OpenSUSE Leap 15.4 Beta

The install media for Leap 15.4 Beta became available last Wednesday March 02. Of course, I downloaded and started testing. For the download page, click HERE. And here’s the announcement page:

As usual, I downloaded the DVD iso using “aria2c”. I verified the checksum and the gpg signature of the checksum file to make sure that I had a good download. And then I copied the iso to an 8G USB flash drive to use for installing.

I normally keep three systems installed. They were openSUSE Leap 15.2, openSUSE Leap 15.3 and openSUSE Tumbleweed. So I installed the beta release to replace the out-of-support Leap 15.2.

Installing

The install went quite smoothly. The install experience has improved since Leap 15.3. My first install was to a laptop, where there is also a Windows 7 partition. I was pleased to see that the install defaulted to setting the system clock to UTC. In the past, it has set the clock to UTC if there was no Windows, but to local time if it found Windows. So it looks as if it recognized that I already was using UTC on that laptop, and based its default on that. But I’ll admit that this is partially a guess.

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Slackware 15.0 — a review

A few days ago, I noticed that Slackware 15.0 had been released (as reported at DistroWatch). Here is the ANNOUNCEMENT. So I decided to download and give it a try.

These days, I mostly use openSUSE. But I started with Slackware, back in 1995. So this was a chance to revisit those earlier experiences. I downloaded both the 32-bit and the 64-bit versions, intending to give both a try. I noticed that the download site had a metalink, so I used “aria2c” for the download.

I chose to only install to a virtual machine. I’m quite happy with openSUSE systems on my real hardware. I created two KVM virtual machines, each with a 40G virtual disk. For the first of these, I went with the default configuration using a traditional BIOS for booting. I planned to use that for the 32-bit slackware. And I configured the second virtual machine for UEFI booting, and planned to use the 64-bit slackware version there.

In both cases, I configured the downloaded “iso” file as a virtual DVD, and I started the virtual machine to boot that DVD. Both installs were similar. From a user perspective, I’m not seeing much difference between the 32-bit and the 64-bit. In both cases, I mostly took the install defaults, which means that I ended up with the KDE desktop environment.

Installing

Booting the DVD takes me to a command line login, where I could login as “root” (no password required). There’s no newfangled GUI installer. The first thing it does is tell you that you should partition the disk, and it drops you to a command line, where it suggests that you use “fdisk” or “cfdisk”. I went with “fdisk”. But just typing “fdisk” at the command line gives an error. I had to use

fdisk /dev/sda
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Leap 15.4 Alpha is here

An early alpha release of Leap 15.4 is now available. Check HERE for the download site.

Installing

I downloaded the DVD installer yesterday. As usual, I used “aria2c” to download the iso. And I used “wget” to download the sha256 checksum file and its gpg signature. And then I installed to a virtual machine. The install itself went well, using the downloaded iso as a virtual DVD.

I then tried to install some additional software from the repos. That gave me some errors. It seems that some of the repos have not been initialized. So I disabled the update repos. Those are not really needed until close to the final release of 15.4. But I will need to remember to re-enable them at that time.

Apart from that, everything that I tested seemed to work. I installed KDE at my initial install, and then I added Gnome later.

What’s there?

Gnome appears to be version 41, which about what is currently in Tumbleweed. KDE is still at 5.18.6, which is the same as in Leap 15.3. But perhaps a newer version will be available by the time of the final release.

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A Leap 15.3 respin

A new install image for Leap 15.3 was announced today:

I presume the main idea was to have an install image that includes some of the updates that we have seen since the original Leap 15.3 release.

Naturally, I downloaded the newer iso, and attempted an install. Since I already have Leap 15.3 installed and up to date on the computers where I want it, I did the new install in a virtual machine (using KVM). My intention was for this to be a test install, which I would eventually throw away.

Installing

I setup the VM to use UEFI for booting, and I configured the downloaded iso to be a virtual DVD. To install, I set the VM to boot from that virtual DVD.

In the partitioning section of install, I went with “Guided Setup”. I set the root file system to use “ext4” and I chose to have a separate “/home” partition, also using “ext4”, with an additional swap partition. Apart from that, I went with the defaults for the install. I selected KDE as the desktop environment to install.

The install itself went smoothly and quickly. And, when done, it booted into the newly installed system.

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32-bit EFI and 32-bit Tumbleweed

I recently received an email, via the contact form for this blog:

I am desperately trying to get a 32 bit iso (i686) of tumbleweed installed on my machine which has a 32 bit uefi… And i do not manage. Would you have any insights?

I did not have an answer. So I decided to do some testing. And this post is based on how I succeeded with an install.

The first thing that I did was download the DVD iso for “openSUSE-Tumbleweed-DVD-i586-Snapshot20210826-Media.iso”. I then tried doing something similar to what I have previously done for 32-bit EFI. But it did not work. As best I can tell, the problem is that the 32-bit installer is not designed to boot with EFI at all. So I needed to find a different solution.

Preparing the USB

I started with an 8G USB flash drive that I would use for the installer. I plugged that in, and used “fdisk” to partition it. I created a 5G partition to use with “ext2” as a linux file system. And then I created a second partition of 256M, to use as an EFI partition. In “fdisk”, I set the partition type code to “ef” which is what is used for an EFI partition with traditional MBR partitioning. I do not like using GPT partitioning on a USB, because that makes it harder to reuse the USB.

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Leap 15.3 on hardware with 32-bit EFI

I have been experimenting with 32-bit EFI for maybe 3 years now, starting with Leap 15.0. This experimenting was all on virtual machines with “ovmf” firmware. But Leap 15.3 gave me problems, because the kernel would not boot on a 32-bit EFI system.

As I previously mentioned, I did manage to setup a system with Leap 15.3. To do that, I cheated. I installed on a system with legacy booting. I then backed that up to an external drive, and later restored to the 32-bit EFI system. That’s not very practical, and it still did not work until I installed a Tumbleweed kernel that I could boot.

A new kernel

Things began to look better with a recent kernel update, to kernel 5.3.18-59.5. After installing that update on my 32-bit EFI system, I checked whether it could boot. And it did indeed boot successfully. So I no longer needed to use a Tumbleweed kernel on that system.

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OpenSUSE and 32-bit UEFI

I have previously described my experiments with 32-bit UEFI HERE and HERE. In this post I will describe what I am currently doing and what works. In a future post, I’ll discuss how to install.

My hardware

I don’t actually have any hardware with 32-bit UEFI. So I have been doing all of my testing with a KVM virtual machine. I used the “ovmf-ia32” firmware in the virtual machine. At present, I have only one such virtual machine. I have occasionally created others for testing purposes.

I currently have both openSUSE Leap 15.3 and openSUSE Tumbleweed installed, side by side, in this virtual machine. To put it simple, Tumbleweed works well, while Leap 15.3 is troublesome.

In addition, I have two external drives that I use. I have both Tumbleweed and 32-bit Tumbleweed installed side by side on one of those. It is intended to be usable for general repair and rescue purposes, so I have the external (with USB) drive setup so that it can boot on a legacy MBR booting system, it can boot on a 64-bit UEFI system with secure-boot and it can boot on a 32-bit UEFI system without secure-boot. If I am trying to boot a purely 32-bit system, then I can only boot the 32-bit Tumbleweed on this external drive. For a 64-bit system with 32-bit UEFI, I can boot either.

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OpenSUSE Leap 15.3 — off to a shaky start

The latest openSUSE release was just a couple of days ago. Here’s the release announcement.

It has been working well here, but a few glitches have shown up, and I’ll describe those in this post.

The new build model

This release is using the new build model. Previous Leap releases have been built specifically for openSUSE. That often meant that the source code from the SUSE enterprise version (SLE) was recompiled to give us the openSUSE packages.

With this release, the decision was to use the SUSE built packages directly, without recompiling. The idea was to simplify to process and bring openSUSE and SUSE releases closer together.

For most of the development stage (beta testing, etc), this was done by copying the appropriate SUSE packages into the openSUSE repos. And we could install from there. I had been assuming that it would continue that way.

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My desktop is now running Leap 15.3

Yesterday was my switchover day. I already installed Leap 15.3 several months ago. It was separate from the Leap 15.2 that I was mainly running. I occasionally booted 15.3 to keep it up to date and for testing. But I then reverted to running 15.2 for most of what I do.

Release date

I’m not sure of the release date, but it is supposed to be in early June. There was a recent announcement in the factory mailing list, that indicated the release would be delayed by a few days due to some snag.

In any case, we are getting close to the official release. So it was time for me to switch so that I would be testing more thoroughly.

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A Leap 15.3 update

Checking this morning, I noticed that a new update was available. I have now update Leap 15.3 in KVM virtual machines. I have not yet applied this update on real hardware.

Note, that to update, I am using

zypper dup

at the command line.

Today’s update was relatively small. I noticed that pipewire libraries were installed or updated. However, KDE seems to still be using pulseaudio.

Perhaps the more important change is that the packman repo finally has some real packages. So you can try switching system packages to packman. That should improve things for multimedia software.