Ubuntu 17.10 and possible kernel bug

I installed Ubuntu 17.10 shortly after it was released.  And I posted a review.  I recently heard that it has a serious problem.  Apparently one of the kernel drivers can corrupt the BIOS of some computers.

The Ubuntu bug discussion thread is HERE.

At this point, it is unclear whether other distros are affected.  Some folk are concerned that it might also be a problem for openSUSE Tumbleweed.  See the discussion HERE.

I have Ubuntu 17.10 installed in two places.  It is installed in a virtual  machine under KVM.  And it is installed on my Lenovo ThinkServer.  As far as I can tell, the ThinkServer is not one of the vulnerable machines.  In any case, I have not found a problem.

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Handling multiple openSUSE version with UEFI

There are times when you want to have several versions of openSUSE on the same computer.  For example, on one of my computers I have:

  • openSUSE Leap 42.3 (this is what I mainly use);
  • openSUSE Tumbleweed (for a look at the bleeding edge);
  • openSUSE Leap 15.0 (alpha release of the next Leap version).

So how do I manage those, so that I can boot whichever I want?

I’ll note that, in part, this is an update of an earlier post.  I’ll describe how I am handling this situation.

Default setup

I’ll start with what will happen if you just install these versions willy-nilly, and go with the installation defaults.

In a UEFI box, the installer creates a directory “/boot/efi/EFI/opensuse”.  That’s really directory “\EFI\opensuse” in the EFI partition (which uses the FAT file system).  EFI boot files are installed in that directory, and NVRAM entries for “opensuse” and “opensuse-secureboot” are created.  The “opensuse” boot entry uses “grubx64.efi” to boot the system.  The “opensuse-secureboot” entry uses “shim.efi”.  If secure-boot is disabled in your firmware, either of those should work.  If secure-boot is enabled, then only the “opensuse-secureboot” entry will work.

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Another install of openSUSE 15.0

I checked the download site for openSUSE 15.0.  And I noticed that there was a newer version available.  This one is Build 65.1.  My previous look at 15.0 had been for Build 48.1.

As you might expect, I downloaded the iso for the DVD installer.  I also downloaded the sha256 checksum file.  I then verified the gpg signature on the checksum file, and used the checksum file to verify the download of the iso.

The next step was to “burn” the iso to a USB device.  I used a 4G USB flash drive for that purpose.


After downloading, I first decided to update the openSUSE 15.0 from my previous install to a KVM virtual machine.  I configured the installer USB as a local repo.  And I then brought the system up to date with

zypper dup

After updating, and rebooting, the system seemed to run well.  Or, so I thought.  But after booting again today, I noticed that it had no network.  It seems that the update changed the network setup.  The ethernet interface is now “eth0”.  It was previously “ens3”.  So I had to reconfigure for the new interface name before I could make an ethernet connection.  I used Yast network settings to reconfigure.

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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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Surprises with Tumbleweed 20171022

I saw the announcement for Tumbleweed snapshot 20171022.  So I booted up Tumbleweed in the KVM virtual machine on my desktop.  And I ran “zypper dup” to apply the update.  I then rebooted.

Then came the surprise.  I had been using “lightdm” to login to the desktop.  But, after reboot, the login screen appeared to be from “gdm”.  I logged in, which took me to the KDE Plasma 5 desktop.  And, from there, I checked the displaymanager setting in “/etc/sysconfig”.  And that still said “lightdm”.  Hmm, something was up.


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Solus booting woes

Solus is a nicely themed linux distro.  I particularly liked the Budgie desktop, which comes from the Solus team.  Solus would not be my personal choice,  because I’m a command line type of person and Solus seems more oriented to people used to Windows.

While it would not be my preferred distro, it is still disappointing that Solus does not seem to handle booting well.  I’ve had Solus installed in an extra partition for some time now, and how it handles booting is an issue.  Perhaps I’ll report on the problems that I have seen in another post.  But, for now, I will just be describing my tests.

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Install Tumbleweed into existing VM

Last month, I created a Tumbleweed Virtual Machine (or VM), using KVM.  Yesterday’s project was to install into that existing VM.  I wanted a clean install, retaining “/home” but reformatting everything else.

Fortunately, that previous install was for UEFI booting.  I’m not sure how easy it would have been to do new install into the same BIOS based virtual machine.


I started by downloading the DVD installer for Tumbleweed snapshot 20171007.  As usual, I downloaded the sha256 checksum file with “wget”, and I downloaded the iso itself using “aria2c”.

I then verified the gpg signature on the sha256 checksum file, using gpg.  Then I used “sha256sum -c” to verify the checksum of the download iso file.

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Installing virtualized Tumbleweed

It was time for another Tumbleweed install.

This time, I decided to use KVM and install Tumbleweed into a virtual machine.


As is my usual practice, I went to the Tumbleweed download site.  There, I found the latest image for snapshot 20170913.  I downloaded the DVD iso image (64-bit version) using “aria2c”.  And I downloaded the sha256 checksum file using “wget”.

Next, I used “gpg” to verify the signature on the sha256 checksum file.  And then I used “sha256sum -c” to verify the checksum of the DVD iso file.

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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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