The OpenSUSE 11.0 Installation Guide

Installation Guide for OpenSUSE 11.0

Step-by-Step Walkthrough for Installing OpenSUSE 11.0

With the release of OpenSUSE 11.0, more and more users have begun to try OpenSUSE, or upgrade to the newer version. As with any operating system, or program for that matter, OpenSUSE requires an installation process to configure your system to your liking. Although for new users, this may seem like new territory, the OpenSUSE team have gone to great lengths to make the installation process as simple as possible. You can actually install OpenSUSE 11.0 with less than a dozen clicks: it’s that simple. But sometimes the default settings don’t match what you are looking for, or they just don’t cut it for what you are doing. This tutorial will explain the steps to installing OpenSUSE 11.0 and how to make some of the great options in the installer work to your advantage. You can also find the official OpenSUSE 11.0 installation guide here.

Creating the DVD

The first thing we must do before installing OpenSUSE 11.0 is create the DVD the installer will run from. To do, we must visit the software page of the OpenSUSE website, found here. The first section allows us to choose which type of software we are going to use. The page will give you examples of each type of processor and which would be suit a specific type. Most users choose 32bit because of the software support, but others opt for 64bit (PowerPC should only be used when hardware is not wildly used). Although, 64bit would only be useful for computers with a high amount of RAM (usually, any amount above 4GB). My suggestion would be to use the 32bit version because of the software support (most software is made specifically for 32bit machines), but you may wish to choose 64bit because of your volume of RAM.

Now that we have chosen the correct software support for the type of processor, we need to choose a type of medium. For this tutorial, select DVD because it includes many important applications that accompany OpenSUSE 11.0. The Live CD follows the same installation process as the DVD, but only installs a basic version of OpenSUSE 11.0, and lacks important software. This choice is great for users who can only create CDs (in turn, lacking the ability to create a large DVD) as it is more than 3GB smaller than the DVD version.

The last step is choosing a method for downloading the files. If you have a torrent-opener, and are familiar with using one, feel free to select Torrent. If you do not have a torrent-opener, or are unfamiliar with the torrent format, select the Standard (ftp or http). This will download the files directly from the server, and will not require opening the package once downloaded. Once you are happy with the choices you have made, the link for Installation DVD under the Start Download Here header. This is starts the download. The download may take a long time to download (upwards of a few hours), but it will be worth it in the end.

Once the download has finally finished, we are ready to create the DVD. The file that we just downloaded is an ISO image, so it will require being written to the DVD as an image. If you are currently using OpenSUSE, the image should already be written to the DVD as an ISO image. If you are using a Windows program such as Nero, be sure to write the files to the DVD as an image, rather than a Data DVD. Because of the large size of the image, it may take a few minutes to write the DVD.

Booting from DVD

Now that we have the DVD made, we have to boot the system from it. Remember that the installation will delete any files on an existing system if you are going to install OpenSUSE 11.0 over it. You can place these files in the /home partition if you have OpenSUSE already installed (which we will go into more detail later) or on an outside media, such as a flash drive or server. To boot from the DVD, we need to restart the computer. When the computer restarts, one of the first screens that appears is the BIOS screen.

The BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) screen will most likely have the logo of your motherboard on it and is the screen we will focus on. On the bottom of the BIOS screen will be a message to press a specific button to load the BIOS options. This button is usually the Del button or the Tab button. Once you press this button, the BIOS settings will appear (some computers may require a second step with a menu of options; find one that is similar to Settings and press the corresponding button).

Once the BIOS settings appear, there will be a tab labeled Boot. Use the arrow keys to move to this tab. Once you are at the Boot tab, there will be a list of boot priorities. Use the arrow keys again to move to the first slot and press enter. A menu should appear with options for booting (locations). Find the name of your CD drive, and use the arrows keys to move the selector over it. Press enter to select this option. Now use the arrow keys again to open the Exit tab and select Exit and Save. This will save the changes and restart the computer. Some BIOS settings may vary, but most are similar to the layout of others.

Installing OpenSUSE 11.0

Now that we have created the DVD and booted from the DVD, it is finally time to install OpenSUSE 11.0! When the DVD boots, the first screen that appears will be the boot screen. The second option on the menu is Installation. Use the arrow keys to move the selector over the Installation option and press the enter key. Before the installation process begins, the kernel must load. After the kernel loads, there will be a loading screen. The loading of the kernel and the boot screen should take no more than a minute total.

Boot screenLoading Kernel...Splash screen

Once all the preliminary processes have loaded, the first step of the installation is the Welcome page. This page has options for changing the language for your system (you have download more languages on the software page by setting the same options as the DVD and clicking the Extra Languages link) and the keyboard layout language. Most common languages are included in the basic DVD. Once you have selected the languages to fit your needs, there will be a License Agreement. Browse through the agreement to see the terms and conditions of using OpenSUSE 11.0, and then check the I Agree to the License Terms checkbox. If the box is not checked, we cannot conitnue.

Welcome screen

After you click the Next button to continue, YaST (Yet another System Tool: the administrative tool of OpenSUSE 11.0) will check the hardware and devices installed and connected to your system. This may take a few moments. Once the probing has been completed, the next screen presented is the System Analysis screen. Here, you can choose the type of installation you wish to perform: new, update or repair. For our purposes, we want a New Installation. Also, make sure that the Include Add-on Products from Separate Media is unchecked, and that the Use Automatic Configuration box is checked. Once you have chosen these options, press the Next button to continue to the next step.

Probing system...System analysis

The next screen is the Timezone screen. This one can actually be quite fun to use because of the visual map. You can either use the dropdown menus to set your timezone or the world map. To use the map, click on a city near your location. The first time you click on the map, it will expand to show a closer view of the area you clicked. Once the map has zoomed, click a city with the same timezone as your own. If your hardware clock is set to UTC (± 0:00), be sure to check the box at the lower left of the timezone panel. Once your settings match your timezone and hardware, click the Next button to continue.

Timezone screenTimezone screen (zoomed)

The Desktop Selection screen is where you get to choice which desktop environment will run on your OpenSUSE system. This is a matter of personal preference, and I really have no means of giving a recommendation. I personally use Gnome, and this tutorial uses Gnome, but that does not mean you have to choose it as well. Below are screenshots of both Gnome 2.22 and KDE4 respectively. You can also install both if you wish, but we will get into further detail about that after a few more steps. The Others will give you a list of less popular alternatives: XFCE Desktop, Minimal X Window and Minimal Server Selection (Text Mode). I would suggest sticking with either Gnome, KDE4 or KDE 3.5 because of the universal support behind them. Once you have decided on a desktop environment, press Next.

Desktop selectionGnomeKDE4

The next step is the Disk screen. Here is where we can change the settings for the partitions about to be created. If you are installing OpenSUSE 11.0 over an existing OpenSUSE installation, refer to this tutorial. If this is your first time installing OpenSUSE, the defaulted settings should be fine. Be sure the swap partition matches, or is relatively close, to the amount of RAM in your system. If you want to change the size of a partition, press the Edit Partition Setup… button and then click the partition to select it. Then press the Resize button on the options cluster at the bottom of the screen. Now, simply drag the meter or set the value with the dialogue field to the right. Once again, the suggested settings should be fine for your system. Once you have completed your changes, or are content with the ones given, press the Next button.

Disk screenPartition optionsResizing partitions

The last major step before we initiate the installation is creating a user. Here, enter your name into the first field, and YaST will automatically create a username using your first name in lower case letters. This is a good way to distinguish users if more than one person will use this system. Once you have entered your name and have a username, create a password. YaST will warn you if your password is weak or too short. Once you have a password, uncheck the Use this password for system administrator and Automatic Login boxes. For security reasons, it is always better to have two separate passwords for a user and root; automatically logging in, although convenient, will skip a important step in changing sessions before logging in (we’ll go into further detail later in the tutorial). Because we are making a desktop out of OpenSUSE 11.0, not a server, checking the Receive System Mail box is not important at this time, so you can leave it as the default or check it if you feel the need. Once you create the user, you will be asked to create a password for the root user (the user that has absolute control over system files and settings). Once you have created one and retyped it, press the Next button again.

Creating a userRoot user

The last screen is the Installation Overview screen. This is where all the settings you have entered can be double checked before installation. Here is where we can add packages too. If you want to install more than one desktop environment (mentioned above), refer to this tutorial. Before we start the installation, I would suggest adding one package: the development packages because chances are you will use them in the near future. To do this, click the Change… button and then Software. Now scroll down in the left panel until you find the Development heading. Under this heading, check the Base Development box. (Here is where you can install another desktop environment by checking the KDE4 or KDE3 Desktop Environment box in the left box if you chose Gnome or the Gnome box if you chose KDE). Once you have done this, click OK. Once you have checked everything over and like the settings you have chosen, click the Install button to begin the Installation.

Loading overview...Installation overviewSoftware selection

Now the installation will begin (finally, I know) once you click the Confirm button. This can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 40 or more depending on the specifications of your system. You can either watch the slideshow, or click on the Details tab to see what is installing step-by-step. You can also see the Release Notes. Feel free to walk away, though, and come back when the installation is finished if it suits you; there is nothing to miss by not seeing the installation. Here are some pictures of the installation and slideshow.

Confirm installationFormating partitionsDeploying images

Above are some screenshots of the confirmation prompt and the preliminary parts to the installation. These will load basic necessities for OpenSUSE 11.0.


Directly above are some of the panes from the slideshow. The communication slide to the write, the (which is the office suit for OpenSUSE: similar to Microsoft Office) and the graphics pane to the right. Below, to the left, is the laptop pane, and in the center and right are the finalizing installation and reboot screens.

SlideshowFinalizing installationReboot notification

Once the installation finishes, some automatic configuration takes place. This should take less than a minute or so and then another panel for automatic user configuration. Once these processes have been completed, OpenSUSE 11.0 will boot for the first time! Now it’s time to install some first boot items, such as video drivers and useful programs, and then you’ll be ready to work with your OpenSUSE 11.0 system!

Automatic configurationAutomatic user configuration

The login screen has many different features to it than meats the eye. The bottom left of the screen has options for language, sessions and rebooting or shutting down. The Sessions option is where you can switch between desktop environments if you have installed more than one. If you have not, or wish to use the main desktop environment you have installed, simply enter your username and then password to login.

Username fieldSessions prompt

One of the first prompts that appears when you login is one asking you if you wish to update your computer. Accept and another window will appear asking you to configure your updater. Click the Next button so that YaST can configure your computer to update itself. An alert will appear telling you that the configuration is taking place: this may take a minute or two. Once the configuration is complete, you will be alerted.

Update configurationConfiguring...Configuration successful

Once the configuration is complete, the next step is to add repositories. Repositories are servers with packages on them; YaST Package Manager uses these servers to present you with a list of installable packages and applications. We’ll use the package manager a little later to see how it works. But for now, wait for the configuration to finalize and the repositories to load. When the loading is complete, you will see a list of checkboxes. There are many repositories you can subscribe to, but for now, we should check off only the important ones. Check these repositories…

  • Main Repository (NON-OSS)
  • Main Repository (OSS)
  • Main Update Repository
  • Packman Repository
  • openSUSE BuildService – Mozilla
  • openSUSE BuildService –
  • openSUSE BuildService – X11:XGL

Before you continue, we need to add the graphics drive repository. If you have an ATI video card, add the ATI Repository. Likewise, if you have an Nvidia graphics card, add the NVIDIA Repository to the list. These repositories will allow you to install the latest video drivers. Another repository is based on your desktop environment: if you are using Gnome, check the openSUSE BuildService – GNOME:STABLE repository. Once you have checked all these repositories, click the Finish button. If you are asked to Import a key, as in the last screenshot below, agree to import.

Loading repositories...Repository listImport keys

As this is the first time that the updater has contacted the repositories, you will commonly have a notification in the bottom-right-hand side of your desktop alerting you that there are updates available. When this happens, click Update computer now. This will download and install the update. It is important to do this, especially because this is the first time the updater has refreshed, because there are very important security updates to install. Once your click the update button, you will be asked to enter your root password. (You can also check the Remember authorization to remember the root password so you don’t have to enter it every time you want to update.) After you enter the root password, press Authenticate. You can also see the details of the update by clicking the details arrow. Now your system will update.


The update may take a long time to complete, and other processes cannot access YaST Package Manager when updates are taking place, but it requires no user interaction, so feel free to step away from the computer while the updates are going on: you won’t miss much. Once the updates finish, we can update Firefox (the DVD version of the OpenSUSE 11.0 may have the Beta version of Firefox 3; if you already have the most recent version of Firefox, you can still add the repository to keep Firefox up-to-date). The first thing we need to do is add a new repository. The first thing we must do is open YaST. To do this, click the Computer menu at the bottom-left of the screen on the bottom panel.

Keep in mind that I am using Gnome for this, but KDE should be similar. Once the menu appears, click the More Applications… button to bring up the list of applications on your system. In the filter at the top-left of the window, type yast. You will see an icon with the heading YaST. Click this, and in the prompt, enter your root password. Once the YaST window loads, click Software on the left tabs (the headers on the left side of the window). This will highlight the software section: find Software Repositories and click it.

Gnome menuApplicationsYaST

After the list of repositories refresh, the list of current repositories will be displayed in the window. Click the Add button to create a new repository. In the next window, choose HTTP… and a window will appear with the input options for the new repository. For the name, enter Mozilla and for the server name, enter (you don’t have to add any prefix to the URL). Lastly, for the Directory on Server, enter /repositories/mozilla/openSUSE_11.0/ and press the Next button when you have entered all this information. Refer to the image on the right (below) for a visual reference. Once you click the Next button, the repository will be created and refreshed.

Repository listChoosing repository type...Repository information

Once the repository refreshes, it should automatically download and install the upgrade for Firefox. If it does not, refer to this tutorial to upgrade Firefox to the latest version. Now that we have the latest version of Firefox installed, it is time to put it to use. Open the menu on the bottom-left and click the Firefox icon in the Favorites section. The first time you use Firefox, you may have to agree to a license. Once you agree to the license, Firefox will open. Now that we can surf the internet, the first thing we must do is to add video drivers.

If you are using an Nvidia graphics card, view this page; if you are using an ATI graphics card, view this page. These pages are where the 1-click installer for the drivers can be found. Make sure to check which driver you are supposed to use for your card (normal, latency, etc.). Once you have figures out which package you are to use (by referring to the lists and links that correspond to the installer link), click the button on the page that is labeled 1-Click Install. The screenshots below use the Nvidia page, but use the page that corresponds to your hardware. When the download prompt appears in Firefox, open the package with YaST Meta Package Handler (which should be the default option).

Firefox licenseDrivers pageDownload package

After the installer is finished downloading, the Package Handler will start. The first screen that is presented contains any notes or warning for the installer. Once you have read these notes (if there are any present), press the Next button. The second screen, the Installation Settings, will show all the repositories to be added, and the packages to be installed by the installer. Press the Next button and when prompted to confirmation, agree, and the installation will begin. Before the installation can be completed, you must enter your root password. After a few minutes, the installation will be complete.

Installer notesInstaller informationInstaller

Now that the installation is complete, restart your system. If you are unsure how to do this, open the syste menu on the bottom-left and click the Shutdown button on the right column. In the prompt that follows, press the Restart button.

After your system reboots and you login back in, we need to do some work in the terminal. To open a terminal window, open the system menu and press the More Applications… button to the bottom-right. When the applications window loads, enter into the search field: terminal. You will be presented with different terminals; choose either Gnome Terminal or Konsole depending on which desktop environment you decided to use.


Now that we have the terminal window open, we need to login as a root user. To do this, type su into the terminal and press the enter button to initiate the command. A password prompt will appear inside the terminal; type in your root password and press enter. Now we are logged in as a root user. Since we have all the needed permissions, we can configure the video settings for the system. To do this, enter the command…

sax2 -r

After a few seconds, Sax2 will start. When the window appears, you can change your video settings such as resolution and color settings (and other media, such as mice and keyboards). If you have made all the changes you want or the default settings are fine, press the OK button. If your screen is not centered or is not in the correct position, press the Test button on the confirmation prompt. In this screen (seen below in the blue screenshot), you can use the arrows to move the screen to the correct position. Once all of your settings are to your liking, save the changes. When you return to the Sax2, press the OK button and the Save button on the confirmation prompt.

Sax2 terminal outputSax2Sax2 test

Now that the settings have been changed, we have to allow them to take affect. After changing Sax2 settings, X-Server which runs all of the visual elements of OpenSUSE, must be restarted. There are two ways to do this: through the keyboard shortcut and the terminal. The keyboard shortcut to close X-Server is double-tapping Ctrl+Alt+Backspace (NOTE: all of the programs running on your desktop will be closed and any unsaved information will be lost). The other method is issue the following command as a root user in the terminal (you can use the same window that we used to start Sax2)…

init 3

This will close the X-Server. Once the server is closed, we have to login and restart the server. The black screen with the white command text is called the Command Line Interface (CLI). The last text that appears in the CLI will be: linux-aa00 login: (with aa00 begin replaced by the 4 numbers and letters that are issued to your system during installation). To login, simply type your username and press enter, and then enter the password for your username. Now you are logged into the CLI; to restart the X-Server and have all the visual effects of your desktop again, issue the command…


This will initiate X-Server and load all the visuals of your desktop. Note that whichever username you used to login while in the CLI, you will be logged in as that user when X-Server restarts.

Init 3 commandCommand Line Interface

Now that we have installed and configured video drivers for your OpenSUSE system, you’re ready to put your new operating system to good use. There are almost endless possibilities to what you can do with your OpenSUSE system: the fun part is experimenting and trying new programs and commands and seeing the effects they have. To find many of the important BASH (the default terminal shell) commands, refer to this page. You can also find other tutorials on OpenSUSE here. The difficulty may range, but it is always good to learn new things that can be done with your system.

Another tutorial I would suggest to check out is the HowToForge tutorial on installing OpenSUSE 11.0. This is the same tutorial that I used to start learning OpenSUSE (but in the OpenSUSE 10.3 version of the tutorial: found here). Towards the middle and the end of the tutorial, about pages 3 through 6, teach many basic and useful lessons on installing and working with popular programs and an assortment of terminal commands. Page 5 will even teach you how to install Windows fonts on OpenSUSE, which I would definitely suggest because sometimes OpenSUSE may lack some common Windows fonts, which may be needed when typing up Word Documents or making presentations in OpenOffice or printing pages. By no means are you forced to look at this tutorial, but I would greatly suggest it because it has many great lessons incorporated into it.

I would like to apologize in advance for any typos and misspellings: due to the length of the tutorial, I may have made mistakes and failed to recongize them. One final word: get involved in the OpenSUSE community! You can learn some great trick and tips from other members on the OpenSUSE Forums when you create a username. This username can also be used on any of the Novell and OpenSUSE websites. Also check out the OpenSUSE Wiki for topics and articles on various OpenSUSE features and news on the latest releases and interviews. Last but not least: have fun and enjoy working with OpenSUSE!


2 Responses to “The OpenSUSE 11.0 Installation Guide”

  1. […] the OpenSUSE 11.0 Installation Tutorial After much work and effort, the OpenSUSE 11.0 Installation Tutorial page is now available for use. It is a bit lengthy, but includes all the basic aspects of […]

  2. […] you can find the official tutorial by clicking here. I’ve also written a tutorial on installation (found here) if you need any further help with the installation process and the follow-up to that process. If […]

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