I wanted to avoid having to use my CDs, DVDs weren’t an option, and I didn’t have very large usb sticks. It seemed my only option for installing openSUSE onto my laptop was with some sort of network install/boot.
I ended up finding this really cool service, netboot.me. What you can do is download a very small image (<1MB) for a floppy, USB stick, or CD, and then boot off of it. Then you can either install pre-defined distros over the network (straight from the distro’s servers), or you can make an account (by connecting your google account), and then make your own configuration. I managed to make a configuration for openSUSE 11.4, and I was able to completely install it, via only using one floppy disk and the internet!
My first step in the process was to download the floppy image. Since I was on a windows computer, I then downloaded rawwrite for windows, and I wrote the image straight to the floppy. After that, I restarted the computer and booted from the floppy. It loaded the image, then asked me to press a key or wait for 3 seconds. In order to boot from my configuration, this was the point where I had to press a key, and then choose the option of loading the custom configuration. The configuration I made has an ID of 434001 (which anyone is free to use). Unfortunately, according to their community, the gPXE “network stack” isn’t very optimizied, so the initial two downloads took awhile (my speed was locked at 65 kB/s.)
It then began booting in the installation environment, which took about 15 minutes, although download speeds were now back at normal, faster speeds. I configured my installation, and let the package downloading begin!
Although this may not have been the fastest or most efficient method of installing openSUSE, it definitely is a method, and it works for me. I hope this can, in some way, help other users who would like to put openSUSE on an older machine like mine!