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The Perfect Desktop – OpenSUSE 11 (GNOME)


This tutorial shows how you can set up an OpenSUSE 11 desktop that is a full-fledged replacement for a Windows desktop, i.e. that has all the software that people need to do the things they do on their Windows desktops. The advantages are clear: you get a secure system without DRM restrictions that works even on old hardware, and the best thing is: all software comes free of charge.

I want to say first that this is not the only way of setting up such a system. There are many ways of achieving this goal but this is the way I take. I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!

1 Preliminary Note

To fully replace a Windows desktop, I want the OpenSUSE 11 desktop to have the following software installed:

Graphics:

  • The GIMP – free software replacement for Adobe Photoshop
  • F-Spot – full-featured personal photo management application for the GNOME desktop
  • Google Picasa – application for organizing and editing digital photos

Internet:

  • Firefox
  • Opera
  • Flash Player 9
  • Filezilla – multithreaded FTP client
  • Thunderbird – email and news client
  • Evolution – combines e-mail, calendar, address book, and task list management functions
  • aMule – P2P file sharing application
  • Azureus/Vuze – Java Bittorrent client
  • Monsoon – Bittorrent client
  • Pidgin– multi-platform instant messaging client (formerly known as Gaim)
  • Skype
  • Google Earth
  • Xchat IRC – IRC client

Office:

  • OpenOffice Writer – replacement for Microsoft Word
  • OpenOffice Calc – replacement for Microsoft Excel
  • Adobe Reader
  • GnuCash – double-entry book-keeping personal finance system, similar to Quicken
  • Scribus – open source desktop publishing (DTP) application

Sound & Video:

  • Amarok – audio player
  • Audacity – free, open source, cross platform digital audio editor
  • Banshee – audio player, can encode/decode various formats and synchronize music with Apple iPods
  • MPlayer – media player (video/audio), supports WMA
  • Rhythmbox Music Player – audio player, similar to Apple’s iTunes, with support for iPods
  • gtkPod – software similar to Apple’s iTunes, supports iPod, iPod nano, iPod shuffle, iPod photo, and iPod mini
  • XMMS – audio player similar to Winamp
  • dvd::rip – full featured DVD copy program
  • Sound Juicer CD Extractor – CD ripping tool, supports various audio codecs
  • VLC Media Player – media player (video/audio)
  • Real Player
  • Totem – media player (video/audio)
  • Xine – media player, supports various formats; can play DVDs
  • Brasero – CD/DVD burning program
  • K3B – CD/DVD burning program
  • Multimedia-Codecs

Programming:

  • Bluefish – text editor, suitable for many programming and markup languages
  • Nvu – WYSIWYG HTML editor, similar to Macromedia Dreamweaver, but not as feature-rich (yet)
  • Quanta Plus – web development environment, including a WYSIWYG editor

Other:

  • VMware Server – lets you run your old Windows desktop as a virtual machine under your Linux desktop, so you don’t have to entirely abandon Windows
  • TrueType fonts
  • Java
  • Read/Write support for NTFS partitions

As you might have noticed, a few applications are redundant, for example there are two CD/DVD burning applications in my list (Brasero, K3B). If you know which one you like best, you obviously don’t need to install the other applications, however if you like choice, then of course you can install both. The same goes for music players like Amarok, Banshee, Rhythmbox, XMMS or browsers (Firefox, Opera).

I’m using the OpenSUSE 11 GNOME Live-CD in this tutorial to set up the system. You can download it here: http://download.opensuse.org/distribution/11.0/iso/cd/openSUSE-11.0-GNOME-LiveCD-i386.iso.

I will use the username falko in this tutorial, and I will download all necessary files to falko‘s desktop which is equivalent to the directory /home/falko/Desktop. If you use another username (which you most probably do ;-)), please replace falko with your own username. So when I use a command like

cd /home/falko/Desktop

you must replace falko.

 

2 Installing The Base System

Download the OpenSUSE 11 GNOME Live-CD iso image from http://download.opensuse.org/distribution/11.0/iso/cd/openSUSE-11.0-GNOME-LiveCD-i386.iso, burn it onto a CD, and boot your computer from it:

1

Select openSUSE-11.0:

2

Before the live desktop starts, you will see this message. Click on Close to proceed:

3

This is how the live desktop looks. Click on the Live Installer icon to start the installation:

4

The installer starts. Select your language and keyboard layout and accept the license:

5

Select your time zone:

6

On the partitioning screen, you can either customize the partitioning, or you accept the default partitioning (which is also available as LVM – select LVM Based if you’d like to use the default partitioning with LVM):

7

Create a user account for yourself. If you check Use this password for system administrator, your user password will also be the root password:

8

Before the actual installation begins, the installer displays a summary of your settings. If the settings are ok, click on the Install button:

10

Confirm that you want to begin the installation – the hard drive will be formatted:

11

The hard drive is being formatted:

12

An OpenSUSE 11 image with default settings is now being copied to the hard drive:

13

An OpenSUSE 11 image with default settings is now being copied to the hard drive:

14

After the instaltion, the installer asks you to reboot the system (without the LiveCD):

15

To do so, go to Computer > Shutdown:

16

Select Restart. Before the system boots up again, please remove the LiveCD from the CD drive.

17

3 First Boot

When the system boots for the first time, it tries to customize the OpenSUSE image that got installed to the hard drive with default settings. It does so to adjust the image to your system (hardware drivers, etc.):

18

If you are asked if you want to install the latest updates, click on Yes:

19

Type in the root password:

20

Select Configure Now on the Online Update Configuration screen:

21

Click on OK:

22

By default, only the Main Update Repository is enabled. If you like, you can add other repositories as well (we will later on enable all repositories anyway because we will install lots of packages that are not available in the default repositories):

24

The list of online repositories is being updated:

26

Depending on what repositories you’ve chosen, you might have to accept a few licenses:

27

Click on Close to get to your desktop:

28

This is how your new OpenSUSE 11 desktop looks:

29

4 Updating Software Packages

Although you have been asked if you want to install updates during the first boot, no updates have been installed – that dialogue was only for configuring the repositories. To update the system, go to Computer > YaST:

30

Type in the root password:

31

In YaST, select Online Update:

32

A window opens where you can see the latest patches. Click on Apply to install them:

33

The patches are being downloaded and installed:

35

Afterwards, it’s still possible that you see an icon that tells you that updates are available (very confusing, and I don’t understand it myself…). Click on it and select Show Updates:

36

Click on Update System to (finally!) install the latest updates:

37

Type in the root password:

38

The updates are being downloaded and installed:

39

Click on Close afterwards:

40

5 Inventory Of What We Have So Far

Now let’s browse all menus under Computer > More Applications… to see which of our needed applications are already installed:

41

42

You should find the following situation ([x] marks an application that is already installed, where [ ] is an application that is missing) (read-/write-support for NTFS partitions is enabled by default in OpenSUSE 11 – you can test this by plugging in an external NTFS drive and try to write to it):

Graphics:
[ ] Gimp
[x] F-Spot
[ ] Picasa

Internet:
[x] Firefox
[ ] Opera
[ ] Flash Player
[ ] Filezilla
[ ] Thunderbird
[x] Evolution
[ ] aMule
[ ] Azureus
[x] Monsoon
[x] Pidgin
[ ] Skype
[ ] Google Earth
[x] Xchat IRC

Office:
[x] OpenOffice Writer
[x] OpenOffice Calc
[ ] Adobe Reader
[ ] GnuCash
[ ] Scribus

Sound & Video:
[ ] Amarok
[ ] Audacity
[x] Banshee
[ ] MPlayer
[ ] Rhythmbox Music Player
[ ] gtkPod
[ ] XMMS
[ ] dvd::rip
[ ] Sound Juicer CD Extractor
[ ] VLC Media Player
[ ] Real Player
[x] Totem
[ ] Xine
[x] Brasero
[ ] K3B
[ ] Multimedia-Codecs

Programming:
[ ] Bluefish
[ ] NVU
[ ] Quanta Plus

Other:
[ ] VMware Server
[ ] TrueType Fonts
[ ] Java
[x] Read/Write Support for NTFS Partitions

So some applications are already on the system…

 

6 Configure Online Software Repositories

Now we configure the online software repositories that our OpenSUSE 11 system will use to install further software. Go to Computer > YaST:

42a

You will have to type in the root password:

42b

In YaST, select Software Repositories:

42c

The Configured Software Repositories window opens. Click on the Add button:

42d

Select Community Repositories:

42e

You will get a list of predefined online repositories. Select them all to make sure your system can install all available OpenSUSE 11 packages if they are needed. Click on OK afterwards:

42f

Now the lists of available packages are being downloaded from the repositories. It’s possible that your system doesn’t know the public keys of all repositories, so if you see a message like this, you can click on the Import button:

42g

You might as well have to accept a few licenses:

42i

Click on Finish afterwards to leave the Configured Software Repositories window:

42j

7 Installing Additional Software

Now that we have added additional repositories, a lot more packages are available in our package manager for installation, especially a big deal of our needed packages. To install them, go to Computer > Install Software:

43

Type in the root password:

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The Package Selection window comes up:

45

Make sure that you select the Available button (it should have a colour slightly different compared to the Upgrades and Installed buttons). You can use the Filters field to search for specific packages. If you’ve found a package that you’d like to install, mark it and click on the Install button:

46

A new column will be added on the right side which lists the selected packages (and their dependencies which will be installed automatically):

47

A new column will be added on the right side which lists the selected packages (and their dependencies which will be installed automatically):

47

Select the following packages for installation (* is a wildcard; e.g. xmms* means all packages that start with xmms):

  • gimp
  • opera
  • flash-player
  • filezilla
  • MozillaThunderbird
  • MozillaThunderbird-translations
  • aMule
  • Vuze
  • MPlayer
  • mplayerplug-in
  • xmms*
  • dvdrip
  • vlc
  • vlc-mozillaplugin
  • acroread
  • gnucash
  • scribus
  • scribus-templates
  • amarok
  • amarok-yauap
  • audacity
  • rhythmbox
  • gtkpod
  • sound-juicer
  • RealPlayer
  • xine-extra
  • xine-ui
  • k3b
  • w32codec-all
  • libdvdcss
  • bluefish
  • nvu
  • kdewebdev3
  • free-ttf-fonts
  • gstreamer-0_10*
  • gst-fluendo-mp3
  • java-1_6_0-sun
  • java-1_6_0-sun-plugin
  • sane-backends (needed by picasa)
  • libqt4-devel
  • glibc-devel (needed by vmware)
  • findutils-locate (needed by vmware)
  • gcc (needed by vmware)
  • flex (needed by vmware)
  • lynx (needed by vmware)
  • compat-readline4 (needed by vmware)
  • gcc-c++ (needed by vmware)
  • make (needed by vmware)
  • kernel-source (needed by vmware)

Click on the Apply button afterwards:

48

The packages are now being downloaded from the repositories and installed. This can take a few minutes, so please be patient:

49

50

After the installation, YaST asks you if you’d like to install more packages. Choose No and leave YaST:

51

8 Inventory (II)

Now let’s check again what we have so far by browsing the menus again.

52

Our inventory should now look like this:

Graphics:
[x] Gimp
[x] F-Spot
[ ] Picasa

Internet:
[x] Firefox
[x] Opera
[x] Flash Player
[x] Filezilla
[x] Thunderbird
[x] Evolution
[x] aMule
[x] Azureus
[x] Monsoon
[x] Pidgin
[ ] Skype
[ ] Google Earth
[x] Xchat IRC

Office:
[x] OpenOffice Writer
[x] OpenOffice Calc
[x] Adobe Reader
[x] GnuCash
[x] Scribus

Sound & Video:
[x] Amarok
[x] Audacity
[x] Banshee
[x] MPlayer
[x] Rhythmbox Music Player
[x] gtkPod
[x] XMMS
[x] dvd::rip
[x] Sound Juicer CD Extractor
[x] VLC Media Player
[x] Real Player
[x] Totem
[x] Xine
[x] Brasero
[x] K3B
[x] Multimedia-Codecs

Programming:
[x] Bluefish
[x] NVU
[x] Quanta Plus

Other:
[ ] VMware Server
[ ] TrueType Fonts
[x] Java
[x] Read/Write Support for NTFS Partitions

To see if the Flash plugin is working, start Firefox. Then type about:plugins in the address bar. Firefox will then list all installed plugins, and it should list the Flash Player (version 9.0r124) among them:

53

9 TrueType Fonts

Open Firefox and go to ftp://ftp.gwdg.de/pub/linux/misc/suser-jengelh/AnyDistro/noarch/MicrosoftFonts-1-jen14.noarch.rpm. A download dialogue will open – select Open with Install Software (default):

54

Type in the root password:

55

The Package Manager opens and installs the TrueType fonts package:

56

Afterwards, you can open a word processor like OpenOffice, and you should find a lot of new fonts there (like Arial, Verdana, etc.).

57

10 Skype

To download Skype, go to http://www.skype.com/download/skype/linux/, and click on the Download now button:

58

Select OpenSUSE 10+:

59

In the Firefox download dialogue, select Open with Package Installer (default):

60

Click on OK to install the package:

61

Type in the root password:

62

Skype is now being installed together with its dependencies:

63

11 Google Earth

To install Google Earth, open a terminal (Gnome Terminal)…

64

…and become root:

su

Then run

cd /home/falko/Desktop
wget http://dl.google.com/earth/client/GE4/release_4_2/GoogleEarthLinux.bin
sh GoogleEarthLinux.bin

This will download Google Earth and start the installation. A Google Earth Setup window opens. Accept all default settings and click on Begin Install:

65

66

After the installation, you can click on Quit or on Start, if you want to start Google Earth now:

67

Afterwards, we delete the Google Earth installer:

rm -f GoogleEarthLinux.bin

 

12 Picasa

Visit http://picasa.google.com/linux/download.html and click on the Free Download (.rpm) link:

68

Select Open with Install Software (default) in the Firefox download dialogue:

69

Type in the root password:

70

Picasa is now being installed:

71

13 Inventory (III)

This is what we have now:

Graphics:
[x] Gimp
[x] F-Spot
[x] Picasa

Internet:
[x] Firefox
[x] Opera
[x] Flash Player
[x] Filezilla
[x] Thunderbird
[x] Evolution
[x] aMule
[x] Azureus
[x] Monsoon
[x] Pidgin
[x] Skype
[x] Google Earth
[x] Xchat IRC

Office:
[x] OpenOffice Writer
[x] OpenOffice Calc
[x] Adobe Reader
[x] GnuCash
[x] Scribus

Sound & Video:
[x] Amarok
[x] Audacity
[x] Banshee
[x] MPlayer
[x] Rhythmbox Music Player
[x] gtkPod
[x] XMMS
[x] dvd::rip
[x] Sound Juicer CD Extractor
[x] VLC Media Player
[x] Real Player
[x] Totem
[x] Xine
[x] Brasero
[x] K3B
[x] Multimedia-Codecs

Programming:
[x] Bluefish
[x] NVU
[x] Quanta Plus

Other:
[ ] VMware Server
[x] TrueType Fonts
[x] Java
[x] Read/Write Support for NTFS Partitions

So everything is installed except for VMware Server…

14 VMware Server

With VMware Server you can let your old Windows desktop (that you previously converted into a VMware virtual machine with VMware Converter, as described in this tutorial: http://www.Kreationnext.com/vmware_converter_windows_linux) run under your OpenSUSE desktop. This can be useful if you depend on some applications that exist for Windows only, or if you want to switch to Linux slowly.

To download VMware Server, go to http://www.vmware.com/download/server/ and click on Download Now:

72

Accept the license agreement by clicking on Yes:

73

Then download the VMware Server for Linux .tar.gz file, e.g. to /home/falko/Desktop:

74

75

76

To get the serial number you need to run VMware Server, go to http://register.vmware.com/content/registration.html. Fill in your personal details. Afterwards you will get a page with a serial number for VMware Server. Write it down or print it out:

77

78

To install VMware Server, open a terminal and become root:

su

Then go to the location where you saved the VMware Server .tar.gz file, e.g. /home/falko/Desktop (replace falko with your own username!):

cd /home/falko/Desktop

Unpack the VMware Server .tar.gz file and run the installer:

tar xvfz VMware-server-*.tar.gz
cd vmware-server-distrib
./vmware-install.pl

The installer will ask you a lot of questions. You can always accept the default values simply by hitting <ENTER>.

When you see this…

You must read and accept the End User License Agreement to continue.
Press enter to display it.

… press <ENTER>. Read through the license until the end, then press

q

to leave the license. Then accept the license:

Do you accept? (yes/no) <– yes

If you see this, answer with yes:

Your kernel was built with “gcc” version “4.3.1”, while you are trying to use
“/usr/bin/gcc” version “4.3”. This configuration is not recommended and VMware
Server may crash if you’ll continue. Please try to use exactly same compiler as
one used for building your kernel. Do you want to go with compiler
“/usr/bin/gcc” version “4.3” anyway? [no]
<– yes

The installation goes on. The installer will try to detect free subnets. If you get a screen like this:

. vmnet0 is bridged to eth0

lines 1-2/2 (END)

and you wonder why the installation doesn’t go on: you must press

q

(just like with the license before).

The same goes for…

. vmnet8 is a NAT network on private subnet 172.16.127.0.

lines 1-2/2 (END)

… and:

. vmnet1 is a host-only network on private subnet 172.16.232.0.

lines 1-2/2 (END)

When the installer asks you

In which directory do you want to keep your virtual machine files?
[/var/lib/vmware/Virtual Machines]

you can either accept the default value or specify a location that has enough free space to store your virtual machines.

At the end of the installation, you will be asked to enter a serial number:

Please enter your 20-character serial number.

Type XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX or ‘Enter’ to cancel:

Fill in your serial number for VMware Server.

If everything goes well, the end of the installer’s output should look like this:

Starting VMware services:
Virtual machine monitor                                             done
Virtual ethernet                                                    done
Bridged networking on /dev/vmnet0                                   done
Host-only networking on /dev/vmnet1 (background)                    done
Host-only networking on /dev/vmnet8 (background)                    done
NAT service on /dev/vmnet8                                          done

The configuration of VMware Server 1.0.6 build-91891 for Linux for this running
kernel completed successfully.

After the successful installation, you can delete the VMware Server download file and the installation directory:

cd /home/falko/Desktop
rm -fr vmware-server-distrib
rm -f VMware-server-*.tar.gz

You will now find VMware Server under Computer > More Applications:

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When you start it, select Local host:

80

Afterwards, you can create virtual machines (or import your virtual Windows machine that you created with VMware Converter):

81

15 Inventory (IV)

We have now all wanted applications installed:

Graphics:
[x] Gimp
[x] F-Spot
[x] Picasa

Internet:
[x] Firefox
[x] Opera
[x] Flash Player
[x] Filezilla
[x] Thunderbird
[x] Evolution
[x] aMule
[x] Azureus
[x] Monsoon
[x] Pidgin
[x] Skype
[x] Google Earth
[x] Xchat IRC

Office:
[x] OpenOffice Writer
[x] OpenOffice Calc
[x] Adobe Reader
[x] GnuCash
[x] Scribus

Sound & Video:
[x] Amarok
[x] Audacity
[x] Banshee
[x] MPlayer
[x] Rhythmbox Music Player
[x] gtkPod
[x] XMMS
[x] dvd::rip
[x] Sound Juicer CD Extractor
[x] VLC Media Player
[x] Real Player
[x] Totem
[x] Xine
[x] Brasero
[x] K3B
[x] Multimedia-Codecs

Programming:
[x] Bluefish
[x] NVU
[x] Quanta Plus

Other:
[x] VMware Server
[x] TrueType Fonts
[x] Java
[x] Read/Write Support for NTFS Partitions

 

  • OpenSUSE: http://www.opensuse.org

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