Monday, 25 December 2006



SuSE Linux 9.3 Professional

By Anthony Johnson

Technical specifications

* Intel Mobile Pentium III 800 MHz Processor, 256 KB L2 cache
* 256 Mb now maxed out at 512
* 8X-2.3X DVD-ROM (bootable)
* 20 GB HDD (5400 rpm)
* 14.1" TFT display (1400x1050)
* S3 Inc. Savage/IX8 video adapter with 8 MB RAM
* 3Com Ethernet/Modem Mini-PCI card
Cirrus Logic CS4624 SoundFusion PCI Audio Accelerator.


Of all the computer's in my possession the IBM THINKPAD T21 is perhaps the most Linux friendly.
I have installed the distribution SuSE Linux 9.3 Professional based the 2.6.11x kernel. I installed the entire feature, that is, the entire DVD-, a 6-8GB installation that took around two and a half hours. This was the only disconcerting aspect of the exercise.

YaST ( the SuSE Linux hardware manager) configured everything excluding the modem-, which is usual. I use a Xircom PCMCIA Ethernet/Modem instead and that was successfully configured.


Grub is the default bootloader. Intially, I had a problem dual booting with Xandros Linux 3.0 OCE.
I read the two thick manuals that ship with the distro only to find that Xandros uses LILO as boot loader. So I placed the DVD into the optical drive at boot up. It gives the option to boot from an operating system. Xandros was listed as unknown but booted up successfully. I booted in SuSE, went into YaST clicked on 'Boot Loader' and changed it from GRUB to LILO and voila at boot up BOTH are now listed at boot up.

SuSE Linux 9.3 works beautifully on my Thinkpad T21 2647, which I acquired second-hand. There has been no need at present to recompile the kernel-, which is in any case beyond my capabilities presently as I am relatively new to Linux. I have also experiment with other distros to find that the following work satisfactorily with Linux:

Redhat 9
Xandros 3.0 OCE
Mandrake 10.1 Community
Fedora Core 3
Knoppix 3 and 4

The soundcard sings, USB volumes mount automatically under Xandros 3.0, Mandrake, Fedora Core, Knoppix ¾ as it does with SuSE 9.3. Under Redhat 9 some changes to the /etc.fstab file are required and a mount point must be created in the /mnt directory.

By and large, the Thinkpad T21 has been a pleasure to use under this distro.

A. P. Johnson

Sunday, 24 December 2006

SuSE Linux 10.1 Professional


A Sony Vaio VGN S4XP

A.P. Johnson



Model Name: Sony VGN S4XP (Released early 2005) Processor: 2GHz Intel Centrino (Cache Memory 2MB) 533 MHz Front Side Bus, RAM: 1GB DDR2-400, Hard Disc:100GB SATA, Optical drive: DVD-RW/DL, Display: 1280x800 X-Black13.3 Inches LCD WXGA,Graphics Card: NVIDIA Geforce Go 6200 with Turbocache supporting up to 128MB, Wireless capabilities: WLAN/Bluetooth, Interfaces: SVGA, x1 PCMCIA, x2 USB 2.0, x1 Firewire, Memory Stick slot, Ethernet, 56kpbs Modem.

Installation Summary

Installing SuSE 10.10 was extremely simple with the above model. The first Linux distro that successfully installed was Ubuntu 6.05 based on Kernel 2.6.15-24.

The installation took about just over an hour (with just about all packages excluding KDE desktop. I chose GNOME).

YaST (The Hardware Installer on the SuSE distro) virtually sensed and configured everything aside from:

· The 56k modem (soft or windmodem)

· The special one-touch buttons to control screen brightness, volume.

· SVGA output

Apart from the above all else works satisfactorily. The sound quality is much louder and better than it ever was under Windows XP Pro-, which sits on another partition. Grub grants the user a choice of boot options namely; Windows or SuSE Linux 10.1. Once in SuSE Linux, you can access the NTFS partition as root only. You must also manually mount it. It is seen by Linux as sda1. All you do is create a mount point in the /mnt folder (i.e /windows). You can do one of two things hereafter. In the /etc.fstab file you can enter:

/dev/sda1 /mnt/windows ntfs noauto,user 0 0


Open a terminal and simply enter: mount /dev/sda1

All the contents of the Windows partition become available for read-only access.

The computer is pleasure to use in both OS environments especially Linux of course. There are some features I have not got round to using such as WLAN/Bluetooth. However, YaST lists these in the hardware inventory. ( In Ubuntu 6.05 ,which based almost on the same kernel, WLAN worked. There is no reason why it shouldn’t under SuSE Linux 10.1)

A.P. Johnson

Linux Newbie