SDB:A Help File to Help Yourself

Şuraya atla: kullan, ara

Version: 8.0

A Help File to Help Yourself

We are here to help you...

Almost everybody has experienced this situation - you want to work with your chosen operating system and find yourself unable to perform even the seemingly simplest tasks. A command or the correct syntax is missing here, a previously installed packet cannot be found there. While the Internet - practically designed to get lost in - provides virtually infinite knowledge, there is always the question of where exactly you can find the information that you need...

This article offers you help tools that will assist you in performing everyday tasks with your SUSE LINUX distribution. This article is intended as a means through which you can learn to help yourself, since it not only includes solution sources for the most frequently asked questions, but also contains references to relevant literature through which you can acquire a profound Linux knowledge base. Then, at some point in the future, you will no longer need these pages...

This article is primarily intended for those who have not gotten desired results from documentation found elsewhere or those who do not really know where to find SUSE LINUX help documentation. That is exactly where this article picks up. You can use this article to systematically structure your search for information on the Internet or locally on your computer. You will soon find the answer to your question "where and how" to find solutions for your Linux problems. Moreover, this resource saves you one of the most important things to have these days - time.
Long searches require a lot of time, and who can afford that?
Therefore, enough with the preliminaries - let's get started.

Systematically search your computer for information

An example:

Let us assume that you have SUSE LINUX installed on your computer, most likely a standard installation with or without Office package. You now want to use a program that you have heard about, but cannot find it on your computer. For the sake of this example, let us assume that this program is korganizer.
The purpose of Korganizer is to manage your schedule, remind you of appointments, etc.
You now want to check if the program is already installed or if you still need to do that. We will now search your local computer for the korganizer package. First, however, a few remarks on package management under Linux:

Under Linux, programs are always installed in so-called package form.
You can imagine that it works somewhat like this:
A package consists of many small individual packages, also called files, that play an important role in creating the program. Sometimes, packages (programs) you are searching for are located within other, larger packages.
rpm packages are the most commonly used package format. These packages are easy to install or uninstall, if desired. Almost every program is available in rpm format; you will find out below where and how to find these programs.
rpm itself is also a powerful research tool that is popular when it comes to searching computers for needed information. Information about using rpm is available in the man-page with the same name: man rpm.
It is somewhat easier to handle the output if you enter the man: rpm command in the konqueror address line.

More information about rpm is available on the Internet under the following URL:

SDB:RPM database corrupted

Next, we are going to check if the program korganizer is already installed on our computer. However, we will use the search function whereis to retrieve this information, not rpm.
Follow the procedure below:

  1. Use your mouse to open a console (the icon with the sea shell in the command bar)
  2. Please enter the following information:
whereis korganizer
  1. Hit the return key to confirm.
  2. Most likely, you will now see the following output:
korganizer: /opt/kde3/bin/korganizer

If that is the case, korganizer is already installed and the executable program is located in the /opt directory, in the kde3/bin subdirectory.

If you cannot find the sea shell icon, the most likely cause is that you are working with a graphic user interface other than KDE.
Below is another option - open a command line console:

  1. Press the Alt + F2 keys simultaneously.
    The system opens a new window named Execute command.
  2. Please enter the following information:
  1. Hit the return key to confirm the command.

The system now opens a so-called xterm. This is a new terminal in which you can now enter commands.

Start the program

You can start the korganizer program as follows:

  1. Press the Alt + F2 keys.
  2. The so-called Execute command window opens. You can enter a command here,
    in the following format:
  1. Press the return key to confirm the command or click the Execute button. The korganizer program now opens.

However, if you see the following output after you enter whereis korganizer:


then the package you are searching for is not yet installed.

Installation of a package

Naturally, there are many methods for installing a program package.
At this point, instead of explaining the commonly used and frequently documented programs YaST2 or kpackage, we would like to introduce you to the program PIN.
With the help of PIN, we are going to search for the information we need to install our package and then perform the installation itself with a single command.
However, if you would rather use another program to perform the installation, go to the following URL for detailed information about installing an rpm package with YaST2, kpackage and rpm:

SDB:Installing Applications under SuSE Linux 8.0


The PIN (Packet InformatioN) program is a tool from SUSE LINUX. PIN provides information about already installed program packages, as well as about program packages that are not yet installed. It is quite simple to retrieve the information; simply enter the pin command and the name of the package about which you want to get information. Once this entry is completed, PIN displays all available information about this package.

PIN - the first time...

The first time you activate PIN, the system displays a small setup routine. The system prompts you to enter your root password (you can install and uninstall programs only as root) and to insert CD1 into the CD-ROM drive.
PIN then installs automatically.

Start PIN

PIN should now be ready to use. Naturally, we want to test it right away.
I assume that you have already opened a text console....

  1. Please enter the following command:
pin korganizer
  1. Hit the return key to confirm the command, as usual.
    The system displays the following output:
 pin 0.25 - package info for korganizer
 *** no rpm named korganizer installed
 *** zgrep korganizer /usr/share/pin/ARCHIVES.gz
 ./CD1/suse/doc1/sdb_de-2002.3.19-3.noarch.rpm:    -rw-r--r--     root     root
          55 Mar 19 18:05 /usr/share/doc/sdb/de/html/keylist.KORGANIZER.txt
The second line is important for us:

 *** no rpm named korganizer installed

No rpm named korganizer installed ? How can that be? We just found out that korganizer is already installed. Why is PIN telling me now that korganizer does not exist?

Let us briefly return to something described above:
Program packages can be located inside other, superordinate packages, just like small packages can be located inside larger packages. And that is exactly the case here. Our korganizer package does not have its own package name, but rather it is located in a superordinate package. But what is the name of this package?

Using information from PIN

Let us take another look at the PIN output. The output list is very long; too long to represent it here.
You can best view this list with the Page Up and Page Down keys in your PIN console.
But which of these files are the correct ones?
We will now search for the right file.
Please perform the following steps:

  1. Switch to the PIN console window
  2. Please enter the following information:
Do not be deterred by the fact that there really is no room to write in the console. 
Simply type your entry, your /bin is displayed in the lower margin of the console's screen.
  1. Hit the return key to confirm.

You will now see a selected location in the PIN window that contains the word bin. The "bin" files (binaries) are executable files under Linux, similar to "exe" files under Windows. The following location is of interest to us:

./CD1/suse/kde1/kdepim3-3.0-1.i386.rpm:    -rwxr-xr-x     root     root
6920 Mar 26 04:05 /opt/kde3/bin/korganizer

As already mentioned, the "bin" files are executable files under Linux. Therefore, we must install the package that contains the
bin/korganizer file.

The system just opened a window with a so-called line break. In other words, since the screen is rarely wide enough to display the line of text in its entirety, long lines are always wrapped, that is, they are displayed across two lines.

Let us look a little further...
Follow the selected part (bin/korganizer) to the left, one line up and back to the far left to the actual beginning of this line. In our case, that is the following location:


Now we have almost reached our goal...
In order to determine which package we must install, we have to look at the entire first part up until the colon:


This part provides the following information:
The package we need to install is located on CD1, in the suse directory, subdirectory kde1; the package is named kdepim3-3.0-1.i386.rpm.

For your information:
The actual name of the package is located in front of the first horizontal bar. This name is kdepim3. The numbers that follow after the first horizontal bar denote the version number of the package. In our case the version is 3.0-1. The subsequent combination of numbers and letters denotes the architecture of the computer for which our package is intended. In this case, it is an i386 package for an Intel processor.

Thus, the information that is most important to us is located in front of the colon!


  • You can use the N and n keys to move up and down within the selected areas.
  • You can use the q (quit) command to exit a program that is running in the console. During this process you can ignore the "Please open a new console" prompt.
    However, keep the following in mind:
    There are many advantages to working simultaneously in multiple consoles. All previously activated information remains displayed in the respective console windows. You can use this information, for example, to copy and paste.

But let us return to the installation of our package...

Installation with YaST

We use the following steps to install the package:

  1. Open a new console window.
  2. Please enter the following information:
yast -i kdepim3
It is important to make sure that you enter only the package name without additional information (version number, etc.), that is, kdepim3. If you enter the full name here, that is kdepim3-3.0-1.i386.rpm, then the system will not install the package!

The system now automatically installs the package and resolves the package dependencies.
Here the system merely prompts you to insert CD1 into your drive, since the package is located on CD1 of your SUSE distribution, as we have previously determined.

Faith is good, double checking is better

Has the package really been installed?
Once again, we use PIN to check.

  1. Please open a console window.
  2. Enter the following information:
pin kdepim3

The system now displays all available information about this package, which is one of the most significant advantages of PIN.
However, our korganizer should be here as well, right?
The best thing to do is to check.
We once again take advantage of PIN's search functions. We do this with the following entry:

  1. /korganizer

You can now see that PIN has selected the areas that contain the search term korganizer. Our korganizer was indeed installed. You have already read the information above on how to activate korganizer at this point...

By now, our korganizer has also inserted itself in the menu bar, which you can get to with your mouse. Take a look in the SUSE menu bar under

Office programs=>Organization=>KOrganizer

The program is there and, of course, you can activate it from there.
However, this is not the case for all programs!
If you cannot find the program you are looking for in the menu bar, you can also activate the program from a console with the key combination Alt+F2 (the Execute window opens), as briefly described above. Simply enter the name of the program (in lower case, please) and the program opens.

Let's summarize. PIN provides you with:

  1. Information about whether or not the package you are looking has already been installed.
  2. A variety of information about the package version.
  3. The entire content of the package, that is, all files contained in this package.
  4. In addition, PIN displays all README.SUSEs, READMEs and FAQs.
    README.SUSEs, READMEs and FAQs contain information about the selected package. And the great part is that these files are already open, that is, they are directly readable.

Where can I find more --help?

The commands man and --help provide you with direct help for virtually any program package.
The man command is short for "manpage" or "manual-pages", that is, for manuals.
The --help command opens the program's help files.
Go ahead and try to open a manpage:

  1. Enter the following information:
man tar
The system displays the manpage (manual page) for the tar editor.
  1. Use the following command to close the manpage:
The q command stands for quit.

As already mentioned, you can also easily open manpages and infopages in konqueror.
Follow the steps below:

  1. Open konqueror
  2. Make the following entry in konqueror's command line:

And now, an example that illustrates opening a help file:

  1. Enter the following command line:
tar --help
The system opens the help file for tar. 

As already mentioned above, these two commands work with just about any program under Linux.
Naturally, the system can display only manpages and --help files for installed programs.

SUSE help - assistance is on the way!

SUSE's own help functions provide a most extensive help tool: The "SUSE Help" icon, which you can use to activate SUSE help, is the lifesaver in your command bar; the command is susehelp.
The help functions are administered in the control center. However, you can make changes only as root.
SUSE help is there to assist you with various search functions to answer your questions and should be one of the first resources you turn to in your search for solutions.
Your SUSE LINUX user manual contains more information about SUSE and KDE help functions.

Using the Internet systematically

The Internet offers a plethora of Linux-related help, information, discussion groups, "how to" guides and documentation.
An unstructured Internet search, however, is not only time-consuming, but costs you money as well.
And that is where the fun ends...
I would like to show you a few links that will enable you to search for solutions in a systematic and directed fashion.

Here you can find SUSE LINUX help:

The SUSE support database with search function

The SUSE component database with search function

"How to" guides and FAQs about specific topics

SUSE's "Helpful Links List",
from here you are switching to the whole wide world of Linux...

SDB:Useful Links

Mailing lists

So-called mailing lists are a valuable help tool in your search for solutions to problems that may occur. From the SUSE LINUX pages, you can register for mailing lists that are of interest to you. Mail requests and their answers will then be sent directly to your home. It is possible, however, that you could receive several hundred e-mails a day... For more information, go to the following link:

Your SUSE support team wishes you all the best for successful results! <keyword>pin,rpm,man,help,info,packageinstallation,suse-help,self-help,mailinglists</keyword>