Posts Tagged ‘Debian’

Hello, fellow bloggers.  Today I will be doing Yet-Another-Distro-Review; this time however, I will be reviewing from a more biased side than usual…..I feel my reputation taking a hit as we speak.  Yes, I am known for my impartiality on most subjects but Linux Mint is a subject near and dear so they say…

Linux Mint has been my distro of choice for a while now (okay about 8 weeks; I just “converted” to Linux 3 months ago).  Prior to Mint, it was PCLinuxOS and then Debian, which started it all…I was patiently waiting for Linux Mint 5 to be released as I was excited about some of the changes Clem et. al. were making.  With no further ado:

As per usual, I downloaded the iso file for Linux Mint via a mirror.  I do not like torrents; some find them faster but it never fails I find them slower…(let the digressing begin)…After a suitably forever period of time, I had my nice little iso image and used Brasero to burn that image to a disk.   After checking the integrity and finding it good as always, I rebooted the computer and ran the CD.   Although I knew I would be installing it, just for amusement I messed around with the Live Disk for a few.

First of all, wow on the new artwork!  There is a talented Linux Mint fan out there who just started making his own artwork and it just had that perfect Minty look–polished and elegant..and minty!  There are all new wallpapers which is a nice change (sorry but I just didn’t like most of the default set on Daryna) and a new gtk engine-Aurora.   Every wallpaper is available in wide-screen.  Gion icon set comes installed by default now.  A couple of new themes are Carbon and PepperMint…also there is a WildMint but the Windoze blue border horrified me on sight.

The hard drive install is the same as ever so I proceeded on with it.  (For those of you who don’t know, it is an Ubuntu install process)   Then, I started to have some fun!  The first thing I looked for (and used) is the uninstall feature built in to the MintMenu!  So far, this is far and away my absolute favorite, favorite feature on Elyssa.  I am a tweaker by nature.  No distro on the planet would ever come with exactly what I want and not what I don’t…so anytime I install a new OS, I am stuck in Synaptic right off the bat, using the search over and over…ugh!  This uninstall from the MintMenu feature is so wonderful because it spares me much of the hassle of removing programs I don’t want.  Additionally, some great news on the Mint Menu is that it is using far far less resources memory-wise than in Daryna.   I actually had MintMenu on Daryna removed because of the load it placed on my memory.  No longer!   Mine went from 100MB to about 29MB!!  Good enough to make me happy because I had always liked the MintMenu (some do, some don’t; I know!)

Of course, as usual the MintInstall is a great application for installing packages quickly and painlessly.  In addition to it just being a good package to begin with, Clem and gang improved on this as well by making options for installing deb and apt packages through the MintInstall as well!  Dependencies aren’t always resolved but it is still a way to get the latest and greatest in the bleeding edge world.

Another nice feature is being able to open an application in root, all with a right-click!  That’s right, just right click on a menu item and you are given a choice in the context menu whether or not you want to open as root!  This is a vast improvement.  One thing I always hated was being made to feel like an idiot because I wasn’t “allowed” to be root.  Of course I know that’s not actually the case.  I just said feel like an idiot.  From what I hear, I am not alone in that feeling and that some desert Ubuntu in part due to that.  To help folks remember they might be working in root now, a different browser comes up..Xfe…It looks a fright but it is supposed to be nothing like Nautilus so one can remember they are in root.  Good plan for now…hopefully in a release or two that quietly disappears.

Changing Applications:  Serpentine and Sound Juicer were both replaced.  Now Brasero is installed (which I love) and so is Rhythmbox (which I despise).  Kudos for installing Brasero but Rhythmbox just had to go..and fast.  I have never had anything but problems with it all four times I have tried it, on four different distros…and if I remember right, it was a different issue each time too! lol…It’s just buggy as all get out and it crashes so much, SafeAuto wouldn’t insure it.  Guess what I tested out the “uninstall” feature on first! lol

GnomeDo now runs in the background.  Nautilus is somehow faster, not sure how but I like it!  There is a new Envy version to replace the old one..EnvyNG or some such I believe..not an app I need so off with its head.  Transmission is the new bit torrent client if you use such..

Firefox 3 is the default webbrowser (of course, accompanied by Thunderbird)  I am an Opera fan myself but I could sure appreciate the lower memory consumption and better speed on this fox.

And last but probably first with cube lovers everywhere…The Compiz-Fusion settings GUI is installed by default..wobble your windows to your heart’s content.

There are some issues known (they haven’t affected me yet and hopefully won’t but they are, quoted straight from the website to avoid any misconceptions or errors:

Known issues

Upstream issues:

  • GDM: It takes a while to open the “Login Window” configuration tool. Just be patient, it will come up eventually.
  • GDM: In “Login Window”, if you select another theme.. even though it will tell you everything is fine, it will actually select to show other themes randomly. Open “Login Window” again and set the theme again.
  • GDM: On shutdown, usplash doesn’t show properly and is interrupted by network manager error messages. This is a known bug in GDM. You might be able to fix it by changing the GDM theme “twice” (in “Login Window”).
  • GDM/Gnome: The shutdown/logout sound isn’t played. This happens because Pulse Audio is shut down by Gnome before it gets the chance to play it. You could install “esound” to fix that problem but then that would break PulseAudio altogether. Another workaround would be to use aplay to play the sound before the event, as described here.
  • Gnome: Turning on/off the Gnome Compositing Effects (in gconf or in mintDesktop) can freeze your computer. Make sure to save all your data before activating/deactivating this feature.
  • Gnome: The first time you launch the “Users and Groups” configuration tool, it might not find any users and consequently it won’t work properly. Close it and launch it again.
  • Gnome: The color of the window borders doesn’t always refresh when you select or customize a Gnome theme. This is because some GTK themes refer to the same metacity theme but with different colors, and unless the metacity theme itself is changed Gnome doesn’t refresh it.
  • Gnome: You might see an error message saying the “Gnome Settings Daemon” could not start. It usually only happens once and either doesn’t affect anything or affects the look and feel (the default Gnome theme is applied instead of the Mint one).

Mint specific issues:

  • Widescreen support: If usplash doesn’t fill your screen an alternative is to install usplash-theme-mint-black (which comes with a black background). All wallpapers come in widescreen format and GDM also has a widescreen version of the Elyssa theme.
  • Localization: Not all translations (for the Mint tools) were included in the release. We had to code-freeze at some stage. The missing and future translations will come in as level 1 updates.
  • MintMenu: mintMenu doesn’t always refresh (or doesn’t always refresh fast enough). To force it in doing so, right click on the “Elyssa” button and select “Reload Plugins”.

Warning about upgrades:

  • Be cautious with level 3 upgrades. As these notes are written, applying the Gnome related upgrades break the ability to change your wallpaper!
  • Prefer level 1 and 2 upgrades to be safe and only apply level 3, 4 and 5 upgrades selectively and after you made sure they fixed a bug you needed fixed.
  • Always use mintUpdate to perform package upgrades, avoid to do so with APT or Synaptic; these tools are not aware of the stability level related to package upgrades

Hopefully soon there will be updates to fix these issues and all will go merrily on in the mint world lol…


Hello fellow geekers, it’s time for another distro review…For a while now, I have made it clear that the Linux distro to win my notoriously cold heart is Linux Mint, the distro widely claimed as “Ubuntu done right.”  This is still true!  But of course, I am the type that is never satisfied with my lot in life, so the search goes on for the “perfect” Linux distro.   Especially at the times like these when my CPU fan never shuts off, getting louder and louder lol…Linux Mint is a tad hard on my memory, to be sure.  As soon as this “economic incentive” check from the IRS gets here, I plan on buying a 2GB DDR kit…until then..I like to check out the distros that are ideal for “legacy machines.”  The latest one I downloaded (last night) is a little derivative of PCLinuxOS, called TinyMe.

Now, bear in mind that the second distro I ever tried was PCLinuxOS.  The first was Debian, which I liked but I was sooo frustrated at the time because there was no flash happening.  What a newb!  Of course, I now know that Debian only uses open source applications but hey, I was a serious was that just in March?  Seems a lifetime ago…I digress…So anyway..PCLinuxOS was being proclaimed as the “radically simple Linux.”  Well of course, as a uber-newb, I needed easy to start with…So, bearing in mind my limitations in the memory department (at the time, it was 256 MB RAM) I downloaded the 2008 PCLOS MiniMe edition, a leaner version of the original…basically the same, but on a diet.  I was impressed and I thought it ran great but I didn’t know all the things I do now and I borked it a couple of times lol…plus I preferred Gnome…so I tried quite a few distros after getting a new 512 MB memory stick  and ended up with Linux Mint.

I digress..again…So, at any rate I came across this TinyMe version of PCLOS and was fascinated enough to try it…why bother?  Yes, I have 768MB RAM now, but honestly it’s not really enough for Linux Mint and I do tire of hearing my fan (loudly sometimes) all the I downloaded TinyMe and made myself a nifty little boot disk.  I rebooted with my new “Live CD” and away I go…

It started immediately…and I do mean immediately!  Nice!  Nice polished look of PCLOS…The usual of logging in with guest/guest or root/root blah blah…so then I get to the desktop.  I see all the icons for the major installations of various applications, such as a text editor, Audacious for playing music (which I love), Opera for the internet (which I slavishly adore) and mtpaint for editing pictures, and gThumb.  On the right side of the desktop is the system monitor which is there by default.  Yes, this can be removed or commented out if you prefer (like me) to have a naked desktop.  There is by default a desktop switcher and you can name the desktops (by default they are 4 names, one is fred and one is “soup” no idea why but it made me laugh)  Seriously when is the last time Windoze made anyone laugh in delight?

Anyhoo, there is no desktop environment, which I thought would bother me immensely (because I hate the way Fluxbox looks) but Openbox has a very nice look to it and I made sure that themes could be added…Switching them is a snap..Just open the TinyCC which is the TinyMe control center.  The window management tab allows for switching to various looks for the Openbox..not quite as customizeable as Gnome or KDE but honestly duh!  Nitrogen is a little app that lets you easily switch between wallpapers and lets you add more at the click of a button.  I didn’t see a way to add more icon themes or switch icons but it may be there is a way and I forgot to look or just didn’t notice.

Of course, the full fledged PCLOS control center is there too, allowing for customization concerning networks, hardware, monitors etc..just like the regular PCLOS..  All in all, I thought this was a great distro!  Everything was “whoa!!” fast and I didn’t see any instability issues that ruined the MiniMe experience for me.  There was even an app for killing apps (like Gnome’s fabulous force-quit) I momentarily forgot what it’s called but the icon was appropriate with a little skull-and-crossbones to go over the desired app to kill.

I was sorely, sorely tempted to install this to harddrive and I may still install it with the option for dual-booting..of course, I have to wait for Linux Mint 5 (Elyssa) to be released and give it a go but if it doesn’t work out for me for some reason, I will absolutely use TinyMe.  I give it a B for looks and an A- for functionality (for my purposes anyway).  I am just a “baby geek” after all and I do absolutely love deb and mint packages and I likely won’t want to give that up but this distro tempts me like no other!

Today the Linux Mint Elyssa second beta version was released with bug fixes. Linux Mint 5 Elyssa RC2 (BETA 048 )
was released today. It comes with the brand new Firefox 3 RC1, Flash 10, improved printing and bluetooth support and a lot of bug fixes. The changes are described here in the forums: Links: Release Notes & Download mirrors

Remember people the betas are for testing!!  Don’t expect them to be perfect.  Additionally, upgrading from Mint 4 (Daryna) to the Beta Elyssa is a bad idea..there maybe a problem with your upgrading and you end up reporting it as a bug..and additional reasons..Be patient..the stable release will be out very soon!!  And remember a fresh install is always the best idea!

Woohoo! Linux Mint 5, codenamed Elyssa this time is out in Beta version!!! There are some awesome new changes, especially to the Mint Menu and Mint Install and many applications have been added to the Software Portal..Rhythmbox has replaced both Amarok and Sound Juicer (which is my only complaint because I really hate Rhythmbox) and Brasero has replaced Serpentine (yay!) There is also a separate file browser for doing work in root so that it looks different enough for you to remember it is root and not bork your system lol!! There are also new right click options, such as when searching through images being able to use it as the desktop and there is an uninstall option for those of us “tweakers” who find searching Synaptic over and over a tedious process….I can hardly wait to get my hands on the final…Good job Clem and the team at Linux Mint and congratulations! For those interested, here is the link for the release notes for this Beta —> Linux Mint Elyssa Beta
I seriously cannot wait to review this; here’s hoping the stable release comes out soon!!

This is a much later part of an earlier post that I broke up due to length..To see the original two parts Click Here for Part One and Click here for Part Two to see entire article of “Switching from Windows to GNU/Linux (a newbie’s guide)” for helpful information about GNU/Linux in a newbie friendly presentation.

This post, (Part Three) deals with two more reviews..First, if anyone noticed, I recently put up an announcement about the release of PCLinuxOS 2008.1-the Gnome Remaster (also known as PCLOS). The other distro I am going to review is Linux Mint, a “derivative” of Ubuntu. I will explain the use of “” later…Okay here we go………………….

First up, PCLinuxOS 2008.1 Gnome Remaster (whew! how about just PCL-G for now so remember that’s what it stands for!)
I downloaded PCL-G via a torrent Click here for the PCLinuxOS 2008.1 Gnome Remaster torrent page and I burned the iso image to disk using Brasero (it’s easy and just works) and then rebooted with the Live CD.<–confused? I will explain booting after the review! As usual with PCLOS, the live CD started right up. The only variation on the “norm” is that you have to log in on their live CD; easy enough either log in as “root” or “guest” and the password will be the same as the “username” you log in with (either root or guest). Immediately, I was impressed with the sleek look of this distro..I love a dark theme and this was it! Smooth lines and colors ooohweee it “shore wuz purty”; okay hahah, so anyway I went right to the menu to see what applications it came with…There was the usual Gnomish accessories, such as an editor and notetaker and a whole lot of multimedia programs for someone seriously into music and video..One really nice thing was that Compiz-Fusion (the eyecandy of the Linux box) was already installed and “ready to Cube!” lol..Furthermore, when I checked Synaptic (a major package manager) I noted that Opera (my favourite web browser) Brasero (my favourite disk burning program) and VLC (my favourite video player) were all listed..In addition, the MAJOR issue that has been plaguing Opera, the latest Flash Player update has been addressed with its own entry in Synaptic with an option for Flash Player 8 for Opera, even telling users about the potential (although very unlikely) security issue. (Although on a side note, I personally think Flash Player update was just trying to exclude Opera because they support Linux..but of course that is just paranoid speculation). So, since everything I wanted was there, I decided to install…
Aaaaaaand that is where I get a tad unhappy..
I clicked on the install to hard drive button conveniently located on the desktop and it went through a couple of steps, telling me I had to log out and log back in to install..(grr) okay, so I did..again and again…I couldn’t get past this step! After a few more tries, it finally started (no idea why that time and not the others) and I went through the install process which is pretty easy and installed PCL-G to my hard drive) Once I booted again (too much logging in/out required for my liking by the way) I was unable to change the color resolution from 16 bits to 24..Never figured it out either…The first thing I did was open Firefox and realized I was not connected to the internet; This is only the second distro I have ever tried that didn’t detect my ethernet automatically (the other was Puppy Linux, if you care). Fortunately for me, I knew how to fix this but it would be very difficult for a newbie to understand the various choices and options. So then, like I said, minor inconvenience for me but nothing I couldn’t handle easily enough. So then I went to download my “Big Three” applications I can’t do without..I found them easily, checked them and went to download…for some reason only Brasero downloaded; the other two had some kind of error message I had never before seen…hmm not cool!..I tried again and still had no luck. Sorry PCLinuxOS Gnome, I had to pass on this one; too many annoyances and disappointments and I had high hopes for this one too…I had been waiting to download it for weeks and what I got was not nearly as nice as what I expected..My older MiniMe was far better and I don’t even like KDE……I give it a C for performance, and A for appearance.

The other distro I am reviewing is Linux Mint…I downloaded Linux Mint 4.0 the main edition codenamed Daryna (all the editions are given a pretty female idea why) All the various flavors of this 4.0 edition can be downloaded at the main Linux Mint page Click here to read more about Linux Mint and then you can Click here to download Linux Mint. I remember when I first visited the download page, I was confused (a major newb lol) so let me briefly explain what’s what…
If you just want the “Main Edition” you can skip this paragraph…
There are 7 choices of the same 4.0 Daryna version to choose from. Why? To try to give Linux Mint to everyone, no matter what type of desktop environment (or lack of one) they use…So first is Xfce..this desktop environment(remember that is what you see as far as windows, icons, panels and menus) is lighter and faster than Gnome or KDE because it doesn’t have as much as the other two..I have tried Xfce and it is just fine, somewhat of a “stripped down” version of Gnome but also very customizable. This desktop environment (or “DE”) is great for older systems or RAM memory challenged systems)…Next listed is the miniKDE comes with KDE instead of Gnome..Then, of course, the Main edition with Gnome and then the Light edition which is COMPLETELY open source, no non-free software or support for restricted drivers..this edition is great for militantly-free open sourcers or for those who live in countries where patents are enforced by law. (yes, in some countries, using non-free software is against the law)….Next is the KDE Community edition (a KDE remastering of the original) much like the miniKDE…Then, we have the Fluxbox edition…Fluxbox is a window manager but not a desktop environment, which is loved by those with VERY old computers, VERY low memory or those gurus who love the command line for all it’s worth. Finally, there is a Debian version…a “peek” at what Linux Mint would be like if based on Debian (cool!)……Okay, now that’s out of the way….
(Okay pay attention again!)I popped in the Live CD and I was delighted immediately by the nice, elegant look to it..(It’s Minty!) of course, I checked Firefox and I was connected to the internet right off the bat, no configuration required. Then I checked Synaptic and found my “Big Three” right there including the non-free flash is the first of the trouble making flash updates so it works in Opera, just not really well so I compromise and use Firefox for my flash needs..Included on the repository is Compiz Fusion and I had a blast with “the Cube” but I couldn’t keep it for long as I have less than a Gig of Memory lol but it was a load of fun…and besides, the AWN dock is in the repo as well as Cairo-clock and there are advanced eyecandy settings in the menu..ah, yes, the menu…
The “MintMenu” is a lovely piece of is the Gnome menu done right! There are 3 columns, and headings (places, system, and applications) the menu is searchable and you can also use the All applications at the top or look in sections..Additionally you can save applications as favorites, which have a menu of their own!! I love this menu, functional and elegant!! Then there is MintInstall, which a popup asks you what you are searching for..taking you to firefox and the option is presented with a download icon..from there you click download, then ok and mintInstall does the work! (It’s supposed to be “one click” but it is really 3 but hey, still super easy!!)..The downsides for me are that it takes a tad too long to start up and there is a screen that will hang unless I hit enter twice (shrugs) and on shutdown, clicking quit in the mintmenu will result in a hang also..not sure why but aside from being minorly annoying..those (for me) are the only downsides..I give it an A- for performance and an A for appearance. Oh yes, the “” from earlier about being a derivative of Ubuntu..Yes, Linux Mint is based off of Ubuntu but it is less of a derivative than it is a step to the left..(Huh?) Basically, in my opinion and that of many is that Linux Mint is what Ubuntu should be..

Now for the explanation of booting that I promised!
Making a “boot disk” of a Linux distro to try out:
Download the distro and save it somewhere easy, like the desktop..It will be in the form of an “iso image”…
Open Brasero…select “burn image” Burn existing CD or DVD image to disk…A little popup appears called image burning setup..underneath the heading “image”, it should say “path” the right is a little on it to browse your file desktop and make sure you see the iso image file listed (something like Linux mint.iso) and click will list that in the “path” line now..make sure the .iso file is in the “path” or you won’t get a boot disk.
Insert a blank disk..just cancel the window that pops up asking what to do with the, in the little popup in Brasero (the one you just changed the path in) click “Burn” and wait…
Now sometimes I noticed with GnomeBaker that if you tried to do anything while burning that disk, it would freeze..I don’t know about Brasero but I don’t have spare CDs to throw away so I don’t try to make it angry lol..I just come back when it’s done…It gets done and ejects the disk..put the disk right back in and click enter or “perform integrity check” or whatnot..this makes sure that the image file you just burned has all the stuff it’s supposed to have.

Rebooting with the Live CD you just made
Okay when you get you new disk ejected and close up Brasero, close out everything and click on quit..either do restart or shutdown, whichever you like…either way, when you (or it) turn back on the computer you will see two options for a few seconds (so be fast!)..They are F2 and F12…hit the F12 button to get to the “boot” menu…On my Dell, I hit the down arrow button til I get to choice 4, which is booting from the CD-ROM drive (it should say media drive, CD-Rom, DVD drive or something similar but it might be a different choice number, I’m not sure), then put in the shiny new disk you just made, then choose the option I just talked about and hit enter and the computer will boot up using the disk you made! It’s soooo much easier than it sounds and you can try out multiple distros without ever having to change your computer!!! Don’t worry, the computer will boot normally the next time; by default it boots from the hard drive (whatever Operating System you have on there already will run)

Okay you are ready and that took forever to type! Have fun!

Great news for us PCLinuxOS fans out there, the new 2008.1 Gnome remaster of PCLinuxOS is out again and available for Torrent download!!!!
For anyone who has been patiently waiting for the new iso, the old one was removed due to a minor flaw with the iso image…There were some compatibility issues that have now been fixed and a fresh install of PCLinuxOS should work just fine!!
Great job getting that out!


Yet another part to the ongoing saga of finding that perfect Linux distro for newbs guide lol..Just when I am starting to think it might never end (and really, it might not; I have issues with never being satisfied lol)
So on to business..
I have a couple of reviews to do this time..just a couple though because I have had other things going on…
First of all, I recently bought more memory so now I am the proud owner of 768 MB RAM now (wooo! lol) Okay not the “latest and greatest” but for a Dimension Desktop 1100, not bad at all..So, once I got the new memory stick installed (that was its own little adventure for someone who never did that before either!) and I decided to go after a couple of the “big dawgs” in Linux Distros..
I started with Ubuntu, the brand new Hardy Heron 8.04..I took forever and downloaded and made a Live CD, on which I tried out the distro..The LiveCD was easy to use (as was Ubuntu) and there were little warnings and popups for things that I was not supposed to mess with until I am not such a newb lol..(This would probably just aggravate a more experienced Linuxer) I liked the look of it (yes, some people hate the brown but I have no problem with the color of caramel and chocolate and besides, even if you don’t like it you will know immediately who Ubuntu is at a glance lol) so at any rate, I liked the way it looked just because it was different. The fact that it comes with Gnome I liked also..sorry KDE’ers but I just like Gnome better. Then I go to install it to hard drive like I do with any other distro I like and that is where I decided I was not having such a good time of it…The install took just this side of forever (like Debian, its ancestor) but not just that..Once I finally remembered, oh yeah, Debian took forever too..then I sat back and relaxed..the install process is nearly identical to Debian so if you have tried Debian you will be in familiar territory…
Once the install was complete..imagine my surprise and dismay when the updater pops up and says I need 479 updates!! I almost had an embolism on the spot…So I say, okay, go for it..well two hours later it was done updating..yipee..So all in all, it took nearly 4 hours to install Ubuntu just to have it suck up all my resources..
Yes, I am irritated with Ubuntu but in all and complete fairness, this distro is probably the most newbie friendly distro I have tried, including PCLinuxOS, who I am quite fond of and am eagerly awaiting the 2008 version. If you have a couple gigs of memory to play with and hate Windows, ran away from Windows or are not technically inclined I absolutely recommend Ubuntu…wholeheartedly..However, if you are a Linux guru, you will probably hate the restrictiveness and the warnings and such which would just be unnecessary for you.
So, then I tried Xubuntu (for those of us with the limited resources..)and I ran the Live CD with no problem at all and Xfce seemed like a slimmer version of Gnome which was both a plus and a minus for me (I like eyecandy and saving resources..yeah yeah I know)
So here I thought Xubuntu would be perfect and so it was..until I tried to install it to hard drive..the install went okay but then I had to go through the same hoop jumping on the updates, just to end up with pretty much the same resource hogging I had before, only not as nice to look at lol..I would still recommend it wholeheartedly, again mostly just to newbs, Linux newbs or those with a lot of resources…
Finally, I tried Linux is an offshoot of Ubuntu, based on Ubuntu but yet totally different at the same time..The MintInstaller is very useful, especially to a command-line idiot like myself..and fun to use at that..just type in the name of the application you want, and away you go!
I also like the menu (Mint Menu) which is set up differently than any other distro I have used yet but still (in my opinion) easier to use (some don’t like it but I do) Additionally, the MintUpdater keeps one informed of all critical, important and optional updates by level (1 being utmost and 3 being optional) so I tend to just check it once a week, update the “ones” and that is it…
The install was easy and I have not had any major problems with this distro so far..having said that, I personally picked Linux Mint and will continue to run it, at least until PCLOS releases their newest version……………………..