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Feren OS December 2019 — a review

Feren is a linux distro.  I first heard of it,  because of a post at dslreports.  At that time, I downloaded the iso, and booted it to the live system.  But it was using the Cinnamon desktop, which did not particularly interest me.  So I never attempted an install.

A few days ago, I noticed a report at Distrowatch.  It seems that there’s an all new release of Feren that is now based on KDE.  That seemed more interesting, so I downloaded and attempted an install.

Installing

My first install attempt was to a KVM virtual machine.  I configured the downloaded iso as a virtual DVD drive on an existing VM, and booted from the DVD (i.e. from the live Feren iso).

The partitioning for install seemed to work well.  I checked the box for manual partitioning.  I could then assign an existing partition to be formatted and mounted as the root file syste (mounted at “/”), and another partition to be mounted a “/home” but not formatted.  I also set the EFI partition to be mounted at “/boot/efi”, which is the standard mounting place used for Ubuntu based distros.  I could not find a way of telling it to reuse the swap partition.  But, after the install was done, I could see that it had used that automatically.

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The status of openSUSE Leap 15.2

I first posted about Leap 15.2 in August.  At that time, it was in alpha testing.  It is still in alpha testing, but there have been a few more releases.  It’s time for an update on the status.

The most recent release was two or three days ago.  It is running kernel 5.3.8, and it is mostly running pretty well.  I did experience some issues when using “lightdm” for logins.  With either “gdm” or “sddm”, everything seems to be fine.

As far as I know, the plans are for a release in May 2020.

KDE status

At present Leap 15.2 is running KDE Plasma 5.17.1.  This compares to Plasma 5.12.8 in Leap 15.1.  I have heard that the plans are to release with Plasma 5.18, although that does not yet exist.  The current QT version for 15.2 is 5.12.5, compared to Qt 5.9.7 for Leap 15.1.  And KDE Frameworks for 15.2 is currently at 5.63.0 (up from 5.55.0 in Leap 15.1).

At least on my test system, Plasma is running well under Wayland.  That’s actually in a virtual machine.  I have not yet tried to install Leap 15.2 on real hardware.  Previously (i.e. with Leap 15.1) you could use Wayland, but the Wayland support was incomplete.  With Leap 15.2, Wayland seems to be running well.

Gnome status

I rarely use Gnome, except for occasional testing.  So I won’t have much to say here.  Leap 15.2 is still runing Gnome 3.26.2, which is about the same as we are seeing with Leap 15.1.  I have seen hints that we might see a Gnome update to 3.34.  As far as I know, this will depend on whether SUSE SLE 15 is updated to 3.34.

That’s about all for now.  I will continue to test updated releases, and occasionally post about them.

A look at Solus 4.0

A few days ago, I saw the announcement of Solus 4.0.  Or, more accurately, I saw the listing at Distrowatch, and followed their link to the announcement.

I had been watching for this.  I’ve been noticing Solus for a while, and have previously reviewed earlier version.  But the future of Solus was in question.  Some time last year Ikey Doherty, the founder of Solus, walked away.  I’m inclined to say that he abandoned the project.  But others in the team picked it up, and managed to get some help from Doherty to set the project on a new footing.  If you do a web search for “Ikey Doherty” you will find some of the history of this.  But details of that history are beyond the scope of this blog.

So now that Solus 4.0 is out, it looks as if the team has been successful in reestablishing the project.  And, naturally, I decided to give it a test run.

Installing

To download, I went to the “Download” page (linked from the announcement).  There, I used the torrent downloader to retrieve the Budgie Desktop version.

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Testing KaOS-2019.02

KaOS-2019.02 was released recently, so I decided to test it.

I’ll note that I have tested it only in a KVM virtual machine.  I have previously tested earlier KaOS versions on real hardware.  But I logged into KaOS so infrequently, that I decided to only use a virtual machine install this time.

What is KaOS

KaOS is a rolling release, featuring the KDE (Plasma 5) desktop.  It usually keeps up with new releases from KDE.org.  The current release is using Plasma 5.15.2, KDE Frameworks 5.55.0 and QT 5.12.1.

In prior experience with earlier versions of KaOS, it often had the latest KDE release a day or two earlier than openSUSE Tumbleweed.

Installing

I downloaded the iso from the source-forge download site.  I verified the provided gpg signature to check the download.  I already had a copy of the signing key on my keyring, from earlier tests of KaOS.

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Deepin 15.8 — a brief review

In my previous post, I described how I used deepin to help me get openSUSE Leap 15.0 installed for 32-bit EFI booting.  So maybe I should briefly review deepin itself.

Background

Deepin comes to us from China.  It is apparently oriented particularly toward the needs of Chinese users.  However, it also works quite well for English speaking users.

I have actually tried deepin before.  I have deepin 15.5 installed on one of my computers.  But I never did get around to posting a review.  Version 15.8 looks similar to the 15.5 that I have installed.

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Leap 15.1 — an early look

I have  been seeing mentions of Leap 15.1.  What I mainly see are notes in the factory email list or in bug reports.  And they suggest that planning is already going on for Leap 15.1.

I decided to look at the download area.  I used the link that I have for the Leap 15.0 download area, but I changed the “.0” to “.1”.  And that found a download page.  And, on that page, was the link to download the DVD installer for Build271.4.

So I downloaded.  I first downloaded the “sha256” checksum file, using “wget” for that download.  Then I verified the “gpg” signature on that checksum file.  Next, I downloaded the DVD iso file, using “aria2c”.  And, when that download was complete, I use the “sha256sum” command to verify its checksum.

Installing

I decided to go ahead and try a test install.  My plan was to install to a virtual machine under KVM, using the downloaded “iso” file as a virtual DVD.  I went with legacy bios booting for the VM.  The installer booted up without difficulty.

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GeckoLinux – a review

A few days ago, I noticed (at DistroWatch.com) that there was a new release of GeckoLinux.  So I decided to download it and give it trial run.

GeckoLinux is based on openSUSE.  The new release feature openSUSE Leap 15.0, which is the latest stable release from openSUSE.  GeckoLinux also has rolling versions, based on openSUSE Tumbleweed.

The home page of GeckoLinux lists the various versions available.  Since I mainly use KDE, I decided to go with the KDE Plasma 5 version of GeckoLinux.  So I downloaded the image “GeckoLinux_STATIC_Plasma.x86_64-150.180607.0.iso” to use for my test install.  I checked the sha1 checksum, which showed my download to be good.

Booting

In the past, I have usually written the downloaded iso to a USB, and then booted from that USB flash drive.  However, for this version, I decided to test only in a KVM virtual machine.  And, for that, I can use the iso file as a virtual DVD for the virtual machine.

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Installing Ubuntu-16.04.4 into an existing encrypted LVM

Yes, Ubuntu 16.04 is old hat.  This was a recent  re-release, but who cares with 18.04 just around the corner.  But I decided to install anyway, and I’ll shortly explain why.

The problem with installing Ubuntu into an existing encrypted LVM, is that it doesn’t boot.  You have to go into repair mode to fix it.  The reason for this is that the file “/etc/crypttab” is not created by the install.  And the system won’t boot unless that is created and the “initrd” file is generated so as to contain a copy of that file.  That’s needed to handle the crypto early in the boot process.

What has changed?

I’ve done this before, and blogged about it.  So what’s new?

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Notes on OpenSUSE Leap 15.0

Since my last post on 15.0, there have been several new beta releases.  We have seen Build115.1, Build 124.1, Build 127.1, Build 128.1 and Build 129.1.

With that many builds, I have not been downloading them all.  I have been updating my 15.0 systems.  I am updating them in the same way that I update openSUSE Tumbleweed.  That is, I am using

zypper dup

to update from the repos.  My most recent install attempts have been with Build127.1, though most of my systems are now updated to the latest version.

Overall picture

Things are mostly going well with 15.0.  The final release is still planned for May.  But if you want to take a look at pre-release versions, then now is a good time to try.

What I have tested is mainly working well.  There are still a few bugs in the partitioner, as used for install.  Some of those bugs have already been fixed in the latest updates.

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OpenSUSE Leap 15.0 Beta

Build 109.3 of Leap 15.0 was announced on Friday.  So I download and installed.  With build 109.3, it is now announcing itself as a Beta release.  Previous releases that I tested have indicated that they were Alpha releases.

Downloading

I followed my usual practice of downloading with “aria2c”.  I am using the download site download.opensuse.org/distribution/leap/15.0/iso/.  I first used “wget” to download “openSUSE-Leap-15.0-DVD-x86_64-Build109.3-Media.iso.sha256” (the checksum file).  I then verified its gpg signature.  Next, I downloaded the iso itself.  And I used “sha256sum” to verify the sha256 checksum.  And, following that, I wrote the iso to an 8G USB flash drive. Read More…