Monday, February 25, 2019

Xubuntu 18.04.2

It seems like I have come full circle.


My old standby Linux Distribution used to be Xubuntu 14.04 (released April of 2014).

The 2016 release proved to be problematic so I strayed away.

The 2018 release appeared to have issues, but as I am beginning to understand, it may be the boot partition (EFI) that may be the source of my problem, and other issues...

Today in testing my new 1GB EFI/boot partition, proportionally sized to my 10 separate partitions for different Linux distributions, I installed Xubuntu 18.04.2.

Everything was slick and smooth, just like I remembered it being in spring of 2014 with my originally playtime.

The only thing I noticed was a little bit of screen flicker on the monitor connected to the DVI-I port. That's a driver issue with the Nvidia GT 710 gfx card.

Xubuntu has a little tool marked "Additional Drivers". Select it, and it shows me I can use the opensource drivers (for a flickering monitor) or I can select Nvidia proprietary drivers.

This little tool does ALL the heavy lifting. And the results are splendid.

It took a little while (which I expected). When it was done it prompted me to restart.

From there I arranged and oriented my monitors and I was done.

Simple. Easy. Like it used to be, like it is supposed to be.

Old setup notes

 - -

How Large Should You Make the UEFI System Partition?

@#%&ing UEFI!!!

I used to multi-boot with a whole lot less trouble than I do today.

The good old BIOS machine. You have Windows 7 on a 500GB hard drive. What do you do with all that space? Why, you cut 8 more partitions and install a different Linux distribution on each one!

I'm not making that up.

The beginning of headaches is when I got my first UEFI capable machine. It was an HP with a 1.5TB hard drive and WINDOWS 7.

Yep. You saw that correctly, Windows 7.

Window 7 is NOT UEFI compatible, but you have to have UEFI for a hard drive bigger than 1TB.

There was no problems until I was installing (dual -boot) a Linux distro and it picked up on the UEFI and did a UEFI install instead of doing a regular (now called "legacy") install. It wrote over the entire drive and I lost not only Windows, but ALL THE SOFTWARE that was precious to me in Windows. It took me a few days to recover from that nightmare.

Since then, UEFI has been a blister on my butt that won't go away.

My latest "test" machine is Linux ONLY. This is the machine that I use to try out Linux distributions so I don't accidentally trash my main work horse.

And, since there is no Windows installation to set EFI/boot partitions,

How big should this partition be?

Windows makes it 100MB. In previous research, there were some instances of 256MB.

Then I came across this webpage. I've never seen anything like this in all my Google searches about EFI partitions. This is some heavy stuff.

"The UEFI System Partition should be at least 260 MiB (273 MB) to ensure its properly formatted with FAT32 so that you avoid UEFI implementation compatibility issues."

Oh...

"Microsoft recommends you set aside 100 MiB for Windows. Unless you decide to get away with the separate /boot partition on Linux, then I recommend you set aside 100 MiB of space per Linux system you intend to install. Keep in mind that you should allocate some space for failed and past installations, upgrade staging, and operating/file system debris as well. There is no reason to try and squeeze down the size of the ESP to a point where it might cause issues for you in the future."

Holy crap! 100MB per Linux system? I've set aside 10 partitions for separate Linux operating systems so I need 1GB now, but more is needed for other stuff.

The author wrote back to me on Twitter and said,

"You could also create 10 separate 100 MiB ESPs for isolation."

I have seen in the Manjaro and Pop! OS installers where you can set the ESP partition. I don't think that is available in other Linux distributions, but then I wasn't looking either...

Wow! I am beginning to understand why I have experienced so much trouble, I did not (do not) understand UEFI ESP partition rules at all.

I also understand why all of my research came up bust (until now) -

People at most dual-boot - Windows and some form of Linux.
I am Multi-booting; I have 4 to 12 different operating systems on a single machine.
There is no Google search for what I do; I just got lucky when I found that article.

This explains some of the X-Files-like problems I've had in the past few months. It baffled me why a computer that had been working fine all of the sudden wouldn't boot a Linux distro. This was after some big updates/upgrades so I'm guessing the boot/ESP partition got clogged.

This may offer insights into why I had issues installing openSUSE and Pop! OS.

So, time to resize the boot/EFI partition (AGAIN!) and see what happens.


 - -

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


And,

[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 [UPDATED!]

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.

That was where my review originally ended.

Since then, I got a little education on ESP partitions for multi-booters and everything is different.

After a newly created 1GB boot partition, Pop! OS went right on my machine.  It felt a little more like a serious commercially produced OS - install, restart, THEN set up user accounts and details.

Ya, I know, the rest of the 'buntus can be done this way, but maybe I was dazzled by the color scheme and cool steam punk robot wallpaper...

So, once in, it was time to update. It seemed a little slow on the updates, and I have no idea where the repositories are physically located, nor did I see anyway to choose a faster location.

When the updates were done, the update interface offered a Nvidia driver (remember, this is the non-Nvidia version). Most notable is that this was the newest 410.78 driver.



This is the first time I have EVER seen the most up-to-date driver. I am usually offered 390.

One of my monitors was acting a little wiggy so I opted for the driver.

This took a while, and is to be expected. (Note to self - use the Nvidia version next time.)

What completely baffled me after a cold boot was that they appear to be using the Nvidia X Server program. But how did they make it so easy? My previous experience with Nvidia X Server was less than pleasant, and I was so pleased when I found a fix for it.

That just proves what I've said before - it doesn't have to be difficult. Nothing has to be difficult in Linux. Ever. And, when something is this smooth and easy, it reflects on the intelligence of the developers.

Arranging my odd trio of monitors was simple... As it should be...

The important stuff seems to be installed already: Libre Office, Firefox, screenshot utility, Simple Scan, and a system monitor. Elementary OS should take some notes here.

I can only see 2 things that cause me to raise an eyebrow:
  • to maximize a window you have to do it as a right-click function, or drag all the edges to the edges of your monitor,
  •  
  • no GRUB; they use systemd.

You only get a close button. Strange. I saw no way to change appearance, icons, themes, or anything like that. It's just strange.

And no GRUB. I understand that systemd is supposed to be fast, but I have 5 other operating systems installed that I can't reach. And, I'm going to install 4 more.

This is easily remedied by installing another Linux distribution in another partition. The GRUB of the new distro picks up Pop! OS in its menu and makes it bootable from there.


So, in conclusion, I'm really liking Pop! OS.

I see why everybody else is excited about it.

I am too ;)

 - -

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.

Good.

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.

What?

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.

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.

Hmm...

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?

Documentation?

Maybe.

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?

Sincerely,

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.

Scary.

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.

Next!

 - -



Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Eureka! Nvidia X Server Settings SAVED!!!

Eureka!

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!





 - -


SparkyLinux [UPDATED]

In some of my daily perusal through tech/linux-type stuff, I saw someone mention SparkyLinux as there goto. It's debian-based, and I prefer debian-based so here we go!

The one I chose was 4.9.2 LXDE. Stable... ya...

I never opt for automatic login; I always like to type the password. I know, it's like putting a padlock on a shed, but it still makes me feel better. Well, that was almost a mistake because now I have to type in my username and password to login, not just a password. A minor nuisance, but still... [UPDATES, Scroll down]

So now it's off to get the nVidia setting tool so I can harness the power of my gfx card and configure my 3 monitors.

I found my self in the "Sparky Center" and clicking the "software" tab. I could use Synaptic Package Manager or ,something I had never heard of, "APTus".

APTus turns out to be a widget to get you to the software you want to install, reinstall, or uninstall. Simple enough.

The nVidia X Server Settings tool went right in, but there is an issue with permisions - "...Please edit your X configuration (just run...). [See UPDATES, Scroll down]

RUN?! In what direction?

I don't know what level of uber-geek you have to be, but I'm not. Google didn't offer any immediate help either.


I was all out of fairy dust, so I opened the DVD drive door and poured in some Rainbow Sprinkles.

That didn't help either.

One monitor; that's all I get.

The whole nVidia gfx card issue is starting to hamper my distro-hopping. I'm going to have to expand my skillset before I go much further.

Remember Linus Torvalds' attitude toward nVidia?





The struggle is real my friends.


I guess I got used to debian-based distros like MX and deepin. They both have included programs to help with gfx drivers. The one in MX didn't work half the time, but I never had gfx issues either. And, if Arbys has the meat, then deepin has the apps! deepin has apps for everything...

So, SparkLinux looks nice. It's not pretty, but it works. It is very light on the system and would run beautifully on old and new systems alike. And they have a rolling release so you have that option too. All the software is there that you need to get going. I don't care for the ESR version of Firefox, but I understand why it exists. Regular Firefox and even Google Chrome are available in APTus.

In conclusion, SparkyLinux is a contender for a daily driver...

Fn nVidia notwithstanding...

 - - - - - - - - - -

UPDATES 3/13/2019

I reinstalled and have it set to auto login... much better :D

I chose NOT to install nvidia X Server. I simply arranged my monitors to see what would happen. I was able to use 2 (the 3rd is portrait [on its side]) and disabled the 3rd. Upon restart the settings held.

I am glad to see native java support in the browser and flash is available for install in APTus.

I also installed DropBox from APTus since I use it ALL THE TIME. All went well.

SparkyLinux is moving up the list as a serious contender for installation on a couple old laptops I have.

 - -

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Still Playing, Still Disappointed, Netrunner

Netrunner 19.01 is a debian-based, rolling release.

Cool right?

They and others are currently working with PINE64 developing their OS to work on the Pinebook and Pinebook Pro.

How cool is that?

Well, if it worked, it would be awesome, but...

Maybe, just maybe, if I was using a laptop, instead of a desktop computer, and maybe, if I didn't need gfx card drivers, I might not have noticed anything.

But, alas, here we go...

I tried to download the nVidia driver thing so I could configure and use my card. Some distros freeze up because of the lack of drivers, so I don't have a choice in the matter.

It just chugged and stopped downloading. It was as if I was trying to pull from repos on the other side of the globe. With no repo manager or tool, I wasn't sure how to fix it. I was able to click around and found something to click on that made it go a little faster (don't know what it was), but it was still slower than trying to blow up party balloons with a lung full of jello.

The menus though


large, beautiful, well laid out.

Wow!

Then, back to the gfx.

I was able after several attempts to get the nVidia X Server program downloaded. The problem (next problem) was getting the monitors configured. They configured easy enough, but after a restart all the setting were lost.

Then I found that there was a configuration setting inside the nVidia X Server program. But, in order to "save" the settings, you have to be some sort of wizard, or person of higher learning. I couldn't figure it out.

I continued to pick and poke around in the setting and opened up everything I could including the back ports. Now all of the sudden there's several hundred updates...

But, I still can't configure my monitors and have the setting stay put.  

Oh well...

Next!

 - -

elementaryOS, Again, But This Time, It Works

I went into a rant here.


And, yes kids, ALWAYS do your "testing" on a different computer; NOT THE ONE YOU USE AND RELY ON EVERY DAY!!!

Don't forget that, EVER!

Anyway,

I still had the hankering to see if I could get this elementaryOS running. And, willing to take some of the blame in that maybe something was amiss, somewhere in my hardware, I thought I would "start over".

A wise man once told me, he never had trouble with his computer that wasn't hardware-related.

My experimenter machine is inherited from my business, one of the HP Envy "Build to Order" desktop machines. It came to me with some weird hardware issues that looked like they needed a BIOS update to fix. If you have ever made the mistake of trying to update BIOS on an HP, then you full-well know that they "brick" very easily.

Kids, if you ever have to update BIOS on your HP desktop computer, make sure it is when you are on the phone with customer service and you are still under warranty. I'm serious. HP is real good about getting their customers brand new computers to replace one under warranty.

Unfortunately, the one I had was NOT under warranty, and I was the guy who was supposed to fix it, not brick it.

So, next step was to replace the motherboard. Unfortunately, this was not a mass-produced computer, it was BTO (build to order). You don't just look up a model number and order a board.

After searching the world via the internet, I found the guy that bought the crate of remaining motherboards. The next sad step in this series of unfortunate events, the customer was unwilling to pay what it cost to repair the computer. I pulled all the hardware, installed it in another machine I had, gave him a whopper of a deal, and he was happy. I then ordered the board myself to fix the computer anyway.

In the process of breathing life back into it, I found "a" hardware issue, might even have been "the" issue from the start. The motherboard mounted wifi card was working intermittently. This was not a full-sized card, but the same card you would find in a laptop. And, I don't know why, but I have replaced a whole lot of wifi cards in HP laptops over the years. Other brands seem to last as long as the laptop itself, but HP laptops always seem to need a replacement during their lifespan. It was easy enough to fix; I just pulled it and tied up the wires.

After all that, it was a flop for a "dual-boot" machine - when it booted Windows, it lost GRUB and the subsequent Linux operating system (this is a common problem with HP, from experience). It was supposed to be a backup for my wife's daily driver. In the event of an unforeseen Windows snafu, it was supposed to be at the ready. I had resolved myself to just install Windows only, but the whole experience made me less than confident in the whole setup, so a trusty backup it would NOT be.

But, a side machine for experiments? Yep, it just might work.

After all that, I had 3 hard drives in this machine. The first was a small SSD with the EFI, boot partion, and what I called the "primary" operating system (deepin 15.9). The second hard drive was for whatever distros I was playing with. The third was basic file storage for any and all distros.

The original elementaryOS install failure and subsequent recovery failures made me pull the first 2 drives and replace them with a single 500GB drive. This drive was wiped, dressed with a new partition table, a 100MB EFI/boot partition, and 10 equal partitions for distros.

Elementary went right on. No issues.

Well, none with the install.

What a "blah", meh distro.

Boring...

And, where the heck is the software?!

There's nothing there, but "GNOME browser"?!

What is that?

Where is my Firefox?

No office suite?

What kind of minimalist turd is this?

I mean, if they threw in Firefox, Libre, and a few other common things it would not cause the demise of any rain forest or cause the death of any baby seals.

Being 'buntu-based, even the club-fisted can easily find the software center named "AppCenter".

I was able to get the nVidia X Server doohickey and get the drivers for my gfx card pretty easily. My oddly mispaired, mismatched monitors configured easily enough.

Firefox, Libre Office, but no Google Chrome.

Oh, and they don't just install like apps/programs usually do, you have to restart the computer first before you can use them. But, there is no notification, screen prompt, or anything to tell you to restart. Maybe it's by osmosis and my head wasn't against my computer...

So, there it is; elementaryOS installed, and I'm not impressed.

No whistles, no bells.

It's the kale diet of Linux operating systems.

If you want a lego/erector set for an operating system, try Arch or ArcoLinux.

Try debian.

They even have a minimal iso 'buntu so you get the sensation of building it yourself.

 Next distro, please.

 - -