Thursday, January 17, 2019

Jason Evangelho

Have you ever heard of Jason Evangelho?

I hadn't either, until today. I think I saw a blurb in my Twitter feed.

Jason writes for Forbes. And, he writes about Linux stuff. Seriously, he does. I was surprised too.

The first article that caught my attention was his Elementary OS Community Challenge.

"...the elementary OS Challenge is simple: ditch Windows, macOS or your current Linux OS of choice and exclusively use elementary OS 5 Juno as your daily driver for two weeks. Explore the curated AppCenter and the bundled software to get all of your working and playing done. For email, for music, for coding, for gaming, for whatever.

We’ll be taking this journey together, which hopefully means a two-way conversation to discuss the successes, discoveries, questions and potential stumbling blocks we encounter along the way."

I'm disappointed that I can't come and play with his community; I have to use Windows and Google Chrome for my remote work per the agreement (and, believe me, if I could get away from Windows, I would!). 

But, what a splendid idea! Drop your usual OS, and come play with us, and join our community for comment and support!

And, he announced this at Forbes! What an audience! What a platform with reach!

So, will you join the challenge?

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I've added Jason's Forbes' contributions to my lists of tech-worthy news

at 2guntom and aTNpc.


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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Bye Bye MX

Wow... Yes, I'm still complaining. I'm almost done though...

MX has been an increasingly good linux distribution since 2015, but the beginning of the end started September of last year.

The crew there at MX introduced the latest "shiny thing" call "Boot Options". Boot Options was a great concept - it provided for a "splash" screen animation while the computer boots instead of lines of text scrolling.

I don't know how many times people would contact me months after I installed MX and say, "Oh! just all the sudden the screen has all these words on it..." and later, I would discover that it was just the normal start up, but somehow they hadn't noticed it before (?!).

So, I thought I'd try this new shiny Boot Options thingy.

I immediately found it was broken, sort of.

There was a miscommunication between Boot Options and another program called Grub Customizer. There were some quotations were put where they might not belong by Grub Customizer, and those were misinterpreted by Boot Options so you start delay was set to zero seconds.

Zero seconds means whatever your default operating system was set to was all you had because there was no time to select anything else.

So I had hours invested in someone else's computer, but only had access to one of the operating systems I had installed and tweaked.

Panic? Yep, I sure did.

But, MX is a Linux distribution, and Linux is known for its "community" mentality - if you have a problem, there are lots of people to help you.

The problem was quickly fixed so it wouldn't happen again (I figured out how to fix my issue on my own), but in the process, there was an undertone of disgust and distrust of Grub Customizer.

My response was one of gratitude for fixing the problem and asking them not to kill off Grub Customizer.

That didn't go well.

"Nobody is killing anything," I was told.

"We certainly won't kill something," they said.


"I'm getting tired of this. No one from MX has talked about *killing* GC, whatever that would mean, and there is no reason to have hysterical posts here and in the social media."

Ya, that happened.


"I'm thinking that in the future I might not pay attention to reports like 'I used Grub Customizer and then things didn't work as they should'

To my last attempt at communication in the "community" where respondents to the thread talked among themselves, talked about me, but not to me

"So might this be another issue, since I remember that OP [me] liked to use Grub Customiser previously. Was the grub/splash on this machine previously set by GC?

So, I am being shamed?!

For a program that they still offer, even though -

"GC does change a quite a lot of the structure of grub-internals, it's rather hard for our tools to deal with GC changes properly.
So any menu re-ordering with GC is prone to conflicht with MX Boot Options, and might produce undesireable results.
Re-arrange of the menuetries as done like GC is not recommended, as this conflict with grubs-internal regeneration structure our tools are based on.

Yep, a program that has helped me make MX a reality for others by simplifying and un-confusing the boot process so people can have multiple operating systems on the same computer, yet has been made problematic (NOT killed) , but still offered for those woeful users to be shunned in the support forum....

And MX-18 was released December 2018, and the GRUB file is messed up and so is their "Boot Options" program.

But, I'm hysterical...

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Saturday, January 5, 2019

Distro Hunt/Hop 4

I was wrong about MX-18, partially, maybe; I'm not sure if they messed up GRUB Customizer or not, but the root of my/their problem is that it has a syntax error in the GRUB file.

That's a problem.

My primary workstation was in worse shape than I thought - with GRUB messed up, I had no way of getting to Windows 10.

That's a serious problem, but since it is the weekend, I have time to fix it.

I thought about just pulling the hard drive and only installing Windows 10...

... but what a waste! This pc has 3 monitors, the center being a touch screen; and I'm just going to use this for work? Then I'd have to use a "bench computer" for all my banking, shopping, personal-type stuff.

So, what are my options?

I could try Deepin 15.8.

What's the worst thing that could happen?

I installed it over the MX-18 partition. I knew the setup might get a little tricky since 2 of my monitors are "portrait" instead of "landscape", and tricky it was.

I had to cycle the computer off twice because I lost all screens while trying to set the displays. Then, the little light bulb came on over my head - graphics drivers!

I immediately went to the in house Deepin Graphics Driver Manager. It downloaded the necessary "closed source" drivers and needed to reboot for the install. Upon reboot and install, it ran an animated graphics test to verify that it would work without glitching out. Upon confirmation, it rebooted again.

To my surprise, the flickering right monitor was clear, no flicker!

I went to the display setting again, rotated 2 monitors, rearranged them, saved the settings, and it worked!


I didn't think that running 3 monitors on a somewhat newer pc with Windows 10 and a linux distro should be a difficult thing.

It looks like Deepin 15.8 has won my affection again.

Now, I need to compile a "after installing Deepin" list,

and, I need to submit my findings to the MX people so they can fix their junk.

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Friday, January 4, 2019

Distro Hunt/Hop 3


Zorin 12.4 DOES WORK with persnickety HP Desktop computers that have their pesky, intolerable UEFI. It actually dual-booted successfully with Windows 10 and GRUB didn't disappear.

The reason is that this release of Zorin is still based on Ubuntu 16.04.

The next release will be Ubuntu 18.04. That's when it will probably, and unfortunately become totally worthless in a dual-boot with Windows 10 environment.

That's too bad.

I thought Deepin 15.8 was da' bomb, but (?#@%*!!!) they need to keep working on it.

I did a Windows 10/Deepin dual-boot on my back up work station (non UEFI) and it kept locking up.

At first I wanted to blame nVidia drivers, but, as it turned out, it is the SAME OLD PROBLEM from forever ago with some weird Google Chrome browser glitch.

Yes, I can wiggle through the browser's advanced setting and make the problem go away, but,


And, I thought, what the hey?! the new MX-18? Give it a shot? Sure...


I noticed some things were missing - xScreensaver and GRUB Customizer.

Both are available to download/install in their Package Installer.

All seemed well, so I installed it on my primary workstation.

I installed GRUB Customizer, ran it, and got this

A discussion in the MX forum about keeping GRUB Customizer is why I don't want to go to there. They said they were NOT going to get rid of GRUB Customizer...


I'm done with MX.

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Friday, December 21, 2018

Windows 10 October Update in December?

I mean, what the heck?

I was doing a fresh install on a back up computer for work stuff, and it decided to update to the latest 1809.

According to Purdue, this computer is 10 years old!

The regular work machines are still on 1803, with update hiccups -
they download an update, try to install it 3 times, then do a roll back.
I had to turn off updates because this was happening everyday!
And, these machines are young at just 3 years old.

I even pulled one of the daily work machines and did a fresh install of Windows 10. It updated as far as it could, but stayed with 1803...

Microsoft, y'all suck!

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Thursday, December 20, 2018

Distro Hunt/Hop 2

I had posted here about playing with Linux distributions other than MX-17, again. And I did.

The first was Zorin 12.4

The Next was Deepin 15.8

And, finally Solus 3.9999 Budgie

For the test I used a hotrodded eMachine with an AMD Athlon II x4 650, 8GB RAM, and an AMD Radeon HD gfx card hooked to 2 monitors.

After partitioning the hard drive the way I wanted it and marking them so I knew what went where, it was time to make some bootable USB sticks.  All distros for the test went right onto their respective thumb drives using "dd" and I didn't have to use Unetbootin.

Zorin went right on the test machine. No surprises. A little boring.

It looks cool with one of their supplied desktop wallpapers and switching the "theme" to black/green, but that's where the cool ended. It's just "meh". There is nothing wrong with it, other than having 'buntu as a base, and in fact, if it was the only alternative to Windows, then it would suffice just fine. It's just not exciting.

Deepin , wow! Right from the start, it was amazing. The installer showed all my partitions as icons with the names I put on them. All I had to do was select the icon and that's where it installed it. No fuss, no confusion, just simplicity.

After rebooting into the installed version, there was a little walk-through that allowed me to customize everything to my liking.

All of the cool things that I liked about Deepin previously were still there, all of the problems that made me leave were fixed! I noticed there are more update servers and locations so the first thing I did was have it check for the best one. After that, the update was smooth.

They still have the best selection of apps in their store, and the list has grown since I last used Deepin.... VERY, VERY happy!

Solus was a disappointment. It looks cool, it is easy to operate, and it is faster than any other distro to boot, but, it locked up. I can't remember if it locked up my computer once or twice, but it locked it up. From experience, if I have a major issue from the start, chances are there are many more sorrows ahead. My policy is to treat it like a lit firecracker - drop it and run.

So, in conclusion, it looks like I'll be running Deepin, again.

I did find a viable use/reason for Zorin... stay tuned.

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Thursday, December 6, 2018

Microsoft Copies Google Chrome?


I saw this on Techmeme

So, Microsoft is going to take their native browser, Edge (the blue "e"), and base it on Chromium?

Chromium comes from the world of "opensource"; the same place that Firefox, Linux, and other cool things come from.

Google liked Chromium so much they based the Google Chrome browser on it.

So, if Microsoft doesn't screw it up, Microsoft Edge will look just like Chrome and should run just as well... at least, that's the theory.

But, this is Microsoft we are talking about (the people who make Windows).

In the world of open source, everything glitters with genius and sharing and ingenuity...

But in the world of Microsoft, everything is sucky sucky, broken broken, and sue sue for copyright infringements.

I don't know if I'm happy, surprised, scared, or...

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