Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Essential post-install steps

I'm a big time Linux supporter and I love to use it for my day to day basis. I'm a Software Consultant so I have to use XP on many occasions and every time I leave Linux and go to Windows, I always think why the assignment is forcing me to switch back to Windows. In my Linux journey I used almost all the popular linux distros such as Ubuntu, openSuse, Mandriva, PCLOS 2007, DreamLinux, Fedora,Debain .. etc. So far I found openSuse 11.1 is far better in terms on usability and look and feel compare to any other distro. It just need a little bit of effort to become the most perfect desktop ever.

Following are the tips that you must apply in order to make it perfect for your use
  1. Use the use GNOME version instead of KDE, I used to love KDE but KDE4 seems heavy and buggy. Many things crash randomly and also there more and more applications that support GTK+ instead of QT.

  2. Once Installed, the first thing that you need to do is the screen resolution setting. I don't know why, openSuse 11.1 installer starts in 800x600 resolution for me and I have to change the resolution after install. If its the case for you then don't worry change the resolution.

  3. NVIDIA Support: openSuse does not distribute NVIDIA driver with the installation media, but it recognise the hardware and show it in the device information. so if you know you have NVIDIA graphics card then go to the following page and you'll find the OneClick installation buttons for newest and lagacy driver.


  4. Disable Desktop Effects: As we all know that the 3D desktop effect is one of the best in Linux but it eats memory like anything. I have 4 GB memory but when I use all these effects and start other applications like the Web Server, IDE or more tabs in browser they all dont work togather. So I concluded that the Desktop Effects are good to show but not good for day to day use. Follow the steps to disable the Desktop effect

    • go to Computer->More Applications->Desktop Effects
    • Unchecked Enable Desktop Effects

    Once the desktop effect is disabled there will be another thing that you'll find weired that is Wire Frame when you minimize the window so take some more additional steps to get rid of that and reduce the memory

    • and type gconf-editor
    • Go to apps->metacity->general and check on reduced_resources
    • Go to apps->panel->global and uncheck enable_animations
    • Go to desktop->gnome->interface and check off the box for accessibility

  5. Restricted Codecs: Restricted Codecs are the proprietary codecs and that is not shipped by openSuse with the installation media. If you need these codecs then you need to go to the following page and there are two OneClick installation buttons one for KDE and another for GNOME. Depending on what desktop you are using click on that. For me its GNOME


  6. Additional Software - Must Install: Although openSuse comes with all the required softwares but still we need to install couple of more to become productive.
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader - Though openSuse provide a tool to read PDF file but its always recomended to use Adobe Acrobat Reader for PDF. To download this go to the Adobe download page
    • Gizmo - Personally I like better then Pidgin for yahoo and gtalk. Download it from http://gizmo5.com/pc/
    • Skype - For Video & Voice call. Download it from Gizmo Project Website
    • K3B - KDE CD/DVD burning tool better then Brasero
  7. Development Tools (if you are a developer):
    • NetBeans - Download it from http://www.netbeans.org/
    • Eclipse - Download it from http://www.eclipse.org/
    • rdesktop - Install it from the YAST. Its a remote desktop tool that supports MS RDP
      USAGE: rdesktop -f use ALT+TAB to switch between applications
    • JDK - Get the latest version from Sun's Download page openSuse does not have Sun's JDK in its repository
    • VMWare Server/Desktop: For developer its more important now a days to have VMWare Server/Desktop installed on his/her computer. This is not available in the repository. To download you need to go to the www.vmware.com and download the .RPM package. The isntallation of vmware software is not stright forward. I'm planning to write another detailed blog to install VMWare on the openSuse.
  8. Take care of a nonsense Bug: openSuse 11.1 has a bug that is if you quit any QT based application or KDE app in GNOME, it kills the desktop effects (if you have enabled it). To take care of that please follow the steps in the console as super user (SU).
    • zypper ar http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/X11:/XGL/openSUSE_11.1/ X11:XGL
    • zypper up -t package -r X11:XGL
    • rm -rf /home/your-username/.config/compiz
    • Launch simple-ccsm and check Enable Desktop Effects (If you want)
Well so far whatever I did to make my openSuse11.1 desktop better I've explained here, if I find any other thing in future I'll post it in the same blog. So keep Visiting ;)

Have a wonderful and happy new year to all of you.