Installing opensuse Tumbleweed, Aug. 15, 2016

I’ve simplified my life, so I am no longer doing regular monthly installs.  But I still do occasional installs.

In this case, the occasion was a topic at opensuse forums:

A user was not sure how to install without a network.  So I decided to do an install, to make sure that this was still possible.


I began by downloading the latest snapshot.  I first used

wget openSUSE-Tumbleweed-DVD-x86_64-Snapshot20160813-Media.iso.sha256

to download the sha256 checksum file.  That’s a small file (654 bytes), and I find it easier to use “wget” for small files.  I then verified that file, using

gpg --verify openSUSE-Tumbleweed-DVD-x86_64-Snapshot20160813-Media.iso.sha256

The file itself has a gpg signature, so checking that signature is sufficient to verify the download.

Next, I downloaded the main DVD installer file:

aria2c -V -R openSUSE-Tumbleweed-DVD-x86_64-Snapshot20160813-Media.iso

I use “aria2c” for meta-downloads.  It can concurrently access several mirrors.  The “-V” option tells it to verify the download against the checksums in the meta4 file, and the “-R” tells it to preserve the original file date.

As an additional check, I then verified the sha256 checksum for the file, with:

sha256sum -c openSUSE-Tumbleweed-DVD-x86_64-Snapshot20160813-Media.iso.sha256

That reported that the download was good.  It also complained about some badly formatted lines.  Those lines are actually the included gpg signature, so this is just typical output and can be ignored.

Finally, I wrote the downloaded installer to a USB flash drive.  This was an 8G flash drive.  On the computer that I am using, the flash drive normally shows up as “/dev/sdd”.

I used

ls -l /dev/sd?

to check that.  And then I used:

dd_rescue openSUSE-Tumbleweed-DVD-x86_64-Snapshot20160813-Media.iso /dev/sdd

to write the file to the USB device.


My plan was to install on my laptop.  This would replace an earlier Tumbleweed installation that I have not been updating.  My laptop normally boots to opensuse Leap 42.1, but I also have Windows 7 and space for an alternative linux.

The first step was to unplug the network cable, since the main point of this install was to complete it without a network connection.  And, of course, I then plugged in the USB flash drive to which I had written the installer.

Next, I powered on the laptop, and repeatedly hit F12.  On this Dell laptop, that brings up a boot menu.  I selected booting from a USB.  And, before long, I could see that the installer was booting.

The first interactive screen was where I had to agree to the opensuse license.  Proceeding beyond that, I saw a screen to configure the network.  Since I wanted to install without a network, I clicked “Next” without configuring anything.  Well, that’s not quite right.  I did click the “Hostname” tab so that I could set the hostname to what I wanted.  I then clicked “Next” to proceed without actually configuring a network card.

The next screen, as I recall, asked whether I wanted to provide an encryption key for the encrypted LVM partition.  I did, as I planned to use the swap and home volumes from that encrypted LVM.  Next was a screen where I could choose to add online repos.  I did not check anything.  Without a network connection, I could not expect online repos to be available.

The next screen asked about the desktop.  I went with the default of KDE.

That took me to the partitioner.  I followed my usual practice if clicking “Create partitioning” followed by “Custom partitioning” on the next screen.  That allowed me to assign existing partitions to be used as I wanted.

Next was the timezone.  There, I forgot to check the box “CMOS clock is set to UTC”.  So my installed system finished up with a time that was 5 hours off.  That was easily fixed after install (with Yast).

I was then prompted for a user account.  I unchecked the “auto-login” box, as I prefer to not do that.

And, that took me to the final summary screen.

I clicked on “Booting”, and set it to boot from the root partition.  I unchecked the box “boot from extended partition”.  And I unchecked the box “write generic code to the MBR”.  I ignored the warning that the system might not be bootable.

And then I clicked “Install” and allowed the final install to complete.

First boot

The install went quickly enough.  And then the computer rebooted.  And I saw the boot menu for opensuse Leap 42.1.  That was what I expected and what I wanted.  I already have an entry in that boot menu, for chainloading the system on “/dev/sda8” (which is the root partition for the new Tumbleweed install).  So I selected that entry, and that began the boot of the newly installed system.

I was prompted for the key of my encrypted LVM (as expected).  I provided that, and the boot continued to the SDDM login screen.  And there, I was able to successfully login to KDE/Plasma 5.


The ethernet cable was still unplugged.  So I decided to configure a WiFi connection.

I clicked on the NetworkManager tray icon, and selected the home wifi network.  I then provided the key when prompted.  I was then asked to setup KDE wallet, so I chose conventional encryption and gave a password.

Shortly thereafter, I had a network connection.

Next, I right-clicked on the NetworkManager tray icon, and selected “Edit connections”.  I then selected the home network connection to edit.  I clicked the security tab.  The network key was already entered there.  To the right of the key, there were two small icons.  One of them looked like an eye, while the other looked like a floppy disk.  I clicked on the floppy disk to set where the network key is stored.  I selected the option to have the key stored unencrypted and available to all users.  I saved the changes.

The effect is that the network key is saved in a NetworkManager file readable only by root.  However, it is made available to users via policy kit permissions.  Since this connection was setup by me, it was really only available to me unless I add further sharing options.

To test this, I then rebooted.  On login to KDE, I could see that the network was connected.  I was not prompted for the kdewallet password.  Then another reboot.  This time, I selected “Icewm” on the login screen.  After login to Icewm (as the same user), I could see that WiFi was already connected.  By setting the NetworkManager location for saving the key, access to the WiFi connection was now independent of KDE.  I think that will be my recommended setup in future.  It seems to work well.

And that was my recent Tumbleweed install.


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About Neil Rickert

Mathematician and computer scientist who dabbles in cognitive science.

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