Gecko linux

I saw a few mentions of gecko linux, so I decided to check it out.  The project home page is HERE.

What is it?

It is a small collection of arrangements of opensuse Leap 42.1.  The maintainer has build these on SuSE Studio.  So it is a good demonstration of what SuSE Studio can do.

It comes with a variety of desktops, including some that are not normally part of opensuse.  And it comes as live media.  You can burn to a DVD or image it to a USB, and run that as a live linux system.  I’ll note that the official release of Leap 42.1 did not include live media, though the education version was a live system.

Downloading

I chose to download the version with the Budgie desktop.  My download was of GeckoLinux_Budgie10.x86_64-421.160121.0.iso, with a Jan 21 date.  On rechecking, I notice that it has since been update with a newer version of the Budgie desktop.

The Budgie desktop is based on Gnome 3, presumably with Gnome shell extensions.  It is not normally available in official opensuse releases.  As far as I know, it comes from the Solus distro.  The maintainer of Gecko-linux is using a solus repo on OBS (the opensuse build system) for installing Budgie.

I downloaded with Kget.  This was mainly to test Kget.  The download went smoothly.

After downloading, I wrote the image to a USB flash drive using “dd_rescue”.

Booting

To boot the downloaded system, I plugged in the USB and booted the computer.  On the systems that I used, hitting F12 during boot gives me a BIOS menu where I can select what to boot.

I successfully booted this on three different computers:

  • an older desktop with Nvidia graphics and legacy booting;
  • my laptop with Intel graphics and legacy booting;
  • a newer desktop with Intel graphics and UEFI booting.

The system booted up smoothly on all three systems.  On the older desktop, it was using the nouveau video driver.  And that seems to work fine with the Budgie desktop.  The Intel driver also worked well on the other two systems where I booted.

The downloaded image is using a working UEFI boot on my UEFI system.  The official 42.1 release had broken UEFI support, though a fix for that is available in the update repo.  The Gecko linux image that I used already had the fixed UEFI support.  People having problems with UEFI and Leap might find that useful.  There was no difficulty booting with secure-boot enabled.

Once booted, there is a login prompt for user “linux”.  The password for that user is also “linux”.  And the password for the root user is also “linux”.  If you decide to install, you will want to change that root password.

Persistent storage

As booted from the downloaded iso, the system did not save anything to disk.  So I tried adding

kiwi_hybridpersistent=true

to the kernel command line for booting.  And I could see that it was setting up persistent storage from the flow of messages on the screen.  But, unfortunately, the system went to a hard freeze as soon as the login screen came up.  This hard freeze happened on the two system where I tried that (my older desktop and my laptop).  So it looks like a problem in the software that causes a hard freeze.  I do not expect this to affect installed systems, which use diskspace differently.

Installing

Sorry, but I did not try installing from the live media.  There was an “Install” icon on the desktop, so installing should be straightforward.  But I have enough installed Leap 42.1 systems, and I did not need another.

Summary

These Gecko linux releases appear to be well prepared.  If they appear to fit your needs, then give them a try.

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About Neil Rickert

Mathematician and computer scientist who dabbles in cognitive science.

2 responses to “Gecko linux”

  1. Robin Hould says :

    Hi Neil, with great interest I read your thoughts on Gecko Linux. I too gave it a go, in my case it was the Gnome variety. All went very smoothly, even the installation. But then the problem started. I wanted to hook up a printer and I needed a password. The password I stipulated during installation didn’t work. It asked for administrator, which I was, still no good. I tried all the common passwords such as “linux”, “root”, “toor”, “demo”, “user”, “password” etc. – to no avail.
    Although I really liked the distro, I couldn’t use it, as a computer without printer is pretty much useless.
    Perhaps it was the keyboard, mine is German. I have experienced it in the past with other distroes that passwords only work with English keyboards.

    Altogether disappointing and annoying since there is a top product – but unusable.

    Thanking you again for your fine article :))

    All the best

    Robin Hould
    Germany

    Like

    • Neil Rickert says :

      Gecko is based on opensuse. For opensuse, the root password is normally setup as the same password for the original user. And “administrator” just means “root”.

      However, gecko uses the Calamares installer. So I’m not completely sure whether it is using the same initial setup for root password.

      In any case, you can change the root password to something that you know. To do that, boot from your install media and become root there. Then mount your main partition at “/mnt”.

      Then use: chroot /mnt
      to enter the mounted system.
      Then, finally, use the “passwd” command to change the root password to whatever you want.

      Like

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