Testing KaOS-2015.04

I saw the announcement of a new KaOS release (at Distrowatch), so I decided to give it a try.  What I liked, from the announcement, was that it came with Plasma 5.295, which is a release candidate for Plasma 5.3.  That’s newer than what is in opensuse Tumbleweed, so I wanted to try it out.

Downloading

Downloading was straightforward enough.  I snagged the download link, and then used “wget”.  Download took around 30 minutes for a 1.5G iso file.  Sourceforge was a bit slow, but I had other things to do during the download, so not a problem.

I also checked the md5 hash, which showed I had a good download (I hope).  The md5 file was on the KaOS site rather than on sourceforge.  That’s good.  That makes it harder for a hacker to break into a site, add malware, then change the md5 file to match.

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Two versions of linux and UEFI

In my previous post, I described how I handle two or more versions of linux on the same box, where legacy/MBR booting is used.  In this post, I say a little about what I do with UEFI.

My partitioning decisions are similar to what I described in the previous post.  So I’ll discuss only booting here.  This will be a relatively short post.

The problem

The main problem, if we are discussing opensuse versions, is that opensuse wants to install so that you use either the “opensuse” or “opensuse-secureboot” UEFI name for booting.  So two or more installs want to use the same name, and that can cause problems.  You will end up booting the most recently installed.

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Two version of linux — my setup

In this post, I’ll describe what I do when I want two versions of linux.  Typically, one is for normal use and the other is for testing.  I noticed some confusion about how to do this in a recent thread at opensuse forums.  So I thought it might be of interest to describe what I am doing.

This is intended for information only.  Of course there are many different ways of handling this.  I am describing just one of them.

The particular computer is an older one that uses legacy (MBR) booting.  It was my main desktop, until around two years ago.  Now I mainly use it for testing and as a backup in case my main desktop fails.

I currently have both opensuse 13.1 and opensuse 13.2 installed.  I also have another partition for test installs.  Opensuse 13.2 is a 64-bit install, while opensuse 13.1 is a 32-bit install (actually the “linux for education” version. Read More…

Notes on the recent kernel update

There was a recent kernel update for opensuse 13.2, to kernel 3.16.7-13.  And some people are having problems with that kernel.

The main problems seems to be with module compatibility.  If you are using the nvidia graphics driver, and you installed it from the repos, then apparently it stops working after the kernel update.  The workaround is to use the previous kernel (use the advanced options menu from grub), or to reinstall the driver.

Reports are that the kernel update will be re-released to correct this problem.  So the really best solution may be to hold off installing this update until it is re-released.

I have installed the update on one system, without any problems.  That system uses Intel graphics, so does not need an added driver.  I am holding back on updating my system with nvidia graphics.

The issue has been reported as bug 927018, and is being discussed in a forum thread (with a confusing thread title).

Tumbleweed, Gnome 3.16, Wayland and all that

I recently did my April install of Tumbleweed.  And it’s an interesting system.  I also updated an existing Tumbleweed to the new level (20150330).

Of particular interest this month:

  • there’s a newer version of NetworkManager;
  • Gnome 3.16 is out and has some support for Wayland;
  • “top” output format is changed.

Wayland

I’ll start with Wayland, since that is the biggest change.  If you have been living in a cave, and have not heard of Wayland, it has a web page HERE.

Briefly, Wayland is a proposed provider of graphic services as a possible replacement for X-windows.  There are arguments around as to whether X needs a replacement.  I am taking a wait and see attitude before I make up my mind on that.

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My assessment of secure-boot

It is now a little over two years since I first acquired a computer with UEFI support.  That was a Dell Inspiron 660.  It came with Windows 8 (since upgraded to Windows 8.1).  I have left secure-boot enabled for most of that time, “to keep Windows happy”.  In fact Windows does not complain at all if I disable secure-boot.

My second UEFI box is almost one year old.  I do not have Windows installed there.  It is a Lenovo ThinkServer TS140.  When I first purchased it, secure-boot did not work all that well so I left it off most of the time.  I did turn it on for some testing, but it required modifying the opensuse “shim” to get it to work.  The problem that I had with secure-boot is described here under the heading “Booting the Machine that supports only one signature with vendor provided Keys”.  After a BIOS update a few months ago, secure-boot now works quite well on the TS140, so recently I have been leaving it enabled most of the time.

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Tumbleweed install, March 2015

As previously mentioned, I am doing an install every month.  This is mostly to test installing with the Tumbleweed DVD image.  You can think of it as early testing for opensuse 13.3.  So yesterday (March 12) was my install day for this month.

Downloading

I normally expect downloading to be unremarkable.  I usually don’t have problems.  I didn’t have problems with this download either, but it was surprisingly slow.

Browsing to the downloads site, I copied the download link.  I then used:

wget download-link.sha256
aria2c -V -R download-link

I have substituted “download-link” for the actual link, since that change every time so the actual link isn’t very useful for posting here.

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Clock setup with dual booting

It’s that time of year, when we change to daylight savings time in the USA.  Other parts of the northern hemisphere will change soon.  And folk in the southern hemisphere will be changing back to standard time.

The best way to handle this is to set you computer clock (BIOS clock, CMOS clock) to UTC (coordinated universal time).  Now that WinXP has been retired, the current Windows systems all support UTC with suitable registry entries.

I last posted on this several years ago.

As an administrator, create a new registry entry (assuming that one does not already exist):

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\TimeZoneInformation\RealTimeIsUniversal

Set that entry to be a dword, with value 1.

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Encrypted disk without a separate “/boot”

When support for legacy grub (or grub1) was dropped for opensuse 13.2, one of the reasons was to make it easier to support encryption without a separate unencrypted “/boot” partition.  Recent releases of grub2 have some support for accessing encrypted file systems, so it was mostly a matter of adding support to the installer.

I decided to test how that works.  So I did a test install of opensuse 13.2 into an encrypted LVM, without a separate “/boot”.  The Yast installer was happy with that.  It did not complain that there was no “/boot”.  So I continued through the full install.

There were no install errors reported.  But it didn’t work.  Instead, while booting, I got a grub shell.  And the grub shell did not offer any commands related to crypto.

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My February install

As previously mentioned, I am periodically doing a throwaway install of Tumbleweed to test the installer.  This one went smoothly, so this will be a short post.

Downloading

I downloaded the DVD installer for snapshot 20150201.  Apparently, just about everything was recompiled, so a simple update of my existing system would have downloaded almost as much as the DVD image.  As usual, I used “aria2c” to download.  And that went at about my usual speed (it takes a little under an hour for the download).  Again, as usual, I wrote the downloaded iso image to a USB flash drive and used that for the install.  I downloaded on Feb 03. Read More…

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