Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Things to do after moving to openSUSE 12.1 (Asparagus)

Things to do after installing / moving to openSUSE 12.1 (Asparagus)
 There are some little things that I did to suit my tastes as well as improve my desktop experience on openSUSE 12.1 This post captures some of those tweaks and customisations that i performed on my desktop.I don't recommend that all the users do this as the desktop distribution is by itself is pretty awesome and amazing .openSUSE12.1 (Asparagus) is  pretty much GNOME 3.2.1 with Kernel 3.1.0 with a dash of YaST / zypper and of course openSUSE branding on some of the software.

  Now its time to bring out the handyman's soul that is in deep slumber within you.Now lets get on with hacking the default installation.The pre-requisites for doing this are getting your own toolbox complete with hand drillers , pliers , wrenches and spanners,ouch sorry,all you need is a big heart before attempting something new.Beware,Some thing might go horribly wrong when you tussle with your system and rub it the wrong way.

Step 1:-
 First step is to improve the desktops multimedia experience.This is required because by default openSUSE doesn't ship codecs for any of the restricted multimedia formats like mp3.To read more about this go here.
There is a famous "one-click" installation for this here . The recommended on-click for gnome desktop is named "Codecs pack for GNOME".That is it, click on the on-click installer and be ready with the trusted mouse and click on "Agree / I trust" buttons the appears endlessly.After the YaST installation exits press "Alt+F2" an key in "r",this will refresh/restart your desktop.

Step 2:-
 Enable nautilus preview or folder/file manger preview so that it will be easier for you to maintain your mp3 collection or preview text files/pdfs files without opening them.I made a detailed post about this here.Don't forget to comeback to this post after viewing it :-)

Step 3:-
==>Restore / Add window minimize and maximize buttons in all windows in GNOME 3 to regain the old touch.Old habits die hard
==>Enable Icons on Menus And Buttons
==>"Use Nautilus As Desktop Manager" brings back the all familiar gnome 2.x desktop back .
 All of this can be done by using the  "gnome-tweak-tool" which is part of the default openSUSE 12.1 distribution.The tool can be launched through quick launch  window which can be accessed through "Alt+F2" and then keying in "gnome-tweak-tool".It is available as "Advanced Settings" in Applications menu .The below screenshots demonstrate the  options that need to chosen.
You may need to restart your  desktop by typing in "r" and hitting return key
 in quick launch window "Press Alt+F2 to open quick launch window"
Restore Maximize and minimize in all windows
 Enable Icons For Menus and Buttons
 Use Nautilus As Desktop manager
Yeah!!! The icons on my Desktop are back . . .

Step 4:-
==>Add and remove items from the favourites menu and rearranging the favourites menu/bar available on the left hand side of the screen under "Activities menu"  of the Top panel.A detailed post is available here
==>To add new launchers to "Applications menu" you may use a tool called
"alacarte" . You can launch "alacarte" through quick launch window "press Alt+F2".
==>Add items to system start-up list.The start up configuration can be accessed through Quick launch window " Type Alt+F2" and then typing in "gnome-session-properties". A detailed post for adding an application to start up menu is available here under sub heading "How to Start Artha along with your OS?". Many other applications like "Tomboy" can e added t the start up list similarly

Step 5:-
We may need to set tracker/indexing engine preferences by keying in "tracker-preferences" and hitting return key in quick launch window "Alt+F2"
One can set options like perform indexing only when computer is not busy and stop indexing when disk space is low etc:This is an important step as this will improve your system's performance.

Step 6:-
Install the various shell extensions and then enable them through "gnome-tweak-tool" or "Advanced Settings" . If the the shell extensions don't appear on the tweak tool then you need refresh the desktop as described above in this post.The recommended extensions are :-
  • gnome-shell-extension-alt-status-menu<==Enables shutdown button in drop down on top left hand side of the screen.
  • gnome-shell-extension-apps-menu <==Adds a gnome2.x style application drop down menu
  • gnome-shell-extension-places-menu<==Creates a "places" drop down menu from the top panel with all the bookmarked folders in nautilus
  • gnome-shell-extension-noa11y <== Removes / hides Universal Access Settings menu from the gnome 3.x top panel of the desktop
  • gnome-shell-extension-weather <== Weather forecast GNOME Shell Extension==>Installation Instructions here
All the shell extensions are available in Main Repository(OSS). Only  noally needs to be installed from a non standard repo.You can get "gnome-shell-extension-noa11y" here and install it through "1-click" installation or disable universal access settings manually.You can refer to this post for more information regarding manual removal of universal  settings menu



Enable Extensions through "gnome-tweak-tool'

Step 7:-
==>Install Acrobat Reader "acroread" which has a better interface than default pdf reader,evince
==>Replace gimp with pinta if your image manipulation needs are less.Though pinta may have less features than gimp it starts up really quick compared to gimp an also it is pretty light weight application( doesn't hog much memory).Pinta as icon edior
==>Install "Bleachbit". Bleachbit effectively clears all the temporary files from your system.Works like a charm.
==>Install gkrellm.gkrellm is uber cool monitoring tool for Linux.I find it particularly useful in monitoring my internet usage statistics.
==>Install sun java / jre on openSUSE 12.1.To do that go this post
==>Get latest version of opera which happens to be Opera 11.60b1.If you have not tried out opera yet then you are missing something in life.
Install Opera Zypper way
==>Open the terminal
==>Navigate to the directory of the downloaded opera rpms using cd <space><dirname>
==> Execute the command :- "sudo zypper in opera-11.60-1147.i386.rpm"
Note:- You may need to enter admin passcode when prompted
If you need a GUI / YaST way of installation then look here under Installation ==> YaST/GUI way
Note:-opera gtk package is not yet available in the standard 12.1 repos and hence downloading the rpm from opera site.
==>Install Artha which is a off-line dictionary / thesaurus.Checkout Artha here
 Gkrellm-Main Window
Gkrellm-Usage Stats


  1. I've been reading your cool post mate! I'm quite new at Linux and only tried openSuSE with GNOME 3 and I found it AWESOME so I'll try this tips once I can get it work on my own lap, it crashes when it is about to finish loading the Kernel *sigh*

  2. Hi Howard. Thanks. You can read all the GNOME Shell related posts using below link

    Can you check whether you can boot using safe mode ?

    Can your try out the live ISO from this page ?

    You can visit the official openSUSE forums and posts your technical queries there. There are some hardcore enthusiasts who can helf you fix your system.



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