Tuesday, February 1, 2011

GNOME 3 live CD / USB test image

Hi everyone,

to help as many people as possible to test the (not yet released) GNOME-Shell (and GNOME 3), I've been working on a test image, which can be easily burned on any CD or dump on USB sticks, without the hassle of compiling the entire GNOME 3 stack with (the excellent) jhbuild.

This image does not modify your system in any way.

This image does not contain proprietary drivers (ie no Nvidia nor ATI fglrx proprietary drivers).

This image is a persistent image : if you dump it on a USB stick, the first boot will be very long (don't worry) because the free space on the USB stick will be allocated to store the changes done on the running image.

User name on the image is tux and password for this user and for root is linux.

Initial version of this image was created with the excellent SUSE Studio appliance generator but starting with this version, I'm using kiwi (which is also used by SUSE Studio) and OBS to generate the image directly on our build infrastructure (where GNOME 3 packages are also being build for openSUSE).

For people wondering, this image is based on openSUSE 11.3 with additional GNOME 3 packages and branding has been modified to follow GNOME 3 as close as possible (you won't see much Geeko around ;)

You can download this image (in both x86 and x86-64 flavors, but I didn't test the 64 bits version yet) from http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/GNOME:/Medias/images/iso/ (file with the name starting with GNOME_3).

To install this image, you can either :

  • burn it on a CD / DVD with your favorite ISO burner
  • dump it on a USB stick, either with Mdv Seed (available for Linux or Windows) or Abock image-usb-stick or MeeGo image-writer (which is a small python wrapper around dd) like this :
    • as root :
    • chmod a+x ./image-writer
    • ./image-writer img_file.iso
  • test in in a virtualized environment (Virtualbox, ...), either using this image or the VM available from SUSE Gallery, but beware 3D support might not work properly and you might not see GNOME-Shell but the old GNOME panel instead
Live install is also available (but hidden ATM) in the image : just add "liveinstall" on the boot command line and you will get the live installer which will allow you to install the image on your favorite computer.

Linux is becoming hot in Thailand CD shops

Among the various caveats found already :
  • on some ATI chipsets, you might need to add "nomodeset" on the boot command, if GNOME-Shell doesn't start properly
  • sometime, on first boot, GNOME-Shell won't be start but classic GNOME will be. Just logout and login again
  • empathy is not yet on the image (as well as other GNOME 3 components)
As always, comments are welcome.


  1. A civilized way to write the image to an USB stick is with this:

    git clone git://github.com/abock/image-usb-stick.git

  2. BTW, the password for the screensaver is "linux" :)

  3. Thanks Federico, I didn't list Aaron tool because the "old" version I was testing was still depending on devkit-disk, which is now fixed.

    I've updated the blog post.

  4. Thanks for this. This saves me from having to go through the arduous task of having to compile Gnome3. I'm going to have to give it a try.

  5. Any chance you could add the VirtualBox guest utilities and drivers to the image?

  6. Virtualbox (and VMWare) support is already integrated in the iso image ;)

  7. Hello Fred.
    Congratulations for having created this LiveCD.
    I entered your creation in my blog (Italian).
    I hope it gives pleasure. ^_^



  8. It doesn't work for me. It say that the loading of GDM failed and i just get the background...

  9. @prangija :
    I'll need more informations on your system, your system logs, etc..

    switch to a text terminal (Ctrl-alt-F1) then log as root (password is "tux") and run /sbin/supportconfig and upload the generated tarball somewhere I could download it. Thanks.

  10. I barely made it because once it gets to the screen where GDM should be the whole OS freezes and I couldn't even switch terminals (but I was quick and made it ;) ). Anyway heres the tarball:

  11. Hmm, no luck. Now I wanted to check the logs my self but the archive is, it seems, corrupted :( So, you won't be able to open it too...

  12. @prangija Could you drop me an email so we try to see what is failing ?

  13. sure you can contact me on spiral.out462 (at) gmail

  14. Hi, tested the image in three environments, it's ok but drops me to a standard gnome2 destkop. These are the envs:

    1. VMware workstation with 3d support enabled
    2. Consumer-oriented Acer notebok with ATI chipset (I can be more specific if needed), bought in 2010
    3. Last-version MacBookPro (Nvidia card)

  15. Sorry, I did not specify I did burn the image on cd, no usb stick currently availlable.

  16. 1/ for VMWare, I'm not really surprised. I guess you should report that to VMWare
    2/ I would need hardware info for your ATI notebook (running /sbin/supportconfig as root)
    3/ same for MacBooPro (but it might be nouveau driver which is too old for your laptop).

  17. Tried to use supportconfig on the mac, but I have currently no way to transfer the file since the wlan does not work. I'll try to get a stick and what I can do.

    I'll try tomorrow with the Acer (works fine in 3d with both proprietary and oss drivers on Mandriva 2010.2, at least with compiz and google earth).

  18. Hi Frederic,
    thank you for providing the image!
    I am writing from my Dell Mini running the liveusb. The only problem is with the wireless, but I have a broadcom so it's probably just the firmware missing.

    I wanted to compare this "pristine" installation with my b0rked one on my Debian Sid install... I must be missing a few packages!
    Thank you and if you need testing just say so!

  19. Thanks Fabio for your kind words.

    Broadcom firmware is not included (for obvious licence reason) but it can be found on Packman repository (google for broadcom-wl opensuse and you'll find it).

    I hope future kernel with some free software driver from Broadcom will be able to fix this the right way.

  20. I tried doing a frugal install using UNetbootin on Ubuntu 11.04. Is there any way to get it working using this method? I get the following error:

    Couldn't find Live image configuration file
    rebootException: error consoles at Alt-F3/F4
    rebootException: reboot in 120 sec...

  21. Unetbootin is not supported and will break the image. Use one of the supported methods

  22. I tried it on a usb stick, but it completely froze the computer after running it for 10 minutes. (I had to press the power button to reboot, and have not yet tried it again.)

    But it looked ok, and I thought it was obvious how to start or quit programs.

    My Mom finds this computer, running Ubuntu and Gnome, quite hard to use. Hopefully the upcoming Gnome3 will be an improvement (if I decide to install it).

    Thanks for making this USB image. I had tried using JHBuild to build the gnome desktop. (I had originally only wanted to try the latest Rygel ... but it's too deeply immeshed, I guess, to use anything other than JHBuild to build it and everything else.) Then I wanted to really try Gnome Shell, but also failed getting JHBuild to do that without error.

  23. @crf could you give informations on the graphic chipset on your system ? I have some lockups on some specific nvidia systems.

  24. It worked very well on live CD.
    Thank you very much, it permitted to me to see the last evolutions.
    It's getting better and better, I'm fan!

  25. here's lspci output, while running Ubuntu.

    00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 07) (prog-if 00 [VGA controller])
    Subsystem: Dell Device 02aa
    Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 46
    Memory at f6c00000 (64-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=4M]
    Memory at e0000000 (64-bit, prefetchable) [size=256M]
    I/O ports at efe8 [size=8]
    Expansion ROM at [disabled]
    Capabilities: [90] MSI: Enable+ Count=1/1 Maskable- 64bit-
    Capabilities: [d0] Power Management version 3
    Kernel driver in use: i915
    Kernel modules: i915

    00:02.1 Display controller: Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 07)
    Subsystem: Dell Device 02aa
    Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0
    Memory at f6b00000 (64-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=1M]
    Capabilities: [d0] Power Management version 3

  26. How often do you update the live image? Or are there no updates planned?

  27. Writing this from the live session. :) Well, I had the bug with the standard session loaded on the first boot, but a relogin fixed it. There are severe graphics glitches though (nVidia 7600GT). Seems like nouveau has some problems with my card...

  28. The latest VirtualBox, Debian Squeeze, your ISO (thank you!) 64-bit -- it crashes when booting. Somewhere just after "starting syslog services" -- simply VirtualBox window (with guest) disappears and that's it.

  29. Hello mr, Crozat, first of all thank you very much for your work with this LiveCD. On my system it is working very well. Gnome-Shell session started with no errors but the performance is very, very slow. Before starting the "shell" session i installed the ATI driver from OpenSuSE repo, even after that the session is very slow. My system specs:
    -Intel Core i5 760
    -4 GB RAM
    -Radeon HD 5670 512MB
    -running Ubuntu 10.10 (sorry...) on a USB stick (no money for the HDD at this moment )with ATI/Catalist (proprietary) drivers very well!
    -LG 15" CRT monitor (the same [money] problem here for a new LCD/LED monitor)...

  30. just to complement my comment here: i'm not a hacker/programmer, just a ordinary user.

    Best regards from Brazil.

    ps. sorry for my poor English

  31. @lothar I plan to update the image every week or every two weeks.

    @Photon I'll rebase the image on openSUSE 11.4 as soon as it is released (or maybe just before), it should improve nouveau support.

    @macias as noted in my blog post, don't really expect VirtualBox to work with gnome-shell, at least now. I'd suggest you report this issue to Virtualbox developpers.

    @Edson the image is not using the latest version of Mesa driver for ATI, so it might explain the poor performance. I'll try to update them (not sure when).

    @crf hmm, interesting, Intel hardware.. I guess we will need to test with more recent xorg / Mesa drivers

  32. I don't think it is Gnome that crashed, there was not even blink from X starting.

  33. @macias : well, the image is shipping with Virtualbox 4.0.x guest addition, you might want to try to run it with latest virtualbox. Maybe try the 32bit image. But don't expect gnome-shell to work in it.

  34. If you get this message from mandriva-seed then try this method:

    C:\apps\mandriva-seed\tools>dd-removable.exe --list
    rawwrite dd for windows version 0.5.
    Written by John Newbigin
    This program is covered by the GPL. See copying.txt for details

    NT Block Device Objects
    link to \\?\Device\Harddisk1\DR4
    Removable media other than floppy. Block size = 512
    size is 1981808640 bytes

    C:\apps\mandriva-seed\tools>dd-removable.exe if=GNOME_3.i686-0.0.4-Build1.2.iso
    rawwrite dd for windows version 0.5.
    Written by John Newbigin
    This program is covered by the GPL. See copying.txt for details

    wait... wait... wait... wait... I you would like to see a progress "bar":
    C:\apps\mandriva-seed\tools>dd-removable.exe if=GNOME_3.i686-0.0.4-Build1.2.iso
    of=\\?\Device\Harddisk1\Partition0 --progress
    It will be show the copied bytes...

  35. extend: bs=512k

    C:\apps\mandriva-seed\tools>dd-removable.exe if=GNOME_3.i686-0.0.4-Build1.2.iso
    of=\\?\Device\Harddisk1\Partition0 bs=512k --progress

  36. Thanks for this gnome-3 image. Very helpful. I'd compiled using jhbuild but recently have been unable to get a session going.

    In case anyone else hits this: after updating today to v2.91.91, I found that I couldn't edit the panel. There was a recent change to require use of the 'alt' key when right-clicking, but this didn't work for me. Instead, I rebuilt gnome-panel from source, editing panel.c to remove the modifier check. Now I can edit the panel again.

  37. @mcdavey: you should double check your alt key is correctly detected as such (could be incorrect keyboard mapping). Otherwise, I'd suggest to fill a bug upstream.