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SUSE 10 Linux--96% 64-Bit Notebook Bliss - page 2

Reviewing 64-bit SUSE 10

  • January 17, 2006
  • By Rob Reilly

Installation of SUSE has never been easier. I can't tell you how happy I am that the on-board NVidia chip again works beautifully with acceleration. And using the Glidepoint mouse pad with the screen slider is also very convenient when I don't want to drag out the Gyromouse.

I simply put the DVD in the drive, let it boot, and then followed the screens. Obviously, a new user needs to be somewhat familiar with the hardware on their system, but YAST seemed to hit all the defaults pretty much on target.

Colleagues have grumbled about downloading the Web versions of 10 because of bandwidth limitations, but hey, it's a DVD worth of data. My recommendation is to be cost effective (your time is worth something) and just get the boxed version for around $60 retail. That's quite a deal.

In my installation the 80-GB disk was fine, so I assigned mount points and proceeded to format the root and swap partitions. New users can get started using the default layout. I noticed that partition sizes are now in cylinders, so if you are planning on resizing anything you might want to write down you partitioning information, from a previous installation, before you start with version 10.

I left my existing Windows XP partition untouched. Take a look at my 9.2 article if you need help resizing the disk and setting up dual booting with XP.

I opted to load all available package sets under the software selection, adjusted the time (from PST to EST), set the overall runlevel from 5 to 3 (I like to start from the command line), and changed the default 1024x768 screen size to 1280x800. My choice of Mozilla Mail and the Bluefish HTML editor were still not in the default software load list, so I went back into YAST and checked them for installation.

Mozilla can't display Flash because it's been converted to a x86_64 binary. I guess I'll have to move over to Firefox, because it's still an i586 program that works with Flash content. I sure don't want to give up the convenience of my mail client bundled into Mozilla.

The OpenOffice.org 2.0 production offering remained an i586 version, too, although it loaded quickly and was stable.

Two programs I'd recommend not loading during installation are ndiswrapper and the xine-related packages. Just search for 'ndiswrapper' and 'xine' on the software selection screen and uncheck their boxes. I've been unable to get the standard bundled ndiswrapper to work with the third-party Broadcom driver. The default xine package apparently doesn't include the software to decrypt store-bought DVDs.

The rest of the installation was textbook SUSE/YAST. Follow the screens and you'll end up with a working system, with a minimum of effort. My earlier stories will supply installation details, if you get off the track. Be sure to run through the Update process to get all the latest security and software patches.

With the basic installation complete, we can now turn our attention to the real nuts and bolts. Namely fixing the Broadcom chip and making xine play a video DVD.

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