Archive for the ‘Ubuntu’ Category

Recently, well not recently, more like a few weeks ago, there was a post about LinuxMint development concerning LMDE and its Mint distros.  The article can be found on Segfault here: http://segfault.linuxmint.com/2015/02/about-betsy/   I was surprised to find out that LMDE’s rolling release model was removed due to lack of interest.  Also, many resources were pulled from the distro.  I understand that.  In fact it makes sense, it is just frustrating because I really like Cinnamon and didn’t want to go to an Ubuntu based solution.  I am not sure of Ubuntu’s commitment to Linux, or if they are slowly moving and making Ubuntu into a derivative of Linux, but away from what I would call a standard Linux base.  Are they going to add things to Linux so that their Linux is totally unique?  That is why I have stayed away from Ubuntu based distros.  And since LinuxMint’s offerings, other than LMDE, are based on Ubuntu, well LMDE was my only choice.

Recently, though, after watching a few YouTube vids on Linux, I started to contemplate how much I have been involved in running Linux.  How much have I struggled through and How much trouble Linux used to be.  Linux now compared to 6 or so years ago is a world away.  Other than some companies not really being ready to work with Linux, most hardware works fine with Linux.  I remembered how much Ubuntu was welcomed by the Linux community because they readily put in the codecs and other items that most people wanted in the first place, but had to hunt for those needed codecs due to legal suits and other threats made by various companies who were hostile to Linux.  Ubuntu made it easy to get videos running and to watch YouTube  videos.

Because of that and the new stance by the LinuxMint team to treat their distros as LTS releases rather than keep up with Ubuntu’s 6 month release schedule.  They are choosing quality over quantity.  They appear to try and buck the appearance that Linux is buggy and that is what you need to accept.  I have already installed the latest Cinnamon release by the Mint team and am going to run it for at least a year.  I am also planning to dual boot my laptop with Debian Jessie, or testing.  I have set up in VirtualBox Jessie LXDE and it runs great.  I am curious how well and what it takes to get all my hardware running well on Jessie LXDE.  I also want to see how low a memory footprint I can get.  I administer some machines where I work and some of them are REALLY old.  512 MB of memory.  If I can get a super low memory footprint from Jessie LXDE, then I will have a longer term solution for those machines.  I am disappointed in LMDE, but my reasons for wanting to run it have been put into perspective by remembering how much good Ubuntu has done for Linux in general.

LinuxMint, to me, is the best distro for those new to running Linux.  It has a good similarity to Microsoft’s product and it can run on older machines.  I don’t believe the average ‘surf-the-web and email’ computer user will miss anything with LinuxMint Cinnamon or MATE other than the latest flash games on Facebook.

Here’s to quality and success of the LinuxMint team.

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I watch mainly Linux people on YouTube.  I have even played with the idea of starting a YouTube channel to do videos concerning Linux.  Recently, one person I watched has run up against the driver wall of Linux.  By this I mean the inability of Linux to match driver quality and compatibility for hardware.  Linux has this trouble for a few reasons, first, the desktop computer world is Microsoft centric.  Now I know there is the idea that the concept of desktop computers are dead.  I guess this means laptops as well.  I am not sure about that.  Businesses still need desktops to produce documents for communication and presentations.  I would hate to have to produce a PowerPoint presentation all on a tablet.  I don’t see Microsoft allowing Apple total access to MSOffice software for their digital devices.

This has caused others repeating hard feelings about Linux and Linux developers in general.  The developers that build the basic components for Linux are mostly rooted in the non-proprietary software camp.  If you research even FOSS and Open Source camps have some fundamentally different views.  Linux has worked up hill for years.  Hardware people have consistently refused to make good drivers for Linux.  I wonder how much the FOSS and Open Source developers have not cooperated with these hardware people.  I think Ubuntu and Linux Mint could offset that if they worked with these hardware companies.  That might in the end be the biggest problem with Linux.  While I have been a Ubuntu avoider, I must say they have brought in some very good things to Linux.  I now wonder if they could be a solution to drivers and other problems.

Linux is not MS Windows!!!! It never will be.  It was, and is, being developed with an entirely different philosophy.  A different goal.  I heard one person say Linux is less stable than MS Windows.  That is an unsupportable argument.  Linux is very stable.  It just has crappy drivers and some of the software pieces for Linux get bogged down due to roll over in their staff.  You see, most of the developers for Linux are doing it in their spare time and do it for the Love of the project.  Linux has some bugs and holes.  Some of the desktop environments need tightening up in a big way.  Some distros just need to close shop and join other distros so that we get a higher quality from each of the distros left.  Linux also requires some knowledge on the users part.  MSWindows wants users to just point and click.  Linux is a system that generally requires the user to know some information and some technical knowledge.  That is how it is….

Anyway. . . . Linux is what it is. . . .  a project designed to be free and the software open for all to mess with, to collaborate on and do something new.  Linux is freedom from proprietary ideas and monitization.  Those who come into Linux thinking it has no problems have been fooled.  For all those computer users who just want to point and click.  Stay with MSWindows or Apple.  If you want to grow in your technical knowledge, then come to Linux.

Once I was out of High School and College, I was glad to get way from peer pressure.  I was glad my choice of shoes, pants and shirt was not the subject of other’s conversations.  I was never part of the privileged or influential few.  I was rather part of the unimportant masses.  Those judged by others and marginalized by many.  I thought that was over, but I recently realized that once again I was chasing after something that, in the end, really didn’t matter.  What was I chasing?  The latest version of a software package.

I have been running Manjaro Linux for the last year and a half.  I like the distro and it has run well for that time.  My only gripe was about the sound.  For me, it was always not quite right.  I had trouble keeping my speakers running, but my headset jack seemed to work all the time without a problem.  I wanted a non-Ubuntu, rolling release distribution.  Updating every year or so was just ridiculous and I really am not crazy about the direction that the Ubuntu people are going.  I use the XFCE desktop and I has been running great.  I slowly realized I didn’t need most of the updates that were being incorporated into my install every couple of weeks.  It was then I realized I didn’t need a bleeding edge version of my software packages.  I also didn’t need a rolling release.  I also realize using a long term release candidate was ok.  After some looking around and evaluating, I have settled on Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE).  I have always liked Cinnamon as well.  Now I know I have been waiting for  LXQt, but I also am not ready to use the version that is out there now.  So I backed up what I wanted to back up and went ahead and Gparted my drive to prepare for re-installation from a USB 3.0 image.

So far I have loved my new install.  I am setup for dual boot.  I am going to get a version of LXQt installed to see what it looks like.  Not sure if it will be Siduction or Manjaro with LXQt.  I don’t need bleeding edge versions, or a super small memory footprint.  I just need something to run this old Toshiba Laptop and be able to do the few things I do with a laptop.

I have stepped away from peer pressure once again and it feels good.

 

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.

Argh! How to fix Linux?

Posted: June 2, 2013 in GNU, Linux, Ubuntu, XFCE
Tags: , ,

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.

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.

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.

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.

It has been too long since I last posted.  Well, my life without Microsoft Windows has been great!  Since I am an experience Linux user, the total switch wasn’t difficult.  There are differences between Microsoft, Apple and the Linux operating systems.  Why?  Well, it has to do with development philosophies and market distinction.  Yes, I know that Apple’s OS is written from Linux.  Still, Apple has put their spin on Linux.  Most users that switch, or experience another operating system don’t realize how much they get used to one operating system and how it does what it does.  Many users think, “This is the way it needs to be.”  They don’t realize there are multiple ways to do things.  So, I you are thinking of switching, realize you will learn something new and be challenged to do things in a different way.

I switched from Ubuntu classic to xubuntu last January.  Why?  Well, I gave Unity a shot and came to the conclusion that it wasn’t for me.  Why did I make the switch to xubuntu rather than __________? (Fill in the blank yourself.)  Well, here are my reasons.  First of all, I wanted a traditional menu to choose apps.  I don’t want to search to find out what I have installed.  A menu is a quick way to find an application.  Second, I wanted to stay with Ubuntu based system for now.  Third, I always lean to a light, or rather lighter weight desktop environment rather than a full-featured environment like KDE.  Back when I was dual booting with Linux, KDE and GNOME were the two main desktop environments.  KDE was more resource hungry than GNOME.  I was a dedicated GNOME desktop user.  In fact, when Slackware went KDE only, I dropped Slackware in favor for Debian.  So with those choices xubuntu and lubuntu were the two choices.  I went with xubuntu because of XFCE, which has been around a while and has quite good features to it.  After tweaking XFCE a little by loading some things with Synaptic Package Manager, I am happy with my install.  I found xubuntu left a few features out and Synaptic allowed me to load the rest.

I chose a Ubuntu based distribution because Ubuntu has added the things that most people use, or at least, makes it easy to load the multimedia codecs that I really want to use.  Debian is the base for Ubuntu and Debian has the most packages available.  Ubuntu also has really improved package install and that is where I was frustrated in the past.  With Software Center and Synaptic Package Manager I can load anything that I need.  Also, I download packages from the source, like Libre Office and Eclipse.  What is good is that most sites include packages that load on Ubuntu systems.

Life has been great without windows.  You might find that it can be great for you.  Especially if Windows 8 is not to your liking.  There is a big community out there.  Check Linux out.

Recently, my laptop’s hard drive (HDD) decided to stop working efficiently. It took 5-10 times longer for my laptop to do anything. I had my laptop evaluated by Best Buy and they said it was just the HDD. I bought a new 1 TB HDD figuring I would try to restore windows on my currently installed HDD on the laptop, and if that failed I would install the new one after making some restore disks. Well, that didn’t work out and the restore partition didn’t work. I installed my new 1TB HDD and decided to make the switch to Ubuntu Linux. I have messed with Linux for about 15-20 year so it was time to make the permanent switch. I just didn’t want to pay money to get a set of restore CDs from Toshiba. I am tired of the money grabbing by micro$oft. Gates’ idea of purchasing the right to run software is just rediculous. This has set my development back due to a total loss of everything on the HDD.

Oh well, I am very satisfied with the Ubuntu and am looking forward to getting reaquainted with Linux. The good thing is that Java is a cross platform environment and I can get the same stuff done in Ubuntu that I could in windows.