Testing opensuse 13.1 Milestone 3
Milestone 3 was announced a few days ago, so it was time for me to do some downloading and testing. I have not had a lot of testing time yet. This post will concentrate on what I have found thus far, and on my experience with installing M3. This is my second attempt to post about M3, with the first ending in failure.
For those not familiar with the terminology, a milestone release is a step along the path toward final release. For 13.1, the final release is tentatively scheduled for Nov 19th. The tentative schedule is listed here. And if you follow development links from that page, you will get to pointers on where you can download the install images (iso files).
Following my usual practice, I downloaded the appropriate iso files, planning to write them to USB flash drives ready for installing.
13.1M3 uses kernel 3.10.0-2.gc5ad3f9. That funky way of naming caused problems for “purge-kernels” in Tumbleweed 12.3, and it looks as if it will also cause problems for 13.1.
% /sbin/purge-kernels --test /sbin/purge-kernels: Running kernel 3.10.0-2.gc5ad3f9-x86_64/desktop not installed.
That’s similar to the error message that I see with Tumbleweed. Because of this, old kernels are not purged. I’m hoping that bug will be corrected before 13.1 is released.
13.1 comes with KDE 4.10.90, and apparently that is a beta release of 4.11. I have seen a few problems, which I hope will be ironed out by the time that 4.11 is released.
First, a relatively minor problem. When I login to KDE on a desktop system, I am seeing an error message about AC power configuration. The message disappears after a very short interval. It seems to say that there’s a configuration setting wanting to dim the display, and my display does not have that ability.
A second problem is showing up only on a computer which uses the nouveau driver for an nvidia graphics card. The login never fully completes. Running while booted to a live KDE system, I had to use CTRL-ALT-BACKSPACE (twice) to exit from the session. I then logged into a failsafe session (no, not KDE failsafe, but the plain failsafe session that uses twm). There, I edited “.kde4/share/config/kwinrc” and added a line “Enabled=false” in the “Compositing” session. That disables desktop effects. I exited from the failsafe session and logged back into KDE, which now worked as it should. I usually disable desktop effects anyway, so this did not pose a problem for me.
A third problem showed up in a 32bit system. There, plasma-desktop-shell kept crashing, making KDE unusable. Posts at opensuse forum suggest that this might be a general problem for 32bit systems. Hopefully it will be fixed before KDE 4.11 is released.
With opensuse 12.3 (KDE 4.10), there are small browser and file manager icons in the task bar. With 13.1 the icons are larger, and in a wide space. I did not like that change.
I have not yet had time to thoroughly test the KDE applications. Thus far, I have not come up with any problems other than those just described.
Gnome and GDM
With 13.1M3, Gnome comes in at version 3.9.1. It seems to work. However, I am not a Gnome fan, so I have not tested much.
I did install Gnome classic (gnome shell extensions). There is a menu item for KDM to select Gnome Classic, but it does not work (it gives regular Gnome). I switched to GDM, and Gnome Classic does work from there. However, it is ugly. It looked better with Gnome 3.8.x (milestone 2). It looks as if it is not fully ready for Gnome 3.9.1.
While running GDM, I logged into Icewm (that’s “icewm-default” which is not the same as the “icewm-lite” that is automatically installed). Icewm is broken when using GDM. There’s no opensuse wallpaper showing, and if using Intel graphics, the windows do not close properly. I switched back to KDM, and Icewm is fine from KDM.
I have now installed 5 times. Three installs were from DVD media, and two from live KDE media. The DVD installs went pretty well. There were major problems when installing from the live KDE media written to a USB. It does look as if those problems might disappear if the live iso file is written to a DVD rather than a USB. Note that it is too large for a CD. The two 64bit DVD installs replaced the live KDE installs on the same boxes. I only installed on three different boxes.
The DVD installs
Following my usual practice, I copied the iso file to a USB using “dd_rescue”. I then selected booting from a USB in the BIOS boot menu for two of my systems. For the third, an older 32bit system, I used PLOP boot manager since the BIOS does not have support for USB booting.
My first DVD install was to my UEFI box. I had secure-boot enabled. The install went pretty well. When configuring the booting, I changed the “Distributor” line from “OpenSUSE 13.1” to “OpenSUSE_alt 13.1”. That change did not take. I had to edit “/etc/default/grub” and redo the change, then reinstall grub for that to take effect. Apart from that, everything went well. The option to install secure-boot support was already checked. And the system boots without a problem.
My second DVD install was to a non-UEFI system. Again, the install mostly went well. On the boot screen for the install, I just selected “Installation”. I ignored the advice from the opensuse Wiki, which says to hit F4 and tell it to search the hard disks for repos. That had not worked for me with M1 and M2, so I did not try for M3.
The one minor problem was with the booting section. I set the boot command line to use “noresume” instead of “resume=/dev/mapper/cr_swap”. That did not take. After install, I edited “/etc/default/grub” to again make that change.
For that second DVD install, I selected the option “Add online repos before installation.” The option comes in an early screen in the installer. That was followed by another screen where I could choose which repos. The OSS and non-OSS repos were preselected, and I went with that. The debug, source and update repos were also available for choosing. The install with online repos went well. This increased the software that could be installed. For example, I was able to install ecryptfs-utils at that time. During the actual installation, the progress screen showed how much remained to be installed from each repo.
While that went well, I think I won’t do that in future. It is probably better to go with a faster install from just the DVD, and come back later to add additional software.
My third DVD install was to my older 32 bit system. That also went smoothly, though it was a lot slower due to the slower disk speed on that box.
Live KDE installs
The “fun” part of installing was using live media, where I ran into some problems. As is my usual practice, I copied the live media iso files to a USB and installed from there. It is now looking as if the problems are USB related. While I have not completely tested this, it looks as if the problems would not have arisen if I had instead burned the media iso to a DVD and installed from there.
My first install was to my UEFI box. Everything went well, until the installer tried to setup grub on the newly installed system. That generated an error. It turned out that there was no kernel installed. I had actually expected this. It had been reported by Dale at opensuse-forums, and as bug 827520. My reason for installing from live KDE was to confirm the bug report.
I ignored the error message, and allowed the install to continue. I then went into rescue mode to correct the problem.
A second live KDE install was to a non-UEFI box. This was mainly to check whether the same error occurs there. The first problem that I ran into, was that the installer defaulted to using grub2-efi. It did warn that this was wrong. It turns out that it had cached the EFI information from my first install, and was using that for the second install instead of rechecking. It was easy enough to change to using grub2.
And then I ran into the same missing kernel problem (again this was expected).
So that has been my experience with 13.1M3.