LXDE, Razor-Qt and the best of Linux

Recently, I’ve been looking for a cross-platform development environment.  I have been working on learning Java, but recently decided to find out if there were any other cross-platform environments.  I noticed that KDE used Qt and I noticed that Razor-Qt also used, Qt.  So I took a look at it and was pleased that it was maybe exactly what I was looking for.  In the end, I started learning how to use Qt-Creator and C++.  Shortly after that, I found a good tutorial series on Youtube.  Since I do have a goal to produce some sort of game, I decided that Qt would be a better environment that Java.  I have a little bit of concern with Oracle.  I don’t trust them to keep Java a healthy environment.

On the heels of that I then heard about a new development with LXDE.  It seems they didn’t like everything with GTK3 and wanted to experiment with Qt.  I really liked what I heard.  KDE is an interesting desktop, but not my cup of tea.  I tried it, but never really used most of its unique features.  But I did like that I was developed with Qt and this cross-platform design made me wonder why another desktop would not use this.  Then I heard about Razor-Qt.  I really was waiting for them to finish.  I even loaded one of the other Linux’s that used it.  Then I read where LXDE and Razor-Qt project are going to merge.  This gives me hope concerning Linux.  I am tired of the continual fracturing of Linux projects.  Many people call it choice and forking, but I see fracturing and a loss of power for Linux.  Having the Razor and LXDE teams realize they are after the same thing and teaming up is GREAT!.  I am now looking forward to the new project and will start running LXDE-Qt as soon as possible.  The new project aims to stay true to the goals of a lightweight and full desktop environment.  They will bring the best of Razor and LXDE together.  WAY TO GO!!

Go visit both pages and see the updates.  They deserve support!

The Fork of Death for Linux?

Recently I was looking through the 100 distros listed on Distrowatch.   I discovered that there are about 20 distros based on Ubuntu and 35 on Debian.  That made a total of 55 distros based on Debian of the 100 listed on Distrowatch.  So the coming Mir and Wayland controversy will really pull apart the GNU/Linux community.  I believe that Ubuntu will eventually become its own operating system and will have nothing in common with GNU/Linux.  I understand that Mir is really for the phone and tablet environment, but it is not a good thing for the desktop and laptop environment.  I would rather Ubuntu would help with Wayland and add phone/tablet.  In the end, it is the profit they can reap from the phone and tablet sales.  Still, the fall out from their own development will cause a rift in the Linux community. What will Mint do?  What about Xubuntu and Kubuntu?  Linux Lite and many other Ubuntu distros have to make a choice.  Will they follow Ubuntu or stay with the Linux way?

A rift that is really not needed.  The diversity in Linux is its biggest threat.  Too many distros and too many choices make it difficult for users from Microsoft to switch to Linux.  Each distro does it differently.  Each one has its own quirks, its own updated, its own utilities.  This causes GNU/Linux to be seen as different with each distro, so rather than seeing GNU/Linux as this big choice.  Rather than a large dragon, GNU/Linux is seen as a herd of similar dragons.  Each one is small and different from the next one.  Projects continue to be forked.  Desktops continue to be forked.  Each fork dilutes the strength of GNU/Linux.  Rather than be a strong alternative, it is a weak, unsure alternative.  It doesn’t appear GNU/Linux can stop the fork of death.  I fear the power of GNU/Linux will weaken to triviality.  Microsoft has left the door way open with Win 8.  It is time for GNU/Linux to stop and to focus to take the opportunities before them.

I love GNU/Linux.  I can’t stand the wasted opportunity.

Linux: Who is in charge?

The brief answer is you.  Since most computer users started with Microsoft’s products, we have a mindset that someone else is in charge of our computing experience.  As for operating system updates, Microsoft is in charge.  They have moved more and more toward automatic updates rather than user controlled updates.    Upon moving to Linux, I have kept the old mindset of the maintainers of the distribution as the ones being in charge of my Linux.  The truth is, Linux is open source and I, the user, can learn and understand each part of Linux and even become the maintainer of MY install.  Well, we  Linux users  need to take charge and realize WE are in control.  I have come to that realization and have taken my first step to controlling my Linux install.  I will update my Linux when I want to an with what I want to.  This will cause me to have to learn more about Linux, but the info is there, I just have to read it.

That first step is compiling a kernel for myself.  I watched Linux4UnMe ‘s YouTube channel.  He had a video up on Vanilla Kernel Compilation Tutorial (Ubuntu, Mint etc) which is here   I completed my first kernel compile on CrunchBang.  Nothing went wrong.  There is a tutorial on their site I used but use his instructions.  The one thing I discovered is when it gets time to do the ‘make menuconfig’ there are some options.  ‘make oldconfig’ uses a command line choice which is mind-numbing.  I did it that way.  DON’T use this.  ARGH!  This option just drives me nuts.  It would be useful it you were compiling a kernel without an xserver being installed.  Use ‘make menuconfig’ or ‘make nconfig’ instead.  It gives you a better way to learn the different options to set when recompiling a kernel.   This experience has got me thinking.  I am planning to load a fresh install of XFCE on Crunchbang.  I HATE openbox, but love the Wheezy underneath.  I can update Wheezy, but openbox is what it is.  I plan to learn how to update the different OS parts.  I might even uninstall all software but the terminal, editor, and a few other minor pieces of software so I can then work my way back up and install fresh copies of what I want.

Time to dig into manuals to see how to upgrade the gcc compiler and its proper dependencies for a 64 bit version of Linux.

 

Take charge!  It is your Linux.  Decide what gets updated and when.  You can do it!

Argh! How to fix Linux?

Well, my time with Fedora 18 was not good.  I couldn’t leave well enough alone and tried to unload the Cinnamon desktop.  If you remember, I had loaded MATE, Cinnamon, and KDE on top of my XFCE Fedora.  I tried to remove CINNAMON.  I really try to like Cinnamon, but it just doesn’t make it for me.  Well, that hosed my install.  I could still enter the desktop with startx.  My install dropped me into Linux, which is the command line.  I had to manually enter the X windows environment.  Since I liked KDE and wanted to explore more, I got the KDE spin.  I kept getting the same error when entering KDE.  Strike One.   Then Dolphin kept crashing and ran TERRIBLE.  Strike Two.  I tried to load the rpm from Midori’s site so I could get 0.5.0.  The system would load the rpm built for Fedora.  Strike Three.  You’re out.  (American baseball reference.)

During this time I also realized I didn’t use any of KDE’s customization.  You see, I am a minimalist at heart.  At least, when I comes to my computer environment.  KDE doesn’t deserve the bashing it gets, but I personally don’t want to use a desktop environment that has a bunch of gadgets.  I like a clean desktop.  I also want stability and reliability.  I don’t want errors.  I am tired of distros that are not polished.  I am tired of the fragmentation of Linux with 300+ distros.  Linux will NEVER be a popular desktop because of all the fragmentation.  Some say choice.  I say fragmentation.  Choice I understand.  Making a distro just because I want this app, or group of apps loaded when I install isn’t a reason for a distro.

Just because Linux is free doesn’t mean I want a sloppy distro with errors.  I want a polished, professional looking and acting distro!  Is that too much to ask.  I am also tired of the distribution elitism.  This distro is for newbs, or this distro is for advanced users.  Just because I don’t want to spend a couple of hours installing and configuring my Linux experience, doesn’t mean I am less of a computer user.  I want to spend my time learning how to write Java code and small engine repair.  Tracking down an error in a package and finding out why my touchpad isn’t working out of the box really frustrates me.

My final rant is with Ubuntu leaving the spirit of Linux and remaking Linux into a private distro.

I want Linux to be Linux.

I am now running #! (crunchbang).  It uses Openbox as a desktop and Wheezy Debian at its base.  It is stable and my laptop’s touchpad works without editing the conf file.  I am loving my experience so far.

What is the best Linux distro : Part 2

Now let us turn our attention to the process of selecting a distribution. I’ve been in this process for a  while. Xubuntu has worn on me due to some quirks. Ubuntu has also caused me some concern as well, so I have thought about this change because I don’t want to start the distro hopping that characterized my GNU/Linux use. Here is my suggestion as to how to choose a distribution of Linux that will satisfy. Here are the steps and then I will describe what I mean and then show you how I have made my decision.

  1. What do you use a computer for?
  2. What kind of hardware do you have?
  3. What is your skill level with computers in general?
  4. What is your experience with Linux? And How much time do you have for computers?
  5. How do you like to interact with a computer?
  6. Getting new applications.
  7. Intangibles.Let us look at each item. 

1. What do you use a computer for? — Do you use it for Business only? Do you use it for pleasure or school? Do you use it for a combination of the above? What applications that you currently use would be considered “must haves?” This alone is important. If you need certain applications, then you need to be sure that any distro you use has the ability to run these applications. This is important because if you load a distro and can’t get that app running, it then is a huge waste of time.

For me, I use my laptop for Business and Personal uses. My “must haves” are rdesktop, an internet browser, and a word processing program. One last “must have” is minecraft. Yes, I play minecraft and have played it since alpha 1.5. I also need to have Samba to connect to printers that are on windows machines.

2. What kind of hardware do you have? — Are you using a recently purchased computer, or are you using an older pc/laptop that hasn’t seen use for a while. This could be important because some distros need better hardware and some distros are designed to be used with older hardware. Since I am not a die hard gamer. My laptop is more than adequate to run any distro that I would choose.

3. What is your skill level with computers in general? — When switching, or using, Linux, a person needs to up their computer skills. You will be learning how to use computers in a new way rather than the Microsoft way. If you would classify as a person who just uses computers rather than a “computer geek” this will direct your distro search. Some distros are more for the computer geek while others are for the computer user. Knowing this will help you. Recently I tried out Manjaro. I like it on the surface, but there are some things that were beyond my current skill level. I don’t have the knowledge to get some important things working. This brings me to my next point.

4. What is your experience with Linux? And How much time do you have for computers? — If you are just getting into, or back into, Linux then maybe a distro that is more setup for you, Ubuntu, or Mint, or Linux Lite are a few examples. If you don’t have much time to spend on computer use, then Arch, Gentoo, or Linux from Scratch are not your best choice. Be realistic here. It would be a shame to spend all your precious time with your computer doing things you’d rather not do. Some distros require more tweaking and setting up and maintaining than others. Looking at this area can help you spend your time on things you want to do rather than spending time on things you don’t want to do. For me, I can do quite a bit with Linux and have some experience, but my time is limited. I don’t want to spend time with system maintenance. I want to spend time doing the things I want to do. These things are learning Java and Python and working on my bucket list of writing a computer strategy game.

5. How do you like to interact with a computer? — This has to do with computer desktop environments. Microsoft and Apple offer only one desktop paradigm. Linux offers many different desktops. Each one has a strength and weakness. Are you a keyboarder? Do you want to do everything with the mouse. Or are you a toucher? I have always wanted a minimalist desktop. I started to play with different distros and their desktops. I tried openSUSE and KDE just to see what KDE was about. I was shocked how much I liked KDE. One thing I discovered is that until I use the desktop environment, I really don’t know if I like it or not. Which also makes me appreciate some of the veteran distros like Fedora, openSUSE, and Debian. These distros allow you to load multiple desktop environments and try them out all with one install. I suggest load one of these, especially using VirtualBox and install as many desktops with that distro and see how different each desktop is with that same distro. I have done this with Fedora 18 and it really has changed my view of desktop environments.

6. Getting new applications. — In the past I used Slackware for quite a while. I liked it very much. I only switched from it when the maintainer talked of dropping Gnome and being KDE only. That was about 5 years ago or so. I turned to a Debian based environment because of the Synaptic Package Manager. I think these types of apps are very good and necessary for a distribution. A good package manager is a must for me. I won’t waste my time with a distro that does not have a package manager. While Slackware helped me with learning how to compile my own packages for use, I don’t want to go back to that. It is easier to load a package rather than compile it. Many distros have good package managers. I also want a distro that has a large repository that is very diverse and has many apps for me to choose from.

7. Intangibles. — No matter how many things you consider, there is always something that doesn’t fit a category. For me, I want a more “traditional” Linux experience. Ubuntu has been good for Linux, but Canonical is really focusing on the phone and tablet environments and I wonder how much time they are going to spend on the desktop. Since I tried KDE, I also want a distro to have a native packaging of KDE rather than a spin or a community sponsored variant like Kubuntu. I have heard that openSUSE is part of a company that has financial ties to Microsoft. I don’t want my distro to have ties to microsoft financially. I also want a distro that has been around for a while because I want something that is pretty much stable without bugs. I thought I would want a rolling release, but it seems that rolling releases are also much more apt to break things with each upgrade.

Summary – In the end, the time spent on choosing a distro will help you with your choice in the end. I have chosen Fedora as my new distro of choice. It came down to Fedora because Debian has an aversion to “free only” for stuff that gets put into their distro. I like the Open Source movement, but I am not fanatical about “free only.” openSUSE has financial ties to microsoft. Arch is just too much work for me right now. I don’t know where Ubuntu is going and the changes they are making to Linux are taking Linux in a direction that is not good for Linux in general. I wanted to wait for Fedora 19, but my Xubuntu upgrade to 13.04 was just acing badly and I just had to reinstall just to see if it was Xubuntu or my installation. Since I was going to go with Fedora 19, I just loaded 18 and am happy. Right now my Fedora 18 has Cinnamon, Mate, XFCE, and KDE installed. It still runs great. I am extremely happy with Fedora, and KDE is fantastic. I can stick with this fine.

Take some time to investigate and you might be surprised what you find and end up a happy user of Linux.

What is the best Linux distro?

Admit it, if you’ve been part of the GNU/Linux community for any length of time, you’ve probably have thought about finding that perfect distribution. There’s got to be a distribution that doesn’t have _______. Fill in the blank yourself. We’ve all been there. I believe it is that thought that causes distro hopping. Distro Hopping is that disease where you try a “flavor” of GNU/Linux for a month or two and then find another “perfect” distro that will be the one. The one distro that provides the computing ecstasy that you are looking for. I will burst you bubble now. That perfect distro doesn’t exist. It never will. Why? Because we all look for the latest flashy wallpaper and we don’t look at some central issues that are more critical to our computing satisfaction. I am starting a series of posts on choosing a distribution. I am doing it for myself as well as you, the reader.  I hope to help just one distro hopper to end their journey. I also want to end my travels and settle down with one distribution.

For most of us, the world consisted of Microsoft’s operating system and Apple’s operating system. Those were the choices. Since Apple’s answer is pricey, that left most of us with Microsoft’s answer.  We were happy.  Well, not happy, but we settled for it since there weren’t any other options.  Once we found GNU/Linux, we realized there was a choice, then we discovered there are many, many, many choices.  We search that list of distros in order to find the “perfect” GNU/Linux version.  I keep hearing http://www.distrowatch.com say there are almost 400 active distributions.  If you’ve used GNU/Linux and never heard of Distrowatch, I am sorry to introduce you to that site. They list the top 100 distros on their site. To add to the confusion, most http://www.youtube.com reviewers of distros use a surface level reviews which consist of just looking at the surface of a distro.  I admit I have my favorite reviewers, but when I look at what they review in a distro, I am somewhat disappointed because they don’t seem to point out the differences that matter to me.  You see, I can load almost any package on any distro. So the initial installation doesn’t matter that much.

This series of articles is about another way to evaluate a distro and how to find one that you can stick to for a long time.  I really don’t believe that there is a perfect distro, but I hope to show you how to select a distro that you can live and use for a long time.

NEXT TIME: Part 2

To all readers, please give me feedback. I will watch and update this series.

The tale of 3 kernels: BSD, Hurd, and Linux

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . .  I never actually read the book “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens, but a book covering these three kernels and how they interrelate would be fascinating.  A few years ago I heard of the Hurd, and I wanted to see what was up today. (Yes, I couldn’t resist that play on words.)  I then decided to see how BSD and its derivatives related to GNU/Linux.  Here’s the tale . . .

It all started with Bell Lab’s product called UNIX, which stands for Uniplexed Information and Computing Service.  The unique trait with UNIX is that you got the source code for the OS as well as other things.  That way you could modify it and recompile it if you wanted.  The compiler for C was the new thing because for the first time, source code was portable because you just needed the pcode to assembler part of the compiler in order to take source code written in C to compile for your machine.  A group from the University of California, at Berkeley got really aggressive and heavily modified and ‘fixed’ some issues they saw with UNIX.  In fact, their fixes and adjustments to UNIX were so popular, they made it available.  Computer Scientists really studied the code and the methodology behind this new and powerful system.  UNIX was made available to Universities at a lower cost so that people would be hitting the market trained to operate and maintain the UNIX system.

About the same time, a new computer innovation hit, the 16 bit home computer.  Computer Scientists wondered if they could bring the UNIX system to the PC.  There were many in Berkeley, who tried this kind of project.  They called themselves Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD).  Many used the letters BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution) in their project’s name.  The Berkeley modifications to UNIX had the letters BSD associated with it.  Soon AT&T sued the Berkeley group because they were worried about their intellectual property rights and wanted to make sure Berkeley wasn’t taking code that was constructed by AT&T and using for their own purposes.  This lawsuit put a hold on everything that had BSD in its name.

A man by the name of Richard Stallman announced on Usenet the founding of a project he called GNU.  It stood for Gnu is Not Unix.  Its goal was to make a version of Unix, following Open Source standards.  It was, as I understand it, to be in the spirit of Unix, but not a dedicated port of Unix.

What is a kernel? As I currently understand it, it is the program that interfaces with the physical hardware and the applications that a user wants to run.  BASH, Firefox, apt-get, and almost all commands from the terminal, as well as your desktop apps are just that apps that the kernel runs in coordination with other things.  All operating systems need a kernel.  Kernels are designed with a certain philosophy in mind.  One type is a monolithic structure where everything is together.  Another type is a distributed kernel where the different tasks are run concurrently and they communicate with each other.  This, from my understanding, is called a micro kernel structure.  Unix, from Bell Labs, has a micro kernel structure.   Back to our story . . .

Stallman wanted a micro kernel structure due to some perceived advantages.  Just before the GNU project was announced.  One of the BSD projects, which became known as FreeBSD was coming along nicely.  The FreeBSD OS is a ‘port’ of Unix without ripping off AT&T’s intellectual’s rights.  FreeBSD is developed and maintained as an entity.  Stallman’s GNU project was to be a community effort.  This means there would be many maintainers and developers.  This is one of the BIG differences between GNU and FreeBSD projects.  Stallman was tempted to choose the BSD kernel, but due to the lawsuit, he stayed clear and started the Hurd kernel project which would be the center of the GNU operating system he proposed.   HURD stands for HIRD of Unix-Replacing Daemons and HIRD stands for HURD of Interfaces Representing Depth.

Somewhere in Finland, a young man who had been captivated by assembly programming on his VIC-20 computer, began a quest for this new computer, a PC running an Intel 386 processor.  He also had discovered a work called Minix.  This is another work where the UNIX foundation and design was ported to a PC.  Using an open standard, he began work on a kernel, not because of Stallman’s announcement  as I understand, but because it was in his nature to write a kernel because he was enamored with assembly programming.  His announcement totally stunned the world and drew the focus off of the HURD project.

Having a working kernel, even though it is monolithic in nature, was better than no kernel, and the dream of getting the GNU system running was very intoxicating.  So intoxicating that the GNU project became known as Linux.  Now this name change has been disturbing to Mr. Stallman.  That is why I refer to it as GNU/Linux rather than Linux.  If HURD gets to a workable state, which I understand it is to an extent, then the releases are called GNU/HURD.  Debian Project is one of the entities working on the HURD kernel.  In a very short time, Linus’ kernel was turned into a working kernel and the GNU/Linux operating system rose to life.  The HURD project has suffered from a lack of support due to most people not really caring about the architecture of the kernel in their computer’s operating system.  I believe very few people even care about such heady and intense considerations.  I also don’t think most people care about the Open Source movement or the Free Software Foundation and the philosophy behind them.  They just like the free OS and apps.

I wonder what would have happened if Mr. Stallman had chosen the BSD kernel?  What would be different today?  Would we even know about Linus Torvalds?  What do you think?  Give me some feedback.

Linux: Config Files, Nano Editor, and XFCE customizing

After running GNU/Linux for a little while a user will no doubt want to get to know the guts of GNU/Linux.  One of the first steps is to enable your file manager to see the hidden folders and files.  For Thunar, it is to click on View and then Show Hidden Files.  You will notice there are file and folders that start with a period.  It is these folders and files that are a big  key to how GNU/Linux works for you.  They are, or contain, config files.  GNU/Linux uses config files to set how programs, and processes work.  Users of Microsoft’s OS are probably thinking, “That is a really ancient way of doing things.  Microsoft uses the registry.”  Well, the registry is just one large file that is encrypted.  It also holds some hidden areas, something you won’t find in GNU/Linux.  Everything in GNU/Linux is available for the user to see and modify, sometimes at your own risk. (Side note: If you haven’t ruined your install of GNU/Linux, then you haven’t explored it enough!  lol.  I know I have done it a few times.)

Config files are a really simple way to set program information. Most config files are small text files which are easily and quickly read by almost every programming language.  That is why GNU/Linux uses them.  It is a simple way for the OS and users to use.  Some config files you probably will explore are these .bashrc, .config/xfce4/terminal/terminalrc, and many others.  Don’t be afraid to open them with your favorite editor.  As long as you don’t save it you will be ok.  If you want to do some customization just do a search on the config file and you will find a site that will discuss how to edit it.  Remember, GNU/Linux is open and you can find some documentation on every file.  One last thing, check each program in question, many of them have a preferences area that will set all of the settings you find in a config file.  The .bashrc is a file I edit because it controls your Terminal session.  If you get into Linux, you will definitely get used to the Terminal.

When working within the terminal environment, there will be times you want to edit a file.  I found that nano is an EXCELLENT program to use.  It is easy to use and pretty powerful.  The homepage is here:  http://www.nano-editor.org/   Nano is usually installed on most distributions, or it can be loaded easily from  your distro’s install program.  It has a file browser to find where to save a file.  To save your work just use CTRL O.  Most of the commands are combos of CTRL and a key.  It even has options to have color highlighting for files, which helps seeing command words and the like.  This link shows how to get the config file up and running.  http://www.nano-editor.org/dist/v2.2/faq.html#3.9  Again, read the site.  All the information is there.  Nano makes editing files and such easy.  When making BASH scrips, I will use nano.

For those who love to customize XFCE with themes, icons, cursors and wallpapers, I found settings that will help make it easy.  Now, I found all this from the XFCE site.  It is easy to setup what you need in your home area.  With these folders, you will just drop in what you want and the system programs will find the new theme elements.  To setup custom wallpapers you make a the following path in your home folder:  .local/share/xfce4/backdrops  All of your custom wallpapers will be dropped here.  I can’t remember which folders I created, but just how deep you can go and create what is not there.  If I remember correctly, I had to create the xfce4 and backdrops folders.  Anything you put in there will be automatically picked up by the appropriate tools.  Additional themes will be dropped in a folder by the name of:  .themes .  Cursors and icons are dropped in a folder named   .icons .  These config folders really help with adding new themes.  I used the site http://xfce-look.org/ to get new themes.  Just untar or unzip with the archive manager the downloads and drop them in the appropriate folders.

Linux, Open Source, and Choices

One of the best things I like about GNU/Linux is the choices that it offers.  You can do so much with GNU/Linux.  GNU/Linux allows you to adjust and tweak settings to your liking.  Open Source philosophy allows you to read manuals and dig into the guts of the system to make it what you want.  That is right, you can adjust many, if not all, parts of GNU/Linux.  If you wanted, you can get all the source code and compile it just for the computer you want to run it on.  Most people don’t get started with GNU/Linux that way though.  The process to compile and assemble a working box takes some skill and effort.  Most people get started with a version of GNU/Linux that is easy to install and use.  Ubuntu is that distribution that many people have started with.  Though, many move onto a different distribution for one reason or another.  For me, though, the ability to tweak is a trap.  I start to tweak and then sooner or later I don’t know when to stop.

Other than icon sets, cursor sets, wallpapers, window themes, and sounds, you can also load applications to do system tasks to your liking. There are many built in programming languages.  Bash, which is great for many tasks and is mostly used in the Terminal Window. Python is an open source object oriented language.  Java and C/C++ are also easy to install an IDE to compile and run.  C/C++ come with every version of GNU/Linux and just needs an IDE to use.  The best choice is Eclipse which can be used for both Java and C/C++ development.  Not to mention the thousands of apps that do this or that.  And that is where I am at, in tweaker’s paradise.  I don’t get anything accomplished because I am getting everything the way I want it.  Well, today I am calling a halt to that.  No more tweaking.  None.  I am running with what I have and what it looks like.

So, when you use your Windows system, realize I have choices you don’t.  I have options you can never have.  Linux.  It is a great choice.  You need to check it out.  Try a Live CD of xubuntu, which is my favorite, or Kubuntu, or even Ubuntu.  You might discover the fun in computing again.

Synapse and xubuntu Linux — Changing my mind about the desktop

It is amazing how quickly one’s mind can change.  I found Synapse after watching a podcast of Linux Action Show.  It is part of the Jupiter Broadcasting lineup.  You need to go to YouTube and do a search for them.  The show is great.  Synapse is a program launcher, file finder and so much more.  I never quite liked the way Ubuntu’s desktop searched for stuff.  With Synapse, you just type in the program name and hit return and voila!  The program executes.  I am still learning how to use it, but it has already demonstrated how computer life can go on without a desktop menu.  I like the way it launches the app, or document based upon the text you type. It tries to do an auto-complete on your typing.  The home page for Synapse is here :  https://launchpad.net/synapse-project  There is also a wiki here: http://synapse.zeitgeist-project.com/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page   To be honest it took me a while to “get” how it works, but I really like the app and find it very handy and more useful than the menu.  I still use a menu, but it does speed up many tasks.  I do wish it had a feature that would open a folder of my designation.  It probably does and I just don’t know the proper way to do that.

This is why I am loving Linux more and more.  It gives you options and you are not stuck with just one company’s philosophy about how to use computers.

You gotta try Synapse.  You really do.

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