I have inherited an OpenSUSE 10.1 SLES box, with several virtual SLES machines running under it. The subscription for the regular, Novell-provided updates has expired. Can I circumvent renewing this subscription and install my own software, via my own repositories (e.g. Packman)?

As it stands, I cannot update or install any new software. When I attempt to directly install an RPM file, I am told by the computer that the "program is already installed". Or when I attempt to add a new repo through either Yast2 or Zypper, I am told that it can't use the repo_data.xml file that it found. Something tells me that Novell doesn't want me updating this box without a subscription - any way around it?


UPDATE: When trying to install an RPM: https://i.stack.imgur.com/CSLlK.png I get this false message.

  • 1
    OpenSUSE and SLES are different products. Nov 29, 2012 at 17:56
  • I see. So are the SLES packages subscription-only with no way around it?
    – Darius
    Nov 29, 2012 at 18:03

3 Answers 3


In essence, your options are:

  • Pay for SLES.
  • Switch to another distribution.

If you really want to be running SLES, then you have to have the subscription in order to gain access to SLES packages. Unfortunately OpenSUSE is reported to be not exactly binary compatible, and so it's not guaranteed that RPMs taken from it, or any other RPM-based distribution, will work exactly properly. (RPM is just a package format; it doesn't guarantee that what's inside the package will work for you!)

That said, it is possible to upgrade a SLES 10.x box to OpenSUSE 11.x by doing an upgrade through the OpenSUSE installation media. This of course requires a maintenance window, and plenty of testing beforehand to ensure that your applications will run under OpenSUSE 11.x.

You could also take this opportunity to switch to a different distribution which might better fit your business needs.


YES you can. You can use rpm to also add/remove packages. However, you must take responsibilities for any incompatibilities and inconsistencies of the package into your environment.

  • Alright. So in that case, I should be able to go here: ftp.gwdg.de/pub/linux/misc/suser-guru/rpm/10.1/RPMS/x86_64 and download any RPM i'd like, correct?
    – Darius
    Nov 29, 2012 at 17:30
  • yes, but with the caviet I provided above.
    – mdpc
    Nov 29, 2012 at 17:41
  • Look: i.imgur.com/NjdlZ.png This is what I get when trying to install an RPM. I really don't know what I'm doing wrong..
    – Darius
    Nov 29, 2012 at 17:43
  • I suggested using the rpm command to install the rpm package.
    – mdpc
    Nov 29, 2012 at 17:51
  • Alright, now even still, this is a cumbersome process. Can't I just add a new repository? It appears that these RPMs rely on other dependencies (that must also be downloaded), making manual installation very difficult.
    – Darius
    Nov 29, 2012 at 18:02

Old question, but in case it comes up to anyone with similar issue, there are several options.

AFAIK, the only incompatibility between SLES and openSUSE is licenses and any Novel proprietary software.

I would answer the question today with:

Just switch to openSUSE if you can support yourself.

Locate the repo with any software you need that isn't in the default repos, rather than downloading the RPM whenever possible.

Download RPMs specific to openSUSE > Fedora or RHEL/CentOS, but TBH, never had a problem (yet).

Use Zypper to install RPMs rather than RPM.

Try building from source.

sudo make install

Still works for a lot of software

Or check out the project from github and just follow the instructions there.

Several container alternatives to VMs are available for openSUSE (and several VM options too).

If all you can find is a .deb then use alien. So far, I have had good results with it.

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