Bionic Pup 8 Linux. Fast, Small, Complete

The latest Puppy Linux is out, named Bionic Pup 8 (BP8), and I think it is a winner! Bionic Pup 8 comes in both 64 and 32 bit flavors, so there is a BP8 for everyone. BP8 has a small footprint, a little less than 400M for the 64 bit ISO. BP8 runs off a usb, and has so many programs, and can perform so many different tasks, one may forget BP8 is a portable Linux, and not an overstuffed, full blown ISO.

I find it amazing that so many programs and features in such a small footprint. From initial setup, to playing a game, there are enough features and potential tweaks to keep everyone happy.

Desktop and initial Setup

If you need audio tools there are more than a handful to choose from. Same goes for video and Graphics tools. Yet there is more. Puppy has a more than acceptable collection of Personal and Office Tools though not in a suite. If you prefer, Libre Office, the download and install option are in the menu. You may find you don’t need it.

For the web, there is Pale Moon web browser, Claws email, Messaging and GTK Radio to name a few programs. Bionic Pup 8 has more programs available than many people will ever use. Persistent storage is an option if you want to use it, showing up on shutdown.

Puppy Linux’ loads into Ram, making it slower on the boot, but very fast when running. I have been playing around with Bionic Pup 8 for about five days now. Once BP8 is loaded, it’s the fastest Distro I have. Using Bionic Puppy 8, I forget I am running off a usb stick, it’s that fast.

Puppy Linux has so much to offer, with several excellent modified Puppy’s. Slacko or Fat Dog used to be my go to Puppy’s, but Bionic Pup 8 has really hit a home run. This version comes with more than needed standard and perhaps not so standard tools depending on your experience level. Every use should be able to do anything that needs attention.

A Menu everyone can love

Now after saying all these great things about Bionic Pup 8, some things haven’t changed. As I spend most of my time in a web browser or editor, I’m not picky about them, but you may be.

Visually, Bionic Pup 8 Desktop is awesome! Some think it’s a little crowded, to each his own. Programs may be the bland side visually – for some, and a little retro looking when compared to large and nicely polished Distros; even the games are fairly light. But comparing footprints megabyte to megabyte, Puppy Linux has the power and speed advantage.

All Puppy Linux flavors expect you can perform the basics. You are expected able to set up your system the way you want. This includes Internet, Printing, and other things you may want, Samba and your Lan name for instance. This sets Bionic Pup 8 apart from hold your hand beginner Distro’s, but not too far apart. If you set up your current Linux Distribution, you can set up and use BP8 too. On the bright side, everything you need or want is a mouse click away, and generally there are ample instructions to help you as you go. You just need to know what you want for your system.

If Bionic Puppy 8 is something you want to check out, and you have a spare usb stick, head on over to the Official Puppy Linux Web Site. You can read about Puppy Linux, check the link options, and view screen shots. If you want more, there is the Official Discussion Forum, Blog, Wiki, along with more discussion forums on other sites. There is even a Puppy School link available on the Wiki. Puppy is well supported.

Puppy Linux has been around a long time, and always delivers a blazingly fast, small (as in usb) footprint, and offers persistent, encrypted and unencrypted storage. Bionic Puppy 8 is worth you checking it out, especially if you are beyond the beginner stage, or you enjoy Distro hopping. Best of all, Puppy Linux is portable.

If needed, I have a previous post about a program named, Etcher which takes care of getting an iso from your hard drive onto a bootable USB stick. Etcher now runs on Linux, Mac and Windows.

Think Your Web Browsing is Really Private? Think Again

How anonymous is your private web browsing? I thought I had all the reasonable requisite Add-ons to keep me fairly anonymous on the Web. Then I read a comment in an article about a file named: ‘machine-id’ which holds all the data about the computer I am using. Machine-id is present on a Windows and Linux computers. It is around in some variation on a Mac, but not as easy to locate.

What this little file does is make your a single computer unique on the ‘Lan’ it is set up on. This information may extend out into the internet to your provider, and perhaps beyond, but in my limited searching, I did not find any reference of that happening. This is called from my understanding…get ready…”Fingerprinting”.

However this made me curious. What else is going out, while I am browsing the web, thinking I am wisely protecting my privacy? I can’t say I was surprised, but a truckload of information is sent to each and every website that is visited, even this one I am guessing, though I never see it.

If you look at this screenshot, Firefox.jpg, you will see the information every web site sees. The list is long, and the shot is clipped to only the top portion, but you get the idea of how privately you browse the web as an average user. Web browsers may as well include a picture, home address and phone number too, as far as privacy matters go.

I thought I was fairly anonymous on the web…

Contained in Firefox browser directory, and likely whatever browser you choose to use is a file called HTTPS. Now this is a really slick little file that works with web sites you visit. It stores the data you see which tells Firefox any site listed in the file can only be accessed using HTTPS at the beginning of the url for a ‘secure’ connection. If HTTP isn’t at the beginning of the URL string, you can’t connect to the website in question. Sounds great, I feel so much better….

The problem with this file is, you can delete the contents and save it as a blank file. Get on the web and surf to a few sites, and you have a long list of sites, including some you did not access and can not visit! Return to a website, and the string contents change My question is, with this file blank, I do not seem to have any problem accessing a website. Why is it needed except for tracking purposes? I think it uses information from machine-id, but I’m not really sure. Monster Cookies anyone?

HTTPS. Just a helpful little file

I never payed attention to the private browsing option until now. The results are disappointing if you think you are really getting private browsing. This is beginning to look like a bad take of, “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me”. All that happens in private browsing is the information normally stored on your computer about your browsing habits is not collected. To the sites you don’t want the world to know you visited, your browser sends the same information it always does. In essence, your family or Boss may not know where you browsed, but everyone else does.

If you want to see this in action, here are two links which collect all the information possible from your computer.

My Browser Info

Panopticlick from Electronic Frontier Foundation

After a quick search, I found a new well thought of web browser named, Epic Browser. It has a slick little VPN feature that really does erase you when you are on the web. I only played with it long enough to verify it works. With the VPN switch turned off, Epic transmits the same information as other browsers. With the VPN switch activated, it’s like being on the onion network with a tor browser. Maybe it is?

If you are serious about your privacy, but not too computer savvy

Which brings me to the Operating System Tails. Tails is so paranoid about privacy it only runs from a USB stick, and does not access any hard drive on the computer on its own. Tails uses the Tor browser and the Onion network. I really prefer using Tails when I want to surf about things I don’t want attached to me like, “How do you get Hemorrhoids”, or some such. You can browse with confidence knowing in your using the best privacy no money can buy when you are on the web. Below is a screenshot of how the sites see me when using tails. This isn’t a how-to about tails, but the web is almost your friend and will lead you to the Tails website.

The most online privacy no money can buy.

The information above is what I was able to find in about an hours worth of searching. Initially I was shocked to see what information about myself and my computer was giving away. After a short amount of time, I became angry, that so much information is built into the system by default. I did learn I don’t need to feel bad when a web site wants me to accept cookies. Websites already have more information than they need.

In wrapping up, I hope you have a better idea of your “privacy” when browsing the Internet. If you want to learn more and perhaps get involved, the, “Electronic Frontier Foundation” is a great place to start. EFF has been around since at least 1990, decries the lack of privacy in the digital age, and fights for our digital rights.

Here is the Electronic Frontier Foundation link:  Electronic Frontier Foundation check them out. They do a lot for you.

A Few Thoughts on Three Arch Child Distributions

I never had the desire to install Arch Linux from scratch. When I started with Linux, I installed Suse Linux using 3.5” floppy disks. I didn’t like it much, as I thought the mousing was too, “Precise” for me back in the day. Well, it is a long time since those days, and I have done so many installs and added software to them, it no longer gets me excited.

These days, most Linux distribution’s, mainstream distributions anyway, are becoming so plain vanilla, there is little need to start from bare bones system and build it up for home desktop use. Which brings me to the Children of Arch Linux. I have installed and used Arco Linux, Antergos Linux, and Manjaro Linux over the last few months.

I think I can safely write, these distributions have more in common than they are different. Each distribution is rock solid, as stable as Arch can be, and they each pretty much give me the desktop and looks I want. Arco Linux is different, in one of the its purposes to grow the user. By growing, I mean installing different desktop, adding programs, etc. Arco Linux is a great little distribution as is, if you do not wish to take it any further, or if you wish even better with video support (videos) to increase your Linux skills.

Antergos Linux shines in what it offers in the desktop realm. They have enough desktops to choose from upon install, that every user should be able to find what suits them. If you want to explore desktops, an Antergos is the way to go. If you try a new desktop and do not like it, just another desktop. Antergos has been tested with each of the desktops it offers on install, so one of the desktop choices should please just about everyone.

Manjaro Linux, with its new release, 18.xx, is a winner by a printer in my book, when compared to other Arch Children distributions. What sets Manjaro Linux ahead of the pack for me besides delivering a painless install, is my Brother Printer installed without a second thought, straight from the system settings. No more downloading Brother printer drivers from the Brother website and doing a manual install. I had given up on ever seeing such a smooth Brother printer install with Linux. I own a Brother MFC-L2707DW printer, if that is any help to you.

Manjaro Linux takes Best of Breed!

One rather unfair criticism I read about Manjaro Linux is terminal opacity. If the opacity of the terminal bothers you, click on settings as make the terminal as solid as you wish. I would think, if you are considering Arch or a Child of Arch, this would not be an issue for you.

Arch and Children of Arch have some serious side effects you may wish to consider, part of the Arch lineups dark side. Updates are fast and furious, you need some high speed bandwidth or you will reach new levels of frustration. Of course you may selectively choose to install only certain updated programs. Secondly, if you stray too far from the main road when installing programs you may find your favorite program needs some tender loving care. I had two programs, one of which refused to load, and the second refused to quit. Manjaro at least, has a pop up asking if you wish to terminate the program. You may also go through the terminal.

If you have installed a few Linux distribution’s and feel a little bored or daring, Give one of the Children of Arch a spin. Unfortunately, it is looking like you may still get a little bored with either Antergos or Manjaro. Depending on your pain tolerance, boredom is a good thing when using Linux. While Children of Arch distributions are a ways from being a beginning Linux Distribution, they are a long way from the expert level installation requirements of Arch Linux itself. If you can install Ubuntu Linux, Children of Arch Linux distributions are not out of your reach.

Etcher, the Cross Platform ISO Flash Drive Installer You Need

Etcher is the best image flasher you have never heard of? Huh? what’s an image flasher? In plain language, Etcher lets you create a bootable copy of a downloaded ISO to a flash drive in a way that won’t let you destroy your hard-drive in the process.

Etcher lets you painlessly burn iso images to flash (usb) drives.

Etcher is cross platform. I use it in Linux, and here is how I do it:

1. Have a downloaded .iso file. I downloaded Lubuntu to give it a test run as a live ISO. I thought Lubuntu has made great strides in this current release for those interested.

2. Insert a flash drive. This is the most dangerous part of the process! Etcher will overwrite everything on the flash drive, so only use a flash drive where the data on it can be deleted without pain. If your flash drive has information you want, copy it off to your hard drive before using the flash drive with Etcher.

2. Run Etcher. I open my file manager, and open the Etcher folder I created previously.

3. Double click on the Etcher Icon.

4. Etcher starts, asks for an iso and brings up a folder directory. Search and select the .ISO file you want to copy on your flash drive.

6. Enter your correct password.

7. Etcher searches for a flash drive. At this step Etcher gives you the option of picking a different flash drive than the flash drive Etcher found.

8. Click on the label, “Flash” on the right side of the screen.

Etcher does the rest, conveniently copying the selected .iso file to the flash drive making a bootable flash drive in the process. Once completed, Etcher asks if you want to create another.

8. Close Etcher. All done! The flash drive created by Etcher is bootable, and can be used as you want.

One interesting option Etcher offers is to purchase Etcher Pro. Etcher Pro will flash several flash drives at a time. Etcher Pro is for high volume users.

Etcher is cross platform. Etcher is free as in free beer. Etcher is as safe as can be in protecting your hard drive by only flashing a flash drive.

I really like Etcher as it replaces any number of DVD burns. Especially now that CD’s and DVDs are quickly fading into the background.

Here is a link to a Wikipedia article, if you want more detail.

Here is the link to the Etcher website

 

Makulu Linux, Linux You May Enjoy Using

Makulu Linux, pronounced “Macooloo”, has been around a few years now and has remained mostly off the Linux Radar screen. Last week, Jack M. Germain writing for Linux Insider, published a post stating he thinks Makulu Linux is finally ready for prime time.

I downloaded Makulu Linux to see if it is true or only more noise. Makulu Linux in the past has never been a conformist or a MeToo Linux distribution. This newest release, LinDoz, the first of three to be released is no different. Makulu Linux is as far as I am aware, mostly unique in the Linux world.

Before going too far down the road, I will mention an issue in Live mode, I would lose the mouse. I have an old corded Kensington Trackball which may be partly responsible. Unusual for a smaller distribution, Makulu Linux has very good documentation and includes a FAQ accessible from the screen and menu.

I found the lost mouse fix so quickly, Losing the mouse, however did not carry over through to the hard drive install. I think this may be due to the faster load time, and my willingness to wait a few seconds longer.

Makulu Linux when installed to the hard drive really shines! I am glad I went beyond the live edition and completed a full install. Makulu Linux comes with it’s own desktop, two different repositories to customize your system from, and a refreshingly different way of looking at how a Linux Distribution should look and perform.

I am quite happy with the default desktop, but Makulu Linux has options for changing desktops. Upon boot, when you log in, you have the choice of desktops, Cinnamon, Cinnamon (software rendering), and XSession. I am using the default, Xsession, which works fine for me.

A new gem in the Linux World

Makulu Linux gives you a choice of using either Debian or Mint repositories. This is also a first as far as I know. Having choices of repositories without causing system crashing is unusual at best, and insane at worst. In my [short] time with Makulu Linux, everything is working as it should.

Makulu Linux install procedure, like the rest of Makulu’s philosophy is a little different, but nothing anyone who has done a few Linux Distro installs, or can think what a question means, can’t manage. A few places ask you to make a decision, though there are defaults if you do not have a preference, or do not know what to choose. In my case chose to install Makulu Linux alongside another Distro.

I was asked about repositories, and a few more normal install questions. One of the interesting features, is you have options for the base system you want Makulu Linux to be. Choices include Gaming, Business, or Home. I installed Home, so I have no comment on what the specific differences are.

It is refreshing that Makulu Linux, at least the LinDoz edition doesn’t overwhelm you with every piece of software under the sun. The only maybe extra software I found, is two editors, though they perform on different levels, so they are not two of the same in a technical sense. I have only added only one application to the base system. That is a text editor with spell check. My fingers never remember where the keys are, so spell check is a must have for me.

With the home edition, an up to date Libre Office is present to handle office tasks. Accessories is loaded with programs most people will use without being bloated. Everything most people use for the Internet is also present. There are three games installed. Administration is a pleasant surprise with options for drivers, and other apps to make Makulu Linux look and work as you want it to.

Compared to some Distro’s, the software selection may be thought to be sparse, but the developers feel a smaller install is better than than starting with a bloated system. I tend to agree. In closing, there are two more versions of Makulu Linux in the works. I’m excited to try at least one of them, though I am very impressed so far with the LinDoz edition.

A real eye opener for me is Makulu Linux choice of web browser. Makulu Linux uses Opera. Makulu Linux with Opera does web browsing a better experience! Makulu Linux Team has set up Opera to make the web experience even better than mainstream Firefox with a few add-ons is. Even more of the annoyance of browsing is gone using Makulu Linux’s Opera browser setup.

Of course, you may find a different result depending on your browsing habits. I am very impressed with Opera now, as I would not normally have given Opera a spin. On the downside, Opera feels just a tad slower, but I think it’s well worth the trade-off for the end result. And the perceived speed loss may be my imagination.

I recently went through a round of Distro testing, and Makulu Linux is best of breed among the distributions I tested. A few Distro’s were practically clones of each other. One Distro had these sudden annoyances that would come and go for no rhyme or reason. A few Distro’s fell short in what they offered, or perhaps what I wanted. Makulu Linux however was a fluke, and not one of the initial round of distributions I tested. I am glad I came across the link to the Linux Insider review.

If you read any of my older Linux Distro reviews, you will know I do not get to far into the details of install and operation. In general Linux is Linux, and if you can install one, you can install another. This post on Makulu Linux is no different in that sense. However Makulu Linux is a serious contender to replace my over time favorite. I wish to mention in closing, I really enjoy the quotes and the rotating wallpapers in Makalu Linux desktop, though I am sure some will prefer to turn them off.

— Quick update, Makulu Flash Linux has been released. Flash uses XFCE, and is impressive in its own right. Word of caution though, Flash is lacking a full office suite and a few other programs you may like to have. If you have lots of time for downloading, or fast bandwidth, you may wish to give Flash a go.

Bodhi and Q4OS Linux Short Minor Review

I downloaded and ran Bodhi Linux, which turned out to be a short session. I also did the same with Q4OS. Neither Linux distribution is ready for the average users desktop judging from my experience. Both distributions quit functioning at different times, during my first initial use period.

If you are not a new user, and know why you want either Bodhi or Q4OS linux, they are perfect for your needs. If you are a general user, and you need more programs than are included or in the repositories, you may be up to a bit of a challenge to use these distros.

Bodhi Linux crashed and burned rather quickly. I installed Bodhi Linux to a hard drive. Bodhi Linux looked a lot like an old version of Vector Linux, which is a lightweight straight forward simple to use Linux, unless it has changed. Once Bodhi installed to my hard drive I rebooted into Bodhi. All went well, until I opened the web browser.

What happened next, I wasn’t sure if it were a Bodhi issue, or a Midori issue, but the end result was the same. When I try out a new Linux Distro, I like to see if the browser can handle two web sites, both main stream sites, Youtube.com, and Ted.com.

I never made it to Youtube. I entered the url for Ted.com first. The page loaded, and I clicked on the first video. The browser locked up and itself shut down. When I reopened the Browser, the browser went directly to Ted.com, displayed and error message. That was it, the browser refused to clear itself of the error message. The only option that worked was shutting down the browser. I took the browser through a few cycles, rinse, repeat, until I decided it was not going to clear the error caused by Ted.com. Now you know everything I know after trying out Bodhi Linux.

Built for a purpose, but not for an average or beginning user?

Q4OS linux started out very well. I looked like an old windows version, but everything worked as expected. I was starting to like Q4OS, and was wondering how it would work for me as a desktop Linux. Q4OS was growing on me. It was dated looking, as I mentioned, but it was solid and fast.

After a short time period Q4OS wanted to update itself. I told it go ahead. What I thought would be an update, turned out to be distribution upgrade, or close to it. Once the update completed, that was the end of Q4OS. It refused to work any longer.

Now it may be possible, I missed something about not letting it upgrade, or went about the update wrong. Anything is possible. All I know is Q4OS quit working after update. If you know what you want to do with Q4OS, and are not new to Linux, Q4OS bills itself as an adaptable Linux for you to use.

One big note of caution, if you try and install Q4OS, and the install tells you it will erase the whole disk and install itself, it means literally. I had the disk divided into two separate partitions, and wanted to install Q4OS on the second empty partition. When the install was done, I had one large partition with a very small Q4OS as the only OS on the drive. You have been warned.

 

feren OS Minor Review

feren OS Linux Distribution, was next on my test list. feren OS caught the attention of Distro Jumpers (Linux distribution jumpers – I used to be one), and I wanted to know why feren OS is so well liked in the community. I downloaded the feren OS iso, and ran it. I was pleasantly surprised! While feren OS is a long way from the future lightweight desktop in the plans, feren OS is an impressive distribution. An obvious amount of work and attention to detail being put in it.

Did I mention I appreciate the quality of thought and work going into feren OS? feron OS is a newer distribution and a work in progress. The distribution borrows a lot from the big Linux distributions, though it manages to stand out on its own. Taken from the feren OS website,

“…Cinnamon DE that’s simple to use as well as showing off many user contributions to Cinnamon. Soon enough, in a couple of years, feren OS will get an upgrade to its design with a new Qt-based Desktop Environment to look like the concepts of feren OS’s design.”

In the moment, feren OS is running a Cinnamon Desktop. feren OS’s closest competition is Mint Cinnamon, I am guessing. feren OS is currently not the lightweight the feren OS team hopes it will become as it transitions to Qt Desktop Environment, feren OSweighed in at 544 Mb usage at boot-up. For comparison, Mint Cinnamon booted up using 441 Mb. Not a lot of difference, but if memory is at a premium, feren OS may be too heavy for your system right now.

feren OS is a solid Linux OS being made even better. Check it out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two points really stand out with feren OS’s for me. The Desktop is pretty upon boot-up. A few mouse clicks provide several more desktop background images to choose from. Personally, I do not enjoy a dark desktop, so changing the background was my first priority. Perhaps if I sat in front of my computer eight hours a day, I would prefer a dark desktop. For now I do not.

The second best thing feren OS has going for it is the software. The menu is filled with programs I would probably pick myself if I was starting with a bare bones operating system. One major gripe of mine with a number of Linux Distributions is the overflow of software, or the overly minimalist approach. I think every computer user has their won default set of programs they prefer to use. feren OS, hits a perfect balance with their application selections.

The feren OS menu itself is clean and well thought out. I think almost any user, new or not, that is not set on the XFCE way of right clicking for the menu will find little fault with the menu layout. I think this comes from having a design in mind and working towards it.

If memory is not an issue, and you want a clean, well designed Linux OS, you could do a lot worse than feren OS. For myself, I am looking forward to the transition to the lighter Qt Desktop environment.

Wrapping up, feren OS, feels a little more polished than other Cinnamon Desktop Distributions I have looked at. feren OS has the right amount of applications for almost any user. Definitely resource hungry in the moment, I think you will find feren OS an enjoyable experience.

Solus 3 Linux Minor Review

I tried out at a number of Linux distributions this week with the goal of identifying one or two Linux distributions that could be used by several people who would be new to Linux. The Linux distribution needs to be simple, so anyone can operate the Linux OS without help. From that perspective there are several Linux distributions I looked at for this environment. Of course each one of us has their own opinions of what works and what does not. This is my initial experience with Solus 3, a Linux distribution which is starting to be noticed.

Solus 3 Linux was my first choice as a Linux system to be used by Windows users. I read many good things about Solus, and I thought it might be a great Linux OS to install on an older multi-user laptop. Solus 3, I found, does many things right, and is well thought out. There are just enough programs to satisfy a basic user, but not overwhelm or annoy them. The new user is shielded from too many settings, and too much software. Solus 3 looked like a winner right from the start.

Solus 3 is a winner if you have the correct printer, or do not need to print.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then a major limiter made itself known. I have a Brother printer, and there was no included printer driver for my particular printer. No problem, I downloaded the correct driver from Brother website and started to install. I then found I could not install the driver for two reasons.

First, I learned Solus Linux uses Eopkg and not .deb or .rpm as is common. I thought this was a minor obstacle. I would unpack the printer driver on another computer and copy the files to the Solus computer, and install them.

Only root may install drivers or other software. I tried, SU, sudo, and sudo su as I had read in a forum note. None of these commands allowed me root privilege. I thought initially this problem was because I was using Solus 3, as a live cd. I proceeded to install Solus 3 to an empty local hard drive, which is a simple process.

During the install, I created two users, one with admin privileges and one ‘normal’ user. Once again however, I could not gain root access with either user. In fact I could not determine any differences in the privileges of the two accounts. To shorten this story, I was completely unable to gain root privileges and install the Brother (or any other brand), downloaded printer drivers.

Solus Linux uses an EOPG packaging, which is a packaging format few if any vendors support for their peripherals. Not being able to print, made an otherwise very pleasant Solus 3 Linux experience unusable for my needs. Per the website, only Hewlett Packard and some Espon printers are currently supported.

Solus 3 is very good for use, if the standard (across most Linux distributions) printer driver is present, or you have no need to print. Sadly, the idea that printer drivers cannot be installed, brings me back a decade or more in Linux life. Years ago, many peripherals were hit and miss for working in a random Linux distribution. You had to find a Linux OS where the Distribution Development Team used the monitor and printer you owned.

For myself, this printer driver issue, makes Solus 3 another Windows OS, in that it is a closed system. I hope in the future to see better from Solus Linux. Solus Linux has the potential to be one of the best, but it has to create some solutions for their currently closed operating system.

As a side note, if you really wish to to use Linux with the Budgie desktop, Ubuntu Budgie is an alternative, though Ubuntu Budgie has higher minimum operating requirements and may not be a good fit for an older laptop or desktop.

Note Taking Apps For Linux

I have been trying out different tree note and wiki notes software for Linux. Below are several software programs with a blip taken from the home page of each. I included links to their home pages  if you wish to check one or all out. They are all in different forms of refinement and style depending on the authors intent. Some are simply a note dumping ground, others are wiki type, tree storage, and one or two may be all types. Most if not all should be in your Linux repository. If not they can be downloaded and installed.

gJots2 –  gjots2(1) is a simple jotter application for your desktop – an outline processor.

Tomboy – Tomboy is a desktop note-taking application for Linux, Unix, Windows, and Mac OS X. Simple and easy to use, but with potential to help you organize the ideas and information you deal with every day. Tomboy has a lot of plugins that may be useful for you.

Gnote – Gnote is a port of Tomboy to C++. It is the same note taking application, including most of the add-ins (more are to come). Synchronization support is being worked on.

Zim – Zim is a graphical text editor used to maintain a collection of wiki pages. Each page can contain links to other pages, simple formatting and images. Pages are stored in a folder structure, like in an outliner, and can have attachments. Creating a new page is as easy as linking to a nonexistent page. All data is stored in plain text files with wiki formatting. Various plugins provide additional functionality, like a task list manager, an equation editor, a tray icon, and support for version control.

Cherrytree – Cherrytree [is] a hierarchical note taking application, featuring rich text and syntax highlighting, storing data in a single xml or sqlite file. If you search on this blog you will find a more in depth previous article on cherrytree.

nvpy – nvpy [is a] Simplenote syncing note-taking application, inspired by Notational Velocity and ResophNotes, but uglier and cross-platformerer. If you search this blog you will find a more in depth previous article on nvpy.

TreePad for Linux, one of several tree note type software packages for Linux.

TreePad for Linux, one of several tree note type software packages for Linux.

Treepad – TreePad Lite for Linux is a freeware personal information manager designed specifically to run on Linux (PC and Raspberry Pi). It supports Unicode, is fully portable, and does not need to be installed.

Plume – Plume Creator helps you to write your stories in chapters and scenes, write fullscreen, edit notes and synopses, export in html and odt formats, edit in rich text, and manage characters, places and items.Are you a writer ? Plume Creator will help you with this hard task! This software gives you an outliner, a distraction-free mode, a note manager and much more!

Kabikaboo is a simple tree-branch note organizer. It is meant to be used to help aid in the writing of a novel. Users can plan out their story, plot, and characters. Created with Python, PyGTK, Geany, and Glade, on Ubuntu Linux.

I did not include KDE Basket notes which many people do use and enjoy, due to the additional programs I would need to run Basket Notes with XFCE. If you use KDE and Basket Notes is not installed you may wish to check the program out.

I gave most of these a test and settled on what works for me. I hope if you are in need of a notes program, one of the above work well for you.

Friendlier Debian Linux Discovered

If you have read any of my Linux posts, you know I am a fan of Debian and XFCE. I found a couple of Debian Distributions and each do better at bringing Debian to the Desktop than Debian itself. Both are based on Debian and use Debian repositories. Both make some modifications to Debian to enhance Debian and make it a more complete desktop experience.

Debian 8 screen shot

Debian 8 screenshot

Debian is not the most user friendly distribution. Nor is Debian recommended as a beginner Distribution. When using Debian, one is pretty much on their own when looking for answers. There excellent resources and references for Debian, but they are scattered and at times difficult to understand. Some of the material of course is outdated which complicates things. There is a Debian newsgroup, but it is stuffy and mostly unfriendly to beginner questions.

Basic Debian is pretty much basic upon install. Debian is boring and like it that way. Depending on your needs Debian is incomplete and will need you to install additional programs. You need to have some idea of what additional programs you want added.

What Debian does do in an outstanding manner is produce a small footprint, very fast OS. The system is not cluttered with junk you do not want or need. The blandness of Debian allows each user to create the system they want. What these two distributions do is take Debian from bland to outstanding.

The first Distribution I stumbled upon is from the Mepis folks, actually a subgroup of Mepis. The Debian modification they are putting out is called MX-15 based on Debian 8. The changes you are most likely to notice is a change in XFCE. They have upgraded XFCE and are using the version in Debian Testing. The next thing you will notice is MX-15 is complete both on the desktop or with the software.

Mepis MX-15 screenshot

Mepis MX-15 screenshot

MX-15 Linux makes other less obvious but enjoyable changes to the main distribution that the average user may not even notice. MX-15 is worth checking out. Of the two distributions in this post MX-15 is more user friendly to install. EFI install is an option during install. You will wish to read the notes during install.

http://www.mepiscommunity.org/mx

The second and flashiest Debian distribution I found is from Voyager Linux which originates in France. The Debian spin Voyager has created is named Voyager X8 and is based also on Debian 8. Voyager Linux is interesting in they take Debian and Xubuntu (Ubuntu XFCE) and give each distribution a colorful change over and dress up, from the desktop to the programs included.

Voyager X8 screenshot

Voyager X8 screenshot

Voyager X8 is less beginner friendly for install, but if you understand how the hard drive should be formatted, install is easy. Not only is Voyager X8 a live CD when you download the ISO, but you have some options to decide on before you start your download. Voyager X8 comes in two live versions, one for EFI installation and one for a normal Grub 2 mbr installation.

Click on X8, select your language on the right.

Between MX-15 and Voyager X8 and MX-15 both distributions go a long way towards making Debian a better Debian. MX-15 created some changes which Voyager X8 does not do. Documentation and help is on the main screen when you log in. MX-15 has a grub repair tool on the live CD. Voyager X8 is the most modified desktop with the Voyager group adding their own special additions to the desktop, with MX-15 not modifying the desktop.

Support for both these systems is very good and the documentation is excellent with the edge going to MX-15. If you are looking for a Debian based Linux, check out these two options. Both have a Live CD ISO, so you can try them first. Try them both, decide which you prefer, install it, and make it yours.