacks on anyone using Red Hat, at least. Linux is making great strides, but I’m afraid it will have less impedance in non-commercial sectors because of M$ and these greedy patent holders. Maybe IP Innovation is legit, but I can’t say I’d give M$ the same benefit of the doubt.

October 10, 2007

The Perfect Desktop – OpenSUSE 10.3 (GNOME)

by @ 6:43 am. Filed under General Linux, General SUSE, How-To, Linux tips, SUSE Tips & Tricks

Acquiring and retaining new users is how we are able to help grow the Linux user base. Contributing to this requires helpful and informative how-tos, much like those supplied by my good buddy Falko Timme. He has written many many great howtos and tutorials on good, better, best, and PERFECT ways to use Linux. One of his most recent posts includes “The Perfect Desktop – OpenSUSE 10.3 (GNOME).”


“This tutorial shows how you can set up an OpenSUSE 10.3 desktop that is a full-fledged replacement for a Windows desktop, i.e. that has all the software that people need to do the things they do on their Windows desktops. The advantages are clear: you get a secure system without DRM restrictions that works even on old hardware, and the best thing is: all software comes free of charge.”

Take a look at this well-written post, as it is packed with excellent information. We’ll forgive him for recommending Gnome over KDE.

Read the entire post here.

October 9, 2007

OpenSUSE Linux – YaST Survey – Show your support!

by @ 9:50 am. Filed under General SUSE, SUSE News

One thing that this latest release of OpenSUSE Linux has demonstrated to me is their willingness to listen to the community. What were the major gripes with prior versions of OpenSUSE? The package manager and multimedia codecs were definitely two of the primary ones. Delighted was I to find that both of these things and a slew of others were the major points of improvement of OpenSUSE over previous versions.

These improvements were brought about through a survey posted earlier this year (results posted here). The successful execution of a survey does not end when the data is gathered, but when the results of the survey have an effect on the project. Team OpenSUSE posted the survey and over 27,000 people responded. Don’t be surprised that the outcome of that survey reflects heavily in the final GM release of OpenSUSE 10.3.

Well, everyone, they want your opinion again. There is a new survey, this time about YaST. So please spread the word. Blog about this survey, announce it wherever possible. Let’s further the cause, and get everyone’s input on how you use YaST, which parts are more important to you, and things of that nature. Show your support to the OpenSUSE folks and let’s give them as much great input as we can!

October 8, 2007

Linux caught sleeping on the job

by @ 6:51 am. Filed under command-line, General Linux, Linux tips

Linux has to be one of the coolest things ever. Its versatility is literally dizzying. It runs Meter Maids, is used onboard the Space Shuttle, and can control the military’s autonomous vehicles.

Of the scores and scores of cool commands, utilities, and features of the Linux operating system, I wanted to take a look at two of perhaps the smallest. Even these have proven very useful in recent days.

The first is the semicolon. This bad boy can be used on the commandline to separate commands that you want to run in sequence. For example, if you wanted to list the contents of the current folder and also view information about your computer’s cpu, you could do this:

ls ; cat /proc/cpuinfo

Why you would ever want to do exactly that series of commands is beyond me, but it’s an example. 🙂

The second item of business is the ‘sleep’ command. This simply makes the OS pause for a number of seconds.

If you wanted to view the contents of the current directory, then pause for 5 seconds, and then view your cpu info:

ls ; sleep 5 ; cat /proc/cpuinfo

OK, time for a real-world application.

Let’s say you have a remote machine whose mail server is choking the connection, making it difficult if not impossible to connect to said system. It is sending out hundreds of huge emails. The bandwidth is being used up, and you cannot connect in to fix the issue. With the assistance of someone who is able to physically sit at the computer, you are able to shut down the mail server, allowing you to connect in remotely.

Now, you are ssh’ed into the affected box. You want to test the mail server to see what is going on. However, you know that as soon as you start up postfix, you will again be unable to connect to the machine. So what do you do?

This was the situation that I was in a couple of days ago. In this instance, I opened up another ssh window and connected into the system. I then ran a series of commands, separated by semicolons, and using ‘sleep’. The idea is that I want the machine to start postfix, run it for 30 seconds, and then shut it back down. This gave me just a few seconds to monitor what was happening before my connection got choked out again. After the 30 seconds, the final command shut down postfix. I was then be able to get back in via ssh.

Here’s the command line I used:

/etc/init.d/postfix start ; sleep 30 ; /etc/init.d/postfix stop

Linux provides a myriad of ways to do whatever task is at hand. Because of this versatility, we can use the semicolon and utilities like ‘sleep’ to help in cases like the one described above.

October 4, 2007

New Feature List for OpenSUSE 10.3

by @ 4:31 pm. Filed under General SUSE, Linux News, SUSE News, SUSE releases

I wanted to take a moment and post a list of the major improvements from OpenSUSE 10.3 over previous versions.

1. Improved boot times – down to just about half of what it used to be (27 seconds from 55 seconds)
2. One-Click Install – installs your RPMs and adds their associated package repositories
3. Package Management Overhaul – ZMD removed, replaced with improved libzypp, zypper, and OpenSUSE Updater
4. Compiz and Compiz Fusion – many added features, effects, and functionality for your 3D accelerated desktop
5. KDE 4 – option to check out the developments in the KDE 4 Desktop Environment
6. Gnome 2.20 – Tomboy sync between computers, evolution attachment reminder
7. 1-CD Installation/Multimedia Support – One CD for KDE installs, one CD for Gnome installs – no more 5-disc downloads
8. Codec Installer – ability to install needed codec support with the click of a button
9. Virtualization – many developments in OpenSUSE’s virtualization support
10. Tons of other sweet stuff – updater tool, repository merge (packman and guru), XFCE 4.4.1 availability, localization, OpenOffice 2.3, community repositories already available, KDEPIM enterprise branch, Giver, and KIWI

That is a very quick summary, more details as follows:

OpenSUSE 10.3 – Improved Boot Times

OpenSUSE 10.3 will include some great improvements to the init boot scripts which will dramatically decrease the time your computer takes to boot up. These come as the result of many different tests and research.

Tests done using a Sony Vaio VGN-FE11S, with completely default installs, local users, and IP configured via DHCP.
10.2 => 55 seconds
10.3 Beta 1 => 27 seconds!

more information here

OpenSUSE 10.3 – One-Click Install: Hassle-Free Installation of Software

Once you click on 1-Click Install you are guided through a wizard that guides you through the simple process of installation the application. It will automatically add the repository for you and install the package.

more information here

OpenSUSE 10.3 – New Package Management

OpenSUSE 10.3 is set to contain a new, significantly improved and more mature package management stack by default. ZMD, the package management component causing problems in SUSE Linux 10.1 and to a lesser extent in OpenSUSE 10.2, has been completely removed and is now replaced by the new libzypp and its tools.

new tools

zypper, an advanced, featureful command-line tool
OpenSUSE Updater, a software updater applet that notifies you about software updates

more information here

OpenSUSE 10.3 – Compiz and Compiz Fusion

Compiz and Xgl are two classic examples of where SUSE engineers have revolutionised the Linux desktop. OpenSUSE 10.3 will contain the latest Compiz 0.5.4 installed by default, and Compiz Fusion – the result of a merge between the Compiz and Beryl communities – will be available in the official online repository for all to get through YaST.


1. having native KDE window decorations while still running compiz
2. Blurring of windows (such as inactive/background windows)
3. The ability to highlight particular areas of the screen or to just draw on any part of it – useful for presentations
4. The animation plugin produces beautiful window effects on window transformations.
5. Added cube effects, incl. viewing all desktops at once
6. Added accessibility features and functionality

CompizConfig Settings Manager

Compiz Fusion has a completely new manager for handling its plugins and settings, as well as all settings belonging to Compiz itself: ccsm. It has a more accessible and intuitive design while still retaining all the same configurability.

window navigation

There are now a couple of possiblities, a Ring Switcher and a Shift Switcher. The Ring Switcher rotates the Windows as you press Super+Tab, and the Shift Switcher focuses onto one window while placing the others to the side; you can then shift which window is focused, while throwing the others to the side.

more information here

OpenSUSE 10.3 – KDE 4

The old component-style of packaging for KDE has also gone, and applications are now in separate individual packages. Games are the first components to be included in KDE 4. If you would like a LiveCD with KDE 4 on it, see the KDE Four Live CD.

more information here

OpenSUSE 10.3 – SUSE-Polished GNOME 2.20

The new Note Synchronisation feature allows you to synchronise your notes with all the computers that have Tomboy. If you mention an attached file in an email you are sending, and forget to attach it, Evolution will now pop up a little reminder asking you if you really wish to send the email without an attachment. There is also considerable work done on the new GTK+ front-end to YAST.

more information here

OpenSUSE 10.3 – 1-CD Installation & Multimedia support

In the past, OpenSUSE releases were primarily provided over 5 open source software (OSS) CDs, 1 optional non-oss add-on CD, or the 1 DVD which was the sum of those CDs. Though you only needed 3 of the first 5 OSS CDs for a default KDE and GNOME installation, it was not seen as an ideal scenario. Now the 5 OSS CDs have been commpletely dropped, and in their place comes two new CDs.

1 OSS CD for a complete KDE installation

1 OSS CD for a complete GNOME installation

An extremely nice feature in the installation of OpenSUSE 10.3 is the new default option of adding repositories before the installation. OpenSUSE has always had a default installation for each desktop environment, but it has also always given you the choice of installing exactly what packages you want from the given media.

OpenSUSE 10.3 – OpenSUSE Codec Installer

Now, with a completely default OSS installation, if you try to play an MP3 (in Amarok or Banshee) you will get a nice little dialog informing you that you have attempted to play an audio file that is currently not supported. It also gives you the option to install the additional codecs providing you with MP3. This link will take you to a place where you quite simply only need to click on one link, and, using One-Click-Install grab the GStreamer Fluendo codec for you and install it (not available in RC1, but will be in the final release), leaving you ready to play MP3s straight away!

more information here

OpenSUSE 10.3 – Virtualization

VirtualBox – VirtualBox is a wonderful new open source virtualisation product, with a huge range of capabilities, and excellent documentation. As well as having nice enterprise features, for the regular openSUSE user it can be a great tool for trying out new installations or live CDs of openSUSE, and even other operating systems and distributions altogether.

Xen 3.1 – openSUSE gets all the enterprise Xen virtualisation features, such as full support for Xen 3.1 virtualization on both 32- and 64-bit x86-based architectures with the capability to host 32-bit virtual machines on 64-bit virtualization host servers. It also features support for both paravirtualization and full virtualization on the same server, leveraging both Intel VT and AMD Virtualization (AMD-V) processor capabilities. Also, a fully graphical and command-line virtual machine management tools for easy virtual machine (VM) administration and configuration, as well as tools for VM installation and lifecycle management.

VM YaST Module – To help with setting up and configuring Xen, openSUSE even has a nice Install Hypervisor and Tools (in the yast2-vm package) module which can do a lot of the work for you. After the install has finished you’ll have two extra YaST modules to create and manage virtual machines.

Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) – Also in this release is the latest Linux kernel virtualisation infrastructure, KVM. KVM itself is to be considered experimental, but it is progressing very quickly. The latest versions come with reports of even better performance and Windows Vista support.

more information here

OpenSUSE 10.3 – A Plethora of Other Great Improvements

OpenSUSE Updater as an Upgrade Tool too – ‘updates’ refers to patches, ‘upgrades’ refers to package versions – the OpenSUSE Updater tool does both of these important tasks

Guru Repository Merging into Packman

Xfce 4.4.1 – An impressive lightweight desktop environment – somewhere between window managers and full-blown desktop environments like KDE or Gnome

OpenSUSE Community Translations – The community is now able to participate in localization efforts

Redesigned Network Card Module – The new one is simpler, clearer, and better reflects the more common situations and usage of the network card module 2.3 – bunches of new features – really there are too many to list

Community Repositories – added new Community Repositories module which provides you with a nice list of the main official OpenSUSE repositories, popular repositories from the OpenSUSE Build Service, and other repositories added by the community from other locations.

KDEPIM Enterprise Branch – This version contains a whole bunch of fixes and a few handy new features such as the Favourite Folders container

Giver – Easy Local File Sharing – To transfer images, files or even folders, all you have to do is drag it onto the person you want to send it to. They will get a small dialog asking them to accept or decline receiving the file. If they accept, it’ll pop up right onto their desktop. Simple!

KIWI – Unlike other system image tools, KIWI is completely configurable and has a very clean design. You can specify exactly the packages that you want, and you can build a full range of images including Live CDs, Installer Images, virtualisation systems like QEMU/VMware and Xen images, network (pxe) images and more. It is even now used as the base for LTSP in OpenSUSE.

more information here

Full details are available from the OpenSUSE Sneak Peeks page.

If you have any additional information or corrections to this list, please let me know!

OpenSUSE 10.3 is now AVAILABLE!

by @ 7:45 am. Filed under SUSE releases

Let’s all hear a huge cheer for the availability of OpenSUSE 10.3! The Novell announcement appeared this morning, here’s an excerpt:

“Novell today announced the availability of openSUSE(R) 10.3, the newest version of the award-winning community Linux distribution. Available for free download or in a convenient packaged retail edition, openSUSE 10.3 provides everything a user needs to get started with Linux. To improve the user experience, openSUSE 10.3 includes a flexible Linux-Windows dual-boot configuration, improved user interface, Microsoft Office file compatibility with the latest office productivity suite, and enhanced multimedia support.”

Read Novell’s press release here

Read the official announcement here.

Download the CDs here

Download the DVDs here

Make sure you come to the OpenSUSE Release Party tonight!

October 3, 2007

OpenSUSE 10.3 Release Party at the OSTC at Novell

by @ 10:35 am. Filed under General SUSE, Linux News, novell, SUSE News, SUSE releases


We are having an OpenSUSE 10.3 RELEASE PARTY on the Novell campus. It will be in the Open Source Technology Center (building A) on Thursday at 6:00 PM. Alrighty, you have been tasked with spreading the word and bringing all your i-would-use-linux-but-i-only-know-windows-and-dont-know-how-to-learn-linux-unless-you-teach-me friends! We will have install servers available, and you may even get an earful of what’s new in OpenSUSE 10.3 from yours truly.

UPDATE: According to my sources, “Novell is going to cover pizza and soda.”

Novell Campus Map

Click image for larger version

Image legend:
1. North-bounders coming in on I-15 take this exit (exit number 263, I believe).
2. South-bounders coming in on I-15 take this exit (exit number 263).
3. This is building A where the Open Source Technology Center (OSTC) is.

For those using Google Maps or Google Earth, the address is:

1800 Novell Pl
Provo, UT 84606

Everyone come. 🙂

October 2, 2007

Delete all Messages From Your Postfix Queue

by @ 4:24 pm. Filed under How-To, Linux tips

Time for a quick tip regarding Postfix. It beats Exchange, hands-down.

OK, that’s not really my tip (unless you didn’t already know that).

I use Postfix. I host a family mailing list on my server. My parents’ siblings love to send large amounts of email messages with large attachments to said family mailing list. This caused my server much headache today.

Basically, all I had to do was delete the messages from the Postfix queue and I was all good.

If you ever have this need, the simple command:

postsuper -d ALL

will delete all the messages from the queue. Yes, this is a little brutal, so if you want to delete only certain kinds of messages, read the man page and it will explain everything to you.

So there’s my tip of the day.

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