I went through some frustrating gyrations with my computer and Linux this week. It all started when I thought one of my hard drives was behaving oddly. I was at an electronics store looking for something else, and I spotted a 500 gig SSD for $50.00! The last time I looked at an SSD they were $200.00+. The clerk told me prices on SSD’s had been dropping like a rock these past few months. I left the store with the SSD in my hand.
Of course any change to the computer is a good time to look at different Linux Distributions. One that is of real interest to me is Solus with the Budgie desktop. On the second day of incredible frustration, I found Arch Linux document(s) on how a SSD drive should be formatted. Up until this moment, every Linux Distribution I installed failed at the boot loader install with the new SSD. Debian Linux, my standby Linux, offered, after several installation attempts to “force Grub” to install. Debian succeeded in forcing Grub to install, but no other Linux Distribution followed.
Part of the problem is this computer. There is an on the motherboard 250g drive with Windows on it, that is set up as a Raid drive. Part of it was the installers of the Distribution itself. More on that later. The bios was set to RAID and needed to be set to AHCI; the things we learn as we are having fun. Thankfully the awesome experts at Arch Linux have shared on the web, superb documentation which painlessly led me through the process.
Thanks to Arch Linux documentation, I finally had Debian installed and running like a champ, so fast on boot up it is almost unreal. Gotta love fast hard drives. As I wrote in an earlier post, I also had had Peppermint OS installed and I was using it. This go around, however, Peppermint’s color scheme was just too loud, and my attempts to calm it down, made it just plain ugly. I had been reading on and off about Solus Linux, and thought I would give it a spin.
Solus Linux live is a pleasant experience. I am not a fan of black on black on black desktops. I (easily) found some of the colors could be changed, better differentiating the shades on black. Solus had the applications I would pick if I had created Solus. I thought Solus and I were a perfect match.
Then I ran into one little problem. Solus, no matter what I did, would/could not find the empty hard drive space I made for it. On my third attempt (slow learner here), I realized Solus installer wanted an installed operating system and a full partition to shrink and then install on. I extended the Debian home partition to the end of the drive. After several more attempts, Solus finally found Debain, and Solus claimed it would install itself along with Debian on the SSD. I suppose that claim is partially true.
But wait, there’s more. The few times Solus Linux found Debian’s full hard drive space it could use, and agreed to install Grub to the Debian SSD, it died while trying to write Grub to the protected windows SSD. I also found the Solus forums to run a little on the sharp side with the questions posed by people new to Linux which is a shame. Solus is a great beginners Linux, and stands well on its own. I think this is because the Solus team are Developers and not all social butterflies. At any rate, Solus wasted a lot of my time. I hope to install Solus in the future, as the Developers are doing a great job with it. Solus and Budgie is some of the best of Zen like desktop computing without the hassle of managing your install and updates.
Looking for other Linux builds that favored the Budgie desktop, I found Ubuntu Budgie. I appreciate the work the design team has put into UB Budgie. It loads, installs, and runs seamlessly. My only fault with UB Budgie is Snap Packages, and Ubuntu Budgie can only work with what Ubuntu provides, which is a lot of Snap Packages.
The first Snap I discovered was when I installed Thunderbird. In the Software App, there were two choices, Thunderbird Snap Package and what may be the first ever public Thunderbird release. Now any application can be installed locally, and I may do that with Thunderbird, but Snap packages are a problem for me. You may love them. As we know, no Linux is perfect, and UB Budgie is worth using on its own.
Back to more frustrations, this one self imposed. This is the third writing of this post. When I wrote the first two versions of this post, I forgot I was running on a live USB, and stored the file and screenshot in the ether of memory, when I shut down the computer, poof, away went my thoughts and files, twice. You really shouldn’t do anything too serious when tired.
I did install a package of Core Microsoft Fonts. There is an issue transferring text documents from one application to another, and from Linux to Windows 10 and back again. Each application uses it’s own font choice. When you open your text or document in another app, there goes the formatting due to font differences. Reformatting a document every application switch is a pain I can live without. Better I write everything in Ariel, than reformat the document every time I open the document somewhere else.
If you want the most distraction free, simple to use Linux, whether you are a new user or simply tired of fiddling around, give Solus a try. If Solus has issues, try Ubuntu Budgie. The bigger distributions all have a Budgie DE option, but what you get is less than flattering. I think you will find you really enjoy either of the two Budgies. I am typing this on Ubuntu Budgie. Both Budgie’s are very simple and calming to use, and (mostly) simple to install. Even updating is hidden away in Ubuntu Budgie at least. Other than agreeing to the install, the user is pretty well removed from the actual process. Don’t worry, be happy, on Budgie, lol.