OpenSUSE Linux Rants

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June 25, 2008

20 Reasons Linux Users Like Linux (and you might, too)

by @ 6:52 am. Filed under freebies

One of the major inhibitors to the spreading of Linux, as I see it, is that people don’t know why they should try it. Other reasons may include lack of support for their favorite game, or that Photoshop doesn’t run on Linux. For those of us who weren’t stopped by those reasons, why did we switch? What is it about Linux that makes it a viable alternative?

A couple of weeks ago, I posted an article called “Major Linux Migrations: An Unbelievable List of Nearly 100 From Around the Globe.” One reason for this is so that people could gain a perspective of just how many migrations have taken place. And that list doesn’t even include them all.

The next question might be, “Well why do people find Linux attractive?” It does not support your favorite game. Photoshop does not run on it. There must be reasons for using it that are more compelling than the reasons for not using it.

A few hours of study and research revealed some eye-opening and thought-provoking reasons that Linux users like using Linux. What you’ll like about this is that I made every attempt possible to keep it objective. This study is available as a free ebook from my blog at OpenSUSE Linux Rants. To get your copy, take a look in the upper-right hand corner of the site.

I decided to replace the detractive Linus quote with something more constructive.

In addition to the “Why Linux?” ebook, there are several others available, including:

openSUSE 11.0 – Start-Up Manual (228 pgs, by Novell) This manual provided by the good folks at Novell goes over many things you’ll want to know when learning to use openSUSE Linux 11.0.

Investigation 101Gathering Information about Hardware, Filesystem, and Processes (22 pgs, by Scott Morris) Sometimes, you need to gather information about your Linux system. This can be so that you know what is happening on your machine, or so that you can install hardware, or so that you can better describe details to other people who are trying to help you resolve an issue. This book provides different methods of gathering such information.

YASTInstallation and Management of Software (23 pgs, by Scott Morris) One of the very first things that users need to know is how to install software in Linux. This book is a no-nonsense introduction to mastering the basics of using YAST to manage your system software. It also provides a few tips on how to get all the latest software from all the great servers.

The Easiest Linux Guide You’ll Ever Readan introduction to Linux for Windows users (162 pgs, by Scott Morris) In 2006 I published this book for SUSE 10.1, though almost all of it is relevant to openSUSE 10.2 and 10.3. It was mainly written for people who are competent with using Windows, who have never attempted to use Linux but are interested in giving it a try.

openSUSE 10.3Start-Up Manual (258 pgs, by Novell, 09/14/2007) Start-up manual provided by Novell for openSUSE 10.3.

openSUSE 10.2Start-Up Manual (236 pgs, by Novell, 11/29/2006) Start-up manual provided by Novell for openSUSE 10.3.

I’ve gotten lots of great feedback on those that I wrote.

If you don’t get anything else from this article, make sure to glean this gold nugget: The Start-Up Manual for each release is included directly on the install disc itself! This is true for the DVD, although I did not see it on the CDs.

Throw your DVD into your drive and mount it. Go into the /docu folder in the root of the DVD. You’ll see an ‘en’ directory and a ‘de’ directory. ‘en’ is for English and ‘de’ is for German. In each respective folder, you’ll find at least 4 excellent ebooks. One to get started quickly with Gnome, one quickstart for KDE, a reference, and a startup guide for openSUSE.

Remember, kids. When you download your new DVD ISOs, head to the /docu folder for the free startup guides.

For those not available on the DVD, you can always check my library.

June 24, 2008

Interview with Christer Edwards, Ubuntu Utah Founder

by @ 10:00 am. Filed under interview

Say hello to Ubuntu Utah Founder Christer Edwards. Being one of the major open source contributors recognized around the community, I was curious to know more about Christer.

Please tell us who you are.

Christer Edwards, aka Zelut. 28yrs old. Geek.

How long have you been in the tech industry (i.e., made a living through your knowledge of computers)?

I’ve always been interested in computers but have only really got into “the industry” over the past few years. Previous to that was mostly tinkering and self-study. Currently I’m working as a Linux instructor for Guru Labs, teaching primarily RedHat Enterprise Linux.

How many different operating systems (either Open Source or proprietary) have you used?

Linux, Windows and Mac are the primary ones. I have not owned (or plan to own) a Windows machine in nearly three years. At home we have Ubuntu desktops, laptops and servers and my wife uses an iMac with OSX Leopard.

What draws you to the philosophy of Open Source Software?

Open development. Transparency. The *only* people who benefit from proprietary products (whether it be code or hardware) are the vendors. The open, transparent philosophy in the Open Source / Free Software world is what draws me. I am free to use the information in any way I see fit and no one is able to control how, where or for what reason I use my machine.

What was the Linux distribution you started with? When did you first start using Linux?

I first started tinkering with Free Software nearly ten years ago with a BSD variant and ended up melting a video card fighting with X11. After that I took a few years off (hehe) and eventually made my way back to RedHat 9. About the time they “went corporate” with RHEL I got a little burned and went back to XP for a year or so (this was also due to some nagging by the then-girlfriend). In early 2005 I was looking for a solution regarding viruses and the like and thought I would give Linux a try again. Ubuntu single-CD installer downloads faster than a Fedora DVD so Ubuntu made it to my machine and has stuck ever since.

Which Linux distributions have you used, and for how long did you use each?

I’ve used slackware, Mandrake (when it was mandrake), Fedora, opensuse, and Ubuntu.

What is your preferred Linux distribution? Why do you like it more than the others you’ve tried?

I prefer Ubuntu far more than the other distributions out there for a number of reasons. 1) compared with Fedora, Ubuntu actually puts focus on usability vs just bleeding-edge (although Fedora should be applauded for constantly pushing the envelope). 2) I prefer it over openSUSE recently because in the 10.x series there have been too many big changes. rug, smart, zypper.. zypper again. Major changes like that have made for a rocky road and I’d rather just get work done. Also openSUSE seems to try and re-invent the wheel constantly vs use established tools such as kickstart, yum, apparmour, etc. If openSUSE were to become a little more.. established I don’t mind it, but until all the smoke has settled its too volatile for me.

Do you contribute to any specific distribution? Tutorials, maintain wiki articles, develop packages, other types of personal efforts?

I contribute to the Ubuntu project by way of localized support teams, bug work, wiki contribution, etc. I also maintain the blog, which has regular instruction on how to make the most out of your ubuntu / linux machine. I have also recently begun working on .deb packaging and the Ubuntu MOTU project to help maintain the community supported repositories.

Are you part of any organizations or user groups that you would recommend? for local ubuntu support. for a collection of utah based free software groups and resources.

<end interview>

There you have it directly from the source: Christer Edwards. Take a look at Christer’s Linked-In Profile, or his Launchpad Page.

June 19, 2008

OpenSUSE 11.0 Now Available – updates, repos, and gory details

by @ 12:35 am. Filed under SUSE releases

OpenSUSE 11 has some major new features. How cliche does that sound? Woo woo, look at my shiny new toy. We’ve all heard that with every release since the beginning of time. But could I just borrow your ear for a second (maybe an eyeball or two)? There have been some SPECTACULAR distribution releases this year, such as Ubuntu 8.04 and Fedora 9. The KDE desktop is developing quickly with the new KDE4 finally available.

What am I trying to say here? I could hardly stop smiling as I went through my new OpenSUSE 11.0 installation. Watch a kid’s face going on a DisneyLand ride for the first time. That was me as I was looking around in OpenSUSE 11.0. Truly biased words of a Linux zealot, you say. Come on, don’t rain on my parade. I’m telling you, you will LOVE this!

Make it interesting, and get to it, I hear you saying.

List of Updates

OK, time to play the “bullet list” card, then. Here is a list (not comprehensive) of the major features and upgrades available in OpenSUSE 11:

Installation Sources

As always, there are a bunch of installation repositories that you’ll want to at least be aware of. I have put together a script to add them to openSUSE 11.0 for you. Please do not just run the script. Go through and remove the ones you do not need. Do not add them all.


if [ "$EUID" != "0" ]; then
  echo "You must have root privileges to run this script!"
  exit 1

printf "################################################################################\n"
printf "by Scott Morris (2008-06-18)\n"
printf "\n\n"
printf "You *MUST* be connected to the Internet for this script to work!\n\n"
printf "################################################################################\n"

rpm --import
rpm --import
rpm --import

zypper ar "NVidia"
zypper ar "openSUSE Non-OSS"
zypper ar "openSUSE OSS"
zypper ar "Apache"
zypper ar "Geo"
zypper ar "Banshee"
zypper ar "erlang"
zypper ar "haskell"
zypper ar "perl"
zypper ar "prolong"
zypper ar "python"
zypper ar "smalltalk"
zypper ar "c - c++"
zypper ar "building"
zypper ar "gcc"
zypper ar "tools"
zypper ar "scm"
zypper ar "openSUSE BuildService Education - Desktop"
zypper ar "openSUSE BuildService Education - Server"
zypper ar "Emulators"
zypper ar "openSUSE BuildService - Wine"
zypper ar "Games"
zypper ar "Gnome Community"
zypper ar "Gnome Stable"
zypper ar "ham radio"
zypper ar "KDE3 Backports"
zypper ar "KDE3 Community"
zypper ar "openSUSE BuildService - KDE3"
zypper ar "openSUSE BuildService - KDE 4 Community"
zypper ar "openSUSE BuildService - KDE 4 Desktop"
zypper ar "openSUSE BuildService - KDE 4 Extra-Apps"
zypper ar "Mono Community"
zypper ar "Mono Community+"
zypper ar "Mono"
zypper ar "Mozilla"
zypper ar "Audio"
zypper ar "Photo"
zypper ar "net-snmp"
zypper ar "Novell NTS"
zypper ar "NX"
zypper ar " Extras"
zypper ar "OpenOffice"
zypper ar "OpenSync"
zypper ar "qfix"
zypper ar "science"
zypper ar "Postgres"
zypper ar "PHP Applications"
zypper ar "PHP Extensions"
zypper ar "subversion"
zypper ar "swamp"
zypper ar "Telepathy"
zypper ar "vdr"
zypper ar "XFCE"
zypper ar "XGL"
zypper ar "openSUSE BuildService - XOrg & Compiz Fusion"
zypper ar "XML"
zypper ar "Update"
zypper ar "VideoLAN"
zypper ar "suser-j.engelh"
zypper ar "Madwifi"
zypper ar "Packman"

yes | zypper ref

printf "\nThe script has now finished. Congratulations\n"

There’s the script for ya’ll who copy and paste. Don’t forget to “chmod +x” it. If the copy and paste thing doesn’t work for you, download and use the script from the link above.

These install sources will not refresh automatically. To turn that feature on, you’ll have to do it manually in YAST.

openSUSE Build Service

Sometimes, you want the very latest bleeding-edge version of a package. YAST may not find the version you seek. Even with the above repositories added. You may find it, however, in the openSUSE Build Service. Go to that page, search for the package you need, click the 1-click install button next to the version you would like installed. For example, using the software repositories listed above, the most recent version of pidgin that I see is 2.4.2-4.1. However, using the Build Service, I found one that is version 2.4.2-10.4.

For different methods of installing software in openSUSE 11.0, check out an article I wrote about a week ago, called How many ways can you install an RPM in OpenSUSE Linux?

Additional Resources

Product Highlights of openSUSE 11.0 – gives a general description of some of the main package updates

openSUSE 11.0 Release Notes

OpenSUSE 11.0 Main Page

Sneak Peeks at openSUSE 11.0 – a series of interviews and insights revolving around changes and improvements in openSUSE 11.0

Guide to openSUSE 11.0 – A general description of improvements in openSUSE 11.0

openSUSE 11.0 Screenshots – you cannot miss these gorgeous screenshots – a third-party review of openSUSE 11.0

changes in zypper in openSUSE 11.0

Things to do after installing openSUSE 11.0 – how to pimp out your new installation. Skip the “Setting up repositories” part if you’ve used my script to set them up for you.

openSUSE Forums – if you should get stuck with anything, start here

openSUSE 11.0 Package List – the entire package list for openSUSE 11.0

No Time Like the Present

There are loads of improvements with OpenSUSE 11.0. The package management is unbelievably fast. They have done a great job with the new algorithms that make it absolutely fly. The new Oxygen icon theme and the Plasma desktop shell catch the eye and are sure to impress. Things are much easier to use than they have ever been before. It’s the perfect time to download an image and give it a whirl. With this release, it is no longer possible to say that Linux is hard to use. If you are using Windows, especially XP, you are about to get the boot from Microsoft. Why not take a look at a nicely-polished, well-done Linux distribution?

For the apprehensive, I have a free “Intro to Linux Course” on my OpenSUSE Linux Blog on the left side.

Get Your Copy – NOW AVAILABLE!

If you want the Addon CD, Gnome LiveCD, KDE LiveCD, or the network install CD, you can get those for i386, x86_64, and ppc from here: openSUSE 11.0 CD ISOs. PLEASE use mirrors where possible!

Deltas for all of the above plus the DVD images for i386, x86_64, and ppc are available from here: openSUSE 11.0 deltas. PLEASE use mirrors where possible!

Looking for the DVD ISOs for the i386, x86_64, and ppc architectures? Get those here: openSUSE 11.0 DVD ISOs. PLEASE use mirrors where possible!

Torrents for the CD and DVD images are also available here: openSUSE 11.0 torrents.

June 17, 2008

OpenSUSE Linux 11.0: Your XP End of Life Solution

by @ 11:31 am. Filed under General Linux, Linux migrations, War

When I did the Novell Request an App Survey (follow-ups: article 1, article 2, article 3), a few things were brought into focus. Using the idea of supply and demand, you can assume that software development targets platforms based off the demand principle. If there’s a demand, the supply will rise to fill it. If there’s no demand, the supply will dwindle. Basic economics.

Take, then, this thought: Vista’s big problem: 92 percent of developers ignoring it. Well, when Microsoft admits Vista (is a) failure, you know it has to be bad. The kicker? More developers are writing software for Linux than for Vista.

What does M$ do? They use their tried-and-true iron-fisted dictatorship tactics and force the issue. How are they doing it this time? Killing off their most popular operating system to date to force people to upgrade to Vista. OMG, STFU, WTFH? Hold the phone. You are going to annihilate your most popular product to try and force people to buy your most unpopular product? OK, I haven’t been to the latest MS board meetings, but someone needs a conference call with their marketing department.

How about this, then…. Find a way to transition (where possible and appropriate) to Linux. Pick any of the most mature distributions with the tools that you need. For email-checking and web-surfing home XP users, this will be fairly painless. For businesses, the non-specialized end-user desktops should be easy to switch over. Especially with the release of OpenSUSE 11.0 imminent. Download it. Take a look. Try things out. Give it a few weeks. Then, when XP is officially dead, switch completely over.

Sure, many cases will be a little more complex than that. But if I gave my business to a corporation that snubbed me as hard as M$ does to their customers, you’d hear me breaking the sound barrier getting out of there:

Me Breaking the Sound Barrier getting away from MS

June 16, 2008

Interview with Clint Savage, Fedora Ambassador

by @ 6:50 am. Filed under interview

Please welcome our guest today, Clint Savage, Founder of the Utah Open Source Foundation, and Fedora Ambassador. He is also a Linux Instructor by way of profession. Having met him in person and finding him a neat and interesting person, it seemed appropriate to find out more about him. I contacted him via email and asked a few questions, to which he was kind enough to respond. Here is who he is and a few of his thoughts regarding Linux and open source.

Please tell us who you are.

As I tell on my website at, my name is Clint Savage, people online call me herlo.

How long have you been in the tech industry (i.e., made a living through your knowledge of computers)?

I’ve been using computers since I was about 10 or 11 years old. With the Apple IIe in 5th grade, I started getting interested in the coolness of it all. My first real program was Logo and I built a cool spaceship that dropped bombs on the world below.

As far as my technology career, it really started right out of high-school as the ‘Tech Guy’ at a small medical transcription firm called Remington-Fox. I started programming in 1998 as a Java developer for Big Planet, now part of Nu Skin International in Provo. So I guess that’s about 10+ years of development, and 15 years overall.

How many different operating systems (either Open Source or proprietary) have you used?

Oh gee. I’ve used everything from many distros of Linux to Dos, Windows to Mac OS 9, Solaris, HP-UX (very little) and the BSD family. I came to Red Hat Linux in 1998 (around Red Hat 5.1 or so) and have been using that off and on as my primary OS ever since.

What draws you to the philosophy of Open Source Software?

For me its about the community as a whole. I’ve never met so many smart people in my life willing to share their knowledge with others. In the business world there seems to be this philosopy of ‘someone will steal everything I know if I share’. While I can understand this attitude for some situations, I can’t justify that overall. The community and businesses around open source do not seem to be this way. In fact, the changing mentality of many of the businesses starting to embrace open source is the reason I love this area.

I’m also a big fan of the release early, release often concept in the open source development structure. I find myself willing to give away code to others so they may learn how I did something, and vice versa. To me, its about sharing and growing together as a community, improving it as a whole. Nobody should be left behind if they’d like to learn.

What was the Linux distribution you started with? When did you first start using Linux?

I started with Red Hat 4.2, and quickly moved to 5.1. This was about 1997/1998.

Which Linux distributions have you used, and for how long did you use each?

I started with Red Hat and used that for a few years, until about 2001. I tried Mandrake, Gentoo, LFS and others while running Red Hat as my primary OS. In about 2003, I got back into Linux and found Fedora Core 3/4. I have tried YellowDog, LinuxMint, Ubuntu, PuppyLinux, attempted to set up Slackware and other various ones I’ve tried just to make sure I’ve been well versed. Most recently, I tried Foresight Linux, its a distro to watch but defintely needs to mature some.

What is your preferred Linux distribution? Why do you like it more than the others you’ve tried?

As a Fedora Ambassador, I’m pretty happy with the Fedora community and the Fedora Project. I’ve decided that you run a distro based upon your preferences, but you stick with it because of the community.

Do you contribute to any specific distribution? Tutorials, maintain wiki articles, develop packages, other types of personal efforts?

Recently, I joined the Fedora Docs project, and have been helping by contributing screencast videos for the Fedora Marketing team. In addition, with Utah Open Source, we try to run each of the main distributions (Fedora, Ubuntu, OpenSUSE) just to keep up. I’m a fan of logging bugs, but I don’t do it every day.

Are you part of any organizations or user groups that you would recommend?

I would highly recommend Fedora as a great organization. In fact, the organization I founded, Utah Open Source has taken a good bit of their ideas as good pieces we’d like to implement throughout our programs. I’d recommend that most people find a good Local User Group in Utah, but my interests currently involve python so I enjoy the Utah Python User group. Other good groups include the Salt Lake Linux User Group (, Ubuntu Utah (, Provo Linux User Group and some new start up groups including the Ogden Area Linux User Group ( and the Utah Database User Group (

<end interview>

So there you have it, folks. When you have a moment, check out Also, when you get a moment, take a look at the Utah Open Source Foundation home page.

June 13, 2008

This Should Brighten Your Day

by @ 12:47 pm. Filed under humor

I feel like some funny time. Uh, here:



And some Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey:

I can still recall old Mr. Barnslow getting out every morning and nailing a fresh load of tadpoles to that old board of his. Then he’d spin it round and round, like a wheel of fortune, and no matter where it stopped, he’d yell “Tadpoles! Tadpoles is a winner!” We all thought he was crazy. But then, we had some growing up to do.

I hope they never find out that lightning has a lot of vitamins in it, because do you hide from it or not?

Like jewels in a crown, the precious stones glittered in the queen’s round metal hat.

It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man.

June 12, 2008

A Unicorn and Gnome

by @ 4:57 pm. Filed under humor

As everyone knows, I am a KDE proponent. This means that articles that make fun of gnome are funny. Check out this real unicorn.

Some of the truest quotes from this article are as follows:

“Enumerate all the features you want your app to have.”
“Cut 90% of them. Because they’re hard to do. But tell everyone that they don’t actually need that feature.”
“Implement 2% of them. Hide the other 8% in gconf. Hide them well.”
“Your interface must not have more than 4 buttons.”

Take a look at How to write a Gnome Application

How many ways can you install an RPM in OpenSUSE Linux?

by @ 7:02 am. Filed under command-line, How-To, SUSE Tips & Tricks

Package management in OpenSUSE in recent years has had its share of challenges. In OpenSUSE 10.1, the package management was an epic trainwreck. Package management in OpenSUSE 10.3 is as good as that was bad. There are various types of speed improvements. Some of them huge. There is some caching of the repository package info. Progress bars so the user knows what’s going on. All sorts of goodness.

But I wanted to see how many ways I could install a package on OpenSUSE 10.3 (and 11.0, for that matter) without any help from any third-party package management tools that don’t come stock on a fresh OpenSUSE install. Like no apt, yum, smart, etc. Just using the package management tools that come on the fresh install, how many ways can one install a package? There’s a method to this madness, too. You never know under what circumstances you’ll have what access to the machine you’re working on, especially if it is remote. One of the mantras of Linux pros is that there is four billion ways to skin a cat. OK, so I made that up. It’s good to know many ways of doing the same thing, though.

Especially if we want to automate something. If we do it one way, maybe it requires human interaction. If we do it a different way, no human interaction is required, and thus, we can automate that process.

OK, without any more excessive yammer, let’s take a look, shall we?

RPM Installation Methods

1. Use YAST – Let’s get the obvious one out of the way. Click on the YAST icon, put in your root password. In the window that appears, select SOFTWARE from the left, and SOFTWARE MANAGEMENT on the right. At some point, the YAST Package Management window appears. Search for the desired package, click ACCEPT. Approve any additional necessary packages. YAST installs everything, and asks if you want to install or remove more packages. Say no, and you’re done.

This is the classic way to install packages in OpenSUSE using YAST. One benefit is that it does a good job of resolving dependencies for you. One possible drawback is that it reauires all kinds of human interaction. So there’s our first way.

2. Use zypper – This is a powerful command-line tool used in OpenSUSE much in the same way we might use something like apt-get. To see all the ways you can use this tool, run zypper –help from a command line:

[2318][root@linux:/]$ zypper --help
        --help, -h              Help.
        --version, -V           Output the version number.
        --quiet, -q             Suppress normal output, print only error messages.
        --verbose, -v           Increase verbosity.
        --terse, -t             Terse output for machine consumption.
        --table-style, -s       Table style (integer).
        --rug-compatible, -r    Turn on rug compatibility.
        --non-interactive, -n   Don't ask anything, use default answers automatically.
        --no-gpg-checks         Ignore GPG check failures and continue.
        --root, -R <dir>        Operate on a different root directory.

        help, ?                 Help
        shell, sh               Accept multiple commands at once
        install, in             Install packages or resolvables
        remove, rm              Remove packages or resolvables
        search, se              Search for packages matching a pattern
        repos, lr               List all defined repositories.
        addrepo, ar             Add a new repository
        removerepo, rr          Remove specified repository
        renamerepo, nr          Rename specified repository
        modifyrepo, mr          Modify specified repository
        refresh, ref            Refresh all repositories
        patch-check, pchk       Check for patches
        patches, pch            List patches
        list-updates, lu        List updates
        xml-updates, xu         List updates and patches in xml format
        update, up              Update installed resolvables with newer versions.
        info, if                Show full information for packages
        patch-info              Show full information for patches
        source-install, si      Install a source package

To install a package from the command line using zypper, you’ll do that this way:

[2321][root@linux:/]$ zypper install bzflag
* Reading repository 'openSUSE-10.3-Updates' cache
* Reading repository 'openSUSE-10.3-OSS-KDE 10.3' cache
* Reading repository 'Jpackage' cache
* Reading repository 'Main Repository (NON-OSS)' cache
* Reading repository 'Eric Lavar - Germany' cache
* Reading repository 'Main Repository (OSS)' cache
* Reading installed packages [100%]

The following NEW package is going to be installed:

Overall download size: 10.8 M. After the operation, additional 15.0 M will be used.
Continue? [yes/no]: yes
Downloading package bzflag-2.0.8-78.x86_64, 10.8 M (15.0 M unpacked)
Downloading: media
* Downloading [100%]
Downloading: bzflag-2.0.8-78.x86_64.rpm
* Downloading [100%]
* Installing: bzflag-2.0.8-78 [100%]

It resolves all dependencies, and installs everything it needs. Great way to do things without so much human interaction. There are even flags that will allow us to omit human interaction entirely (–non-interactive and –no-gpg-checks). Very nice.

3. Use the rpm command – Every once in awhile, there is a package that YAST cannot find in the available repositories. When this happens, I head over to one of three places:, Rpmfind, or In almost every case, I can find an RPM that was built for whatever version of OpenSUSE that I am using on that particular box. I just download the RPM in question, and install it with the rpm command. Many people suggest doing this in the following manner:

[2215][scott@linux:~]$ rpm -Uvh [full path to RPM here]

This is one of the possibly more difficult ways to install an RPM. Not because it’s a difficult command, but because it doesn’t resolve dependencies. If there are dependencies, you get to resolve those babies yourself. It’s possible, but I would definitely prefer a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

4. 1-Click Install – Tell you what, one of the coolest things that OpenSUSE has come up with thus far is the 1-Click Install. At first, I thought it was an April Fool’s Joke. But realizing it wasn’t April, I decided to give it a try. To see how cool this is, head over to the OpenSUSE Build Service. Search for a package like kopete. Scroll through the results. When you find the one you want to install, click on the “1-Click Install” button off to the right side. You’ll have to verify some things and provide your root password, but other than that, it is virtually hands-off installation of the package. Hands-down easiest way to install packages in OpenSUSE.

5. Install with YAST from custom installation repository – Sometimes, you will have an rpm that you want installed, but cannot find it in YAST. You can download it and try to install it with rpm. The problem is that it has 12 dependencies. What then? Switch distributions to something more sensible? No way, we’ll just take the easy way out. Create our own repository and point YAST to that. This process is very simple.

Install the createrepo package. Then, create a directory to be used as the repository. Dump the RPM in there. Then, run the createrepo command on that directory. For example, make a directory called /my_inst_src. Throw your RPM (as hard as you can) into that folder. Then, create the repository with this command:

[2246][root@linux:/home/scott]$ createrepo /my_inst_src
1/1 - pidgin-2.4.2-5.1.i586.rpm
Saving Primary metadata
Saving file lists metadata
Saving other metadata

Then, just add that directory as an installation source in YAST=>SOFTWARE=>SOFTWARE REPOSITORIES.

Finally, go into YAST=>SOFTWARE=>SOFTWARE MANAGEMENT and search for the RPM you placed into your new repository. You should be able to find and install it easily. The great part here is that YAST should be able to resolve the package dependencies.

Yes, there are a few steps involved here. However, you can take this concept and apply it to an entire network of desktop or server machines. Pick a repository server on your network and create your own repository on it. Then, export that repo via NFS to the rest of the network. Next, just add that repository to the other machines on the network. The great part is that you only have to add the repository to each of the other machines once. But then, instant access to install that package on any of those boxes. This particular solution has been very helpful for me on several occasions.

6. Install with zypper from custom installation repository – Same thing as the previous method. We download a stand-alone RPM that has many dependencies. So the approach will be similar. Install createrepo, make a repository directory, and put your RPM in there. Use createrepo to build your repository as demonstrated above.

Then, instead of YAST, go ahead and add your new repository using the zypper command, like so:

[2308][root@linux:/home/scott]$ zypper addrepo /my_inst_src "My Installation Source"
* Adding repository 'My Installation Source'
Repository 'My Installation Source' successfully added:
Enabled: Yes
Autorefresh: Yes
URL: dir:///my_inst_src

Make sure it was installed properly, again using zypper:

[2258][root@linux:/home/scott]$ zypper repos
# | Enabled | Refresh | Type   | Alias                                                             | Name
1 | Yes     | Yes     | rpm-md | openSUSE-10.3-Updates                                             | openSUSE-10.3-Updates
2 | Yes     | No      | yast2  | openSUSE-10.3-OSS-KDE 10.3                                        | openSUSE-10.3-OSS-KDE 10.3
3 | No      | Yes     | NONE   |        |
4 | Yes     | Yes     | rpm-md | Jpackage                                                          | Jpackage
5 | Yes     | Yes     | yast2  |      | Main Repository (NON-OSS)
6 | Yes     | Yes     | rpm-md | Eric_Lavar_-_Germany                                              | Eric Lavar - Germany
7 | Yes     | Yes     | rpm-md  | My Installation Source                                            | My Installation Source
8 | Yes     | Yes     | yast2  | | Main Repository (OSS)

There it is, highlighted in red. Rock on, now we can make sure zypper finds our new package, thusly:

[2309][root@linux:/home/scott]$ zypper search pidgin
Refreshing 'My Installation Source'
repomd.xml is unsigned, continue? [yes/no]: yes
* Building repository 'My Installation Source' cache
* Reading installed packages [100%]

S | Repository                                                        | Type    | Name                   | Version    | Arch
  | | package | pidgin                 | 2.1.1-13   | i586
i | | package | pidgin                 | 2.1.1-13   | x86_64
v | My Installation Source                                            | package | pidgin                 | 2.4.2-10.1 | x86_64
  | | package | pidgin-bot-sentry      | 1.1.0-45   | i586
  | | package | pidgin-bot-sentry      | 1.1.0-45   | x86_64
  | | package | pidgin-bot-sentry-lang | 1.1.0-45   | i586
  | | package | pidgin-bot-sentry-lang | 1.1.0-45   | x86_64
  | | package | pidgin-devel           | 2.1.1-13   | i586
  | | package | pidgin-devel           | 2.1.1-13   | x86_64

The one we’re looking for is highlighted in red. Looks like we’re ready to go ahead and install the application:

[2313][root@linux:/home/scott]$ zypper in pidgin

If the package is so brand-new that it has dependencies that are unresolvable, obviously you’ll have problems. But for many common packages, this method works great.

As a side note, you can also set your machines up so that you don’t even need the discs to install packages. Put the DVD ISO on your machine and you can put that into YAST as an installation source. Disable the source that uses the local optical drive. Then, it will pull packages from the ISO.

Even better, you can put that DVD ISO on a server on your network. Mount it on that server, and export the mount point via NFS to the rest of the network. Go to each machine in the network. Disable the source that uses the local optical drive. Add the NFS share from the server as an installation source on each box. Then, the machines on the network will pull packages from the NFS share.


There are at least a handful of ways to get installed what you need installed on your box. Depending on whether you are a home user with one computer or a Linux system administrator with 100 servers, or anything in between, you’re bound to use one or more of these methods. And these methods work on both OpenSUSE 10.3 and 11.0. Have a lot of fun…

June 11, 2008

Look at the SIZE of that thing!!

by @ 7:22 pm. Filed under humor

It’s me against this Monster Energy drink, today. Commonplace, this event. Drink a Monster, get stuff done. No problem.

I’m up against a whole new animal today, though. Take a look at this thing. The can on the right is your everyday run-of-the-mill 12-ounce can. The one on the left is my fiendish contender for today:

Huge Monster Can (click for full size)

That freaking Monster can is 7½” tall and 8¼” in circumference. That bad fool is 32 ounces. Surely the biggest Monster Drink I have ever seen.

And at the same time, TOTALLY unrelated to OpenSUSE or Linux. Except that it’s green. Like OpenSUSE.

I’m pretty sure that the OpenSUSE guys and the Monster guys should find a way to install Linux on one of these cans.

OpenSUSE 11.0 Release Party

by @ 11:48 am. Filed under novell, SUSE releases

Well, you know it’s a great day when we’re planning an OpenSUSE 11.0 Release Party. Yeah, that’s going to be pretty exciting.

If you are anywhere close to Provo, Utah on June 19, 2008, we’d love to see you at the Open Source Technology Center (building A). It will be at 6:00 PM. If you have friends who are interested in checking out which Linux they should use, have them come by.

According to The Official OpenSUSE 11.0 Release Party Locations page, pizza will be provided. So RSVP to Stephen Shaw, at the email address listed on the party locations page.

Stephen, I’m going to be there, man.

For people seeking directions, I’ll just grab them and the map from our OpenSUSE 10.3 Release Party last October:

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. 🙂

June 10, 2008

Download OpenSUSE 11.0: The Very Latest and Greatest of the Linux Desktop

by @ 6:57 am. Filed under How-To, SUSE releases

Download OpenSUSE 11.0 and take the latest release candidate for a spin. The new KDE 4 surely put a grin on my face. The fact that it installs from a LiveCD is a huge improvement. This makes the LiveCD much more useful than the previous types of install CDs. This is true in so many ways, I won’t even try to list them all.

Downloading the most recent development release of OpenSUSE 11.0 is quite simple. You will be very glad you did. This is one of the most polished, easy-to-use versions of Linux that I have personally seen up until the present time. Get pumped for when the Golden Master hits the servers.

Pick your architecture, pick your medium, pick your download type, bake yer disc, experience the joy.

Looking for a DVD image to download? Currently, DVDs are available only via Bittorrent. If that’s cool with you, do it that way.

If you’re ok with a LiveCD based off your favorite desktop environment, you’ll be able to pull down a CD image directly from FTP.

To grab your ISO, there are really only a few short steps.

1. – Select your architecture. 32 bit, 64 bit, or PowerPC.

2. – Select the type of medium you wish to download. CD or DVD. I guess they didn’t like my dead badger ISO suggestion.

3. – Pick a download method for your copy of OpenSUSE 11.0. If you want to do FTP, or want a CD, either option is possible for the other. Unless you want a DVD, then FTP is not an option, rather Bittorrent is your only choice. If your preferred method of delivery is Bittorrent, you can get either the DVD ISO, or a CD ISO of either Gnome or KDE, but not both on the same disc. If you want both, you must either do the DVD via Bittorrent, or two CDs via FTP or Bittorrent. You may optionally elect to do one CD using Bittorrent and the other CD utilizing an FTP server. Unfortunately, at this time, it is not possible to retrieve a DVD ISO image from an FTP server. I just selected ‘standard FTP’.

4. – Start your download. If you selected Bittorrent, you’re given a link to a torrent. If you selected FTP, you’re given a link to the CD image you had selected to download.

5. – Burn the image as an ISO image. Do not burn the ISO onto the disc. In K3B, the option you are looking for says “Burn CD Image” or “Burn DVD ISO Image.”

Where can you cash in on all this happiness? From the Latest openSUSE Developer Versions Download Page.

June 9, 2008

Mobile Linux: The Best Choice for Smartphones?

by @ 10:14 am. Filed under embedded, General Linux, My Opinion

Explain to me the draw people have to technology. Lacking psychology credentials (other than psychosis), I would be unqualified to expound in great detail. That said, there are a few things that I have noticed about people and their attitudes towards computers and other types of electronics. Based on these attitudes and some current trends, I wanted to provide a type of forecast. Where are things going with regards to electronics and the embedded operating systems that run them?

Concepts of Consideration

To start off, let’s consider the concept of convergence. To put this simply, people love combining functionality of stuff. Take cars for example. Take me from point A to point B. Primary function: transportation. Well, except if it’s 132 degrees outside, then it’s too hot. Put me an air conditioner in there. OK, now we have a duality of purpose: transportation and comfort. Oh, wait. If I am driving from Barrow, Alaska to Punta Arenas, Chile, I will get very, very bored. So, could we throw me a radio into my car, too? My kids will get bored with my music, so give them a DVD player for the back. And let’s have GPS, and a radar detector. All of a sudden, we have convergence of several different technologies into one product. People like to combine things.

Next point, we’ll consider a couple of different types of computer users. As an example of the first type, we’ll make up someone called Michael. He likes to play it a little safe, stay in his comfort zone. His philosophy is to go with whatever you know. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. He doesn’t like to waste time trying to figure things out. Our fast-paced (and gaining momentum) society encourages users like Michael. Take the tools that you know, and get productive right now.

For my second type of user, we’ll make up someone called Duran. He doesn’t like to be restricted with his options. He likes to be free to choose and do what he wants. He doesn’t mind tinkering with hardware or software to get it working the way that fits his needs. He doesn’t mind taking some time to learn about how things work. After all, this does give experience in the future.

Michael was likely raised using Windows, just because of sheer statistics and probability. This means that he will want to continue using Windows and would likely be hesitant to change, because Windows fulfills his current needs. His first reaction to Linux will be to reject it on account of its reputation of being hard to use. Besides, it’s different, and that means a learning curve. Michael is not interested. What he has and does works for him already, why change?

Duran, on the other hand, doesn’t care about learning new things. As soon as he hears that there’s a free operating system called Linux that may just do what he needs it to, he immediately looks into it. After a bit he gets it up and running. After a month or two, he finds that he can make it do everything he needs it to. He may have to work with it a bit, but he is all good with hands-on. He begins using Linux exclusively.

What has happened, now? Let’s consider it for a second. Michael doesn’t even know all that Linux has to offer, because he doesn’t have enough experience with it. He still prefers his comfort zone, and is resistant to change. He continues doing what works for him, and paying a healthy amount for these privileges. Windows isn’t free.

Now if we think about it, Duran now has the benefits of both situations, without the drawbacks of the first. Remember, the first type of person likes a comfort zone, likes to go with what you know, and just get productive. This is Michael. Duran now has a comfort zone in Linux and knows how to be productive with it. He gets the benefits of Michael’s situation without the restrictions. He also gets the benefits of being able to set things up however he wants because of the options available to him. Duran grows and learns and becomes more productive as Michael stays the same, a slave to his resistence to change.

For a long time, Linux has definitely been too hard for a regular computer user. You know the type, they check email and surf the Internet. Why spend 3 months learning a new operating system just to do that? For most of its life, Linux has been for the hard-core techies only. This is not the case anymore. Read the latest reviews of Ubuntu, Fedora, or OpenSUSE. They are more point-and-click than they have ever been. Linux is now moving over into the realm of Michael. More and more things just work, less and less time figuring out how to get stuff working. Applications are getting much easier to use (OpenOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird). Just install and begin working. In many cases, LiveCDs even allow us to omit the installation, giving us the power to be immediately productive.

We have the principle of convergence, the concept of going with what works, and the concept of freedom of choice.

In-house or Pre-packaged?

What happens when a company needs a software application? They have two choices: develop it in-house, or buy something pre-packaged.

In-house development means that the company has to allocate time and financial resources to develop and test the software. Most of the time, reasons for in-house development stem from a desire to customize it to the exact needs of the company. However, it becomes very expensive in terms of time and money. In the end, the in-house application may or may not be of the same commercial quality as the pre-packaged solution. Likely, it isn’t (possible, but usually isn’t).

The problem with propietary, off-the-shelf software is that it’s much less customizable to the company’s needs. They have to wait on the vendor for security updates. They don’t have access to the code to change things around as they wish.

The choice then becomes one of two things: Spend a lot of time and money to develop a decent in-house customizable solution, or purchase a well-developed commercial solution immediately but is not nearly as customizable?

Let’s complicate this situation. The software will be embedded to power an electronic device, such as a mobile phone.

This is the situation that many mobile carriers find themselves in right now. Verizon has usually just flashed their own OS onto the phones sold to their customers. They spent a bunch of time and money to develop a mediocre operating system that fills the need. Decent, easy enough to use, but charge a bunch for extra features.

Cellular providers like Verizon need an embedded operating system. So far, the pre-packaged solutions haven’t really been up to snuff for many users, especially the technology-savvy. In-house solutions have been lacking, as well. And remember the convergence concept? Customers are now demanding ever more functionality from their cell phones that is currently not possible for many cellular carriers. The current Michaels are fine with what there is. The Durans, however, are going crazy.

These companies need something that already exists, that is tested, proven, and covers the basics. They need something that won’t cost them precious time and money to develop, and will end up being better than what they’d end up delivering anyway. They need something that they can take and modify to fit their needs, and embed it into their phones. Then, they don’t have to gouge the customers for the cost of the development for the OS, and can sell phones that have more functionality for less money. They should also leave the OS open for developers. This will allow people to fill their own demand, as has occurred with Linux as it stands. Then, the Michaels and the Durans will both be happy.

Michael can take it standard as it comes and just use it as it is.

Duran can get into it, install and remove ringtones and wallpapers. He can install and remove software as he wishes.

Verizon’s Strategies

Now apparently, I’m not totally off my rocker on this, because of Verizon’s recent activities. They have recently appeared on the LiMo Foundation’s member list (obviously not a small list)

. The purpose of the LiMo Foundation, from their site:

“LiMo Foundation is an industry consortium dedicated to creating the first truly open, hardware-independent, Linux-based operating system for mobile devices. Backing from major industry leaders puts LiMo at the Heart of the Mobile Industry and makes LiMo the unifying force in Mobile Linux.”

“The mission of the LiMo Foundation is to create an open, Linux-based software platform for use by the whole global industry to produce mobile devices through a balanced and transparent contribution process enabling a rich ecosystem of differentiated products, applications, and services from device manufacturers, operators, ISVs and integrators.”

Verizon’s entrance into the LiMo Foundation is only one thing they’ve done. How about their Any App, Any Device initiative? Essentially, anyone can develop any hardware and have it certified by Verizon. How does Verizon accomplish the Any App part? By using Linux. The LiMo foundation gives them this.

And how would they make this possible? How about the C Block of the 700MHz spectrum that Verizon won? Combine all this, and we are going to see some sick hardware and software spew forth onto the scene. Convergence, remember? Maybe we’ll finally have videophones?

Virtual Reality Enemy Territory LAN Party over the C Block of the 700MHz spectrum of Verizon’s network, anyone?

Think Verizon’s the only one who knows all this? AT&T walked away with a chunk of the 700MHz spectrum, too. You think the current 3G networks are cool? Verizon and AT&T are both developing 4G networks.

Forget about whether open source is going to happen, or whether Linux will appear on more than just PCs. It’s already happening. Looks like it might be a good time for those who dig open source stuff to consider Verizon, or any other carriers supporting Android or LiMo.

Forget about whether open source is going to happen, or whether Linux will appear on more than just PCs. It’s already happening, and fast.

Looks like it might be a good time for those who dig open source stuff to consider Verizon, or any other carriers supporting Android or LiMo.

And if you are already using Verizon, I have a free 53-page ebook available on how to get the very most out of being their customer. This ebook makes Verizon’s current phone OS feel like it’s already open source. Plus, it can save you over $300 in accessories and other stuff.

The Future

Let’s take it further.

How long until we have an open-source main-stream gaming console designed for Linux? I was looking at a 1080p PS3 game the other day. Power something like that with Linux.

What about computers in vehicles? We currently have GPS systems. What about throwing Linux on there? Put a Media center in it (mythtv?) along with some open source GPS software. If people want to make it even better, let them. Then, let everyone else have the software updates free.

Even more, how long until we can make an Any App, Any Device appliance that certifies with Verizon that does ALL of the above?

Proprietary OSes cannot keep up with the demand for diversity. People want too many different things right now. And when the proprietary OSes can deliver something, security and stability are the first things to go, as we have seen with what comes out of Redmond.

Open Source can keep up because there are unlimited amounts of people who can work on it. If someone wants something bad enough that isn’t currently provided, they can write it themselves if it’s an open platform.

Gates and MS have been going almost 30 years. Linux has been in development just more than half that, and it’s good enough to be displacing hundreds of thousands of MS desktops. When Linux has in production for 30 years, we’ll compare it to how much Windows developed in 30 years.

Can proprietary work with mobile phones? Obviously.

Will further progress be made faster by everyone working together? Absolutely no doubt. The costs of the initial development of the OS drop drastically. Customers get what they want, making it easier to add whatever they want (which they will, anyway). Michael gets something that’s easy to use, and Duran gets something that he can hack to his heart’s content.

Blow me off if I’m totally crazy. But honestly, we have seen Mobile Linux predictions before.


People want something that will just work for them and do what they expect. Other people want options and configurability. Linux is very rapidly approaching the ability to provide both of these. People also want to have their PDA, phone, MP3 player, and GPS all on one device. Linux has the potential for doing all of this. And people are in love with mobile phones. Linux on mobile phones is what will make all of this work. So there’s my prediction, and where it comes from.

June 6, 2008

So where’s the OpenSUSE 11.0 Release shindig?

by @ 2:27 pm. Filed under SUSE releases

OpenSUSE Linux Logo

Calling all OpenSUSE folks… Hey, quick thought… Do we have a Release Party for OpenSUSE 11.0 in the works, yet? Last time, we put one together with like 2 days to spare. That went ok and everything… I’m just wondering about the who, what, where, when, why, how details. Cuz in all honesty and actuality, I haven’t heard a peep to the effect.

Regarding anything related to any kind of OpenSUSE 11.0 release party, all I can find is this OpenSUSE 11.0 Launch Party Locations page. And I mean…, as deeply insightful and enlightening as that is, apparently I didn’t glean the information my brain seems to seek.

I can bring plenty of sarcasm and zealotry, I may be a little dim on the wit, though. If I can help coordinate or enforce or communicate with telepathic hand signals, let me know.

June 5, 2008

Dazzling New KDE 4.1 Theme

by @ 1:57 pm. Filed under KDE Tips

First, as everyone knows, KDE is the best desktop environment there is. Linus Torvalds says it best, “I personally just encourage people to switch to KDE. This ‘users are idiots, and are confused by functionality’ mentality of Gnome is a disease. If you think your users are idiots, only idiots will use it. I don’t use Gnome, because in striving to be simple, it has long since reached the point where it simply doesn’t do what I need it to do. Please, just tell people to use KDE.”

Don’t look at me, I didn’t say it. It just happens to be correct. As long as we’re all clear. That quote has been a badge on my OpenSUSE Linux blog since day one.

What is exciting to see is some of the beautiful artwork for the themes that is being done for KDE 4.1. Specifically, let’s hear it for the new KDE 4.1 Plasma theme:

KDE 4.1 Plasma Theme

Read more about the KDE 4.1 Plasma Theme.

Excellent Billboard

by @ 6:58 am. Filed under humor, War

Must have taken this photo the day Vista came out…

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