2.5. System

This group of modules is designed to help you manage your system. All modules in this group are system-related and serve as valuable tools for ensuring that your system runs properly and your data is managed efficiently.

2.5.1. Backup

Create a backup of both your system and data using System+System Backup. However, the backup created by the module does not include the entire system. The system is backed up by saving important storage areas on your hard disk that may be crucial when trying to restore a system, such as the partition table or master boot record (MBR). Data is backed up by saving changed files of packages accessible on installation media, entire packages that are unaccessible (such as online updates), and files not belonging to packages, such as many of the configuration files in /etc or the directories under /home.

2.5.2. Restoration

With System+System Restoration, restore your system from a backup archive created with System Backup. First, specify where the archives are located (removable media, local hard disks, or network file systems). Click Next to view the description and contents of the individual archives and select what to restore from the archives.

You can also uninstall packages that were added since the last backup and reinstall packages that were deleted since the last backup. These two steps enable you to restore the exact system state at the time of the last backup.

[Warning]System Restoration

Because this module normally installs, replaces, or uninstalls many packages and files, use it only if you have experience with backups. Otherwise you may lose data.

2.5.3. Boot and Rescue Disks

Create boot and rescue disks with System+Boot or Rescue Floppy. These floppy disks are helpful if the boot configuration of your system is damaged. The rescue disk is especially necessary if the file system of the root partition is damaged.

The following options are available:

Standard Boot Floppy

Use this option to create the standard boot floppies with which to boot an installed system. Depending on the architecture, the actual number of boot disks may vary, but you should create all the boot disks presented in the dialog because all these disks are necessary for booting. They are also needed for starting the rescue system.

Rescue Floppy

This disk contains a special environment that allows you to perform maintenance tasks in your installed system, such as checking and repairing the file system and updating the boot loader. To start the rescue system, boot with the standard boot disks then select Manual Installation+Start Installation or System+Rescue System. Insert the rescue disk when prompted.

Custom Floppy

Use this to write any existing floppy disk image from the hard disk to a floppy disk.

Download Floppy Image

With this, enter a URL and authentication data to download a floppy disk image from the Internet.

To create one of these floppy disks, select the corresponding option and click Next. Insert a floppy disk when prompted. Click Next again to create the floppy disk.

2.5.4. Boot Loader Configuration

To configure booting for systems installed on your computer, use the System+Boot Loader module. A detailed description of how to configure the boot loader with YaST is available in Section 9.3, “Configuring the Boot Loader with YaST” (↑Reference).

2.5.5. LVM

The logical volume manager (LVM) is a tool for custom partitioning of hard disks with logical drives. Find information about LVM in Section 2.1, “LVM Configuration” (↑Reference).

2.5.6. Partitioner

With the expert dialog, shown in Figure 2.4, “The YaST Partitioner”, manually modify the partitioning of one or several hard disks. Partitions can be added, deleted, resized, and edited. Also access the soft RAID and LVM configuration from this YaST module.

[Warning]Warning

Although it is possible to modify the partitions in the installed system, this should be handled only by experts. Otherwise the risk of making a mistake that causes data loss is very high. If you repartition a hard disk in use, reboot the system right afterwards. It is safer to use the rescue system than repartition the system while running.

Figure 2.4. The YaST Partitioner

The YaST Partitioner

All existing or suggested partitions on all connected hard disks are displayed in the list of the YaST Expert Partitioner dialog. Entire hard disks are listed as devices without numbers, such as /dev/hda or /dev/sda. Partitions are listed as parts of these devices, such as /dev/hda1 or /dev/sda1. The size, type, file system, and mount point of the hard disks and their partitions are also displayed. The mount point describes where the partition appears in the Linux file system tree.

If you run the expert dialog during installation, any free hard disk space is also listed and automatically selected. To provide more disk space to SUSE Linux, free the needed space starting from the bottom toward the top of the list (starting from the last partition of a hard disk toward the first). For example, if you have three partitions, you cannot use the second exclusively for SUSE Linux and retain the third and first for other operating systems.

2.5.6.1. Creating a Partition

Select Create. If several hard disks are connected, a selection dialog appears in which to select a hard disk for the new partition. Then, specify the partition type (primary or extended). Create up to four primary partitions or up to three primary partitions and one extended partition. Within the extended partition, create several logical partitions (see Section 1.8.1.1, “Partition Types”).

Select the file system to use and a mount point, if necessary. YaST suggests a mount point for each partition created. Details of the parameters are provided in the next section. Select OK to apply your changes. The new partition is then listed in the partition table. If you click Next, the current values are adopted. During installation you are then returned to the suggestion screen.

2.5.6.2. Partitioning Parameters

When you create a new partition or modify an existing partition, set various parameters. For new partitions, suitable parameters are set by YaST and usually do not require any modification. To perform manual settings, proceed as follows:

  1. Select the partition.

  2. Click Edit to edit the partition and set the parameters:

    File System ID

    Even if you do not want to format the partition at this stage, assign it a file system ID to ensure that the partition is registered correctly. Possible values include Linux, Linux swap, Linux LVM, and Linux RAID. For LVM and RAID details, refer to Section 2.1, “LVM Configuration” (↑Reference) and Section 2.2, “Soft RAID Configuration” (↑Reference).

    File System

    To format the partition immediately within the scope of the installation, specify one of the following file systems for the partition: Swap, Ext2, Ext3, ReiserFS, or JFS. Refer to Chapter 13, File Systems in Linux (↑Reference) for details on the various file systems.

    Swap is a special format that allows the partition to be used as virtual memory. ReiserFS is the default file system for the Linux partitions. ReiserFS, JFS, and Ext3 are journaling file systems. These file systems are able to restore the system very quickly after a system crash, because write processes are logged during the operation. Furthermore, ReiserFS is very fast in handling lots of small files. Ext2 is not a journaling file system. However, it is rock solid and good for smaller partitions, because it does not require much disk space for management.

    File System Options

    Set various parameters for the selected file system here. Depending on the file system used, various options are offered for experts.

    Encrypt File System

    If you activate the encryption, all data is written to the hard disk in encrypted form. This increases the security of sensitive data, but slightly reduces the system speed, because the encryption takes some time. More information about the encryption of file systems is provided in Section 4.3, “Encrypting Partitions and Files” (↑Reference).

    Fstab Options

    Here, specify various parameters for the administration file of the file systems (/etc/fstab).

    Mount Point

    Specifies the directory at which the partition should be mounted in the file system tree. Select from various YaST proposals or enter any other name.

  3. Select Next to activate the partition.

If you partition manually, create a swap partition of at least 256 MB. The swap partition is used to free the main memory of data that is not used at the present moment. This keeps the main memory free for the most frequently-used important data.

2.5.6.3. Expert Options

Expert opens a menu containing the following commands:

Reread Partition Table

Rereads the partitioning from disk. For example, you need this after manual partitioning in the text console.

Delete Partition Table and Disk Label

This completely overwrites the old partition table. For example, this can be helpful if you have problems with unconventional disk labels. Using this method, all data on the hard disk is lost.

2.5.6.4. More Partitioning Tips

If the partitioning is performed by YaST and other partitions are detected in the system, these partitions are also entered in the file /etc/fstab to enable easy access to this data. This file contains all partitions in the system with their properties, such as the file system, mount point, and user permissions.

Example 2.1. /etc/fstab: Partition Data

/dev/sda1    /data1    auto      noauto,user 0 0
/dev/sda5    /data2    auto      noauto,user 0 0 
/dev/sda6    /data3    auto      noauto,user 0 0
   

The partitions, regardless of whether they are Linux or FAT partitions, are specified with the options noauto and user. This allows any user to mount or unmount these partitions as needed. For security reasons, YaST does not automatically enter the exec option here, which is needed for executing programs from the location. However, to run programs from there, you can enter this option manually. This measure is necessary if you encounter system messages such as bad interpreter or Permission denied.

2.5.6.5. Partitioning and LVM

From the expert partitioner, access the LVM configuration with LVM (see Section 2.1, “LVM Configuration” (↑Reference)). However, if a working LVM configuration already exists on your system, it is automatically activated as soon as you enter the LVM configuration for the first time in a session. In this case, any disks containing a partition belonging to an activated volume group cannot be repartitioned because the Linux kernel cannot reread the modified partition table of a hard disk when any partition on this disk is in use. However, if you already have a functioning LVM configuration on your system, physical repartitioning should not be necessary. Instead, change the configuration of the logical volumes.

At the beginning of the physical volumes (PVs), information about the volume is written to the partition. To reuse such a partition for other non-LVM purposes, it is advisable to delete the beginning of this volume. For example, in the VG system and PV /dev/sda2, do this with the command dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda2 bs=512 count=1.

[Warning]File System for Booting

The file system used for booting (the root file system or /boot) must not be stored on an LVM logical volume. Instead, store it on a normal physical partition.

2.5.7. PCI Device Drivers

Each kernel driver contains a list of device IDs of all devices it supports. If a new device is not in any driver's database, the device is treated as unsupported, even if it can be used with an existing driver. With this YaST module from System section, you can add PCI IDs. Only advanced users should attempt to use this YaST module.

To add an ID, click Add and select how to assign it: by selecting a PCI device from a list or by manually entering PCI values. In the first option, select the PCI device from the provided list then enter the driver or directory name. If the directory is left empty, the driver name is used as the directory name. When assigning PCI ID values manually, enter the appropriate data to set up a PCI ID. Click OK to save your changes.

To edit a PCI ID, select the device driver from the list and click Edit. Edit the information and click OK to save your changes. To delete an ID, select the driver and click Delete. The ID immediately disappears from the list. When finished, click OK.

2.5.8. Power Management

The System+Power Management module helps you work with saving energy technologies. It is especially important on laptops to extend their operational time. Find detailed information about using this module in Section 33.6, “The YaST Power Management Module” (↑Reference).

2.5.9. Powertweak Configuration

Powertweak is a SUSE Linux utility for tweaking your system to peak performance by tuning some kernel and hardware configurations. It should be used only by advanced users. After starting it with System+Powertweak, it detects your system settings and lists them in tree form in the left frame of the module. You can also use Search to find a configuration variable. Select the option to tweak to display it on the screen along with its directory and settings. To save the settings, click Finish then confirm it by clicking OK.

2.5.10. Profile Manager

Create, manage, and switch among system configurations with System+Profile Management, the YaST system configuration profile management (SCPM) module. This is especially useful for mobile computers that are used in different locations (in different networks) and by different users. Nevertheless, this feature is useful even for stationary machines, because it enables the use of various hardware components or test configurations. For more information about SCPM basics and handling, refer to Chapter 32, System Configuration Profile Management (↑Reference).

2.5.11. System Services (Runlevel)

Configure runlevels and the services that start in them with System+System Services (Runlevel). For more information about the runlevels in SUSE Linux and a description of the YaST runlevel editor, refer to Section 8.2.3, “Configuring System Services (Runlevel) with YaST” (↑Reference).

2.5.12. /etc/sysconfig Editor

The directory /etc/sysconfig contains the files with the most important settings for SUSE Linux. Use System+/etc/sysconfig Editor to modify the values and save them to the individual configuration files. Generally, manual editing is not necessary, because the files are automatically adapted when a package is installed or a service is configured. More information about /etc/sysconfig and the YaST sysconfig editor is available in Section 8.3.1, “Changing the System Configuration Using the YaST sysconfig Editor” (↑Reference).

2.5.13. Time and Date Configuration

The time zone is initially set during installation, but you can change it with System+Date and Time. Also use this to change the current system date and time.

To change the time zone, select the region in the left column and the location or time zone in the right column. With Hardware Clock Set To, set whether the system clock should use Local Time or UTC (Coordinated Universal Time). UTC is often used in Linux systems. Machines with additional operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows, mostly use local time.

Set the current system time and date with Change. In the dialog that opens, modify the time and date by entering new values or adjusting them with the arrow buttons. Press Apply to save the changes.

2.5.14. Language Selection

The primary and secondary languages for your system are set during installation. However, they can be changed at any time using System+Language. The primary language set in YaST applies to the entire system, including YaST and the desktop environment. This is the language you expect to use most of the time. Secondary languages are languages that are sometimes needed by users for a variety of purposes, such as desktop language or word processing.

Figure 2.5. Setting the Language

Setting the Language

Select the main language to use for your system in Primary Language. To adjust the keyboard or time zone to this setting, enable Adapt Keyboard Layout or Adapt Time Zone.

Set how locale variables are set for the root user with Details. Also use Details to set the primary language to a dialect not available in the main list. These settings are written into the file /etc/sysconfig/language.