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December 11, 2006

DVDs, MP3s, and everything else on openSUSE 10.2

by @ 8:32 am. Filed under General SUSE, review, SUSE releases

After receiving the news of the final release of openSUSE 10.2, it seemed a good idea to take a look at it on my laptop. Additionally, it seemed a good idea to give Andreas Jaeger (Nice guy, by the way. We had lunch at Ruby Tuesday once.), Michael Loeffler, and all the great SUSE people the benefit of the doubt. With 10.1 there were major issues with the package manager. It was reasonable to believe that they’d be on high alert to keep any such problems from happening with 10.2. Thus, it was downloaded, put on the nearest blank DVD, and promptly installed onto my laptop, the specs of which are as follows:

Yes, a beast unparalleled in power and speed, I know.

For some reason unknown to all of humanity, when reviewing a given distribution (or version thereof), you have to include at least something about the installation. This next bit will satisfy such requirements.

The installation process of openSUSE is as foolproof and easy as it can possibly be. It felt quite familiar with one sincerely major improvement.

First, let me preface this by explaining that waiting for things gives me cancer. I would rather embed railroad spikes into my face than wait for stuff. This is further aggravated when there is no kind of feedback that something is ocurring that will eventually lead to accomplishment of the desired goal.

As a total random and hypothetical example: Let’s say that during the installation of your favorite Linux distribution, it checks for an Internet connection. As part of this test, it will install an update source for you so that you can get security patches and such updates. Let’s say that this process takes no less than 15 minutes (yes it does, I timed it). And provides no feedback that it is working properly and has not hung.

This pretty much equals me in a straight jacket in a padded room and no sharp objects within 12 miles of said room.

Well, that’s what would happen during the installation of SUSE 10.1. I would have to grab my favorite Lycia/Enya/Lewellyn CD, go out onto my living room couch, and get my therapist on the phone while coping with the trauma of waiting for this to finish. Once I tried waiting through this step just sitting in front of the computer. I woke up the next day with thirteen stitches in my face and my cat had mysteriously disappeared.

Much to my delight, in openSUSE 10.2, throughout the steps of detecting the Internet connection and setting up installation sources and update sources, I counted about 65 feedback dialogs with slick little progress bars and even textual descriptions of what was happening. Boy, late at night with a little caffeine, ADD can make this part actually quite mesmerizing. All the progress bars, dialog boxes, and everything are actually quite interesting to watch. It is also very helpful to know that one is waiting for something that is actually making progress.

Did I mention that I liked the progress bars while waiting for stuff? That is one very nice thing for users to have: feedback when something is happening, so that we know why we’re waiting for things.

Oh, it also took only about 60 seconds to set up the update source as opposed to around 15 minutes in 10.1. The openSUSE folks sure made some progress with the experience design, if nothing else.

One thing that received nothing from me but a 30-second blank stare was this bizarre menu that appeared when I clicked on the K Menu (KDE all the way, baby):



Come again? What the heck is that? Before getting too excited, I tried out the right-click function on that menu. There was an option that said, “Switch to KDE Menu Style,” which I attacked unflinchingly. To my delight, the familiar K Menu gear icon appeared. Clicking it yielded the menu I had come to know and love.

I’m not sure what was happening there with that other menu, but I personally don’t like it a bit. Anyone who knows, please help me understand that one.

As a bit of obsessive compulsion, I have this small guide that I’ve written for myself that allows me to customize KDE to work EXACTLY how I want it to. That’s nice, because when I expect something to work a certain way, and it doesn’t, it usually ends up broken, melted, or launched off the nearest overpass. To avoid such incidents with KDE, my handy little setup guide comes in quite…. well…. handy.

After getting that all squared away, I headed into Firefox. openSUSE 10.2 comes with Firefox 2, which is quite slick, I must say. It’s very nice to use. Especially with my favorite plugins: Adblock Plus, Fasterfox, and Bookmark Sync and Sort. If you have any that you recommend, please let me know so I can enjoy them, too.

Next, you’d think that I would install all my software. Well, before you can do that, it’s a good idea to set up your installation sources, so that you can get all the latest software the first time you install it. Otherwise, you install the software, put in your install sources, and then update the software. As this implies waiting, and because of my aversion to cancer, I don’t do it that way.

The installation sources I used for openSUSE 10.2 (32-Bit) are as follows:

Note the nVidia install source. If you are using ATI, I recommend instead of the nVidia one.

If you are unfamiliar with how to set up installation sources, see the “Installation Sources” section of my guide for doing this on SUSE 10.0.

After I set all these babies up, I clicked FINISH, and a dialog box came up that said, “Synchronizing with ZENworks.” Unfortunately, this box was up for like three minutes with no feedback. Just as I was deciding whether to reach for the Xanax or a claw hammer, the box disappeared, and the Installation Sources window closed with it.

So far, we are in great shape.

I then headed into YAST and updated packages to any newer versions that may exist. If you are not familiar with how to do this, please see the “Global Package Version Update” section of my guide for doing this on SUSE 10.0.


Realistically, I must throw this in: I don’t recommend performing a system-wide unconditional update on all packages for a production machine. ESPECIALLY if that machine is a server. ESPECIALLY if that machine is a server you are running at work.


So, I just went head and did an unconditional system-wide package update, because having bleeding edge packages makes you a l33t h4X0R.

Next up: Making the thing play DVDs.

Really, it’s about this easy:

Uninstall whatever version of xine that you have installed.

Add Packman as an installation source.

Install the xine package from Packman (you may want to disable all other install sources, just to make sure it comes from Packman for sure).

Install the libdvdcss package, also.

Sleepy Hollow actually plays quite decently on that laptop.

Next, go into YAST and install Amarok, Helix, Mplayer, w32codec-all, and all packages related to xine. That will get you playing MP3s and the various video files you’ll find around on the Internet.

Multimedia-enabled, I went ahead and installed my other programs like gaim, thunderbird, xchat, and a subversion client.

My first impressions? I like the improvements. It is the first one that feels like something my mom could use, and something my dad could likely install. Gone are the days of Linux being for tech geeks only. If you have been thinking about trying out Linux, now is a great time to install openSUSE 10.2. I think you’ll be glad that you did.

Here are some other reviews, etc., about openSUSE 10.2:

23 Responses to “DVDs, MP3s, and everything else on openSUSE 10.2”

  1. GN Says:

    I read on the various SUSE forums that there are major issues with SoundBlaster cards like the Live 5.1 and Audigy series. Also there’s a problem in the 2.6.18 kernel with IRQ’s. It assigns way too high IRQ numbers, like IRQ 189, w00t?

    This isn’t only SUSE related, I heard other distros have the same problem, so it’s definitely a kernel bug

  2. LA Says:

    Yes Scott, at first the default K-Menu is a bit strange. I gave it a full evening as I configured 10.2 and began to like it once I had my favorites all set up. I keep less on on my tool bar now that I have my favorites handy. Yes navigating the Application tier is a bit strange but again I use a handful of application regularly so keeping a copy in my favorites works well. I do like how the History and Computer tabs are organized.

    I run a Poweredge D600 and along with my KNetworkManager managing my nic/wireless, my system runs sweet! Not if I can only get vmware to run on my 10.2, I will be complete. That darn hindrance called “work” makes me code in Visual Studio…

    I appreciate repository list…. 🙂

  3. Scott Morris Says:

    Thanks for the thoughts. I may have to try something like that… give it a day or two and then see how I feel about it. My wireless worked out of the box, as well. Visual Studio, huh? Oh, man. Good luck. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. F. Landers Koelfantez Says:

    The new default menu in KDE and in Gnome come from the Novell Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop 10. I was at Novell’s SLED/SLED sales road show in Sept. when it came to St. Louis, and the openSUSE 10.2 start menu on Gnome looks exactly like SLED 10’s start menu. And KDE start menu on openSUSE 10.2 looks and acts almost like it.

  5. Scott Morris Says:

    Very interesting. I was wondering why that seemed familiar. Sounds good. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. F. Landers Koelfantez Says:

    My mistake: I mean SLED/SLES. I don’t use Gnome, but looking at screenshots of OpenSUSE 10.2 under gnome, the start menu is exactly the same, with a kinda-sorta XP-ish inspiration (or, is that copying?). KDE on 10.2 looks to be inspired a lot by SLED 10, but has some differences that seem to be innovative.

  7. Stuart Crouch Says:

    Just thought I should point out that the ATI drivers for linux (and hence the ATI section of your blog above) are useless on SUSE 10.2. It shows an issue with proprietry systems, there is nothing we can do and just have to wait for ATI to pull thier fingers out…

    The ATI drivers don’t support Xorg 7.2, which is what the new SUSE ships with. I’ve had 10.2 installed since Friday, and Im really hankering for some UT2004 love now :'(

    Im voting with my feet, ATI wont be getting any more of my money.

  8. Scott Morris Says:

    Thanks for the heads up. That sucks, but you are right. We just have to wait for them.

  9. E@zyVG Says:

    Yups, the ATI repo is not there, nor will be as far as I know … better to download yourself, especially considering that ATI has today released new driver with X.Org 7.2RC2/openSUSE 10.2 support, though I didn’t have time, yet, to try it.

    The new KDE menu – I really like it and functionality wise it is an improvement over classical, and better that kbfx. You just need time to get to use to it. GNOME new is not that better compared to one featured in KDE.

    Regarding the repositories, I made a recommended list of repos to have with openSUSE 10.2 for every user which can be found @

    I agree, if this is a server installation, then don’t go for blind install.
    Also, enabling multimedia in openSUSE 10.2 has been the easiest ever, compared to previous releases.

    Kudos to Novell and openSUSE community …. using it @home $ @office now.

  10. Scott Morris Says:

    What’s up, yo? Thanks for the info (and the link). Have a good one.

  11. Glynne Says:

    I tried a 10.2 install yesterday on my Desktop machine (Intel Core2 Duo 1.83GHz, P965 chipset, gForce 7300GT video, 1GB RAM). It wasn’t easy and I did not win the battle. First I ran into the Intel 965/JMicron issue which I hoped I would not run into from a previous install of 10.1. My DVD drives are on the PATA ports. SUSE at boot does not see it once the kernel loads. OOPS! Which means no install from DVD. So, I did something crazy. Set my laptop up as an FTP server with the install DVD on it (made a copy of the DVD). Then with the other DVD booted it. All worked fine UNTIL we got to configuring X. Then my Viewsonic 19″ LCD monitor displays “OUT OF RANGE”. DRAT! Yep, for some reason I can’t understand SUSE configured my gForce 7300GT card for too high a refresh rate, I guess. Trying to reconfigure in text mode with YaST did not work. Just re-enabled the graphics mode and the error pops up again. I tried editing the xorg.conf file but felt way out of my league and it did not work. Then I tried using one of the other xorg.conf files in the /etc/X11 dir. Hey! Desktop! But not configured right. When I went to reconfigure it for the right settings and test the setup, “OUT OF RANGE”. NUTS! So at this point I’m stuck. The install process on 10.1 was smoother, to me. On both my laptop and the above mentioned desktop. Though again I had to cheat to get the install on a 965 based board working. Once I got it installed on 10.1 I compiled a more recent kernel that fixes that problem and all was well. Yeah, I killed a perfectly working 10.1 (using SMART, YaST is a dog!) all in the name of newest version. Boy do I feel dumb. I was even smart enough with 10.1 to get compiz working with the nVidia driver. I just may reinstall 10.1, get SMART back up and running, do updates, compile kernel and install nVidia driver and be happy with that. Lot of work I was hoping to not have to do. SUSE seems to be sinking lower ever since 10.0.

  12. Scott Morris Says:

    Wow, that totally sucks. Very sorry to hear that you had to go through all that. 🙁 Thanks for stopping by, though.

  13. Mark McLaughlin Says:

    Thanks for ALL the tips on openSUSE 10.2!

    I saved the entire page/text as a PDF on my trusty MAC and if anyone wants it from me, either go to my blog, OR ask nicely for the PDF at my e-mail : Be sure to print out the PDF before installing/re-installing openSUSE 10.2 and be sure you have Adobe Reader 8 or foxit reader or any reader that can read PDFs…. Thanks! 😀

    After you have OpenOffice installed, you can save text you find online useful, and convert it to PDF, easily, almost as good as my trusty MAC! 😀

    Mark McLaughlin

  14. Albert Says:

    Just a heads up, ATI cards and drivers are now available for 10.2 opensuse. Go to opensuse’s website and check out the how to’s on ATI drivers. It does work with xorg 7.2 and works in 64bit as well! Which has apparently been an issue for Vista (note:the 10.2 hack also works for Vista now.

    Also to the gentlemen having problems with the J-micron controller, I am writing you from a maching with that south bridge right now in OpenSuse. There are two ways to do this. The first is to get a disk drive that is SATA2 or Sata 1.5 and hook in through your SATA ports. The drives are like $40 on the web. The second trick is to google your problem on the Linux questions forum and try one of the five different tricks listed there. Make sure you know your south and north bridge chipset numbers before doing this. It usually is as easy as selecting ACHI support in your bios and then adding generic IDE in your boot menu (read the forums for more information) then running the install normally. word of warning: do not run 6bit os with a legacy IDE disk drive. Even Vista 64 does not support this option out of the box.

    I have been running Opensuse now for about two months and am growing to love it. I still love my Mac just a bit more for ease of use alone, but for a PC OS, Suse is pretty badass!

  15. j0k Says:

    I compiled suse 10.2 with all the linux apps I use on XP onto my USB stick and had it running on my old PC in no more than 2 minutes. Everything working.

  16. Eddie Says:

    Newbie to Linux, Spent several days reading up on other peoples views and opinions and decided to go with Mepis 6.5 64 bit. Installed perfectly, only glitch when running, the adsl kept disconnecting every 2 1/2 minutes only to reconnect 1 second later. So, decided to try Suse 10.2 64 bit. PERFECT installation,( having over 25 years computer experience and installing all sorts of O/S Suse was the only one EVER to select the monitor model and driver) the feel and look of the Suse 10.2 install was very professional and slick. I was so impressed with Suse I ditched Xp.
    specs: AMD Athlon 64, Ecs M/B,1 gig ram,Nvidia card, 250 gig sata, 40 gig ide, epson printer, nikon digital camera, Realtek sound. The only thing I had to install was the printer driver. Oh! and the adsl runs perfect and twice as fast as Mepis.

  17. Scott Morris Says:

    Glad to hear you’re having a great experience with openSUSE. Good stuff, isn’t it?! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

  18. Dan Harper Says:

    Scott Morris said: “Much to my delight, in openSUSE 10.2, throughout the steps of detecting the Internet connection and setting up installation sources and update sources, I counted about 65 feedback dialogs with slick little progress bars and even textual descriptions of what was happening.”

    This is true but… If your internet connection is not working there is no feedback at all. I let it sit for an hour thinking it was as slow as 10.1.

  19. Barry Ford Says:

    I installed OpenSUSE 10.2 on my Gateway GT5028 (just because…). I had an easy install until I tried to update the nvidia driver from the basic nv to the proper driver. I used the “easy way” method prescribed on, but it broke the x-server. Since I knew how, I edited xorg.conf, restoring the nv driver, then removed all nvidia stuff and tried the “hard way” method, which worked like a charm. But first I installed all the updates I could find. Now the x-server works great, with smooth 3D graphics, but sound doesn’t work at all (I have a VIA VT82xx using snd-hda-intel alsa). And my ethernet card keeps shutting off for some reason. Otherwise, I really like the new Suse. Any suggestions?

  20. Peet McKimmie Says:

    Re: Glennie’s post #11

    ‘Then my Viewsonic 19″ LCD monitor displays “OUT OF RANGEâ€?. DRAT!’

    The trick is to keep hitting “-” until you get a display you can read, and then adjust the frequencies from the “Graphic card and monitor” control applet thereafter. 🙂

  21. Peet McKimmie Says:

    To quote the quote in my previous posting, “DRAT!”

    That should say ‘[control][alt]-‘ – I used triangular brackets in the original posting and the forum system stripped them as if they were tags. Damn the lack of a ‘Preview’.

  22. Peter Klokow Says:

    Just installed SUSE 10.2.
    Everything worked great until the post installation update. After that I am no longer able to go online via my LAN.
    Same old same old?!?

  23. Scott Morris Says:

    Sorry to hear it.

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