Text (not server) mode system without installing recommended (should-have) packages

Hi :slight_smile:

I am considering wiping my laptop’s entire disk and installing openSUSE on it.
The list below has steps that I intend to follow.


  1. Download Leap 42.3’s Network CD/USB stick
  2. Use https://rufus.akeo.ie/ to create the installation media
  3. Connect the Ethernet cable to the laptop
  4. Boot the usb stick in Legacy(Bios) mode
  5. Select “Rescue system”
  6. Login as root

to know the laptop’s disk letter

shred -vfz -n 0 /dev/sdX

(X is replaced with the laptop’s disk letter)

  1. Boot the usb stick in Legacy(Bios) mode


  1. Select “Installation”
  2. Select “Create Partition Setup”
  3. Select “Custom Partitioning (for experts)”
  4. Create primary partitions swap, / (3.5G/swap, remaining disk/ext4)
  5. Select “Configure Online Repositories” and accept the marked boxes
  6. Select “Custom”, then “Details…”
  7. Create “Local user” and uncheck “Use this Password for System Administrator” and “Automatic Login” boxes
  8. Create root’s password
  9. Review “Installation Settings” and select “Install”

According to https://build.opensuse.org/package/view_file/system:install:head/patterns-base/patterns-base.spec?expand=1 there are packages I need that are in the recommended section, e.g. grub2 and glibc-locale. It seems to me that, if I deactivate the recommended packages, I have to mark the packages that I need.
Is there a list of packages like https://www.archlinux.org/groups/x86_64/base/ that could help me?

Thanks in advance!

I don’t know about using rufus, someone other than myself probably has had very recent experience for a known, recent way of creating a bootable USB stick if anything more is required than simply copying a DVD (or network install) image to a USB stick.

  • If you completely wipe the disk including partitions, and <especially> if your new partitions and partition sizes are different than your old, you probably don’t need to shred (zero) your existing disk. Different size partitions and especially if you reformat the file systems should be sufficient to ensure a clean, new file system without risk of ghosting. Shred (or dd characters) only if you want to make sure old data or files can’t be recovered.

  • No need to prepare your disk with rufus (or any other app). If your target disk is unpartitioned, free space the openSUSE install will find it and recommend installing there before considering anything else. The install will take care of all the technical details like disk and partition ids, location, etc. Just sit back and let the install do its thing, or at least until you are prompted to accept or modify the default layout proposal.

  • If you don’t want a default separate /home partition, I’d recommend <Editing the proposed layout> instead of starting with a completely blank setup, Then, what you will be presented is a working partition layout that only needs to be adjusted however you wish by changing the sizes, selecting a file format, and any other modifications you might want to make…
    Otherwise, you can certainly start from scratch as you’re proposing, it’s just more work and possibly more chances for error if you don’t know the minimal requirements for a working layout.

  • On the screen where you select your Desktop, if you <know> you will never want to install a graphical Desktop, then you should select the Server option, that’s a system configuration option that has nothing to do with the machine’s “role” as a User workstation or some kind of Server. Be aware that if you select that option, it’s difficult to ever install a Desktop thereafter, because components will be installed which will have to be removed manually if you ever want to install a graphical Desktop. If you instead want to preserve your future options, I recommend you install the “MinimalX Desktop” which is actually not a full Desktop as we generally think of nowadays, but only the IceWM Window Manager and related minimal graphical login screen. IceWM uses hardly any more resources than a text-only system if that’s your concern. Of course, it means a greater attack surface if your purpose is to be as invulnerable to hacking as possible. But, with MinimalX, you would have the flexibility to install any full Desktop later.

  • If you’re looking to install as minimalist a system as possible to start with, then text-only Server or MinimalX is recommended. For both, you’ll have little more than the ability to launch a console by default, and of course in openSUSE we have YaST (graphical yast2 and text-mode yast). If you’re looking for even more minimalism, I’ve seen JeOS images deployed only within isolation or virtual machines, never as the main OS.


Considering step 4) in your list, it’s more reliable to simply select the option for a swap partition size which allows hibernation (your machine is a laptop) and, simply let the rest of the HDD or SSHD or SSD be a single ext4 partition. Once you’ve got comfortable with the system as it is, you could consider separate system partition and user partition but, for a laptop such schemes normally do not make sense (IMHO).

Similarly, simply accept the recommended packages as they are – you can always remove any “not needed” packages once the system is up and running.

  • Within the YaST Software Manager, there’s a “View” named “Package Groups” which has a section “Not needed packages” – you can safely remove all the packages listed there – assuming that there are no dependencies to a package which is needed
    – don’t worry, the package dependency wizard will check that you really want to break the dependency and, the accidentally removed package will be reinstalled the next time you check the “Installation Summary” tab.

Thank you @tsu2 and @dcurtisfra for your advice :slight_smile:

@tsu2, my objective is to have a text mode system as my starting point and then progressively install packages until I reach a basic XFCE DE, e.g. archlinux’s installation way.
@dcurtisfra, my laptop has 8 GB of RAM, so which swap size should the swap partition have to support hibernation?

Simply trust the openSUSE installation wizard (given that the “partition size for hibernation” option has been selected) – it takes things into account which would take much too much space here in the Forum to explain.

So I should follow this advice from @tsu2:

“If you don’t want a default separate /home partition, I’d recommend <Editing the proposed layout> instead of starting with a completely blank setup, Then, what you will be presented is a working partition layout that only needs to be adjusted however you wish by changing the sizes, selecting a file format, and any other modifications you might want to make”

There actually should be a simple checkbox whether to use a separate home or not I think (no need to use the expert partitioner), at least that was the case in earlier versions.

Also, the YaST software manager (which is also used during installation, click on “Package Selection” or similar) has an option whether to install recommended packages or not (in the “Dependencies” menu), which seems to be what you want to disable.

Thank you for the information :slight_smile:

The requires of **patterns-openSUSE-minimal_base **in File patterns-base.spec of Package patterns-base - openSUSE Build Service (511-528).
During the installation, if I disable the recommended packages with YaST and select **patterns-openSUSE-minimal_base, only **the **requires **and their dependencies would be chosen?

Yes, that’s how it should be.
Although other patterns may be pre-selected too regarding on what install option you choose.

But it is possible to completely customize the installed patterns/packages during installation, by clicking on “Package Selection” (or similar) in the installation summary as mentioned. You get to the full YaST->Software Management then.

Let’s assume that all of the below conditions are satisfied:

1) The only pattern that I choose is patterns-openSUSE-minimal_base
**2) I disable recommended packages
****3) I manually select important packages that belong to recommended , e.g. grub2
4) I edit /etc/zypp/zypp.conf by uncommenting and setting solver.onlyRequires = true
5) I progressively install packages until I achieve a basic XFCE DE

**Will my final system have only one pattern and only required packages installed?

Yes, I suppose.
(I never tried that, or at least not in the last 10 years… :wink: )

P.S. When I say progressively install packages is only packages and not patterns

I was trying to clearly warn against selecting anything but the MinimalX Desktop option if your eventual goal is to install a Desktop like XFCE.

Or, learn the hard way,
Once every few years someone asks why they can’t install Desktop patterns on a text-only Server.
It’s a very quick step to re-install since IIRC installing a minimal system might take only about 20 minutes, maybe less.

Even if you install the XFCE Desktop(or any other Desktop) correctly, you should have an IceWM option, anyway (Exception I remember was LEAP 42.1 installing some Desktops (LXDE?) without the minimal-gnome pattern).


BTW - I didn’t notice you ask about this directly but is inline with what you seem to want to do…

I found that when you select any of the Desktop options during the install (which is unavoidable),
And <during the install> remove packages,
You’re not saving any space or time and if anything risk setting up your initial system successfully
Because <all> the patterns and files that are default will be installed at first and <then> any files and patterns you manually removed from the install are uninstalled.

In the end there is nothing to be gained by <removing> files during the Install.
I think you said that you would remove any unwanted files only after your installation has completed,
And IMO that is the best way.


Not sure why you don’t look at Studio Express https://studioexpress.opensuse.org/ and build your own JeOS?

Or create a virtual system and run your proposed install in that, clean up as required export the the autoyast file and use that?

If you want a retro text system, I use twin https://sourceforge.net/projects/twin/