More on MATE and opensuse 13.2

In my previous post, I described how to install MATE.  I have since run into two problems.  One of these is minor, and has to do with WiFi.  The other is a serious problem that occurs in some circumstances.

The (minor) WiFi problem

I had indicated that, after switching to NetworkManager, there was a WiFi applet in the panel.  But I had not made much use of that applet, other than to check whether connected.

I later tried to edit the connection settings for one of my connections.  And that failed, because a “polkit” agent was not running.

This was easy enough to work around.  I simply started “/usr/lib/polkit-gnome-authentication-agent-1″ and I was then able to edit connections.

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Installing opensuse 13.2 MATE

Now that MATE is part of the opensuse software, I decided to try it out.

I began by booting the DVD installer image (on a USB).  This was the 64-bit edition for opensuse 13.2.  I already knew that MATE was not directly installable from the DVD image.  So I was prepared for that.

Starting the install

The install began in the usual manner.  I first had to agree to the license.  Next there was a screen to configure my wifi card.  Then there was a screen to add online repos during the install.  It might have been easier to do that, since MATE is in the online repos.  But I decided to stick with an offline install anyway.

Next came the partitioning, the user account setup and the timezone setup.

Selecting a desktop

Somewhere along the line, there was a screen where I could choose a desktop environment.  The choices were “KDE”, “Gnome” or “other”.  As expected, MATE was not offered.  So I chose “other”.  The next screen gave me a choice of “XFCE”, “minimal X” or “minimal server”.  I went with minimal X.

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Using “gparted” from the opensuse live rescue system

I have successfully used “gparted” from the opensuse 13.2 live rescue image (if you can call that success).  But I did run into some initial problems, which I will describe below.

Quick summary

Here’s a quick summary.  If you want to use “gparted” on the live rescue system, then I recommend the following steps:

  1. logout, returning you to a login prompt (a “lightdm” prompt);
  2. login again, but select “Icewm” as the desktop to which you will login;
  3. open a terminal session in “icewm” by clicking the terminal icon near the bottom left;
  4. use the “su” command to become root (no password is needed);
  5. run “gparted” at the root command line.

Problems encountered

Using from the “icewm” desktop works fine.  But I first tried to use with the default XFCE desktop, and that ran into problems.

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Acronis to the rescue

As reported in my previous post, I ran into a few problems when using “gparted” to move Windows partitions.  Everything mostly worked after some Windows boot recovery, except that I would have to setup Windows boot manager again if I wanted it to boot my opensuse system.

Before using “gparted” I had made a backup of the Windows partitions using the Acronis True Image software.  The backup was made with the 2014 version of Acronis.  So I decided to try restoring Windows 7 from that Acronis backup.

I booted the Acronis recovery CD, and pointed it to the image it had made on an external drive.  I had encrypted that backup, so I gave Acronis the encryption key.  Then I proceeded to recover the three Windows partitions.

The partitions, all NTFS, were the main Windows partition, the recovery partition, and a data partition that I share with linux for exchanging files between the two operating systems.

The recovery went well.  Windows 7 booted without any problem after the recovery.  A “chkdsk /F” on the main Windows partition showed no problems following the recovery.  I then copied the opensuse boot sector to the Windows file.  And the Windows boot manager successfully booted opensuse with that.

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Murphy’s law

You have probably heard of Murphy’s law:  Whatever can go wrong will go wrong.

Yesterday was a Murphy day.

I wanted to install opensuse 13.2 on my laptop.  However, I also wanted to do some repartitioning.  I had been using a 100M “/boot” partition at the beginning of the hard drive, but that was smallish with the multi-version kernel support that has been part of opensuse since 13.2.

My plan was to shift partitions to the right, so that I could enlarge “/boot” to 500M.

The partitions where I had opensuse were not a problem.  The Windows partitions were the problem.

My plan was to boot the live rescue image from opensuse 13.2, and use the “gparted” that is on that disk.  I ran into problems with that, too.  But I discovered those problems, and a workaround, a few days earlier, so they were not part of my Murphy day.  I’ll post about that separately. Read More…

Opensuse 13.2 has been released

The final release of 13.2 has been available for a few hours now, at the usual download site.  Other repos, such as packman are available.  And the Tumbleweed transition is now complete.

I already have 13.2 on my main desktop (where I am typing this post).  I will be installing on other systems over the next few days.

Happy installing.

Time changes and linux

If you are in North America, then you went through a time change yesterday — from Daylight Savings Time back to Standard Time.  And perhaps it caused you problems with your dual-boot computer.

If you are an opensuse fan, you will be thinking of installing opensuse 13.2 over the next few days.

Why not take the opportunity to deal with both problems at the same time.

My recommendation is to use UTC (Universal Coordinated Time, sometimes known as Greenwich Mean Time) in your BIOS clock settings.

Traditionally, many Windows users have set their hardware clock to local time.  That is the Windows default.  And it was almost a requirement of Windows.  However, recent Windows versions handle UTC pretty well, so it might be time for a change.

If you are still running Windows XP or an older version, you might prefer to stay with setting the BIOS clock to local time.  However, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and 8.1 all do pretty well with the BIOS clock set to UTC.

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Opensuse 13.2 should be available tomorrow

If you have already installed RC1 (the release candidate), then

zypper dup

at a root command prompt should update you to the final release version.  If you have not already installed RC1, then just wait one day  and download the final released version.

Changes since RC1

I do have 13.2 final on one system (my main desktop).  There were many updates, but probably most were minor changes.  I’ll just indicate the most obvious changes.

  • the kernel is now at version 3.16.6-2
  • the grub2 menu has changed its appearance.  There is now an opensuse image, and a darker background.  I do like this change.
  • Plymouth is no longer a dull gray.  It starts looking as if it is a dull gray, but gradually brightens and becomes the default wallpaper for 13.2.  I think I preferred the 13.1 version, but at least this beats the dull gray that we saw in RC1.
  • the startup graphics of KDE (those tools in a box) are now in a whitish box rather than the black box of RC1.  This better matches the  new theme.
  • looking at gapcmon in my tray, when I move the mouse over the icon, the apc status information is now is a dark green box instead of a black box.
  • firefox is at version 33.0

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Whither factory and Tumbleweed?

There was an announcement, early today, on the future of factory and Tumbleweed.

There was also a related message to the factory mailing list:

I have no inside information on this, so I’ll just describe what I see as the future direction.  These changes will occur at about the time of the release of 13.2.  That is to say, the changes are expected for November 4th, 2014.

  1. The old Tumbleweed will disappear.  It has been criticized as not really a rolling release.
  2. The current factory will become the new Tumbleweed.  This will truly be a rolling release.
  3. The name “Tumbleweed” will be retained, but for the new version.
  4. The name “factory” will continue to be used for the development project, but the rolling release based on factory will be the new Tumbleweed.
  5. Current factory users and current Tumbleweed users may need to tweak their repos.  Details will be provided on Nov. 4th, and perhaps there will be other steps to smooth the transition.
  6. Presumably, future adopters of Tumbleweed (after Nov 4th) will be able to download a Tumbleweed iso and install that way.

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Factory and 13.2 with konqueror

A brief note on konqueror.

It is crashing badly for me on opensuse factory and on opensuse 13.2-RC1.

It seems that there is some kind of conflict between konqueror and the other desktops (Gnome, XFCE and LXDE) that I usually install.  If I install only KDE, then konqueror works well.  But if I also install Gnome, XFCE and LXDE, then konqueror crashes on many sites.

If I switch konqueror to use the KHTML engine instead of the WebKit engine, then it is stable.  But I’m not a fan of KHTML, so I prefer it with WebKit.

When 13.2 final is released, I guess I will install only KDE on my main desktop, so that I can have a stable konqueror.  I’ll continue to install the other desktops (in addition to KDE) on my laptop and backup systems.

This problem has been reported as bug 901006.

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