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openSUSE Linux Unleashed Paperback – November 8, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0672329456 ISBN-10: 067232945X Edition: 1st

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openSUSE Linux Unleashed + SUSE Linux Toolbox: 1000+ Commands for openSUSE and SUSE Linux Enterprise + OpenSUSE 11.0 and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Bible
Price for all three: $92.31

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 744 pages
  • Publisher: Sams Publishing; 1 edition (November 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067232945X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0672329456
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,588,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michael McCallister has spent all of this century and a part of the last making computing easier for the full spectrum of user levels and experience. He is currently a technical writing consultant with Compuware.


Michael has run a SuSE Linux desktop at home since version 5.3 and knows firsthand how far the distribution has come over the years. Besides SUSE Linux 10 Unleashed, he is the author of Computer Certification Handbook, published by Arco Press (2000), and his technology stories have been published in places such as Linux Journal,, Java Developer’s Journal, Internet Voyager, and Isthmus. He is a senior member of the Society for Technical Communication and the National Writers Union. He blogs about working, writing and open source at Notes from the Metaverse (


Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.



Welcome to openSUSE Linux Unleashed! This book is going to help you get the most out of your SUSE Linux system, and it includes a fully functional copy of the operating system distribution.

Since SUSE Linux A.G. was acquired by networking pioneer Novell in 2003, more North Americans are becoming familiar with the SUSE Linux distribution that has long been popular in Europe. SUSE Linux offers an incredibly easy installation and a large number of applications that have been tested for stability.

openSUSE marks a new way of doing things for both Novell and SUSE, and this book can help you join the excitement. openSUSE 10.3 is now the fourth SUSE release built and tested through the openSUSE project. Many thousands of people around the world have downloaded and run beta releases and have contributed bug reports, feature wish lists, and postings on the openSUSE mailing list. Novell has committed to opening up the process even further in the future. You'll read more about the openSUSE project in Chapter 1.

Whether you're completely new to Linux or coming to openSUSE Linux from another distribution, you're going to find solid information in a slightly more relaxed style than you're used to in a computer book.

SUSE Linux has always been known as a distribution packed with applications, and openSUSE 10.3 is no exception. This book, as always, includes a complete copy of the distribution on a DVD. The Linux kernel forms the core of a truly modern operating system that can power anything from wrist watches to supercomputers. openSUSE Linux can run on computers running processors ranging from the Intel 486 through 64-bit processors from AMD and Intel.

This book will be especially helpful to the millions using Linux as their everyday desktop system. After first sweeping over the server landscape in the late 1990s, Linux is gaining ground in the desktop arena. More Linux developers have become interested in writing software for the masses of ordinary users. You'll learn how to use several open-source office productivity applications, access the Internet, work with digital music and video, and even play a few games.

openSUSE Linux Unleashed contains everything you need to get started and be productive.

Note - This book includes a copy of openSUSE 10.3, but readers owning earlier versions of SUSE Linux should find nearly all the advice contained here useful.

You'll get a little bit of Linux history before jumping into the preparation needed for a successful installation and long-term operation of openSUSE Linux. Then you'll get step-by-step instructions in using the SUSE Linux standby, Yet another Setup Tool (YaST), to install the distribution and configure your hardware. Next, you'll learn about the everyday applications you need to run Linux on the desktop, and then you'll learn about using the Internet, creating websites, and running web and FTP servers.

System administration is the next major topic; in this topic, you'll learn how to manage your files, users, and data, and how to keep your system current by updating it with the same tool you used to install the system.

Finally, because Linux has always been a playground for programmers, we'll cover both the classic tools for creating new programs and the newer scripting languages.

Why Use Linux?

More than a decade has passed since Linus Torvalds put his operating system code on the Internet, and millions have been putting Linux to good use. It's been a while since Linux was viewed as a "toy operating system" used only by geek computer hobbyists.

Big corporations, colleges, governments, school districts, nonprofit organizations, and everyday users are all turning to Linux to boost productivity at a low cost. If you're still thinking about whether to join them, here are a few good reasons:

  • Linux puts you in control of your computing environment. Although much of the buzz around "free software" revolves around cost (and we'll get to that argument in a moment), what's really important is that the user is really in charge. Choices abound in the Linux space. If you're not happy with the way one application works, there's usually something else out there that can make you happy. Most applications are also endlessly customizable, so if there's an annoying feature included as a default, you can always turn it off or modify its functioning.

  • Linux is inexpensive to install, run, and update. Unlike proprietary operating systems, you can take the DVD from this book and install openSUSE on as many computers as you need to. Configure Linux individually for your file servers, routers, web servers, and desktops. All these systems will run crash-free with little maintenance required and (if you like) automated updates that don't even need user intervention to install.

  • Linux is ready for the desktop. Nearly everything you can do on a Windows machine can be done on openSUSE, from creating professional office documents and presentations to getting files on the Internet. It's also not that hard to get used to after you've made the switch. When Grandma is running Linux, she's less likely to see error messages and crashing programs, too.

  • Linux is a rock-solid server performer. The operating system (OS) made its first impression as a fast, secure, stable, scalable, and robust server OS. The current kernel easily handles multiprocessor machines, gigabytes of system memory, and terabytes of data. Most enterprise-level applications have Linux versions. Although this book does not cover the Novell Open Enterprise Server (OES), openSUSE serves as a proving ground for new enterprise applications to be included in OES.

  • Linux thrives in a variety of environments. Linux drives many personal digital assistants, laptops, desktops, and specialized computers. You can put your ancient 486 processor to work as a router or file server with openSUSE. It also runs on AMD 64-bit Opteron processors, and did so for a year before 64-bit Windows XP was released.

  • Linux offers a royalty-free development platform for several operating systems. Because of the open-source development model and the high-quality, free tools available to developers, anyone from 13-year-old budding programmers to massive development shops can produce quality software relatively inexpensively.

  • Linux now offers big player support. Although the Linux community is still the best place to go for support when things go wrong, the presence of IBM, Novell, and other big companies in the support space can make even the most uneasy bean counter relax a little.

Who This Book Is For

This book will get you going on openSUSE Linux. When Novell began the openSUSE project, this distribution became targeted for the computer enthusiast and personal user. The contents are aimed at the intermediate to advanced user, but even the newest Linux users should find much useful information, especially in Part 1. The end of each chapter offers pointers to excellent resources on the World Wide Web (WWW) to keep you current and help you delve deeper into the subject areas covered here.

The YaST installer is better than most at identifying and configuring hardware, but you should have at least some familiarity with your system and the types of hardware it contains before installing any Linux system. Knowing your way around the command line never hurts either. This book will help you gain and refine those skills and show you how to learn more about your computer, Linux, and the applications included in the distribution.

System administrators of all experience levels will be able to use this book to install, set up, and run common network services, including the Apache web server, FTP servers, and Samba for cross-platform networking. You'll also get comfortable with using YaST to update your systems.

Programmers will learn about the tools available to help them be productive, with su...

More About the Author

Mike McCallister is devoted to the idea that technology need not be feared, and can be mastered by anyone. After all, he grew up in the days when computers filled entire rooms, and spent 13 years as a civil service clerk doing nothing more technical than recording WordPerfect macros.

He is devoted to making computing easier for the full spectrum of user levels and experience. As a technical communicator, freelance computer magazine writer, and book author, he understands that ordinary people can and should make the most of their tools.

Besides Linux, WordPress and other open source software, interests include tools for communicating via the Web (blogs, social networks, wikis, and the like) and bridging the digital divide.

McCallister has been running Linux as his primary day-to-day desktop operating system since 1999, but he also documents software for a variety of platforms.

He writes a technology-oriented blog, Notes from the Metaverse. His technology stories have been published in places like:
Java Developer's Journal

He is a compulsive joiner. Among the relevant groups: Senior Member of the Society for Technical Communication, and president of the Wisconsin chapter; Web414, Milwaukee's Web Community; and the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981.

He absolutely loves going to BarCamps and BarCamp-style events, especially BarCampMilwaukee. Occasionally, you'll also find him at the Milwaukee Linux Users Group

When he's not staring at computer screens (which he admittedly finds strangely alluring), you'll often find him trying to make the world a better place. Or reading, watching a baseball game or other sporting event (live or on TV), hanging out with the grandkids and walking around urban landscapes.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sonic Joe on April 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book to help me get a feel for Linux, which I recently decided to install on my PC to dual-boot with Windows. Although reviews online seemed to suggest this book is for intermediate to advanced users, its actually a fairly good beginner's guide to SUSE Linux. If you already use Linux, you'll probably find this book useless. If you consider yourself an intermediate to advanced **Windows** user, and are thinking about migrating from Windows to SUSE Linux, you will probably find this book helpful in explaining the differences between Windows and Linux and how to overcome them.

That being said, there isn't much in this book that isn't already available for free online (including the Linux install DVD in the book, which can be downloaded from opensuse if you have a decent internet connection.)
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Don Bemont on July 25, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This title proved a disappointment for me.

First of all, most of the value of a book of this type is found in the fact that the enclosed installation DVDs match the directions in the book. Otherwise, one might as well use internet documentation. The chief problem in internet documentation is that it never quite fits the version of the distro you are using. However, this book does NOT match its DVD; as the author notes, the book was written before SUSE 10.3 came out, and the differences are annoying and, at times, important. An expert would not be troubled, but an inexperienced Linus user like myself can be stymied.

Which brings me to my second issue. I am not sure who the author intends as the audience of this book. The above problem, combined with background chattiness, makes this tough for a newbie, but the depth is not sufficient for medium or expert users. In my case, I needed some in-depth info regarding the apache server and regarding partitioning, and found in both cases that this text did not begin to give the necessary detail.

Third, the value of the book certainly depends on the installation disk. Downloading Linux on the net can be challenging and time consuming. (It's quite a large and slow download, for most distros, needs to be burned onto a DVD as an .iso, and then often fails a checksum check, meaning you need to start all over.) So buying the book takes the place of buying boxed disks. However, I wonder what percentage of the disks enclosed with this book are corrupt. By accident, I got two copies, and, of the two, one turned out to be good and one bad. Hmmm... Maybe just incredibly bad luck, maybe not.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By William Mercado on February 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is very nice, about every question that I had about Open SUSE is answered in this book, from configuring bluetooth to programing in C. I recomend this book to anyone interested in learning open SUSE
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Format: Paperback
To start with, the book is outdated and shallow. It serves as a general intro for a beginner, assuming that you can get around differences between what is written in the book and an actual system.
I purchased OpenSUSE 11.3 Linux, 4-disks DVD Installation and Reference Set which is great and comes bundled with many books. Any of these freely included books totally eclipse this volume. Not to mention that you get a complete system with all included reference.
Today, when some best info on Linux is freely available online on web or as ebooks, this "unleashed" can't compete.
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