Tumbleweed install for February 2016

On Saturday, I noticed that snapshot 20160205 had been released.  So I downloaded that for this month’s install.

Installing

The install itself went quite smoothly.  I installed the KDE (i.e. Plasma 5) desktop.  Additionally, I installed networkmanager-gnome, so that I could test that with KDE.

My install was into the same external drive that I have previously used.  It was connected to my laptop.  My install was into an encrypted LVM.  I imported the mount points during the partitioning section of the install.

Problems

I noticed two problems.  The first was a repeat of the problem that I had n noted for my January install.  Namely, the entry added to “/etc/crypttab” was bad.  I had to go into rescue mode to repair that.  But this was expected.  That bug report is still open.  So the problem was not a surprise and I knew how to deal with it.  On this occasion, I used the UUID of the LUKS partition in “/etc/crypttab”.

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Opensuse 13.1 has gone evergreen

According to an announcement on Feb 03, opensuse 13.1 has reached the end of its normal support cycle.  The evergreen support team will now take over.

For those still running 13.1, there isn’t any urgent action required.  The same repos will be used by the evergreen team, so no repo changes are needed.

What does it mean?

As I understand it, this means that there will be no more bug fixes, with the exception of security problems that the evergreen team consider serious enough to warrant action.

That might not be quite right.  I do have 13.1 installed on one of my systems.  I’ll leave it there until I need the disk space for something else.

According to the announcement, the “systemd” update was the final update.  However, I have not yet received that update.  So maybe there’s a brief delay getting that out.  When I receive that, I will know that it is the last regular update.

My experience with 13.1 has been that it was a pretty solid system.  It should continue to be so, as long as the evergreen team continue with security updates.  But it will eventually seem out-of-date compared to newer releases.

Tumbleweed notes

Early today, there was a Tumbleweed update to snapshot 20160128.  So I took a look at both the live rescue system and at updating my computers that are running Tumbleweed in one of their partitions.

Live rescue iso

There has been a problem with the live rescue iso for a month or two.  As far as I know, it works fine if you burn the iso to a CD.  But writing it to a USB flash drive has been troublesome.

On reading the email notification of the update (or publishing of this snapshot), it seemed to hint that the problem had been fixed.  So I downloaded the iso, and wrote to a 4G USB.

Alas, the problem is still there.  What you notice, is that it seems to hang during boot.  If you look at the messages, they indicate problems starting journald.

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Linux multi-boot part 2 (booting)

In yesterday’s post, I discussed ways of having multiple linux installs on that same computer, using my laptop as an example.  Today, I continue with that, but mostly concentrate on the details of booting.

If you have multiple versions of linux installed, then you presumably want to be able to boot any of them.  Fortunately, linux usually installs a boot manager, typically grub2, which provides a menu that allow selecting which system to boot.

The problem

There are a couple of problems with this.  Firstly, the most recent linux that is installed usually takes over the booting.  And that might not be what you want.  And, secondly, if there is a kernel update on one of the installed linux versions that is not controlling the boot, that might cause problems on the next boot unless the boot menu that you use is updated.

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Linux multi-boot

Some folk like to have more than one linux version installed on a computer.  And, possibly, they also have Windows installed.  So that’s a multi-boot situation.

I’m doing that.  In this post, I’ll describe how I am doing it.

When I first did multi-boot, I was somewhat haphazard in how I organized things.  But by now, based on my experience, I’m a bit more organized.

Partitioning

I’ll describe my laptop, and how I am using that.  I have Windows 7 installed (that came on the computer when I purchased it).  And I currently have opensuse 13.2, opensuse Leap 42.1 and opensuse Tumbleweed all installed.

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My Tumbleweed install for January 2016

For this month, I used an external drive.  It’s an old ATA 80G drive that I have mounted in a USB disk enclosure.  I connected the external drive to my laptop, so that I could do more testing of WiFi and NetworkManager.

I installed snapshot 20160107.  I did that install yesterday.  And a few hours later, snapshot 20160108 was announced.  Well never mind that.  I was testing for install problems.

Installing

To install, I downloaded the DVD installer (64-bit), and wrote that to a USB flash drive using the “dd_rescue” command.

I plugged installer USB into my laptop.  At this stage, the external drive (the install destination) was not connected.  This was deliberate.  That drive is bootable.  When I tell my system to boot from USB, I am not given a choice of USB.  So, to avoid any ambiguity, I made sure that the installer USB was the only one connected.  I should add that my laptop uses legacy booting.

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UEFI and opensuse Leap 42.1

Leap 42.1 started out with some UEFI problems.  The last of those were fixed in an update yesterday.  However, the fix only solves the problem for already installed systems.  The install media still have these problems.  Since opensuse usually does not re-release install isos, it is unlikely that install problems will completely go away.

In this post, I’ll describe what were the problems and how to deal with them on a fresh install.

I’ll describe these problems in terms of the associated bug number.

  • bug 950569: with this bug, the computer would seem to lockup during boot, though CTRL-ALT-DEL did work to retry the boot.  Disabling secure-boot allowed the system to boot.
  • bug 954126: this bug prevented booting Windows in a UEFI box, unless secure-boot was disabled.
  • bug 917427: if you installed into an encrypted LVM, and if you did not use a separate unencrypted “/boot”, then the secure-boot method of booting did not work.

Boot files for UEFI

I’ll start by describing what the various files do during booting.

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Another look at NetworkManager and Tumbleweed

I last looked at NetworkManager when it was at version 1.0.0.  It is now at version 1.0.6, and with some changes that persuaded me to do some more testing.

To test, I setup a connection and then did some tests.  I repeated this for KDE/Plasma 5, for Gnome and for XFCE.  It is also possible to run “nm-applet” and a polkit daemon in Icewm, where configuring the network is similar to what happens with XFCE (which also uses “nm-applet”).

Between series of tests, I cleared out all configuration.  To do this, I booted a different system (booting a live CD would also work), and then mounted the root file system for Tumbleweed.  That way, I could clear out the saved configuration while Tumbleweed was not actually running.

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An update to my Solus 1.0 review

I recently reviewed Solus 1.0.  I’ve spent a little more time using it since then, so I have some updated information.

Software updates

When I logged in this morning, I opened the software update center, and checked for updates.  There were 17.  Initially, it said 10, but later changed that to 17.  So updating the software does work.  I was unsure of that in my original review.

Nvidia driver

While doing the software update, I noticed mention of an updated modalias for nvidia drivers, including the 304.131 driver.  Since the computer that I use has an nvidia card, I decided to try the 304.131 driver (which is the appropriate driver for the 6150LE card that I have).

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Reviewing Solus 1.0

I saw the announcement of Solus 1.0 (h/t DistroWatch), so I decided to give it a try.

This is apparently the first release of Solus, not counting test releases.  I guess this is the new distro on the block.

A quick impression

I’ll start with a quick overview.  Booting up the system, it has a rather pleasant appearance.  It is based on Gnome, though perhaps with some specialized gnome shell extensions.  They are calling this the “budgie desktop“.

I booted Solus on a box with Nvidia graphics, and it seems to be using the nouveau driver.  It runs quite well.  However, in my opinion, the newness of this distro is showing in ways that I will mention later in this review.

There’s a “start button” at the top left.  The panel is at the top.  Applications are accessible via that start button menu.

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