New Installation Configuration

Hello all! A little bit of direction is needed. I am a first time user to Linux(sounds like it is the way to go!). I decided to build a computer for the first time and also switch over and run Linux. There is a program that I have to use on Windows XP for work and I wanted to know if I can run both OS from the same hard drive. If so, how to properly go about installing both operating systems and the correct process to go about it. I am also still up in the air about using Gnome or KDE, any suggestions there? Thanks!!!

Yes, it’s possible to run two OS’s from the same hard drive and the best way to do it is to install Windows first. I’m not sure how big your hard drive is and how much space you want to allocate to it, I’ll assume a 50/50 split between the two.

The fun part is partitioning itself, there are many ways in which you can do this. The most obvious way is a Windows boot disk, but if you do not have one, another method is via a Live CD such as Gparted or Parted Magic. Once you partition the Linux partition, the most common file systems are ext3 and ReiserFS. The best schematics are to create a /, a /swap and a separate /home partition. Assuming you have a 120 GB hard drive, each OS will be on 60 GB’s each, the / partition should be a minimum of 5 GB’s (10 GB’s to be on the safe side, and also dependent upon how many programs you need - I keep it bigger for the fact upgrading does take place and having ample space is the safest bet), the /swap partiton should be 1 1/2 to 2 times the amount of memory you have (example: 2 GB memory, 3.5-4 GB swap space) and the rest goes into the /home partition.

Install Windows to one partition, then install openSUSE to the other. Having a separate /home partition is always a good idea in case of accidents and also because a separate /home partition stores all the important files in case you decide to move on to another distribution or upgrade the current one. Either way, there are two types of people when it comes to backups: those who are religious about them and those who are about to become religious about them.

As for KDE/Gnome, well if you’re a first time Linux user who’s used to Windows, KDE is probably the most recommended Desktop Environment/Window Manger to ease transition to Linux. Gnome is a good choice too (my preference as well) but KDE4 is nice and openSUSE does KDE the best in my opinion.

Also, depending on the “must-have” Windows program you need, check into Wine or CodeWeavers as both of those are able to run most of the popular Windows programs with relative ease.

Hope I helped point you in the right direction, if you have any more questions do not hesitate to ask!

Thanks for the reply! Just to check I am thinking correctly.

I found the gparted live cd on sourceforge. Download it and burn the image file to a cd. With that I am able to boot from it to make the partitions.

Next put in the windows cd and select the partion that I want to place it on

Sorry, computer went a bit crazy. So continued…

Then install Linux. Using Yast you can place the /, /swap, and /home where you would like to.

Question, would it be easier to create the partions in Windows or Gparted?

If I am able to use the software I need withing Linux using one of the programs you said, that would be great! Thanks for the info.

Just a quick side note. Is Yast unable to create the partitions and this is why you need to create them before trying to install Linux?

Thanks so much for the help!

Don’t worry about partitioning. You can create partitions in the installer (you need to shrink your windows partitions I guess) do not use another programs.
For more information take a look to wiki pages: Installation - openSUSE.
If you want to use windows programs under openSuSE you need something called Wine ;). Browse their appdb: WineHQ - Wine Application Database to find out is your program installable on Wine. About installing windows software with Wine you can find a lot of post on the forum. If your program isn’t wine compatible simple install your XP to VirtualBox - openSUSE
KDE or Gnome? Using KDE since 2002… :slight_smile:

Gotcha. When using Wine does the performance of the program change at all? What about when while using VirtualBox? Thanks!

It depends on your hardware configuration (I have 1GB RAM). Example I’m played WoW with Wine on higher resolution than in Windows, the game was smother, better FPS, etc. IMHO Wine would be better solution if you want to run Windows games under Linux. Wine is using just a few MB from your memory, so you can run programs approximately with the same speed as Windows can.
The only problem with VirtualBox for me is the memory usage (300-400MB). WoW would be completely unplayable, but example IBM Rational Rosa Data Modeler (it uses ~20MB) runs very OK.
As I said, it depends on your hardware. Use Wine if it is possible - when Wine is compatible with your windows program. If it isn’t then install VirtualBox.
Good luck.

Good point, Ram. Once you have Windows installed, just chuck in the openSUSE CD/DVD and let Yast autopartition the partition where Linux will reside. Also make sure to put your Grub on MBR so that way you can pick which OS you want to run when you start your computer.

Is putting the grub on the MBR an option in Yast during installation? If it is not self explainitory could you point me in right direction for a how to article. Thanks for all the help!

Putting GRUB to the MBR could be bad idea. Do not write anything to MBR!
Use what the installer gives you by default. In the future if you want to install example windows to your PC without having any linux partitions you’ll have several problems. (XP have problems with dealing linux mbr records. Vista with both, etc.)

Just to make sure that I am thinking correctly. Installing GRUB onto the MBR gives you the ability to chose which OS to start up with during initial start up. If I do not install the GRUB on to the MBR and if I install Windows XP first and then OpenSUSE, how do I switch between the two OS. Sorry if any of these questions seem elementary, I obviously very new to this.

Also I did read about how to change the Grub in the system setting with Yast, and found the directions on how to uninstall the the Grub from from the MBR and restore it. So it seems that part of my previous question got answered. Thanks again!

You don’t need to install GRUB to the MBR to choose between openSuSE and XP. If you install first XP and after openSuSE, then your openSuSE partition will be marked as bootable partition. So it’ll boot first, together with GRUB.
Good luck.

If OpenSUSE always opens first is there a way to change it to another OS? Also, how do you go about changing to the other OS, is it just by restarting and then changing the boot order in the bios? Thanks!

Yeah! That is what we are talking about… GRUB. You can select which OS to start in GRUB.
If you boot up with openSuSE, then you need to restart your PC to boot up in another OS.
You don’t need to change any boot order in BIOS. If you have one or more hard disks openSuSE will detect (i hope) all bootable operation systems, and all bootable operating system will be listed in GRUB.
You need to change boot order in BIOS only if you want to boot from another medium (not from HDD) DVD, CD.

Got it! Thanks for all the help you’ve been!!

:slight_smile: You are welcome! Thank you for posting back.
Have a lot of fun! :wink: