Welcome to openSUSE 11.4, the newest release of the Linux Distribution with the Geeko.
In the following Introduction to this system, we cover the differences in installation of the system, in enabling full mutimedia support and in how to install proprietary graphics drivers between Ubuntu and openSUSE.
We will also cover some other differences, like installing software and doing systemsettings.
There is no KopenSUSE, or XopenSUSE.
openSUSE also comes with different desktop environments, such as Gnome, KDE, XFCE and many more.
But there is no special edition for that. OpenSUSE remains openSUSE, no matter which desktop environment is installed.
openSUSE comes in different types of media. On software.opensuse.org: Download openSUSE 11.4 you can download several types of media. Just choose the desired version of openSUSE in the dropdown menu and afterwards the installation media.
Which type of media is right for you?
DVD: the DVD contains a huge selection of software, for use on desktops and servers. It also contains both desktop environments: Gnome and KDE and allows you to choose between them (and others) during installation
KDE Live: this is a Live CD, similar to the one, available for Ubuntu. It contains the most common software along with the KDE desktop environment
Gnome-Live: this is a Live CD, similar to the one, available for Ubuntu. It contains the most common software along with the Gnome desktop environment
As with Ubuntu, there is also an alternate CD available which allows installation via Network.
For a plain description how to install openSUSE, please refer to Category:SDB:Installation 11.4 - openSUSE and the further links on this site.
To set up a dualboot system with Ubuntu and/or Windows, you need to partition your harddrive(s) with a dedicated tool, such as Gparted, before you start to install openSUSE on your computer.
The installer of openSUSE unfortunately is not able to resize and change partitions on your computers harddrive(s). For tips and hints on that, please refer to SDB:Partitioning - openSUSE
When you have set up the desired partition layout with Gparted or a similar tool, you can start the installation as described in Category:SDB:Installation 11.4 - openSUSE
Please note that during install, you need to check the final layout in the installer. This can be done by choosing „edit partition layout“ in the appropriate screen/step of the installer.
This takes you to the expert mode of the partitioning step during installation.
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Here you can review the partitioning layout and change mount points and options on formatting your partitions.
The installer normally recognises Windows partitions and mounts them automatically. However, please read the proposed partitioning layout (depending on your individual setup) carefully and only proceed when you are sure that everything is set up to your satisfaction.
After setting up the partition layout, you need to set up the user account for the system.
Until you have finished this, the installer does not change anything to your harddrive(s).
After the user information has been set up, the installer will present the final settings.
Here you can still make changes to your setup. When you press the „install“ Button, the installer will tell you, that all information is complete and the system is ready to install.
When you confirm the installation, the system will finally be installed.
Differences to Ubuntu while using openSUSE
Although both, openSUSE and Ubuntu, are Linux based operation systems, there are however some differences between both systems.
First of all, as a former Ubuntu user, you might be familiar with the fact, that in Ubuntu the „super User“ root is disabled by default. Instead of this, you always have to type a „sudo“ in front of the command you need to run with root permissions.
In openSUSE, root is not disabled by default. That is why you need to switch over to user root, when you need to run a command with root privileges.
This is being done by typing
followed by the password for the root account before you can type and run a command with root privileges.
What is the password for the root account?
When you have a standard install of openSUSE, the root password is the same as the password for the first user of the system. However, you could change this during installation of the system.
In the step, which belongs to the user setup, you can check/uncheck a checkbox for the option
„use this password for root“
If you have not done this, the root password is the password for the first user of the system.
What is the difference now?
In Ubuntu, the terminal will run with root privileges for approximatly 15 minutes after the last command has been processed. After this time, the terminal will switch back to normal permissions.
In openSUSE, whenever you have logged in as root, the terminal will run with root privileges until you change back to normal user permissions by typing
This is very important, because you need to observe if you are running commands with root permissions which do not need them and therefore can potentially harm the system.
You can see whether a terminal runs in root mode or not. Just watch the username in the terminal.
If there is a „#“ behind it, then the terminal runs in „root mode“.
If you try to run a command, which requires root privileges, with your normal user permissions, the terminal will tell you that it needs root permissions for processing it. Then you can switch over to root in the same way, as described above.
openSUSE uses a different format for software packages than Ubuntu.
In Ubuntu you may have noticed, that software packages are in .deb format. In openSUSE all packages are in .rpm format.
This does no obvious difference to an average user, but it is worth knowing, that .deb packages do not work in a standard openSUSE system. There may be conversion tools, but for daily use, just stick to rpm´s and you will be fine.
Similar to Ubuntu´s Synaptic package manager, openSUSE also uses a package management tool, which is called YaSt. YaSt means „Yet another Setup tool“, pointing out, that YaSt is not only used to manage software packages. It is more than that.
YaSt is a powerful but friendly tool to do all the settings to your system, you will need.
Be it installing software, setting up printers, network shares and settings… there are numerous tasks which are all to be done in YaSt, without digging and searching in system configuration files.
Just discover it!
During usage of YaSt you will notice that in every window, there are “Help” Buttons in the lower lefthand corner. The integrated Help system in YaSt provides useful information on all tasks which can be performed in the respective window.
For information about the package management system in openSUSE and YaSt please refer to
Package management - openSUSE and Portal:YaST - openSUSE
When you are an experienced Ubuntu user, you might have noticed, that besides installing software via Synaptic, there is also a way to do this using the terminal.
The common command to install a package in Ubuntu is
sudo apt-get install [package name]
however, in openSUSE there is no apt-get. But of course there is also a command line tool for installing and removing packages, as well as updating and upgrading the system and adding and removing software repositories.
This tool is called zypper.
The typical command of installing a software package (after switching to root, by typing su and your password) would be:
zypper install [package name]
For more information on zypper and it´s whole lot of features, please refer to Portal:Zypper - openSUSE
In openSUSE you can of course enjoy all the multimedia features as you could in Ubuntu.
Like in Ubuntu, there can not all packages, like codecs and so on, be delivered with the standard system because of concerns related to licenses.
In Ubuntu, you needed to add an additional package source to do so. In openSUSE this is the same.
But of course this package source is not called „Medibuntu“ as it was in Ubuntu, but „Packman“ instead.
How do you add this package source? It is easier than in Ubuntu!
Just open YaSt. Choose „software repositories“. YaSt will now load all the already enabled repositories on your system and present them as following:
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To add a repository, click on the button add, in the lower left corner of the screen.
YaSt will now present some options, how to add a repository.
Just choose the option „community repositories“ and you be lead to a table of pre selected repositories. Choose „Packman“ and activate it by checking the checkbox in front of it. Then click „proceed“ and YaSt will do the rest. It will also ask you if you want to import the GPG key of the repository and it is recommended to do so.
When everything is finished successfully, YaSt will close the „add Software repositories“ window automatically.
When you now install some packages, or update the system, using „Online Update“ in YaSt, it will automatically install all necessary codecs, the flashplugin installer and some Microsoft True Type fonts. You just need to confirm the license for Flashplugin and the Microsoft Fonts.
Proprietary Graphics drivers
In Ubuntu you had a handy tool to install a proprietary graphics driver, called jockey. This tool popped up some time after installing the system and asked you whether you want to install a proprietary graphics driver or not.
However, in openSUSE you will not have this tool. But, no worries, the installation of these drivers is also very easy.
At first, you also need to enable an additional repository. So you do the same steps as you did, while enabling the packman repository in YaSt.
You also choose „community repository“ as the right type of it.
After doing that, you search for a repository, depending of the manufacturer of your graphics card.
If you have a Nvidia card, there will be most likely a nvidia repository in the list. If you have an ATI device, you will find an ATI repository. YaSt automatically detects the type of your card, and offers the appropriate option.
You then enable this repository and when you update the system or install packages after doing so, the proprietary driver will be installed automatically. You just need to do a system restart, after the installation has finished.
Have a lot of fun!