openSUSE 2012

openSUSE 12.2 experience

Post date: Nov 1, 2012 12:30:06 PM

Our experience with openSUSE 12.2 has been very pleasant indeed. Our HPE system has a wireless keyboard and mouse. Formerly we had to wake up the system from suspend mode both in Windows 7 and openSUSE 11.4 by touching the main power switch. With openSUSE 12.2 the system wakes up from suspend mode by just touching the mouse. A much more logical way to start working on the system.

VFS: Cannot open root device "null"...

Post date: Oct 20, 2012 2:26:17 PM

Yesterday after the HTC Magic upgrade we successfully used a DVD-RW with openSUSE 12.2 to restore openSUSE functionality to our main desktop system. We even used the DHCP 4 or 6 option to connect successfully to our local area network and the internet, and the internet connection worked both in Gnome and KDE. After this success we today attempted to use the same DVD to upgrade our notebook and receive the following error message as the linux kernet was loadning "VFS: Cannot open root device "null" or unknown block(0,0): error -6". Googling this errror message we discovered, that the cause could be a bad DVD or CD. This was not a big surprise since we tried the DVD in both the build in drive on the Lenovo E520 and a USB attached drive with the same results.

Currently we are downloading a new iso-image, and will report on progress with the upgrade later. The direct download of the DVD iso latest a little less than one hour after which it was burned to a new DVD+RW. From this openSUSE 12.2 was successfully installed on the Lenovo E520. During the install the wireless connection was activated, and we for the first time was able to apply the patches before the final hardware configuration. Also on the Lenovo internet connection worked in both KDE and Gnome. However, we are not using the Network Manager at this time.

PS: KDE was a new learning experience for us. Have been mostly working in Gnome, and getting a bit frustrated with the new icon less desktop.

Desktop system upgraded to openSUSE 12.2

Post date: Sep 30, 2012 9:15:44 AM

Safepark have now started a circle of upgrades to openSUSE 12.2. The first system to be upgraded was our HP Pavillion Elite 430sc - quad core intel based 64-bit system. The upgrade was done as a fresh install without formatting of the /home partition. During the install we could not get networking configured correctly, so the initial patching had to be skipped. After the completion of the install the network was configured to use Network Manager, and the system was patched with the latest patches from openSUSE.

Then a few additional applications had to be installed such as Google Chrome, Adobe Acrobat, and Dconf-editor. The latter application is needed to activate icons on Gnome, which is the desktop environment used most of the time. By default desktop icons are not activated in Gnome. After activation the desktop icons to the programs installed in /home/user/bin instantly became visible. During the initial usage of openSUSE 12.2 crashes of Adobe Acrobat Reader was experienced - especially during writing in PDF-forms. Using Evince this problem was not experienced.

openSUSE 12.2 has a very responsive suspend function, which is activated from the user menu in the top right corner under Gnome. The system wakes up by just touching the wireless mouse. Under openSUSE 11.4 the power buttom had to be pressed lightly - a behavior we have also seen on some Windows XP systems. As of this writing the system has been running for almost 4 days.

Actually it was installation of Windows 7 SP1, which moved the upgrade forward by a few weeks. Windows is rarely used on this computer, but we attempt to keep it updated using Windows Update and Secunia PSI. However, when attempting to install Windows 7 SP1 the install failed with a hexadecimal error message, which linket to some Microsoft support pages. Following the advice on these pages did not resolve the problem. Last week another attempt was done to google for a solution, and in a Linux Mint forum it was discovered, that the failure of the install of Windows SP1 occured because Windows was booted through Grub, and not directly from the C partition. The bios on the HPE system has an option to select the boot device before Grub, and using this feature allowed Windows SP1 to be installed without any problems followed after a reboot by more than a dozen security patches.

After installation of Windows SP1 and patches the Grub boot manager was no longer active. So for a few hours we could only boot into Windows 7. There is excellent material available at on how to resolve this issue - see Since Grub on the openSUSE 11.4 system was installed in the MBR, and this release of openSUSE would soon be at the end of the security patch periode a decision to upgrade was made.

Two other systems are waiting to be upgraded to openSUSE 12.2. These are also dual boot systems. One with Windows XP and one with Windows 7. We will attempt an in-situ upgrade of the later and report on the experience next month.

SUSE leads because of openSUSE

Post date: Jul 20, 2012 11:23:25 AM

After Attachmate last year bought SUSE from Novell there was a bit of uncertainty about what would happen. That did not last long. Here are some of todays facts:

  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is used in 80% of all instances of Linux running on mainframe computers.
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is used in 70% of all instances of SAP on Linux.
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is used by nearly all of the world's major automobile manufacturers.
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is used by nearly 80% of the US Fortune 500 aerospace and defence companies.
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is used by nearly 70% of the US Fortune 100 general merchandisers, specially retailers and food and drug stores.
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is used by over two-thirds of the global Fortune 100.
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server have over 8500 applications certified to run on it.
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server are certified and supported on 13500 hardware.
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is used on over half of the world's largest supercomputer clusters.

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is a licensed product to which you can buy support from SUSE or others. However, if you can live with upgrading (migrating) your OS to a new version every 18 months, then you can get more than 90% of the benefits of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server by using openSUSE. A new version of openSUSE is release about every six months, and patch support is provided for 18 months. Safepark Consultancy have been using openSUSE on all its computers since 2008, and have experience with SUSE since SUSE Linux 9.2 Professional.

Succesfull upgrade of ideapad S-10-2

- from openSUSE 11.2 to 11.4

Post date: Mar 22, 2011 12:11:06 AM

Tonight Niels completed a succesfull upgrade of his Lenovo ideapad S-10-2 from running openSUSE 11.2 to running openSUSE 11.4. The upgrade took about 7 hours using the wireless internet connection of the notebook. Further details about this online upgrade of a running operating system will be made available tomorrow or Wednesday.

But basically the proceedure involve using the command line tool zypper, and the procedure available at the web-site.

Here are the detailed steps

First you need a list of your current repositories, and we suggest saving this to a file with the following command

zypper lr >

You then need to gedit to edit this file, so you can use it to remove existing reporsitories. We found it desirable to remove old repositories instead of just disabling them, at suggested in the procedure posted on the web-site. The lines in are edited to the form

zypper rr reponame

Then all old repositories are removed using the command (remember to fist give the file execution priviliges):


Our to be used when upgrading from 11.4 to 11.5 are attached below. In the file you can use alias names for the repositories.

Next you need to create a file, which creates the repositories, which you use for performing the upgrade. We have edited the file we used for the comming upgrade from 11.4 to 11.5, and attached it below. Creating this file is very important to the success of your online upgrade. Prior to this procedure becomming official, we use a similar approach, but unfortunately had omitted a key repository, and ended with a white screen after a reboot. In the current upgrade we added the Nvidia repository, the Google Chrome repository, the Printing repository and the Packman repository to the standard ones. Ones you are comfortable with the contect of you execute the following command (remember also to give the file execution priviliges):


We suggest checking, that all repositories have been added with the command 'zypper lr'. The rest of the upgrade is two simple steps:

zypper ref

to refresh all repositories and create local metadata information, and finally upgrade with

zypper dup

and wait. Our upgrade using a wireless internet connection took more than 7 hours. But, then after a single reboot we were running the latest openSUSE 11.4.

Why upgrade online?

This online upgrade was attempted for the following reasons:

  • The Lenovo IdeaPad does not contain any DVD drive, so conventional upgrade by downloading a DVD image, burning it, and making a fresh install would have required access to an external DVD drive.
  • To demonstrate, that control system running on openSUSE may be upgraded with very little downtime for the system. During the upgrade you could still access the internet, so in a control environment you would still be able to monitor and control the plant. Our system was only down during the final reboot. (At the end of 'zypper dup' you can execute 'zypper ps' to find which processes need to be restarted after the upgrade. There are properly tools to performs these restarts from a terminal window. However, currently we would not recommend this on a running control system).

Now about the experience. The upgrade from idea to reboot properly took mere than eigth hours. Clearly it would have taken less time to perform a fresh install form a downloaded DVD image. At the start of 'zypper dup' you are asked to accept certain licenses. Similarly when adding som repositories, you are asked to accept there keys, e.g. in our case with the NVidia repository. So if you think about combining the above steps to a single upgrade command file, you need to make sure the required responses are possible.

Occassionally during our 7 hour 'zypper dup' upgrade our terminal would turn light grey. We don't know why, but at least during these times the system could not be used. However, none of these led to upgrade abort. Also occassionaly we saw incorret permissons on config file, e.g 2755 in stead of 0755. These still have to be investigated based on the log file.

The initial install of openSUSE on this computer required a special download of software for the wireless network dirver. This time this was not necessary, properly because the openSUSE project gather information about successful user deployments. This is done in a very transparent maner, and you can always say know.

A key benefit of online upgrading is that after the reboot your system is completely operational with the services, which you have spent time creating since the first install or previous upgrade, e.g. samba services, svn repositories or FreeNX access.

Also understand, that our upgrade involved a system with both GNome and KDE installed as well as all development tools. On a system used for control properly only one user interface is installed, and properly NO development tools. On such system the upgrade would take considerable less time. At the end of the first part of 'zypper dup' it reported how many packages would be removed, how many would be upgraded, and the total amount of packages to be downloaded would be about 1.9 GB - less than half a DVD download.

As a final note the experience of this upgrade is must like the upgrades of Honeywell PMX process control systems, which I experienced in the early and mid eigthies in the chemical industry. A lot of preparation, followed by a short suspence during a final restart or maybe it is mainframe technology comming to the desktop?

Update June 2011

Due to some unfortunate events a re-install of the above system was needed. Too much experimentation resulted in YaST being unusable. The re-install was done from a DVD image, and this actually showed a major advantage of the inline update process - if you have a running and up to date system.

The Lenovo ideapad 10-2 comes with Broadcom 43xx wireless adapters, and these adapter has to have firmware added to work with any release of openSUSE. Unfortunately this firmware is not included on the DVD. This makes it impossible to use a wireless connection to add the latest fixes during the upgrade process.

Also while most of the software I need is on the DVD. The Broadcom firmware is not, and neither are the following applications: Google Chrome, Google Picasa, Spideroak, Texmaker, Skype, Scribus, NX Client. Beginning to look at bit like with the OS from Redmond? I think so!

During this upgrade my ISP decided to double both the download and the upload speeds. However, that did not accur with some minor hicups. The DNS of my ISP could not connect to for updates and security patches. I actually had to change to the Google DNS at and both in the card configuration and in the router before I got a stable connection to

Conclusion: When I need to upgrade to the next release of openSUSE in the fall or early next year then I will properly again choose the inline upgrade path.

Introduction to FFmpeg

- presented at Danish Engineering Society's Hillerød Group

Post date: Mar 2, 2012 6:21:20 AM

2012 03 01 NJ Presentation_linux_et_spadestik-dybere ffmpeg.pdf

At the start of spring, i.e. March 1st 2012, Niels gave a presentation on the usage of ffmpeg for vidoe and sound manipulation at the Process Technical Society of IDA in Hillerød. About 10 people attended this third meeting in the series "Linux - one step deeper". The presentation (in Danish) has been attached to this posting at file "2012 03 01 NJ Presentation_linux_et_spadestik_dybere ffmpeg.pdf" together with the script "", which performs all the manipulations described in the presentation, the base vidoe files "", which are hereby released under the creative commons license. The resulting video from the evenings project can be viewed here.

Finally two extra scripts are atteached. The first one "" ensures that the videos are no longer in the proprietary Canon codec, but in yuv420p, as well as ensuring the frame rate is standard PAL. All scripts have been attached as a single zip-file to avoid issues with cross-site scripting.

Update @15:45: Added $LOCATION parameter to parameterfile video.prm, which is used by script Also modified script to work with latest verison of ffmpeg, and modified font size and spacing of lines on introductory picture and exit picture.

Update @16:55: Found some sound problems with the script. Corrected those, and uploaded revised scripts, which now also include a webpage parameter.

Update July 2018

If you are more to a GUI than a command line, then Safepark has recently had very good experience with using KDenLive to created video. Read the tutorials before using the program. The interface is extremely flexible, and once you learn it, then you have access to a professional tool.