OpenSUSE Leap 42.1-RC1

The release candidate for Leap 42.1 was published on Thursday.  So I downloaded and installed.

Quick summary

It is mostly looking pretty good.  There is a glaring bug when you login to Plasma 5 (or KDE) — namely “kdeinit5” and “Kmix” crash.  However, there’s an easy workaround.  This should be fixed by the time of the final 42.1 release.

Apart from that one problem, it looks pretty good.  I’m sure there are other bugs, but mostly it all works.

Up through Beta1, “ecryptfs” was missing.  But it is now there.  Most of the software that I normally use is there.  One exception is “sendmail”, but I don’t really need that.

Downloading

For me the download went smoothly, and at close to my max speed.  I then verified the download with the “sha256” sum.  In turn, I verified the “sha256” file by checking its gpg signature.

After downloading, I wrote the “.iso” file to a USB, using

# dd_rescue openSUSE-Leap-42.1-DVD-x86_64-Build0235-Media.iso /dev/sdd

Note that “/dev/sdd” happens to be the device name for the USB.  If you use the same method of creating an install USB, be careful to check that you have the correct device name for your system.

Having prepared the USB, it was now time for an install.

First install

I have installed on three different computers.  Two of them went very smoothly.  One of them went a little awry.  All installs were to existing encrypted LVMs.

My first install was on Thursday.  That was to a UEFI system (my Lenovo ThinkServer TS140).  The computer was configured for secure-boot.  This install went very smoothly.  I did not run into any problems until I logged into Plasma 5 and saw the kdeinit5 crash message (more on that below).

This was a typical opensuse install.  I accepted the license on the opening screen.  I was prompted for the encryption key for my existing LVM.  Next came the proposed partitioning.  I ignored the proposal, and clicked “create partitioning”.  Then I clicked “custom partioning” on the next screen.  The following screen included a button for importing partitioning.  I used that, and selected the appropriate import for where I wanted to install.

Then came the time zone screen.  The box (use UTC) was already checked, probably because I don’t have Windows on this box.  I selected Chicago time.

Next, I was prompted for user and password.  I unchecked the “automatic login” option, then clicked “Change”.  That allowed me to import user information from a previous install on this box.  I was then prompted for a root password, which I provided.

After this there was a summary screen, where I checked the boot settings (I changed the timeout to 15 seconds).  I told it to enable the ssh server and to open the firewall.  I then clicked on “Software” to set what I wanted to install.  I actually installed Gnome, XFCE and LXDE in addition to KDE.  And I added a couple of other items such as the kernel-devel package.

And soon I was watching the installer as it reported its steps.  The install was reasonably fast.  On reboot, it booted straight into Leap 42.1 (I did have to provide the encryption key for the encrypted LVM).

Second install

My second install was to my laptop.  I wanted to install there, to test NetworkManager.  I actually installed to an external drive that I connected to a USB port.

To start the install, I plugged in the installer USB, powered on the computer and hit F12.  I selected “Boot from USB” at the BIOS prompt.  On the boot screen for the installer, I then plugged in the external drive where I wanted to install, then selected “Installation” on that boot menu.

Everything seemed to go well at first.  I decided to only install KDE on this system.  I chose to install in the LVM already existing on the external drive.  On the summary screen, I looked at the Boot settings.  The defaults looked okay.  They were to boot from “/boot”, to install generic boot code, and to set the active flag.

I should add, at this point, that I had used GPT partitioning on that external drive.  And maybe that’s why I ran into problems.

I watched as the install proceeded.  It all looked good until near the end.  And then it informed be that the bootloader install had failed.  It did not provide any details as to what went wrong.

On reboot, I instead booted into opensuse 13.2 on the same disk.  Then I mounted the newly installed system and went into rescue mode.  In rescue mode (in a chroot() environment), I ran:

# grub2-install --force /dev/sdb2
# mkinitrd

and that worked without any problems.  It makes me wonder why it failed during the initial install.

I now booted into the system.  For this, I unplugged the install USB.  I hit F12 during boot, and told the BIOS to boot from USB.  It booted into Leap 42.1-RC1 without a problem.

Third install

My third install was later on Friday.  This was to an older computer with Nvidia graphics.  My plan was to see if I could get it working with the nouvea driver.  I’ll comment more on that below.

The install itself went well.  Again, I installed to an existing encrypted LVM.  The install replaced opensuse 13.1 which was previously in one of the partitions on this computer.

For the “Boot” settings, I told it to install boot to “/boot” (which is “/dev/sda6” and not a primary partition).  I told it to not set an active flag.  It warned me that I might have problems booting.  But it continued with the install and all went well.

On reboot, I got the grub2 menu for opensuse 13.2.  I already had an entry in that menu to chain load “/dev/sda6”.  I had previously used that menu entry for booting 13.1.  I now use it for booting Leap 42.1-RC1.

Leap 42.1 booted without problems.  I initially logged into Icewm to finalize my settings.  Then I tried Plasma 5 with nouveau.  I’ll give more details below.

The “kdeinit5” crashes

When you first login to Plasma 5, you are confronted with a crash report.  It turns out that the real problem is with pulseaudio.  Bug 950487 documents the problem (h/t wolfi323).

That bug is currently showing as resolved (fixed).  So the problem should be fixed in the final release of 42.1.  Unfortunately, the fix was too late for RC1.  However, the bug report does give a workaround.  Edit the file “/etc/pulse/default.pa” and change the line:

load-module module-native-protocol-unix

to

load-module module-native-protocol-unix srbchannel=no

With that change, Plasma 5 starts up without crashes.

Using nouveau

I have seen a number of reports that indicate problems with Plasma 5 when using the nouveau driver (the open source driver for Nvidia cards).  So my idea was to try disabling desktop effects, and to see if Plasma 5 could run well enough that way.

Short story — it works.  Plasma 5 seems flawless with desktop effects disabled.

Here’s what I did:

  • I rebooted with “nomodeset” on the kernel command line;
  • I logged into Plasma 5, which does work with “nomodeset”;
  • I turned off desktop effects.
  • I rebooted, this time without the “nomodeset”.  That gave me the nouveau driver.
  • I logged into Plasma 5.  And everything went well.

When the final release of 42.1 is available, I plan to install the nvidia driver.  I may initially use nouveau until the nvidia repos are setup.  In my experience, using the driver from the repos is easier than installing “the hard way”.  I’ll note that installing “the hard way” is not actually hard.  But it has to be repeated for every kernel update.  Installing from the nvidia repo takes care of that automatically.

Final summary

It looks as if 42.1 is almost ready to go.  I look forward to the final release in early November.

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About Neil Rickert

Mathematician and computer scientist who dabbles in cognitive science.

One response to “OpenSUSE Leap 42.1-RC1”

  1. atolstoy says :

    Great post! I’m also struggling with a wealth of Leap bugs right now and our thoughts are very welcome!

    Like

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