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Complete fresh install openSUSE on 2021 Zephyrus g15 Laptop

September 17, 2022
Today was not openSUSE’s day. Although the install went OK, the asusctl Gnome extensions did not install and since time was of essence, I chose to abandon the install and revert back to Fedora. As always, Fedora 36 is a breeze to install and took maybe 10 minutes to complete.

Why “time” is of essence

Installing an operating system is easy and these days, I usually work on a project or two while one of the machines runs an installer. When installing Linux on a Zephyrus laptop, this does NOT apply.
The reason why Linux works on a Zephyrus is abased on the asusctl patch. This patch can only be installed after the NVIDIA drivers are installed and as you can imagine, intstalling openSUSE plus the graphics drivers takes around 20 minutes or more.

During this time, two things happen.

  1. The laptop heats up
  2. The batter charges (or depletes)

None of the two conditions are good. Yesterday, I unplugged the laptop which had a preset battery charge level of 60%. During a normal work load, doing webdesign and server maintenance, if unplugged, the laptop takes maybe ~3/4 hours to go fom 60% to ~20%. That is fine.

When installing Linux, where asusctl is NOT present, the battery either charges or depletes. The problem is twofold. I don’t want it to go above 80% and I don’t want the battery to go below 20%. I performed the openSUSE install without plugging in the adapter because normally, it should have taken about 15 minutes which would have been all the time I need.

When asusctl “acted up”, I had to make a decision. Do I want to read the Fedora instructions (on asus-linux.org) in order to find a way to succeed or do I revert to Fedora. Because I knew that Fedora 36 runs amazingly well on my Zephyrus, I decided to abandon.

opemSUSE is a good operating system and my web server runs this distribution. But it will take some time until someone updates the instructions on asus-linux.org. Until that happens, Fedora is our only choice unless you enjoy doing things the hard way.

With that out of the way, here is what I planned to document… (original post below)

Here are my notes on a complete fresh install of openSUSE Tumbleweed on an 2021 ASUS Zephyrus G15 laptop. To get started, I head over to get.opensuse.org/tumbleweed/ and downlaod the Network Image ISO as well as the Checksum.

Verifying the openSUSE Tumbleweed ISO

Before installing, I quickly verify the ISO file by opening a terminal in the Download directory. To get the sha256sum string, I issue this command in the terminal:
sha256sum openSUSE-Tumbleweed-NET-x86_64-Snapshot20220917-Media.iso

Here is a screenshot of the terminal displaying the command and then the output of the checksum.

verify sha256 checksum
Terminal output showing the sha256sum

Please note that the checksum changes when ever openSUSE releases a new installer ISO. The process of verifying the ISO does not change.

With the checksum visible, I compare the terminal output with the downloaded file. Since it matches, I proceed with preparing the USB stick which I will use to boot the installer.

If you use Windows, then I recommend Rufus (rufus.ie) and if you use Fedora, then just use launch Media Writer, insert an empty (or one with non-important data) USB 3 flash drive and finally, select the downloaded ISO. Click the Write button start the procedure.

Installing openSUSE Tumbleweed on the Zephyrus laptop

With the USB flash drive inserted, I press the power button and then hold down the ESC key. This will temporarily halt the boot process and let me select to boot off of the USB flash drive. I do that by using the up/down arrow keys to select the USB drive and press enter to continue.

Now the boot process begins and once the probing of the existing hardware has been completed, the install windows opens.

The END of the road

The basic install went fine and before I continue, I’d like to state that I have run and installed openSUSE Tumbleweed for years.

What went wrong

The first issue arose when I tried to install the NVIDIA drivers. I have done this many times before but today, the repository did not populate and so I used the terminal to add it. Then I did install the drivers and they installed normally.

The trouble began when I installed asusctl which was recently changed. Now, a second Gnome extension is required and for some reason, that one did not activate. First I logged out/in to see if it would fix the issue but it didn’t. Neither did a reboot.

The reason why I gave up early is based on the fact that the laptop started to run hot. Now I am reinstalling Fedora Workstation 36 from a recently updated ISO

I have to be quick because I don’t want the battery to charge fully. I’ll update if something unexpected pops up. If not, then …. se you next time.

Until someone successfully installs openSUSE Tumbleweed I’d say stay with Fedora. There is always the option of running openSUSE in a virtual machine if needed.

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