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Artwork Overhaul a Possibility in openSUSE 13.2?

June 28th, 2014 by

As we stated in one of our earlier articles, the openSUSE team is working full steam. Even though it may sometimes seem quiet news-wise, it’s not so by any means. So, let’s look at the progress the artwork team has been making since the last time we posted about new bling-bling hitting openSUSE 13.2.

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Command Line Tuesdays – Part Two

June 24th, 2014 by

Heya geekos!

Let’s refresh our memories. Last week, we skimmed through some basic commands, learned what a shell is actually, and made a steady introduction into our CLI Tuesdays series.

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Command Line Tuesdays – Part One

June 10th, 2014 by

Here we are geekos, back in action! Sorry it’s been a while, but let me just assure you we’re back on track, raging to meet the deadlines and to, well, have some fun :)

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Command Line Tuesdays – The Introductory

May 27th, 2014 by

Hi Geekos!

Today we’re introducing a new series, called ‘Command Line Tuesdays‘. Why command line Tuesdays? Because in this series, everyday computer enthusiasts like yours truly, will try to step a little out of bounds of the Graphical User Interface (GUI) Culture, which is today synonymous to ‘making stuff easier for the masses‘.

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Gnome Classic edition of openSUSE-Education

May 22nd, 2014 by

If you have fun, the rest is easy…

Classic main menu The openSUSE-Education team is proud to announce the availability of another great release: the GNOME classic edition.

This one is nearly identical to the MATE desktop, but already includes a few minor bug fixes and some additional applications:

are added to the (already huge) list of available applications.

Quoting Jigish Gohil:

classic is so much better than standard gnome  i wonder why it is not standard

BTW: openSUSE Education releases always contain the latest official openSUSE updates and other cool stuff, so you should be able to get an up-to date live system up and running in a few seconds/minutes (depending on your hardware) – which can also be installed on your local hard disk with just a few mouse clicks. Just click on the “Live-Install” icon on the desktop.

Get Li-f-e GNOME Classic edition from here: direct Download | md5sum | Alternate download and mirrors

You want to join the team? Just ping us at #opensuse-education. We are hiring community members to help out on web work and marketing (be warned: we currently pay in honor and fun).

What Will openSUSE 13.2 Default Wallpaper Look Like?

May 22nd, 2014 by

Eppur si muove! Even though we sometimes feel there’s a sort of a standstill once first major bugs are fixed in a new release and it settles on our machine, that’s not the case by any viable metric. The openSUSE team works diligently on delivering a new release (openSUSE 13.2) ever since 13.1 was released, and among them, we find the artwork team, which is brainstorming the creation and subsequent selection of the new default wallpaper of the next openSUSE release (the awesome picture your desktop defaults to after installation).

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openSUSE Edu Li-f-e MATE available

May 19th, 2014 by

The openSUSE-Education team is proud to present a special, 64-bit edition of openSUSE Edu Li-f-e with the MATE desktop environment.

Li-f-e MATE desktop

Li-f-e MATE edition came about to support schools in Gujarat, India, they needed synfig studio: a very simple to use C and Java IDE, apart from standard fare of complete office suite and other applications. Gujarat now starts teaching open(libre)office in 9th grade, and Linux operating system all the way to shell scripting in 10th, and Java, C, HTML, Javascript etc in 11th and 12 grades. This Li-f-e edition tries to get everything they need in an integrated bundle which they can use on a stand alone PC or set up LTSP server to PXE boot their entire lab without having to modify their existing setup on the client PC side.

The MATE desktop was choosen as default desktop manager as it looks close to the pictures in their textbook, however latest GNOME desktop is also available at the login screen. MATE is well known for being a traditional desktop environment, a fork of the classic GNOME 2 session. It uses a two-panel layout and darkish theme, as well as a neat collection of educational apps, such as gElemental, Scilab, Xcos, Scinotes, Geany, Inkscape, Synfig Studio, Bluefish, Epoptes, and LTSP.

Default applications include the Pidgin multi-protocol instant messenger, Mozilla Firefox web browser, GIMP image editor, pluma text editor, VLC Media Player, as well as the entire LibreOffice office suite.

Download the operating system as a Live DVD ISO image that must be burned onto a DVD discs or written on a USB flash drive in order to boot it from the BIOS of the PC.

As with all openSUSE-Education releases, we based on the recently released openSUSE (13.1) with all the official online updates applied.

Get Li-f-e MATE from here: direct Download | md5sum | Alternate download and mirrors

Quoting Marius Nestor on softpedia.com :

openSUSE Edu Li-f-e MATE is a surprise addition to the educational edition of the award winning and widely used openSUSE Linux operating system. The MATE desktop environment will provide for a faster working environment suitable for classroom use.

Jean-Daniel Dodin a.k.a shares his experiences on how to manage a Personal Web Server with openSUSE

May 14th, 2014 by

Hello :-)

I want to share my experience in managing a personal hosted web server with openSUSE.

Two points, first.

  • I’m not a computer professional, but an openSUSE addict since 1996;
  • I will describe the use of hosted server, that is one that is not in your home, but somewhere in the cloud, but is still a hardware machine reserved to your own usage.

 

Why should I need my own server?

There are two main reasons.

  • The first is fun. It’s fun to use openSUSE Linux to manage a server. It’s fun to ba able to say to friends “I have my own web site, I can manage one for you if you want”. It’s fun to be able to setup the computer to fit your precise needs, without having to cope with shared hosting never having the good php version or refusing ssh access. It’s fun to learn how to manage such a frightening beast, it’s fun to reach a new knowledge level.
  • The second is friendliness and sharing. Nowadays, the cloud is everything. Internet is the key. Families are spread all over the world as are friends. To be able to share data, that is images, videos, comments, technical notes is essential. Managing it’s own server is the most effective way to do so.

Why a hosted server?

The first thing one try to do is manage it’s own server at home. It’s easy, most of the time any old hardware do the job -my first one was a 386 laptop with broken screen- (yes, a server do not need screen).

But one will pretty fast notice that the DSL line is not the best internet connection for this use. DSL is usually named “ADSL”, the “A” being for “Asymmetrical”. The speed of the data is approx 10,000 for downloading and only 1,000 for uploading (the real unit do not matter), that’s why it’s so difficult to send photos to a friend. So each time somebody wants to get something from your server at home, he will have to wait forever.

An other reason is cost. It’s not so cheap to have at home a computer running 7/7 and 24/24. Even is you can find a place where the noise is not a problem, power consumption is not that cheap. The simpler computer is like letting a bulb on all the time and my mother kept saying to me “please, switch off the light” :-).

I can’t know for you, but in France, where I live, hosting providers are really cheap. My own provider price list varies largely depending on the moment. Last year one could borrow a server for as low as $3 a month, just when I write it’s $8 for the smaller one. The one I use now cost me approximately $35 a month but have 4 processors, 8 threads, 2Tb Hard drive and 24Gb ram, that is much more than my desktop computer!

And for this price, I have 100Mbits symmetrical network, a fixed IP and a professional staff to maintain the hardware.

The drawback is that I have to manage the software myself entirely, but it’s exactly why I wanted a server so no complain on that :-).

Last word: When I say hosted, I don’t mean it’s you that have to provide the hardware. The hardware is property of the provider and maintained by him.

What do I need on my server?

Before doing anything in the life, one have to ask himself “why”? Same for a server. Right now I use my server to host my photo collection (more than 30,000 photos), my videos (much less in number, but very heavy in size), my personal wiki with all my technical notes and a blog. Also my personal mail server that I find to be more reliable than many professional ones. All this do not take more than 100Gb disk space, so there is a lot of free space where I can backup some data for friends or Linux groups I work with.

What is the real task?

I try to write down all what I do, let only to remember it myself! Of course it’s not very well organized, but my wiki page lists this, and I plan to discuss this with you now and in the future. Not being a professional, many things I do are not that good or not that smart. I always accept constructive criticisms and tips, and will be glad to receive them.

Partition and large disk

  • VirtualBoxHost
  • VirtualBoxGuest
  • Kimsufi-kernel-and-boot-setup-3 (old pages Kimsufi-kernel-and-boot-setup-2)
  • OpenSUSE-small-server_basics-3 (old pages OpenSUSE-small-server_basics-2 OpenSUSE-small-server_basics)
  • User creation/move/data move
  • Hostname
  • Communicating-with-the-server-3
  • Installing-ntp-2
  • MySQL-2
  • Installing-Apache
  • Installing-ftp
  • Remote-access-VNC
  • Remote-access-NX
  • Postfix-configure-2
  • Dovecot-configure-2
  • Configure Squirrel webmail (June 2011)
  • Install Piwigo
  • Archive mails in a way one can read the archives
  • Display server’s logs
  • Reinstal a Kimsufi server
  • install php scripts
  • Passphrase autentication with ssh
  • Complete backup of a server
  • EditCron

What I wont cover

As you see in this list, I use VirtualBox. This mean I use virtual server on my own server. I only begun to do so after several years of work, so I wont -yet- discuss this option here, I didn’t remove this item from the list, because I may at some point talk about it, incidentally.

The beginning: partitioning and installing

Partitioning

Installation on a hosted server is not as easy as on a local machine, because you don’t have any DVD access. The way you can access your computer depends on the provider. Mine gives the client a large choice of Linux distributions (among other systems), including openSUSE, and can deliver the server with a basic install and ssh access. One have also a rescue access (similar to openSUSE rescue access) to the server in case the machine do not boot anymore, but this is as friendly as is the rescue disk, better not have to use it too often.

Along the years, I have tested many partitioning schemes, and turn back to the simplest. Fact is on a remote server it’s difficult to manage several installations, like one do with dualboots –you don’t have access to a boot menu!

You can have one or two disks, the goal of two disks being to use raid 1 -my provider offers free change of damaged hardware- but one have to reconstruct it’s own raid. Using half the disk size as raid is pretty expensive, and simply having two disks for raid usually makes you shift to an other price list. I simply do not see any real reason to use raid on such server. After all if my personal server is out of business for some hours, nobody will notice (or nearly), We will see later than I use an other server as a backup.

So simple partitioning. On my own server I had problems with the default (provider) partitioning –yast didn’t like it- but I could reinstall the system and choose a simple configuration:

/dev/sda1 20Gb /
/dev/sda2 512Mb swap
/dev/sda3 1,8Tb /home

Notice I have a very small swap. I probably could have simply avoided to use swap (with 24Gb ram!), but I have this as default and kept it and it’s used by some application (496Kb), I don’t know why.

Actual system size is very low, so the 20Gb root size is much more than necessary, but like this the risk to have /tmp or /usr grow excessively is smaller and with 2Tb total size, why discuss?

Installation

Each provider have it’s own install interface, like any Linux distribution do, so I wont speak about it and say what is the result when, finally, you get the ssh prompt :-),

My provider provides a specific Kernel, also available as “net boot”. This is very interesting, because it’s always patched against all the problems, and, after all, you have never to change hardware on a hosted computer, and so one can reboot it’s server against net boot in case something go wrong. But the usual way is to boot normally, the hardware being provided with the kernel installed in /boot.

But, believe it or not, I was years before noticing the kernel was NOT part of default openSUSE install by the provider! It simply added manually the provider disk image. During these years I simply thought the hardware was not standard and that was the reason openSUSE couldn’t boot. I know today it’s wrong, because I had to use the standard kernel to make use of virtualization.

That said, I urge you to use the provider’s kernel if it exists, because it’s much more convenient and simplify eventual problems with the providers maintenance staff.

To get rid of the provider kernel I had to remove the /etc/grub.d/06-something-providersname config file and install the default kernel with YaST. Configure the boot system with YaST and reboot. The file in grubd is only used if it’s executable, so “chmod a-x” is enough to make it unavailable (and easily recovered if necessary).

Test and retest!

Before going to use the server in production, test it as long as necessary, two or three months not being ridiculous. Chance is you will reinstall several times during this period and it’s always better to have as few as possible work to do again. Don’t forget any critical error may need to use the recovery console or reinstall the system.

Write down the exact partition scheme. It can happen that reinstalling with the exact same partitions makes you able to recover at least the data untouched. Not sure, just a guess…

Works tricks

On my server the initial installation was extremely small, may be smaller than the minimal server install openSUSE gives. For sure, no YaST! You are lucky if you have zypper! May be you only have rpm!

So first things to install is zypper (you may have anyway some way to download rpm files, see providers help), then “zypper in yast”,

There having ncurse YaST is extremely handy, but yast2 (graphic) is much more, so it’s a good idea to install a minimum graphic system, then use “ssh -Y root@yourdomain.yourtld” to have yast2 displayed locally.

The basics

Fixed IP

With the server you must have a fixed IP. This mean you have an IP of your own. This may be the case -or not- for your home network. It means also you have to take double care of what you do, because you sign all your passage with your IP. This also mean most server in the net will trust you better exactly for the same reason, they know you.

Using certificates is an all other thing I wont discuss now.

Update

The very first thing you have to do is update your system. The first install is always from initial data and a server have to be uptodate. As soon as you have zypper, do a “zypper ref & zypper up”, Be prepared to see things shine, you get a semi-professional bandwith, at least. Mine is 100Mb symetrical, pretty pleasant.

Having an automatic update through yast is challenged. A professional server manager may not like it (always fearing an update break his system), but on your case, I beg you may be weeks before connection as root on the server and updating is important, so go for it.

Installs software

Don’t forget to install and launch sshd! Else at the first reboot you will have no mean to log in your server!

Depending of your initial install you will probably have to install a lot of things. My provider installed a very minimal system. I had to install nearly all by hand. Begin to install all the meaningful YaST modules (search for yast in software install). I had yast (mandatory!), but not yast2 (no gui) when using “ssh -X -C” to connect then yast2 is much friendlier. Notice that ssh -X seems to need a minimal X install. I use to install xfce4 (but not to run it at boot).
I didn’t write down all what I installed. A short list is probably: mc, w3m, yast2-gtk and qt, vsftpd (ftp), dovecot (mail imap/pop3), mrtg (http statistics), inn (news server), mailman (list server), spamassassin (spam fighter), apache2, ntp (time sync), tightVNC (remote admin). X and xfce may be useful some day. You even may have to install vim if you get only minimal vi.
Don’t forget to activate the necessary services in YaST, system, services (run levels).
Using patterns is friendly, but for example I ended with libreoffice and Gimp, not really necessary on a web server :-) (don’t forget eventually to remove them :-).

Firewall

Do you need a firewall is an other controversial question. Your server is alone in it’s network, not  a gateway. Unused ports are by the way closed. Open ports are managed par the application that listen. But Firewall is said to manage better than other applications things like attacks. It may also block things done by your others users (you will soon have to host friends). So may be better have a firewall.

Default openSUSE firewall is SuSEFirewall2. Most options are setup with the YaST2 module.
The main error to avoid is to launch the firewall before having setup the ssh opening – doing so you will lose the connection to the server…
Test the firewall: http://www.auditmypc.com/firewall-test.asp (but from the tested computer).
Add as allowed:
dovecot

  • smtp (postfix)
  • http (apache)
  • https
  • VNC
  • vsftp

X11 forwarding

To be able to use graphical applications is sometime mandatory. The easiest way is to allow X1 forwarding. This makes graphical apps to display right in your local console.

To allow X11 forwarding to work on modern distributions, you have to add

X11Forwarding yes
#X11UseLocalhost no
AddressFamily inet

to “/etc/ssh/sshd_config”.

then log in with “ssh -X -C [-p <port>] url

Notice: I keep the “X11UseLocalhost no” in the list (but not activated thanks to #) because it’s often given as a working solution. But I was said that the problem is an obscure IPV6 problem and that “AddressFamily inet” instruct ssh to use IPV4 and is much more secure, so better use it.

To be continued. On the next article, we will discuss how to configure the server, give it a name, communicate with it, setup mysql (in fact mariadb) and finally apache :-).


Article Contributed by Jean-Daniel Dodin

What’s up on KDE repositories

April 4th, 2014 by

Dear KDE Users,

Maybe you have heard already about it from another openSUSE mailing list, a blog post or through our openSUSE community page on Google+, but the KDE repositories have been changed since last Tuesday. Below you will find the changes that were done based on the release of KDE 4.12.4.

Why was this changes needed

Based on a small discussion in the opensuse-kde mailinglist and feedback on our survey, we concluded that the majority is in favor of creating a single repository where we track the current KDE release.

Where are my old KDE repositories

The name for this repository will be KDE:Current and will initially be build for oS 12.3 and oS 13.1.

After the release of the KDE:Current repo, the repositories KDE:Release:XY have been cleaned and removed. Initially KDE:Current will be delivered with 4.12.4 as that the KDE 4.13 release is scheduled for mid April.

Also the repository KDE:Extra and KDE:Unstable:Extra will change as that some of the building targets (KDE:Release:XY) are disappearing and be replaced with KDE:Current.

Where should I find the new KDE repositories

The KDE Repository page KDE repositories has been updated to reflect the changes. We would like to ask those that have been working on the localization of this page in other languages, to
update their pages as well.

Regards,

Raymond

Bodega, app stores and the Open Build Service

April 3rd, 2014 by

Welcome to the Bodega store!

Bodega is a project making use of the Open Build Service. Aside from that, there are many other connections between the Bodega team and openSUSE – time to find out more! We spoke with Aaron Seigo, and discussed Bodega, Appstream, zypper, ymp and the beauty of Free Software.

What is Bodega?

First off, let’s find out what Bodega is all about. Aaron explains:

Bodega is a store for digital stuff. In fancy words: it creates a catalog of metadata which represents digital assets.

The most important thing is of course the ‘digital asset’ term. That can be anything. For example, applications. Applications can be self contained – think how android does its APK files. Of course, things on Linux are often more complicated. Apache isn’t exactly a self-contained thing. And look further – perl, php, ruby, they all have their own addons like gems that need managing. Generalizing further, there are manuals. And books in general. Music, movies, pictures, you can go on.


Setting up a Bodega account

Of course, the competition has these too – look at Apple or Google.

And how about Linux…

Linux does not have a store where you can get such a wide variety of things. For a game, you can use Appstream, get it from Apper or GNOME’s software center. They all give a view on applications. Unfortunately, that is only useful for desktops and can handle things barely above the level of Angry Birds. If you want a python module as developers – these fancy tools won’t help you. Nor are they useful on servers. For those you have to rely on command line tools or even do things completely by hand. And it is all different between distributions.

Going further, where do you get documentation? For openSUSE, that’s activedoc or the forums or our support database on the wiki. Not from zypper. Music – you can get that from Magnatune and so on.

What if you can have one place where you can get a book, game, applications, isn’t that nice? That is what Bodega is.


The main screen of the store

How is Bodega different?

So, Bodega offers a digital store which can handle a wider variety of things than our current solutions. But what sets it apart from proprietary technologies like the Playstore and of course Canonical’s store solution? Aaron:

Most Linux solutions like Appstream assume their audience are users who play Angry Birds and use spreadsheets. Fair enough. Bodega takes a different approach and is far more ambitious.

Bodega has all the meta data in one place and offers ‘stores’ which are views on that data. That means you can have a software developer store, for example listing all languages and their addons separate; and a server section etc. And a separate UI for the angry-bird-and-spreadsheet crowd. All from the same bodega system, filtered by tags (not static categories!).

Talking about Appstream, Bodega can of course benefit from the metadata gathered for Appstream. And GNOME’s Software Center could be reworked to be a front-end to Bodega, adding books, music and lots of other digital data to its store. This is not meant to be a rewrite of what is there, or an isolated effort!


An application in the store

And why would you build on Bodega?

Bodega is open: everybody can quite easily add their own stores; or their own data sources; and add content and even sell it through their channels. It is not a closed system, on the contrary.

Open is a must, especially for Linux:

Take the 440.000 users of openSUSE. That would be a minimal amount of sales… The top-10 of paid apps in ubuntu makes less than a $100 per month of sales. Not really worth the effort. But if we could aggregate the sales between distributions, it would become relevant for third-party developers. Bodega as a cross-distribution is important!

And Bodega is useful for people outside of Linux. You can have your store on your own website so it is realistically possible for a independent author to sell their books in a bodega instance on their own website and never even SEE Linux. Yet the openSUSE users can get the books and benefit from the larger ecosystem…

The beauty of it is that it is all Free and Open Source Software, front and back. You can self-host all you want.

How do Bodega and OBS relate?


Preview of a wallpaper

Bodega and openSUSE have something in common: the Open Build Service. Not only is OBS used by the Bodega developers and do they run openSUSE on their servers, Bodega supports ymp files!

Bodega is well integrated with the Open Build Service. If you create an app from OBS in Bodega, you just have to take the yaml file and fill in the missing details, adding screen shots for example. Bodega will not pull the package from OBS and store it somewhere. Instead it simply uses the one-click-install and when a user clicks on the install button, it sends the one-click-install file through. It thus does not interfere with updates, but it can show users that a new version is available and let them update from Bodega if they want.

Packagers still have to add their apps to the store but we could kickstart Bodega with the apps already shipped in openSUSE, using the Appstream metadata. Non-official repos can then be added and so on. It would be quite easy to import all of the openSUSE packages. Same with the and documentation and drivers (it can show “developer: nvidia” so users know to trust it). And if there is a new revision of the documentation, Bodega can take care of that, just like it handles software updates (through zypper of course).

This is where you can come in: the team is looking for help in this area and if you are interested in making this happen, come talk to the Bodega folks! You can find them on the active mailing list or the #plasma active channel on Freenode.

Done


Famous books included!

You might be eager to find out what is there, today. Well, if you’ve seen the screenshots to the side, you know there is an app to access the store. It is build for touch screens but works just fine and you can get it in openSUSE through software.opensuse.org. Once installed, you can fire it up typing “active-addons” in a run command dialog.

Shawn Dunn (of cloverleaf fame) is putting together a more traditional desktop UI, while maintaining these packages as well. You will be able to have a conversation with him as he’s going to be at the openSUSE Conference in Dubrovnik this month where he will present a session about Bodega! He is known as SFaulken online and pretty much always hangs in the #opensuse-kde channel on Freenode where you can ask how to get things running or how to help him break stuff anytime. He’s also yelling at the world on google plus.

Bodega now contains the entire book set of Project Gutenberg (thousands of awesome, free books) as well as a number of wallpapers and applications. Aaron:

There is work to be done to include all openSUSE Software in Bodega. The store can use a little work too, but is based on QML which makes it very easy to improve. If you’re interested in helping out, let us know!

You can contact Aaron on IRC as aseigo in the #plasma active channel on Freenode, ping him on Google+ or shoot him a mail on aseigo on the KDE.org servers.