Tumbleweed is rolling again

Opensuse Tumbleweed has been static since the 20150612 snapshot.  But today the 20150630 snapshot was released.  We are moving again.

As previously reported, the hold up was the switch to gcc5 and the need to recompile almost everything.  Be prepared for a large update.

On my main Tumbleweed install, the update installed 4437 packages.  That’s because I have Plasma5, Gnome, XFCE and LXDE desktops, and I also have latex installed.

The update when smoothly enough and after reboot the system continued to run well with the updates in place.

Reviewing Mageia 5

A week ago, I saw an announcement for Mageia 5, and I decided to take a closer look.  My first look at Mandrake linux was around 1999, where I installed it for a brief test.  It was later renamed to “Mandriva” to avoid trademark conflicts.  And Mageia was forked from Mandriva.  Recently, Mandriva appears to have closed down, leaving Mageia as what remains from the earlier Mandrake.

Mandrake was originally based on RedHat linux, but Mandriva later diversified that.  And linux has changed a lot since my earlier 1999 test install.

Downloading

I initially downloaded “Mageia-5-LiveDVD-KDE4-x86_64-DVD.iso”.  That was actually an accident.  I had intended to download the DVD installer, but did not look closely at the name.  I had instead downloaded the live KDE iso.  I’ll note that this can be used for installing, though I later downloaded “Mageia-5-x86_64-DVD.iso” and used that for my test install.

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Directions for opensuse

An announcement today hinted at the future direction of opensuse.  There’s a tentative release date of around November 2.  The planned release is code-named “42”, though that is unlikely to be the final name.  One suggestion has been “opensuse Oak” to suggest something more stable than “opensuse Tumbleweed”.

There has been extensive discussion on mailing lists.  I have not attempted to read all of the related mails, and I don’t automatically receive any of them.

In short, it will be a long term support release.  The core of the release will be derive from SLE (the enterprise release of SuSE), supplemented by software that has been tested in Tumbleweed.  The tentative plan, going forward, will be for “42” stable releases and Tumbleweed rolling releases.

My own plans are uncertain.  I will be testing milestones for the “42” releases, as they become available.  And I’ll also continue to test Tumbleweed snapshots.  But I don’t know which I will be mainly using on my main desktop.  That’s a decision for the future.

Tumbleweed — what’s the holdup

It has been around 10 days since the last update to opensuse Tumbleweed.  That would have been snapshot 20150612.  This is a brief note to explain the delays.

The Tumbleweed team are in the process of switching over to using gcc 5 as their compiler.  This is an update from the earlier gcc 4.x.  So now they want to recompile the complete opensuse distribution using gcc 5.

Apparently this is mostly done.  But there are a few packages that are still not compiling properly with gcc 5.  So this take time for people to look at the error messages and make whatever changes are needed.

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Generic boot code

The expression “generic boot code” simply refers to boot code that is not specific to a particular operating system.

Newer computers are moving toward UEFI booting, but there are still many computers that use BIOS based MBR booting.  And I still have some of those computers.  Booting of such a computer starts with boot code in the MBR (or main boot record).  And typically, that is generic boot code.

MBR booting

First a quick rundown on how MBR booting typically works.

The MBR is the first physical sector on the hard drive.  When you power on the computer, the BIOS loads that sector into memory at a standard location, and then jumps to that memory location (starts running instructions from there).  Normally a properly initialized MBR will have 0xaa55 as the last 16 bits (that’s hexadecimal).  This is a boot flag and indicates that the disk is bootable.  The BIOS usually checks for this flag before it jumps to the boot code that it has loaded from the MBR.

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Cloud computing

I thought these three posts on cloud computing were worth reading:

For myself, I’m not doing much cloud computing at present.  This blog would count as being in the cloud.  And I guess most of my email is in the cloud.  But that’s it.  And the issue is, as those posts suggest, trust.

My install for June

I have been doing monthly installs of Tumbleweed, mainly to test out the installer.  For June, I installed the 20150608 snapshot.  I used the DVD installer (written to a USB), and this was for the 64-bit version.

Short “tl;dr” version — the install went pretty well, with only one minor problem.

Downloading

As usual, I used “aria2c” to download the file “openSUSE-Tumbleweed-DVD-x86_64-Snapshot20150608-Media.iso”.  In addition, I used “wget” to download “openSUSE-Tumbleweed-DVD-x86_64-Snapshot20150602-Media.iso.sha256″.  This is a small file which contains the sha256 checksum for the iso.  I used “gpg –verify” to check the digital signature on that “.sha256″ file.  I then compared the listed checksum of the iso with the one that I computed using the “sha256sum” command.  Everything checked as okay.

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Fedora 22

Last week, there was an announcement for Fedora 22.  So I decided to take a look.  I’ll note that I have only tested the KDE-live version.  I have not attempted an install.

The Fedora site

From the announcement on distrowatch, I visited the Fedora project home page.  There, I found lots of marketing hype but very little useful information.  The home page mentions a server version, a workstation version and a cloud version.  But I did not find a clear description of what is in those version and what distinguishes them.

Or, in simpler terms, the Fedora website sucks.

Downloading

In previous experimenting with Fedora, I have found that installing from the DVD installer gives a better running system than installing from live media.  So I tried to find an install DVD.

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Experimenting with NetworkManager

Opensuse Tumbleweed is currently using NetworkManager-1.0.0.  I decided to do some testing.

My tests were all done using the same laptop computer and connecting to the WiFi network I normally use at home.  Plasma 5, Gnome 3.16, XFCE and LXDE are all installed.  And opensuse always installs Icewm.

I was primarily looking at compatibility questions related to the different desktops.

How I tested

I started with no network configuration.  I then logged into one desktop, and configured a connection.  I then investigated whether I could still access the network from a different desktop.  My tests were mainly with Icewm, Gnome and Plasma 5.  Using WiFi from XFCE or from LXDE should be similar to what I was seeing with Icewm, and I did check that.

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Plasma 5.3 on opensuse Tumbleweed

After downloading the 20150515 snapshot of Tumbleweed, I tried an install late yesterday.  I finished up the tweaking and preliminary testing today.

Installing

The installation went quite smoothly.  As is my usual practice, I wrote the DVD installer iso to a USB flash drive, and installed with that.

The desktop selection page looked the same as ever.  It gave three choices (Gnome, KDE, Other), with the default being KDE.  That was a mild surprise.  I had guessed that they would change it to “Plasma 5″.  But, never mind, the KDE amounted to Plasma 5.

Later, on the software selection screens, there was a pattern for Plasma 5 and one for KDE.  Both were preselected, and were really there as parts of a Plasma 5 install.  I also selected Gnome, XFCE and LXDE, as is my usual practice.

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