Feb 28 2011   7:26AM GMT

SuSE Linux at a Glance in View of Rechil Part – 1

Subhendu Sen Subhendu Sen Profile: Subhendu Sen

I am not going to do propaganda for a particular product; rather I work on various aspects of this popular Linux OS and want to share my practical observations with the good IT people of the world. Though this article written on SuSE Linux, but I think this article also can be applicable to other flavor of Linux OS.

The development of UNIX started in the 60’s. UNIX comprises two main development lines: System V and BSD. And Linux is UNIX like operating system and it is very known that the development of Linux was launched in 1991 by Linus Benedict Torvalds.

Overview of the Linux Desktop….

The base of any graphical user interface is the X Windows System, known as X or X11. In Windows flavor, it is not possible to install without its graphical user interface (GUI), but in Linux the GUI is a normal application that can choose whether or not to install. I am not going to compare, just for an instance. The X Windows System was created in 1984 at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). The base advantage is that it allows graphical applications to be displayed & operated on any monitor without running the applications on the computers to which these monitors are connected. It controls the graphical screen. XFree86 & XOrg are free implementations of this system. SuSE Linux uses XOrg as default. SLES is released with several Window Managers like Metacity and TWM / Tab Window Manager. GNOME is the standard graphical desktop for major variant of Linux and also for SuSE Linux. It is possible to use KDE desktop along with GNOME. In SuSE Linux, you can start a file browser by selecting the Username’s Home icon on the desktop or by selecting Nautilus from the main menu by clicking the label Computer.

Access Command Line Interface (CLI) From Desktop….

It may connect several terminals to the serial interface in a Linux OS. Cause more than one person often uses the same computer, and for that reason virtual terminals were created in Linux OS. By pressing Ctrl+Alt+F1….f6 you can switch between individual terminals. That means six virtual terminals can run on same computer. You can determine the terminal currently being used from the tty as tty1….tty6. Where tty stands for teletype. You can switch back to previous state by pressing Ctrl+Alt+F7. Besides using virtual terminals, may start a terminal emulation from GNOME desktop by selecting Gnome Terminal or X Terminal (xterm) from the main menu.

Administer Linux with YaST….

This is very powerful tool to configure SuSE Linux. YaST stands for Yet Another Setup Tool. This interface appears in two types: Ncurses (text mode) and QT (GUI). You can start YaST from the terminal by issuing su command, if you don’t have root permission. Just open GNOME terminal and type su and it asks for password, after getting root privilege (any kind of administrative work, you must work as root), just type yast2 (GUI interface). For text mode, type yast. It is possible to know what modules YaST has, type yast2 -l or yast2 –list. To see the list of options, type yast2 -h or yast2 –help. After making changes with YaST, it uses backend services called “SuSEConfig” (Don’t worry, I will tell later about SuSEConfig) to complete the changes in background services. Basically, I focus on main three modules Network; Software Management and Printer, which are necessary day to day work in Linux environment. (Printer module cover on Part – 2)

Network card and the network connection can access from GNOME Terminal. On desktop make right click and from pop-up menu select terminal. And type yast2 lan (remember, root privilege requires), this shows, Network Setup Method dialog box. There are two choices! User controlled with NetworkManager, which uses desktop applet to configure network (I recommend not to choose) and other is Traditional Method with ifup, select this one and it shows the NIC, click edit and choose any one either dhcp else static address setup. Of course the subnet mask must provide, because it determines in which network an IP address is located. Name server is optional, it requires when DNS must exist for the resolution of names into IP addresses & vice versa. Domain Name is the name of the domain to which the computer belongs. It helps to divide networks. A computer may address uniquely by providing its FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name). It consists of host name & name of the domain. If the network has a gateway, then provide the address under Default Gateway. It is possible to create entries in the routing table of the system after selecting Export Configuration in Routing Table. If you select Enable IP Forwarding that means, packages that are not dedicated for computer are routed. You can set few more options in General tab, but my recommendation not to reconfigure them and leave this section. After configuring, press finish to activate the network card.

Note: According to currently standard ipv4, this address consists of a sequence of four bytes separated by dots. It is also possible to configure network card through command line.

Software Management helps to install / uninstall or even repair additional software, which requires often for various purposes. You can start this module by selecting YaST > Software > Software Management or through terminal by yast2 and then select Software Management or just type yast2 sw_single (for direct access the interface). Remember, an installation DVD must insert into cd / dvd drive. When the dialog box appears, find the software you want to install under Search, if it is there, it shows in right area with a check box. Click the box to make it check and then click Accept. Now follow on-screen instructions to complete the process. You can choose from different filters listed in the drop-down list in the top left corner of the dialog box labeled Filter. The options are:

  • Patterns: It displays all software that is available on the known installation media.

  • Package Groups: It displays all software that is available on the known installation media. It is grouped by category.

  • Languages: It displays all languages related files.

  • Installation Sources: Lists all registered installation sources & displays the available packages of this source. (This topic does not end here; I’ll definitely come back on the same topic in next part).

  • Installation Summary: It displays all the packages with a marked status.

The matched packages are listed in the right area. The installation state shows by a small in front of the package name.

Tips: You can type as little as possible when invoke any module through YaST. Like for Software Management, type as yast2 sw and then press tab key. It completes the rest of te command by its own.

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