OS Install Experiences - Part 2: SUSE Linux [Update]

Note: This article is part of my OS Install Experiences series.

Next up: a SUSE 10.1 install. It's been a few years since I touched a SUSE distribution (it was something like SUSE Linux 5.3 or so), a lot has happened since then... Here's a rough sketch of the installation and a few superficial remarks and facts related to security.


  1. First, I downloaded a SUSE 10.1 CD image, burned it on a CD, and booted from that.
  2. The installer that showed up is graphical, and you can choose between a normal installation, booting a rescue system, or running a memory test (uses memtest86, I presume).
  3. While the installer runs it merely shows a rotating logo, but you can switch to other consoles (ALT+F1, ALT+F3, ALT+F4) for watching log messages passing by.
  4. You can choose the language used in the installer, later also your timezone and keyboard layout. You can also check the installation medium, which verifies the checksum of the CD, I guess.
  5. Next, you'll be asked to accept a license agreement (yeeaah, whatever).
  6. Your hardware will be automatically detected (worked quite well for me), and after that you can choose between a new install or a system upgrade.
  7. As for the desktop, you can use GNOME, KDE, text-mode (no desktop), or a "minimal graphical system" (it turns out that means fvwm, at least that's what I think).
  8. The graphical partitioning tool feels a bit awkward at first, I needed several tries until I figured out how to make it use the layout I wanted it to. The default file system suggested by the tool is ReiserFS.
  9. There's an explicit option which lets you choose the default run-level for the system (run-level 5 is pre-configured).
  10. The bootloader, GRUB, recognized the other partitions (Debian stable + unstable), added an entry for SUSE Linux, and created a working setup. Nice, although more control over the process (e.g. naming of the boot options) would be nice.
  11. Reboot.
  12. I'm asked to insert CDs 2 and 3, which I don't have (or want), as I only burned CD 1. Clicking "abort" a few times does the trick, and I can continue by choosing a hostname and domain name for the box (hydra + local.domain).
  13. Now I must enter the root password. Very nice: I have the choice between DES, MD5, or Blowfish (SUSE default) for the hashing/encryption of user passwords.
  14. Afterwards, the network is configured (automatically, via DHCP). You can enable a firewall at this point, and enable/disable access to the ssh port explicitly. It's also possible to enable "VNC remote administration" (default: off), or configure a proxy.
  15. Authentication methods for users, available from the installer: local (/etc/passwd), LDAP, NIS, Windows Domain.
  16. When adding a new user, there are some options. Per default, the user is in the groups "users" (no per-user groups, it seems), "dialout" and "video", but that can be configured. Password expiration is disabled. The default shell is bash.
  17. And now... another registration message (in the release notes, actually). May I quote (from my head): The registration procedure transfers zmd's unique device identifier to Novell's registration web service. The information sent may also include OS, version, architecture, and the output of uname and hwinfo, according to that text. More on that later, maybe...
  18. Of course, SUSE Linux comes with SUSE's/Novell's AppArmor enabled by default, but I haven't looked into it, yet.
  19. Now some problems appeared. More hardware discovery took place, it seems, then the screen turned black (with only a non-blinking cursor in the upper left), no reaction to any input -> I performed a hard reboot.
  20. After booting, I'm dropped into fvwm (although I chose GNOME in the installer), the reason probably being the forced reboot. After looking around a bit in the menus and stuff, I wanted to start sax2 (to find out what it does), but the screen turned black again -> another hard reboot. Could it be that I don't have enough RAM for this (256 MB)?
  21. Anyways, at this point I lost interest in playing with the system any further, and gathered the below information for comparison reasons...


Continue reading here...

Update 2006-06-05: Added netstat output, and answered a bunch of comments.
Update 2006-06-02: Shortened the length of the article on my main webpage as well as the RSS feed. But you can always read the whole article here, of course.

SUSE/Novell plans to no longer distribute proprietary drivers

That's nice. Apparently SUSE/Novell are planning to no longer include any proprietary (kernel) drivers in their Linux distributions. (Most of) the kernel developers dislike binary drivers in the kernel and SUSE/Novell are clearly supporting the developers with their move.

Although they plan a system for including binary drivers from userspace somehow, I still think this is a good sign. I hope it will help to convince some hardware manufacturers to release the source code of some of their (now) proprietary drivers...

This whole debate was started by Arjan van de Ven's original post to the LKML in December 2005, AFAIK.

(via Heise)

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