SuSE 9.3 configuration

I recently got a new computer and installed SuSE 9.3. In the process of gettings things the way I like them, I ran into a few gotchas. To help others avoid spending time on the same things I did, here are the solutions I found. I hope others can benefit from this information.

Display manager
If the video driver fails to load properly, for some reason SuSE changes the displaymanager to xdm instead of the default of kdm. To change it back, edit /etc/sysconfig/displaymanager and change DISPLAYMANAGER=”xdm” to DISPLAYMANAGER=”kdm”.

Mouse cursors
The default mouse cursors are large and ugly. To change them to something more appealing, edit /etc/sysconfig/windowmanager and change X_MOUSE_CURSOR=”crystalwhite” to another theme (like Industrial).

DNS not working correctly
If you have any DNS issues where you can run host to resolve a hostname but can’t ping it, try turning off the nameserver caching daemon

chkconfig –del nscd
rcnscd stop

Update: I found an updated nscd package (nscd-2.3.4-23.2) and am trying it out.

Spellbound Firefox extension
The Linux AMD 64-bit version of the spellbound plugin for Firefox wouldn’t work, so I installed the regular 32-bit version and it works fine.

NTP client
To get ntp working without having to change the firewall, add the -u option to ntpdate (which lets it use an unprivileged port) in the init script (/etc/init.d/xntpd)

On line 124 and 220 there is the following command: $NTPDATE_BIN -s $FORCE_STEP $NTPDATE_FROM

Right above those lines is a comment discussing the -u option and why it’s needed, but it’s never used in the file. I just added the -u option to both lines:


MP3 support

Install the multimedia packages from YOU (Yast Online Update) to get full MP3 support.

Update: I ran into two more gotchas that I’m including below.

Changing desktop background in Gnome

For some reason I couldn’t change the desktop background. I could open the dialog and choose a background, but it ignored my repeated attempts to change it. To fix it, I had to allow non-root users to read everything under /usr/share/mime. (the command ‘chmod -R o+r /usr/share/mime/’ did the trick.)

Java compilation warnings because of UTF8

Whenever I compiled Java code it gave UTF8 encoding errors. The fix was to change RC_LANG=”en_US.UTF-8″ in /etc/sysconfig/language to RC_LANG=”en_US”.

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