OpenSuse 12.2 installation notes from a new Linux user

Intro

Hello all,
I just built a my first linux PC with OpenSuse 12.2, and thought I would contribute by compiling my notational nuggets and links from the web that I found the most useful. My hope is this post will save someone like me from repeating the same searches.

I’ve used various unix systems but never had root privileges for my own system. In other words, I’m new to Linux and have a lot to learn. So these notes are from a new user perspective, and I’ll update the post as needed.

Since this was a SSD/HDD setup I focused a good amount of time on looking into a partitioning scheme, SSD configuration for performance & extending the life of it. I am aware the life of more modern SSDs is becoming less of a concern, but the $/GB is still > HDD.

In my next post, I have some post-install actions I took after researching disabling unnecessary services in OpenSuse and KDE (unnecessary for some that it is). I’m also coming from a winXP and Mac OSX (10.6.8), so there were a few hangups with some hardware (Wireless USB adapter, and NTFS formatted USB external backup hard drive).

General Guides

I familiarized myself with the following guides before starting anything:1. Introduction - Beginner’s Guide to openSUSE 12.2 / SUSE Linux

The Perfect Desktop - OpenSUSE 12.2 (GNOME Desktop) | HowtoForge - Linux Howtos and Tutorials
Includes a list of free software replacements.

https://en.opensuse.org/SDB:Basics_of_partitions,_filesystems,_mount_points
Useful to help understand and decide on SSD HDD partitioning scheme.

Pre-install

Check and Update SSD and other hardware firmware version if necessary.
Example for my Crucial m4: Crucial.com Product Downloads - Firmware Updates

For SSD: Ensure sata ahci is enabled in BIOS. It is needed for TRIM support (explained later).

Downloading OpenSuse

Before downloading, I recommend reading/bookmarking the following forum stickies/pages, and to especially do the download verification. I’ll admit it was a lot to take in a first, and not all applicable for my needs, but worth the time.NEW Users Stickie - openSuse Pre-install (general) - PLEASE READ / CLICK here
NEW Users - openSUSE-12.2 Pre-installation - PLEASE READ

https://en.opensuse.org/SDB:Download_help

software.opensuse.org: Download openSUSE 12.2

Note: I downloaded the OpenSuse .iso to my macbook to burn to DVD. ,and for Mac OSX the commands for md5sum and sha1sum are:

md5 install.iso
shasum install.iso

Install

I’m just going to cover highlights here, as there are already plenty of general & complete install guides / walkthroughs. Again, it was helpful to become familiar prior with the process prior to install (less surprises that way). Here are a few I liked:openSUSE 12.2: Start-Up

4. Installation - Howto Install openSUSE on Your Computer

https://forums.opensuse.org/english/get-technical-help-here/hardware/478425-ssd-trim-2.html#post2487945
This great post covers how to make changes to fstab to enable TRIM support (discard, and noatime) during install, and after.

**Reminders: **

  • In BIOS, set to boot from CD/DVD first when ready to install OpenSuse from DVD.
  • During Install, Uncheck the ‘automatic configuration’ box on the “Installation Mode” step.
  • Come up with a clever hostname prior to starting the install :wink:
  • I chose KDE over GNOME based on it having more customization features (so I’ve read).
  • During Install, On the “Suggested Partioning” Step, use the (Edit Partition Setup) or (Create Partition Setup) buttons to create your own scheme

Partitioning

I would recommend deciding on the partition scheme prior starting the install by reading through the links in this section. After reading numerous posts I decided on the following:

/ SSD sda1 ext4 filesystem, single partition
/home HDD sdb3
/var HDD sdb2 20 GB
swap HDD sdb1 swap not on SSD

I left 100 GB un-partitioned on my HDD in case I wanted to try another distro.

If you decide to partition your SSD, there are numerous post about ensuring the “block alignment”. It was a confusing topic, but I verified mine after the install; see link in post-install section.

TRIM Support

Add ‘discard’ and ‘noatime’ to fstab to enable TRIM.
This post covers how to make changes to fstab to enable TRIM support (discard, and noatime) during install, and after.
https://forums.opensuse.org/english/get-technical-help-here/hardware/478425-ssd-trim-2.html#post2487945

Mount /tmp as tmpfs

There many posts advocating mounting /tmp as tmpfs, I just haven’t done it yet. OpenSuse may eventually do it by default:
AJ’s Open Source, openSUSE and SUSE Ramblings: /tmp as tmpfs for openSUSE?

With a reboot everything in /tmp will be gone. Check out this script to maintain /tmp on reboot:
Performance tweaking with tmpfs

There are also options for mounting subdirectories of /var/tmp /var/log to tmpfs, but are more involved and not always recommended by the community. Refer to the references below for more information.

References

https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/SSD

SSD optimizations on Linux

https://forums.opensuse.org/english/get-technical-help-here/hardware/478425-ssd-trim-2.html

Linux Mint Forums • View topic - Setting Mint up on an SSD

How to maximise SSD performance with Linux

Reducing writes to SSD: mounting /var (and others) on RAM disks (tmpfs).

http://forums.opensuse.org/english/get-technical-help-here/install-boot-login/468012-what-should-my-partition-scheme-ssd-hdd.html

*(http://www.reddit.com/r/linux/comments/15749j/i_plan_on_getting_an_ssd_what_do_i_need_to_do_in/)

installation - How do I optimize the OS for SSDs? - Ask Ubuntu

Running Ubuntu and other Linux flavors on an SSD

[size=3]My System[/size]

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K

  • CPU Cooler: CORSAIR Hydro series H50

  • Motherboard: MSI Z77A-GD55

  • Video Card: MSI N650Ti PE 1GD5/OC

  • Memory: CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1866

  • SSD: Crucial m4 128GB CT128M4SSD2

  • HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black 1 TB SATA III

  • DVD: ASUS DRW-24B1ST

  • Power Supply: CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX650 V2

  • Case: Corsair 400R

Post Install Tweak[size=3], Checks, and Fixes[/size]

**
Changes to boot.local and readahead**

Change I/O Scheduler to NOOP or DEADLINE from CFQ for SSD,. The steps here assume /dev/sda is the SSD
https://en.opensuse.org/SDB:SSD_performance

Following post includes several other recommendations, and fairly extensive boot.local script:https://forums.opensuse.org/english/get-technical-help-here/hardware/478425-ssd-trim-2.html#post2488789

To determine I/O scheduler in use

where ‘sda’ is SSD

$ cat /sys/block/sda/queue/scheduler 
noop deadline [cfq]

The scheduler currently in use denoted by the brackets.

Disable Services

In the default install several services were already disabled. Keep in mind you to only disable what you don’t need, and leave it alone if you don’t know.
Go to * YAST | SYSTEM | SYSTEM SERVICES – RUNLEVEL*avahi-daemon : disable (will also disable avahi-dnsconfd)
fbset : disable
nscd : disable
postfix : disable, unless used it for mail transport or mail server

Disabling Akonadi and Nepomukin in KDE
Akonadi and Nepomuk can use a noticeable amount of resources and may not even be useful to you:
openSUSE 12.1 – Taming Akonadi & Nepomuk » TweakHound

Firefox cache

In Firefox’s ‘About:Config’ point ‘browser.cache.disk.parent_directory*’*to /tmp/[firefox cache]

For Chromium cache, see Running Ubuntu and other Linux flavors on an SSD

Verify TRIM working

Just go here: Techblog

Verify SSD Block Alignment

With[FONT=Courier New] fdisk -l,and this post[/FONT]
Linux Mint Forums • View topic - [Solved] Checking SSD alignment under LM 13

**
References**

openSUSE 12.1 Tips And Tricks » TweakHound

Few Tips to make openSUSE 12.2 (KDE) run faster

openSUSE Tweak : Increase openSUSE Speed & Performance | Spirit of Change

openSUSE 12.2: Chapter 9. General System Resource Management

Speed up your Linux Boot and normal use ( openSUSE ) | Free Techie Blog

http://forums.opensuse.org/archives/sls-archives/archives-suse-linux/archives-general-questions/372718-how-manage-system-services-runlevel.html

http://forums.opensuse.org/archives/sls-archives/archives-linux-tweaks/archives-howtos-discussions/376672-how-speed-up-opensuse-boot-time-manage-memory-better.html

Minor Issues Resolved

Automount of external NTFS USB drive fails

My backup external USB drive was already formatted as NTFS and was not mounting properly in OpenSuse. Solution: Add ‘ntfs’ to /etc/filesystems

dmesg and lsusb -v] were also two useful commands for troubleshooting my USB device(s).

http://forums.opensuse.org/english/get-technical-help-here/hardware/459197-automount-external-ntfs-usb-drive-fails-when-using-device-notifier.html

Middle Mouse to Paste Selection

If using KDE,and assuming Klipper is running,and want to middle mouse to paste your selection, goto Klipper configuration and check “Synchronize contents of the clipboard and the selection.“ Some have suggested disabling Klipper altogether.
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Klipper

Wireless Adapter

Turns out the Motorola WU830G Wireless USB adapter doesn’t appear to be supported by linux.
Motorola WU830G - WikiDevi

These sites may help you determine a wireless adapter model with linux support:
HCL:Network (Wireless) - openSUSE
Linux wireless LAN support http://linux-wless.passys.nl
16. Wireless Driver Installation - Making Your Broadcom, Ralink etc. Wifi/Wlan Work

Install Software Example with Zypper

nano text editor zypper install command:

sudo zypper install nano

Backup

I just started looking into backup options, and have yet to decide which route to take; diy rysnc, Bacula, or BackupPC.

http://forums.opensuse.org/english/get-technical-help-here/applications/473617-about-backing-up.html

https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Full_System_Backup_with_rsync