This is a rant... and I will admit to not thoroughly investigating this topic... but really, why does it have to be this hard to install SUSE on a Laptop? Curious? Read on...
First, the scenario, I was on the road 3 weeks ago and needed to install SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 SP1 onto a Thinkpad X61. This model does not have a DVD drive and while there's a docking station somewhere that has a DVD drive, that docking station cannot be found, Oops. Not a big deal, next idea was to do a network install where I setup my machine with DHCP & HTTP server to provision the X61 via PXE-boot. Unfortunately, I do not have sufficient time and the network setup at that place was new to me so I thought the risk is rather high.
Next idea was to use my 8GB USB thumbdrive and make it into a SUSE install stick. Yes, this might work (it did eventually) and I recall seeing some documentation on opensuse.org before. I backed up the existing data on my thumbdrive and ensured that I've installed syslinux onto my system so as to make the USB stick bootable... that's all that I can recall off hand.
Now comes my rant:
I cannot find that document on how to make a USB stick into a bootable SUSE installer. First, opensuse.org has gone through a facelife (and its a truly nice visual upgrade). While the structure of the site has improved in terms of content organization, that particular document did not survive the website upgrade. After spending more time with Google, I realize that the older opensuse.org site is still accessible by prepending "old-" to the URL = http://old-en.opensuse.org
Eventually, I found the documentation/article at http://old-en.opensuse.org/SuSE_install_from_USB_drive
Finally, the steps are pretty straightforward except for the little bump in the road where I have to download a script called mksusebootdisk from here. Murphy's law kicked into high gear and I had trouble downloading this little file. Aargh!
From the documentation, it states that the mkbootdisk script that ships with SUSE does not really work in this scenario as it doesn't work with FAT32 on USB stick (and you can't use Fat16 as SUSE DVD image is greater than 2GB). Therefore, you'll need the modified version mentioned above. Great!
This document has been around for about 2 years and in that time, this little script is still not shipped with the latest SUSE. I'm sure there is a good engineering reason to this but I was too upset to even consider it. LOL! :)
Anyway, after clicking on the link one last time (hoping the same action will yield a different result), I was able to download that mksusebootdisk script. Ha! Everything was smooth sailing thereafter and I installed SLED 11 SP1 on the Thinkpad X61 from my 8GB USB Stick.
Onwards and upwards... keeping on carrying on... :)