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OpenSUSE for 12 hours

Gentoo is nice, but I waste too much time with it. Especially with unstable overlays. After running it on my laptop for about a year, I’ve accumulated enough errors through old configuration, corrupt libraries, etc, that I decided to uninstall and install my old sweetheart (metaphorically speaking), OpenSUSE.

I must say, the installation didn’t suck. It recognized my IPW3945 driver out of the box so I didn’t have to worry about finding a network cable (This has been a HUGE issue in the past.) which meant the only thing I needed to worry about was the ATI driver (the X1400 is not supported by the open source driver) but fortunately there were plenty of instructions online. All I had to do was:

  1. Install the kernel-headers and the latest kernel.
  2. Restart (so the driver would build properly, it will fail on a fresh install otherwise).
  3. Download the latest driver from the ATI website.
  4. Run the program to build the RPM.
  5. Install the RPM.
  6. sax2 -r -m 0=fglrx
  7. Restart the XServer.

See http://en.opensuse.org/ATI_Driver_HOWTO for more detailed information.

The XGL  starter doesn’t recognize the X1400 driver as XGL ready, so you need to run “gnome-xgl-switch –enable-xgl” manually (ignore the messages, they’re just there to confuse you) and restart the display manager.

Other than that and a severe lack of supported audio codecs (add http://packman.il-bremen.de/suse/10.2/ as a install service), things couldn’t have gone smoother. It is definitely the fastest and least painful install I’ve tried to do on this machine (including Fedora, Ubuntu, Gentoo, and SLED9 but those were a while ago so things may have gotten better). Bravo to Novell and the OpenSUSE developers.

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