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.

Debian Linux Jesse Install No Sound Fix

As I am promoting Debian Linux in this post, I thought you would like to know how to manage two of Debian’s install quirks. Debian is an outstanding distribution however and well worth a little frustration to set it up and use it.

Debian has several of these small annoyances. Debian prefers not to hold your Linux hand, but expects you to be self sufficient in the ways of Linux. Easier said than done, especially if you are not sure of what you are looking for.

The first roadblock of the Debian Live-CD is repositories. Repositories are remote network servers where all the packages you could possible want, and all those upgrades are stored. Taking the default answer seems like a no brainer, but Debian has managed to make it more complicated.

During the install process, there was a pause and a screen asking you about using a network mirror. A network mirror in Debian Linux is a round about way of saying repositories. As I read the question, I thought to myself, “I have no debian mirror, I do not even have a network.”

Jesse Repositories

Using correct repositories makes life simpler

As I read, I answered without thinking. I said the natural answer for me, no. Wrong answer. What the Debian Install is really asking, is: Do you want access to all those programs available to use with Debian, or are you happy with those files and programs on the live CD?

I went through the process again and I answered yes this time. The repositories for all mainstream Debian repositories were listed instead of only the files and programs on the live CD. Now it seems like everything is as it should be. Not quite.

The second miss when installing Debian from Debian Live-CD is youtube. You go to youtube all excited to be trying out your new Debian Linux install, , click on your favorite video, see great video and hear no sound!

You search the web for an answer, and there are at least ten thousand links to answers for this problem. One of two things happen at this point. Whatever has been written may as well be written in a language you never heard of before. You have no idea what they are talking about. Or, after trying out the first few few ideas you realize that none of these fixes, fix your problem.

Here is a good fix for youtube. You need to install Adobe Flash Player. Here is what you need to do in a hopefully simple step by step process:

Open Applications (Menu) -> System -> Synaptic Package Manager

Under Menu -> Settings you will see the word ‘Repositories’. If you did not enable mirrors, the first line with be black and the bottom lines grayed out. You can fix this.
In the repository screen open click the box of the second line:

“deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/”

At the bottom of the screen where you read the word Section(s): add these words:

non-free contrib main

Click OK when you are done.

You should be back on the main page of Synaptic Package Manager. See the blue arrows and the word Reload under them? Click on the blue arrows and wait until the repositories are updated.

Now you are finally ready to fix your youtube sound problem.

Debian No Sound Fix

Enabling sound in youtube videos using Debian

Using Synaptic Package Manager, click on ‘search’.

Type in: flashplugin-nonfree and click on the search button.

Right click on the words ‘flashplugin-nonfree’

Click install.

The box to the left of flashplugin-nonfree will have an arrow in it.

Above, on the second menu bar of Synaptic Package Manager is a green check mark that says: Apply. Click on the check mark.

The file: flashplugin-nonfree and other needed files will be downloaded and installed. You will need to reboot your computer for flash to take effect.

Stay tuned for the next post if you want to see network drives using the XFCE Thunar File Manager.

Crunchbang #! Linux Development Ends For Now

Corenominal, founder and developer of Crunchbang Linux announced today on the #! forum he will no longer develop Crunchbang Linux.

To sum it up in a few words, development goes on, and there are desktops that did not exist when #! development and initial release happened. As stated better in Corenominal’s post, there was no easy to use Debian, Ubuntu, or LXDE desktop when #! was developed and released.

Here is a link to Corenominal’s forum post.

I really enjoy using Crunchbang Linux. #! is the first Linux distribution that I stayed with rather than hopping off to another distribution after a few weeks to a few months. That is saying a lot. Over the years, I have tried out more distributions in the top 100 of Distrowatch listing than a reasonable person should. There was always something better in the next distribution.

We will have to wait and see what becomes of #!. I hope Crunchbang Linux lives on. There are many new and great Linux distributions to choose from however. Easy to use use and light on resources desktops, such as LXDE and XFCE. These two desktops are my favorite Desktops for speed and ease of use, after #! of course.

Linux Distro Hopping Dream Page

If you just can’t find enough Linux distributions to try out, or you are bored with what is out there, I found the crown jewel of choices! It resides at Distrowatch under the related links section.

There are enough Linux distros that have not been reviewed or made it into the top 100 of the Distrowatch main page to keep you busy for months, even if you try one a day.

And that is just Linux distro’s. There are sub sections of distro links that are not based on any distro, or even Linux, but stand alone.

The Distrowatch related link page is: http://distrowatch.com/dwres.php?resource=links

I do not have any relationship with Distrowatch, but as a reformed distro hopper, this Distrowatch links page reads pure gold if you are a hard core distro hopper!

Caution advised, some of these distributions are not for the feint of heart, and from what I read, some are not so friendly either.

Bullett Proof Linux For Beginners

I read this in a couple of places today. Someone had a real flash of insight when they thought of it. Whoever it was, let me know so I can credit it to you. I read this several times, and the source was not identifiable.

If you want a bullet proof Linux installation of your very own, how do you do it? How can you have an installation of your favorite Linux distribution that never breaks because of something you tried to do? A rock solid Linux that always performs as well the day it performed when you first installed it?

I wish this was around when I started using Linux. I would be a Linux pro by now, or at least a pretty advanced user. Enough delay and buildup to a great idea.

When you first install your Linux Distribution of choice, and it is updated, and everything is working perfectly, add a virtual box to your system.

Once you have  a virtual box installed, install your Linux Distribution on Virtual Box. You do not have to update it if you do not want to, and I am sure your distribution would prefer you did not.

If you really need to update your virtual machine do a little bit more. It would be fair, since you are doubling the work of the distributions server, to donate some money to your distribution of choice.

After all, you would be on your way to becoming a Linux Pro, if it were not for them. Contact the site admin, or one of the forum moderators on how to donate. Most Linux Distributions are ran on a shoe string, and they would really appreciate your financial support.

Now when you want to make any changes to your system, make those changes in your virtual machine first. This way, if you make a mistake, you can undo it, or copy back your pristine virtual machine backup, and start over, knowing your working system is safe and secure.

This is an almost perfect setting for a learning environment too. You can tinker, modify, and change settings to see what effects what. If they are not good changes, you haven’t hurt your working Linux System. If they work as you hoped, and wow you, you can make the changes on your working Linux system.

You can even go further. On the forums of your Linux distribution of choice, there are always one or more post install problem sections, where forum members write about their Linux problem in the hope someone knows the fix and responds.

If you like to tinker, and want to learn more about Linux, you can do what they did, breaking your virtual machine. Then you can see if you can fix the problem in your virtual machine.

When you can learn to fix simple problems, you can post the fix, helping out another Linux user who is not as advanced as you are. Then you can start tackling harder problems and help me out :-).

Not only, will this help you learn Linux, but it will help you better understand how Linux works because you can get in their and play with the nuts and bolts of your system.

You may not want to update your virtual machine, as it is likely to break, and you don’t want to put undo download stress on the distribution server; sending files costs money.

You should learn how to copy your virtual machine file to a safe location. Make sure you shut it down first before copying your virtual machine file to another location.

This way when your virtual machine breaks, you have a good working copy of your virtual machine. Copy your virtual machine back from its stored location to your virtual machine folder.
I read this in a couple of places today. Someone had a real flash of insight when they thought of it. Whoever it was, let me know so I can credit it to you. I read this several times, and the source was not identifiable.

If you want a bullet proof Linux installation of your very own, how do you do it? How can you have an installation of your favorite Linux distribution that never breaks because of something you tried to do? A rock solid Linux that always performs as well the day it performed when you first installed it?

I wish this was around when I started using Linux. I would be a Linux pro by now, or at least a pretty advanced user. Enough delay and buildup to a great idea.

When you first install your Linux Distribution of choice, and it is updated, and everything is working perfectly, add a virtual box to your system.

Once you have  a virtual box installed, install your Linux Distribution on Virtual Box. You do not have to update it if you do not want to, and I am sure your distribution would prefer you did not.

If you really need to update your virtual machine do a little bit more. It would be fair, since you are doubling the work of the distributions server, to donate some money to your distribution of choice.

After all, you would be on your way to becoming a Linux Pro, if it were not for them. Contact the site admin, or one of the forum moderators on how to donate. Most Linux Distributions are ran on a shoe string, and they would really appreciate your financial support.

Now when you want to make any changes to your system, make those changes in your virtual machine first. This way, if you make a mistake, you can undo it, or copy back your pristine virtual machine backup, and start over, knowing your working system is safe and secure.

This is an almost perfect setting for a learning environment too. You can tinker, modify, and change settings to see what effects what. If they are not good changes, you haven’t hurt your working Linux System. If they work as you hoped, and wow you, you can make the changes on your working Linux system.

You can even go further. On the forums of your Linux distribution of choice, there are always one or more post install problem sections, where forum members write about their Linux problem in the hope someone knows the fix and responds.

If you like to tinker, and want to learn more about Linux, you can do what they did, breaking your virtual machine. Then you can see if you can fix the problem in your virtual machine.

When you can learn to fix simple problems, you can post the fix, helping out another Linux user who is not as advanced as you are. Then you can start tackling harder problems and help me out :-).

Not only, will this help you learn Linux, but it will help you better understand how Linux works because you can get in their and play with the nuts and bolts of your system.

You may not want to update your virtual machine, as it is likely to break, and you don’t want to put undo download stress on the distribution server; sending files costs money.

You should learn how to copy your virtual machine file to a safe location. Make sure you shut it down first before copying your virtual machine file to another location.

This way when your virtual machine breaks, you have a good working copy of your virtual machine. Copy your virtual machine back from its stored location to your virtual machine folder.

Linux Distro Hopping, a few Distro Comments

Since I have been checking out a number of new distros, I thought I would post a quick line or two on them. One of the important things for me, is a distro be able to see youtube and Ted videos out of the box, or easily make them play. I also use usenet, so a usenet reader is also on my list.

One finding, or food for thought: Using LVM means you have to backup anything you want from your home directory before installing another distro. If there is a workaround, I did not find it.

I think the simplest hard drive scheme is a 10 – 15  gig root (if you have the space), a swap file that matches your memory or at least four gigs for movies, and whatever space you have left as home – unless you multiboot.

Crunchbang #! (Debian) – see my previous post, is awesome once you understand it, and can get past “Windows way” thinking.

Kubuntu & Xubuntu (Ubuntu 14.04) – This is a very stable, easy to use distro, using the KDE desktop of course. I find myself doing too much clicking when going through the menu for a program, depending on where it is. Uses about 550 mb of ram.

* This applies to all ‘buntu from what I read…If you multiboot, grub occasionally misses all your distros. Also only Kubuntu, though it was installed on sdb, put grub on sda without asking.

Linux Mint (Ubuntu 14.04) – Awesome. A very well thought out distribution. Most of the programs are programs you want to use. The different desktops are for the cpu speed, amount of ram, and hard drive space, although, even if your system is new, you may notice a speed difference between the desktops.

LXLE (Ubuntu 14.04) – Not sure what to think about this one. Comprehensive is a good word for LXLE. It is fast, and very large at the same time. There are enough programs you may never need to add anything. Though I did not notice any that would not get used over time.

Debian 7.5 – Sparse and fast. Installs with the LXDE desktop, which is one of the fastest desktops around. One of the most stable and secure distributions around. Not pretty, you will need to add software, and you may want to tweak the settings. You do have the option of loading any other desktop, and window manager such as XFCE, KDE, or Gnome. I think if you give LXDE a chance, you will like it.

Plays youtube videos from basic install, at least the few I tried. Copy and paste the link below to load flash player so you can watch TED and maybe some other videos.

https://wiki.debian.org/FlashPlayer

A downside of Debian is Debian and Debian users are not overly friendly at times. They are usually experienced users, and have little patience for asked a 1000 times questions.

Kannotix (Debian) – This is a good solid distro. It’s been around a long time. Not a lot of flash, just solid.

SolydXK (Debian) – Close to Kubuntu and Xubuntu. SolydK did not like my Intel video chip set, and gave me a few problems. Solid though, and upgraded just fine. SolydX is awesome, but the upgrade left search the engines option out of Firefox.

Net Runner – Very fast! I liked this distro right away, until I looked for a binary news reader – like Pan. I could not find one. Other than that, it may need to be tweaked for appearance, but it is very fast.

Manjaro – Fast, but too green for me. I became annoyed by the color scheme too quickly. I am not a KDE expert, and playing around with the settings left me wanting someone who knows what they are doing to change the color scheme. Also had a few small problems. This distro may be troublesome for new Linux users. Updates pretty quickly too.

Easy Linux Distro Hopping – Thunderbird and Firefox

One of the good/bad things about Linux is distro hopping. Distro hopping means trying out different distributions of Linux as the mood hits, or an exciting new distribution appears. Some people change Linux distributions monthly. Other people less often. Some people not at all.

A few people have their favorite distribution and try out other Linux distributions on the side, so to speak. I am one of those people. For me the Linux distribution I am using is possibly not as great as the new distro I will take for a test drive. I do not want to miss out.

One of the downsides to jumping Linux distributions is email and web browser settings. Email because I either have to keep email on the server, or I have to ensure I do not need any emails in the old distribution before I delete it for the next latest and greatest Linux Distribution.

There is an easy fix however, if you use Mozilla products which I am a big fan of. I prefer Thunderbird for my email and Firefox as my web browser. If you are using either or both of these, distro jumping becomes much less painful.

This post is for the new distro hoppers. A How To for easily moving your Firefox and Thunderbird email, address book and settings to your newest distro. This works for popular distros as of June 2014.

With [most] Linux distros, all your files are kept in your home directory. Your email, and your browser settings are stored as invisible files in your home directory. This is how Linux keeps everything right in the case of multiple users on a computer.

Each user or account has their own home directory where their personal files are stored.  This makes distro jumping easy. When you want to either try out a Linux distribution or try out a second distribution, keeping your email and browser settings is a fairly simple process.

In your file manager, no matter which manager you have is a setting in preferences for viewing hidden files. This needs to be checked because you want to view hidden files – temporarily.

After setting the hidden files switch, when you look at you home directory, you will see a number of files that have a period in front of the folder name. These are hidden folders. Most folders contain settings and other information for the user based software you have installed.  There are a number of hidden folders, and they tend to clutter up the file manager, so they are hidden and not viewed by default.

Two of these hidden folders you are most interested in are: .mozilla and .thunderbird. These two folders contain all your Thunderbird and Firefox email and settings.

Your new distribution needs to have Thunderbird and Firefox installed. If they are not present, install them both before proceeding.  Copy these two folders, .mozilla and .thunderbird, from your old home folder to your new home folder. Your file manager will warn you that these folders exist and do you want to replace them. Choose: yes.

Tat is all there is to it. I did one jump recently where this did not work for Thunderbird, not sure why. What I did was create my accounts in Thunderbird, and then close Thunderbird before allowing to to check of new email. When I reopened Thunderbird, my old emails, address book, etc were all present.

Light Fast and Powerful Linux Distro that Roars

Well, I had I thought written a fairly good article written about SolydXK Linux. It is “had” because my fingers turned: ctrl c, into something resembling: ctrl cv, which left me with an empty document and no backup. Ok, I thank Windows for that dual blunder.

So this will be a shorter written praise of SolydXK Linux. If you want the stability of Debian, melded with Mint Linux,  head on over to the SolydXK website and check out what they have to offer.

I found three flavors on the site, SolydX, a blazing speed, well crafted XFCE  compilation, SolydK, a slick and very fast KDE compilation, both created from Debian Testing repositories, and the third SolydX soho business compilation.

SolydX is a nearly perfect for me. Fast, light, powerful,  and almost complete. I added three programs that most people would have no interest in. SolydX and SolydK are geared for home use, and home gaming. SolydK is great but has too many programs I would not use.

SolydXK updates are done quarterly as a package deal. If the update is not ready for the quarter due to package behavior, or other problems, the update is held back. This sure tames the guessing game update for SolydXK users. Of course if you want the SolydXK for business compilation, it is built on Debian Stable, so updates are very slow.

SolydXK is being developed by an ex Mint Linux (LMDE) user, who struck out on his own with some help of course when Mint Linux LMDE went south, or north. If you are new to Linux, SolydXK has several tutorials to help you out. The forums are also responsive and you should find the solution for your issue quickly.

Due to the tutorials on the SolydXK website, their forum, and the plethora of how to’s and examples on the already on the web, I won’t waste your time with installation, and operation. I will mention, if you like Windows XP, and are looking for something similar, SolydX or SolydK will be to your liking.

If you want a fast integrated, fast, and light Linux distro that is based on rock solid Debian, with a very nice paint job, and a big engine, head on over to SolydXK website and check out their offerings. I think you will like what you see and read.