Archive for the ‘xubuntu’ Category

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.

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.

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.

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.