Congrats Yast Team and other devs: 42.3 install on old PC (and Q for arvidjaar)


I got caught up on all of my myriads of other projects and pressing responsibilities ( okay, most of … ;)) enough to be able to test install openSUSE Leap 42.3 on a 10-year-old (to the month) laptop that is one of my two main workhorses last night (Wed 08/16/2017 evening North America Pacific Daylight Time).

Fast! Smooth! Impressive!

The laptop, manufactured August 2007, is an Acer Aspire 5315-2492, Intel Celeron mobile processor 560 (1 core, 1M cache, clock 2.13 GHz, 533 MHz FSB), 64-bit instruction set, 2 G RAM (the maximum this mboard will take), 700-GiB WD HD, Intel GPU.

HD is partitioned as follows:
MSDOS partitioning, all partitions (except swap, of course) ext4.
2 GiB unallocated at front of drive
sda1 = Primary 25 GiB = openSUSE 13.1 root
sda2 = Primary 40 GiB = openSUSE 13.1 /home
sda3 = Primary Extended 623.64 GiB
sda4 = Primary linux-swap 8 GiB
sda5 = Logical 40-GiB = openSUSE Leap 42.3 (prev a 42.1 test install) without a separate /home partition (ie: 42.3 /home is also here)
sda6 = Logical 583.64 GiB = Data partition

Fantastic Install Design, everyone involved!

I was impressed by the look and feel of the Yast installer and the improvements that have been included in this release.

Installed from DVD installer, choosing Xfce through the Custom option, disconnected from any network, even network cable unplugged, all updates left until after system installed, up & running.

The installer launched fast without any hitches. It seems that by far most of the time spent with this install was simply the time I consumed going through all the packages and selecting things I wanted, while taboo-ing items I wanted to keep out, such as Tracker, Plymouth, and all games.

I chose Expert Partitioning, of course, because I did not want the suggested BTRFS. I also had to tell it not to mount the 13.1 /home as the 42.3 /home.

Other than those two changes, the installer’s proposal matched exactly what I wanted. It proposed leaving the 13.1 install on sda1 untouched and intact, suggesting instead the 42.1 partition on sda5 as the root partition for the new install. Swap (sda4) was picked up correctly, and the Data partition on sda6 was left untouched and unmounted.

It also proposed installing the bootloader to the Extended Partition (sda3) and setting the boot flag there. I left that as is, but added bootloader install also to the root partition, for extra insurance.

I also changed the ssh options to turn on and allow ssh, letting it also import ssh configuration from the 13.1 install, which popped up as an option. SSH has not been tested, yet. I will let you know when I start setting things up and testing them in a running session.

Once I committed to the install, the installer fairly flew merrily along in what seems to me to be record time, completely without a hitch.

It finished, rebooted, zipped straight up into 42.3 and to the Xfce login screen slick as can be.

I then shut it down, connected the network cable, and booted again, Grub2 in the Extended Partition going up to 42.3 in a flash.

I wanted to have my 13.1 Grub install running the show, so I booted again, but this time chose the 13.1 menu entry – properly picked up by osprober.

In 13.1, I went into the Yast Bootloader and made minor changes to get it to rewrite itself, maintaining Generic MBR, Grub2 to be re-installed to the 13.1 root partition, osprober to pick up the newly installed 42.3 to add to the menu.

I cold booted again, but – to my temporary surprise – loaded the 42.3 Grub in the Extended partition again. I quickly realized what had gone wrong, rebooted to a 13.1 console, and used parted to remove the boot flag from the Extended partition where the 42.3 install had moved it, then set the boot flag on sda1, the 13.1 root partition.

This time, cold boot came up with the desired Grub2 bootloader from 13.1 with all my custom boot settings intact, but with the 42.3 menu items added as desired.

Using this Grub2 menu, I have since successfully booted alternately to 13.1 and to 42.3 a few times, no hitches.

My next step, of course, was to boot 42.3 and – now that the network cable is plugged in – run zypper up. The network was up and running when I first logged in with the ethernet cable plugged in, so no additional changes were required there, just had to launch XTerm and update the system with zypper up, only a few updates required and almost done in the blink of an eye.

I did this all late evening, so did nothing further with the new install at this point. I will update my initial and followup experiences when I next spend the time to launch the 42.3 test install and start setting things up in Xfce and Yast.

As for my questions for arvidjaar, those will be about Grub2 and installing the bootloader. There are some things where I am a bit confused and do not completely understand.

I think there is no question that – if anyone can answer and explain – it would be arvidjaar, who has extensive Grub2 spec and tech knowledge, possibly better than anyone on this forum.

I think this information will be usefull to all of us, so instead of asking in a private communication to arvidjaar, I will ask in the next post.

Will that be okay with you, arvidjaar?