Giving OpenSUSE 11.1 An Honest Chance

I've decided that if I ever want to really understand Linux, I'll have to give as many distributions as possible a chance. In the past, I've tried to use OpenSUSE on my HP Pavilion dv8000 laptop, but it never seemed quite as robust or useful as many other distributions that I've tried on the same machine.

With the recent release of OpenSUSE 11.1, I downloaded the final 32-bit DVD ISO as I normally do for newly released distributions (even if I don't plan on using them--it's an addiction). I proceeded to install the GNOME version of it in a virtual machine to see what all the hubbub was about. Evaluating an operating system within a virtual machine is not the most effective way to do things, but everything seemed fairly solid. As such, and since I have always had difficulties keeping any RPM-based distro around for any length of time, I plan on using OpenSUSE 11.1 through March 2008 (perhaps longer if it grows on me). If it hoses my system, I will go back to something better. If it works, I will learn to use and appreciate it better.

The Installation

The first step when the installation program starts is to choose what language to use, after which you choose the type of installation you're going to be doing. Your choices are:

  • New Installation
  • Update
  • Repair Installed System

You also have the option of installing "Add-On Products" from another media. At this step, I chose to do a new installation.

Next, you get to choose your time zone. The interface is very intuitive. You get a map of the world, and you click on the region you want to zoom in on. Once you're zoomed in, you can select a city that is near you to specify your time zone. Alternatively, you can choose your region and time zone from a couple of drop down lists.

After setting your time zone, you get to choose which desktop environment you want to install. Your choices are:

  • GNOME 2.24.1
  • KDE 4.1.3
  • KDE 3.5.10
  • XFCE 4.4
  • Minimal X Window
  • Minimal Server Selection (Text Mode)

I will choose to install GNOME because it seems to be the desktop of the future, especially with the hideous beast that KDE has become in the 4.x series...

Now you get to play with the partitioning. Usually the installer's first guess is pretty good, but I've got a different arrangement for my partitions, so I'm going to customize things a bit.

The next step is to create a regular, unprivileged user account for your day-to-day computing needs. This screen is pretty self-explanatory if you've ever registered for an e-mail address or installed any other operating system.

One thing that seems to have been added to OpenSUSE 11.1 is the option to use your regular user password as the root password. This is probably a nice addition for a lot of people, but I'd rather feel like my computer is a little more secure by having a different password for administrative tasks.

You're also give a few other options, such as being able to receive system mail, logging in automatically, and modifying your authentication settings. Other than the administrative password option, I left everything the same. If you're like me, and choose to have a different administrative password, you will be prompted to enter the new password at the next step.

Finally, you're shown a summary of the installation tasks that will take place. I'm going to customize my software selection just a bit so I don't have to do it manually after the installation is complete. For example, while I do like GNOME to a degree, I prefer to use KDE 3.5.x, so I will choose to install that environment as well just in case I need the comfort of KDE programs. Also, since I like to use the command line interface for a lot of things, I will choose to install the "Console Tools" package, just because it sounds useful. Lastly, I will choose to install a few development packages, such as C/C++, Java, Python, and Tcl/Tk. These changes bumped up my installation size from about 2.8GB to just over 4GB.

After reviewing the remaining tasks, all you need to do is hit the "Install" button. You will be prompted to verify your desire to install OpenSUSE, after which the package installation will begin. While the installation is taking place, you have the option of watching a brain-washing slideshow, viewing the installation details as it progresses, or reading the release notes.

The actual installation took nearly 40 minutes on my laptop. While this isn't necessarily a great improvement over past releases, I'm sure the story would have been much different had I not customized the software I wanted to have installed. The introduction of installation images a few releases ago drastically improved installation times. If you don't customize your package selection, you'll probably notice the speed difference.

When all of the packages have been installed, the installation program begins to configure your newly installed OpenSUSE for your computer, with a "reboot" in between. This is when all of your hardware, such as your network adapters, graphics adapter, sound card, printers, etc are probed and configured. Strangely enough, this step seems to take a lot longer than it does in Windows, which is usually not the case with Linux. What is OpenSUSE up to I wonder?

When all is said and done, the installation program finishes on its own and loads up your desktop.


There are a couple things that really annoyed me right off the bat about OpenSUSE 11.1. The first was that the loading screen and installation program didn't use my laptop's native resolution. My screen is capable of 1680x1050. The installation program chopped off about 1.25 inches of screen real estate on either side of the program. I don't know if this was an intentional occurrence or not. It seems like the artwork in the installation may have been limited to a non-widescreen resolution. If so, that's completely retarded. I'd like to think that more computer users these days have a widescreen monitor than not, at least the ones who would be playing with Linux.

The second annoyance was that the installation program wouldn't use my external USB DVD drive, which I like to think more reliable than my internal DVD drive. I mean, everything would start up fine--I got the boot menu, the installation program loaded fine, and things seemed like they would work. That's up until the package repositories (the DVD) were being built. Then the USB drive just kept spinning and spinning. Once I popped the disc into my internal drive the program proceeded as expected.

Your Desktop

I thought it was interesting that I chose to install GNOME, but since I chose to install KDE 3.5.10 alongside it that's what it booted me into after the installation was completed. No real complaints, though, since I prefer KDE anyway. Nonetheless, I switched back to GNOME to stretch my limits all the more. At least the desktop took up the full resolution that my screen can handle, unlike the installation program and boot screen.

Things seem fairly responsive... nothing like Slackware though. I just received a little popup notification with an excuse for the lag I might be experiencing: the daily indexing has commenced and should be finished soon. Whatever it's up to, it's taking up a consistent 100% of my CPU. How nice. I hope whatever it's indexing ends up being useful.

Sound worked right from the get-go, which is nice. Hardware acceleration for my Radeon Xpress 200M doesn't work, nor does my Broadcom wireless card. These will be fixed soon.

The Wireless

It looks like the most important step in getting my wireless to work was executing these commands as root:

modprobe b43

I did a lot of stuff to try to get my wireless to work before I executed those commands, but nothing did the trick until I tried them. Also, to make the wireless available each time you reboot without requiring the modprobe b43 command, you need to edit your sysconfig.

To do that, open up YaST and find the "/etc/sysconfig Editor" option. Expand the "System" node, and navigate to Kernel > MODULES_LOADED_ON_BOOT. Then put b43 in the value box. Apply the changes. The next time you reboot your computer, the wireless should be available from the get-go.

The Video Card

This section only really applies to folks with ATI graphics adapters.

I found a tutorial on, strangely enough, which described the process for getting ATI drivers to work on OpenSUSE 11.1. The first step is to download the official ATI drivers for Linux. Each of these commands should be executed as root:


Next, you need to download the kernel source and ensure that you have a few other utilities required for compiling a kernel module:

zypper in kernel-source gcc make patch

Now you should be able to run through the ATI driver installation utility, accepting all of the defaults:


If you're on 64-bit OpenSUSE, you need to take an extra step to make the driver available:

rm /usr/lib/dri/ && ln -s /usr/lib64/dri/ \

Backup your existing xorg.conf configuration file and configure Xorg to use the new driver:

cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.orig
aticonfig --initial -f

Finally, configure Sax2 with the ATI driver:

sax2 -r -m 0=fglrx

Upon rebooting your computer, you should be able to use the hardware-accelerated 3D capabilities of your ATI card. To verify that things are up and running, execute fglrxinfo as a normal user. This command renders the following output on my system:

display: :0.0  screen: 0
OpenGL vendor string: ATI Technologies Inc.
OpenGL renderer string: ATI Radeon Xpress Series
OpenGL version string: 2.1.8304 Release

Other Thoughts

After having played with OpenSUSE 11.1 for a couple hours, I think I might be able to keep it around for a little while. Despite the lack of speed exhibited by other Linux distributions, the "stability" that OpenSUSE seems to offer is attractive to me. It will likely take some time to get used to RPMs over DEBs for package management.

How bad can it be? I mean, it comes with OpenOffice 3.0.0, which is nice. It can handle dual-head mode on my laptop thanks to Xinerama, which no other distro to date has been able to do. This gives me a little more screen real estate to work with, which helps out a lot when I'm developing a Web site or working in an IDE. The package managers are slow, but how often do you really install software anyway?

Again, we'll just have to see how things pan out. Let's hope it turns out to be a positive experience.

Installing Slackware 12.2 On Your EeePC (701 4G, in my case)

Welcome to my second article about installing Slackware on an Asus EeePC. This is a follow-up article to the one I posted in May 2008 soon after Slackware 12.1 was released. In this article, I will assume that you're doing a fresh installation of Slackware 12.2 and that you have access to an external USB CD/DVD ROM drive.

In all honesty, the installation process is extremely similar to what I did with 12.1. However, looking back at my previous article, I realize that my steps may not have been the most useful in the world. This time around I will try to be more helpful.

Getting Slackware

The first, and most obvious step, is to get a copy of Slackware. Simply head on over to and retrieve the appropriate ISO(s) using whichever method you prefer. I downloaded the DVD version of Slackware. If you download the CD ISOs, you really only need the first 3 ISOs. The remaining 3 are source packages for the binary packages you install from the first three discs. Rarely do you need the source code for these packages.

After retrieving the Slackware ISO(s), you must burn them to a disc of some sort: ISOs that are ~650MB should be burned to CDs and anything larger should (obviously) be burned to a DVD. Be sure you burn each ISO using the "burn disc image" functionality in your disc writing software--simply burning the ISO file onto the disc in a regular data session will not do what we need.

Booting The Install Disc

After you have a good copy of the installation disc (the DVD or the first of the CDs), put the disc into your CD/DVD ROM drive and reboot your computer. To ensure that your computer boots from the disc rather than the hard drive, hit F2 when you see the initial boot screen. Then go to the "Boot" tab and verify that your external CD/DVD drive takes precedence over the internal SSD. While we're in the BIOS, let's hop over to the "Advanced" tab and set "OS Installation" to "Start". This will increase the chances that your external drive will be recognized or something.... mine didn't work until I made that change. When you're all done with that, exit your BIOS, saving your changes.

The computer will reboot, and it should access your installation disc immediately after the initial boot screen disappears. Once you boot from the installation disc, you should be presented with a screen which allows you to pass some settings to the installation kernel.

The installation boot screen

To make the installation go faster, use the following boot string:

hugesmp.s hdc=noprobe

This makes it so the installation will see the internal SSD as /dev/sda instead of /dev/hdc, which also boosts the read/write times by about 13 times.

During the boot process you will be asked to specify your keyboard map. Unless you want something special here, just hit the enter key to proceed.

Partition Your SSD

Next you will need to login as root and partition your SSD. You can do this using one of the following two commands:

fdisk /dev/sda
cfdisk /dev/sda

Here are some steps in case you're not familiar with these utilities:

  1. Remove all partitions (unless you know what you're doing)
    1. fdisk: d to delete (you may have to select multiple partitions to delete if you have more than one for some reason)
    2. cfdisk: Select all partitions individually with up/down arrow keys and use the left/right arrow keys to select delete from the menu at the bottom. Hit enter to run the delete command when it's highlighted.
  2. Create one partition that takes the whole SSD (again, unless you know what you're doing)
    1. fdisk: n (for new); enter; p (for primary); enter; 1 (for the first primary partition); enter; enter (to start at the beginning of the drive); enter (to select the end of the drive)
    2. cfdisk: Select the new command with the left/right arrow keys and hit enter when it's selected. Make it a primary partition, and have it take the whole SSD (3997.49MB in my case).
  3. Set the type of the new partition to be Linux
    1. fdisk: t (for type); enter; 83 (for Linux); enter
    2. cfdisk: Use the left/right arrow keys to select the type command at the bottom and hit enter when it's selected. Choose 83.
  4. Set the new partition (or the first, if you decided to make more than one) to be bootable
    1. fdisk: a (for bootable); enter; 1 (for primary partition 1); enter
    2. cfdisk: Select the bootable command from the bottom using the left/right arrow keys. Hit enter when it's selected.
  5. Write the changes to the partition table and quit
    1. fdisk: w
    2. cfdisk: Use the left/right arrow keys to select the write command from the bottom. Hit enter when it's selected. Type 'yes' to verify your intent, acknowledging that your previous data will be "gone". Then select the quit command.

Installing Slackware

As soon as your partitioning has finished, go ahead and run setup to begin the actual installation program.

The first screen of the installation program

Since we don't have a swap partition, can jump straight to the TARGET option. Use the arrow keys to highlight this option and hit enter. Select /dev/sda1 from the list, and format it with ext2. On the EeePC, most people prefer this format since it is a non-journaling filesystem. That means fewer writes to the SSD, which supposedly translates to a longer lifetime.

After the SSD is formatted, you will be asked to select the installation source. Again, I'm assuming that you want to use your fresh Slackware 12.2 disc, but you are free to choose what you want if you know what you're doing.

Selecting the installation source

I went with the default "Install from a Slackware CD or DVD" and told it to auto scan for my disc drive. It was found at /dev/sr0.

Choosing Your Packages

Next, you are given the opportunity to tweak the package series which will be installed on your EeePC. I chose the following series: A, AP, K, L, N, TCL, X, and XAP. I planned on using XFCE instead of KDE on my EeePC simply because it is much more light-weight and still capable of what I need. If you want KDE, be sure to check the appropriate series.

Selecting the packages to install

Once you mark each of the package series you wish to install, hit the "OK" button. You'll then have to choose which prompting mode to use. I chose menu, simply to be a little more picky about which packages I wanted installed. Installation took approximately 28 minutes with my package selection and setup.

Configuring Your System

When all of the packages are done being installed, you will be presented with some other screens to finish up the installation process.

  1. Choose whether or not you want to make a bootable USB... I skipped it.
  2. Choose how you wish to install LILO. I chose simple.
  3. Choose your frame buffer mode for the console. I chose 640x480x256.
  4. Specify any optional kernel parameters. Ensure that the hdc=noprobe from earlier is here to speed up your system considerably.
  5. Specify whether you wish to use UTF-8 on the console. I chose no.
  6. Specify where to install LILO. I chose MBR.
  7. Specify your mouse type. I chose imps2.
  8. Specify whether or not you wish to have gpm run at boot, which allows you to use your mouse in the console. I chose yes.
  9. Configure your network.
  10. Give your EeePC a hostname. This can be whatever you'd like.
  11. Specify the domain for your network. This can be whatever you'd like as well.
  12. Configure your IP address information. I just chose DHCP.
  13. Set the DHCP hostname. I left this blank.
  14. Review and confirm your network settings.
  15. Choose which services you wish to have running immediately after booting.
  16. See if you want to try custom screen fonts. I usually don't bother.
  17. Specify whether your hardware clock is set to local time or UTC.
  18. Choose your timezone.
  19. Select your preferred window manager. I chose XFCE.
  20. Set the root password.

At this point Slackware has been installed on your EeePC and you can exit the setup menu and hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete to reboot your computer.

First Boot

You should now go back into your BIOS and set "OS Installation" back to "Finished", exit and save changes, and reboot again.

Slackware's default LILO boot screen

You should then see the Slackware boot screen. By default, it has a 2-minute timeout, which seems absolutely absurd to me, so we'll change that later. Just hit enter for now and watch your new Slackware boot. The first boot will usually take a bit longer than subsequent reboots because all sorts of things need to generate their first configuration file.

When your system is ready, you'll be presented with a login prompt. Just login as root, using the password you specified in the last step of the installation process.

Tweaking Your Slackware

Here are some of the first things I do when I install a new copy of Slackware:

Add An Unprivileged User

This step is very important, because one thing that sets Linux apart from other operating systems is security ;). If you run your Linux system as root all the time, you're begging for problems.

To create a new unprivileged user, I use the adduser command. It walks you through the process of creating a user. This is the user you should use to do your day-to-day computing. Only use the root user when performing system administration tasks. Trust me :)

Tell X Windows to Start Automatically

I have no problem with the command line interface in Linux. I actually enjoy it quite a bit. However, on a device such as the EeePC, not having a GUI just doesn't seem all that practical. It's also not very impressive to your potential converts when they look over your shoulder and see that your tiny gadget just displays a black and white screen when you turn it on...

So, to help ourselves be a little more productive and to impress our followers, let's tell X Windows to start up automatically when we turn on the computer. To do that, we want to edit /etc/inittab and change the following line:


to be:


You can use whatever program you feel comfortable with, such as vi or nano. The next time you reboot your computer, you should see a GUI as soon as all of the services are fully loaded.

Along with this step, I suppose we can mention the configuration of X Windows. I usually run xorgsetup as root to get things up and running. Usually there is also a bit of tweaking to get things like the scroll wheel on the mouse to function. This part in particular took quite some time for me to figure out.

Enable The Scroll Wheel on the Trackpad

Some of you might be able to live without being able to scroll a page or whatever without using the scroll feature on most mouse devices these days, but I'm not one of them. Here is my entire /etc/X11/xorg.conf file:

Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier     " Configured"
    Screen      0  "Screen0" 0 0
    InputDevice    "Mouse0" "CorePointer"
    InputDevice    "SynapticMouse" "AlwaysCore"
    InputDevice    "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"

Section "Files"
    RgbPath      "/usr/share/X11/rgb"
    ModulePath   "/usr/lib/xorg/modules"
    FontPath     "/usr/share/fonts/TTF"
    FontPath     "/usr/share/fonts/OTF"
    FontPath     "/usr/share/fonts/Type1"
    FontPath     "/usr/share/fonts/misc"
    FontPath     "/usr/share/fonts/75dpi/:unscaled"

Section "Module"
    Load  "xtrap"
    Load  "GLcore"
    Load  "record"
    Load  "dri"
    Load  "dbe"
    Load  "extmod"
    Load  "glx"
    Load  "freetype"
    Load  "type1"
    Load  "synaptics"

Section "InputDevice"
    Identifier  "Keyboard0"
    Driver      "kbd"
    Option       "XkbModel"  "pc104"
    Option       "XkbLayout"  "us"

Section "InputDevice"
    Identifier  "Mouse0"
    Driver "mouse"
    Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
    Option "Protocol" "IMPS/2"
    Option "Buttons" "5"
    Option "zAxisMapping" "4 5"
    Option "SHMConfig" "on"

Section "InputDevice"
    Identifier "SynapticMouse"
    Driver "synaptics"
    Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
    Option "Protocol" "auto-dev"
    Option "SHMConfig" "on"

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier   "Monitor0"
    VendorName   "Monitor Vendor"
    ModelName    "Monitor Model"

Section "Device"
        ### Available Driver options are:-
        ### Values: <i>: integer, <f>: float, <bool>: "True"/"False",
        ### <string>: "String", <freq>: "<f> Hz/kHz/MHz"
        ### [arg]: arg optional
        #Option     "NoAccel"               # [<bool>]
        #Option     "SWcursor"              # [<bool>]
        #Option     "ColorKey"              # <i>
        #Option     "CacheLines"            # <i>
        #Option     "Dac6Bit"               # [<bool>]
        #Option     "DRI"                   # [<bool>]
        #Option     "NoDDC"                 # [<bool>]
        #Option     "ShowCache"             # [<bool>]
        #Option     "XvMCSurfaces"          # <i>
        #Option     "PageFlip"              # [<bool>]
    Identifier  "Card0"
    Driver      "intel"
    VendorName  "Intel Corporation"
    BoardName   "Mobile 915GM/GMS/910GML Express Graphics Controller"
    BusID       "PCI:0:2:0"

Section "Screen"
    Identifier "Screen0"
    Device     "Card0"
    Monitor    "Monitor0"
    DefaultDepth 24
    SubSection "Display"
        Viewport   0 0
        Depth     1
    SubSection "Display"
        Viewport   0 0
        Depth     4
    SubSection "Display"
        Viewport   0 0
        Depth     8
    SubSection "Display"
        Viewport   0 0
        Depth     15
    SubSection "Display"
        Viewport   0 0
        Depth     16
    SubSection "Display"
        Viewport   0 0
        Depth     24

A lot of that stuff might not be necessary, but it's what works for me. Normally the process for enabling the scroll wheel is pretty easy, but something seems to have changed in this respect with the release of Slackware 12.2. I had to edit the /etc/modprobe.d/psmouse script to make this line:

options psmouse proto=imps

look like:

options psmouse proto=any

After making that change, things seemed to work a lot better.

Make LILO to Boot Faster

There are a couple tricks we can use to make LILO boot our EeePC slightly faster. The first is to add the compact option somewhere, and the second is to decrease the menu timeout.

Open up /etc/lilo.conf with a text editor of your choosing as root. Add a single line with the word compact somewhere. I put it under the line that says boot = /dev/sda so the top of lilo.conf looks like this:

# LILO configuration file
# generated by 'liloconfig'
# Start LILO global section
# Append any additional kernel parameters:
append="hdc=noprobe vt.default_utf8=8"
boot = /dev/sda

I also changed the line that said timeout = 1200 to be timeout = 50 to make LILO only hang around for 5 seconds instead of 2 minutes.

After making these changes, we must reinstall LILO to the MBR with the new settings:

lilo -v

Here's my /etc/lilo.conf with most of the commented lines removed:

# LILO configuration file
# generated by 'liloconfig'
# Start LILO global section
# Append any additional kernel parameters:
append="hdc=noprobe vt.default_utf8=0"
boot = /dev/sda

# Boot BMP Image.
# Bitmap in BMP format: 640x480x8
bitmap = /boot/slack.bmp
bmp-colors = 255,0,255,0,255,0
bmp-table = 60,6,1,16
bmp-timer = 65,27,0,255

timeout = 50
vga = normal
# End LILO global section
# Linux bootable partition config begins
image = /boot/vmlinuz
root = /dev/sda1
label = Linux
# Linux bootable partition config ends

Network Tweaking

While the wireless adapter seemed to work great for me out of the box this time, the ethernet adapter is still not functional. I compiled and installed the atl2 driver to solve the problem. You can get it from Here are the steps I took to install it:

tar jxf atl2-2.0.4.tar.bz2
cd atl2-2.0.4
cp atl2.ko /lib/modules/`uname -r`/kernel/drivers/net/
depmod -a
modprobe atl2

The next tweak I added for networking was to boost boot times... The DHCP address request hangs the entire boot process out of the box if you don't have an ethernet cable plugged in while booting. To remedy this problem, add the following line to the first section of your /etc/rc.d/rc.inet1.conf:


This will tell your computer to continue booting if an IP address hasn't been assigned after 5 seconds of waiting.

Enable Frequency Scaling

We all like out battery to last a long time, right? Well, the EeePC 701 doesn't have the greatest battery in the world, but we can help increase the battery life by enabling the CPU frequency modules. I put this stuff in my /etc/rc.d/rc.local script:

# /etc/rc.d/rc.local:  Local system initialization script.
# Put any local startup commands in here.  Also, if you have
# anything that needs to be run at shutdown time you can
# make an /etc/rc.d/rc.local_shutdown script and put those
# commands in there.

modprobe p4-clockmod
modprobe cpufreq_ondemand
modprobe cpufreq_conservative
modprobe cpufreq_powersave
modprobe cpufreq_performance

cpufreq-set -g ondemand -d 450Mhz -u 900Mhz

Add Your SD Card to /etc/fstab

I have an SD card that I leave in my EeePC all the time, and it's formatted with ext2 just like the internal SSD. Without this tweak, I have to mount the SD card each time I turn on the computer, which gets bothersome. My fix is to add the SD card to /etc/fstab, which takes care of mounting the device at boot.

First, you should make a directory that will be used to mount the device. I made one as such:

mkdir /mnt/sd

Now you need to determine your SD card's UUID. I started out by unmounting my SD card and taking it out of the slot. Then I executed this command:

ls /dev/disk/by-uuid

Next, I popped the SD card back in and executed that command again. The UUID that appears the second time but not the first time is your SD card's UUID.

It's time to add the magic line to your /etc/fstab. Add a line such as:

UUID=[your SD card's UUID] /mnt/sd ext2 defaults,noatime 1 1

somewhere in the file. While we're digging around in /etc/fstab, we might as well add the noatime option to the internal SSD to help reduce disk writes. Save the file and exit the editor. Then mount everything (using mount -a) or just the SD card (using mount /mnt/sd).

For posterity's sake, here's my entire /etc/fstab file:

/dev/sda1        /                ext2        defaults,noatime         1   1
UUID=30293ff4-5bee-457a-8528-ec296f099e9a /mnt/sd ext2 defaults,noatime 1 1
#/dev/cdrom      /mnt/cdrom       auto        noauto,owner,ro  0   0
/dev/fd0         /mnt/floppy      auto        noauto,owner     0   0
devpts           /dev/pts         devpts      gid=5,mode=620   0   0
proc             /proc            proc        defaults         0   0
tmpfs            /dev/shm         tmpfs       defaults         0   0

Preventing Shutdown Hangs

Sometimes the sound card seems to make Slackware hang when you're shutting down. Everything seems to turn off fine, but the little green power LED still shines bright. The solution to this problem appears to be adding the following line:

modprobe -r snd_hda_intel

to /etc/rc.d/rc.6 right before the "Unmounting local file systems." line (around line 195).

Enable Volume Hotkeys and Sleeping

Slackware 12.2 is already listening for ACPI events by default, so we just need to insert our custom stuff into /etc/acpi/


set $@

#logger "ACPI Event $1, $2, $3, $4, $5"

case "$1" in
        case "$2" in
            power) /sbin/init 0;;
            sleep) /etc/acpi/actions/;;
                if grep -q closed /proc/acpi/button/lid/LID/state
            *) logger "ACPI action $2 is not defined";;
        case "$3" in
            # Fn+F2 Wireless/Bluetooth button
            # Fn+F7 Mute button
            00000013) amixer set Master toggle;;
            # Fn+F8 Volume down
            00000014) amixer set Master 10%-;;
            # Fn+F9 Volume up
            00000015) amixer set Master 10%+;;
    *) logger "ACPI group $1 / action $2 is not defined";;

And to handle the closing of the lid or pressing the sleep button, we need to create a new script in /etc/acpi/actions/ called

# script by Fluxx from linuxquestions slackware forum
# discover video card's ID
ID=`/sbin/lspci | grep VGA | awk '{ print $1 }' | sed -e 's@:@/@'`

# securely create a temporary file
TMP_FILE=`mktemp /tmp/video_state.XXXXXX`
trap 'rm -f $TMP_FILE' 0 1 15

# switch to virtual terminal 1 to avoid graphics
# corruption in X
chvt 1

/sbin/hwclock --systohc

# remove the webcam module
rmmod uvcvideo

# write all unwritten data (just in case)

# dump current data from the video card to the
# temporary file
cat /proc/bus/pci/$ID > $TMP_FILE

# suspend-to-ram
# (samwise) not using this it stuffs up the screen brightness
echo -n mem > /sys/power/state

# suspend-to-disk
#echo -n disk > /sys/power/state

# standby
#echo -n standby > /sys/power/state

# force on for now...
xset dpms force on

/sbin/hwclock --hctosys

# restore the webcam module
modprobe uvcvideo

# restore video card data from the temporary file
# on resume
cat $TMP_FILE > /proc/bus/pci/$ID

# switch back to virtual terminal 2 (running X)
chvt 6; sleep 2
chvt 2

# remove temporary file
rm -f $TMP_FILE

And we need to make sure the script is executable:

chmod +x /etc/acpi/actions/

These scripts should enable us to use the mute key, the increase/decrease volume keys, and the sleep key. They should also allow us to close the lid of the EeePC to put it to sleep. Occasionally, when you wake up the computer, you will just see a blank black screen. To get around this, switch back to VT2 by using the keystroke Ctrl+Alt+F2.

Install Special Packages

Slackware comes with a lot of awesome stuff right out of the box, but it is missing some very important utilities at the same time. Included in this list, for me, is a program called wicd, or a network connectivity manager. This is similar to the "Network Manager" utility found in other mainstream distributions like Ubuntu, Fedora, and openSuSE. Slackware has yet to include such a utility by default.

Anyway, wicd can be found in the extra directory on the Slackware DVD or the 3rd (?) CD. To install it, find the package on the disc (or download it from the Internet) and execute the following command:

installpkg wicd-1.5.6-noarch-2.tgz

Be sure to check out the extra directory on the Slackware install disc. There are some neat tools in there. Some excellent resources for Slackware packages include:

There are some utilities out there to help you in your quest to resolve package dependencies. Two of the major ones that I've used in the past are swaret and slapt-get.

Using Slackware 12.2

My Slackware 12.2-powered EeePC 701 4G

I have to give the Linux kernel hackers props--the kernel is amazingly fast! I'm sure the fact that I'm running a fairly stock Slackware installation (as opposed to something like Ubuntu) helps the speed quite a bit too. This past semester I had Linux Mint 5 (XFCE edition) installed on my EeePC, and that seemed fairly responsive. Slackware blew me away though, and I can still do everything I want to do!

The webcam and sound card work out of the box, just like the wireless. I rarely use the webcam, but it's fun to play with, and my mom appreciates seeing me on Skype occasionally. The wireless connection quality exceeds what it was with the madwifi driver I was using with Slackware 12.1 and other distros like Linux Mint. Programs are ultra speedy and responsive, even with the processor clocked at 450Mhz. I love it!!!

Boot times could be better, but I'm not too concerned with it. My setup takes approximately 50 seconds from boot to a useable desktop interface. Not horrible by any means, but perhaps not the best for a netbook when all you want to do is check your e-mail.

I would like to see the Network Manager that so many other distributions offer in Slackware some day. The wicd application is nice, but it's not nearly as intuitive as Network Manager, and it seems to be relatively limited in its capabilities in comparison. I know I'm not alone in my desire to see Network Manager included, or at least available, for Slackware. It would be tremendously beneficial in a world where wireless networking and laptops are more and more pervasive. Using the command line to adjust your wireless connection settings each time you have to hop to a new access point is just annoying.

In the end, I'm excited to have Slackware on my EeePC once again. I think it will be around for quite a while this time.

Please comment with any advice or problems that you have in regards to installing Slackware 12.2 on an EeePC.

Disable Page Navigation with Horizontal Scroll

The following information was snagged from

I was looking for this information for a long time and couldn't find it. I finally found reference to this in a cached version of this (gentoo-wiki).

So that firefox will not misinterpret the horizontal scroll as 'back' and 'forward' For many like me this is irritating because you are reading a webpage and by moving the mouse you accidently go to another page.

Some forums suggest disabling horizontal scroll (editing xorg.conf to: Option "HorizScrollDelta" "0"), but instead the correct way is to configure firefox so that it doesn't misinterpret the horizontal scroll. In firefox type in URL (address bar):


and double-click on the line:


to set it to 0. And then also set


to true.

Linux Basics


  • /bin - This is where basic Linux commands reside (ls, du, dd, cp, etc).
  • /boot - Your boot images are stored here.
  • /dev - Links to access your machine's devices.
  • /etc - Configuration files and boot scripts.
  • /home - User directories, equivalent to "Documents and Settings" in Windows XP.
  • /lib - System libraries, codecs, etc.. similar to Windows/System and Windows/System32.
  • /mnt, /media - Mount points. A mount point is a directory that the contents of your hard drives, cd/dvd drives, floppy drives, or jump drives will be accessible.
  • /opt - Optional packages and programs. Could be thought of as a "Program Files" directory.
  • /proc - Special dynamic information about your system.
  • /root - System administrator home. Could be thought of as a "Documents and Settings/Administrator" directory.
  • /sbin - Super-user binaries. These programs need super-user (root) privileges to execute.
  • /tmp - Temporary files. Every user usually has read, write, and execute permissions here.
  • /usr - The main place for programs to be installed. Most like "Program Files" in Windows.
  • /var - System logs, mail spools, default web server directory, databases, etc...

Basic Commands

  • cd - Change Directory: moves to a different directory.

    Usage: cd directory, cd .., cd /directory

  • cp - CoPy: Copy a file or directory. If you wish to copy recursively and retain all attributes associated with the file or directory, use the -a option.

    Usage: cp original original.backup, cp -a /home/user/directory /home/user/backup

  • df - Disk usage on Filesystem: Display an overall summary of disk usage on mounted mountpoints. If you want human-readable sizes, use the -h option.

    Usage: df, df -h, df /mnt/mountpoint

  • du - Disk Usage: Display the disk usage of each file (recursively, by default) in the current directory. If you want human-readable sizes (1024 bytes = 1Kb, 1024Kb = 1Mb, etc), use the -h option. If you want a summary of the total disk usage by a directory and everything inside, use the -s option.

    Usage: du, du -s, du -h, du -sh, du -s /directory

  • ln - LiNk: Create a link, or shortcut, to a file or directory. I prefer to do symlinks by using the -s option.

    Usage: ln original link, ln original /directory, ln original /directory/link, ln -s original /directory/link

  • ls - LiSt: lists the contents of a directory.

    Usage: ls, ls .., ls /directory/subdirectory

  • man - View the MANual page for a program or other file. Probably the most useful program ever.

    Usage: man program, man xorg.conf

  • mkdir - MaKe DIRectory: create a new directory/folder.

    Usage: mkdir dirname, mkdir /directory/newdirname

  • mv - MoVe: Move a file or directory to a new location, or rename a file or directory.

    Usage: mv file /directory/newhome, mv file newfilename

  • pwd - Print Working Directory: returns the full path of the directory in which you are working.

    Usage: pwd

  • rm - ReMove: Remove a file or directory. If you want to get rid of a directory and all of its contents, use rm -R or rm -Rf for recursive deletion.

    Usage: rm filename, rm /directory/filename, rm -Rf /directory/dirname

  • rmdir - ReMove DIRectory: remove a directory. The directory must be empty.

    Usage: rmdir dirname, rmdir /directory/dirname

  • whereis - Determine where a certain file exists (if it's in your path)

    Usage: whereis filename

  • whoami - Detemine which user you are currently logged in as

    Usage: whoami

Linux Permissions

Linux has a great permission scheme. Since its inception, three basic levels of security have existed: user, group, and everyone. A simple way to change the permissions on a file or directory is to use the chmod, or CHange MODe, command. Changes to the permissions can be either a symbolic representation or an octal number representing the bit pattern for the new permissions. I prefer the symbolic method, myself, but many others prefer to see the octal pattern.

When working with permissions in Linux, always remember the following orders: User, Group, All; Read, Write, Execute. Those are the orders you will put the permissions in. Let's say that we want to make a file readable and writable only to the owner, while no one else will even be able to read the file. Here are some examples:

NOTE: Commands that begin with $ are executed as a regular user. Commands that begin with # are executed by a superuser (root). These two symbols (when they are the very first character in the command) are not entered by the user.


$ echo "Hi" >> testing
$ chmod a-rwx,u+rw testing


$ echo "Hi" >> testing
$ chmod 600 testing

Let's now examine the commands individually.

$ echo "Hi" >> testing

This command will append "Hi" (without the quotes) to the end of the file called testing. The file will be created if it does not already exist, assuming that the user has write permissions in the current directory. If you didn't want to append, you could overwrite anything that may be in the file by using a single > rather than >>.

$ chmod a-rwx,u+rw testing

This command removes (the - in a-rwx) read (the r in a-rwx), write (the w in a-rwx), and execute (the x in a-rwx) permissions from all (the a in a-rwx) users on the file called testing. Next we add (the + in u+rw) permissions for the owner (the u in u+rw) of the file: read (the r in u+rw) and write (the w in u+rw) on the file called testing.

$ chmod 600 testing

This command sets the permissions for everyone in one shot. I think of the digits in binary:

  • 1 = execute only;
  • 2 = write only;
  • 3 = write and execute, but no read;
  • 4 = read, but no write or execute;
  • 5 = read and execute, but no write;
  • 6 = read and write, but no execute;
  • 7 = read, write, and execute.

A digit is required for each level of permissions (user, group, and all). It is also possible to put another digit before the 3 levels of permissions, but to be honest, I don't know what significance it has. A little bit of testing has shown that it puts either an S or T in place of the execute permissions (depending on the digit).

A couple more things about chmod: Directories must also be executable in order to list the contents. chmod is very powerful. Finally, you can recursively apply permissions to directories and everything underneath with the -R option.

$ chmod -R a+rx /home/user/share

A couple of commands closely associated with chmod are chgrp (CHange GRouP) and chown (CHange OWNer).

chown will change the user ownership of files or directories. This can be done recursively with the -R option. It also has the capability to change the group ownership built into it. The syntax is: chown [options] user[:group] file1 [file...]

chgrp will change the group ownership of files or directories. You can do this recursively with the -R option. The syntax is: chgrp [options] groupname file1 [file...]


Cronjobs are similar to scheduled tasks in the Windows world. Schedule tasks or cronjobs are simply programs that you want to run regularly, without having to type in the command every time you want it to run. Most distributions come with a cron daemon of some sort installed by default. Generally speaking, you can edit your cronjobs by typing crontab -e. This will bring up an editor like vi (it usually is vi by default) in which you edit your cronjob file. Each user can have their own cronjobs (unless it's been disabled by the administrator, I would assume). Here is an example of a cronjob entry:

47 * * * * /usr/bin/run-parts /etc/cron.hourly 1> /dev/null

You'll notice the 47 with four *'s after it. This is how the daemon knows when to execute a job. This is what each of the stars represent in their order:

  1. Minute: 0-59
  2. Hour: 0-23 (0 = midnight)
  3. Day of month: 1-31
  4. Month: 1-12
  5. Day of week: 0-6 (0 = Sunday)

So the example above will run after 47 minutes every hour of every day of the month of every month. You can also do some fancy things like having a job run every 5 minutes, after 15 and 45 minutes, etc. Let's say that we want to grab our mail every 5 minutes. The cronjob entry would look something like:

*/5 * * * * /usr/bin/fetchmail

If we wanted to grab our mail every 2 hours but only on Mondays, we would use the following:

0 */2 * * 1 /usr/bin/fetchmail

To have a job run after 15 and 45 minutes, we could do this:

15,45 * * * * /usr/bin/fetchmail

Pretty nifty, eh?


This fancy utility is usually the means used for compiling programs from source. The usual sequence of commands for compiling and installing a program from the source in Linux is as follows:

$ ./configure
$ make
# make install

Most packages will follow this convention, but some require special procedures. Sometimes you can even get away with skipping the make and jump straight from ./configure to make install. It is always a good idea to read the README and INSTALL files included in source packages. They will generally tell you about anything out of the ordinary when compiling the source. Obviously, there is a lot more to this utility, but I'm not the person to explain it to you.

Package Management

There are several different types of package managers. The most popular these days are .rpm (RedHat Package Manager) and .deb (Debian). There are some other kinds of packages, but they aren't as popular as RPM and DEB. Slackware uses a straight .tgz (gzipped tarball) as its package system. Frugalware uses .fpm, which are bzipped tarballs. In the end, packages are almost always gzipped or bzipped tarballs.

Each package system has its ups and downs. I've personally found RPM-based distributions to be overly slow, especially with the package management. DEB-based distributions seem to be a lot more speedy when put up against RPM-based distros. However, I have found Slackware's TGZ-based system the most efficient and the fastest. Both RPM's and DEB's have dependency checking. In other words, the package manager will attempt to locate all entities upon which a program may depend in order to function properly before installing or upgrading that program.

A lot of people claim that .tgz packages are inferior to RPM and DEB because of the lack of dependency checking. By default, Slackware does not have dependency checking, but if you know what you're doing, you can get your dependencies a lot easier than you can with RPM or DEB (in my opinion).

RPM packages usually seem quite large compared to other package systems like DEB and TGZ. As far as I have seen, TGZ packages are smaller than both RPM and DEB packages. Here are a few options to help you use the RPM and TGZ package managers. I am not sure on Debian packages, so I won't attempt that one:

  • RPM:
    • rpm -q or rpm --query: look for a package on your system
    • rpm -i or rpm --install: install a new package on your system
    • rpm -U or rpm --upgrade: upgrade a package which is already installed on your system
    • rpm -e or rpm --erase: remove a package from your system
  • TGZ:
    • pkgtool: a text-based package manager
    • installpkg: install a package onto your system
    • upgradepkg: upgrade a package which is currently installed on your system
    • removepkg: remove a package from your system

You can also get some other programs that are VERY useful for package management. I think the latest craze for RPM's is YUM. I have not had great luck with this utility, but a lot of people really like it. Debian packages have used apt-get for ages now. My favorite add-on for Slackware packages is called swaret. Other distributions use the pacman utility, which is very efficient. Each one of these applications has several options and operation procedures.

Secure Shell and Secure Copy

One of my favorite aspects of Linux and other UNIX-derived systems is their secure shell capability (which is usually installed by default). Secure shell, or SSH, is a way for users to log into a remote computer and work on the remote computer as though it were right in front of them. Granted, it's all text-based unless you have X11 forwarding setup properly on both machines. But the command line interface (CLI) is extremely powerful--you should not be afraid to learn and use it. If you need to SSH from a Windows machine, you can use PuTTY.

In order to ssh into another computer, you simply type:

$ ssh hostname

or use the computer's IP address:

$ ssh

By default, ssh on Linux machines will use the username of the account that you are running ssh from. Sometimes you need to login as a different user than the one you're currently using. To do that, you use the -l (lowercase L) or make it look like an e-mail address:

$ ssh hostname -l differentuser
$ ssh differentuser@hostname

Once your ssh session begins with the remote host, you will be asked to enter the password associated with the account with which you are attempting to login. If you do a lot of ssh'ing between machines, typing in your password several times is not only annoying but it could also pose a security risk--some wandering eyes might be watching you each time you enter your password. A great way to get around this is to generate a public and private key for your account. Once you do this, you can use the private key file on the machine you're ssh'ing out of and the public key on the remote machine.

To generate a public/private key, you can use ssh-keygen:

$ ssh-keygen -t rsa

You will be asked to enter and verify a passphrase for your private key. If you were aiming to get around not typing in your password, just hit enter twice for this part. It's still not secure, but it is a lot less hassle if you're only working on machines that no one else has "access" to. Usually your keys will be stored in ~/.ssh/ (or your /home/username/.ssh/ directory: ~ refers to your /home/yourusername).

The next step is to create your identification:

$ cd ~/.ssh
$ echo "IdKey private_key_file" > identification

Now you have to copy your public key (usually the one that ends in .pub) to the remote host:

$ scp

And finally you should add your public key to the list of authorized users on the remote host by adding a line like the following to the ~/.ssh/authorization file:


At this point you should be able to log into your remote host without your password (assuming you skipped the passphrase part of the key generation above).

As for the secure copy utility, you can get an idea of how to use it from the scp command above. This program uses the SSH system to securely copy files between two computers. This is how I use the scp command:

$ scp [-r] user@remote:/path/to/remote/file /local/destination/path/
$ scp [-r] /path/to/local/file user@remote:/remote/destination/path/

If you have setup public key authorization, you will not have to enter your password each time you use scp. Otherwise, you are asked for a password each time you run scp.

Archiving and Backup

There are many different kinds of compression and archiving tools in Linux. The most common types are tarballs, gzipped, and bzipped files. Below is a list of purposes for each of the three and some of the options:

  • tar - multiple files, little or no compression
    • c, --create - create a tarball
    • f, --file - specify the tarball's filename
    • x, --extract, --get - extract the contents of a tarball
    • j, --bzip2 - use bzip2 compression/decompression
    • v, --verbose - show verbose output
    • z, --gzip, --ungzip - use gzip compression/decompression
    • to create a tarball called filename.tar which contains all of the files in /dir/to/archive: $ tar cf filename.tar /dir/to/archive
    • to create a tarball called filename.tar.gz which contains all of the files in /dir/to/archive and gzip it: $ tar zcf filename.tar.gz /dir/to/archive
    • to create a tarball called filename.tar.bz2 which contains all of the files in /dir/to/archive and bzip it: $ tar jcf filename.tar.bz2 /dir/to/archive
    • to extract the contents of a tarball called filename.tar.gz to the current directory: $ tar zxf filename.tar.gz
    • to extract the contents of a tarball called filename.tar.bz2 to the current directory: $ tar jxf filename.tar.bz2
  • gzip - single file compression
    • To gzip a file called filename to make it filename.gz: $ gzip filename
    • To gunzip a file called filename.gz to make it filename: $ gunzip filename.gz
  • bzip2 - single file compression
    • To bzip a file called filename to make it filename.bz2: $ bzip2 filename
    • To bunzip a file called filename.bz2 to make it filename: $ bunzip2 filename.bz2

Installing Slackware 11.0 on An HP Pavilion dv8000

First of all, I have to tell everyone how great of a distribution Slackware is. I have personally sampled (meaning that I downloaded, installed, and ran for a trial period) at least 50 different distributions. It seems that, no matter how fancy a new distribution is, I always find myself returning to Slackware. I have to admit, it doesn't have a lot of the eyecandy and user-friendly features of other mainstream distributions right off the bat, but you could add them if you wanted to. Among my reasons for liking Slackware so much are:

  • It's the fastest (by default) I've used
  • Stability
  • Security
  • Educational value

Now that we have a little background as to why I like Slackware so much, let's move on to the installation, shall we? To make it a little more simple, I'm just including the notes that I took while installing.

  • Insert disc 1

  • Boot Menu: Hit enter to boot with default options

  • Select keyboard map: Enter for default US

  • Login as root

  • Check partition scheme: # fdisk /dev/hda

    Here are some useful commands to get around in fdisk:

    • p to print partition table
    • d to delete, followed by parition number
    • c to create; primary/extended; start sector; end sector
    • a to toggle bootable flag
    • w to write parition table
    • q to quit
  • # setup

  • ADDSWAP to activate swap partition

    • select your swap partition and hit ok
    • choose whether you wish to check for bad blocks while preparing the swap partition [no]
    • hit ok when your swap partition has been configured
  • Choose your root (/) parition

    • Select the proper partition from the list and hit select
    • Choose your formatting type
      • Format: Quick format with no bad block checking
      • Check: Slow format that checks for bad blocks
      • No: No, do not format this partition
      • [ FORMAT ]
    • Choose filesystem
      • ext2: Standard Linux Ext2 Filesystem
      • ext3: Ext3 Journaling Filesystem
      • reiserfs: ReiserFS Journaling Filesystem
      • [ REISERFS ]
    • Add other paritions and follow the same process as above, specifying the mount point
    • Hit ok when the partitions have been setup successfully
  • Specify whether you'd like any existing FAT or NTFS partitions to be mounted in Linux

    • [ YES ]
    • Select the partition
    • Specify the mount point
  • Hit ok when the FAT and NTFS partitions have been setup

  • Choose your installation source

    • Install from a Slackware CD or DVD
    • Install from a hard drive partition
    • Install from NFS (Network File System)
    • Install from a pre-mounted directory
    • [ CD or DVD ]
  • Choose the CD/DVD device

    • auto: Scan for the CD or DVD drive (recommended)
    • manual: Manually specify CD or DVD by device name
    • [ AUTO ]
  • Select the package sets you'd like to install and hit ok

  • Select prompting mode

    • full Install everything (3+ GB of software, recommended)
    • expert Choose individual packages from interactive menus
    • menu Choose groups of packages from interactive menus
    • newbie Use verbose prompting (and follow tagfiles)
    • custom Use custom tagfiles in the package directories
    • tagpath Use tagfiles in the subdirectories of a custom path
    • [ FULL ]
  • Specify your kernel

    • bootdisk Use the kernel from the installation bootdisk
    • cdrom Use a kernel from the Slackware CD or NFS mount
    • floppy Install a zimage or bzimage from a DOS floppy
    • skip Skip this menu (use the default /boot/vmlinuz)
    • [ CDROM ]
  • Re-insert disc 1

    • Select your kernel
    • [ /cdrom/kernels/sata.i/bzImage ]
  • Make a bootdisk

    • Create Make a Linux bootdisk in /dev/fd0
    • Skip Skip making a bootdisk
    • [ SKIP ]
  • Modem configuration [ NO MODEM ]

  • Specify whether you'd like to start hotplug/udev at boot [ YES ]

  • Install the bootloader, LILO

    • simple Try to install LILO automatically
    • expert Use expert lilo.conf setup menu
    • skip Do not install LILO
    • [ SIMPLE ]
  • Choose your frame buffer mode for LILO [ standard ]

  • Pass the kernel a parameter if you have an IDE CD/DVD-RW drive

    • [ hdc=ide-scsi ]
  • Select LILO destination

    • Root Install to superblock (not for use with XFS)
    • Floppy Install to a formatted floppy in /dev/fd0 (A:)
    • MBR Install to Master Boot Record (possibly unsafe)
    • [ MBR ]
  • Select your mouse type [ IMPS2 ]

  • Specify whether you'd like to start GPM at boot [ NO ]

  • Specify whether you'd like to configure your network

    • [ YES ]
    • Enter your hostname
    • Enter your domain name
    • Specify IP setup
      • static IP Use a static IP address to configure ethernet
      • DHCP Use a DHCP server to configure ethernet
      • loopback Set up a loopback connection (modem or no net)
      • [ DHCP ]
    • Specify DHCP parameters
    • Verify and accept network configuration
  • Specify services to start at boot time

    • rc.cups
    • rc.httpd
    • rc.mysqld
    • rc.pcmcia
    • rc.samba
    • rc.scanluns
    • rc.sendmail
    • rc.syslog
    • rc.sshd
  • Specify whether you'd like to try out some screen fonts [ NO ]

  • Specify whether your machine's clock is set to local time or UTC/GMT [ NO ]

  • Select timezone

  • Select your default desktop [ KDE ]

  • Set a root password

  • Reboot

  • Login as root

  • Add a new (normal) user: # adduser

  • Configure XWindows

    • # xorgcfg
    • save the configuration to /etc/X11/xorg.conf
  • Logout and back in as the new user

  • Bring up the GUI

    • $ startx

Begin using your system!!

Enabling Mouse Scroll in Linux

Ok, just so everyone knows, I will not go into much depth about how to get your scroll button working, but I will cover the basics:

  • Open your xorg.conf file (it's likely to be hanging around /etc/X11/xorg.conf)
  • Find the section related to your mouse (search for the text "mouse" or "pointer")
  • Set your protocol to IMPS/2
  • Add the line below the protocol: Option "Buttons" "5"
  • Add the line below the buttons option: Option "zAxisMapping" "4 5"
  • Save the xorg.conf
  • Restart the X windowing system. If you did you editing from within X (using KDE, GNOME, or other environment) you should be able to hit CTRL-ALT-Backspace to restart X.

These instructions will likely vary depending on your distribution. Some distributions (like Fedora, SuSE, Ubuntu, etc) don't seem to play well with manually-edited files and prefer that you use their graphical interfaces to change settings like this. But you should also not have issues using the scroll button on your mouse with the distributions listed above.

Good luck!