Monday, December 22, 2008

CD/DVD burning broken in openSuse 11.1

CD/DVD burning seems to be broken/not working by default in openSuse 11.1 - at least on my PC with a pretty standard 5-years old DVDRW drive from LG. There seems to be a problem with device permissions: the /dev/sr0 device (my DVDRW drive) is owned by root:disk and therefore not accessible for CD burning software (/usr/bin/wodim to be exact) when executed by regular users. Here is a workaround for this problem:
  • make your user a member of "cdrom" group
  • create /etc/udev/rules.d/99-my.rules file with the following entry:
    KERNEL=="sr*[0-9]", GROUP="cdrom", MODE="0660"
  • set setuid bit for /usr/bin/wodim (note: this has some security implications; make sure you understand what it is all about):
    chmod u+s /usr/bin/wodim
  • reboot
  • this assumes your CD/DVD writer is mapped to a /dev/sr* device (should be the case for all drives, but I couldn't verify that).
  • if this rule causes any side-effects to other /dev/sr* devices you may have installed, restrict the rule for specific device instead of using regular expression.
It would be of course possible to make your user a member of "disk" group, but it would be a real security problem, as this would also allow for low level access to hard disks.

  • the bug has already been reported on Novell's bugzilla
  • making wodim setuid seems to be not needed after all (udev rule is enough).

Friday, December 19, 2008

openSuse 11.1 and ath5k

I've just upgraded to the latest openSuse 11.1. Everything went smooth except for some issues with wireless networking (Atheros wifi card with AR2413 chip) - not really problems of openSuse itself, but it turned out that:
  • madwifi-0.9.4 doesn't compile with kernel-2.6.27 sources provided with openSuse (I haven't tried to google this problem or use madwifi from trunk)
  • standard ath5k driver now works fine with my card (to my surprise) - no need to compile madwifi anymore; however
  • ath5k doesn't seem to support WPA2; I had to switch to WEP for now :(

Friday, December 5, 2008

GNOME menu structure in openSuse

If you don't like the structure of traditional GNOME menu in openSuse 11.0, with its plethora of sub-categories in each submenu, then here is a simple workaround: just copy or rename /etc/xdg/menus/ to This file defines how menu entires should be laid out in the menus with respect to their "Categories" definitions in *.desktop files. The defines a simple layout with top-level categories only - see screenshots. The only side effect of this trick that I noticed so far is no menu entry for YaST, but this can be added manually with menu editor.