Hacking SUSE Linux Enterprise 10

Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED) 10 is a decent business desktop operating system as-is. However, it does not appropriately meet the needs of a large portion of business professionals. Additionally, a great many regular consumers have been enchanted by SLED 10’s ease of use and high degree of stability, but are disappointed with the home desktop software selection. This guide will show you how to install or

upgrade the Java Development Kit, install software from the SUSE Linux 10.1 package repositories, and enable DVD movie playback in SLED 10.

A warning

Following most of the directions in this guide will alter your operating system in ways that are not supported by Novell. This article will show you how to modify SLED 10, and force it to depart from the standard configuration. All of these hacks have been tested and are believed to do no harm to your software; there are always possibilities, though.

Installing non-distribution software

SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 doesn’t come with very many software packages, especially if your job involves software development, Web design, or desktop publishing. Fortunately, you can use packages from SUSE Linux 10.1 to fill the gaps. The procedure is as follows:

  1. Click the Computer menu in the lower left, then select More Applications. Click the System link on the left, then YaST in the right pane (you’ll probably have to scroll down a little to see it).
  2. Enter your root password and press Enter.
  3. Click the Installation Source icon in the right pane.
  4. Click the Add button, and select HTTP from the drop-down list.
  5. A dialogue for entering a new installation server should appear. In the server field, type this in:
  6. Click OK. It will be several minutes before the server is properly registered with your machine. Depending on your location, your Internet connection speed, and the traffic level of the server, it could take quite a while for this process to complete.
  7. Repeat this process for the following server address:
  8. Afterward you’ll be presented with a license agreement. Click “Yes, I Agree to the Software License” if you do agree (or if you don’t agree and don’t care, and just want to get on with adding software).
  9. Click the “Refresh On or Off” button, then click Finish.
  10. You’ll find yourself back in the main YaST screen. To install extra software, click the Software Management icon on the left, then either search or browse for the packages you want to install. Click Accept to install them.

I tested a few different packages to make sure that this process would work. There are, however, thousands of software packages in the SUSE Linux 10.1 repository, so it is possible that some programs may not work properly with SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10.

If you continue with the rest of the instructions in this guide, upon restarting your computer you will more easily be able to install new software packages through ZENworks instead of having to go into YaST.

Installing the Java Development Kit

If you’re going to be doing any Java programming on a SLED 10 machine, you need to have a JDK. Most people prefer to use the most recent version of the Sun JDK, as opposed to older editions or JDKs released by other companies or open source projects. For that reason, this guide will only cover the Sun Microsystems Java 5.0 Development Kit.

Installing the JDK 1.4.2 is quite simple. Just go to your Computer menu in the lower left, then click on Install Software on the right side of the menu. It may take a few moments for ZENworks to connect to the software servers. When it’s ready, type in “Java” in the search field, then press Enter. Select the java-1_4_2-sun-devel package, plus any other similar packages that you may need for your projects, then click the Install button and follow the on-screen directions from there.

The Java 5.0 development kit is not available through standard SLED 10 channels. If you would like to install it anyway, first remove the old 1.4.2 packages by following this process:

  1. Click the Computer menu, then select More Applications.
  2. Click the System link in the left pane of the ensuing dialogue, then click on YaST in the right-hand pane (you may have to scroll down a bit to see it).
  3. Input your root password when prompted.
  4. When YaST comes up, click the Software Management icon in the right pane. Type “sun” into the search field, then press Enter.
  5. Mark the 1.4.2 packages in the right pane for removal (click them twice; the garbage can icon should be next to each of them when they are properly marked for removal), and click the checkbox next to the 1.5.0 packages that you need. then click Accept. A window may come up to warn you that the 1.4.2 JRE is required for OpenOffice.org (this is irrelevant because you’re replacing the 1.4.2 JRE with a newer version, but YaST doesn’t know that). Select the option labeled “Ignore this requirement generally” and then click the “OK – Try Again” button.
  6. When installation is complete, you can close YaST, or install your favorite Java IDE from the Software Management area of YaST as described above.

You don’t have to restart your computer for the JDK changes to take effect, but if any programs that require the JDK or JRE are currently running, you will have to restart them.

Video playback: DVDs, Windows Media, and QuickTime

SLED 10 already has a number of multimedia codecs installed, but you won’t be able to play commercial DVD discs or Windows Media files, and you won’t be able to watch video clips through your Web browser. Be warned that following the processes in this section may violate copyright- and patent-related laws in your country. It is your responsibility to verify that this software is not illegal before you attempt the below procedure; proceed at your own risk.

First you need to install the decryption library. Here are the instructions for 32-bit SLED 10:

  1. If you’re using the 32-bit version of SLED 10, download and install the libdvdcss RPM from this address (just click the link if you’re using Firefox in SLED 10 right now): http://download.videolan.org/pub/libdvdcss/1.2.9/rpm/libdvdcss2-1.2.9-1.i386.rpm.
  2. Click OK in the Firefox file dialogue. The default option should be to install the package with ZENworks.
  3. Click Install in the ensuing ZENworks window.

If you are on the 64-bit version of SLED 10, the process is more difficult. You’ll have to install from source:

  1. Click this link to download the DeCSS code: http://download.videolan.org/pub/libdvdcss/1.2.9/libdvdcss-1.2.9.tar.gz
  2. When Firefox asks what you’d like to do with the file, select the Save To Disk option. The file isn’t very big, so it should download almost immediately. You can close the Web browser now.
  3. Open a terminal by clicking the Computer menu in the lower left, then selecting More Applications. Click the System link on the left, then Gnome Terminal in the right pane.
  4. Type this command to switch to root permissions: su
  5. It’ll ask for your root password — go ahead and type it in, then press Enter.
  6. Now you need to switch to the directory that Firefox downloaded the file to: cd Desktop
  7. Next, decompress the file you just downloaded. Type this in: gzip -d libdvdcss-1.2.9.tar.gz
  8. Then unpack it from its archive by using this command: tar xvf libdvdcss-1.2.9.tar
  9. The file will un-tar to its own directory, so you can now safely delete the tar archive: rm libdvdcss-1.2.9.tar
  10. Now you need to compile the DVD decoding library. Change to the directory first: cd libdvdcss-1.2.9
  11. And then run the configure program with this command (don’t leave out the dot and slash): ./configure
  12. When it’s done configuring, run the make command to build the files: make
  13. Finally, it’s time to install the library: make install

The remaining instructions are valid for both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of SLED. The next step is to modify ZENworks so that it uses checksums instead of signatures for repository verification:

  1. Open up a terminal window by clicking the Computer menu, then More Applications. Click the System link on the left, then the Gnome Terminal icon on the right.
  2. Switch to root permissions by typing this command: su
  3. Copy and paste in the following command: rug set-prefs security-level checksum
  4. Close the terminal — you don’t need to use it again for this article.

Next, fix the disabled Xine libraries so that they support DVD playback:

  1. Start YaST by clicking the Computer menu, then More Applications, then the System link in the left pane, and the YaST icon in the right pane (scroll down a bit to see it).
  2. Enter your root password when prompted.
  3. Click the Installation Source icon in the right pane.
  4. Click the Add button, then select HTTP from the drop-down list.
  5. In the ensuing dialogue, copy and paste this address into the server field:
  6. Click OK, then close the Installation Source window.
  7. If you wish to install the Windows Media codecs and a Firefox plugin for watching video clips, click on the Software Management icon in the main YaST window. Search for the following terms:
  8. Click Accept, then agree to install the dependent packages. You’ll probably have to have your SLED 10 installation discs available to complete this step.
  9. Continue to follow the on-screen instructions until installation is complete. Close YaST when you’re done.
  10. Right-click the ZENworks update icon in the lower right corner. It should look like a globe with two arrows going around it, or a yellow circle with a white exclamation mark in the middle. A popup menu will come up; in it, select Refresh. It will take several minutes for ZENworks to check for updates.
  11. Once ZENworks is finished looking for updates, the notification icon will turn into an orange circle with an exclamation mark in the middle. Click on it to bring up the ZENworks update tool.
  12. When all of the updates are found, they will be presented for your inspection. De-select the Kino package if it appears in the list; this update seems to have trouble in SLED 10 as of this writing. Click Install once you’ve done that.
  13. A dependency list will come up next. All it’s doing is showing you what will be removed and/or installed. Click OK to proceed.
  14. When all updates have been applied, click Close, then close the ZENworks updater. You now have the ability to play encrypted DVD movies, play Windows Media files, and watch videos on the Web.

Disabling the annoying Synaptics touchpad scroll feature

Of all of the “features” that I have ever been annoyed by, the Synaptics touchpad scroll areas is the most infuriating. If you have a Synaptics touchpad (most laptop computers do) and find that you are getting odd behavior in your Web browser, you probably need to disable the scroll feature of the Synaptics driver. This option reserves the bottom and right sides of your touchpad for scroll wheel functions. So moving up and down the right side of your touchpad will scroll up and down, and moving sideways along the bottom will act like a side scroll wheel. In a Web browser, the side scroll makes you go back and forward in your page history. Most people aren’t used to this “feature,” so it seems more like a bug — a very annoying one at that. To disable it, you need the KSynaptics package:

  1. Make sure the SUSE Linux 10.1 sources have been added as per the above instructions. If you have not restarted your computer since the beginning of this guide, it might be a good idea to do that now, so that ZENworks has a chance to enable all of the updates you applied (some of them require a restart).
  2. When you’re back at the SLED 10 desktop, click your Computer menu, then select Install Software. In the search field, type in KSynaptics and press enter.
  3. Click the checkbox next to the KSynaptics entry, then click Install.
  4. Follow any remaining on-screen instructions to install the package. When it’s complete, you can close ZENworks.
  5. Open your Computer menu, then click More Applications. You should see a Touch Pad icon near the top of the right pane in the New Applications section. Click on it.
  6. Click on the Scrolling tab at the top of the KSynaptics window. Un-check all of the checkboxes in this screen, then click Apply, then OK. The scrolling feature is now disabled.

-Jem Matzan



16 responses

21 06 2007
Cam Morris

I’m now on SLED 10 SP1, and I worried about adding open suse 10.1 packages. What do you suggest?

24 06 2007

Since you are running SLED 10, You should have a subscrition for the Updates for SLED 10 instead of 10.1. I see that you also have a @novell.com email address. Do you work for Novell?

28 06 2007
Cam Morris

Yes I’m at Novell and yes I’ve an update subscription. Before SP1 I had added the opensuse 10.1 installation source for packages not in SLED. I’m worried that SP1 will have enough changes that 10.1 packages might not work.

2 07 2007

I’ve been using 10.1 & 10.2 installation sources in SLED 10 SP1 since beta, I’ve have not seen any bugs as of yet.

7 07 2007

I really appreciate the info. This is the second time I’ve found my way to this site for info like this. I had to play around with things to get it all to work, but you got me going in the right direction. I’m running sled 10sp1 on a t60p. Hey – a thought. Why can’t we buy this stuff licensed. I made the switch to Linux on the desktop with the introduction of MS Vista and I’m not going back. But it’s been soooo painful. Every new piece of software is a long search and install mission. Me? I WANT to pay for the software. I’m paying for SLED10 because I know it’s supported and solid. It just works. I’d gladly pay for a SLED10 multimedia pack as well – and while I’m at it I’d gladly pay for a version of evolution that interacts with exchange in a stable manner. The model needs to change or Apple with its one size fits all approach is going to win the war. Thanks again.

16 09 2007

I’ve got some serious problems with sles 10 sp1. I’ve set up the repositoris, but i cant install anything for some reason. It always comes up with these dependency problems. I used the normal sled 10 before and it was perfect. I cant really understand what the problem is. I’ve tried with 10.1 and 10.2 repos as well, but none of the worked. Can someone please help me what to do now???

28 09 2007

I switched to SLED 10 SP1. All was nice except that several important packages for me were not available in the DVD install nor the official updates repository. Because it was impossible to watch DVDs or even play MP3 songs, decided to use packages available from opensuse 10.2 and from packman and others “highly” recomended. I installed xine-ui from the opensuse 10.2 repository because the version from packman was conflicting with libraries. So I went on and no dependency problems arised but only YASY requested to install two more packages for xine-ui. I installed libdvdcss and the win32 codecs, but did not seemed to work. Next day when booting, and loading KDE desktop, what a surprise: a black screen of agony was waiting for me. only the mouse pointer was active. Fortunately I could go ctrl-alt-backspace and loged with Gnome. Believe me, this SLED 10 SP1 version is crippled without DVD and MP3 playback capabilities. The only way is to do manual instals of the packages like XINE, AMAROK and others that are not available. I will get rid of this SLED 10 SP1 as soon as OpenSUSE 10.3 is available. Stay away of SLED 10 SP1.

8 10 2007

This is really interesting. After my problems with sles 10 sp1, I got rid of it and installed the normal sled 10. It worked fine, blablabla, then I’ve installed sp1 (with zen) and it still works fine. I use the 10.1 repos btw, did u tried with those as well?

22 01 2008
Ken Schwarz

Sweet! I just followed your instructions to enable media playback on a SLES10 SP1 with the SDK SP1 on my laptop. The only modification to your instructions was I had to add the following installation source:

protocol: FTP
server: ftp5.gwdg.de
directory: /pub/opensuse/repositories/network:/telephony/openSUSE_10.3

This was to handle a dependency with libgsm-devel

Much appreciated 🙂

9 02 2008

Hello, It’s work How to install VLC or Other from website : <a href=”http://www.susethailand.com” SuSEThailand.com and all documentations for SLED10 SP1 and SLES10 SP1

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