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OpenSUSE Leap 15 — an early look

Work on Leap 15 is underway.  There was a short discussion on the factory mailing list, beginning HERE.

Two months after my last status update Leap 15 is almost rolling.  Following SLE 15 I’d like to aim for a release in April.

It is worth reading that whole message, and perhaps the other emails that follow it.  As the message indicates, there is now a download site for isos, in case you want to try Leap 15 for yourself.

I went to the openQA site to look at failures.  And they didn’t seem too bad.  So I downloaded an iso from there.  It was “openSUSE-Leap-15.0-DVD-x86_64-Build48.1-Media.iso”.

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Reviewing Ubuntu 17.10

Canonical recently made Ubuntu 17.10 available.  So I downloaded a copy to take a look.  This is the first Ubuntu release since they announced that Ubuntu would switch to the Gnome desktop instead of the Unity desktop that had been the default.  So we can take this as a first look at the new Gnome based Ubuntu.

Overall, I like it in a relative sort of way.  I do prefer it to the Unity desktop.  However, for my own use I will be sticking with openSUSE and KDE.

First looks

I’ll comment on installing below.  Let’s discuss the installed system.

On first glance, it looks similar to the Unity desktop.  There’s a panel on the left (called the “dock”), much as with Unity.  It is for “favorite” applications, etc.  It starts with “favorites” preselected by the Ubuntu team.  But you can add your won and you can remove applications that you don’t want.

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Reviewing Akregator (again)

I previously reviewed “akregator” almost 5 years ago.  That was the “akregator” that came with KDE 4.  We now have a newer version that comes with KDE Plasma 5.  And it is significantly changed.  So that warrants a new review and a comparison.

I have been using the new “akregator” since the release of openSUSE 42.2 (November 2016), where it was a choice.  Now, with 42.3, only the plasma 5 version is available.  I am mainly using 42.3 on my desktop, though I also have Tumbleweed available and occasionally try “akregator” there.

Changes from KDE 4

The newer release of “akregator” is similar to the previous one.  But there are a few changes.

  • The change that confused me at first, was that I could not find the setting to view only unread articles or articles that are marked as important.  I eventually found that setting when I clicked on the icon in the search bar.  It does not work quite as well as in the KDE4 version, and I’ll comment on that below.
  • “Akregator” now used QtWebEngine for its browser interface.  That’s based on the engine from “chromium” and “chrome”.  It is more reliable than the previous browsing engine (based on “konqueror”.  But the downside is that it no longer shares cookies with “konqueror”.
  • It mishandles articles that are already old when received.  The old “akregator” also mishandled them.  But the new version mishandles them in a different way.

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Reviewing Mageia 6

The announcement for mageia 6 was made at around the time that openSUSE 42.3 was finalizing.  So I downloaded the iso, but I delayed any testing until after the final release of 42.3.

The announcement mentioned both live media and a classical install DVD.  I download the install DVD, which came in at just under 4G is size.  I also downloaded the sha512 checksum file, and its gpg signature.  I validated the signature, and then made sure that my downloaded iso file matched the checksum.


By the time that I was ready to start testing, I had already setup KVM.  So I first did a virtual install with KVM.  I later did a bare metal install (i.e. an install to a physical computer).

For the virtual install, I allocated a 20G virtual disk.  I used “virt-install” so that I could virtualize with UEFI without secure-boot (mageia does not support secure-boot).  I took the installer recommended defaults.  It set aside 300M for an EFI partition, 3G for a swap partition, and the remainder of the virtual disk for the root partition.  The installation went smoothly, with no surprises.  I chose the Plasma 5 desktop.  There were other desktops (such as Gnome) also available on that install iso.

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Fedora 26 — a review

Fedora 26 was released in July, so I’m a tad slow getting to review it.

I actually download the live KDE installer on the day of the release.  I wrote that iso to a USB flash drive, and booted into it on two different computers.  But I did not spend enough time with it to warrant a review back then.

More recently, I have been using Fedora as a practice system, as I try out using KVM.  So I have done several virtual installs (and deleted all but one).  So it is now time for a review.


My first install was on a virtual machine with MBR booting.  I gave it only a 10G virtual disk, which was probably too small.  I have used 20G for later installs.  I then installed using UEFI booting with secure-boot.  Later, I tried without secure-boot, mainly as a test of a KVM install that used UEFI without secure-boot.

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OpenSUSE Leap 42.3 Alpha

I’m a bit slow in reporting this.  I saw the announcement on May 5th, and I downloaded and installed on that same date.  This was for build 0184 of 42.3.  This was followed a few days later by build 0229.  And yesterday we saw build 0243.


I downloaded the install DVD for build 0184 from the download site.  That site should have the current build during the testing phase.  As of the time of this posting, you can find build 0243 there.

As usual, I downloaded with “aria2c”.  I also downloaded the sha256 checksum file (I used “wget” for that download).  I verified the gpg signature on the checksum file.  And then I made sure that the downloaded iso matched the checksum.

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Ubuntu-gnome 17.04

I have already reviewed Ubuntu-17.04.  However, the Ubuntu folk (i.e. Canonical) had already announced that, starting with 18.04, they would switch their mainline version from the Unity desktop to the Gnome desktop.  So I decided to also test out the 17.04 version of Ubuntu with Gnome desktop.

I installed Ubuntu-gnome in an already existing encrypted LVM.  The machine that I used actually has two hard drives, with an encrypted LVM on each drive.  So this was a different LVM from the one that I used for the mainline Ubuntu (with unity).  Currently, both versions of Ubuntu are installed on that machine.

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Ubuntu 17.04 – a review

Ubuntu 17.04 was announced a few days ago.  I had already decided that I would install it, and do a little testing.  So, once I saw the announcement, I started a download.


To download, I followed the links from the announcement to the download page.  From there, I selected the torrent download.  I was using the “vivaldi” browser, and it gave me several options with the torrent link.  I chose the option to open the file.  And that started the download with “ktorrent”.

I also downloaded “SHA256SUMS.desktop” and “SHA256SUMS.desktop.gpg”.  Next, I checked the gpg signature with

gpg --verify SHA256SUMS.desktop.gpg SHA256SUMS.desktop

which showed that I had a good download of the checksum file.  After the torrent download had completed, I checked its validity with

sha256sum -c SHA256SUMS.desktop

That reported that the downloaded iso file was ok.  It also reported that some files did not exist.  I ignored that.  It was just that the checksum file had checksums for other isos that I had not downloaded.

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KaOS-2017.01 — a review

I have previously reported on KaOS, in 2015.  I have actually kept it installed since August 2015.  When I saw the announcement for 2017.01, I decided that it was time for a re-install.  I’ll note that I could have just updated the already installed version, but it seemed like time for a fresh start.

What is KaOS?

KaOS is a rolling distribution, based on KDE.

I am a KDE user, with openSUSE Leap (currently at 42.2).  But I also keep openSUSE Tumbleweed installed for looking at what will be coming up.  And I’m using KaOS as an alternative view of what is going to be showing up in the future.

I have not used KaOS extensively, except for occasion testing and occasional updating.  I’m expecting to continue that practice with the new install.


I downloaded from the download site listed on the announcement.  I then checked the md5sum for the download.  There did not appear to be a gpg signature that I could check.

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Solus-2017.01.01 — a review

I saw the announcement of the new Solus release on Distrowatch.  So I decided that it was time to take another look at Solus.


I used the available torrent to download “Solus-2017.01.01.0-Budgie.iso”.  I then separately downloaded the sha256 checksum file, because that was not part of the torrent download.  And I noticed a file “Solus-2017.01.01.0-Budgie.sha256sum.sign” which looked as if it might be a gpg signature for the checksum.  So I downloaded that, too.

Unfortunately, I could not find the gpg key that I would need to check the signature.  So I had to just trust the checksum.  Just before composing this post, I did another search for the gpg key, and finally came up with a link.  So I added that to my keyring, and was finally able to verify the checksum file.  The needed key still does not appear to be on the public keyservers.  But at least I could find it with a google search.


To install, I wrote the iso file to a USB flash drive, with

# dd_rescue Solus-2017.01.01.0-Budgie.iso /dev/sdd

(note that “/dev/sdd” is the device usually used by a USB flash drive on my main desktop).

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