Yet Another (mostly) Successful Install

Well, friends, we are now running SUSE Linux 10.1 on the production (that is, the writing) machine. As always, it took a little longer than expected, and things aren’t perfect yet (more on that later), but overall it wasn’t a bad experience.

As you may recall from the last post, it was looking like a big indoor weekend. I had nearly forgotten, though, that the aging Chevy (a ’97 Cavalier) had to pass its emissions test by the end of the month, or we were all going to be in trouble. So we did that on Saturday morning (passed with flying colors), and caught a bit of the Fox Baseball Game of the Week (White Sox coming from 4 runs behind to beat the Astros). The 10.2 alpha was almost completely downloaded by then, so I held off on the install till Sunday.

The install (well, I opted for the upgrade for simplicity’s sake) was surprisingly uneventful. With a few interruptions, it just took a couple hours. Fairly straightforward, with just one hiccup: I had made the sixth non-OSS (Java, RealPlayer, etc.) CD and told YaST to include it in the install. Semi-surprisingly, after finishing installing packages from the first CD, it asked for CD 6.  No problem, of course, but when it finished installing those packages, it asked again for CD 1 — and failed to recognize it! After several Retries, I told YaST to Skip it, and the machine rebooted. This was not entirely unexpected, but made me a little nervous as I hoped/prayed it would recognize the install CD again. It did! Yay!

The only other problem I had with the install itself is one I’ve gotten used to: As has been consistent ever since I got DSL, YaST never seems to recognize the Net connection in the install, but never missed a beat when, upon logging in as plain-ol-user, the browsers checked in normally.  I can live with this.

Two problems persist that are not livable, however. One is well-known (the new ZenUpdater based on Ximian Red Carpet), the other unbelievably annoying, but more specific to my system. Now enshrined as Bug 16603, we’re hoping for a quicker resolution. You see, since SUSE 10.0, this box has been silent — not a sound out of it. Sound is located on my Asus K8V 64-bit motherboard.  Never had a problem with 9.3, nor on the Dark Side of the Box. Progress was made diagnostically in 10.1 when YaST recognized, but didn’t configure the card. A manual configuration attempt reported that the kernel module couldn’t be loaded. A couple of suggestions have been made, no positive results yet, in part because Zen wants to — but can’t — update the ALSA packages. And isn’t that a cute segue into my Zen report?

I have very high hopes for ZenUpdater, because this is the first SUSE tool that attempts to keep my whole system current. I’ve always loved that YaST pushed security updates down to us users in short order. But for a long time when I first used SUSE, I thought it was updating EVERYTHING. This illusion stemmed from having apt in my first distro (Corel — now Xandros — Linux). So I really hope it works, but it clearly isn’t there yet.

Once I got the system updated, I tried getting ZenUpdater 1.1 installed, as recommended at OpenSUSE. I got a server selected, but had no updates. Then I reviewed some of the chatter on the mailing lists; somebody recommended trying to get another server. That worked, and I got the new version of ZenUpdater. Joy! Last night, I got a bunch of stuff installed, and thought we maybe got lucky. Until this morning, when Zen told me it had 24 updates waiting — and wouldn’t install them! The progress bar would get up to 48% and die. It would then reassemble the list of updates, and tell me either “package X was already installed” or “the updater was already running.” No joy.

So we’ll see what tomorrow brings. Perhaps ALSA really should be updated, maybe not. And we continue to anticipate the Eclipse Callisto release on Friday — maybe that’s why it’s not in a YaST repository yet!

Meanwhile, I gotta tell you I really enjoyed the Rick Wakeman gig Saturday night. Milwaukee was the last gig on his “Piano Tour” (postponed, actually, from April) Wakeman performed with just a grand piano and a microphone, as he told genuinely funny stories (that he did not seem tired of telling, BTW) about his career. Some great songs were served up (including “Morning Has Broken” — did you know that was him tickling the ivories on the Cat Stevens hit? I sure didn’t!), and it was just entertaining. Now I can fully anticipate seeing Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint Thursday night — that will be something!

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