Changes from 11.2 to 11.3

Hey everyone,
This is more of a blend of a technical issue and soap box. So i just finished fixing my 11.3 install, after installing windows.

For those who have been using SuSE for a while remember that the DVD could fix a MBR with the Repair Installed System option. This is no longer available in 11.3 so I tried the Rescue System. There is a command in there called: ‘grub-install’; I tried that, but it said that it couldn’t work without YaST or /etc/grub.conf (I think that’s correct)…so I tried to use the Live CD and do the restore MBR from there…didn’t work.
Luckily, my school has made a boot CD that has GRUB on it and I was able to work around with that and now I’m able to boot.

The second and this is hands down the biggest issue is how sax2 is missing. I know in the release notes said that they were moving to this kernel thing, but I don’t know how it works or anything really about it…nor do I know where to find out (someone want to link me to a man page?)

I’ve already gripped about KDE during this release, but SuSE is starting to really let me down. Perhaps someone can teach me some new tricks. :frowning:

The second and this is hands down the biggest issue is how sax2 is missing.

Most manage to cope without this tool. (It was of increasingly limited use anyway). For your graphics configuration (if required), read these

openSUSE Graphic Card Practical Theory Guide for Users

SDB:Configuring graphics cards - openSUSE

If you get stuck, post details about your graphics card (and monitor if relevant), and we’ll assist from there. Good luck.

Funny, each of these issues has been addressed so many times in these forums that I suspect you didn’t use the search function at the upper right hand corner of each of these pages. If you’d done so you’d have found that the problem you encountered with your dual boot is very easily fixed. You’d also have found that there are several posts describing how to use nvidia-xconfig.

Perhaps the source of your frustration is not so much with either KDE or OpenSUSE, but rather it may be a need to fine tune your problem resolution technique.

I’m sorry if that sounds harsh, but these forums are very valuable as much more than a soapbox. I resolved each of the issues you mention when I first encountered them by searching these forums, and I never had to spend more than a few minutes to solve each problem.

Yes. Out of courtesy to the project, do try to use the correct branding. It’s openSUSE, with no variations! :wink:

Have you seen this howto?
http://forums.opensuse.org/english/get-technical-help-here/how-faq-forums/advanced-how-faq-read-only/438705-opensuse-graphic-card-practical-theory-guide-users.html

Switch to Gnome… might have unity running soon as well and this;
http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/ubuntu-indicators-opensuse

Have no idea but maybe my System/GUI/UnecessaryBling comment is
prerequisite to become a contributor to the
openSUSE:GNOME Ayatana - openSUSE Wiki project…<sigh>


Cheers Malcolm °¿° (Linux Counter #276890)
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 (x86_64) Kernel 2.6.32.24-0.2-default
up 2 days 4:23, 2 users, load average: 0.14, 0.11, 0.08
GPU GeForce 8600 GTS Silent - Driver Version: 260.19.29

There is an ‘old trick’ you can do which is INCREDIBLY easy, but it does require precision, else things get really messed up. That is to use the ‘dd’ command to backup and restore your MBR. There is a thread here on it: Recover mbr

For example, lets say you have:

  • winXP as a primary on /sda1 and
  • openSUSE / as a primary on /sda2 and
  • openSUSE /home as a logical in /sda5 where that logical is inside the extended /sda4. and
  • Your boot is with grub pointing to /sda2 and
  • sda2 is the active partition

Lets say you wish to re-install winXP on /sda1, and you KNOW it will clobber the MBR when you do that. With me so far ?

The ‘easy’ technique is BEFORE you do anything, is in openSUSE-11.3 backup your MBR with the command (with root permissions) :

 dd if=/dev/sda of=MBR-backup-440  bs=440 count=1 

copy that file “MBR-backup-440” to a memory stick, and keep a copy on your openSUSE-11.3 in some directory (say /home/yourusername in /sda5).

So lets prepare to install winXP. You 1st change the active partition flag from /sda2 to /sda1 to ensure winXP will install (I do this with Parted Magic liveCD or with GParted liveCD but there are other ways to do so from inside openSUSE). Then you install winXP and it installs ok, but it clobbers the MBR and your PC only boots to winXP. Still with me ?

So then you boot to a liveCD (Gparted liveCD or Parted Magic liveCD), and flag /sda2 back as being the active boot partition (remove sda1 flag), and you being the careful conservative type:

 dd if=/dev/sda of=MBR-winXP-backup-440  bs=440 count=1 

That backs up your current winXP boot in case things get really messed up. Put that file “MBR-winXP-backup-440” on your memory stick and also on /home/yourusername on /sda5. So thus far other than change active partition flag, we have not yet touched the MBR since the winXP re-install. Still with me ?

Then either using the file “MBR-backup-440” from the USB stick, or the file “MBR-backup-440” in /home/yourusername on /sda5 you restore your original MBR with

 dd if=MBR-backup-440 of=/dev/sda  bs=440 count=1 

and as noted that will restore the MBR for your original openSUSE boot. Chances are both winXP and openSUSE will now boot with Grub, although there is a chance you may need to do some simple edits to grub.

The above is actually very simple. All we did was:

  • keep copy of original MBR before you did anything
  • changed active partition flag to sda1 (for MS-Windows) and install MS-Windows
  • after done with MS-windows install, boot to liveCD and change active partition flag back to Linux partition on sda2 (after MS-Windows install complete)
  • make copy of MBR after winXP in case things get messed up [you should not need this]
  • restore copy of original MBR (from 1st step)

It works very very well and its easier than it sounds. Instead of spending hours banging one’s head against the wall, one is spending a maximum of a dozen minutes or less (total) with all the above steps combined.

Thats good advice oldcpu, and incredibly simple too!

I should emphasize this. ABSOLUTE precision is needed here. Do NOT make any syntax errors with the dd command else things could be unrecoverable with out a complete hard drive wipe.

But I still have some sleepless hours over your decision to add the characters “-440” to the otherwise logical filenames of the MBR backups. Can you disclose that secret?

lol !!

Its my horrible memory that I am trying to address. I like to differentiate my backup files that had either 440, or 446 or 512 bytes (although I think the 446 is now obsolete). If one uses “bs=512” instead of “bs=446” in the command (and hence in my file name) one also backs up the partitioning information. I’m not complete clear as to why that might be needed, but I have seen cases where the partitioning information was lost in a drive, so I like to have that information backed up. But it is important NOT to confuse a file with bs=512 with a file with bs=440. Hence my nominclature.

But one could call the backup file anything. For example:

 dd if=/dev/sda of=i-hope-i-dont-mess-this-up  bs=440 count=1 

and then restore with

 dd if=i-hope-i-dont-mess-this-up of=/dev/sda bs=440 count=1 

just be certain NOT to make a syntax mistake, as it could completely wipe one’s partitioning and ones MBR, which would be most unpleasant.

Perfectly clear! Indeed, when one wants a backup of the MBR part, it is better not to backup (and thus later restore) the partition table with it. Just in case there was changed something there in between.

Theoreticaly one could restore only 440 bytes of the 512 bytes saved earlier, but for this very case your approach is much saver.

More on the Soapbox side, … I just updated my main PC (an Intel Core i7-920) on sunday night from openSUSE-11.2 to openSUSE-11.3. I had winXP in that PC on /sda1 so I kept that, but the rest of the partitioning I completely removed. Needless to say, before starting I backed up the PC’s 1.5 TB drive data contents to my new external 2TB drive (where that backup took forever … ). I changed the partitioning on the 1.5 TB internal drive with the Parted Magic liveCD (I had to download the latest Parted Magic as an older version of Parted Magic struggled with the large size of a 1.5 TB drive).

Why did I update from 11.2 to 11.3 ?

Well, I’ve been running 11.3 KDE-4.4.4 on 4 other PCs and have proved it sufficiently stable that I am confident to use it on my main PC. openSUSE-11.3 will have longer lifetime support than 11.2 (where 11.2 has only something like 8 months support life left). I prefer KDE-4.4.4 (on 11.3) over 4.3.5 (on 11.2) and I know that 4.4.4 on 11.3 has been thoroughly tested (as opposed to updating 11.2 from KDE-4.3.1 to KDE-4.4.4 which will have seen much less testing).

I also find I get asked more support questions on 11.3 and I often forget when testing and then typing a reply that I infact tested on 11.2. That has forced me to retract my statement a few times.

11.3 has the newer /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/ file structure for graphics, and hence by having this structure on my newer PC, it is easier for me to provide support to users (by checking my own PC) as opposed to have to boot up one of the other PC’s in our house (that are running 11.3) to check.

Having typed that, I think 11.2 is a good release, especially for nVidia graphic card users, and if one is happy with 11.2 then I do not think there is a need to switch to 11.3.

Reference sax2 being deleted, there is a LOT of history here. SuSE-GmbH noted with the massive changes taking place in X and in graphic cards, they could not maintain sax2. So they asked for volunteers from the openSUSE community to take over the job. They did not get a sufficient response (ie no one volunteered who could do the job). So sax2 was dropped. The openSUSE community dropped the ball on this. The community wants a sax2 tool but NO ONE wants to do the work. >:(

Now I wrote a bug report on that dropping of sax2, but the result of that bug report was an action on me to create a guide on how to configure one’s graphics without sax2. I attempted to do so, but its hard to write a guide in such a complex area to suit all people.

There is an openFATE submission requesting a new/replacement graphic wizard be put in place, but IMHO we will see nothing here as an only openSUSE graphic wizard. … There is too much involved, we already know our community wants our cake and wants to eat the cake too AND the community wants this by doing NO WORK. And we already know SuSE-GmbH noted they don’t have the resources/expertise to do this job.

What we need is a Linux wide graphical wizard/tool.

I agree that that would be wonderful. As wonderful as the fact that Linux exists.

Now I wrote a bug report on that dropping of sax2, but the result of that bug report was an action on me to create a guide on how to configure one’s graphics without sax2. I attempted to do so, but its hard to write a guide in such a complex area to suit all people.

There is an openFATE submission requesting a new/replacement graphic wizard be put in place, but IMHO we will see nothing here as an only openSUSE graphic wizard. … There is too much involved, we already know our community wants our cake and wants to eat the cake too AND the community wants this by doing NO WORK. And we already know SuSE-GmbH noted they don’t have the resources/expertise to do this job.

What we need is a Linux wide graphical wizard/tool.

I agree, but I think it really only needs to be a simple graphical tool (without all the bells and whistles that sax2 had). With the move towards /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/ config files, I think it only needs to a provide a basic capability of adjusting 50-monitor.conf to specify a preferred mode, (and maybe modelines), for a monitor that requires the manual entry (usually because of EDID issues). It might also be required to adjust the horizontal sync and vertical refresh ranges, (but not much else).

That’s a rather polite way of saying RTFM :wink:

With much much love I present my first version: http://lance.mckendree.edu/~ceneblock/SuSE7.1.png

It’ll always be that little German ditro. :slight_smile: I hope you don’t mind that I blotted out a password that was on the cover, its no longer in use, but if you want the origional scan I can put that up.

I suppose I could change my evil ways though…

Ah, yes backing up the MBR. I had a hell of a time trying to do that the first time. I did know that Windows would mess up the MBR, but I was so used to the DVD having the Repair Installed System. Hindsight is 20/20 I suppose…

I think I read the OpenFATE submission here: https://features.opensuse.org/308357 (for anyone else wanting to read it)

If I was something more then a end user\student I’d love to help out.

I think I read the OpenFATE submission here: https://features.opensuse.org/308357 (for anyone else wanting to read it)

It seems there are only 13 people interested, that may not help to get it passed, have you had your say on this at openFATE?

I think it really only needs to be a simple graphical tool (without all the bells and whistles that sax2 had). With the move towards /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/ config files, I think it only needs to a provide a basic capability of adjusting 50-monitor.conf to specify a preferred mode, (and maybe modelines), for a monitor that requires the manual entry (usually because of EDID issues). It might also be required to adjust the horizontal sync and vertical refresh ranges, (but not much else).

I think something like this would be a more realistic request.