First looks at opensuse 12.2 Beta1

[See also my more recent post on Beta1]

Beta1 was released a few days ago.  Naturally, I downloaded it as soon as I could, and have been spending too much time testing it in the last few days.

Once you get it installed, it seems mostly to be pretty solid.  But installing is quite a headache.

Install from the DVD image

As usual, I put the DVD image on a USB, after running “isohybrid” on the image to make it USB compatible.  The various steps of installation where about as usual for opensuse releases.  There were no problems in setting the clock, setting up the partitioning, setting where to install the boot manager, and selecting software.

The problems started, once the actual installing began.  Normally, the installer does an install from images (prepacked collections of software), as that speeds up the process.  Then it changes what was installed from the images, and that is mostly adding additional components.  On this install, after deploying images, it went through and deleted a whole bunch of necessary software.  As a result, when the install was complete, the installed system was not usable.

After the software install, it attempts to install the boot manager, for which I had accepted the “grub2” default.  That failed, apparently because of the software that had been deleted.  It allowed a retry with Grub1, and that mostly worked.  However, none of the graphics (the desktop environment) would run in the resulting crippled system.

Following a suggestion from the opensuse forum, I reinstalled.  But this time I disabled install from images.  That took longer, but avoided most of the problems.  The grub2 install even went quite smoothly.  Once the installed system was running, the KDM login manager started up normally.  However, if I logged into KDE, it immediately shutdown, then restarted KDM.  The logs hinted at possibly missing parts of the X-windows system.

Installing with the live KDE release

Again, using a USB, I tried installing the live system.  Again, the grub2 install failed, though it was a different problem.  It complained about installing anywhere other than the MBR.  There may have been a missing component.  Again, I was able to retry with grub1, resulting in a presumably usable system.  However, I had other problems due to my use of encryption.

Plymouth / Luks incompatibility

Opensuse is now trying the plymouth splash software to handle the splash screen during boot.  I’m not quite sure what was going wrong, but plymouth, as configured, is blocking the prompt for the Luks key for my encrypted LVM.  As a result, the boot hangs.  I had that problem with both the live install and the DVD (without images) install.

I tried booting to the failsafe grub entry.  That worked, presumably because the splash is not used.  Rebooting that way allowed the final stages of the install to complete.  Then, after setting Xorg to be setuid, I was able to run “startx” to start a KDE session.

I edited “/boot/grub/menu.lst” to turn off the splash during boot.  That way, I could now boot normally into a graphic desktop.

Yast woes

When trying to install additional software, Yast segfaulted.  Some additional software could be installed without problem.  Other additional software caused a segfault.  This is apparently part of what delayed the beta release.

I was able to install some packages using zypper at the command line.  But I could not install the Gnome pattern.  If I click on the Gnome pattern in Yast, it segfaults.  If I ask zypper to install the Gnome pattern, it segfaults.  I even tried booting the DVD image to update mode, so that I could try updating my installation by adding the Gnome pattern.  As soon as I clicked on the Gnome pattern, the installer segfaulted.

Once I had a running system, I restored the content of “/etc/NetworkManager/system-connections” from a backup of my prior version.  Network manager quickly started working and connecting to my home network.

Apart from not having Gnome fully installed (the Gnome base pattern did install), I have a running system that seems to mostly work well.  But I have spent so much time on installation woes that I haven’t yet tested much of the system.

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About Neil Rickert

Retired mathematician and computer scientist who dabbles in cognitive science.

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