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S.u.S.E. Linux 5.1 in VirtualBox

Posted 01-18-2020 at 05:35 PM by wagscat123
Updated 01-18-2020 at 08:34 PM by wagscat123

S.u.S.E. is an acronym for "Software und System Entwicklung", meaning "Software and Systems Development" in German. S.u.S.E. Linux became an independent distribution starting with release 4.2 (reference to The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy) in May, 1996, based on Jurix, packaged as YaST, and no longer simply a translation of the historic distribution SLS.

Verison 4.4 in early 1997 was the first available in English, and it is not until version 5.1 that S.u.S.E. Linux becomes available for download from

In October of 1997, it appears that the main desktop available is that of FVWM, a simple window manager that remains available for download in most Linux distributions today. FVWM included a few built in menus from S.u.S.E. to access a few applications and to be the most full featured and stable way to use the desktop at the time with even a start screen. The pre-release of KDE included appears to be feature incomplete, with options missing from the Control Center and nothing on the panel to adjust things like the volume. It crashed a few times during my test session. The kernel is part of the 2.0.x series.

An early version of YaST, before the YaST2 re-write a few years later, looks more like the ncurses set-up program for Slackware than the modern, modularized YaST of SUSE Linux distributions today. A help system rendered with the early Arena browser is included in English and German. For a little historical context, Princess Diana passed during the development of this release.

The graphics are at best 16 color with this release. The best hack I found to get any graphics is to start the XF86Setup utility from a root virtual terminal, then to switch back to another root terminal and entering another command, "DISPLAY=:7.0 xterm". Switching back to the graphic session running for XF86Setup there's an xterm window from which we can type "kde" or "fvwm". Switching virtual terminals in VirtualBox's default setup is done by pressing the right control key then the F key for the virtual terminal you want to switch to. It typically takes several attempts. Setting the OS to Linux kernel 2.2 in the VirtualBox New VM wizard, there were little hiccups with set up and installation. 2.5 GB of hard disk space and 50 MB of RAM were more than enough system resources for this release.

Next up, S.u.S.E. Linux 5.2:
Attached Images
File Type: png 51-help.png (14.6 KB, 1 views)
File Type: png 51-fvwm.png (12.7 KB, 1 views)
File Type: png 51-yast.png (6.7 KB, 2 views)
File Type: png 51-kde.png (16.5 KB, 1 views)
File Type: png 51-desktop.png (8.1 KB, 2 views)
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