Archive | January 2016

Linux multi-boot part 2 (booting)

In yesterday’s post, I discussed ways of having multiple linux installs on that same computer, using my laptop as an example.  Today, I continue with that, but mostly concentrate on the details of booting.

If you have multiple versions of linux installed, then you presumably want to be able to boot any of them.  Fortunately, linux usually installs a boot manager, typically grub2, which provides a menu that allow selecting which system to boot.

The problem

There are a couple of problems with this.  Firstly, the most recent linux that is installed usually takes over the booting.  And that might not be what you want.  And, secondly, if there is a kernel update on one of the installed linux versions that is not controlling the boot, that might cause problems on the next boot unless the boot menu that you use is updated.

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Linux multi-boot

Some folk like to have more than one linux version installed on a computer.  And, possibly, they also have Windows installed.  So that’s a multi-boot situation.

I’m doing that.  In this post, I’ll describe how I am doing it.

When I first did multi-boot, I was somewhat haphazard in how I organized things.  But by now, based on my experience, I’m a bit more organized.

Partitioning

I’ll describe my laptop, and how I am using that.  I have Windows 7 installed (that came on the computer when I purchased it).  And I currently have opensuse 13.2, opensuse Leap 42.1 and opensuse Tumbleweed all installed.

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My Tumbleweed install for January 2016

For this month, I used an external drive.  It’s an old ATA 80G drive that I have mounted in a USB disk enclosure.  I connected the external drive to my laptop, so that I could do more testing of WiFi and NetworkManager.

I installed snapshot 20160107.  I did that install yesterday.  And a few hours later, snapshot 20160108 was announced.  Well never mind that.  I was testing for install problems.

Installing

To install, I downloaded the DVD installer (64-bit), and wrote that to a USB flash drive using the “dd_rescue” command.

I plugged installer USB into my laptop.  At this stage, the external drive (the install destination) was not connected.  This was deliberate.  That drive is bootable.  When I tell my system to boot from USB, I am not given a choice of USB.  So, to avoid any ambiguity, I made sure that the installer USB was the only one connected.  I should add that my laptop uses legacy booting.

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UEFI and opensuse Leap 42.1

Leap 42.1 started out with some UEFI problems.  The last of those were fixed in an update yesterday.  However, the fix only solves the problem for already installed systems.  The install media still have these problems.  Since opensuse usually does not re-release install isos, it is unlikely that install problems will completely go away.

In this post, I’ll describe what were the problems and how to deal with them on a fresh install.

I’ll describe these problems in terms of the associated bug number.

  • bug 950569: with this bug, the computer would seem to lockup during boot, though CTRL-ALT-DEL did work to retry the boot.  Disabling secure-boot allowed the system to boot.
  • bug 954126: this bug prevented booting Windows in a UEFI box, unless secure-boot was disabled.
  • bug 917427: if you installed into an encrypted LVM, and if you did not use a separate unencrypted “/boot”, then the secure-boot method of booting did not work.

Boot files for UEFI

I’ll start by describing what the various files do during booting.

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Another look at NetworkManager and Tumbleweed

I last looked at NetworkManager when it was at version 1.0.0.  It is now at version 1.0.6, and with some changes that persuaded me to do some more testing.

To test, I setup a connection and then did some tests.  I repeated this for KDE/Plasma 5, for Gnome and for XFCE.  It is also possible to run “nm-applet” and a polkit daemon in Icewm, where configuring the network is similar to what happens with XFCE (which also uses “nm-applet”).

Between series of tests, I cleared out all configuration.  To do this, I booted a different system (booting a live CD would also work), and then mounted the root file system for Tumbleweed.  That way, I could clear out the saved configuration while Tumbleweed was not actually running.

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