My install for June

I have been doing monthly installs of Tumbleweed, mainly to test out the installer.  For June, I installed the 20150608 snapshot.  I used the DVD installer (written to a USB), and this was for the 64-bit version.

Short “tl;dr” version — the install went pretty well, with only one minor problem.

Downloading

As usual, I used “aria2c” to download the file “openSUSE-Tumbleweed-DVD-x86_64-Snapshot20150608-Media.iso”.  In addition, I used “wget” to download “openSUSE-Tumbleweed-DVD-x86_64-Snapshot20150602-Media.iso.sha256”.  This is a small file which contains the sha256 checksum for the iso.  I used “gpg –verify” to check the digital signature on that “.sha256” file.  I then compared the listed checksum of the iso with the one that I computed using the “sha256sum” command.  Everything checked as okay.

Finally, I wrote the iso file to a USB flash drive, with

# dd_rescue openSUSE-Tumbleweed-DVD-x86_64-Snapshot20150602-Media.iso /dev/sdd

Note that “/dev/sdd” happened to be the device name for my flash drive.  I carefully checked that before running the above command.

I was now ready to install.

Installing

My plan was to install to an external drive.

I had previously (yesterday) prepared the drive by partitioning and formatting.  I created a partition for “/boot” at 200M in size.  And I put most of the remaining space on the 80G external drive into an encrypted LVM.  I setup the LVM to have volumes “root”, “home” and “swap” with the obvious intended uses.

I was planning to install using my laptop, which does legacy booting.  However, I partitioned the external drive with GPT partitioning, because I wanted to test that.

I insterted the installer USB and powered up the laptop.  Then I pounded the F12 key during boot, to get a boot menu.  On that menu, I selected “Boot from USB”.

Once I had the installer boot menu showing, I plugged in the external drive to which I would install.  The boot options for that laptop do not give me a choice of which USB to boot, so I thought it safer to not plug in the external drive until booting from the flash drive was under way.

Booting the installer was typical of my experience.  I was prompted for an encryption key for encrypted partitions, and I provided that.

When I got to the partitioning screen, I selected “Create partitioning”.  On the next screen, I selected “Custom partitioning”.  Then, on the following screen, I could right click on file systems, select “Edit” and set how that file system (partition or logical volume) was to be used.  That went pretty well.

Later, after providing user name and password, I was shown the summary screen.  I clicked on “Booting” to set up booting.  The suggested default was to boot from “/boot”, to install generic boot code into the MBR, and to set “/boot” as the active partition.  That all looked good.  I checked the listed disk order — it showed the external drive as first, which was correct.  So I pretty much accepted the defaults.  It did offer to remove the protective flag from the MBR.  I told it to not change that.

I then selected the software I wanted (KDE/Plasma 5, Gnome, XFCE and LXDE plus a few odd packages).  I then allowed the installer to proceed.

Booting

I’ll note that previously, when I have used GPT partitioning on a legacy system, I have told it to install grub2 into the MBR.  This time, I instead tried the recommended default of installing in “/boot”.  That was part of what I wanted to test with this install.

It worked.  The system booted properly the first time.  While booting, I removed the installer flash drive, then pounded the F12 key to get the BIOS boot menu where I selected “Boot from USB”.

The typical generic boot code, such as installed by Windows, would not have worked here.  Traditional boot code reads only the MBR and expects to find a bootable partition there.  However, my “/boot” was not listed in the MBR partition table.  So this boot depended on the opensuse installer using generic boot code that is capable of reading a GPT partition table.  Since it worked, that part of my test was successful.

Once booted, the system seemed to run well.  I configured WiFi, and did a little tweaking.

Problems

I have only run into one problem, and that did not prevent the system from working normally.  I used the command

# parted /dev/sdb print

to show the partition table for the external drive.  And it showed “/boot” to have both the boot flag and the legacy boot flag.  I was expecting only the legacy boot flag (the analog of marking a partition as active).  The boot flag seemed wrong.

Checking more closely, it seemed that the partition had been marked as an EFI partition, even though it was formatted with “ext2”.  Although everything worked, that looked wrong and could lead to future problems.  So I used “gdisk” to change the partition type from EF00 (an EFI partition) to 8300 (a linux partition).

I have not reported this problem as a bug, though I probably will later today or tomorrow.

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About Neil Rickert

Mathematician and computer scientist who dabbles in cognitive science.

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