My Tumbleweed install for December 2015

For this month, I installed snapshot 20151218.  The install was done on Monday morning.

I had recently replaced the hard drive on my main desktop, so this was a new install to replace what I had installed on the previous drive.  I had already created partitions, including an encrypted LVM with space for several root file systems, a swap file system and a home file system.  So I wanted to install Tumbleweed into the encrypted LVM.

Using btrfs

Up until now, I have avoided “btrfs”, except for a brief trial with a beta release of 13.1.  It is about time for more serious testing.  So I decided to use “btrfs” for the root file system with this Tumbleweed install.  Apparently, “btrfs” works best if “/boot” is part of the root file system.  So this meant no separate unencrypted “/boot”.

As a result, I need to give the encryption key twice when booting Tumbleweed.  The first time is for grub2-efi to be able to read “/boot” and its boot menu.  The second time is for the kernel to be able to access the LVM to bring up the system.  I’ll note that this need was expected.


I downloaded the DVD install iso, using aria2c.  I also downloaded the sha256 checksum file (I used “wget” for that file).  I checked the gpg signature on the checksum file, and then I verified the sha256 checksum of the downloaded iso file.

Next, I wrote the iso file to a USB flash drive, using “dd_rescue”.  And then I was ready to start the install.

I rebooted the computer, and hit F12 during boot.  On this Dell Inspiron 660 (and on many other UEFI systems), that brings up a boot menu.  I selected the boot USB.  Since I have secure-boot enabled on this box, the boot menu only offered UEFI booting.


The install was mostly fairly normal.  There were no unexpected problems.  But I’ll go through the details of partitioning, since I am used “btrfs”.

After the initial license screen, the installer prompted me with the option to provide the encryption key for LUKS partitions.  I agreed, and provided the key.

The installer next proposed a partitioning that used unassigned space.  Since I wanted to install in the encrypted LVM, that would not be suitable.  So I clicked “Create partitioning”.  On the next screen, I selected “Custom partitioning”.  After the usual warning message, I was presented with a list of partitions and LVM volumes.  A swap volume in the LVM had already been selected for use as swap.  I kept that, though I could have changed it.

Next, I right clicked on my home volume in the LVM, and clicked “Edit”.  I set that partition to be mounted as “/home”.  My normal Leap 42.1 system, on the same desktop, mounts that volume as “/xhome”, with symlinks into it.  That’s so that settings files can be different for different operating systems.  I had intended Tumbleweed to be the “home” operating system for the home volume.

I also right clicked on the EFI partition on the same drive, and selected “Edit”.  I wanted that to be mounted as “/boot/efi” for UEFI booting.

Next came the root volume.  I have volumes named “root1”, “root2” and “root3” in that LVM.  My plan was to use “root1” for Tumbleweed.  So I right-clicked on that, and selected “Edit”.  I set the partition to be formatted with “btrfs”, and to be mounted as “/”.

The installer gave a list of subvolumes to use.  I could add or remove entries from that list.  I removed the subvolume for “home”, since that would be a separate mount.  And I added a subvolume for the directory where I normally install some tools (mostly scripts) to use as root.


The rest of the install preparation was familiar.  I set the timezone to “Chicago”, gave initial password/user information, etc.  I indicated that I did not want automatic login.

Next was the summary screen, with headings for booting, software selection, etc.  I adjusted boot settings to my liking (increased the timeout to 15 seconds).  I selected additional software (KDE/Plasma 5 was preselected because I had indicated a KDE desktop).

I then proceeded with the install.  And the install was flawless.  It took around 30 minutes to complete.  After the reboot, it booted into the newly installed system.  As expected, I had to give the encryption key twice.  The boot menu did also have an entry for me to boot into Leap 42.1.  However, I have since changed to make Leap my main boot system, with Tumbleweed a secondary boot from the Leap boot menu.

Final notes

A relatively routing install.  I may be commenting about “btrfs” later, as I gain experience.

When downloading the install DVD iso, I also downloaded the live Rescue CD iso.  I tested that, and it does not boot.  There’s a bug yet to be fixed.  It is related to the creation of a hybrid partition for persistent memory on a USB.  It probably boots okay if the iso is written to a CD, but not from a USB.

While I didn’t test with 20151218, I have tested with an earlier rescue image with the same bug.  If I delete the hybrid partition (or avoid creating it), I could then boot if I add “kiwi_hybridpersistent=false” to the kernel command line.


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About Neil Rickert

Mathematician and computer scientist who dabbles in cognitive science.

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