1.5. Installation Suggestion

After hardware detection, the suggestion window, shown in Figure 1.4, “Suggestion Window”, displays some information about the hardware recognized and proposes a number of installation and partitioning options. After selecting any of these items and configuring them in the corresponding dialogs, you are always returned to the suggestion window, which is updated accordingly. The individual settings are discussed in the following sections.

Figure 1.4. Suggestion Window

Suggestion Window

1.5.1. Installation Mode

Use this to change the previously selected installation mode. The options are the same as those described in Section 1.4, “Installation Mode”.

1.5.2. Keyboard Layout

Select the keyboard layout. By default, the layout corresponds to the selected language. After changing the layout, test Y, Z, and special characters to make sure that the selection is correct. When finished, select Next to return to the suggestion window.

1.5.3. Mouse

If YaST failed to detect your mouse automatically, press Tab in the suggestion window several times until Mouse is selected. Then use Space to open the dialog in which to set the mouse type. This dialog is shown in Figure 1.5, “Selecting the Mouse Type”.

Figure 1.5. Selecting the Mouse Type

Selecting the Mouse Type

To select the mouse type, use and . Consult your mouse documentation for information about the mouse type. After selecting a mouse type, use Alt-T to test whether the device works correctly without making the selection permanent. If the mouse does not behave as expected, use the keyboard to select another type and test again. Use Tab and Enter to make the current selection permanent.

1.5.4. Partitioning

In most cases, YaST proposes a reasonable partitioning scheme that can be accepted without change. YaST can also be used to customize the partitioning. This section describes the necessary steps. Partition Types

Every hard disk has a partition table with space for four entries. An entry in the partition table can correspond to a primary partition or an extended partition. Only one extended partition entry is allowed, however.

A primary partition simply consists of a continuous range of cylinders (physical disk areas) assigned to a particular operating system. With primary partitions only, you would be limited to four partitions per hard disk, because more do not fit in the partition table. This is why extended partitions are used. Extended partitions are also continuous ranges of disk cylinders, but an extended partition may itself be subdivided into logical partitions. Logical partitions do not require entries in the partition table. In other words, an extended partition is a container for logical partitions.

If you need more than four partitions, create an extended partition as the fourth partition or earlier. This extended partition should span the entire remaining free cylinder range. Then create multiple logical partitions within the extended partition. The maximum number of logical partitions is 15 on SCSI, SATA, and Firewire disks and 63 on (E)IDE disks. It does not matter which types of partitions are used for Linux. Primary and logical partitions both work fine.

[Tip]Hard Disks with a GPT Disk Label

For architectures using the GPT disk label, the number of primary partitions is not restricted. Consequently, there are no logical partitions in this case. Required Disk Space

YaST normally proposes a reasonable partitioning scheme with sufficient disk space. If you want to implement your own partitioning scheme, consider the following recommendations concerning the requirements for different system types.

Minimal System: 500 MB

No graphical interface (X Window System) is installed, which means that only console applications can be used. Also, only a very basic selection of software is installed.

Minimal System with Graphical Interface: 700 MB

This includes the X Window System and some applications.

Default System: 2.5 GB

This includes a modern desktop environment, like KDE or GNOME, and also provides enough space for large application suites, such as OpenOffice.org and Netscape or Mozilla.

The partitions to create depend on the available space. The following are some basic partitioning guidelines:

Up to 4 GB:

One partition for the swap space and one root partition (/). In this case, the root partition must allow for those directories that often reside on their own partitions if more space is available.

4 GB or More:

A swap partition, a root partition (1 GB), and one partition each for the following directories as needed: /usr (4 GB or more), /opt (4 GB or more), and /var (1 GB). If you do not want to have separate partitions for these directories, add the suggested disk space to the root partition. The rest of the available space can be used for /home.

Depending on the hardware, it may also be useful to create a boot partition (/boot) to hold the boot mechanism and the Linux kernel. This partition should be located at the start of the disk and should be at least 8 MB or one cylinder. As a rule of thumb, always create such a partition if it was included in YaST's original proposal. If you are unsure about this, create a boot partition to be on the safe side.

You should also be aware that some (mostly commercial) programs install their data in /opt. Therefore, either create a separate partition for /opt or make the root partition large enough. KDE and GNOME are also installed in /opt. Partitioning with YaST

When you select the partitioning item in the suggestion window for the first time, the YaST partitioning dialog displays the partition settings as currently proposed. Accept these current settings as they are or change them before continuing. Alternatively, discard all the settings and start over from scratch.

Figure 1.6. Editing the Partitioning Setup

Editing the Partitioning Setup

Nothing in the partitioning setup is changed if you select Accept proposal as is. If you select Base partition setup on this proposal, the Expert Partitioner opens. It allows tweaking the partition setup in every detail. This dialog is explained in Section 2.7.5, “Partitioning”. The original setup as proposed by YaST is offered there as a starting point.

Selecting Create custom partition setup opens the dialog as shown in Figure 1.7, “Selecting the Hard Disk”. Use the list to choose among the existing hard disks on your system. SUSE LINUX will be installed on the disk selected in this dialog.

Figure 1.7. Selecting the Hard Disk

Selecting the Hard Disk

The next step is to determine whether the entire disk should be used (Use Entire Hard Disk) or whether to use any existing partitions (if available) for the installation. If a Windows operating system was found on the disk, you are asked whether to delete or resize the partition. Before doing so, read Section, “Resizing a Windows Partition”. If desired, go to the Expert Partitioner dialog to create a custom partition setup at this point (see Section 2.7.5, “Partitioning”).

[Warning]Using the Entire Hard Disk for Installation

If you choose Use Entire Hard Disk, all existing data on that disk is completely erased later in the installation process and is then lost.

YaST checks during the installation whether the disk space is sufficient for the software selection made. If not, YaST automatically changes the software selection. The proposal dialog displays a notice to inform you about this. As long as there is sufficient disk space available, YaST simply accepts your settings and partitions the hard disk accordingly. Resizing a Windows Partition

If a hard disk containing a Windows FAT or NTFS partition was selected as the installation target, YaST offers to delete or shrink this partition. In this way, you can install SUSE LINUX even if there is currently not enough space on the hard disk. This functionality is especially useful if the selected hard disk contains only one Windows partition that covers the entire hard disk. This is sometimes the case on computers where Windows comes preinstalled. If YaST sees that there is not enough space on the selected hard disk, but that space could be made available by deleting or shrinking a Windows partition, it presents a dialog in which to choose one of these two options.

Figure 1.8. Possible Options for Windows Partitions

Possible Options for Windows Partitions

If you select Delete Windows Completely, the Windows partition is marked for deletion and the space is used for the installation of SUSE LINUX.

[Warning]Deleting Windows

If you delete Windows, all data will be lost beyond recovery as soon as the formatting starts.

To shrink the Windows partition, interrupt the installation and boot Windows to prepare the partition from there. Although this step is not strictly required for FAT partitions, it speeds up the resizing process and also makes it safer. These steps are vital for NTFS partitions.

FAT File System

In Windows, first run scandisk to make sure that the FAT partition is free of lost file fragments and crosslinks. After that, run defrag to move files to the beginning of the partition. This accelerates the resizing procedure in Linux.

If you have optimized virtual memory settings for Windows so a contiguous swap file is used with the same initial (minimum) and maximum size limit, consider another step. With these Windows settings, the resizing might split the swap file into many small parts scattered all over the FAT partition. Also, the entire swap file would need to be moved during the resizing, which makes the process rather slow. It is therefore useful to disable these Windows optimizations for the time being and reenable them after the resizing has been completed.

NTFS File System

In Windows, run scandisk and defrag to move the files to the beginning of the hard disk. In contrast to the FAT file system, you must perform these steps. Otherwise the NTFS partition cannot be resized.

[Important]Disabling the Windows Swap File

If you operate your system with a permanent swap file on an NTFS file system, this file may be located at the end of the hard disk and remain there despite defrag. Therefore, it may be impossible to shrink the partition sufficiently. In this case, temporarily deactivate the swap file (the virtual memory in Windows). After the partition has been resized, reconfigure the virtual memory.

After these preparations, return to the Linux partitioning setup and select Shrink Windows Partition. After a quick check of the partition, YaST opens a dialog with a suggestion for resizing the Windows partition.

Figure 1.9. Resizing the Windows Partition

Resizing the Windows Partition

The first bar graph shows how much disk space is currently occupied by Windows and how much space is still available. The second bar graph shows how the space would be distributed after the resizing, according to YaST's current proposal. See Figure 1.9, “Resizing the Windows Partition”. Accept the proposed settings or use the slider to change the partition sizing (within certain limits).

If you leave this dialog by selecting Next, the settings are stored and you are returned to the previous dialog. The actual resizing takes place later, before the hard disk is formatted.

[Important]Windows Systems Installed on NTFS Partitions

By default, the Windows versions NT, 2000, and XP use the NTFS file system. Unlike FAT file systems, NTFS file systems can only be read from Linux. This means you can read your Windows files from Linux, but you cannot edit them. If you want write access to your Windows data and do not need the NTFS file system, reinstall Windows on a FAT32 file system. In this case, you will have full access to your Windows data from SUSE LINUX.

1.5.5. Software

SUSE LINUX contains a number of software packages for various application purposes. Because it would be burdensome to select the needed packages one by one, SUSE LINUX offers three system types with various installation scopes. Depending on the available disk space, YaST selects one of these predefined systems and displays it in the suggestion window.

Minimal System (only recommended for special purposes)

This basically includes the core operating system with various services, but without any graphical user interface. The machine can only be operated using ASCII consoles. This system type is especially suitable for server scenarios that require little direct user interaction.

Minimal Graphical System (without GNOME or KDE)

If you do not want the KDE or GNOME desktop or if there is insufficient disk space, install this system type. The installed system includes the X Window System and a basic window manager. You can use all programs that have their own graphical user interface. No office programs are installed.

Default System with GNOME and Office Suite

This is one of the largest of the predefined systems. It includes the GNOME desktop together with most of the GNOME programs and the office programs.

Default System with KDE and Office Suite

This system includes the KDE desktop together with most of the KDE programs and the office programs.

Click Software in the suggestion window to open a dialog in which to select one of the predefined systems. To start the software installation module (package manager) and modify the installation scope, click Detailed Selection. See Figure 1.10, “Installing and Removing Software with the YaST Package Manager”.

Figure 1.10. Installing and Removing Software with the YaST Package Manager

Installing and Removing Software with the YaST Package Manager Changing the Installation Scope

If you install the default system, there is usually no need to add or remove individual packages. It consists of a software selection that meets most requirements without any changes. If you have specific needs, modify this selection with the package manager, which greatly eases this task. It offers various filter criteria to simplify selection from the numerous packages in SUSE LINUX.

The filter selection box is located at the top left under the menu bar. After starting, the active filter is Selections. This filter sorts program packages by application purpose, such as multimedia or office applications. These groups are listed under the filter selection box. The packages included in the current system type are preselected. Click the respective check boxes to select or deselect entire selections or groups for installation.

The right part of the window displays a table listing the individual packages included in the current selection. The table column furthest to the left shows the current status of each package. Two status flags are especially relevant for the installation: Install (the box in front of the package name is checked) and Do Not Install (the box is empty). To select or deselect individual software packages, click the status box until the desired status is displayed. Alternatively, right-click the package line to access a pop-up menu listing all the possible status settings. To learn more about them, read the detailed description of this module in Section 2.2.1, “Installing and Removing Software”. Other Filters

Click the filter selection box to view the other possible filters. The selection according to Package Groups can also be used for the installation. This filter sorts the program packages by subjects in a tree structure to the left. The more you expand the branches, the more specific the selection of packages is and the fewer packages are displayed in the list of associated packages to the right.

Use Search to search for a specific package. This is explained in detail in Section 2.2.1, “Installing and Removing Software”. Package Dependencies and Conflicts

You cannot simply install any combination of software packages. The different software packages must be compatible. Otherwise they might interfere with each other and cause conflicts that affect the system as a whole. Therefore, you may see alerts about unresolved package dependencies or conflicts after selecting or deselecting software packages in this dialog. If you install SUSE LINUX for the first time or if you do not understand the alerts, read Section 2.2.1, “Installing and Removing Software”, which provides detailed information about the operation of the package manager and a brief summary of the software organization in Linux.


The software preselected for installation is based on long-standing experience and is usually suitable for the needs of most newcomers and advanced home users. In general, there is no need to change anything here. However, if you decide to select or deselect any packages, you should be aware of the consequences. In particular, observe any warnings and avoid deselecting any packages of the base system. Exiting the Software Selection

When satisfied with your software selection and all package dependencies or conflicts are resolved, click Accept to apply your changes and exit the module. During the installation, the changes are recorded internally and applied later when the actual installation starts.

1.5.6. Boot Configuration

During the installation, YaST proposes a boot configuration for your system. Normally, you can leave these settings unchanged. However, if you need a custom setup, modify the proposal for your system.

One possibility is to configure the boot mechanism to rely on a special boot floppy. Although this has the disadvantage that it requires the floppy to be in the drive when booting, it leaves an existing boot mechanism untouched. Normally this should not be necessary, however, because YaST can configure the boot loader to boot other existing operating systems as well. Another possibility with the configuration is to change the location of the boot mechanism on the hard disk.

To change the boot configuration proposed by YaST, select Booting to open a dialog in which to change many details of the boot mechanism. For information, read Section 8.4, “Configuring the Boot Loader with YaST”. The boot method should only be changed by experienced computer users.

1.5.7. Time Zone

In this dialog, shown in Figure 1.11, “Selecting the Time Zone”, choose between Local Time and UTC under Hardware clock set to. The selection depends on how the hardware (BIOS) clock is set on your machine. If it is set to GMT, which corresponds to UTC, your system can rely on SUSE LINUX to switch from standard time to daylight saving time and back automatically.

Figure 1.11. Selecting the Time Zone

Selecting the Time Zone

1.5.8. Language

The language was selected at the beginning of the installation as described in Section 1.3, “Language Selection”. However, you can change this setting here and also select any additional languages to install on your system. In the upper part of this dialog, select the primary language. This is the language that will be activated after installation. Adapt your keyboard and time zone settings to the selected primary language by selecting the respective check marks, if desired. Optionally, use Details to set the language for the user root. There are three options:

ctype only

The value of the variable LC_CTYPE in the file /etc/sysconfig/language is adopted for the user root. This sets the localization for language-specific function calls.


The user root has the same language settings as the local user.


The language settings for the user root are not affected by the language selection. All locale variables will be unset.

Some system administrators do not want the root account to run with support for UTF-8 multilanguage support. If so, uncheck Use UTF-8 Encoding.

The list in the lower part of the dialog allows for selecting additional languages to install. For all the languages selected in this list, YaST checks if there are any language-specific packages for any packages in your current software selection. If so, these packages are installed.

Click Accept to complete the configuration. Click Cancel to undo your changes.

1.5.9. Launching the Installation

After making all installation settings, click Next in the suggestion window to begin the installation. Confirm with Yes in the dialog that opens. The installation usually takes between 15 and 30 minutes, depending on the system performance and the software selected. As soon as all packages are installed, YaST boots into the new Linux system, after which you can configure the hardware and set up system services.

SUSE LINUX Administration Guide 9.3