2.3. Software

2.3.1. Installing and Removing Software

To install, uninstall, and update software on your machine, use Software+Software Management. This opens a package manager dialog as shown in Figure 2.2, “YaST Package Manager”.

Figure 2.2. YaST Package Manager

YaST Package Manager

In SUSE Linux, software is available in the form of RPM packages. Normally, a package contains everything needed for a program: the program itself, the configuration files, and all documentation. A list of individual packages is displayed to the right in the individual package window. The content of this list is determined by the currently selected filter. If, for example, the Selections filter is selected, the individual package window displays all packages of the current selection.

In the package manager, each package has a status that determines what to do with the package, such as “Install” or “Delete.” This status is shown by a symbol in a status box at the beginning of the line. Change the status by clicking or selecting the desired status from the menu that opens when the item is right-clicked. Depending on the current situation, some of the possible status flags may not be available for selection. For example, a package that has not yet been installed cannot be set to “Delete.” View the available status flags with Help+Symbols.

The font color used for various packages in the individual package window provides additional information. Installed packages for which a newer version is available on the installation media are displayed in blue. Installed packages whose version numbers are higher than those on the installation media are displayed in red. However, because the version numbering of packages is not always linear, the information may not be perfect, but should be sufficient to indicate problematic packages. If necessary, check the version numbers. Installing Packages

To install packages, select packages for installation and click Accept. Selected packages should have the Install status icon . The package manager automatically checks the dependencies and selects any other required packages (resolution of dependencies). To view other packages required for installation before clicking Accept, choose Extras+Show Automatic Package Changes from the main menu. After installing packages, continue working with the package manager by clicking Install More or close it by clicking Finish.

The package manager provides preselected groups for installation. You can select an entire group instead of single packages. To view these groups, use Filter in the left frame.

[Tip]List of All Available Packages

To display all packages on your installation media, use the filter Package Groups and select zzz All at the bottom of the tree. SUSE Linux contains a number of packages and it might take some time to display this long list.

The Selections filter groups the program packages according to their application purpose, such as multimedia or office applications. The various groups of the Selections filter are listed with the installed packages preselected. Click the status box at the beginning of a line to install or uninstall this pattern. Select a status directly by right-clicking the pattern and using the context menu. From the individual package overview to the right, which displays the packages included in the current pattern, select and deselect individual packages.

To find language-specific packages, such as translated texts for the user interface of programs, documentation, and fonts, use the Language filter. This filter shows a list of all languages supported by SUSE Linux. If you select one of these, the right frame shows all packages available for this language. Among these, all packages applying to your current software selection are automatically tagged for installation.


Because language-specific packages may depend on other packages, the package manager may select additional packages for installation. Packages and Installation Sources

If you want to find only packages from the specific source, use the Installation Sources filter. In the default configuration, this filter shows a list of all packages from the selected source. To restrict the list, use a secondary filter.

To view a list of the all installed packages from the selected installation source, select the filter Installation Sources then select Installation Summary from Secondary Filters and deactivate all check boxes except Keep.

The package status in the individual package window can be changed as usual. However, the changed package may no longer meet the search criteria. To remove such packages from the list, update the list with Update List. Installing Source Packages

A package containing the source files for the program is usually available. The sources are not needed for running the program, but you may want to install the sources to compile a custom version of the program.

To install sources for selected program, mark the check box in the Source column. If you cannot see a check box, your installation sources do not contain the source of the package. Removing Packages

To remove packages, assign the correct status to the packages to remove and click Accept. Selected packages should have the Delete status. If a package required by other installed packages is marked for deletion, the package manager issues an alert with detailed information and alternative solutions. Reinstalling Packages

If you find damaged files that belong to package or you want to reinstall the original version of a package from your installation media, reinstall the package. To reinstall packages, select packages for reinstallation and click Accept. Selected packages should have the Update status . If any dependency issues arise with installed packages, the package manager issues an alert with detailed information and alternative solutions. Searching for Packages, Applications, and Files

To find a specific package, use the Search filter. Enter a search string and click Search. By specifying various search criteria, you can restrict the search to display a few or even only one package. You can also define special search patterns using wild cards and regular expressions in Search Mode.

[Tip]Quick Search

In addition to the Search filter, all lists of the package manager feature a quick search. Simply enter a letter to move the cursor to the first package in the list whose name begins with this letter. The cursor must be in the list (by clicking the list).

To find a package by name, select Name, enter the name of the package to find in the search field, and click Search. To find a package by text in the description, select Summary and Descriptions, enter a search string, and click Search.

To search for the package that contains a certain file, enter the name of the file, select RPM "Provides", and click Search. To find all packages that depend on a particular package, select RPM "Requires", enter the name of package, and click Search.

If you are familiar with the package structure of SUSE Linux, you can use the Package Groups filter to find packages by subject. This filter sorts the program packages by subjects, such as applications, development, and hardware, in a tree structure to the left. The more you expand the branches, the more specific the selection is. This means fewer packages are displayed in the individual package window. Installation Summary

After selecting the packages for installation, update, or deletion, view the installation summary with Installation Summary. It shows how packages will be affected when you click Accept. Use the check boxes to the left to filter the packages to view in the individual package window. For example, to check which packages are already installed, deactivate all check boxes except Keep.

The package status in the individual package window can be changed as usual. However, the respective package may no longer meet the search criteria. To remove such packages from the list, update the list with Update List. Information about Packages

Get information about the selected package with the tabs in the bottom right frame. If another version of the package is available, you get information about both versions.

The Description tab with the description of the selected package is automatically active. To view information about package size, version, installation media, and other technical details, select Technical Data. Information about provided and required files is in Dependencies. To view available versions with their installation sources, click Versions. Disk Usage

During the selection of the software, the resource window at the bottom left of the module displays the prospective disk usage of all mounted file systems. The colored bar graph grows with every selection. As long as it remains green, there is sufficient space. The bar color slowly changes to red as you approach the limit of disk space. If you select too many packages for installation, an alert is displayed. Checking Dependencies

Some packages depend on other packages. This means that the software of the package only works properly if another package is also installed. There are some packages with identical or similar functionalities. If these packages use the same system resource, they should not be installed at the same time (package conflict).

When the package manager starts, it examines the system and displays installed packages. When you select to install and remove packages, the package manager automatically checks the dependencies and selects any other required packages (resolution of dependencies). If you select or deselect conflicting packages, the package manager indicates this and submits suggestions for solving the problem (resolution of conflicts).

Check Dependencies and Autocheck are located under the information window. If you click Check Dependencies, the package manager checks if the current package selection results in any unresolved package dependencies or conflicts. In the event of unresolved dependencies, the required additional packages are selected automatically. For package conflicts, the package manager opens a dialog that shows the conflict and offers various options for solving the problem.

If you activate Autocheck, any change of a package status triggers an automatic check. This is a useful feature, because the consistency of the package selection is monitored permanently. However, this process consumes resources and can slow down the package manager. For this reason, the autocheck is not activated by default. In either case, a consistency check is performed when you confirm your selection with Accept.

For example, sendmail and postfix may not be installed concurrently. Figure 2.3, “Conflict Management of the Package Manager” shows the conflict message prompting you to make a decision. postfix is already installed. Accordingly, you can refrain from installing sendmail, remove postfix, or take the risk and ignore the conflict.

[Warning]Handling Package Conflicts

Unless you are very experienced, follow the suggestions of YaST when handling package conflicts, because otherwise the stability and functionality of your system could be endangered by the existing conflict.

Figure 2.3. Conflict Management of the Package Manager

Conflict Management of the Package Manager Installing -devel Packages

The package manager provides functions for quick and easy installation of devel and debug packages. To install all devel packages for your installed system, choose Extras+Install All Matching — -devel Packages. To install all debug packages for your installed system, choose Extras+Install All Matching — -debuginfo Packages.

2.3.2. Installing Add-On Products

Add-on products are extensions for your system. You can install a third party add-on product or a special extension of your SUSE Linux, for example, the SDK add-on or a CD with binary drivers. To install a new add-on, use Software+Add-On Product. You can select various types of product media, like CD, FTP or local directory. You can work also directly with ISO files. To add an add-on as ISO file media, select Local Directory then choose ISO Images.

After successfully adding the add-on media, the package manager window appears. If the add-on provides a new selection , see the new item in the Selections filter. To view the list of all packages from the selected installation source, select the filter Installation Sources and choose the installation source to view. To view packages from a selected add-on by package groups, select the secondary filter Package Groups. Binary Drivers

Some hardware needs binary-only drivers for correct function. If you have such hardware, refer to the release notes for more information about availability of binary drivers for your system. To read the release notes, open YaST and select Miscellaneous+Release Notes.

2.3.3. Selecting the Installation Source

You can use multiple installation sources of several types. Select them and enable their use for installation or update using Software+Installation Source. When started, it displays a list of all previously registered sources. Following a normal installation from CD, only the installation CD is listed. Click Add to include additional sources in this list. Sources can be CDs, DVDs, or network sources, such as NFS and FTP servers. Even directories on the local hard disk can be selected as the installation medium. See the detailed YaST help text for more details.

All registered sources have an activation status in the first column of the list. Enable or disable individual installation sources by clicking Activate or Deactivate. During the installation of software packages or updates, YaST selects a suitable entry from the list of activated installation sources. When you exit the module with Close, the current settings are saved and applied to the configuration modules Software Management and System Update.

2.3.4. Updating Software Online

Install important updates and improvements with YaST Online Update (YOU). The current patches for your SUSE product are available from the SUSE catalogs. To add or remove catalogs, use the Software+Installation Source module, described in Section 2.3.3, “Selecting the Installation Source”.

Find the list of available patches on the left. Patches are sorted by security importance:


You must install these patches. Not installing the patches is a real security hazard.


You should install these patches, because your computer could be compromised.


You can install these patches, but if you do not install them your computer remains secure.

To install a patch, select it in the list and click Accept. You can select multiple patches. To cancel your changes, click Cancel.

If you need special settings, for example, if your computer is behind a proxy server, use the command line tool rug. It is described in Section 2.12, “Update from the Command Line”.

2.3.5. Automatic Online Update

Software+Online Update Setup allows you to schedule automatic online updates. First enable automatic online update by activating Enable Automatic Update then set the time of the update. If you want to have full control over installed patches, you can schedule only the download of patches and install patches manually later. To download patches only, check Only Download Patches.

Some patches need some additional actions, for example, patches for the kernel require a reboot for activation. Information about the additional actions are provided with preinstallation information. To use automatic update only for normal patches without preinstallation information, check Skip Patches with Preinstall Information. Click Finish to exit the dialog.

2.3.6. Updating from a Patch CD

The Patch CD Update module from the Software section installs patches from CD, not from an FTP server. The advantage lies in a much faster update with CD. After the patch CD is inserted, all patches on the CD are displayed in the dialog. Select the desired packages for installation from the list of patches. The module issues an error message if no patch CD is present. Insert the patch CD then restart the module.

2.3.7. Updating the System

Update the version of SUSE Linux installed on your system with Software+System Update. During operation, you can only update application software, not the base system. To update the base system, boot the computer from an installation medium, such as CD. When selecting the installation mode in YaST, select Update.

The procedure for updating the system is similar to a new installation. Initially, YaST examines the system, determines a suitable update strategy, and presents the results in a suggestion dialog. Click Change or the individual items to change any details. Update Options

Set the update method for your system. Two options are available.

Update with Installation of New Software and Features Based on the Selection

To update the entire system to the latest versions of software, select one of the predefined selections. These selections ensure that packages that did not exist previously are also installed.

Only Update Installed Packages

This option merely updates packages that already exist on the system. No new features are installed.

Additionally, you can use Delete Outdated Packages to remove packages that do not exist in the new version. By default, this option is preselected to prevent outdated packages from unnecessarily occupying hard disk space. Packages

Click Packages to start the package manager and select or deselect individual packages for update. Any package conflicts should be resolved with the consistency check. The use of the package manager is covered in detail in Section 2.3.1, “Installing and Removing Software”. Backup

During the update, the configuration files of some packages may be replaced by those of the new version. Because you may have modified some of the files in your current system, the package manager normally makes backup copies of the replaced files. With this dialog, determine the scope of these backups.

[Important]Scope of the Backup

This backup does not include the software. It only contains configuration files. Language

Primary and other languages currently installed on the system are listed here. Change them by clicking Language in the displayed configuration or with Change+Language. Optionally, adapt the keyboard layout and time zone to the region where the primary language is spoken. Find more about language selection in Section 2.5.14, “Language Selection”. Important Information about Updates

The system update is a very complex procedure. For each program package, YaST must first check which version is installed on the computer then determine what needs to be done to replace the old version with the new version correctly. YaST also tries to adopt any personal settings of the installed packages.

In most cases, YaST replaces old versions with new ones without problems. A backup of the existing system should be performed prior to updating to ensure that existing configurations are not lost during the update. Conflicts can then be resolved manually after the update has finished.

2.3.8. Checking Media

If you encounter any problems using the SUSE Linux installation media, you can check the CDs or DVDs with Software+Media Check. Media problems are more likely to occur with media you burn yourself. To check that a SUSE Linux CD or DVD is error-free, insert the medium into the drive and run this module. Click Start for YaST to check the MD5 checksum of the medium. This may take several minutes. If any errors are detected, you should not use this medium for installation.

2.3.9. Registering SUSE Linux

The registration and activation of your product is a precondition for technical support and product updates. If you skipped the registration during installation, you can register later with the help of the Product Registration module from Software. Before you start registration, prepare your contact e-mail and registration key.

In Include for Convenience, select whether to obtain some of the necessary information from your system. This simplifies the registration process. If you want to see what is required to register your system or what happens with your data, use Details.