Tumbleweed install, March 2015

As previously mentioned, I am doing an install every month.  This is mostly to test installing with the Tumbleweed DVD image.  You can think of it as early testing for opensuse 13.3.  So yesterday (March 12) was my install day for this month.


I normally expect downloading to be unremarkable.  I usually don’t have problems.  I didn’t have problems with this download either, but it was surprisingly slow.

Browsing to the downloads site, I copied the download link.  I then used:

wget download-link.sha256
aria2c -V -R download-link

I have substituted “download-link” for the actual link, since that change every time so the actual link isn’t very useful for posting here.

The first of those commands (the “wget”) is quick and just downloads the checksum for later checking.  The small text file is gpg signed, so I checked the signature.  The second command does most of the work.  It actually downloads the meta-file, then uses that to download the DVD image.  The “-V” option tells it to verify the download as it goes, and retry in case of error.  The “-R” tells it to preserve the date of the source file (a useful reminder to me of when the image was created).  When finished, I checked the sha256 sum to make sure that the download was good (it was).

While downloading, the “aria2c” command reports progress.  My downloads usually take less than an hour.  But this time, the progress report was predicting 10 hours.  It actually took a little under 2 hours — there was a rate speedup toward the end.

Why so slow?  I’m not sure.  My guess is that I started soon after the iso file became available, and before the mirrors all had copies.  And I was probably competing for network traffic with all of the folk who were updating Tumbleweed at that time.

Preparing install media

Next, as root, I used the command

# dd_rescue downloaded-iso-file /dev/sdd

to copy the image to a USB — here “/dev/sdd” was the particular USB.

The next step was to plug in the USB to an existing Tumbleweed system.  I then set the USB as a repo.  And I updated that system (using “zypper dup”).  An update goes pretty fast when most of the updated files are on a local USB.  I repeated that for two other existing Tumbleweed systems.


For my actual install, I plugged the USB into my laptop, and booted it.  This is a Dell laptop.  I hit F12 during the boot, and it gave me a  boot menu where I could select to boot from the USB.  When the installer boot menu came up, I plugged in the external drive where I would install, then selected “Installation” from the menu.

I reused existing partitions.  I chose to install KDE, Gnome, XFCE and LXDE.  Incidentally, this install included a new version of XFCE (version 4.12) which I have yet to test (apart from a cursory login).

The install went well, with no major glitches.  There was a minor glitch.  I clicked on the Booting header to set boot parameters.  I set it to boot from the MBR (instead of from “/boot”).  When I was ready to go to the final install step, I noticed that it still wanted to install to “/boot”.  I’m not sure what went wrong there.  It could have been a bad keypress by me.  In any case, it is always wise to check everything at that final step.

Gnome NetworkManager

I particularly wanted to test NetworkManager in Gnome for this install, mostly because I haven’t done that recently and I saw some folk raising questions on the forum.

Configuring the network was a bit of a puzzle.  I looked at the top right of the screen (near the battery indicator and time), expecting to see a WiFi icon.  There was none.

I eventually tried going to settings (right click on screen and select settings), then to network settings.  There, I was able to configure the network.  And, once configure, the WiFi indicator appeared at the top right of the screen.  It seems that the Gnome developers really do want it to look like a cell phone, with no indicator until connected.

I later discovered that I could have clicked on the indicator area.  The resulting menu would have included a line for WiFi settings.

I next tried to make some settings for IPv6.  I wanted to set the privacy extensions.  I could not find an option to do this.  However, later, while using KDE, I was able to set that up and the setting still applies when running Gnome.

Perhaps this was all a waste of time.  A new version of NetworkManager is expected real soon now.  So a lot might change.  But at least I’ll have a better idea what it changed from.


Overall, the install went pretty well.  I’m still unsure of the planned targed date for opensuse 13.3 (it might not have been decided).  But things seem to be on track.


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About Neil Rickert

Mathematician and computer scientist who dabbles in cognitive science.

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