A useable example desktop

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This is an example for setting up a useable desktop. We have reproduced it step-by-step and checked that it allows you to:

  • Play multimedia files, audio and video, and even those in the wmv video format
  • Play DVDs, even those with DVD menues
  • Surf the web, even watch and listen to youtube videos
  • Write an essay, even save it as Word Document

... and much more, see the table of content.


For the distribution, this example uses SUSE Linux 11.3. Flash Player is included with firefox and works out of the box. For other pros and cons, see distro comparison. This has been tested with SUSE Linux 11.3.

Some useful settings

alias lsdirs=ls -d */ 
to your /etc/profile.
ForwardX11 yes


Make sure sound works

dd if=/dev/urandom of=/dev/dsp
If it does not work, follow the instructions at sound troubleShooting.

Make sure the printer works

  • Test that printing works. A printer is installed automatically during a default installation. This is valid for well-known printers. If yours is not installed automatically, call
yast2 printer

Make sure the scanner works

Do a test scan using the SUSE setup utility:

yast2 scanner

Make sure you can burn a DVD

See if you can burn a DVD, see CD/DVD burning.


If you want to connect to the internet via UMTS, see UMTS.


After installing Linux you will have to do some settings. You need to install mplayer to play music and videos and you need to install a scanner and check your printer is installed.

Play multimedia files

Main Article: mplayer

To play music and video files we choose the software mplayer.

yast -i subversion
  • Install the software to build mplayer:
yast -i gcc-c++ automake autoconf make yasm zlib-devel gtk2-devel xorg-x11-devel
  • Download ("checkout") the mplayer sourcecode:
svn co svn://svn.mplayerhq.hu/mplayer/trunk mplayer
cd mplayer
./configure --enable-gui && make -j8 && make install

Play DVDs

To play DVDs with or without menues, we use vlc. To install it, open a console and enter


choose Software -> Repositories -> add -> Community Repositories -> VideoLan Repository -> Import key -> Finish

Then, call

yast -i vlc

To play a DVD, create a user:

useradd -m kino
passwd kino

Log out from your display session (CTRL_ALT_BACKSPACE), login as kino, open a console and enter


Choose File -> Open Disk

Surf the web

As you have installed SUSE Linux 11.3 by default, you can just start a browser by clicking on the firefox symbol. If you do not recognize it, you can also open a console and enter


You will be able to watch videos on youtube. Everything is all set.

Write an essay

As you have installed SUSE Linux 11.3 by default, you can just start a word processor, openOffIce, by opening a console and entering



To be able to scan, you need to initialize your scanner:

yast2 scanner

After its test scan works, use the software xSane for scanning.


If you need a calculator quickly, type ALT_F2 and enter


Read PDF files

We choose Acrobat reader to view PDF files. To install it, enter

yast -i acroread

Packing and unpacking files

Main article: Packing and Unpacking Files

This article recommends ark.

Audio Volume control

This article recommends KMix.

Edit text

Main article: text editors

This article recommends kWrite.

Image viewer

This article recommends konqueror.

Use a digital camera

Main article: use a digital camera

To get your photos from your digital camera, use digikam.

Use a camcorder

Main article: use a camcorder

To get your videos via firewire from your camcorder, use kino. For other types of camcorders, see camcorder.

Talk to friends online

Main article: Talk to friends online

This article recommends pidGin for IM and IRC chat, skype for IP telephony with or without a webcam.

Listen to webradio

Follow the instructions at webradio.

Run Windows software

Main article: Running Windows SoftWare

Sometimes you may need to run Windows software, e.g. when WinZip brought out a new packing format that is only available with WinZip. To do this, use the Software wine.

See also