OpenSuse driver issues

Driver issues

You can read more about “Installing Opensuse 11.2″ and “Windows – Linux dual boot : configuring GRUB”.

Linux distros like OpenSuse are only delivered with free and open source software. As a consequence, you will not find proprietary drivers like Nvidia drivers in the installed OpenSuse. You will have to install them manually.

So, the driver that will be used to display things on your screen will be a GNU/Linux (non-proprietary) graphics card driver, which implies your graphics card will surely be able to send info to screen, but not more.

In my case, I wanted to use both outputs of my card to display TwinView screens (A kind of extended desktop on 2 screens, one old 17″ CRT and one 19″ LCD). In order to be able to fully use the power of your graphics card, you will have to check out whether your graphics card company has developed Linux drivers or not. It is indeed the case with Nvidia cards. Check the Nvidia page on OpenSuse Wiki for more information :

This page provides a set of “1-click install” buttons that will trigger an automatic YAST installation (Yet Another Setup Tool, Suse setup panel). Be careful to select the right 1-click install, depending on your Graphics card (legacy or not,…).

I usually install the driver manually from the file provided on Nvidia website. So, for my GeForce GT220 (hum!), I used Nvidia’s form on and chose the right product and Linux 64-bits OS which led me to download file This file requires some dependencies. You’ll have to install cmake, gcc, kernel-default, kernel-devel through YAST first since the Nvidia driver needs to recompile kernel.

The nvidia installer won’t work if XServer is still running. So, in order to kill the Graphic XServer, hit [CTRL + ALT + BACKSPACE] (Backspace key is situated above [ENTER] key). Then login as root. Switch to runlevel 3 and type :

init 3

Go into the directory hosting the driver installer file :

cd /home/olivier (in my case)

and type :

sh -q

which launches the install wizard of the Nvidia driver. If some dependencies are missing, the driver will tell you. You’ll have to go back to YAST (type init 5 to go back to desktop) and install the required dependencies.

If it has not been generated, yet, type the following to update your X configuration file (/etc/X11/xorg.conf):


Nvidia X Server settingsOnce installed, the driver software is accessible from your K Menu (if you’ve chosen KDE) as “Nvidia X server Settings”. This software will help you configure TwinView display (or Clone to display content of screen 1 on screen 2), screen resolutions,… and will re-write /etc/X11/xorg.conf. In some cases, it might be necessary to manually change xorg.conf, but make a copy of it beforehand if you want your Linux GUI to restart correctly ;)

In a terminal, the following command line will copy xorg.conf to a secure xorg.conf.20100111

cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /home/olivier/xorg.conf.20100111

If you want to edit your xorg.conf file manually, type

sudo kwrite /etc/X11/xorg.conf

You’ll have to enter root password to be able to load the file in KWrite text editor.

Webliography :

Nvidia drivers

Install OpenSuse 11.2

Please also read next article about “OpenSUse Linux driver issues” or “Windows + OpenSuse dual boot configuring GRUB”.

This post is meant to help Windows PHP-MySql developers to switch OS and choose a Linux distro as OpenSuse 11.2. Indeed, PHP-Mysql developers using Windows OS use Open Source scripting languages and softwares (PHP, Apache and Mysql for Windows) on a proprietary Operating System. Why not choose an Open Source OS as well? It helps being a bit more aware of how your web hoster works, anyway.

Hardware configuration

MB : Asus P6T SE

CPU : CoreI7

HD0 : OS : OpenSuse 11.2

HD1 : OS : Windows7

GC : GeForce GT220

Download OpenSuse

OpenSuse 11.2 installationYou can download OpenSuse 11.2 (32 or 64 bits) from

Before burning the downloaded iso, take care to check the md5sum of the file. You can do this under Windows OS with FastSum (free download). This software will calculate the md5sum of the downloaded iso file. Once FastSum has finished its job, simply compare its result with the md5 checksum provided by If it has exactly the same value, you can burn the iso file onto a DVD choosing the “Burn an iso image” option in your Burning software.

Install Windows and OpenSuse on separate hard disks

In order to avoid any installation issue (mishandlings, wrong partitioning,…) that could result in an out of order Windows partition, I chose to install each OS on a separate hard disk.

Install OpenSuse

In order to install it, your computer needs to boot from your DVD drive and, to do so, you’ll have to temporarily change the Bios Boot Sequence. At reboot, press key to enter BIOS and change boot sequence (DVD drive needs to appear on top).

Insert your DVD in drive and reboot. OpenSuse Install Wizard will start automatically. Your screen should display the GUI install wizard. Follow the wizard step by step. You’ll be asked :

  • to choose between desktops (GNOME or KDE,…) : I chose KDE (that provides Quanta Plus, a text editor I use to edit PHP files). In order to make the right choice concerning the environment, compare them (GNOME provides Bluefish as text editor)
  • to configure your OS (keyboard language, time settings,…)
  • to partition your hard disk(s) (be sure to choose the right HD for installation)
  • to configure user accounts (and set root password (super-user))

Once OpenSuse is installed, it is ready to use. At boot, you will have the choice to load the available OS : OpenSuse and Failsafe OpenSuse. The latter is a boot mode that displays the boot process messages and can be useful for troubleshooting.

Webliography :

Download OpenSuse 11.2 DVD iso


KDE Applications

KDE-Quanta Plus text editor

GNOME Applications

GNOME-Bluefish text editor

Windows + OpenSuse dual boot configuring GRUB

You can read more about “Installing Opensuse 11.2″ and “OpenSUse Linux driver issues”.

GRUB (GRand Unified Bootloader) is a free multiboot software that is loaded at boot and displays available OS. Under OpenSuse 11.2, you’ll find GRUB configuration file in /boot/grub/menu.lst. Open a terminal and type

kdesu kwrite /boot/grub/menu.lst

to open and edit GRUB configuration file (you’ll be asked root password).

GRUB structure

GRUB configuration file has the following structure :

  • options : Default OS => OS that loads at boot by default
  • timeout : time GRUB loader screen will be displayed before automatically booting
  • several sets of configuration lines associated with each available OS

Setting default boot

In order to set the default OS in GRUB file, simply change the line

default 0

This will load the first OS listed in GRUB file while default 1 will load the second OS listed instead.

OSs boot configuration

In my own configuration, I have 2 hard disks (OpenSuse installed on the first hard disk and Windows7 installed on the second HD) :

hd0 hosts OpenSuse OS and hd1 hosts Windows 7. So GRUB configuration file should take this structure into account :

#OpenSuse 11.2
title openSUSE 11.2 –
root (hd0,1)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz- root=/dev/disk/by-id/ata-WDC_WD3000HLFS-01G6U1_WD-WXE0C7912926-part2 resume=/dev/disk/by-id/ata-WDC_WD3000HLFS-01G6U1_WD-WXE0C7912926-part1 splash=silent quiet showopts vga=0x31a
initrd /boot/initrd-

title windows7
map (hd0) (hd2)
map (hd2) (hd0)
rootnoverify (hd2,0)
chainloader +1

I’ve just added the “Windows7″ section to the original file. This configuration uses the swapping technique since Windows can’t boot if it is not installed on the first HD (hd0). As I’ve installed it on hd2 (it may be hd1 on your machine), GRUB will virtually swap the first and second HD throug map command.


Online OSYour future computer may be an online computer. Your local device will be limited to a keyboard, screen and ethernet card.

Online tools like Splashup (online image editing) offer surprising tools for processing images online :

Why not try an online OS, then?

I had an insight into EyeOS this evening. Amazing!


Once the 3.18 Mb downloaded, I uncompressed it and uploaded it to my web server (shared host). I opened Iron Browser and launched EyeOS installer starts automatically. Just login with your root password and discover it.

EyeOS uses AJAX and provides you very useful online tools (calendar, rss reader, word processor, calculator,…). As an OS, it allows you to share your files, agenda,… with the other users of the system.

Built with modules and young as it is, it’s really promising.

Give it a try. It’s free software…

Webliography :



Testing websites on multiple browsers

Developing websites requires testing them on most browsers, mainly to check CSS interpretation which can differ from one browser to another.

You can either install those necessary browsers on your local machine or have your website tested online.

I usually develop website on Mozilla Firefox or Iron Browser (faster) and have experienced most testing must take place on Internet Explorer.

Tredosoft provides a multiple install of main IE versions from 3.0 to 6.0 (for Windows XP). Your Windows partition should host IE 7.0 or 8.0.

You may also test your website online : Browsershots provides an online test for major cross-platform browsers (Linux, Windows, Mac,…).

Webliography :

Install Multiple IE (Tredosoft)


PHP editors

There are many PHP editors. I haven’t tested them all and want only to concentrate on the basic ones. My criteria are :

  • free software
  • light interface
  • and above all, no proprietary code

Under Windows

I have never tried to use Dreamweaver because of its cost and since all files that I got from web designers using Dreamweaver had to be parsed for repeated tags that could alter display on screen, at times.

Notepad2 (freeware), a Scintilla-based text editor. I came to use it as a replacement for Windows Notepad and am still using it.

The most eloquent features provided are :

  • visual brace matching
  • line numbering
  • scripting language selection for highlighting

Yet, it stays a basic text editor that doesn’t provide tabbed editing : each file will be opened in a new window.

Notepad++ (under GPL licence) is a Scintilla-based source code editor with some extra features :

  • tabbed editing (several files open in the same window)
  • multi-document + multi-view
  • zoom,…

The advantage of notepads for scripting is that, even for html purposes, it helps the would-be developer getting deeper into source code…

Under Linux

The only editor I have ever tried is run under KDE and is called Quanta Plus. It is part of KdeWebDev package and can be easily installed through Yast on OpenSuse.

Under Gnome Desktop, BlueFish seems to be prominent.

PHP editors

Notepad2 (win 32)

Notepad++ (win 32)

Quanta Plus (Linux-KDE)

BlueFish (Linux-GNOME)


Developers have usual tricks concerning backups (please read “Backups and storage media”) and protecting their machine against attacks.

Looking for a way to protect pcs from any kind of attack?

Under Windows OS, the user will have to install and configure a series of softwares :

There’s another way that can make it easier to protect a local machine : DeepFreeze is a software that freezes the OS partition and leaves the other partitions thawed. So, even under the heaviest attack, the system files will be intact at reboot. This software has 2 constraints :

  • you need to purchase it (32,40 euros for a Standard Edition – Windows version)
  • you need to deactivate DeepFreeze and reboot before modifying the registry (installing a software,…)

This software has also been developed in Mac and Linux versions.

Under Linux OS, virus subversion is much more difficult thanks to the OS architecture, its user and group permission strategies and its moderate spread in the general public. But do not forget to configure your OS correctly, though.


Faronics – DeepFreeze


Linux OS

Dealing with PHP and MySql will some day lead the web developer to scripting on another OS than Microsoft Windows.

WAMP solutions under Windows

Wamp logoIn order to run a dynamic PHP-MySql website on a local Microsoft Windows machine, the developer needs to install a WAMP software (i.e. Windows, Apache, MySql, Php) like WampServer (my favourite) or EasyPhp (the development of which stayed inactive for a while, some years ago, but which has now been updated). Those webdevelopment platforms all come from LAMP solutions, an acronym for Linux, Apache, MySql, Php. LAMP is free software and is part of many Linux OS distributions.

Choosing a Linux OS

linux logoAs Netcraft states it, websites across the net are mainly run under Apache Servers. Developing websites under a Linux OS may be the right solution if the developer :

  • feels at ease with Linux terminal command lines
  • can find hardware driver versions developed for Linux OS
  • can adapt to linux softwares

If the above requirements can be fulfilled, the developer is ready to change OS and choose the Linux distribution that suits him best. A large number of free solutions are available on the internet. If he is hesitating about the right distribution to choose, he may take the Linux distribution Chooser test (multi-lingual).

Once the distro is chosen, let’s see how it can be installed.

Having tried some Live CDs and DVDs beforehand, the developer will have a good idea of the Desktop environment (KDE or Gnome). My experience led me to choose the linux Server Distro

Md5sum check of the downloaded distro

OpenSuse 11Once downloaded as an ISO file, OpenSuse DVD should be checked before install. This is easily done by checking the md5sum of the downloaded file. You can run Fastsum to achieve this. The result Fastsum gives you after analysis must be strictly equivalent to the md5sum provided by

Where and how to install?

For my first Linux install as a newbie, I bought a new sata hard disk (HD). I did not want to run any risk with my Windows HD. I disconnected my Windows HD and connected the brand new HD.

I started the computer and changed configuration of the boot sequence in BIOS for my computer to start checking the DVD drive instead of the HD. So at reboot, Opensuse DVD inserted, my computer boots on the DVD drive and setup loads.

Installing OpenSuse

Opensuse is provided with a graphic install interface that allows you to install it by clicking (no command line knowledge necessary at this stage).

Just follow the steps and configure your OS. I chose KDE Desktop as environment because it provides me with softwares I need as a developer.

Linux-Windows multi-boot

It is of course possible to start Windows from Linux. Remember I chose to install Linux and Windows on 2 physical separate HD. My OpenSuse is my primary HD. I then connected my secondary Windows HD. Under Linux, you’ll have to change GRUB to be able to start Windows from Linux prompt. Indeed, Windows won’t start if it is not primary HD.

As root, you’ll have to change grub loader in /boot/grub/menu.lst. Change the line concerning Windows (or add it if necessary) :

title Windows
map (hd0) (hd1)
map (hd1) (hd0)
chainloader (hd1,0)+1

This will re-map your HD and make the system believe HD0 is the Windows HD.

Linux drivers

Whatever your hardware configuration, it should run (somehow) under Linux. Linux is only delivered with Open Source drivers, so you may have surprises at first boot with your graphics card, for example. Refer to the Internet for support in this matter. Nvidia has developed specific drivers for Linux.

Webliography :

Netcraft survey – November 2009


Linux distribution Chooser

Md5sum check