How do I switch from Ubuntu to openSUSE? Please help.

I recently installed Ubuntu on my PC, it did it’s auto-repartitioning of my harddrive (kept WinXP on there) and now I have dual boot (with GRUB) WinXP/Ubuntu. I want to change from Ubuntu to openSUSE. So in order to do that, can I just run the installer and it will automatically format Ubuntu and install openSUSE in that partition? Do I have to select any certain options when installing? If so, which ones? I only have 45gb total space for openSUSE. Should I do manual partitioning with the installer, or let it do it’s auto-partitioning? If I should do manual partitioning, then what exact size for each partition (examples: swap, ext3, etc.)? I used to use Linux before but I don’t remember how all that installation and partitioning stuff works.

Any responses will be appreciated.

Thank you very much.

You should be able to put openSUSE exactly over Ubuntu, in the identical location. The OpenSUSE installer will propose a location where it plans to install, but there is a good chance what it proposes will be inappropriate per your plans, and you will need to edit what is being offered.

I’m not familiar with your Linux knowledge, so apologies if my initial suggestions are too basic.

Before you attempt this I recommend you boot to Ubuntu and type in a terminal

df -Th

and then again in a terminal with root permissions:

fdisk -l

and post here what you get in both cases. That will tell us what you have setup in Ubuntu so we can give you a better indication as to what you need to watch for very carefully in the openSUSE installer.

Also, I recommend you make a copy of the Ubuntu /etc directory on to a usb stick or an external hard drive, to keep not for installing on openSUSE, but as a reference, because Ubuntu configuration files should be kept there, and you never know when that will come in handy to refer to.

I assume Ubuntu also has a /boot/grub/menu.lst and if so, that would be a good file to print out, and have handy as a reference in case you run into some boot config problems.

The above are all very conservative suggestions, and most likely not necessary if all goes well, but one never knows when Murphy is going to strike.

I also recommend you review the following links:

df -Th

gives me this:

Filesystem    Type    Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda5     ext4     43G  4.4G   36G  11% /
udev         tmpfs    2.0G  240K  2.0G   1% /dev
none         tmpfs    2.0G  1.3M  2.0G   1% /dev/shm
none         tmpfs    2.0G   84K  2.0G   1% /var/run
none         tmpfs    2.0G     0  2.0G   0% /var/lock
none         tmpfs    2.0G     0  2.0G   0% /lib/init/rw


fdisk -l

gives me nothing.

This works in ALL Linux versions.

You need to run that with root permissions. I’m not a Ubuntu user so I do not know the Ubuntu way of doing things, … maybe try this (copy and paste it !!! ) :

sudo fdisk -l

I can see you never mounted your MS-Windows partitions in Ubuntu Linux. Still, at least we know know that your ubuntu was located on /dev/sda5 on an ext4 formatted partition.


sudo fdisk -l

gave me this:

Disk /dev/sda: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 60801 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x972db721

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1   *           1       54918   441128803+   7  HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sda2           54919       60801    47255197+   5  Extended
/dev/sda5           54919       60554    45271138+  83  Linux
/dev/sda6           60555       60801     1983996   82  Linux swap / Solaris

Thanks, thats much clearer. From that we can see that

  • sda1 is an NTFS formatted partition for MS-Windows
  • sda2 is in essence the remainder !! of your hard drive, configured as an extended partition holder (my terminology is a bit loose here) with sda5 and sda6 inside of sda2
  • sda5, as we noted previous, is where your Ubuntu is located
  • sda6 is a fairly large swap partition … possibly 3 or 4 GB.

During the openSUSE install, its installer may suggest to carve up your MS-Windows in /sda1, so you need to stop that, and edit the installer proposal if that happens.

OpenSUSE may also propose to take your 45GB /sda5 and chop that into two with something like a 15GB / and a 30GB /home, and if so, that is good. openSUSE may simply reuse sda6 as its swap partition.

But pay close attention to what it proposes. If you are forced to edit its proposal, you should first before doing a “rescan” in the editor (which you likely WILL HAVE TO DO), before you “rescan” take note of the detailed settings openSUSE installer proposes for / and /home and the swap in terms of format and mount points. Maybe take a pix with a digital camera, as that is quicker than writing down.

Then rescan, and edit as appropriate.

You need to be very careful here, because as soon as you start the actually software install, openSUSE will replace your Ubuntu grub boot manager with an openSUSE grub boot manager, and if that is done wrong, your PC will not boot to the hard drive.

Also, can you tell us, what Graphic Hardware does your PC have?

My computer has a Nvidia GTX 285 1gb graphics card.

Thanks for the info. I appreciate it.

While this card is not listed in the openSUSE Hardware Compatibility List for nVidia cards, that means nothing as our user base is not always that good in updating the HCL to reflect their success with hardware in openSUSE. So I checked the nVidia web site, and this graphic card is supported by the proprietary nVidia graphic driver (referred to as “nvidia” ).

This card should also “just work” with the open Source “nv” driver for nVidia cards upon installation and that is likely the driver that will be used by the openSUSE installer.

You may need some guidance to get the “nvidia” proprietary graphic driver working (which is needed for special desktop effects), but thats something you can easily do later. I’ve written some theory on what drivers are available for nVidia in post#2 here openSUSE Forums - View Single Post - openSUSE Graphic Card Practical Theory Guide for Users , but no need to worry about that now. You can sort that later.