openSUSE Leap 42.1 Review Supplement

Oct. 1, 2015, 6 p.m.


As usual there are a some details to take care of after installation besides just installing your favorite programs. The first, for laptops is to correct the backlight control issue described below. The other is to add repositories which have the proprietary codecs for multimedia and better sources for the associated applications, and proprietary drivers for hardware. Other minor adjustments may also be necessary, including changing the hostname which will cutomize the command prompt in the shell from the default used in the live environment.

Adding PackMan Repositories

It is an bsolute must to add PackMan repositories, which will provide necessary (to most people) proprietary media codecs as well as programs built to use these codecs. All of the packman repositories can be added with the following command.

zypper ar -f -n "PackMan for Leap 42.1" PackMan_for_Leap_421
In the above, ar is a short alternative for the zypper subcommand addrepo, the option -f sets the added repoistory to be auto fefreshed during operations, the option -n specifies naming the added repository with the string in quotations, and the string after the URL is the alias for the repository. The repository URL here is for the entire packaman repository which includes the Essentials, Extra, Games, and Multimedia repositories. If you want to choose just one of the reppositories, maybe the most necessary repo Multimedia, append the name of the repository to the above URL as in:

zypper ar -f -n "PackMan Multimedia for Leap 42.1" PackMan_Multimedia_for_Leap_421
Note that the Extra, Games, and Multimedia repositories require the Essentials repository, so that must be added first to use these repositories. Also note that you can choose the actual URL to specify for the repository by visiting the PackMan mirrors page. Clicking any of the links on the mirror page will open a directory listing of the repository.

In addition to adding the PackMan repositories, they must be prioritized to prevent a change in package version during updates to those in the default openSUSE repositories. This is important for packages like vlc and vlc-codecs where the PackMan versions, besides being ususally newer, support proprietary codecs. I would also switch system packages to the versions in the PackMan repositories. This can be done in the YaST Software Managment module by viewing packages by repositorym, selecting the PackMan repository, then clicking "Switch System Packages to Versions in this Repository". It would be helpful to refer to for general information on repository management in openSUSE, and the openSUSE wiki regarding vendor change, and the openSUSE active document page on Installing or Removing Software which also discusses how the rationale that Zypp uses for selecting packages during an update when they exist in multiple repositories>

Backlight Control on Intel Integrated Graphics

On laptops using Intel graphics it is necessary to add the video.use_native_backlight=1 to the list of options for GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT in /etc/default/grub and then updating GRUB by running

grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg

This modification to /etc/default/grub is the simplest and most appropriate method for those using openSUSE's GRUB to boot openSUSE. It is also possible to add this directly to the file generated by the grub-mkconfig command /boot/grub2/grub.cfg file in openSUSE or the grub.cfg file of whatever installed Linux distribution's GRUB is being used to boot.

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