Abandoned OpenSuSE Tumbleweed for Leap 15.6 beta: much better

In a previous post, I said how I made a huge mistake by “upgrading” to a fresh installation of OpenSuSE Tumbleweed, which came with KDE 6 and Wayland. This broke the KDE window tiling, and every interaction I had with KDE reminded me of what a huge mistake I had made. I’ve re-installed a fresh OS install from Leap 15.6 beta, and everything is good, back to the way it was before.

Firefox did bark at me that my profile was newer than previous; I had to start it with firefox --allow-downgrade

Also, I lost all my Firefox multi-account containers I had set. Thankfully, I had a previous containers.json file lying around.

But yes, now, everything is working excellently. Well, I haven’t tried Factorio or YouTube videos yet: but the important stuff is working.

Previously, I’d moved off Leap to Tumbleweed because tesseract-ocr was too old. It looks like in Leap 15.6 beta that it is a pretty new version.

New OpenSuSE install – whoops, that was a mistake (no KDE tiling window manager) – HUGE mistake

OpenSuSE Tumbleweed was acting squirrelly, so I downloaded an ISO and installed the latest OS from scratch. That was a huge mistake. Now, sometimes my machine spontaneously reboots, and other times windows get blocked for keyboard input.

On the good side, getting back to a working production system was never easier: delete the HDMI sound card and sound works again, add the external repos and codecs, and YouTube works again, add tesseract-ocr and The GIMP, and I can do my web work again. Install my Epson printer, and I can print a document for an upcoming event I’m a volunteer for.

On the bad side, that brand-spanking-new install came with Wayland and KDE 6, which is so new that it doesn’t have automatic window tiling. I hate it.

Whining about a problem isn’t the same as proposing a fix, so here’s what I wish I could fix:

When a new window opens (and it is not a dialog box), re-tile everything on that screen so that everything that showed before, still shows, but the new thing too, takes half the screen. I use “focus follows mouse”, so it is infuriating that as I move my mouse toward the newly opened window, the window underneath activates focus and hides the new screen behind it because the window underneath is full screen. I wouldn’t mind so bad if my old keystrokes worked, and I could shove the full-screen to half-screen: but that doesn’t work either. The previous behavior, which is what I want, is that the previous full-screen window would automatically resize to the other half of the screen when a new window opens.

This weekend I went to the Southern California Linux Expo, and had thought someone might be able to guide me to a solution. Nope, the KDE guy was anti-helpful, pointing me to a non- KDE solution. Checking it out, it is not what I want. I just want the old KWin tiling script to work.

Self-will got me a brand-new OS installation that frustrates me. Yay. I should have just lived with the squirrelly behavior until I heard the “all-clear” signal from the OpenSuSE forums.

Man, openSUSE updates kick my ass

My work machine was on openSUSE Leap 15.4, and I saw (I think it was in Reddit) that they were going to delete the 15.3 sources because they are already working on 15.6 and people should have moved to 15.5. I hadn’t moved to 15.5 yet, but I thought I ought to.

I downloaded the ISO and used SUSE Image Writer to put it on a USB stick. From it, I booted and chose “upgrade”. It turns out that I had two Leap installations on my hard drive: 15.3 on /dev/sda2 and 15.4 on /dev/sda4

Also, the upgrade wizard complained that the USB booted to UEFI, but the boot config on the hard drive is Legacy BIOS.

I found an article that said I could tell the installer to configure the machine to use grub for booting instead of grub-efi, so I selected that.

Yes, of course, on boot I got a single blinking cursor in the upper corner of the first monitor. This happens far too many times when I upgrade openSUSE.

So now, I’m in the middle of my second attempt at upgrading, but this time choosing install instead of upgrade. I did choose to delete every Linux partition on /dev/sda, so at least I won’t have two versions of it sitting on the hard disk.

I’m going to have to go back and fix /home – I learned a long time ago to put my home directory on a second hard drive. This lets me move to a whole PC if I need to. But it also protects my home directory from getting messed with during an upgrade. The upgrade wizard, intentionally, keeps its work to just the one disk with the operating system on it.

I’ll also have to go back and add those pieces I used to have: KVM and Perl.

This is such a pain in the ass.

OpenSuSE updates this morning: 1,671 (but Discord isn’t one of them)

Every time Discord updates their app, I don’t use Discord for many days. This is a bummer because I have a circle of friends on the Internet I’ve known for 20+ years, and Discord is where we have settled (so far). So when Discord does an update, I go through a dry spell of not being in contact with them.

The OpenSuSE folk tell me I should install the Flatpak version of Discord or the Discord Snap app. I’m not a fan of either Flatpak or Snap. Snap fouled up a machine months ago (and it’s still broken to this day) when I installed it. Flatpak seems like a (no better) replacement for my RPM repositories. Worse, it duplicates storage and doesn’t integrate unless I convert everything over; so that just creates more points for stuff to break. But at least the single developer doing the Flatpak doesn’t have to integrate, so that’s not his problem.

I can use the web version of the Discord app. It has keystroke conflicts with the web browser, though, and because I use temporary containers for everything, it treats me like a new user who didn’t see that sticky post from five years ago….

So, I wait until someone asks the Discord people to update the RPM in the OpenSuSE repository. Eventually it happens. Time before last, it was eleven days.

New OpenSuSE Tumbleweed cannot ssh in

Problem: I’ve installed OpenSuSE Tumbleweed fresh on new hardware, and I cannot log in as root with ssh. The solution is three steps.

I should also mention the symptoms: I could try to log in with ssh root@host and I would get prompted for the password – as if it was going to work. But no matter how many times I put in the password, I would simply get prompted to enter the Password again, as if I had typed it wrong.

I used an ISO of OpenSuSE Tumbleweed and the super easy to use Imagewriter to make a bootable USB. I installed openSuSE Tumbleweed fresh, with the option to delete every existing disk partition no matter what: this is about the simplest OpenSuSE Tumbleweed install I can make. Oh, and I installed it as a server install, without a graphical user environment. It’s going to be a Nextcloud server. Actually, the whole idea of installing Tumbleweed for a server was a bad idea. I’m going to wipe it and install OpenSuSE Leap. Problem is, I’d like to install and configure and the database and Nextcloud from the machine I’m typing this on, and not from the text console attached to the physical hardware. For that, I’m going to need ssh.

Care to guess what doesn’t work out of the box?

Solution:

  1. cp /usr/etc/ssh/sshd_config /etc/ssh/
  2. edit sshd_config and change the following
    • PermitRootLogin yes
    • PasswordAuthentication yes
  3. reboot now

So, apparently the idea is that allowing root to ssh in with “just” a password is a bad idea. This is why the default settings were changed to make it not work. But this does leave us with a bit of the “pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps” problem: how can I use ssh-copy-id root@host if I cannot complete the operation by logging in as root?

We’ve got to be able to authenticate before the keys can be copied up; otherwise any random bad guy would load their keys in. But if we’re not allowed to authenticate “because passwords are bad”, then we’re not allowed to authenticate….

This is way less of a problem if I’m working on a virtual machine. VMs have a virtual console, and opening that is trivial. I can log in as if I were on the physical console at the same time I have web pages open searching for the way to fix this problem.

But today’s case wasn’t a virtual machine – it was a physical machine in the other room. Without a web browser.

Well, okay, sure, I could install Lynx, but last time I tried, most web sites (including Google) didn’t work. I’m pretty sure the text ssh session doesn’t have a clipboard I could copy/paste “/usr/etc/ssh/sshd_config” to and from, either. But I digress.

The other minor pain point is that there are many articles on the Internet that talk about the PermitRootLogin option and the PasswordAuthentication option. But they say to edit the file: /etc/ssh/sshd_config

That file doesn’t exist there, in a freshly minted ISO from OpenSuSE. They moved it to /usr/etc/ssh because that’s where packages place these files. If someone in the sshd project comes up with a better version, this is where the updated configuration file can be put (without warning) because users are not supposed to store user data in /usr. It’s too much of a hassle to then copy the default file from /usr to /etc without clobbering the user supplied updates: so they don’t. That’s up to me.

But it does mean that the config file I need to edit isn’t there. Gee, thanks.

Now that I have the ssh key copied up to the new server, I’ll go ahead and turn off the root-allowed-to-log-in-with-a-password option.

But man what a PITA it was to get to this point.

The more I use OpenSuSE, the more I wish I was on something else

I recently did an “upgrade” from OpenSuSE Leap 15.3 to 15.4. As expected, it did not go well.

I ended up doing a manual install (as if the disk were new, except for /home), and then re-installing every application I need. Thankfully, there aren’t that many I need.

But I didn’t add any weird repositories. Today I happen to need to use Audacity. Hmmm. The version on this machine is 2.2.2 The current version is 3.3. Well that would explain why the Noise Gate plugin isn’t present.

I did add some weird repository to get the latest version (there appear to be seven of the them). Nope. Doesn’t work.

I happen to be running NextCloud. Every time I start the machine, it warns me that the desktop client is out of date. Okay, I’d like to add a repo please. Nope. Only manual installs, like the uncivilized practice, are what is done here.

I suspect that repositories are considered difficult, so the decicion was to do away with them over time: let programmers define flatpaks and snaps, instead. I kinda hate flatpaks and snaps; but, what I’ve got here isn’t working, either.

Another new irritating thing is that I use “focus follow mouse”. Every time I’m on a Windows machine (one day a week), I’m reminded how nice it is to wave the mouse over the screen I want to work on, and that’s the window with current focus. Lately, however, this stops working after a while. Time to reboot. What is this, MS Windows?

Did I mention that about four times in the last three weeks (out of multiple times a day), the power down function doesn’t? It appears to go mostly down, but leaves the motherboard running. I’m trying to save electricity here, since rates went way up, and if I’m not using the machine, there is zero good reason to be burning electricity wastefully. Power up takes less than 20 seconds, so why not?

Well, because sometimes the machine doesn’t go fully down. I later want to power it up, but it’s locked up in the mostly-down state. I have to go to the back of the machine and flip the switch on the power supply. That could just be a Linux thing instead of OpenSuSE thing, though.

OpenSuSE upgrade did not work – reinstalled fresh from a new ISO

Pro-tip you should have done a decade ago: add a second hard drive to your machine, and put /home on it. Then during the install of the fresh OS, do not format that disk, simply mount it as /home

In a previous post, I was whining that YouTube videos were not working. I also (rather mean-spiritedly) implied that maybe Google was screwing with the connection because I was looking for ad-blocking videos. That was wrong: this fresh install of OpenSuSE has fixed that problem.

Of course, never does a single thing change, and I happened to roll over into the new month, so T-Mobile doesn’t see me as over my “unlimited” transfer limit.

But for all that testing I did, what I hadn’t tried was Windows versus Linux. I saved off a problematic YouTube link to my NextCloud Tasks, and logged in to it on a Windows machine. It played perfectly.

D’oh! It’s my OpenSuSE machine that’s borked.

I’d done an Upgrade per SDB: System upgrade to Leap 15.4

So I downloaded the ISO and did an Install not an Upgrade, and now that problematic YouTube video plays correctly.

I’m still going to have to install all the packages that went away. But that is a trade-off I’m willing to make, for being able to see videos of how to open up the connection to Mariadb running on a Synology NAS (for example).

I dread upgrading OpenSuSE to a new version

This time is no different. Ugh.

It always breaks so much stuff.

I don’t understand why it’s so hard to keep the list of Image Magick delegates from one version to the next.

I don’t understand why it’s so hard to find how to add the delegates that were removed during the upgrade.

Today, I need to convert a PDF to a PNG and convert -version tells me I have support for

  • bzlib
  • lzma
  • x
  • xml
  • zlib

none of which are image related.

Of course, this work I need to do is time-sensitive, and instead of being able to get events published to the web site for this coming weekend, I’m having debug why Image Magick is broken again.

I’m an hour in, and it’s still broken, and there’s zero information on how to fix the problem. One person said “just install from xxxx and it just works” – no, it doesn’t.

It shouldn’t take an more than an hour to convert one file from PDF to PNG.

Sometimes I hate being on OpenSuSE.

To be fair, SuSE was always more geared to be a server operating system, on which one could install a desktop environment. And with server environments, one needs to be a little more careful than with a desktop environment. If I break something on a desktop: one person (me) is affected. If I break something on a server: a thousand people are affected. So SuSE doesn’t tend to rush to implement the latest / newest thing. It also imposes defaults that are more secure (less permissive) than you might find on something else.

But apparently during the upgrade, something was reset to not allow me to execute magick filename.pdf filename.png and I’m having a damned time figuring out how to fix that. There doesn’t seem to be a README file anywhere that explains it.

I assumed that when I went into YaST and added ImageMagick and Ghostscript that things would work. You know what you get when you assume, correct?

Wow OpenSuSE is terrible at iPhone photos

At first, it didn’t work. So I did some searching, and found that I needed to add ifuse musmuxd libplist and libimobiledevice. Okay, did that. It still doesn’t work.

I should mention that when I connected the iPhone, Gwenview would recognize a device had been plugged in, but would spit at me that protocol capture:/ was not recognized – both before and after the addition of these packages. This appears to have been a problem seven years ago.

Eventually I find that perhaps digiKam will do what Gwenview will not. Okay, add that.

DigiKam does see the photographs on the iPhone. Great! I should be able to download them now, right?

😝

All attempts to download (backup) the photos result in the question of “to where?” This is very reasonable.

Since this is a new installation of digiKam, there is no Album defined. The download dialog box has a button “New Album” but it does nothing. Probably in a log file somewhere, some programmer wrote out LOL, dumbass.

In the main digiKam window, the Album menu has all items greyed out (including the “New” album choice with Ctrl-N for the shortcut). LOL, dumbass.

Eventually, I learn to do Settings+Configure digiKam, Collections menu and choose Add Collection. Apparently a collection is the same as an album, or not, but it appears I now have a backup copy of one of the iPhone groups of photos. I’m just kind of amazed it was this hard, and by the way, KDE isn’t telling me anything about the progress of files copies (which in the olden days, it would).

Up in the upper right corner, though, is this really cool looking text, digiKam.org which has each letter in the domain name highlighted, from left to right. That’s cool – it’s like a throbber, but for the help button. Other than the Cancel button being lit up on the Apple Inc. iPhone window, I cannot tell if file transfers are happening or not.

And of course, hooray for random crashes while stuff is doing work.