OpenSUSE Leap 42.2 Beta2

Things are moving along toward the 42.2 release.  It seems not too long ago that I reviewed Beta1.  And now Beta2 is available.

Download and install

I saw the announcement on Thursday morning.  I immediately started a download.  As is my practice, I used “wget” to download the sha256 checksum file, and “aria2c” to dowload the DVD installer iso.  Once downloaded, I verified the gpg signature on the sha256 checksum file, and then used that file to verify the downloaded iso.  That’s probably redundant, because “aria2c” does verification checks during the download.

Next, I wrote the downloaded iso to a USB flash drive.  I used an 8G flash drive, and wrote with “dd_rescue”.

Rebooting the system, I hit F12 during boot.  For that computer, it brings up a BIOS boot menu which allowed me to select booting from the USB flash drive.

As with Beta1, the install went smoothly.  I installed KDE, Gnome, XFCE,  LXDE and FVWM.

First boot

On the first boot of the system, I ran into problems.  It booted into emergency mode.  This was the same issue that I have had with previous 42.2 releases on that box.  Strangely, I do not run into that problem on a second box where I have been doing test installs.  For the box that had problems, I was installing into an encrypted LVM.  On the other box, I installed 42.2 into its own partition but used swap and a home file system (mounted as “/xhome”) from an encrypted LVM.

On the box with problems, the root volume and swap volume from the LVM had been properly setup.  But the home volume (to be mounted at “/xhome”) had not been properly setup and this was the failure that lead to emergency mode.

I edited “/etc/lvm/lvm.conf” and changed to “use_lvmetad = 0”.  Rebooting then got the system running properly.

I have since logged into Gnome, Plasma 5, Icewm and XFCE.  All are working well.

Plasma 5.8

From my perspective, as a KDE user, the big change is to Plasma 5.8.  Technically, Beta2 comes with Plasma 5.7.95, which is a beta release of Plasma 5.8.  Thus far, Plasma 8 looks pretty good.  With Beta1, I was seeing evidence that plasmashell was crashing and being restarted during logout.  That is no longer happening.  This beta release of plasma 8 looks pretty stable on the particular computer (with Intel (Haswell) graphics).

The nouveau disaster

Next I installed 42.2 Beta2 on a second box.  This box has Nvidia graphics (GeForce 6150LE).  With 42.1, I originally installed the Nvidia drivers, but they did not work well.  And Gnome would not run.  So I switched back to using the open source (noveau) driver.  And that worked as well as the Nvidia drivers on Plasma 5, but Gnome also ran under nouveau.  So I have been sticking with nouveau since then.

With the alpha releases of 42.2, I could not use Plasma 5 on that box.  It could not handle the nouveau driver.  But it actually worked pretty well with the Beta1 release.

Alas, with the Beta2 release, it is back to not working.

On first boot of the system, I logged into Icewm.  That’s a simple a stable desktop that I use for system management, such as tweaking the newly installed system and adding a little extra software.  The next step was to log into Plasma 5.

It was a disaster.  I could see that plasma shell was starting and then crashing, apparently in a loop.  After allowing it several tries, I used CTRL-ALT-BACKSPACE to abort the X-session.  I then logged into FVWM.  And I immediately noticed an absurdly high load average.  Running “top” showed that there were several “systemd” processes taking core dumps of the plasmashell crashes.  I waited those out.  When those completed, the load level dropped to a sensibly low value.

The system works well with FVWM.  It also seems to work well with XFCE and Gnome.  I have since installed MATE, and it works well there, too.  But Plasma 5.8 cannot handle that Nvidia graphics card.  Or, at least, it cannot handle it with the nouveau driver.

Summary

Leap 42.2 Beta2 is looking pretty good, except for the problems with Plasma 5 and the nouveau driver.  That’s really an upstream issue (a “kde.org” issue).  I hope that is fixed in time for the final release.  Otherwise, I may have to give up on KDE for that box.

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About Neil Rickert

Mathematician and computer scientist who dabbles in cognitive science.

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