After Houdini is installed, you'll need to run it's license server.
For single run you may just run "/etc/init.d/sesinetd start" command as root, or you may use Yast to make this service started at boot time.
After that, as a regular user:
cd /opt/hfs8.1.692 (or wherever you installed houdini)
source houdini_setup_bash (to initialize all environment, now you may run houdini commands)
houdini (will start houdini, let it be opened in the background)
mplay (starts the image viewer)
after first Houdini run maybe it should ask about apprentice license creation, just Agree with that.
in mplay, you may open image from "File/Open" menu, or use "mplay <image>" syntax.
The image contents is insignificant, the only it's only should be more then 1024x576 in resolution, so you may just open any photo you like.
After image is opened, resize mplay window a bit to make it smaller and press "f" hotkey, that should "fit the window to the image size".
After that, if X process is still alive (it's hangs in 90% cases for me), anyway check "dmesg | tail" for NVRM messages..
BTW, I forgot to say (but it was in bug report) I'm using SuSE 10.1 x86_64 on amd64 x2 3800+ CPU.
Tried both 64 and 32 bit houdini - it doesn't matter.
For my friend, he have the same bug on 32bit SuSE 10.1 on Athlon XP 2600 and nVidia FX 5600 with 8756 driver.