openSUSE Leap 42.1 Upgrade from 13.2 First Thoughts & Quick Review

Two nights ago I decided to update my main rig to openSUSE Leap 42.1 from 13.2.  After reading about the improvements to openSUSE and learning that it now uses the code base from SLE, I became quite excited.  Although there were a few snags along the way, I’m happy to have made the Leap.

I decided to try the DVD upgrade for two reasons.  First, because I had just reinstalled openSUSE 13.2 and it took a while to tweak the machine to my liking.  Second, because I had just reinstalled 13.2, so I figured, no big loss if something goes wrong.  There is currently no live DVD for openSUSE 42.1 and apparently no plans for such.  However, I would imagine that community demand will produce the tool at some point, regardless of whether or not it includes an installer.

The upgrade process went relatively smoothly.  Upon restarting the machine I did encounter a small hiccup.   It seemed as though there may have been a problem with the video drivers (I was using the community 1-click NVidia drivers).  No big problem, booted into recovery and removed the nvidia drivers via yast to fallback on the nouveau (seems like that should be automatic).  When I rebooted the system I did get to the GUI.  Upon logging into Gnome I found that the network connection wasn’t configured.  I am a little confused as to why it stopped working post-upgrade.  I had been using the wicked service before upgrading.  I ended up switching to network-manager and was soon back in business.  In addition, for some reason my user account was no longer part of the “user” group, or any other user group for that matter.  As with the other hiccups I experienced, they are easy enough to fix, but beginners might have problems…  One last note about the video, after the fact, I read somewhere that it is recommended to remove the proprietary drivers before upgrading from version to version.

At first glance, there are some immediate visual differences.  Some different fonts are used which make my gedit and gnome terminal look considerably different.  It looks like the Gnome icons have been refreshed as well, and the Adwaita theme has some updates too.  Since Leap is using packages that are much newer than the packages in openSUSE 13.2, I’m not surprised by this at all.

One thing that does seem to be fixed is the connectivity for my phone (HTC one M9). On 13.2 I had issues often with my phone, which had a secondary 32GB card in it (I had less issue with the other M9 we have without the add-on memory card – so perhaps an issue with that).  The problem in 13.2 had something to do with the MPT module crashing.  Another major issue that seems to be fixed is file transfer with Nautilus in Gnome.  Previously Nautilus/Gnome would hang during long file copies from usb to disk, or even disk to disk when using nautilus in suse 13.2 (or 13.1 for that matter). Say you started a copy of 1000 pictures, it would start and run fine, but after a few seconds all of the gnome desktop would freeze until the copy was actually finished (so it looked like the whole system hung). For a while I just used dolphin side by side when I needed to copy large sets of files. However, switching between two file managers is not ideal. I did some testing, disk to disk, disk to nfs share (and nfs to disk), mpt android to disk, everything appears to work perfectly now – I’m pretty impressed.

As for the rest of the system, most things appear to be working as advertised.  Everything feels pretty well polished.  The startup/booting animation I feel is a bit strange.  The Leap wallpaper with their gecko chameleon used as the light bulb filament is absolutely stunning.  However, the pure black background and lack of side window boarders in the Adwaita theme make the traditional green on black terminal windows practically disappear.

For myself the upgrade worked as anticipated. I’m at almost 2 days of uptime since the upgrade and I haven’t had any issues yet.  Next, I would like to upgrade my wife’s i5 laptop.  Rumor is that battery life may be increased significantly and I’m eager to find out if this is the case.



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