Monday, March 21, 2011

openSUSE 11.3 SB Rough Diamond [UPDATE]

Hello, my name is Antony and I have been making custom builds since Fedora 11 but as of November 2010, I moved on to openSUSE where I have continued with OS customizations most of which have been very successful.
Today I'm going to talk about a very interesting build and as the name suggests, it is called the openSUSE 11.3 SB Rough Diamond. It is not everyday that you find someone who is willing to go out of his or her way to make something unique. So, why do so to begin with?
  1. I absolutely love this.
  2. A lot of new Linux users would like to interact with Linux in a simplified state. They would like to find familiar software utilities and at the same time avoid lengthy hours working with config files via the terminal.
  3. Most of the useful extras for example, Skype, VLC, Dropbox, VirtualBox, etc are only found online and can be troublesome if installed locally because of the extra dependencies that may be required. As we all know , affordable and reliable Internet in Kenya is still a challange and this project is aimed at partially tackling this problem.
  4. A lot of people are using pirated copies of software ranging from Operating Systems to anti-viruses. This is an opportunity to explore free and open-source software alternatives and contribute to a passionate and growing community.
I will start by breaking down the naming convection used in this build.
  • openSUSE 11.3: suggests it is a derivative of openSUSE 11.3.
  • SB: stands the absolutely fabulous Intel Sandy Bridge processors. It also means that this build will be able to take full advantage of the VA-API video acceleration in the IGP(Integrated Graphics) of the latest Sandy Bridge processors.
  • Rough Diamond: as with every new product or item, it can never be perfect and hence the name "Rough Diamond".
Up until now all of my build have been based on KDE but with this build I decided to use Gnome. Although I have been making other openSUSE builds, it has taken me roughly over a month to make this one because of the research on Gnome(The last time I used Gnome was with Fedora 9).

openSUSE 11.4 was released a few days ago and I must admit it is very impressive so you must be wondering why base my build on the older version 11.3? I would like my dear readers to imagine this as the software equivalent of a Twincharger( It takes the foundation of a reliable release and enhances it from the ground up, hence the phrase Twincharger. Very little in this system is old, in fact it may be more up to date than the current openSUSE 11.4 with the exception of a few software utilities.


    1. Kernel 2.6.38-1.1 PAE. Physical Address Extension(PAE) allows you to address up to 64GB of ram on 32-bit operating systems. Oh yes you don't have to run a 64-bit OS if you are not comfortable with it. Please follow the following link to get a detailed look into the changes and features of kernel 2.6.38:
    2. Mesa 7.10, Xorg 1.9, xf86-video-intel 2.12, the latest libdrm and libva libraries. The above packages including the kernel are required to take full advantage of the VA-API video acceleration in the IGP(Integrated Graphics) of the latest Sandy Bridge processor. Xf86-video-intel may need to be updated to version 2.14.
    3. Gnome 2.32.
    4. Firmware for Atheros draft-n USB WLAN adoptors and Broadcom BCM4313, BCM43224, and BCM43225 chipsets.
    5. ntfs-config: This is a graphical front-end to ntfs file-system manipulation. Makes mounting of ntfs partitions so easy.
    6. Oracle VirtualBox 4.0.4(version 3.2 was not compatible with the included kernel). Before you can use VirtualBox, You need to recompile the VirtualBox kernel module as root using this command: "/etc/init.d/vboxdrv setup".
    7. Zenmap: A graphical front-end for the nmap network scanner.
    8. Gparted.
    9. Guake.
    10. Btrfsprogs.
    11. Truecrypt.
    12. BackInTime: A desktop backup utility.
    13. Faenza-icon-theme: Probably the best icon theme for Gnome. In case you find that you are missing some icons e.g. the Bluetooth icon in your panel, kindly go to: System>Look and Feel>Appearance and select your preferred theme. Click on Customize>Icons and select Faenza. This will give you most of the icons if not all of them.
Software Development:
    1. Full featured IDEs: Codeblocks for C++ , Eclipse and Netbeans for Java, Eric for python, Bluefish and Kompozer for Web development.
    1. Transmission (Deluge bittorrent client failed to start, hence it was removed).
    2. Mozillafirefox 4 Final and Opera 11.01 (Chromium failed to start and hence was removed).
    3. Nautilus-Dropbox 0.6.3.
    4. MHTML-Firefox: This enables firefox to read MHTML web archives such as those created by Microsoft IE.
    5. Pidgin 2.7.10 (replaces Empathy).
    6. Flash-player 10.2.
    7. Skype.
    8. Twitux: twitter client for Gnome.
Multimedia and Graphics:
    1. Acetoneiso2.
    2. Handbrake-gtk 0.95.
    3. Gtk-recordMyDesktop.
    4. Isomaster.
    5. K3b (replaces Brasero).
    6. Devede.
    7. MythTV 0.24: for digital TV setups.
    8. Picasa 2.7.3736 (replaces eog).
    9. W32codes-all.
    10. VLC.
    11. SMplayer.
    12. Blender 2.50.
    13. Inkscape 0.48.
    14. Banshee 1.8.1 (replaces Rhythmbox).
    15. DivFix++: A utility for repairing broken AVI files.
    1. Acroread/Adobe Reader 9.4.
    2. OpenOffice.
    3. Stardict 3.01: This is a cross-platform & International dictionary.
    4. KchmViewer (Chmsee was removed becaused it failed to start and has less features).
    5. Scribus.
    6. Emacs. 
    7. OpenProj.
These are just but a few of the available features. There is so much more, in fact this build comes with all the fonts you can imagine. Inkscape actually takes a little bit longer to start because of this.

The OS comes in two forms:
  1. A preload ISO 3.1GB. A preload ISO is simply a Live CD/DVD that contains the preload hard disk image. When booted, it overwrites the target disk (after user confirmation), verifies the checksum, and then boots directly into the freshly loaded system. A word of warning - this format is meant for preloading and hence will overwrite all data on the target drive.
  2. A Live CD/DVD 2.8GB. It would be preferable if interested parties would start with the latter as it allows you to explore the operating system without disrupting you existing one.

For those who may be interested in this build, it will be available as of 29th March from JLUG officials.

I may provide a video review in the near future.

BENCHMARKS: (Kindly click on the images to enlarge them)

The following benchmarks are not of this build but of some of the components included in it.


  1. i sure will need to test one

  2. Good news Pytho, the Live CD/DVD and preload iso ready. Please check with the JLUG officials as from 15:00Hrs today(29th). I hope you like it.

  3. Great work Antony av tried it out and its worthy recommending!

  4. is it 4 sale Antoh?

  5. No Gadg-i-tech it is free. Absolutely free.