Suse 10.2, part 2

I installed Suse 10.2 December 10th on my home system, europa. I've been working on it as time and schedule permit, documenting my experiences.

New Software

Java 6 was released one day after finished installing Suse, December 11th. I was able to download versions for both 32-bit Linux as well as Windows, and to put them on my Western Digital Passport (80GB) via my notebook. I plugged in the Passport into my home system, and as usual, Suse mounted the hardware without any problems. I was then able to install Java 6 for Linux off the Passport.

Why install Java 6? After all Java 5 (1.5.0) update 8 already installs with Suse 10.2. Why not use the installed Java 5? The short answer is that as good as Java 5 may be, Java 6 is demonstrably better than Java 5. I've been working with every release of Java 6 since June 2005, and it has gone from good to better to best to outstanding. It's a simple matter to run Java 6 side-by-side with Java5, and there are a number of applications (such as Open Office) that are dependent upon Java 5 being on the machine. I have no problems with that.

But there's a key feature available with Java 6 by default that is not available with Java 5; anti-aliased fonts. That feature comes in quite handy (along with many other new features) when running Java 6 with, say, NetBeans. After installing Java 6, I installed NetBeans 5.5 along with the profiler and the C/C++ pack. What follows is a screenshot of NetBeans with an empty C++ project.

There's a lot of good things to say about Java 6 and NetBeans. I'll start off by saying how fast both are. NetBeans starts up faster than any IDE I've yet seen, and it starts up faster than other NetBeans installations I have. It starts considerably faster under Suse 10.2 than when on Windows, and it starts faster than my NetBeans installation on Suse 10.1 and running on a Core Duo notebook. I don't know what's so special about the combination of Suse 10.2, Java 6, and NetBeans 5.5, but for this particular machine they all fly.

And, of course, there's the great performance I find when just working with NetBeans. It's a real pleasure to develop Java with this combination, and I look forward to moving some of my C++ projects over to NetBeans and its C++ pack and see how that works out.

Qt Surprise

One of the many surprises I found with Suse 10.2 is that Qt 4.2.1 is installed, not Qt 3. Qt 4.2.1 is the latest version from Trolltech, and I was mightily pleased to see it installed as the foundation for KDE. It's also one of the reasons I did not install KDevelop, and why I went with NetBeans for C++ development. The version of KDevelop that ships with Suse 10.2 still uses Qt 3, and installing KDevelop drags all of that onto the system. No thanks. One of the tasks I need to do in the near future is to try out the QtRuby bindings, and see how QtRuby looks with Qt 4. And maybe see what's new with QtRuby and Qt 4.

Mounting Other Filesystems

My first Suse 10.2 post wound up as part of a story on OSNews. One of the comment's made concerned the inability to mount and read NTFS and FAT32 file systems. I can assure folks that out-of-the-box, Suse 10.2 (like so many other releases before it) can mount them both, and can read and write FAT32 without any problems whatsoever (NTFS is mounted read-only, but it is quite readable). I close with a Nautilus view of my USB Passport, which as mentioned earlier was mounted and read just fine, thank you very much. And yes, I can perform every other operation you'd expect on that device.


  1. I like your passion for Linux....Even I love fact Linux is my Life....
    Check out my blog on Linux:

  2. Mr. Beebe,
    I just installed 10.2. Followed all instructions. Now I cant boot back into other partition, which is win xp. I have tried leaving messages in suse forums, havent gotten any help. I have installed other distros on the partition I put 10.2 on and have not had this happen before, I am new to Linux and I am lost of what to do. Any help would be so greatly appreciated

  3. Wally,

    I'm not sure what the details of your problem are, so I'll give the basics here.

    First, you boot via grub. And grub boots via a menu located in /boot/grub. The file to look at and modify (carefully!) is menu.lst (i.e. the file is /boot/grub/menu.lst). Here is a copy of my menu.lst file for Suse 10.1 (which is the same for 10.2):

    # Modified by YaST2. Last modification on Tue Oct 17 20:23:22 EDT 2006
    color white/blue black/light-gray
    default 0
    timeout 30
    gfxmenu (hd0,2)/boot/message

    ###Don't change this comment - YaST2 identifier: Original name: windows###
    title Windows
    chainloader (hd0,0)+1

    ###Don't change this comment - YaST2 identifier: Original name: linux###
    title SUSE Linux 10.1
    root (hd0,2)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz root=/dev/sda3 vga=0x317 resume=/dev/sda5 splash=silent showopts
    initrd /boot/initrd

    ###Don't change this comment - YaST2 identifier: Original name: failsafe###
    title Failsafe -- SUSE Linux 10.1
    root (hd0,2)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz root=/dev/sda3 vga=normal showopts ide=nodma apm=off acpi=off noresume nosmp noapic maxcpus=0 edd=off 3
    initrd /boot/initrd

    The line to look at is the Windows line, which is the simplest one at the top of my menu. During installation I made sure that Windows was the first entry that would show up on the Grub menu, and that it was the first to boot. Regardless, you need to have an entry very similar to what is in my menu.lst to be able to even select Windows.

    This is just a start, but a very important start. Hope this helps.

  4. Thank You very much, Mr. Beebe,

    You certainly gave me a start that I didn't have before. I am as called a fairly new person to Linux, but not to PC's, just have been become very disgruntled with Microsoft.

    Thank you again

  5. I would like to have a Linux distro as host to a VMware Server on my Gateway M685.

    Any suggestions as to which distro you would use? And are there any quirks I would need to be aware of (comparative newbie that I am) to get that distro up and running (including wireless, sound, 1680x1050 resolution, etc.)?

    Many thanks... :)

  6. While openSUSE by default includes Qt4, no applications use that version. KDE, and pretty musch every other linux app that uses Qt use Qt3. KDE3 can't use Qt4 at all. It is impossible. We are waiting for KDE 4 before Qt4 becomes the mainstream default in linux.

  7. Hello, Bill!

    As I understood, your Suse 10.2 had no problems with WD Passport ? I have Acer laptop with Suse 10.2, plug the Passport and it start spinning and blinking, but Suse not mounted it...

  8. Suse 10.2 had no problems with my WD Passport (80GB). Neither did Suse 10.1 on my Gateway notebook. If your disk is spinning up, try to execute lsusb in a shell window. If the USB subsystem is finding the device then lsusb will display it along with every other USB device. If it's not showing up with lsusb then it might be a power issue. You might have to plug a power adapter into the Passport.

    I'd like to also note that my desktop system has USB 1.1, while my notebook has USB 2. So I've had personal success with two versions of Suse and two versions of USB. I know that's frustrating to you, but I wanted you to know that it appears possible for this to work.

  9. How did you get java 6 to install on suse 10.2, I have tried numerous times and failed. All I can find in the downloads is bin files, I have tried unarchiving and installing with yast without sucess. any advice much appriciated.

    Thank you

  10. The simplest way is to install the bin file.

    1) Change to the area you want to run the bin file, then run it. It will decompress and create the directory structure right where you run it.

    2) In your .bashrc file, add the following:
    export JAVA_HOME

    Where /dir/installed is the directory structure leading to where you ran the bin file. If you installed it in your home directory, then it might be /home/michael/jdk1.6.0_01.

    3) Log out and back in again.

    4) Run some simple checks of your environment:
    'java -version' should return 1.6.0_01, amoung other things
    'which java' should point to your 1.6.0 update 1 location.

    What's nice about this method is that you can easily drop back to using your older java installation by commenting out the three lines you added above.


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