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Archive for May, 2011

Have you BURPed yet today?

May 16th, 2011 by

Well, have you?  Not the satisfying expulsion of excess gas, but the simplest way you can materially contribute to openSUSE.

I was just hanging in the #active channel, watching my KDE chums make their new touchscreen interface (video), when somebody complained that shared-desktop-ontologies does not yet contain the latest release needed by KDE git master.  And instead of updating the package myself, I suggested they just BURP:

  • Branch,
  • Update,
  • Request,
  • the Package

And by doing so we all get the latest versions in the devel project and soon in Tumbleweed and openSUSE Factory.  So ambassadors, boosters and motivated contributors know how to do that right?  Now you can use this glib little acronym to persuade friends and colleagues to do the same.

Happy BURPing!

Wine on Linuxtag 2011

May 16th, 2011 by

As Christian Boltz and myself held a quite successful talk on Wine on the 2010 openSUSE conference, we decided to again hold a talk at Germanys largest Linux fair, Linux Tag 2011 in Berlin.

We again ran the pun talk “Wine” (not) the Emulator vs “Wine” the beverage, with Christian talking about life and work at a vineyard and his wine grower community at Deutsches Weintor.

Included in this talk was a Wine tasting of 4 different kinds of Wine, as grown in the area were Christian lives.

His stories on Vineyard activities and the processing from grape to wine interluded with myself talking about Wine the Emulator, its historical and statistical parts, game support and futures.

Around 70 people  enjoyed our light hearted wrap up talk of this Linux Tag conference.

Images: by hueck2342 at flickr.com, licensed as Creative Commons  – Share Alike, Attribute, Non Commercial http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

ATI/AMD fglrx 8.850 Catalyst 11.5 available for openSUSE 11.2, 11.3, 11.4, Factory

May 14th, 2011 by

New version of catalyst 11.5 / fglrx 8.850 available

Please refer to my previous article where all the installation procedure is explained.

At least after a wrong 11.4 version, and a first buggy 11.5 catalyst version, the new one is finally build and ready to install from the repo. Like for 11.3 I’ve clean up all previous version which are not xpic, so everybody can easily know which drivers he has to install.
I’ve resigned all rpm with my key. And the tests made show them working.


Some instabilities have been reported. In case of crash like no keyboard, mouse, and blackscreen on reboot. Try to shutdown properly your computer with the shutdown poweroff button. On reboot, just add 3 at the end of grub line to restart in console mode.
Then with yast or zypper you can always try the previous version.

All credits to Sebastian Siebert (freespacer) : 11.5 article

What about tumbleweed, factory?

Users have reported that version 8.850 of catalyst 11.5 compile correctly under Tumbleweed with 2.6.38 kernel and the driver is ready for kernel 2.6.39, so until xorg change too much and then AMD support for the new version, installing the 11.4 version should work

For factory, I’ve build a repository (see previous article) that can be used, and fglrx build

Numbers ?

Month Unique IP Number of visits Pages Hits Bandwidth
Jan 2011 2355 6411 19688 35263 16.63 GB
Feb 2011 2906 7719 26383 41142 22.37 GB
Mar 2011 8055 21157 228494 258613 59.13 GB
Apr 2011 10592 29129 418281 437416 76.87 GB

All served by openSUSE powered server!

Unknown Horizons, a nice strategy game, now on openSUSE

May 9th, 2011 by

A few days ago I was wandering on the openSUSE Forums, once more in the games section when I saw one more post from one of our users asking for Unknown Horizons… I’ve search a bit and found 2 entries on OBS (openSUSE Build Service), one for Fedora packages and another for openSUSE packages.

I’ve joined #unknown-horizons on FreeNode and found out that Unknown Horizons is very active and people are very nice. I’ve made a few questions around and offered myself to package this nice game for openSUSE (home:ketheriel:UnknownHorizons). Some of the dependencies are provided by the games repository, to which I want to submit the major releases, and if possible enable builds for Fedora (and friends).

A few packages need some tweaks to enable builds for Fedora (allegro, libenet, guichan), and I’m working already on that. Meanwhile for everyone who wants to check out the latest development snapshot of Unknown Horizons, feel free to do so… Currently packaged for:

* openSUSE 11.3
* openSUSE 11.4
* openSUSE Factory
* openSUSE Tumbleweed

The 1-Click installer can be found on Unknown Horizons download page.  There’s also a nice article (bumping ego) about the new openSUSE packages on Unknown Horizons webpage!

This is a title that all openSUSE users who like RTS games should try (supports openGL and sdl) and is powered by the FIFE Engine.

Unknown Horizons - Settings Menu - openSUSE 11.4 GNOME3

openSUSE 11.4: Built to Rule Gnome

May 6th, 2011 by

Six years ago, when I joined the Novell team’s office in Cambridge, some of my cohorts in what used to be the Ximian Red Carpet team had an expression: “Red Hat 7.3 + Ximian Desktop” – they sometimes used it to indicate what had been a quantum leap in the Linux Desktop experience of the Gnome Lineage.  Having been personally a vi+terminal kind of guy, and the Konsole being a great terminal multiplexer since times ancient, I had some precise idea of what KDE releases I had particularly appreciated as smoothly integrated (SuSE 6.2 comes to mind), so the expression stuck in my mind as the ultimate paragon of a Gnome setup.  Sure, great things happened since, but the first time you did not have to grease the wheels of every detail for hours to have a smooth environment certainly sticks in your head in a certain indelible way.

openSUSE has been a pretty good Gnome distribution for a long time now, but 11.4 really gave me a different feeling: I found only 1 bug I care to solve in my laptop support, and the defaults I had out of the box were all more than good, they were pleasing.  It is not just functioning well, it is smooth, it has a quality that is hard to describe but we all know it when we see it.  Which is just so damn awesome 🙂

Usually I tinker for days to get an environment I am comfortable with (I am a clinical case, I do this on OS-X, Windows and Linux irrespective), but in this case, I had to do very few things to get a very nice setup for my work laptops, both esthetically and functionally. So here comes my ultimative Gnome quick setup guide to a rocking openSUSE 11.4 Gnome experience.

F2’s Quick-Yet-Awesome Gnome Environment Recipe
In no particular order, proceed through the following steps

  1. Pidgin
    zypper in pidgin
    Make it a Gnome startup application
    Control Center | Startup Applications | /usr/bin/pidgin
  2. Flash Player
    Yes, you still need it. Yes, we do love HTML 5 nonetheless.
    zypper in flash-player
  3. Glipper
    A clipboard manager, to keep multiple recent cut&paste targets simultaneously at hand.
    Head to the buildservice and help yourself to a one-click install.
    Logout. Log back in. (suggestion of a smarter way to do this would be appreciated)
    right click | add to panel | clipboard manager
  4. Gnome Do
    Setup Gnome Do to run at login (it is now in the default install)
    preferences | general | start Gnome Do at login
    fixing hotkey to ctrl-enter
    Select the Glass theme – matches the openSUSE default theme better on 11.4
    I really wish there was a way to have Gnome Do autoclear its buffer after 1 second (or even better when one retypes a similar string), typos are rather defeating in its default mode (“pidxpidgin”, anyone?)
  5. Firefox
    Fix Firefox’s backspace key behavior to match non-Linux platforms (page back) rather than the do-nothing default:
    navigate to About:config | browser.backspace_action = 0
  6. Hostname
    Set a hostname if DHCP does not do it for you.  No self-respecting terminal monkey would have a random hostname!
    YaST | Network Settings | Hostname/DNS
  7. Tilda
    You just cannot overestimate how helpful Quake Terminals are.
    One click install
    tilda -C
    fix hotkey (keybindings | grab keybinding) to <ctrl>grave
    increase buffer (scrolling | Scrollback | 1000)
    Now fix the appearance (the defaults work anywhere but they are ghastly-lookin’ 🙂
    general | enable Double Buffering [x]
    appearance | height | 66%;  width 100%
    enable transparency [x] ; Level of transparency 30
    enable pulldown [x] ; Delay 15000 usec
    use image for background [x]
    I use a Gimp-scaled version of the desktop wallpaper there (defaults are in /usr/share/wallpapers)
    Make it a Gnome startup application
    Control Center | Startup Applications | /usr/bin/tilda

    Tilda is the crankier bit (even with all that tuning, it is not yet as smooth as Visor at pulldown, there is still some flickering left).  I am not going to go all-out and say that 2011 is the year of the Linux Desktop, but it sure feels pretty nice an environment to work in, and configuring was quite fast, which means most defaults are better than good.

    Suggestions, corrections and additional ideas are welcome. Ramble on, I am reading!

right click | add to panel | clipboard manager

Gpick – An advanced color picker…

May 5th, 2011 by

It was brought to my attention through I article (german) the existence of gpick, an advanced and high featured color picker. I’ve taken a quick look at it to make it available for openSUSE as it seems an interesting tool for artists and web designers (maybe GTK3+ themers) and others.

To build this package a few files are generated with the Lemon Parser Generator which isn’t really available. I’m contacting upstream regarding the possibility of including the generated files in the tarball, or eventually if that fails, I’ll probably need to include lemon.c, hand compile it and hack scons build to use the local binary to generate those files.

The screenshots have a tiny glitch on an icon, this is mainly because I haven’t rebuilt the icon cache when I took them. I look forward to explore the possibility of having such a great tool available for openSUSE 12.1.

UPDATE: I’ve made available a small test package on home:ketheriel:gpick (needs some work before submitting to factory) which should be working. Any testing/feedback will be most welcomed. Also enabled builds for Fedora 14, since I believe this package isn’t available for Fedora.


May 3rd, 2011 by

Yesterday I’ve seen in facebook a few photos by Chuck Payne from the Marketing team showing his collection of SuSE materials… I do have a few ‘vintage’ items as well… Back in 98 when I tried SuSE Linux 5.3 for the first time, it was somehow expensive to burn DVD’s and I was hanging around on a 56K line back then, so pulling them over the internet was not really an option.

Original SuSE Linux 6.0 box

I liked a lot my first Linux experiences, so still hanging on a 56K modem, I’ve decided to purchase SuSE Linux 6.0 box edition from a Linux reseller in Lisbon. I still remember the thrill of picking up the package at the post office and rushing home to try out my Linux distribution of choice (Red Hat 5.1 didn’t last for long). I’m also happy to say that this box provided my first Linux book, the awesome manual provided with it. I’ve ended up using it for years.

Original SuSE Linux 6.1

SuSE 6.0 started a tradition and the swap to 2.2.x kernel made me purchase once more the latest release of my preferred Linux distribution. Still enslaved with a 56K modem link, after a pleasant 6.0 experience, this became a must in the old ‘internet warrior’ days.

original SuSE Linux 6.2 CD's

I’ve also purchased SuSE Linux 6.2, unfortunatly I only have the CD case and the media itself from this release… The box and the manual probably were lost during the ‘Great Purge’ or lie around in a on old box in the attic… I don’t know, I haven’t found them… but this is a nice souvenir 🙂

Original SuSE Linux 6.3 media

Original SuSE Linux 6.4 Instruction Manuals

SuSE Linux 6.4 was the last SuSE release I’ve bought… at this time I had already cable available and wasn’t living anymore under the 56K nightmare… at work I also had a 2Mbit line available and pulling out stuff was not an issue… This was the 2nd release which featured a graphical installer (implemented on 6.3 I think)….

I also own a SuSE Linux 7.0 original box though I didn’t purchased it. In February 2001 I’ve organized a Linux event in Aveiro which was sponsored by SuSE Linux which sent a huge crate containing:

* 7 Original Boxes of SuSE Linux 7.0;
* 20 SuSE Linux T-shirts (10 in black, 10 in white);
* Around 100 ‘newspaper’ style SuSE Linux edition in english;
* Two huge stacks (maybe around 100 in total) Live CD’s;
* 7 Tux plush penguins (maybe 10, I don’t recall for sure);
* 10 SuSE Linux baseball caps (I had one, also lost in the Great Purge);
* A huge load of stickers and pins (I still have a 10 year old pin from this date with the original packaging/seal)

Red Hat provided for this event around 50 stickers, Sun Microsystems provided 400/500 Star Office 5.1 official media! All this goods were distributed during the event from which sadly I don’t possess photos anymore. It took place in the Cultural Congress Center of Aveiro with the support of Aveiro City Hall and local hardware manufacturer (who payed the bills). We had 3 national linux resellers from SuSE, Red Hat, Debian and Slackware present. The event was a 2 day mega LIP (Linux Install Party) and show Linux room featuring KDE, GNOME, hardware support and multimedia capabilities.

Original SuSE Linux 7.0 printed manual

This was one of the nicest features of buying a box edition (besides the stickers and media). SuSE Linux shipped always with very elegant boxes with awesome polygons (the boxes are actually very nicely manufactured). This manual was like a field manual for a powerful Linux experience… the day saver for starters and professionals. This is one of the reasons why I still advice newcomers to buy openSUSE boxed sets! The value presented on this editions is something really worth the money.

For as much strange as this might sound… I’ve bought more SuSE Software than any other proprietary OS, in fact I only own a copy of Windows NT4.0 Workstation and a OEM License of Windows 7 (bundled with the laptop). Excepting console games, I’ve never payed for so much software as I did to SuSE GmbH!

Only missing the cherry on the top of cake! Do you have one of this on your laptop ?

Powered by SuSE Linux sticker!

I don’t know why… just felt like sharing this old vintage stuff… I am proud to continue using openSUSE, which in my humble opinion delievers the same value that once SuSE Linux provided me! I am also proud to give a bit of my time to package one or another package and improve openSUSE, which also makes me feel like a part of this Linux distribution, something I would never image when I purchased those boxes!

My great thanks to everyone who worked on those releases and is still around! A testimony that your work was enjoyed and appreciated!


AMD/ATI Catalyst 11.4 pre-build package … next week

May 3rd, 2011 by

Just a quick note for those of you asking themselve why the new catalyst 11.4 (fglrx 8.841) are not yet published on the non-official repository, there’s an answer : hollidays 🙂

I’ll be back from Greece next week, so I will publish them around the 15th May.

In the meantime, you can counsult this article from Sebastian Siebert

Have fun!