Opensuse Leap 42.2 alpha3

I saw the announcement yesterday, so I downloaded and installed alpha3.  I’ll note that I skipped alpha2, because it was mainly for testing Gnome and I’m don’t much use Gnome (though I do install it).

Installing

I downloaded the DVD installer (file “openSUSE-Leap-42.2-DVD-x86_64-Build0109-Media.iso”, of length 4647288832).  After verifying the sha256 checksum and the gpg signature of the checksum file, I wrote the iso to a USB flash drive.

My install was to a UEFI system, with secure-boot enabled.  I installed into an existing encrypted LVM.  The install went quite smoothly.

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Slackware notes

This is mostly a followup to my earlier post on testing Slackware 14.2.  Since then, I have spent a little time using the installed slackware.  So here are some of my notes.

Repos

In my earlier post, I noted that slackware does not use repos in the way that many distros do.  I got back a comment, informing me that the Slackware user community is maintaining repos, and that there are package managers available to access those repos.

It’s always great to see this kind of involvement of the user community.

Encrypted LVM

I had installed Slackware onto its own partition.  However, I also have an encrypted LVM on that box, which I use with opensuse.  So I wanted to be able to access that from Slackware.  The encrypted LVM includes a home volume and a swap volume, and I wanted to mount those.  Specifically, I wanted to mount the home volume to “/xhome” so that I could add symbolic links to it.  And I wanted to use the swap volume as swap for slackware.

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Linux for education (or Li-f-e)

I have been reviewing the “Linux for education” series since opensuse 12.3 was used as the base.  Check this SEARCH LINK for previous related posts.

Today, there was news about the future of the series:

Apparently, the group that prepares this is no longer able to base them on opensuse, because the opensuse live installer has stopped being supported.  The tentative plan is to base future Li-f-e versions on ubuntu.

I’m sad to see this change.  While I do prefer to use the DVD installer, live media with a live installer is often a good introduction for people who are new to the distro.

Slackware 14.2

I saw the announcement yesterday, for slackware 14.2.  Actually, I saw the distrowatch announcement, and followed the link from there to the slackware announcement.

I started using linux with slackware in 1995.  So I saw slackware as an old friend.  It was time for a re-acquaintance.

I should perhaps note that my prior experience had been with 32-bit slackware.  Reading the site, slackware is still a strong supporter of 32-bit.  However, I went with the 64-bit version.

Downloading

The announcement mentioned that a torrent would be setup.  I was unable to find a reference to the torrent.  So I waited until today.  And then, checking linuxtracker.org, I saw that a torrent was now available.   I used “ktorrent” for the download, and that went quite smoothly.

The torrent created a directory “slackware64-14.2-iso”.  Inside that directory, was the iso file itself (“slackware64-14.2-install-dvd.iso”), an md5 checksum file (with “.md5” appended to the iso file name), a gpg signature (with “.asc” appended) and a text file (“.txt” appended) with a list of contents.

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Using flash from adobe repo

With Leap 42.1, opensuse no longer provides the flash plugin for firefox.  However, the folk who maintain the packman repos have added flash there.  So I have been using flash from packman until now.

Unfortunately, the flash in packman is a tad out of date.  And I’m getting annoyed at firefox telling me that flash is vulnerable and requiring me to jump through extra hoops when I use it.

I don’t actually use flash very much.  But there are a few sites where I need it.  I have the flashblock extension installed, so flash does not activate until I tell it to, so the risk of an out-of-date flash is small.  But firefox still makes me jump through extra hoops.  For that matter, I really don’t like firefox “phoning home” to decide that flash is vulnerable.  But that’s the way it is.

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May “installs” — Tumbleweed and 42.2 Alpha1

It’s early June, and I still have not reported a couple of “installs” that I did in May.  So better late than never.

I used scare quotes around “install” because I did not actually install Tumbleweed in May, though I did do some install tests.  There’s not a lot to report, so this will be a short post.

Tumbleweed

I didn’t have a good reason for a full Tumbleweed install.  But I decided to at least test the NET installer.  It’s been a year or more since I last tried that.  On my previous attempt, the NET installer was broken for use with WiFi.

I downloaded the NET installer for snapshot 20160529, and wrote that to a USB.  I then disconnected the ethernet cable from my laptop and booted the NET installer.

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Does Microsoft care about security?

On one of my computers, I have Windows Vista.  I mostly use that computer for linux, but I do occasionally use Windows.  For anti-virus, I have MSE (Microsoft Security Essentials).

At present, the computer is telling me that the virus tables are 6 days old.

Although I would prefer to use that computer with linux, on Wednesday, I left it running Windows for around 12 hours.  It failed to update the AV definitions.  On Thursday, I left it running Windows for 14 hours.  Again, it failed to update the AV definitions.  On Friday, I left it running Windows for 16 hours. And, again, it failed to update the AV definitions.  Today (it is still Saturday local time), it has been running Windows for over 10 hours, and has failed to update the AV definitions.

On Wednesday, I also booted my laptop to Windows.  I had not used the laptop for several days, so the AV definitions were three days old.  It updated after around 3 hours.  But the Vista system still has not updated.

This is the third consecutive month when I have had problems with updating MSE, at around the time of patch Tuesday.  The previous two months, I attempted to manually update.  On the manual update, it did a search for virus updates, then seemed to hang there forever not actually downloading.  It did eventually update, after repeating this for two days.  This month, I decided to allow it to update without manual intervention, with the results described above.

It seems pretty obvious that, recently, Microsoft has worsened the priority for updates to Windows 7 and to Vista.  The priority worsening is greater for Vista than for Windows 7.  It affects monthly patches as well as MSE virus table updates.

The message to malware producers is loud and clear.  Malware producers should distribute their malware on patch Tuesday, and Microsoft will give them a free run for several days.

Kubuntu-16.04 — a review

I described my experience with installing kubuntu-16.04 in a previous post.  Today, I’ll comment on the installed system.

Kubuntu 16.04 is based on Plasma 5.  So I’ll first comment on Plasma 5, and then on how kubuntu has implemented it.

Plasma 5

I have been seeing a steady improvement in Plasma 5, which I am using on my normal desktop (with opensuse 42.1), as well as on the kubuntu system that I am reviewing.  There were some rough edges at the initial release, but by now it is reasonably usable.

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Installing kubuntu 16.04 in an existing encrypted LVM

Ubuntu 16.04, in several different varieties, came out last week.  So I decided to give the kubuntu variant a try.  I planned to install in an existing LVM.  I knew, from previous experience, that this could be tricky.  And, to make it more tricky, I wanted “/boot” to be inside that encrypted LVM.

It didn’t quite work out.  I am successfully booting it using the grub2-efi from opensuse.  I was unable to get the grub-efi from kubuntu to work.

Background

I planned to install this to replace an experimental Tumbleweed.  I had originally set that up a year ago, to test using opensuse with “/boot” part of the encrypted LVM.  That test is now well past, and the opensuse bugs have been fixed.  So that disk space was free for kubuntu.

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My Tumbleweed install for April 2016

I’ve been doing an install each month, mostly to test for problems with the installer.  For this month, I download snapshot 20160412.  There have been more snapshots since then, but this was the one that I installed yesterday.

The live rescue CD

I also downloaded the live rescue CD at the same time.  I must have started the download too soon after publication.  This was the slowest download that I have done.  Normally, the iso for a rescue CD downloads in a few minutes.  For this download, “aria2c” was giving me an estimated download time of around 58 hours and worse.  The download site was obviously busy and no mirrors were yet available.

The slow download continued for a while.  Then it gave me an error indicating that the download had failed.

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