DEM-PCsolutions Blog
Tips and tweaks from DEM-PCsolutions & Friends

How to Partly Configure OpenSuse (10.2 & 10.3) On a Mac

This is somewhat of a followup post from my Tri-Boot post I did earlier, although this post very much applies to anybody running OpenSuse on an Intel based mac (in my case, the newer Core 2 Duo Macbooks.)

As i imagine the audience that this kind of post will extend to is very small please don’t hesitate to e-mail me; all i mention worked for me and i hope it does the same for you.

I’m going to take you through many aspects of making your OpenSuse system friendly and useable. I will talk about how to gain; trackpad support, iSight support, ntfs write support, full wifi support, how to get the proper resolution, how to create a swap file and others.

In my previous Tri-Boot post i explained how to install OpenSuse 10.2, this was essential because certain configuration aspects such as wifi must be accomplished in 10.2. So to start I’m going to assume that you are running OpenSuse 10.2. I will soon show you how to upgrade to 10.3 although on a macbook the issue with installing 10.3 straight ment that 10.2 has to be installed first, the first issue is taken of installing and the second issue was wifi, so i will show you how to configure your wifi card for use and then how to upgrade.

For now, put up with the poor resolution, this will be sorted later.

1. Wifi configuration.

To enable the use of wifi on your mac read on.

In most newer Macs, certainly Macbook’s and iMac’s the wifi card is the atheros based apple airport extreme card, to enable this to work effectively within Linux you need a driver.

The “Madwifi” project has developed a driver for atheros based wifi cards to be used within Linux, its an excellent project and without them i would of given up on Linux possibly entirely.

The Madwifi version needed for the our wifi card can be found in the madwifi trunk, once you have this you need to collect files from various places and put it together ready for compilation, luckily i have done this for you and you can get the file off this site, located on the sidebar on the right hand side of the screen, the file is called “”

Download the file and unzip it into you’re home directory on your Opensuse system, the files i have given you should work straight off and therefore are ready for compilation, so open a konsole window;

cd /home/user/madwifi1



make install

modprobe ath_pci

All the above commands do is switch you to the madwifi folder, give you root privileges, compile the driver, install the drivers then activate them. You have now installed the madwifi driver, now you need to configure it using Yast2, open up yast and browse to Network Devices then to Network Card. You should see an entry in the network card list called “Atheros WLAN Controller” this is your wifi card, it is not yet configured so click on it and then click configure and configure it to preference, i advise enabling knetwork manager and not using ifup, far easier and more graphically friendly in my opinion. You should then be able to scan for and join wireless networks.

P.S Try different encryption settings etc when connecting to WEP networks, I’m not sure why but if you cant connect first time this seemed to work.

2. Upgrade to Opensuse 10.3

Now you’re wifi is working fine you’re ready to upgrade to Opensuse 10.3. Download a copy from, try to get the actual installerable version as apposed to the live cd, I will tell you how to do this with the installable version.

Pop the disc into your mac and if you have refit, refit should pick it up, boot from it by selecting the icon, if not hold C to boot from the disc drive.

When you are prompted with some options, choose install.

This brings you to the normal Opensuse installation, follow it through until you get the option of a new install or an upgrade, choose upgrade and proceed.

Your Opensuse partition should be picked up automatically, if you have been following the tri boot then it shoould be /dev/sda3.

Following the installer through is easy enough, you just have to select which repositorys you want to transfewr to the new system and select the packages to be upgraded.

Once the updater has finished your upgrade is complete, you now run Opensuse 10.3. Download all updates from the net using ysats built in update manager.

Now your wifi that you configured earlier won’t work, you need to go to yast and configure it again, once you have configured the wlan card in yast you should be able to use your wifi card with opensuse 10.3. Although this worked for me, it has been reported by friends of mine that they had to completley reinstall and compile the madwifi drivers to get their cards working in 10.3, if so, don’t worry, just complete step 1 again although this time do it from your new Opensuse 10.3 system.

3. Correcting the Resolution.

Now, on my Macbook the resolution was reported to be 1280×800 (Macbooks maximum resolution) it is in fact not. Both the desktop configuration tool and sax2 tell you this. To change this you need to use a free bit of software called 915resolution, which comes pre-installed on OpenSuse systems. To configure your Macbook to use its maximum resolution run the following commands:


915resolution -l

This switches you to root and lists all the possible resolutions that your graphics can display.

You need to overwrite one of these with the proper resolution; I chose to overwrite 5c.

To do this;

915resolution 5c 1280 800

Then if you run;

915resolution -l

again, it reports there to be a 1280 by 800 resolution.

Now, restart X, by pressing crtl+alt+backspace

Once X has been restarted you should see your new sparkling resolution, although for this to happen everytime you boot you need to run the command before X starts, you can do this by adding the command “915resolution 5c 1280 800” into the startup script file. This can be found in “/etc/init.d/boot.local” Just add that command to that file and everytime you start up your OpenSuse system the resolution should be correct and looking good.

4. Mounting Your Other Partitions at Boot

For the purpose of this I’m going to assume you are following this post off my last post about how to tri-boot your mac so the commands i tell you will be relevant to that, if not, its easy when you see my preset commands to integrate your own situation into the commands.

Ok, In my case i have two other mountable partitions on my hard drive, a Windows partition and a OS X partition, so both of these are mounted at boot enter the following lines into the file “/etc/init.d/boot.local” just open it with your favourite text editor to enter them;

mount -t hfsplus /dev/sda2 /media/MacintoshHD

mount -t ntfs /dev/sda4 /media/WindowsHD

These commands consist of;

mount = the mounting command

“hfsplus” or “ntfs” the = the type of filesystem on the partition

“/dev/sda2” or “/dev/sda4” = the location of the partition on the disk.

“/media/MacintoshHD” or “/media/WindowsHD” = the location of the folder that the filesystem’s will be mounted to.

So for example one way of using this command would be;

mount -t FAT32 /dev/sda1 /media/FAT32DISK

Now these commands don’t actually mount the disks on your suse system, they mount the filesystem inside the disk into a folder. Also the folders you mount the filesystem’s into may have to be created before you attempt to mount to them.

To make both the filesystem’s accessible log on as root and change the permissions on the folders you mounted the filesystem’s to by right clicking on the folder and changing access permissions, (you will not be able to write to the ntfs partition until you have installed the ntfs-3g driver which i will show you how to do later.)

Once you have entered the commands into the /etc/init.d/boot.local file the filesystem’s should be mounted everytime you boot up.

Anyway. Thats all for now. Look out for part 2!


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