SUSE 9.1, like most modern
operating systems, can be installed by booting from the operating system CD.
Place the SUSE CD in your drive and start your computer to begin the process.
After a brief loading procedure, you will be greeted with a language selection
screen. Choose American English (or whatever works for you) then hit the
'accept' button in the bottom right corner.
The SUSE installation package
will now analyze your computer's hardware and display a list, along with some
recommendations for how your hard drive should be partitioned to accept the SUSE
9.1 operating system.
Now it's time for an important
question: Are you installing Linux on a system with a blank hard drive and no
other drives with operating systems and essential data on them? If the answer to
this question is yes, you can safely skip ahead to the next section of the
article (though you should read on if you'd like to learn a bit about how the
Linux disk partitioning system works).
If you are installing SUSE on
a blank portion of your current Windows hard disk, or on a secondary blank disk
in your Windows system, or even on a non-blank disk or partition, please read on
as we take you through the ins and outs of partitioning your drives with SUSE
The Linux swap partition and file
Linux, like all other
operating systems, needs access to 'virtual memory' meaning hard drive space
that it can use to fit excess information that is either not needed quickly or
is too large for the available physical memory of the computer. In all recent
incarnations of Windows, this virtual memory takes the shape of a 'page file', a
percentage of one of your partitions (c: by default) that is reserved for use as
virtual memory. In Linux, instead of placing a swap file in a partition, a whole
'swap partition' must be created, which the operating system uses exclusively as
This means that all Linux
installations need at least a pair of partitions, one for the 'swap' and one for
everything else. As a rule of thumb, the swap partition should be at least the
size of your system memory x2, but not too much bigger, or it's wasted space.
As far as 'everything else' is
concerned, we went over the basics of the Linux Virtual files system in our
article but here's a brief recap:
there is one central ROOT directory and every device and file in the computer
can be located somewhere branching off it. This is the Virtual File System, in
which all devices and data (even drives using different file systems) are
assembled together into one large branching directory.
Think of it like this. In windows, each
drive is its own tree, with its branches being the files and folders contained
within it. In Linux VFS, there is only one, much larger tree and everything
(including hardware, drivers etc.) is contained somewhere within its branches.
When hard drives or removable media
devices are added to a Windows system, a new drive letter is created (d:,e:
etc.), and that drive letter is used to access and store data on that device.
When you add a new hard drive or
removable media device to a Linux system, a directory is created (or activated)
through which the data on that device can be accessed. This process is known as
mounting the drive or device. Essentially, you tell the operating system that
all the files on the device can be accessed by going to x directory. Like recent
versions of Windows, most modern Linux variants (including the version
of SUSE Linux we are using now) will perform this mounting operation
automatically on removable media like CDs and flash drives.
Various Linux distributions
have different ways of allocating the necessary system and user files among
various partitions (reserving one partition solely for the '/home' directory and
its various user subdirectories is one common example). Since the actual
partition location of these elements is fairly irrelevant to the virtual file
system, and to us for the purposes of this article, we won't explore the concept
further. Suffice to say that SUSE 9.1 keeps it nice and simple, tossing all
files onto a single partition. We like simple.