Archive | reviews RSS for this section

GeckoLinux rolling release

In my previous post, I reviewed the GeckoLinux version of openSUSE 15.2.  Since then, the GeckoLinux project has release their rolling distribution, based on openSUSE Tumbleweed.  For the announcement check HERE.

So I downloaded the iso, and verified the sha1 checksum.  Then I proceeded to do an install.


As previously, I installed only in a virtual machine.  I setup the virtual machine to use UEFI booting.  The downloaded iso was configured as a virtual CDROM drive.  Booting from that, the live Gecko rolling release came up.

I’m normally a user of KDE/Plasma.  But this time, I instead downloaded the live media for the MATE desktop.  I rarely use MATE — I think the last time was  with openSUSE 13.2.  So this was a good time to try it on Tumbleweed.

Running the live media, there was an Install icon on the desktop.  Double click on that brought up the Calamares installer.  I told the installer to erase the disk and start over with a clean installation.

Read More…

Leap 15.2 is out

I’m a few days late with this.  Leap 15.2 was officially released on Thursday.

The release seems to have gone pretty well.  In a minor slip, the sha256 checksum file for the iso was signed with the build service key instead of the openSUSE project key.  This has since been corrected.


I have been using 15.2 as my main desktop system since early May.  And it has been working very well.  The main new problem that I have had is with akregator.

I am supposed to be able to mark an article as unread with CTRL-U, and to mark an article as read with CTRL-E.  And those do not work.  When akregator is freshly started, those shortcut keys do work.  But they stop working after a while.  My workaround has been to define my own shortcut keys for these actions.  I’m using CTRL-SHIFT-U and CTRL-SHIFT-E, and those keep working.

Read More…

Solus 4.1 — a review

Solus 4.1 was released in January.  Here is the release announcement.

I have experimented with Solus since release 1.0 in 2015.  I like the simple elegance of its desktop.  On the other hand, I would never choose Solus as my main desktop, because it does not seem oriented toward traditional unix/linux users.

I have kept a running copy of Solus around, since 2015.  Up until now, I have used the Budgie desktop.  But what’s new with the latest release, is that they now provide a Plasma desktop.  As a use of KDE Plasma, I just had to give that a try.


I downloaded from the torrent (using “ktorrent” as a client).  The download was pretty fast.  I have since installed several times, testing different things each time.  Generally, the installs went pretty well.

Read More…

An update on Leap 15.2

There was another update to openSUSE Leap 15.2 last week.  I updated my installs at that time.  I currently have it installed in two KVM virtual machines and on an external USB drive.  I’ll note that 15.2 is still at the Alpha testing phase.


The most recent update brought Gnome to version 3.34.2.  This will probably be close the final release version.  It seems to be working pretty well.  OpenSUSE Tumbleweed went to Gnome 3.34.2 some time ago.  But, judging by bug reports, there were some problems in preparing this Gnome version for SLE 15 and for Leap 15.2.  Apparently,  those problems have been mostly resolved. Read More…

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.


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.

Read More…

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.


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

Read More…

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  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.


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.

Read More…

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.


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.

Read More…

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.


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.

Read More…