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.