Broadcom BCM4312 for Lenovo S12 in openSUSE 11.4

Broadcom is the finicky mistress of Linux. Sometimes she’ll greet you with a smile with little effort and work perfectly, and sometimes she’ll spurn your most tried and trusted approaches.

Users with 4313, 43224, and 43225 will be happy to note the inclusion of open Broadom wireless drivers with the 2.6.36 kernel; however, for those of us who have to woo our Broadcom wireless, there’s a little bit extra work that needs to happen.

This is one of those unfortunate cases where you have to be online to get online.

First, find out what flavor of the kernel you’re running by opening a terminal and and running the command:

uname -r

Add the Essential Packman repository (if not already added):

sudo zypper ar -n packman-essentials packman-essentials

Then, install broadcom-wl, broadcom-wl-kmp-(uname -r), and rfkill*

Next, sudo into your favorite text editor. Kwrite is used in this example, but gedit, mousepad, or any text editor will do:

sudo kwrite /etc/modprobe.d/50-blacklist.conf

and add the following lines at the end of /etc/modprobe.d/50-blacklist.conf:

blacklist ssb

blacklist b43

blacklist acer-wmi

*Note: while not essential, I’ve found that including these allows automatic connection after boot and hibernation/standby on the S12–especially the acer-wmi kernel module.

You should be able to configure your wireless in YaST and connect after a reboot.

MintMenu on openSUSE

While being mainly a fan of openSUSE, I’ve come to appreciate Linux Mint on my netbook. One of the shining gems of Mint being it’s well integrated mintMenu. Many thanks go to Unamanic (follow his blog here), who has been gracious enough to provide mintMenu for openSUSE on the build service.

After a quick log out and back in, you can add mintMenu by right-clicking on your panel and selecting “add to panel.” Scroll down or search for mintMenu. Now you can remove your standard slab menu with the minty-fresh version.


MintMenu 1-click install for openSUSE 11.4

openSUSE 11.4 Suggested Reading

openSUSE 11.4 was released March 10th, and I’ve already happily updated to the geeko’s latest release. There’s a lot to be excited about in this excellent release. Among the top features are Kde 4.6, Gnome 2.32, Gnome 3 preview, Xfce 4.8, LXDE, LibreOffice 3.3.1, and Firefox 4 beta 12. Also included are improvements to package management, and the 200-line usability patch included in version 2.6.36 of the kernel. The full product highlights are available on the wiki here.

Read Oldcpu’s excellent guide here, which includes information for new and  seasoned users alike. At the very least, it’s a good idea to review the most annoying bugs for 11.4 before installing/upgrading. Existing users should also beware of a nasty bug when using zypper to “dup” to 11.4.

Many thanks to Eye On Linux for an excellent review of openSUSE 11.4.

I’ll have some tips and tricks coming up soon, so be sure to check back.

Update to openSUSE 11.1

Now that openSUSE 11.1 has been out for a couple weeks, it’s about time I share with the readers how to get around some of the growing pains of this latest release. It also seems an opportune time to update some of the guides and general information on this blog.

One of the main issues seems to stem from user permissions, particularly with KDE3 applications. So let’s fire up YaST2 and go to Security and Users–User and Group Management. Now click the edit button and add yourself to the following groups: audio, cdrom, and disk. You’ll need to log out and back in for the changes to take effect. There’s been some reports that Packman’s version of K3B doesn’t contain this bug, but these changes seem to help the rest of the KDE3 applications to automount properly.

Quite to my surprise when I went to add repositories, I found that my update repository’s autorefresh option was disabled, so check your repositories in YaST2 under Software–Software Repositories. I also disabled the Source and Debug repos.

The gstreamer backend for phonon has proven quite buggy on my system, so I removed it and instead installed phonon-backend-xine. I’d also recommend installing kdebase3 and kdebase3-SuSE to hedge up a few of the final quirks between KDE4 and KDE3 applications.

Install video drivers.

“Compiz on 11.1 hates me” as so aptly titled on openSUE’S troubleshooting guide for Compiz (Compiz certainly hated me). The solution is quite simple, however. First, remove all packages for Compiz and Emerald.Then remove all configuration files. The easiest way is to start up your favorite terminal emulator (like Konsole or Yakuake) and run the command:

rm -rf ~/.config/compiz

Reinstall Compiz via 1-click install:

1-click install

Major IE Vulnerability Exposed

Users of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer are being urged by experts to switch to a rival until a serious security flaw has been fixed.


This is the tag line that has already greeted many readers today as news travels further about a serious security flaw effecting every version of Internet Explorer from 5 to the latest IE 8 beta.

The exploitation of this vulnerability has already said to have compromised as many as 10,000 websites (roughly 0.02% by Microsoft’s estimation) and been used to steal game passwords, but could potentially be used to steal other more vital information.

“I cannot recommend people switch due to this one flaw,” said John Curran, head of Microsoft UK’s Windows group; however, many security experts are urging users to switch to an alternative browser. Some of the more popular alternatives to Internet Explorer are Firefox, Opera, ChromeSafari, but there are many lesser known alternatives–many of them are free of charge such as Maxthon.

Microsoft is currently working on a patch for this vulnerability, however no release date has been set. This is not to say that you need to unistall IE, nor that other browsers are impervious to vulnerabilities and security flaws. Malware exists due to bugs in the code of programs, and no code is perfect. Patches continue to roll out for every platform (yes, even Mac). While it’s the responsibility of software vendors to fix and release patches in a timely manner, it’s the responsibility of the user to install the patches offered in just as an efficient time frame as well as practice safe habits both online and offline.

How To: 64-bit Flash Player for Linux

Adobe has released a preview of their upcoming 64-bit version of Flash player for Linux. The software giant has shown much hesitancy towards porting Flash, without much explanation. This release is considered to be in alpha state, but I’ve found no more bugs than in their stable 9.x series for Linux. In fact, I’ve actually had better results overall.

Download the plug-in from the Flash Player Download Center.

Quit your browser and remove any previous installations of Flash as well as all versions of NSPlugin.

Extract and copy it to  /usr/lib64/browser-plugins.

Relaunch your browser and verify the installation by either visiting Adobe’s About Flash page or typing in Firefox’s address “bar about:plugins” (without the quotation marks).

If it all went well, you’ll be happily playing the wealth of Flash media online.

Please comment below whether or not it worked for you.

Update: Changed the link to Flash Player “Square.”

Ms Truetype Fonts on openSUSE 11

I recently watched an interesting film on font design that was a reminder of how fonts seem to live and breathe beside us day in and day out, often times going unnoticed. In an age where the sheer volume of information is overwhelming, the subtleties are sometimes lost, and sometimes make all the difference, speaking to our subconscious in ways we may not understand.

Fonts have intrigued me since I stumbled upon the vast storehouse within MS Word. Not that we were allowed to use them in school, mind you. I remember being given a list of fonts that were approved for graded papers in school. I think every student has has the conversation with his/herself that goes along the lines of “If I changed the font from Times New Roman to Verdana, would it look like I wrote more?” Perhaps it was this sort of almost forbidden nature of the vast array of fonts that has held my curiosity.

Microsoft’s Truetype fonts on Linux are always a bit of a dance with the devil. Since they are proprietary most Linux distributions will not include them in the default installation and only use fonts licensed under the GPL These fonts handle the day to day applications fairly well. There are some instances, however, when a web page, or a Powerpoint presentation will not render correctly, completely, or not at all. Our culture is so entrenched in these fonts that it’s only when you cannot use them that you notice just how common they really are.

In previous releases, SUSE to provided MS Truetype fonts through their online updater after installation. As of this post, openSUSE 11.0 provides no such update through the official channels. Luckily, the BuildService has provided the community with the ability to easily add and access packages built by other members of the community. Below are links for 1-click install to both MS webcore-fonts, and webcore-fonts-vista. These two packages should give you all the lovely pretty fonts that we’ve become so accustomed to.

Update: Check back after each release of openSUSE’s 11.x series for updated packages.

Update 2: As of 11.4, the fonts are no longer automatically installed during the initial update; however, they are still available via the update repository under “fetchmsttfonts.”