Tumbleweed install for March 2017

It has been a few months since I last tried installing Tumbleweed.  I wanted to install on my laptop, to test the latest version of NetworkManager.

Quick summary

The install went pretty well.  The most obvious problem was a black screen on the first boot of the newly installed system.  But that was not as bad as it sounds.  I’ll give more details below.  The install was for snapshot 20170314.

Downloading

As is my usual practice, I used “aria2c” to download the iso, and I used “wget” to download the sha256 checksum file.  Both were the 64-bit versions.

I downloaded both the DVD installer and the live rescue CD.

After downloading, I used

gpg --verify filename.sha256

to verify the gpg signature on the checksum file (where “filename” depends on whether this was for the live CD or the DVD installer.

I then used

sha256sum -c filename.sha256

to verify the checksum of the downloaded iso file.

After download, I wrote both isos to USB devices.  My typical command for this is

dd_rescue filename.iso /dev/sdd

where “/dev/sdd” is the device where the USB shows up.  I used a 4G USB device for the live rescue CD, and an 8G USB for the DVD installer.

I then booted the live rescue CD on two systems.  It booted up without any difficulty.  On the first boot, a hybrid partition was created, where any changes made can be saved to disk.

Installing

My plan was to install Tumbleweed in its own partition (“/dev/sda8”).  But I would use swap and home from an encrypted LVM on the same disk.  The plan was to mount the home file system at “/xhome”, so that my home directory was not part of it.  But then I could add symbolic links to make much of “/xhome” appear as if part of my home directory.  This avoids conflicts with the settings from Leap 42.2 (also on that computer).

To boot the installer, I inserted the USB, and booted my laptop.  During boot, I repeatedly hit F12.  That gives me a boot menu from the BIOS (unless I am too slow).  And, from that menu, I selected booting from the USB.

After the license screen, I was asked for the encryption key for my encrypted LVM.  I provided it.  Note that it was possible to cancel this request, if I did not want to use that encrypted LVM for this install.

Next the partitioner.  I was offered a proposal using “btrfs”.  Instead, I clicked “Create partitioning”.  On the next screen, I selected “Custom partitioning.

From there, I could right-click on existing partitions and LVM volumes, and select EDIT to set how they are to be used.  I selected “/dev/sda8” for the root file system.  Then I selected the swap volume from the LVM for swap (I seem to recall that it was already preselected).  And I selected the home volume for mounting at “/xhome”.

Next was the timezone setting.  Or maybe that came first (I did not take notes on the order).  I checked the box “Hardware clock uses UTC” and then selected the Chicago timezone (or Central time, CDT).

On the screen for creating the initial user, I cleared the option for automatic login, and selected to option to import user information from other linux system.  And I provided a root password.

Boot settings

Next was the summary screen.  I clicked the options to enable “ssh” server and to open the firewall.  Then I clicked on “Boot” to set the boot options.

The preset defaults were to boot from the extended partition, to set the active flag on that partition, and to install generic boot code in the MBR.  I changed that to boot from the root partition.  I told it to not set the active flag, and to not install generic boot code.

There was a warning that the system might not be bootable unless there is already boot code.  I ignored the warning, since I already knew that this would work using the grub2 menu from Leap 42.2.

Software selection

Next, I clicked on the Software heading.  And I then selected additional software that I would install.  I chose to install Gnome and XFCE in addition to KDE.  And I made a few other selection changes.

And then I told it to proceed with the install.

The install itself went smoothly.  There were no warnings or errors.

Hardware clock

When the system rebooted, I hit F2.  On this computer, that puts me into BIOS settings.  I wanted to check the BIOS clock.

The time on the BIOS clock was 5 hours off from the UTC time that it should have.  This is a persistent bug in the installer.  I’ve reported, but the people who look at the bug don’t seem to notice it.  The installer sets the hardware clock to local time in the US/Eastern timezone, in spite of the fact that I told it that the hardware clock used UTC.

Fortunately, the settings for the installed system were correct.  And the installed system was configured to use UTC.  So the incorrect time was fixed on the first boot.

Black screen on first boot

I next rebooted.  This got me to a boot menu for Leap 42.2.  I already have an entry on that menu to chain-load “/dev/sda8”.  I selected that entry.  And that gave me the Tumbleweed boot menu.

I hit Enter on the Tumbleweed boot menu, and the kernel was load and the screen cleared.  And that left me with a black screen with nothing seeming to happen.

I was not fazed.  I actually half expected that.  So I used CTRL-ALT-F7 to switch to virtual console 7.  And there I saw the plymouth graphic screen waiting for me to enter the encryption key.  I entered the key, and then normal booting continued and gave me a login screen.

Final notes

The installed system worked pretty well.  One of the first things that I did, was edit “/etc/default/grub” and changed “splash=silent” to “nosplash”.  I then changed “/boot/grub2/grub.cfg” accordingly.  This ensured that I should not get that black screen on future boots.

I then did a little tweaking, and installed MATE and LXqt as additional desktops to play with.

I’ll note that the install DVD was configured as a repo, but was disabled.  This is a change from my previous Tumbleweed install, where it had been enabled.  That’s a good change.  That change was also there for my install of Leap 42.2.

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About Neil Rickert

Retired mathematician and computer scientist who dabbles in cognitive science.

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