Successful install of openSUSE 11.4 on IBM ThinkPad R40

posted Jun 1, 2011, 7:35 AM by Niels Jensen   [ updated Jun 1, 2011, 8:03 AM ]

Install of openSUSE 11.4 on R40 using a downloaded iso burned to a DVD went quite smoothely. However, installation of fixes during install was not possible, since network was not configured correctly, but both the network card and the wireless card were identified, and the proper drivers installed. The installer also correctly identified my NVidia graphics card, and installed the necessary software and configured combiz without any user intervention. That was cool!

Installation of the accumulated fixes since the release of version 11.4 took forever. More than four hours. It completed overnight while I slept.

Could have been easier to add additional applications

There are a few applications, which every family member use. They are Google's Chrome, Goolge's Picasa, and Google's talkplugin for GMail. It would be nice if there was a single repository, which one could add and then install these applications from, and not just repositories from which you can latter update the applications. Two other applications, which we like are VLC Player and Skype. Videolan actually tells you how to add there repository. Unfortunately Google and Skype, which is now owned by Microsoft, don't have the same easy instructions for adding their repositories to your system, as Vidoelan does.

During installation of Google Chrome, which I first attempted from the downloaded rpm package the library was found missing. I had to install this separately using Software Manager.

Then I attempted to install Create Background Slideshow, but that application appears to be only available for openSUSE 11.3, but I nonetheless installed it in 11.4. I can run it, but I don't have an applicaton icon, and I cannot create a shortcut. These are, I think, indications something is broken. I have downloaded the source and may take a look at it. 

Looks like that won't be necessary. The Create Background Slideshow installed itself in the Look and Feel section of the Control Centre, and it was easily added to favorites.

Why replace Windows XP with openSUSE on this computer?

This install of openSUSE wiped out the Windows XP Professional installation, which came with the computer 5-6 years ago. With the continues stream of opdates from Microsoft, Lenovo and other vendors over the years the system and application software had increased to more than 20 GB leaving only about 13.5 GB for user files. Of course with limited space for files there was a big fragmentation problem. Even programs such as Smartdefrag or O & O defrag could not do anything about it. The time from power on to a usable desktop with internet connection had grown to more than 10 minutes. Properly, as some Ph.D.-students at CAPEC pointed out years ago, windows should be freshly installed every 2 years. And a fresh install would properly have reduced the startup time. However, it would properly have done little to the space problems.

With the installation of openSUSE and the extra applications the systems and application software only take about 6 GB of the root partition. This obviously leave more space for user files. In addition the time from power on to a workable desktop with internet connection has been reduced to less than 2 minutes. So while the Windows XP installation had very limited space for both system and user files, the new openSUSE 11.4 installation has amble space for both systems files and user files - on exactly the same hardware.

Background for successfull move to openSUSE

Prior usage of and familiarity with GMail, Google Chrome, Picasa, Skype and VLC from the windows environment will make the switch less painful for the user. Additionally will prior familiarity with make use of LibreOffice less problematic for the user. However, I do hear occasional complains, that turning a pictures is much easier in Microsoft Word than in Writer or LibreOffice Writer. Hopefully the future will change this. And I am sure the speedier startup will be appreciated - every day!

After initial usage it turned out the touchpad was too sensitive, and this interfered with the use of the trackpoint. This was fixed by lowering the touchpad sensitivity settings in the Control Center. The user also wanted Google Earth installed. Another easy fix.