OpenSUSE 13.2 Beta1 is available for testing

The beta1 release of 13.2 was made available yesterday.  Here’s the announcement:

and here’s the download page:

Yesterday, I downloaded and did a couple of installs.

Quick summary

My installs went pretty smoothly.  They are better than I have previously seen with beta releases.  Still, there were some install quirks and I’ll go through those below.

The installed system is basically the factory system that I have been running for a while.  So there wasn’t much testing needed apart from testing the installer.

My two installs were both done from the DVD installer.  One of these was a 64-bit install, and the other was a 32-bit install.  In both cases, I wrote the downloaded “iso” to a USB flash drive using the “dd_rescue” command from within an installed opensuse system.

The live KDE installer

I don’t have much to say here.  I attempted an install from a KDE live USB, but failed.  I tried this on my older 32-bit system.  It booted to live KDE.  But when I clicked the installer icon on the desktop, the installer failed to start.

I’m pretty sure this was a memory problem.  That computer has only 1.2G of memory.  That seems to be enough to start KDE, but apparently not enough to load the installer on top of KDE.  So I reverted to using the 32-bit DVD installer on that computer.

I later tried selecting “Installation” from the boot menu of the live KDE media.  And that did successfully load the installer.  But this was after I had installed from the DVD, so I aborted the live install at the partitioning section so as to not damage what I had already installed.  That computer is also tight on disk space, so there was not room for two side-by-side installs of 13.2 Beta1.

An install, after selecting “Installion” from the boot menu would probably have worked.  I have seen other reports of successful install with live media.  But I cannot vouch for it, since I did not complete an install.

DVD installer quirks

Here, I’ll list some of the things to watch for if you are installing.

Network setup

You may see a network setup screen early in the install.  If you have an ethernet connection, you probably won’t see this.  The installer will just use DHCP to setup the network, and won’t present a setup screen.  In my case with my 64-bit system, it used the network for clock synchronization.  If you do not want the network used during install, then unplug the ethernet cable.  In that case, you probably will see a network setup screen.  You can just click “Next” without setting up anything to continue to installation without use of a network connection.

If you have WiFi and no ethernet, the network setup screen will ask you to configure WiFi.  Do not try this, as it is broken.  Just hit “Next” to skip use of a network during install.  This is bug 888805.  It is my understanding that the bug has now been fixed for factory installs, but the fix was too late for Beta1.

Partitioning

The partitioner will recommend using “btrfs” for the file system.  I’m not ready to do that, so I selected “Create partitioning” followed by “Expert partitioner” on the next screen.

Partition role

Apparently, if you create a partition with expert partitioning, you are asked to give the role for that partition.  I did not experience this, because I always create my partitions before install and use the expert partitioner only to specify which existing partitions to use, where to mount and whether to format.

UEFI booting

There’s a small bug in the booting of UEFI systems.  With UEFI, each bootable system has a name.  For Beta1, the name will be “opensuse,” instead of “opensuse”.  That’s right.  There will be an extraneous comma at the end.

If you use secure-boot, you might not notice this.  The secure-boot entry will still be called “opensuse-secureboot” without an extraneous comma.

This problem is bug 895884, and it is already fixed in factory.  Apparently the fix was too late for Beta1, but it should be fixed in a later RC release and in the final release.  So best to just live with it for now.

The running system

For the most part, things are running rather well.

Beta1 boots to kernel 3.16.2 (or “3.16.2-1.gdcee397-desktop” if you want more detail).  KDE is at 4.14.0, while factory is already at 4.14.1.  So the fine 13.2 should be at least at 4.14.1.

Plymouth

The Plymouth (boot splash screen) is a uniform dull gray.  I’ll have to guess that this is incomplete, waiting for the artwork folk.  However, it still works.  I am prompted for an encryption key for the encrypted home and swap partitions.

The “csh” shell

If you use “csh” you will run into bug 897634.  If you don’t use “csh” you can ignore it.  If you do use “csh” then you can fix the problem by editing “/etc/profile.d/qt-graphicssystem.csh” and replacing “0QT_GRAPHICSSYSTEM” with “$?QT_GRAPHICSSYSTEM”.  That is, you are replacing “0” with “$?” in two places.

This problem is apparently fixed already, though the fix is not yet in factory (it is presumably in “factory-to-test”).

KDE activities

Activities don’t work, but you can fix that by installing “kactivities4”.  This has been reported as bug 896660.

Akregator

When you shutdown akregator, you will see the KDE crash reporter.  However, on restart, akregator seems to act as if it had been shutdown cleanly.  So I see this as only a minor issue.

Overall

As a whole, this looks to be a pretty good beta release, and better than we usually expect for beta releases.  This is a result of behind-the-scenes work.  A lot of effort has been put into automated testing.  Now updates only make it to published factory if they survive automated testing.  As a result, published factory is pretty good and many folk are now using it as a rolling “release”.  Those rolling release users in turn report bugs that they find, and this helps keep the quality high.

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About Neil Rickert

Retired mathematician and computer scientist who dabbles in cognitive science.

3 responses to “OpenSUSE 13.2 Beta1 is available for testing”

  1. Mich says :

    https://bugzilla.novell.com/show_bug.cgi?id=891645

    Are you able to confirm if the above bug is fixed in this release?
    If yes, I may want to do a reinstall of Factory.
    Thanks.

    Like

    • Neil Rickert says :

      It is marked as fixed.

      I’m not sure how to tell if it is fixed. I am not having that problem. But, reading the bug report, it looks as if it might only apply to particular hardware so my experience might not be relevant.

      The laptop with 13.2Beta1 has an older Atheros card (from around 2004). Another laptop with factory has a broadcom WiFi card. I am not having problems with either of those.

      Like

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