Continuing my familiarisation with GeckoLinux/openSUSE

In an earlier post I described how I installed and configured GeckoLinux on an old nettop. GeckoLinux is actually pre-configured openSUSE:

GeckoLinux is a set of Linux spins built from the openSUSE distribution, with a focus on polish and out-of-the-box usability on the desktop. It is available in Static (based on openSUSE Leap) and Rolling (based on openSUSE Tumbleweed) editions.

As my old nettop only has an Intel dual-core Atom 330 CPU I wanted to install a spin with a lightweight desktop environment. I opted for the LXQt spin based on openSUSE Tumbleweed (see the aforementioned earlier post for details), and am pleased with its functionality and performance.


Since installing GeckoLinux/openSUSE I have periodically upgraded the installation, which is easy to do using two commands as root user in a terminal window:

ion330ht:/home/fitzcarraldo # zypper refresh
ion330ht:/home/fitzcarraldo # zypper dist-upgrade

(The command ‘zypper dist-upgrade‘ can be shortened to ‘zypper dup‘.)

Rolling back to an earlier snapshot

On one occasion the above-mentioned upgrade process did not work as expected. When I rebooted the nettop, the Display Manager’s login page appeared even though I had previously configured the system to login automatically. Furthermore, nothing happened when I entered my password. Although unwelcome, this meant I could try the openSUSE rollback feature for the first time. I rebooted the nettop and, when the GRUB menu screen appeared, instead of allowing openSUSE to boot normally I selected ‘Start bootloader from a read-only snapshot’. The next screen to appear displayed a list of snapshots; I selected one that appeared to be a snapshot taken before the upgrade. The system then continued booting, logged in automatically and displayed the LXQt Desktop. Great! However, snapshots are read-only so I needed to rollback to it to make it the current installation. After doing that I could then try again to upgrade the installation. A day had passed since the problematic upgrade, so I hoped that whatever package(s) had caused the problem would have already been revised. Anyway, to rollback to the snapshot I entered the following commands as root user:

ion330ht:/home/fitzcarraldo # snapper --ambit classic rollback
ion330ht:/home/fitzcarraldo # reboot

(The simpler command ‘snapper rollback‘ was not accepted in my case; I had to enter the command shown above.)

I then entered the aforementioned two zypper commands in order to refresh the repositories’ metadata and upgrade the installation to latest. This time the upgrade was successful and the nettop rebooted to the LXQt Desktop as expected. Phew! I think the ability to rollback to an earlier snapshot is an excellent feature of openSUSE.

Adding a network management applet to the LXQt Panel

After the steps in my earlier post I did not end up with an icon on the LXQt Panel for a NetworkManager applet, so I decided to add one to the Panel. In the other distributions I have used, the GTK+ package is called ‘nm-applet‘. However in GeckoLinux/openSUSE it is called ‘NetworkManager-applet‘. The package had been installed automatically when I installed GeckoLinux but, when I right-clicked on the LXQt Panel and selected ‘Manage Widgets’, I could not see the widget in the list of available widgets (click on the ‘+’ button). It turns out that I needed to add the ‘Status Notifier’ widget. The steps I followed are listed below.

1. Right-click on the Panel, select ‘Manage Widgets’ then click on the ‘+’ button and add the ‘Status Notifier’ widget. Click on the ‘Up’ or ‘Down’ arrow buttons to move the widget icon to where you want it to be on the Panel.

2. There should now be a network icon on the Panel for NetworkManager-applet. If you right-click on it the pop-up menu should enable you to enable/disable wired and wireless networking, select individual network connections, edit connections etc.

3. On the LXQt applications menu, select ‘Preferences’ > ‘LXQt Settings’ > ‘Session Settings’. Click on ‘Autostart’. Ensure ‘Network’ is ticked in the list under ‘Global Autostart’, as shown in the screenshot below.

NetworkManager-applet selected in the Autostart section of LXQt Session Settings

NetworkManager-applet selected in the Autostart section of LXQt Session Settings.

The applet’s icon on the Panel is visible in the screenshot below.

NetworkManager-applet on the LXQt Panel

NetworkManager-applet on the LXQt Panel.

If the NetworkManager-applet package has not been installed you can use Yast2 (GUI) or zypper (command line) to install it.

If you cannot get the above to work or you would like to try a Qt-based NetworkManager applet instead of the GTK+ based NetworkManager-applet (a.k.a. nm-applet), you can install the package nm-tray using Yast2 (GUI) or zypper (command line). In my case installing the package nm-tray resulted in two new entries in the LXQt ‘Application Autostart’ list of ‘LXQt Settings’ > ‘Session Settings’: ‘nm-tray’ in the ‘Global Autostart’ section, and ‘LXQt Network Applet’ in the ‘LXQt Autostart’ section. I had to untick ‘Network’ and ‘nm-tray’, and tick ‘LXQt Network Applet’, as shown in the screenshot below.

nm-tray applet selected in the Autostart section of LXQt Session Settings

nm-tray applet selected in the Autostart section of LXQt Session Settings.

The applet’s icon on the Panel is visible in the screenshot below.

nm-tray applet on the LXQt Panel

nm-tray applet on the LXQt Panel.

Either applet works fine in my installation, but you might decide to use nm-tray in LXQt rather than NetworkManager-applet, given that the former uses Qt whereas the latter uses GTK+. I notice that LXQt-based Lubuntu has switched from nm-applet to nm-tray, for example.