Monthly Archives: February 2021

siduction 2021.1.1 »C-Blues« Point Release

To circumvent a bug that made the Calamares installer fail to create GPT partitions in EFI mode, we have released a siduction 2021.1.1 point release. For the technically inclined users among you let me dive into what happened behind the scenes of this bug. A new version 4.2 of dosfstools prevents kpmcore, which sits at the heart of KDE Partition Manager and gets utilized in Calamares, to create GPT partitions.

Dosfstools is to blame

Dosfstools no longer allows empty labels, but it also changed the way labels are reset. In the specific use case of creating a fat32 partition for the ESP, there is no label to reset as the partition does not exist yet. And so the installation fails, whereas if partitions are created before the installation and then pointed to in Calamares, things worked as expected.

Downgrade to the rescue

A fixed official version of dosfstools in the repositories will take a while, so we decided to downgrade dosfstools to 4.1.2, which resulted in the package dosfstools 4.2-1.1~really4.1-2. This point release is only important for fresh installs with Calamares. That is why noX did not get updated, it only has the cli-installer, no Calamares. Users, who have installed siduction already, don’t need to do anything.

Release notes for siduction 2021.1.0 »C-Blues«

The siduction team is proud to present to you siduction 2021.1. After a long hiatus of almost 3 years we are happy to be back with an official release. This one is dubbed »C-Blues«, and it should be easy to guess what the »C« stands for in these troubled times.

What have we got here?

The flavors we offer for siduction 2021.1.0 are KDE Plasma 5.20.5, LXQt 0.16.0-1, Cinnamon 4.8.6, Xfce 4.16, Lxde 10+nmu1, Xorg and noX. GNOME and MATE did not make it this time. They might be back at some point or not. Of course, they are still installable from the repository.

The released images are a snapshot of Debian unstable, that also goes by the name of Sid, from 2021-02-14. They are enhanced with some useful packages and scripts, an installer based on Calamares and a custom patched version of the Linux kernel 5.10.15, Systemd is at 247.3.

Plasma at the helm

Plasma is still our main offering, and it has made amazing progress over the past years. We have it staffed with the latest additions that will hit with Plasma 5.21 in a couple of weeks, like the new system monitor that will be the successor to ksysguard and the Conference Companion Kongress. Also, years in the making, finally there is kio-fuse.

The latter allows you to mount remote directories into the root hierarchy of your local file system, thereby exposing KDE’s access capabilities like SSH, SAMBA/Windows, FTP, TAR/GZip/BZip2, WebDav and others to POSIX-compliant applications such as Firefox, OpenOffice, GNOME apps, shell utilities and more. Quite the handy tool.

iNet Wireless Daemon

The Xorg and noX flavors come with a new tool to connect your wireless devices. Intels iNet wireless daemon (iwd) sends WPA-Supplicant into well-earned retirement. Ten times smaller and a lot faster, iwd will be the successor. If you like, you can use iwd in the other flavors too, either on its own or within Network-Manager. Further information can be found in the Arch Linux wiki.

If you want to use wpa_supplicant instead of iwd follow the steps below.

First stop and mask iwd.service, stop NetworkManager.service, rename /etc/NetworkManger/conf.d/nm.conf, unmask and start wpa_supplicant.service, start NetworkManager.service again:

  • sudo systemctl stop iwd.service
  • sudo systemctl mask iwd.service
  • sudo systemctl stop NetworkManager.service
  • sudo mv /etc/NetworkManager/conf.d/nm.conf /etc/NetworkManager/conf.d/nm.conf~
  • sudo systemctl unmask wpa_supplicant.service
  • sudo systemctl enable –now wpa_supplicant.service
  • sudo systemctl start NetworkManager.service

Now you should be able to connect your wireless device with wpa_supplicant.

Installing iwd

If you like, you can use iwd in the other flavors too, either on its own or within Network-Manager. To easily set iwd up, use these steps:

  • sudo apt update
  • sudo apt install iwd
  • sudo systemctl stop wpa_supplicant.service
  • sudo systemctl mask wpa_supplicant.service
  • sudo systemctl stop NetworkManager.service
  • sudo touch /etc/NetworkManager/conf.d/nm.conf
  • sudo echo -e “[device]\nwifi.backend=iwd” > /etc/NetworkManager/conf.d/nm.conf
  • sudo touch /etc/iwd/main.conf
  • sudo echo -e “[General]\nEnableNetworkConfiguration=true\n\n[Network]\nNameResolvingService=systemd” > /etc/iwd/main.conf
  • sudo systemctl enable –now iwd.service
  • sudo systemctl start NetworkManager.service

Now you should be able to start an interactive shell by running iwctl from a terminal. Entering ‘help’ in the shell gives you all the options to list, scan and connect to your device or simply use nmtui or nmcli on the command line or the graphical-interface of Network-Manager.

Why has there been no release since 2018?

When the pandemic hit, we were in early preparations for a new release. Changes were mostly worked on for the infrastructure. Shortly thereafter, around April 2020, Alf (agaida), our lead developer vanished from the face of the earth and has not been heard of ever since. We have no idea what happened to him, as all our inquiries into his whereabouts came up empty. So, Alf, if you are reading this, come by and say peep. We miss you.

That being said, after agaida being in the wind for the better part of a year, we thought it was about time to do a new release without him, but based on his former work before he disappeared. So we shook off our own corona blues and – tada – here it is, brand new, shiny and still hot off the servers.

Official Releases and Isobuilds

During our hiatus we built new images ever once in a while to keep the demand for fresh software for new installations covered. These images on isobuilds are unofficial, were and will continue to be tested by booting and installing them, but that’s the extent of testing for that platform. So far, there was no trouble with that scheme. You will still be able to find fresh releases of GNOME and MATE along with the others there about once per month.

The following non-free and contrib packages are installed by default:

Non-Free

  • amd64-microcode – Processor microcode firmware for AMD CPUs
  • firmware-amd-graphics – Binary firmware for AMD/ATI graphics chips
  • firmware-atheros – Binary firmware for Atheros wireless cards
  • firmware-bnx2 – Binary firmware for Broadcom NetXtremeII
  • firmware-bnx2x – Binary firmware for Broadcom NetXtreme II 10Gb
  • firmware-brcm80211 – Binary firmware for Broadcom 802.11 wireless card
  • firmware-crystalhd – Crystal HD Video Decoder (firmware)
  • firmware-intelwimax – Binary firmware for Intel WiMAX Connection
  • firmware-iwlwifi – Binary firmware for Intel Wireless cards
  • firmware-libertas – Binary firmware for Marvell Libertas 8xxx wireless car
  • firmware-linux-nonfree – Binary firmware for various drivers in the Linux kernel
  • firmware-misc-nonfree – Binary firmware for various drivers in the Linux kernel
  • firmware-myricom – Binary firmware for Myri-10G Ethernet adapters
  • firmware-netxen – Binary firmware for QLogic Intelligent Ethernet (3000)
  • firmware-qlogic – Binary firmware for QLogic HBAs
  • firmware-realtek – Binary firmware for Realtek wired/wifi/BT adapters
  • firmware-ti-connectivity – Binary firmware for TI Connectivity wireless network
  • firmware-zd1211 – binary firmware for the zd1211rw wireless driver
  • intel-microcode – Processor microcode firmware for Intel CPUs

Contrib

  • b43-fwcutter – utility for extracting Broadcom 43xx firmware
  • firmware-b43-installer – firmware installer for the b43 driver
  • firmware-b43legacy-installer – firmware installer for the b43legacy driver
  • iucode-tool – Intel processor microcode

Return to non-free

Right now the installer does not offer an opt-out for packages that do not comply with DFSG, the Debian Free Software Guidelines. That means that non-free packages like unfree firmware will be installed by default on the system. The command vrms will list these packages for you. You can remove not wanted packages manually or remove them all by issuing apt purge $(vrms -s) before or after installation. Else our script remove-nonfree can do that for you.

Installation hints and known issues

  • If you want to reuse your existing home (or any other data) partition, it would be wise to do so after installation and not in the Calamares Installer.
  • Calamares-Installer has a bug preventing it from creating GPT partitions. In those cases, please set up partitions manually or use cli-installer.
  • Encryption setups like LUKS and others are not yet supported by the Installer Framework, you should prepare your partition setup beforehand and might better use the cli-installer in a terminal.
  • With some Intel GPUs on some devices, you might encounter a frozen system on Live shortly after boot. To fix this, you need to set the kernel parameter intel_iommu=igfx_off before booting again.

Credits for siduction 2021.1.0

Core Team

Alf Gaida (agaida)
Axel Beu (ab)
Torsten Wohlfarth (towo)
Hendrik Lehmbruch (hendrikL)
Ferdinand Thommes (devil)

Code, ideas and support:

der_bud
Markus Meyer (coruja)
akli (for his work on getting the manual back in shape)

Thank you!

We want to thank all testers and all the people giving us support over the years. This is also your achievement. We also want to thank Debian, as we are standing on the shoulders of giants.
And now enjoy!

On behalf of the siduction team:

Ferdinand Thommes