Thursday, December 21, 2006

» Novell Client on openSUSE 10.2

Upgraded my workstation @work to 10.2 today and noticed something really, really annoying. We use some OES boxes as file servers in our LAN (yeah, don't ask me ;)) and the Novell Client for Linux worked fine on 10.0 and 10.1. It did stop working on 10.2 though, because of two issues:


Novell doesn't provide packages for openSUSE 10.2 (*doh*). I tried to use the packages for SLE10 (novell-client-1.2-SLE10.tar.gz) but couldn't install them because they are linked against the binutils of SLE10/SUSE10.1 -- namely, So I decided to do a backport/compatibility package for openSUSE 10.2 that includes After all, the SONAME contains the complete version up to the last dot and hence, it can be installed side-by-side with the binutils package of 10.2 without causing any issues. I hacked the spec file of SUSE 10.0's binutils and just kept and in the package. RPMs for 32bit and x86_64 are available in my repository (or will be in a few hours, after the next sync).

novfs kernel module

The novfs kernel module (provided on 10.2 through the package novfs-kmp-default) doesn't work. It hasn't been ported to 2.6.18 and still uses the deprecated tasklist_lock. I managed to hack a patch against novfs-2.0.0-3.src.rpm and it seems to work fine -- at least for me.


added 2006-12-26 20:15: Currently waiting for a fix (and possibly an Online Update). In the mean time, you can upgrade to the novfs-kmp package that is available in my repository. The following command should do the trick:
rpm --freshen -vh*.rpm


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, it looks like Novell isn't able to produce something that a non-programmer/administrator-only can use.

In every released version there is another showstopper and I completely lost my faith to Novell.

Blogger Loki said...

Bugs happen, all the time.
Point is that usually they get fixed very quickly, SUSE devs being pretty responsive to bugzilla.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In every released version there is another showstopper and I completely lost my faith to Novell."

If you depend on a project that works in the business world, use SLED. Novell's 6-12 month life cycle is there to give time to test and make sure all aspects work.

Done blame Novell for your bad decision to go with a bleeding edge release when compatibility and uptime is a must with other systems.

This message was directed to the anonymous blogger..


Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those of us who wish to "test" ncl on openSuse 10.2 and who are too anxious to wait for an official update, can you explain how we can apply your patch?

Blogger Loki said...

I've just updated the blog entry and added instructions on how to install the updated novfs kernel module RPMs that are available in my repository (and those obviously contain my patch)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks again LOKI for your time and initiative in patching the SuSE 10.2/novfs problem.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just want to thank you for working though this and posting your fix. It works great. Thanks again.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Loki,

I've just tried your patch on 10.2 64-bit and am getting "novfs loadable kernel module not configured correctly " error messages. I added your patch, ran the script and then tried to install NCL 1.2-SLE10. Any advice?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Loki,

Just wanted to thank you for the work you have done on this version of the Novell Client it really helped me and some other colleagues.


Albert Stevens

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am new to the Linux world. Do I install the client before oe after the posted fix?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did try the it both ways, istall client first and then the update and the other way around. But even when I uninstall the client and novfs, I keep on getting the same error. Any advice please?

Blogger Loki said...

The order for installing doesn't matter.

I would suggest to:
- first upgrade the novfs kernel module:
rpm --freshen -vh \*.rpm

- reboot (isn't necessary but easier than explaining the steps to stop the novfs daemon, unload the module, etc... ;))

- start /opt/novell/ncl/bin/ncl_tray (if you haven't installed the 1.2-SLE10 Novell client, do so before)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for your reaction. But see my problem is that I do the update and reboot but still get the same error mesaage. It was een clean install, should re-install suse and the try again or is there another trick.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever I do, the client will just not install. The icons are there but when you click nothing happens. The error is: "There no installable providers of libbfd-

(big sigh)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, proof that the world is a lot smaller and more crazy then I thought possible it turns out "Anonymous missing cannot install it" is a customer of my company who I happened to visit today. So I fixed his Novell Client :).

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Loki,

First off, thanks for you efforts and time put into sharing your knowledge!

Ive been trying to get the NCL running on my opensuse 10.2 setup.

Did the install and upgrade of the novfs kernel, reboot, and then install the client.

Installer warns with:
error: Failed dependencies:
novell-novfsd is needed by novell-client-1.2.0-2.i586
novell-xtier-base is needed by novell-client-1.2.0-2.i586
novell-xtier-core is needed by novell-client-1.2.0-2.i586

After a reboot and login i get the error that the novfs kernel isnt set up properly...

any idea what im missing?
(and yes.. im still in the 'getting to know my Linux stuff' fase :) )

Thanks for you time,


Anonymous Anonymous said...


the first error in the install script states: is needed by novell-xtier-base-3.1.4-4.sles10.i586

i tried installing 'binutils' but could only get version (containing another version build of libbfd)

... ?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok... im a GOOSE, :/ RTFM
Missed you had posted a patched version of the binutils from SLES10... (today i had tried installing the original one, but got an error and wouldnt install - patched one installs fine)

NCL installed smoothly and all looks good!

Thanks again,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Job !

Merci !

Blogger Andy said...

I applied the patch and all worked great, but now the Novell server is sending me back garbage broadcast messages. The messages all contain blocks and other characters. Looks almost like a binary file opened in a text editor. As far as I know, the server did not blow up, so I am not sure what is going on.

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for posting this. Here is what I did..

1. Installed the patched binutils
2. Installed the novfs kernel rpms from your repository.
3. Reboot
4. Installed the Novell Client 1.2
5. Launching ncl_tray gives me the error
'novfs kernel loadable module is not installed properly'.

Any ideas?


Blogger eric31 said...

hello need help to apply the for Patch against novfs-2.0.0-3, im new with linux, i don't know witch file i must create for the patch and where i must execute it.
sorry for my english ): im french

Blogger Loki said...

eric31, pas besoin d'appliquer le patch toi-même.

Ajoute mon dépôt comme expliqué ici, ici et surtout ici.

Ensuite, installe le paquet "binutils-compat-sle10" et fais un upgrade du paquet "novfs-kmp-default".
C'est tout ;)

Blogger Loki said...

kman, andy, I have no idea.
Worked for me and for a few other people.

Looks like there is finally going to be a patch in the 10.2 online update service but if you have other issues, report them in the Novell bugzilla and let the developers take care of it.

See for further details about the issue.

Blogger eric31 said...

merci loki je regarde ca :)
je pense que vais reinstaller dabord car ca devient le bordel avec tout ce que j'ai trafiquer :) 3eme reinstall ;-)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you update the instructions for 64 bit users that you need to install both binutil. It took me a while to figure out I need both the x64 and i686 packages. Maybe that will help others.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have two laptops, one with 32 bit SUSE 10.2, and one with 64 SUSE 10.2. Installing the n-client on the 32 version worked without any problem!

I cannot install both the binutils as previous comment suggest. Only 32 bit will allow install of the client. But it will not run! ??

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It installed without a problem on my co-workers box (SuSE10.2, 32bit). But I cannot get it to work on my laptop (SuSE10.2, x86-64). Novell client will only install with the 32bit hacked binutils not the 64bit version provided by dev/loki (for which I am very greatful - thank you). But the client give a very strange error message (cannot scan ...) when trying to login. Any hints would be much appriciated! How is it possible to install both the 32 and 64 bit version of the hacked binutils?

Blogger Warbie said...

Just want to say great job Loki and if anyone finds out Andy's problem I seem to be having the same trouble. All around though everything else seems to be working perfectly. Thanks again friends!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found this site looking for a solution for installing the Novell client on x86_64 (SLED10 SP1 Beta6). The client documentation specifically says to install only on 32-bit. Does anyone know if there is a 64-bit client (hack, beta, or otherwise)?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

An easy way to get around the binutil problem is to create the needed "version" links in the /usr/lib folder to the actual .so files as follows....

ln -T
ln -T


Blogger Jay said...

So far, so good, made a ln -s link to the

hacked the install to rpm --nodeps

installed the client from novell

installed the novfs patch...

novfs kernel loadable module is not installed correctly, damn

Blogger Chris said...

Install Steps that worked for me

Okay first download the binutil from loki's site. And his updated novfs file.

Force install the novell client for linux 1.2 ignoring all dependency issues for now.

install the novfs updated by loki with the command rpm -ivh novfs....rpm --nodeps

install the binutils the same way.

The last step for me was to force the xtier-base to install as follows. Once I rebooted my client worked perfectly. the error I was getting was that Novfs was not properly installed. Thanks Loki :) former slackware linux user here from college :) making the conversion to opensuse for work, we run Novell OES servers at the school district I work at.

rpm -ivh --nodeps novell-xtier-base-3.1.4-4.sles10.i586.rpm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Loki for your post!!!

I've got openSuSE 10.2 connected to Netware 6 server via Novell Client 2.0 for OpenSUSE 10.2. That client was recently posted at

But now I'm facing another problem of getting authentication with the Novell Border Manager.

I'm very new to Linux and will appreciate any advise, if you have encountered the BM authentication issue somehow?

There was a tutorial at
on how to get authenticated with BM using Client Trust 4 Others from

I've also found out that Novell included CLNTRUST for Linux in BorderManager 3.8 SP4 but I've got BM3.6 and cannot upgrade it for now due to policy of my company. So, I have to find an alternative solution on how to authenticate my SuSE with BM3.6

I understand that Novell Client brings up NCP (necessary for BM authentication) but I have also made sure NCP installed through YaST.

It is also possible to connect to my BM server using Novell Client (as my Netware 6 and BM are in the same tree). So I can see two servers I connected to in "Novell Connections" of the Novell Client.

I can normally MAP the SYS volume of the BM using MAP option of the Novell Client and can browse BM's SYS volume with KDE's browser.

Before trying to browse the Internet I've stopped the SuSE firewall and configured my browser with correct proxy IP address, which is a network card of my BM facing to my private network.

But when I try to reach any http host, the BM returns 403: Access has been denied because you are not logged in! Well, of course, I wasn't authenticated!

Could you please advise, if possible, what would be the next step of mine to solve the problem. Thank you!



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