Solus- — a review

I previously reviewed Solus 1.0 last year.  Since then, I have been noticing announcements via distrowatch. When I saw the recent announcement for, I decided it was time for another review.


I used the torrent from the announcement for download (with “ktorrent” as the client).  The download went well.  I then checked the sha256 checksum from the announcement. and that looked good.  So I “burned” the installer image to an USB flash drive with

# dd_rescue Solus- /dev/sdd

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OpenSUSE Leap 42.2 Beta1

We are getting nearer to the release date (November) for Leap 42.2.  And the first beta release was announced on Wednesday.  It was time for me to get busy and do some testing.


I used “aria2c” to download the iso, and “wget” to download the sha256 checksum file.  I verified the “gpg” signature on the checksum file.  And then I checked the sha256 hash of the downloaded iso against the checksum file.  Everything checked out.

Next, I “burned” the iso to a usb flash drive, with:

dd_rescue openSUSE-Leap-42.2-DVD-x86_64-Build0164-Media.iso /dev/sdd

(“/dev/sdd” happens to be the device name for the first USB drive on this system).

I then booted from that USB to install beta1.  My first install was on Wednesday.  That was to a UEFI box, with secure-boot enabled.  My second install was yesterday (Thursday), to an older computer with legacy booting.  Both installs went smoothly.

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Kubuntu-16.04 and updates

The quick “tl;dr” version — updates don’t work, but updating is still possible.


I installed kubuntu-16.04 in April.  Although I don’t use it much, I occasionally boot into it to check a few things.  Whenever I booted into Kubuntu, I looked to see if the update applet was notifying me of updates.  I left the system running for an hour or more, to give it plenty of time to find out.

It never showed any updates.

So I clicked on the applet (hidden tray icon) and asked it to check for updates.  It told me that my system was up to date.

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Taming KDEwallet

On opensuse forums, I often see complaints about KDEwallet (or “kwallet” for short).  It can be annoying at times.  In this post, I’ll indicate ways of keeping it under control.

While this is oriented toward opensuse, it should also apply to other distros with one caveat.  In opensuse, some of the applications have their settings and configuration under the directory “$HOME/.kde4”.  For other distros, it is more typical to use “$HOME/.kde” (without that final “4”).  So just adjust my suggestions accordingly.

Starting with Leap 42.1 (and with Tumbleweed), opensuse now supports Plasma 5.  And Plasma 5 keeps its configuration under “$HOME/.config” and under “$HOME/.local”.  But there remain some older applications with configuration in the old location.

To further complicate things, there are now two versions of “kwallet”.  I’ll call them “kwallet4” for the old version still used by some older software, and “kwallet5” for the newer version (for Plasma 5).  That both wallets are there, and that they might independently prompt you to open the wallet, is part of the confusion.

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Installing opensuse Tumbleweed, Aug. 15, 2016

I’ve simplified my life, so I am no longer doing regular monthly installs.  But I still do occasional installs.

In this case, the occasion was a topic at opensuse forums:

A user was not sure how to install without a network.  So I decided to do an install, to make sure that this was still possible.


I began by downloading the latest snapshot.  I first used

wget openSUSE-Tumbleweed-DVD-x86_64-Snapshot20160813-Media.iso.sha256

to download the sha256 checksum file.  That’s a small file (654 bytes), and I find it easier to use “wget” for small files.  I then verified that file, using

gpg --verify openSUSE-Tumbleweed-DVD-x86_64-Snapshot20160813-Media.iso.sha256

The file itself has a gpg signature, so checking that signature is sufficient to verify the download.

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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).


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.


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.


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, 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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