NEWBIES - Suse-11.0 Pre-installation – PLEASE READ

NEWBIES - Suse-11.0 Pre-installation Preparation – PLEASE READ

This thread is for newbies.

This first post is the first of a series of posts in this thread, which will hopefully provide helpful hints on how to install openSUSE-11.0.

Note: openSUSE-11.0 is scheduled to be released on 19-June-2008. Please wait until then, and then proceed to download your CD / DVD. [Before then you will get openSUSE10.3]. You may find things somewhat slow the first day or so, as the masses all try to download at once. :slight_smile:

1. Where to find the openSUSE installation ISO file
Note, typically you go to opensuse web site, and download an “.iso” file.

You then burn that to a CD or DVD (dependant on whether you downloaded CD or DVD version) the installation CD/DVD. This first post has some important hints on that.

Please note, if you decide to download SuSE-11.0, pay very close attention to the MD5 checksum.

2. Checking MD5 SUM on ISO FILE from Linux
The theory here is one downloads the appropriate .iso file(s). For those who already have linux, one then runs “md5sum file.iso” (or something like that) in a konsole, against the downloaded file (which in my example I called “file.iso”). This will give an md5 checksum value. One then compares that to the checksum that is on the download web site. If they don’t match, you have a problem, and you MUST download again.

Typically, bittorent downloads are more reliable than FTP or HTTP downloads.

3. How to check the MD5SUM from Windows:
One completely free, MS-Windows application for running the md5 checksum on a number of different operating systems, is here on

Another gui md5 checker for MS-Windows 95/98/NT (it works in Xp as well even though it doesn’t say so). The file is md5.exe (248kB) and can be downloaded from MD5 GUI for Windows. It’s under the gpl licence and you can download the source if you want.

4. Burning the CD/DVD
Next, when one burns, burn the CD/DVD iso file as an “image file”. For windows users, in Nero, this does not mean selecting some iso option, but rather means selecting the “image” option (this is under “file > burn image”).

When burning, please burn at the SLOWEST speed your burner will allow. YES, the slowest. If you have an old PC with a functioning burner that burns REAL slow, that is often a good PC to do the burn from, since you can burn at a slower speed. Also, choose a CD/DVD media that is of the highest quality you can get. Don’t use some no name bargain basement brand CD/DVD that you know nothing about.

There is further excellent guidance, providing help on “burning the ISO image” on the opensuse wiki:…SO_Image.28s.29

5. Ensure BIOS is set properly
Also, on the PC where the installation is to be done, ensure in one’s BIOS that the PC is set to boot from the CD/DVD drive before booting from the hard drive.

6. Check MD5SUM again from within installation CD/DVD
When installing SuSE-11.0, you may be given an option to check the MD5 checksum on your CDs (I know SuSE-10.2 & 10.3 had this feature). Take the extra hour (or more) to do this!! It will potentially save you many evenings later on down the road, looking for some ellusive problem that you can’t find.

Please note KDE-4.0.x is still very experimental and it is not recommended for Newbies. It is intended mainly for developers and cutting edge hackers or those who live and breath on the cutting edge of the latest software updates. Newbies, during the install please select KDE-3.5.9 or Gnome desktops instead, in order to obtain more stability.

Further to the KDE-4.0x caution, please note the Live CD for KDE ONLY comes with KDE-4.0.x and not KDE-3.5.9. to get KDE-3.5.9 one must install off of the DVD and not the Live CD.

**8. MS-Windows Users - you MUST defrag ** your MS-Windows partitions before installation of openSUSE. That is because if you have not already prepared a partition for openSUSE, then openSUSE installer will try to carve up your MS-Windows hard drive (allocating space for both MS-Windows and Linux), and a badly fragmented drive can cause problems.

Good luck to all.

Notes on CD Burning- I saw the following quote on another forum, and I think it provides a good explanation as to why one can have problems with a CD that to all extents and purposes appears good, yet one can’t boot from the CD (or one gets errors in trying to read from some applications/rpms on the CD).

When you burn to a low speed, the data is written more “clearly” on the disc (higher speed writes tend to burn the data “fainter” and this can make reading slower). The problem is that most BIOS don’t give the computer much time to read the disc before trying to boot from it. If the disc is faint, it may take longer to read, and then the computer will not read it in time to boot from it.
*Such a read problem can happen to old PCs, old CD drives, poor quality CDs, and CD’s burned at a high speed.

*I recently saw the following on yet another forum, and I think it provides further useful technical information on the benefits to burning an Operating System CD/DVD at a slower speed:

I confess to being somewhat skeptical about the statement that the quality of the disk doesn’t matter, but I do think it useful to read the comment on the slow speed being desireable. My experience (and those of some collegues) is high quality CD/DVDs do make a difference, but I concede low qual CD/DVDs will work on occasion, and the advantage offered by hiqher quality CD/DVDs is not always consistantly superior. My view is one should do the best one can, to improve the odds of success.

This “stickie” thread is locked, to ensure this is easier for newbies to read.

Anyone who has corrections, and/or comments, and or suggested improvements, please add them to the new thread below:
or PM one of the moderators:

MANY MANY thanks to those who have contributed to helping out newbies to openSUSE.

If you have burned the .iso to a CD or DVD already, and you are having problems with that CD / DVD, and you wish to check the md5sum on the CD / DVD, then you can do the following (which I saw this on the following web site):

To check the md5sum from a just burned dvd:
Ideally, one would just use
$ md5sum /dev/dvd

But trailing zero’s and nuls at the end can change the MD5 hash. So to calculate the md5sum we need to:

  1. find the size of the ISO in bytes
  2. run dd with this exact size in bytes: dd if=/dev/dvd | head --bytes= | md5sum
    So for example if .iso file size is 3621957632:

$ dd if=/dev/dvd | head --bytes=3621957632 | md5sum

Edit: A slightly different method for checking the md5 on the dvd is described here:
openSUSE Forums - View Single Post - DVD to ISO

For newbies, who are migrating from an older suse, to openSUSE-11.0, here is some advice from the SuSE-10.2 reference manual, which is a useful reference for users who are updating (or re-installing) their SuSE for the first time:

5.1 Updating the System

5.1.1 Preparations

Before updating, copy the old configuration files to a separate medium, such as streamer, removable hard disk, USB stick, or ZIP drive, to secure the data. This primarily applies to files stored in /etc as well as some of the directories and files in /var and /opt. You may also want to write the user data in /home (the HOME directories) to backup medium. Back up this data as root. Only root has read permission for all local files.

Before starting your update, make note of the root partition. The command df / lists the device name of the root permission. There is also df -h.

For example, I typically make copies of my /etc/fstab, /etc/X11/xorg.conf, /etc/cups, /etc/modprobe.d/sound, /boot/grub/menu.lst.

The openSUSE community has created a number of web pages, for the specific purpose of helping newbies.

It is definitely worth while for newbie SuSE users to take a look at these (below) openSUSE community URLs, which provide guidance as to how to improve one’s SuSE, to go beyond the initial limitations in the “as delivered” version of SuSE provided by Novell-SuSE-GmbH:…

In particular I recommend looking at this page:
Repositories - openSUSE-Community

New SuSE-11.0 users, go for the SuSE-11.0 link:
Repositories/11.0 - openSUSE-Community

A guide on installing restricted formats (ie mp3, video codecs, etc …)
Restricted Formats - openSUSE-Community

and for SuSE-11.0 (follow for “one-click” guide on installing openSUSE-11.0 multimedia):
Restricted Formats/11.0 - openSUSE-Community

and don’t forget to look at the FAQ:
FAQ - openSUSE-Community

*The above URLs also provide guidance re: playing mp3’s and dvd’s, installing/setting up Software Package Managers (such as Smart, Yast, … ), one’s wireless, etc … *

Here are some more important URLs for newbies:

Wireless under openSUSE
Ndiswrapper - openSUSE

ATI Graphics Driver Custom Install* [Edit - this link still requires updating to include openSUSE-11.0]*
ATI - openSUSE

Nvidia Graphics Driver Custom Install

Intel Graphics Driver under Linux
Welcome to the Linux Graphics Driver from Intel site | Graphics

Installing a Webcam under openSUSE:
HCL/Web Cameras - openSUSE

Scanner working under openSUSE
YaST/Modules/Scanner - openSUSE

Checking for hardware compatiblity under openSUSE
Hardware - openSUSE

Basic openSUSE concepts for the Windows users migrating to openSUSE
Concepts - openSUSE

OpenSUSE Audio Troubleshooting
SDB:AudioTroubleshooting - openSUSE

NTFS under openSUSE

OpenSUSE-11.0 Release Notes
openSUSE 11.0 Release Notes

General guidance for printing under Linux

Newebies: Thanks to Kevin Dupuy, you can also see a full installation walkthrough on the openSUSE wiki:
Installation/11.0 DVD Install - openSUSE

… or for the Live CD:
Installation/11.0 Live CD - openSUSE

This is an excellent reference to point to, if you have an installation failure (after the GUI starts) and you wish to point to the failure location.

Here is an openSUSE top level Guide to 11.0
Guide to 11.0 - openSUSE

some interesting links in that page include:

Here is a good page giving various highlights of 11.0.
Product Highlights/11.0 - openSUSE

openSUSE-11.0 documentation (both online HTML and pdf files):
OpenSUSE 11.0 Documentation/Manuals

And a general link to openSUSE documentation is here:
Documentation - openSUSE

In case any newbie has purchased a “boxed” version of openSUSE, and is looking for official Novell support for their openSUSE, here are a couple of links:

Circumstances Warranting Installation Assistance for openSUSE [somewhat dated, as it refers only up to openSUSE-10.2]
NOVELL: openSUSE: Support Requirements

Table providing level of support one can get with commercial boxed openSUSE
NOVELL: openSUSE: Support Service Catalog

Having noted that, if one has problems with their openSUSE, please post the details of your problem here on our forum, and there is a chance one of the many volunteers on our forum will be able to help you.


Perhaps this info will be helpful to you or anyone else with a similar SATA “drive not found” problem . . .

Just to be clear, there is no such thing as “standard” SATA. When users think of SATA, they tend to think of the hard drive (although it can be a SATA optical drive, too, of course) itself. While obviously the drive must be SATA, what is important in this situation is the SATA disk controller on the motherboard. The controller may be in the motherboard chipset, or it may be a separate device on the board. (Often if the board supports both PATA/IDE and SATA, the former is handled by the chipset and the latter by an additional device.) The way that SATA is implemented on the device differs considerably one to the next. Some devices are true SATA, others are simply a modified PATA, and there are those that fall in-between.

To install to a SATA drive, the installer must detect the controller and load the necessary driver for it. If you have ever done a clean install of Windows XP or Vista you may have encountered a similar situation, where you must provide the SATA driver on separate media - the infamous F6 floppy requirement. With openSUSE, there is an excellent chance the installation media has the needed driver, although it may not have detected it. One reason for this (and the reason why one distro may load it but another does not) is that there may be more than one driver for the device, because of changes in versions of the device or changes in the kernel or both. The kernel may not be able to determine which version of the driver is necessary. Or, it may only know of one (depending on kernel version) which may or may not be the right one.

If you encounter a “drive not found” error, restart the installation and depress the Escape key to drop the graphical interface down to text (or just use the “text” install option from the menu, but it will be more readable if you do the former). After the kernel initializes the basic hardware (cpu, ram, pci) it will look for the disk controller(s) and try to load the driver(s). You may see your problem here.

You may need to research the hardware on your system to determine the disk controller device (see below). Once you know the device (and the motherboard, if at all possible), searching the internet for the linux driver/kernel module usually turns up the name quickly, plus any issues other users have encountered.

At the installation menu, there is an F key to indicate you want to install an additional driver. The installation will route you to a point where you can select from all the drivers on the media, organized by category. Find the section for disks, find the driver module you need from the list, and select it. SuSE will then load that driver, and chances are, you’re good to go.

Re finding what the disk controller is: You may find the information by searching on the make and model number of your computer. But, many manufacturers do not provide this information, or make it difficult to find. If you have Windows installed, try running msinfo32.exe. Under the System Summary, you may find the motherboard listed. And under Storage, there is a section for SCSI; this is where you may find the SATA controller. If none of this gets you the needed information, you can download and install a free hardware diagnostic program (SiSoftware Sandra is probably the most widely used, and it is perfectly safe) which will definitely give you the information.

Hope this helps. Good luck

Reference: mingus725 post: mingus725 guidance on HD sata - openSUSE Forums

GUIDANCE ON SATA HARD DRIVE INSTALLATION* (continued - by mingus725):*

The second-to-last paragraph above needs to be clarified, and there is a very important addition that needs to be made.

The F6 option on the installation menu is very similar to how the Windows 2000/XP installation enables the user to add a SATA driver on a floppy disk, or how Vista does the same except from both floppy or CD/DVD. Except that openSUSE’s method is much more flexible: Under F6 there are three choices:

Yes - takes you to a menu where you can choose from any device attached to the system that can already be recognized. That is, a floppy, an optical drive, or any partition on any disk that is already seen (which obviously, in this case, would not include the SATA drives).

File - brings up a CD/DVD box where you can supply the name of a file on a readable optical disk. This will only work for drivers which do not have to match the version of the operating system kernel which is being installed.

URL - allows you to provide a web url pointing to a set of drivers newer than what is provided with the installation. This is useful for example if you are installing with media that is months old and since it was released, a new or updated driver you need has been released. The default is

In addition to the above methods, there is another way to load a driver which is not advertised but which is IMO better than any of the above, because it does not require the user to have obtained and put the driver on media, etc. Furthermore, this method may even enable the user to find the driver without knowing in advance specifically which one is required. Here is how it works:

Re-start the installation normally. At the first screen (the License Acceptance) click on Abort. You will be taken to another “an error occurred during the installation” screen, click OK, and you will be taken to the main menu of “linuxrc”, which is a shell which wraps the kernel inside the installation. On that menu is a selection “Kernel Modules (Hardware Drivers)”, choose that to go to a list of sub-menus. The first choice “IDE/RAID/SCSI” is for disk controllers (SATA is in the SCSI class). Select that and you will be presented with an extensive list of driver module names and the accompanying manufacturer/model number.

So for example, if your SATA drive is on a Silicon Image device on your motherboard which was not automatically detected, you will see it here. The same is true if your drive in on a SiS combined RAID/SATA, or it is on an add-on Promise PCI SATA card. Because the make/model is also often listed, you may be able to identify the driver even if you don’t know its specific name. In a few cases (via, for example) it can be difficult to know which one to choose; select one and try it, if it doesn’t work, repeat the process selecting another.

Important final note: There are other linuxrc sub-menus besides the one for disk controllers, which you may need to use. There is one for USB and another for Firewire; many external devices connected to these ports use a proprietary interface, you will find those drivers here. Or you may need one of these if installing to USB key or smart card storage. There are also additional drivers for PCMCIA cards and Network devices/cards. Finally, there is a selection to “Show Loaded Modules” which will display all the drivers which have been detected, useful for narrowing down what may need to be additionally loaded, or, in the very unusual occasion when one driver conflicts with another, here you can remove the driver that was automatically detected and replace it with one which you select.

All in all, driver selection is a very powerful feature of openSUSE.

Reference: mingus725 post: HD sata - openSUSE Forums

There are now a number of liveCD offerings for openSUSE. I have summarized them below:

Novell/SuSE-GmbH liveCDs:
There are installable liveCDs (packaged by Novell/SuSE-GmbH) for:[ul][li] openSUSE-11.0 (32-bit and 64-bit) with KDE-4.0.x desktop. [i] Go here for download:
[/li][li] openSUSE-11.0 (32-bit and 64-bit) with Gnome desktop. Go here for download:[/ul]
openSUSE community liveCDs
and there are liveCDs packaged by the openSUSE community for:[ul][li] openSUSE-11.0 (32-bit) with KDE-4.1 desktop. Go here for download: openSUSE-11.0 KDE-4.1 Live CD
[/li][li] openSUSE-11.0 (32-bit and 64-bit) with KDE-3.5.9 desktop. Go here for download: Carlos Goncalves: openSUSE-11.0 KDE-3.5.9 Live CDs[/ul]
There are torrents available for all of the above, where bittorent typically has a higher probability of a download with no errors in the download.

In all cases, after downloading:[ul]
[li]be certain to do an md5sum check of the downloaded file vs the posted md5sum value
[/li][li]be certain to also burn at the slowest speed to the highest quality media available, to ensure the highest probability of a successful installation
[/li][li]during the install, when you have a hiccup, pull out your digital camera (if you have one) take a snap shot of the error message(s). You can use the digital camera image as a refresher as to the error message, or even post the image on the web to illustrate your point/error
[/li][li]and finally, after the above (or during the above) log on to our forum and ask for support. You can also get good support from IRC freenode channel #suse