openSUSE Basic Installation Guide

This page is under construction

The official documentation for installing openSUSE is well laid out on the wiki pages. There is a lot of really good information. For someone new coming to Linux, it might be overwhelming so I am breaking the instructions down to what works very well for me.

My preferred installation method is using the USB flash drive with the install ISO on it. The full instructions are here for your reference.

openSUSE installation instructions Portal page

I am going to give my version of that and to make sure that it is clear, these are my recommendations. Not everyone will agree with these and that is fine. Adjust them too your needs as you see fit.

Download

A good place to start is to download the operating system for you system. If you have a 32 bit system, Tumbleweed is your only option. 64 Bit Machines have the option of Leap or Tumbleweed.

Download the current version of Leap ISO or Tumbleweed ISO.

I personally recommend Leap for the typical user. Tumbleweed arguably requires a little more effort by its users to ensure it is maintained properly.

Weather you choose the DVD installation or the Net install, they both work very well. I prefer the larger DVD but that is largely because I am stuck in my ways.

Writing the Image to USB Drive

Use SUSE Studio Image Writer program as outlined on this page

I would recommend you get at least an 8GB USB flash drive for this purpose, especially if you are going to use the DVD installation media.

Instructions to install the Windows version.

Instructions to install the Mac version.

Packages for Linux from the Open Build Service

The next trick is getting your computer to boot from the USB drive. This varies from system. You will have to research how to change your boot order on your computer.

Web search (using DuckDuckGo, Google or Yahoo or whatever engine you like best) your computer’s make, model name or number and “boot from USB”. You should hopefully find what information you need from that.

Decision Point

Now would be a good time to decide if you are going to jump with both feet into the Linux world or if you are going to have a dual boot system into Windows or Mac. That will also change things. A good article to read on newer systems with UEFI booting (Windows), check this article out.

openSUSE does support UEFI secure boot, so disabling this is not necessary.

My recommendation is to give Linux a whirl on a machine that is not your primary system and always back up your data first. Often you might have a second laptop that is a few years old. Use that one.

Install

The install tool for openSUSE is pretty straight forward. For the most part, defaults are perfectly fine but I do like to tweak them, ever so slightly, for my use cases.

You have 3 Basic options from the boot loader. By default, if you do nothing it is just going to boot from the Hard Disk. For the purposes of this explanation, Installation is the recommended option.

openSUSE Leap Install-01-Bootloader

The installation process takes a bit to spin up. While the green bars are growing along the bottom of the screen, you can press the ESC key you can watch what is going on in the background.

You are given a few options for installation. For the purpose of this instruction, I am going to outline the process to set up openSUSE for the desktop. If you are interested in a desktop that is not KDE Plasma or Gnome, select Custom.

Optionally, you can select the online repositories to have them update and pull the latest software with the installation. Should you select to use the online repositories, the installer will update the lists and you will proceed to the Suggested Partitioning. Depending on your preferences, this setup might be just fine for you.

Suggested Paritioning

  • EFI or GPT partition for booting
  • Swap partition of approximately the size of your available RAM. This will allow for you to hibernate your system
  • Root file system of BTRFS with system snapshots activated. Snapshots do take up more space. This can be tuned to reduce the number of historical snapshots if you wish.
  • Home partition of the remaining space

I prefer a slightly larger swap space (sized to be at least the same amount as available RAM memory) but everything else is just fine.

Manual Partitioning

For this particular Virtual Machine, I let the system dictate its suggested partition scheme. I am mostly accepting of it and generally for most purposes, this would be fine but since I can’t leave well enough alone, I have to tweak it.

openSUSE Leap Install-08-Suggest Partitioning

If your machine is UEFI enabled, make sure you have a partition /boot/efi along with / (root), /home and swap.

Typically, the defaults will be fine.

Potential hardware issues

  • Wireless card – It may or may not support Linux out of the box
  • Graphics card – Immediately after installation, the graphics card may or may not be optimized for your system. Some newer machines may need a little massaging to get working 100%

Once the installation is complete, you can now enjoy openSUSE Linux.

My cautionary advice

If you are looking to try out openSUSE Linux (or ANY Linux version for that matter) out for the first time is to install it on a secondary machine. Just in case you screw something up, you don’t want to lose your data our be out of commission on your primary computer should you have an unfortunate happenstance. You may not have the best Linux experience but it will much preferred to messing something up on your primary machine and going to the neighborhood computer shop to bail you out.

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