After installing openSUSE 11.3

First, a very short review!

I just installed openSUSE 11.3 KDE version (with KDE 4.4.4). This is the first time Iam installing a 64-bit OS. My previous openSUSE were all 32 bit! First of all, it feels much more stable and sexier than early openSUSE releases. For the first time Nepomuk integration worked flawlessly. But it still has some glitches like the system getting hung (it will be okay after the first one or two updates I hope) and the unstabilities with ‘Activity’ setting of Plasma desktop. But still, its good and I like it better than other openSUSE releases.

screenshot of opensuse 11.3
The first thing you notice after installing openSUSE is the boot splash and KDE splash screens. I should admit that it is, well, ugly! But you can change it. I’ll tell you how in this post.
I installed openSUSE in my Dell Inspiron 1525 laptop. So some things mentioned below apply only for laptops.

Things to do after installing openSUSE 11.3 KDE

1. Enable touchpad tapping!
2. Install wifi drivers (if it is not already detected)
3. Install restricted formats and multimedia codecs
4. Take a backup of ‘.kde4’ folder
5. Change the KDE splash screen
6. Change the boot splash
7. Change the GRUB Bootloader background [Update]

1. Enable touchpad tapping!

By default eventhough suse recognises the touchpad, it has disabled tapping. I dont know why the hell they disabled tapping option. Maybe, to notify us of the newly included option for configuring touchpad!
To enable tapping, press ‘Alt-F2’ and run ‘Touchpad’ OR Personal Settings -> Keyboard & Mouse -> Touchpad.
Select the tab ‘Tapping’ and select ‘Left mouse button’ at ‘Tapping with one finger’. Press ‘Apply’ and thats it!

2. Install wifi drivers

I have got a Broadcom 4312 wifi. It didn’t work out of the box. But making it work is easy.
First of all you need to get connected to internet by Ethernet cable or whatever means.
Then open a terminal and become superuser.
Then type ‘install_bcm43xx_firmware’ and press enter. Thats it, it will install the necessary drivers for you.
After installation is complete, restart your computer(remember to switch ON the wifi before booting, Its a small glitch – wifi should be ON while booting to enable it)

3. Install restricted formats and multimedia codecs

openSUSE doesn’t support restricted codecs out of the box. Installing them is made easy by ‘One-Click-Install’:
Go to http://opensuse-community.org/Restricted_Formats/11.3
Select codecs-kde.ymp (if you choose one click install, or other options from the site as you please). Remain subscribed to the repositories as it comes handy to perform installation of other softwares like VLC.
After the codecs are installed you might also install VLC player from ‘Install/Remove Softwares’

Now, you are ready to explore your openSUSE 11.3! Following steps are optional ๐Ÿ™‚

4. Take a backup of ‘.kde4’ folder

‘.kde4’ folder stores your KDE settings. Make changes to Dolphin(like double click to open files), Konsole(change color and fonts) and other ONLY necessary changes. Don’t go and change Plasma settings now. Keep it at default. Now take a backup of your ‘.kde4’ folder and save it as ‘.kde4_copy'(or whatever you please).
Now experiment with KDE as you please ๐Ÿ™‚ If something goes wrong, open Dolphin, replace ‘.kde4’ with ‘.kde4_copy’ and rename it to ‘.kde4’. Now instead of closing Dolphin and logging out, restart KDE by pressing ‘Ctrl-Alt-Backspace’ two times. Everything should get restored.

5. Change the KDE splash screen

You can change this from Personal Settings -> Apperance -> Splash Screen.
If ‘Get New Themes’ don’t work, try ‘Install Theme Files’.
I used ‘SuSE-elegant‘ theme from KDE-look.org. After downloading the tar file use the option ‘Install Theme Files’.

6. Change the boot splash

I used ‘SuSE-Elegant‘ theme (don’t confuse with the previously mentioned KDE splash screen, notice the capital E).
How to install this theme is given in along with the theme file or in the site. But I’ll mention it here again:
“Make the following as root user
Unpack the *tar file
Copy the file SuSE-Elegant to /etc/bootspash/themes/
Open the file bootspash located in /etc/sysconfig/
Change the line THEME=”openSUSE” to THEME=”SuSE-Elegant”
On a terminal write mkinitrd
reboot”

7. Change GRUB Bootloader background

The GRUB background and other details are in a file /boot/message. So to change the GRUB background we are gonna change that file (more specifically back.jpg inside the archive ‘message’). The new background image must be a JPEG file. Follow these steps:
1. First create a folder ‘temp‘ (in your home folder or anywhere you like) and inside it another folder ‘foo‘.
2. Copy the file /boot/message to folder ‘foo‘. (You might also take a backup of the file /boot/message)
3. Open terminal and change to folder ‘foo‘, then execute following commands
4. ย $ cpio -idv < message
5. ย $ rm message
6. ย $ cp /path/to/your/picture.jpg back.jpg
7. ย $ ls | cpio -ov > ../message
8. ย $ cd..
Make sure you are in folder ‘temp’, become superuser and copy the file back as shown below:
9. ย  $ su
10. $ cp message /boot/message
Now delete the folder ‘temp’. You are good to go, restart and enjoy your new GRUB background ๐Ÿ™‚

Don’t be just readers, please comment too.. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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16 comments

  1. Cheers for the tips. Iโ€™m just working through upgrading an Inspiron 6400 laptop. The install went really well. When I first put 10.2 ontop of Windoze a couple of years ago it took 2 goes cos I lost Windows first time. This time it repartitioned the drives for a dual boot perfectly. Iโ€™m having a few problems with Amarok playing, but I think your link there should help. Onwards with Opensuse 11.3.. Oh one other thing, I disabled IPv6 in network manager which I had done with 10.2 to speed up the browsing. Still seems slower than before though. Cheers James

  2. Thanks for the tips. New to OpenSUSE, not new to Linux. It’s a really great distro, but kind of confusing at first, especially coming from Debian/Ubuntu/Mint.

  3. I installed opensuse 11.3 to on my laptop. I installed the broadcom driver to, but when I click the networkmanager icon, I can’t enable wireless internet nor see any wireless connections. Maybe you can help me with this problem :s. I tried updating to a newer driver, newer kernel but nothing helped.

  4. Thanks for the good help. I was able to fine tune my opensuse with your help. I had exactly the same problem for which you have given a ready made answer. Some how had managed to get the touch pad working before i reached here. . but rest of the list was not working at all.. specially wifi.. luckily i had the same chipset as that of yours… but ofcourse with your simple steps i did it all by myself.. without any one’s help. Thanks for the good help. Thanks for the share ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. wireless broadcom should be default, installed it and now i have 5 (lol) new kernels in grub, turned on wireless after opensuse 11.3 logged in, used the Fn key. it worked…did the 1 click install for codecs..changed the http to http://ftp..that fixed the errors it gave me…i am learning and its fun..cheers…

  6. Thanks for this tip! I am a newbie switching over to using linux, got tired of windows. Anyways, I was trying to customize my settings, and I had a hard time until I cam across this site. The other issue I am having is the sound theme. How do I customize what sound byte to play when I log in and log out?

  7. Thanks for your howto! The openSuse default images are truly a bit ugly. One more thing, that would make your tutorial complete is changing the similarly unpleasant default login screen:

    1. download a different kdm login theme, e.g. suse-elegant (not to confuse with the two splash themes above)
    http://kde-look.org/content/show.php?content=117460

    2. unpack and then copy in proper place
    tar -xvf suse-elegant.tar.gz
    su cp -r suse-elegant /usr/share/kde4/apps/kdm/themes/

    3. open YaST -> /etc/sysconfig Editor
    browse to Desktop -> Display manager
    -> DISPLAYMANAGER_KDM_THEME
    and type suse-elegant into the field (default: SUSE)

    One additional comment to your item 7. Bootloader howto:
    the jpg image will need to be 800×600 pixels, so if you want the SuSE-Elegant screen to appear you will have to rescale one of the images in /etc/bootsplash/themes/SuSE-Elegant/images/ and make it “back.jpg”.
    (Or edit temp/foo/gfxboot.cfg and allow for a larger boot screen, but I have not succeeded on that one – maybe someone else?)

    1. Thanks for these notes ๐Ÿ™‚
      I usually never felt the need for kdm themes because I hibernate my system, and so i don’t usually see the login screen! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks again..

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