Tag Archive | usb

My Tumbleweed install for December

I have not been doing monthly Tumbleweed installs for a while.  But this month I have done several, for various reasons.  I will report on the most interesting install.  Well, at least, the install that is most interesting to me.  I hope my readers find in interesting.

The basics

This was an install to an external hard drive.  It is a 250G Seagate hard drive, purchased back when that was a large size for external drives.  I originally used that drive for backups, but I am no longer using it for that purpose.

My aim was to have an external drive that I could use for maintenance tasks on other computers.  So I wanted it to be bootable on a computer with legacy BIOS booting.  But I also want it to be bootable on an EFI box.  And, given my recent experiments with 32-bit EFI, I figured that I should also make it bootable on 32-bit EFI.

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Opensuse Li-f-e 42.1 linux for education — a review

I saw the announcement for Li-f-e 42.1 on Monday.  Before long, I was downloading it so that I could take a look.  I have been reviewing “Li-f-e” releases since that for opensuse 12.3.  Search for “li-f-e” in the search box to find those earlier reviews.

Download and install

I picked one of the download sites from the announcement, and fired up “aria2c” for the download.  I also used “wget” to download the md5 checksum file.  After the download completed, I use the “md5sum” command to verify the download.

I’ll note that, after the “aria2c” download, there was no “.meta4” file.  So apparently the download site was not setup for meta-downloads.  However, “aria2c” handled that gracefully, presumably dropping back to a plain file download (similar to what “wget” does).

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Fedora 22

Last week, there was an announcement for Fedora 22.  So I decided to take a look.  I’ll note that I have only tested the KDE-live version.  I have not attempted an install.

The Fedora site

From the announcement on distrowatch, I visited the Fedora project home page.  There, I found lots of marketing hype but very little useful information.  The home page mentions a server version, a workstation version and a cloud version.  But I did not find a clear description of what is in those version and what distinguishes them.

Or, in simpler terms, the Fedora website sucks.


In previous experimenting with Fedora, I have found that installing from the DVD installer gives a better running system than installing from live media.  So I tried to find an install DVD.

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Testing KaOS-2015.04

I saw the announcement of a new KaOS release (at Distrowatch), so I decided to give it a try.  What I liked, from the announcement, was that it came with Plasma 5.295, which is a release candidate for Plasma 5.3.  That’s newer than what is in opensuse Tumbleweed, so I wanted to try it out.


Downloading was straightforward enough.  I snagged the download link, and then used “wget”.  Download took around 30 minutes for a 1.5G iso file.  Sourceforge was a bit slow, but I had other things to do during the download, so not a problem.

I also checked the md5 hash, which showed I had a good download (I hope).  The md5 file was on the KaOS site rather than on sourceforge.  That’s good.  That makes it harder for a hacker to break into a site, add malware, then change the md5 file to match.

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Installing Tumbleweed, Jan 2015

I am planning to do a clean install of Tumbleweed every month.  This will usually be a throwaway install.  That is, I won’t be intending to keep the installed system.  Rather, I am trying out the installer and I will report any bugs that I might find.  I’m doing this because Tumbleweed is, in effect, a preview of the next mainline release (opensuse 13.3).

On this occasion, my install was to my laptop.  I actually installed to an external 80G hard drive connected to the laptop.

Quick summary

The quick summary is that install mostly went well.  I went with defaults for many options, so that the install resulted in the KDE desktop.  The main surprise was to notice that the default MTA (mail transfer agent) is now “exim” rather than “postfix”. Read More…

Tracking down a bug

A few days ago I ran into a problem with my Tumbleweed install.  In this post, I’ll describe what happened and how I investigated it.

I had just updated to the 20141225 snapshot.  The availability of that snapshot had been announced on the factory mailing list.  I updated using the command

# zypper dup

During the dialog for the update, I noticed that this included an updated kernel (3.18.1-1-desktop).


After the update, I rebooted to make sure that I was using the newly installed software.  And that’s where I ran into problems.  My Tumbleweed system is using an encrypted LVM.  So, as expected, I was prompted for the encryption key during the boot.  When I tried to type in the key, nothing happened.  It looked as if the keyboard was not being read.  Note that this system is using a generic USB keyboard.  It’s actually a Dell keyboard, though the computer itself is a Lenovo.

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Ubuntu 14.04 — a review

It has been a while since I last tried ubuntu.  So, with the hype I was hearing, I decided to give the new 14.04 release a good trial.  I downloaded both the standard version and the kubuntu version (KDE version) on the day of the release announcement.

My initial reaction was “this is awful.”  But it turns out that most of what I did not like was because of the Unity desktop in the standard version.  So that’s probably not a good way of judging the distro, since other desktops are available.  Perhaps I’ll post on my opinion of Unity at another time.

“Burning” to USB

My plan was to install via a USB flash drive.  I ignored the instructions at the ubuntu site, and copied the “.iso” files directly to the USB device.  I used “dd_rescue” on opensuse for that, though “dd” or some other raw copying utility should work.  The instructions at the site also indicate how to create a persistent store for changes you make when running from the USB.  My method did not do that, but otherwise worked well and was simple for me to do. Read More…

Installing on an external drive — UEFI version

My previous post described installation on an MBR based system.  Here, I’ll described how it worked out on a newer UEFI based computer.  This was an install of opensuse 13.1, using the DVD version of the installer iso, but with the iso “burned” to a USB device.

I shall keep this report roughly parallel to the report in my prior post.

Booting the installer

I had my computer set to secure-boot mode.  I started with only the installer USB flash drive plugged in.  I hit F12 during boot, and the BIOS gave me a boot menu.  I selected the USB device for booting.  On the resulting boot screen, I selected install.  And I plugged in the external hard drive, while still on that boot screen.

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Installing opensuse on an external drive — MBR version

This post describes my experience with installing on an external drive.  I tested this with 13.1 Beta1 on an MBR based computer.  I later repeated with the final version of 13.1 on a UEFI box, and I’ll report on that in a future post.

I first tested this using the live KDE media, written to a USB flash drive.  I later repeated using the DVD iso, also written to a USB flash drive.  Overall, the install went rather well.  But there are a few places where care is needed. Read More…

Opensuse 13.1RC2

Release candidate 2 was made available yesterday.  As you might expect, I have already downloaded it and attempted a couple of installs.

Quick summary

This seems to correct most of the problems with earlier pre-release versions.  The installed system is running kernel 3.11.3.  KDE is at version 4.11.2 and Gnome is at version 3.10.1.  The release will have code name “Bottle”, and is expected to be an LTS release.  That is to say, after the normal end of support, it will go to evergreen extended support. Read More…