Monday, February 18, 2019

The "Truth" About Linux?

I've had to watch this a few times

2:22 is 4 points that make sense.
  • Linux is not like Windows
  • Linux is not a drop-in replacement for Windows
  • Those who expect Linux to be like Windows will get very frustrated [er, maybe?]
  • Those who are willing to take the time to learn and are open to new ideas do well with Linux.

3:37 He talks about the "latest" computer in a store is designed for Windows.

Yes I agree, but what he says next needs to be taken with a grain, up to a pound of salt - he says do your research.

Not that long ago, I thought I needed to "up my game" and use a more modern laptop. I *did my research* and checked the official "Linux approved list" and found the EXACT MODEL and hardware of a Dell 2 in 1 that was being offered as a refurb at a cool price.

Please note

  • It was NOT new
  • It WAS on the Linux list of "tested" computers
  • I did my research


[dramatic pause]

the $%#@ did NOT work with Linux!

It would run a little while, then without any warning at all it would lock up. It ran fine with Windows 10 though.

Some deep digging on the internet combined with some very masterful Google searches, I was able to find a forum where the Dell rep said Dell "was going to offer a bios patch" for the little 2 in 1 that made it Linux compatible, but by the end of the thread, IT NEVER HAPPENED!

So, how does this piece of electronics make it on the "approved" list when the manufacturer has intentions of, but does NOT FOLLOW THROUGH?!

And people wonder why I get SO mad.

5:25 "Really, honestly, if your hardware is well supported then the driver will already be in the kernel. So you won't have to do anything to get it to work. Or, there will be a propriety driver available in the repositories. And, that is assuming you are running something... that is made easy to use..."

6:01 The only way to have a machine that will work 100% with Linux is to buy one that was made to work with Linux.

That's great, if you are willing to drop $1K to $4K US.

Or, he said to use the Linux distributions that are "easy to use for new users" like Mint, Ubuntu, or Manjaro.

This is all starting to make sense. This may be the "why" behind 6 years of experimentation, frustration, and madness.

7:13 I don't agree with what he says here if everything he said previously is true. Not "a couple years old". I'd say 5 years old to not quite 10 years old. And from experience, that is a huge maybe. Do you research still, and redo it, then make darned sure you get the used machine cheap to minimize your frustration.

11:02 Dual-booting, the great headache. In my experience, I had almost come to the point where it was going to be Linux OR Windows, but not both. Almost...

24:05 Unpleasant people in the community...

I call them fanboys, or @$$holes, depending on my mood.

That is the exact reason why I will not use Linux Lite or MX anymore.

If you want to see what I mean, install MX, install Grub Customizer WHICH IS AVAILABLE IN THEIR REPOSITORIES, then tell them after you installed Grub Customizer you are having trouble. They aren't fanboys, they're...

But, according to the video, I'm the bad guy.

He's wrong. I'm the guy that worked so hard so others didn't have to. The work was unappreciated and underpaid.

I'm not the bad guy; I'm just tired... and pissed!

31:10 "...this is about you. It's about your own personal journey. And, it's about finding out what you want to do."

That's a good close.

What I take away from this, is that, if I had it to do over, I might have been better served if I had pursued acquiring a Apple/Mac computer in order to get away from Microsoft Windows. I could have gotten into a used (2 or 3 year old) Apple/Mac for less than a new "made for Linux" machine. If I pushed myself through the learning curve of a Mac, I would be light years ahead of where I am now struggling through Linux.

But, I don't have a time machine.

So, for me and my 12 - 20 pc-type computers (I lost count), at this point in the game, it looks like I should stick to 'buntu or 'buntu-based distros.

So far Zorin and Peppermint seem to work well; both are 'buntu-based.

I may give Xubuntu 18.04 another try.

Deepin is doing wonderfully. It is debian-based, but the developers are not slack in their work.

The author of the video also mentioned Manjaro. I guess I'll give it a go.

I'm glad I watched the video (several times). I learned a lot, or at least got a good explanation for the trouble I've had.

It's not that I don't like Linux; I really do like Linux, a lot. It's just that I didn't think the past 6 years should have been so hard. And it shouldn't have been...

 - -

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Pop! OS

Yes, I'm still playin'

 Ell on Twitter is taking suggestions for OS's to try.

Pop! OS is on the list.

Pop! OS is the System76 version of Ubuntu Gnome.

I was a little confused right off the bat at the download. They push 18.10, but I should get the LTS (Long Term Support) which is 18.04, right? And a special "Nvidia" version? Do I need that for my Nvidia card since it is older?

I download both Nvidia and non-Nvidia 18.04 versions and chose to install non-Nvidia first.

The color scheme and GUI look great, but, the installer said it needed 256MB to install EFI/boot partion. My EFI/boot partition is 256MB (268.4MB actual) but the installer said it is too small.

I checked to make sure that the partition would be formatted, and checked everything else.

No go.

End review.


 - -

Friday, February 15, 2019

Peppermint OS Linux

Yep, I'm still at it.

This time I'm checking out PeppermintOS Linux.

This is a continuation of @CubicalNate 's list of "Top 5 Linux Distributions for Everyday Desktop Computing".

This was his #4 choice.

Installing seemed to be what I remember from anything 'buntu, but with a prettier color scheme. And after reboot, I really do like the dark red and grey; looks good.

Without getting to far into it, I noticed they have ARandR, and a "Additional Drivers" tool. But, first, to the Display settings.

I set up my 3 monitors and rebooted. Everything remained as I set it.


Next, lets see if it locks up without proprietary Nvidia drivers.

I went to Google and downloaded Google Chrome since it wasn't available in the Software Manager. The Software Manager did have Pepper Flash, I think, so I installed it, I think.

Right away, I was playing a video in one browser at the best quality the monitor could handle. And, at the same running video in another browser.

Nothing locked up.

Next was software, or Software Manager? There are 2 listed, Software and Software Manager. Um, what?

"Software" looks to be the 'buntu software installer tool/program/widget.

"Software Manager" looks to be a Gnome interface.


The next thing I noticed was the "office" options in the menu were links to Microsoft's online version of their office products?

What?! Have the developers been drug tested recently?

I typed "libre" into both software tools. Software offers the whole suite. Software Manager offers each Libre software element individually. I opted for the whole suite.

Everything else looks typical. I didn't see VLC, but it is easy enough to install.

It works. And it's based on 'buntu 18.04.


That tells me that my previous troubles with 18.04 may have been hardware related.

That makes me not happy and happy at the same time.

Although the Peppermint treatment on the 'buntu base may fix a lot of ills too...

Anyway, it works; and, it looks good.


So, did I find a keeper?

It sure looks like it.

 - -

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Dear Linux Distribution Developer

Dear Linux Distribution Developer:

I understand that not all distributions are for everybody. But what I find perplexing and downright frustrating is that not all distributions will work on everybody's hardware.

Jason Evangelho, writer for Forbes says:

     "...The problem is the complete fragmentation and confusion when it comes to graphics drivers....

"... I hope that everyone involved in the development of every single Linux distributions hears this: It's still far too complicated for the average user. The education is lacking and the documentation that's out there is often difficult to understand.
I want the gaming ecosystem on Linux to continue improving -- and it's truly fantastic once you have it all figured out -- but there is still serious work to do to appeal to all those folks becoming disenchanted with Windows 10. It all just needs to be simpler."

Read the whole article here.

I have seen Linux distributions that work, for me, on my hardware.

Deepin has a Graphics Driver Manager that installs Nvidia drivers just fine... for me... with my hardware.

This tells me that it is possible to have a tool/widget/program that gets the right driver(s) for your hardware.

Deepin also has display settings that can be customized. These settings can be saved so when you reboot, your monitors are still arranged correctly. No terminal window involved, just a simple gui. No additional software, command prompts, nothing. This works fine... for me... on my hardware.

This is not a commercial for Deepin Linux.

I only use this as an example of what can be done.

It is simple. It works...

...for me... on my hardware.

How can a Linux distribution be made easier?



Paid support?

I've used it and it was worth every penny!

How about general information?


If BubbasDeepFried Linux showed that they used Dell Optiplex 7000 series with Intel i5 processors and Nvidia GT 710 gfx cards for development, then potential users would know that it works with that hardware.

Extra info like "we are having issues with RTX 2080 cards, but we are working on a fix..."

General information, but useful.

Something needs to be done to make Linux easier for the new users.

I'm a middle of the road, non-expert user. I use my computer every day. Everyday it seems a little more frustrating.

Can you help?


Frustrated, but still using F'n Linux

 - -

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

So, BunsenLabs Linux?

I was inspired by @CubicalNate 's list of "Top 5 Linux Distributions for Everyday Desktop Computing".

His number 5 is BunsenLabs Linux; so here we go.

The installer makes me feel like I am installing straight debian.

Have you ever done that?

I did, once, and it wasn't on the first attempt either. And when it was installed, I didn't know what to do with it.

From previous experiences, I wouldn't dare to even try to install this on a laptop WITHOUT an ethernet cable plugged into it. These rough looking installers don't know what to do with some wifi cards, and if there is no internet already connected via ethernet cable, a failed install is the result (and maybe a pouty lip and a few tears in your milk).

Installation went fine.

And maybe I should note that I have since expanded my EFI/boot partition to 256MB after openSUSE, and surprisingly, deepin BOTH require that size...

Upon reboot I was greeted by a 15 page welcome screen that wants to help me set up things. Good :) !

  • I like the "Don't Break Debian" link. Read it if you haven't already.

  • Software updates...
  • Additional background images...
  • Java support (YA!)...
  • Activate Debian Backports... Really?! Cool!
  • Bunsen Backports? Cool...
  • Flash?! YES!!! And they give you the option to only install flash in Chromium and leave Firefox without... Really?!

  • DropBox...

  • (I'm starting to see why straight Debian didn't work for me; I needed help from somewhere)

  • Then it got into Version Control Tools, Lamp Stack, packaging tools... that was interesting.

I really do see why straight debian was so bad for me without all the help that BunsenLabs offers.

Time to explore, but...

I was a little freaked out without a start button or a whisker menu button, or any menu button at all.

You have to press the "Super" button (Windows button) to get your menu.

Wow! I now see why the list of shortcut keys was in a conky list on the desktop. Thankfully!

I thought I would forego any nvidia X Server nonsense and just see what happens, but, I used the native ARandR screen layout editor, but it didn't save my settings on reboot. Actually, my setting are saved and I can open and load them, but they don't load by default?

I'm confused...

For office products they have Libre Writer and Gnumeric Spreadsheet? Why mix? It is easy enough to install other Libre features with the "install" right in the menu.

Other things can be installed RIGHT FROM THE MAIN MENU. Things like Google Chrome, Chromium, and a myriad of graphics and multimedia programs.

Instead of hunting for the program installation widget, you install right from the main menu - neat idea! And, Synaptic Package Manager is there too, if you dare.

BunsenLabs Linux is unique.

I like it.

I'll just have to try to figure out the monitor settings issue.

And, I'll have to get Dr. Bunsen Honeydew as my wallpaper

 - -

Monday, February 11, 2019

openSUSE Linux Challenge

Jason Evangelho has launched another Linux challenge; this time it is openSUSE Tumbleweed.

"The basic premise of the openSUSE Tumbleweed challenge is simple: ditch Windows, macOS or your current Linux OS of choice and exclusively use openSUSE Tumbleweed for two weeks."

Unfortunately I can't comply 100%. The remote work I do dictates that I use Google Chrome in Windows.

I've never liked doing things I don't like just because I get paid to do so. That's gets into prostitution.

I tried using Firefox once while working. The text box complimented me on my "fancy" browser, but it wouldn't work. I did sneak and use Google Chrome in deepin and it worked fine. Don't tell anyone.

So, understanding that I can't completely ditch anything, it was time to install it on my test machine.

The test machine is a 3 year old HP Envy BTO (Build To Order). More of the story here

The first eyebrow raiser was the installer. Very intimidating.

Keep in mind, my hard drive is already partitioned and has other operating systems on it.

For some reason openSUSE automatically chose a partition already occupied instead of a blank partition. The NTFS formatting may have caused that.

Everything proceeded once I told it where to install. Then, it crapped out at the GRUB install.

The error was that it couldn't find a 256MB EFI/boot partition?

I'm sorry, what?!

The 100MB EFI/boot partition that is there works fine for the other 5 distros; heck, that's what WIndows uses for cryin' out loud. Granted, if Microsoft Windows was in charge of the oxygen supply on our planet, we would have all died 20 years ago...

Anyway, I was able to push beyond the GRUB error and complete the install. Sparky was in charge of the existing GRUB, so I booted into it. Straight to a terminal window I went and

sudo update-grub

openSUSE was picked up and added to the GRUB list. Reboot into openSUSE.

Right out of the gate openSUSE has kind of a "plastic" appearance. Every Linux distro has its own look so whatever...

The menus - ew! That's the same menu they have (had?) in Q4OS; I didn't care for it there and I don't like it here. I'd say it "drove me nuts" but that's a short trip...

So next is the hunt for nVidia drivers. Thankfully Mr. Evangelho had linked to CubicleNate.

A nice installation guide here and following the links I ended up here.

I started copy/pasting the terminal commands, but they didn't work.


I got into YaST and it worked. The instructions for YaST were enough to get it going.

Now I had the nVidia X Server, but, bad news, I could NOT save my monitor settings.

This is one of those things that keeps Linux distros in general from being a mainstream player to compete with Microsoft, Apple, and Android. This isn't necessarily openSUSE's fault because a lot of different Linux distributions use this exact same nVidia X Server program and the program has issues.

Side note - deepin has their own "Graphics Driver Manager" and it works fine. That tells me we don't have to settle for broken programs.

I did find a cure for nVidia X Server, but not on the first Google search. Mastery of Google is an art... What I found here was pretty simple. The author said he too had found confusing instructions that looked like they would mess his system up rather than fix his problem.

And, to top it all off, video quality, after all that work, sucks.

The video that explains how to fix nVidia X Server will only play in 360p which makes it too blurry to read. The same video will play in 1080p, with the same GFX card, same browser, but a different Linux distro with a different GFX driver tool.

Oh, flash and Java? I know people think they will usher in the antichrist, but, the truth is, a lot of the internet (websites) still require it or pages won't render correctly, or even at all.

So, my review stops here.

I had high hopes because it looked so promising, but alas, no.

If I had a problematic GFX card, then I'd understand, but an EVGA GT 710 (Dual DVI 02G-P3-2717-KR) is NOT some state of the art, just came out yesterday ordeal. It is about as common as peanut butter and jelly on white bread, and almost as antiquated. Aaaaaaaaand, it works elsewhere with other OS's and driver widgets so...

Very disappointed.

Dedoimedo did a thorough review of openSUSE a few months back. Worth the read.

In closing, please keep in mind, this has been "my' review.

Linux distributions, like ice cream, come in many different flavors.

Not everybody likes the same flavor(s).

You may try it and like it.

I tried it. I didn't like it.


 - -

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Eureka! Nvidia X Server Settings SAVED!!!


I've been having trouble with nVidia X Server tool in various Linux distros.

It was that easy! Thanks das geek! I just filled my brain!

Now Netrunner and openSUSE are saving my monitor configuration.

I can FINALLY get back to distro-hopping!

 - -