Skip this if you’re not interested in techie stuff; we’ll return to our regularly scheduled logic programming soon.
Yesterday I got some fancy new equipment: A Dell Optiplex GX620 desktop, with a stunning Dell 2405FPW 24″ screen. Then I was lucky enough to find a North American mirror which already had the brand-new SUSE Linux 10.0, released day before yesterday, and installed it. Went almost without a hitch (see below).
More specs: The thing is running on an Intel Pentium 4-640 (3.2 GHz, 2 MB L2 cache, and an 800 MHz front-side bus, and Extended Memory 64-bit Technology). That’s not anything super-fast, but plenty of computing power for me. It came loaded with 1 GB of RAM, a 160 GB harddrive, ATI Radeon 600SE video card with DVI connector, and a DVD-ROM and a DVD+/-RW drive.
To install SUSE 10.0, I downloaded the 64-bit version of the install DVD image (SUSE-10.0-EvalDVD-x86_64-GM.iso), burned it to a DVD, and started the install process. YaST recognized all the hardware without difficulty. Everything was set up in less than an hour. The only problem came when I booted for the first time, when the machine became unresponsive just after starting X. The screen goes blank like it’s making to switch from VGA to the fancy video driver, but then instead of a cursor it just stays blank and the system hangs. Seems the stock “radeon” driver for X.org doesn’t like my card or my monitor. So I installed the proprietary ATI driver.
If you’re reading this because you have the same problem and you’re wondering “How do I download the driver if I can’t even run Firefox?” then: (a) Boot in “Linux (failsafe)” mode to get a console. (b) Tell X to use the vesa driver instead of the radeon:
# sax2 -m 0=vesa
and save your new X configuration. Now you can start X (or reboot into graphical mode). (c) Then download the driver from the ATI website (fglrx64_6_8_0-8.16.20-1.x86_64.rpm). (d) Install the driver. (c) Tell sax to use it by starting it with
# sax2 -m 0=fglrx
I obviously haven’t tried it all out yet. The CompactFlash/Secure Digital/Memory Stick/SMC reader in the monitor works at least; Nautilus even automatically mounts it and asks me what I want to do with the photos from the digital camera! SUSE 10.0 comes with a bunch of new features that need exploring, such as Xen (a VM sorta like vmware, except it doesn’t do Windows, which is unfortunate, because if it did, I could finally run Language Proof and Logic software without having to reboot!) and Beagle (the Gnome version of Spotlight).