Posts Tagged ‘crunchbang’

Robolinux is amazing

09.21.14

Posted by adamlinuxhelp  |  No Comments »

I recently was given another laptop for “repurposing” – which in my circles – means “bye bye crufty windows vista/7 and hello Linux”.

It’s a somewhat older HP G60 laptop, and I pulled the original HD, and added RAM to the tune of 4Gig and wow, this thing is super fast. Boot up to usable desktop in well under 10 seconds, and the application responsiveness is the fastest I’ve seen in any Linux thus far. Now, onto to the main topic of the post, Robolinux.

I chose the XFCE Version for speed, and it does deliver. It took a while to get used to the XFCE way of doing things again (it’s been ~ 7 years since I’ve used it. I used to rock Xubuntu on an old Dell D600 laptop).

Typically, when I want a ligthweight distro with a great software base, my “go-to” is generally Crunchbang (has the Openbox environment). But this time around, I was going for a more “windowsy” user interface experience for the person I was setting the laptop up for. It would just be “too much” of a shift for them to learn both Openbox and using Linux, so I took a look at Robolinux.

Robolinux is derived from Debian, and has a lot of great software pacakges I didn’t find anywhere else. Not that I have looked high and low mind you – as I typically set up a machine and (if it’s for me) I go all out customizing it for what I want to do with it (which from recent posts, I needed a machine ready to do all kinds of things and was in love with SolydK until I had to cross back into Windows8 world… sigh. but to be fair, Kubuntu 14.04 has been doing really well.

Check out Robolinux, especically if you prefer the VM instead of Dual booting into Windows when (sigh again) necessary to do so.

Good luck.

Old Hardware, Old Software

06.27.12

Posted by adamlinuxhelp  |  1 Comment »

Hello all. Feels like it was only yesterday talking about this old Emachines T-5048 computer.  This machine has been through a lot. Many distros tried, several distros failed.

The good news is, that in the process I learned that Old Hardware is just not going to be treated fairly by new software/OS Releases. It’s a reality that I used to think only applied to MS Windows users.  You may remember the days when you wanted to run Windows 2000, but it just would not work right until you made “some” investment in new hardware.  Me, I was lucky. I only needed to purchase a new video card.

This computer has been running Crunchbang 10 for a few months now.  While the response time is really fast, (due to its light resource footprint) I had to heavily modify the grub bootloader to get it to properly boot.  Changes such as turning off ACPI and LAPIC.  I thought the only downside was that I’d have to manually press a button to turn off the machine.  Sadly, I think it goes beyond that.  Playing sound files or CDs  produces a poor experience.  Music would sometimes start and then stop, or stutter (don’t know which is worse) and I attribute this to hardware on the machine.

To know for sure. I installed an old (yet still supported LTS OS version). I first chose Kubuntu 10.04 LTS for two reasons.  First, it is old (below kernel 3). Secondly, it’s KDE4, which I’ve never tried.  I enjoyed the depth of possible customizations, but disliked the slow performance.  I need a responsive desktop, and this machine cannot run KDE properly.

My next (and current) choice was to try one of my favorite “other” distros – Linux Mint 9 XFCE Isadora (an LTS based on Ubuntu 10.04). I chose XFCE version of Mint since I ran a dual-boot Xubuntu with Windows XP on an old DELL Laptop.  Now that I’m dual-booting with 2 Linuxes, I think I will leave Mint XFCE on here, as it seems a great balance of speed and visual appeal. KDE looks better (visually) than XFCE, but again, performance and the ability to get the most out of this aging hardware are crucial to me. Also, in comparison to Crunchbang– Crunchbang is faster, but with XFCE the programs I install wind up in the application menu.  In Crunchbang you have to add just about every program you install in a manual fashion. There might be a tool out there that does this automagically, but I haven’t found it yet.

Edit; Found it. And boy do I feel dumb. I’ve been using Crunchbang Linux for years, and the answer was only a Forum-search away. To access all of your installed applications, follow the advice to show Debian Menu.

So far, music playback works great, and hey, I can also issue the shutdown command and walk away, knowing the machine will power itself off. Yay!

Another Old PC, another Linux install

05.19.12

Posted by adamlinuxhelp  |  No Comments »

Hi all, this post is being written from another install of Crunchbang Linux.  Why is this worth mentioning? Well, it really isn’t worth mentioning, but I did anyway.

Recently I acquired a PC that belonged to a friend of mine. I offered $20 and, well, it has its limitations, but what do you want for 20 dollars, right? Right. Here’s the technical details: Shuttle XPC with an AMD64 Proc., DVD-ROM Optical Drive, 1GB of RAM, and a 20GB Hard disk.  My intended purpose for this machine is to perform software experiments and testing.  Nothing crazy mind you, so spending money to fix/improve it would be money wasted.

So, being a Linux enthusiast, I gave several Distros a test drive on this machine. Distros such as Mint (Debian, LXDE, Gnome), Crunchbang Linux, and Ubuntu (main Gnome 2/3, and Lubuntu), as these are my recent (and old) favorites. You can say I prefer the Debian Based Linux OS, but that’s a story for another blog post.

The results: (because surely a fair amount of those actually reading this blog are curious to learn what actually happened).

Linux Mint Results:

Mint 12 LXDE would not install, Mint 12 Debian Edition crashed mid-way thru installation, and Mint 11 GNOME was the winner in the Stable Mint environment for this machine.

Ubuntu Results:

Ubuntu 10.04.4 got most of the way through the install and crashed.  Lubuntu 12.04 installed nicely, but had lots of crashing during web browser use, so bye-bye. Ubuntu 11.04 GNOME was ok.  Ubuntu 12.04 GNOME not even a consideration based on inability to install a recent Linux Mint.  My Ubuntu goal was to use a long-term-support release if possible.

Crunchbang Linux Results:

This particular machine has had Crunchbang installed on it several times over the last 2-3 months, for stability tests and Linux multi-boot (GRUB) experiments.  I must say, each and every time the installation was a success, and the speed of the Openbox environment (which are the main reasons I use Crunchbang on my other Linux Desktop PC) performs superbly.

There’s just something about this machine I guess.  With 1GB of Ram, and (seemingly) other hardware-related issues, Crunchbang fits right in with its low-resource footprint.  Based on your hardware, the age and condition of said hardware, some software is just going to work better than others.

This is why I love Linux. When faced with a challenge, try, try again until you find what you want in terms of customization, efficiency of use, and last but not (by a longshot) least —stability. I cannot emphasize this enough.

The next article will discuss SugarCRM, and why it’s awesome to have an extra PC around.

Cheers!

 

Ubuntu 10.10 on Macbook 6,2

03.12.11

Posted by adamlinuxhelp  |  1 Comment »

Hello all, I write this from the OS-X side of the dual-boot Macbook 6,2

For a few weeks now I’ve been trying out different distros to replace Crunchbang 9.04 as my Linux OS.

It has not gone as well as I would have liked.  I first tried Mint Debian and liked that the sound worked right away but there were a few things that I didn’t like about it (or at least the current state of it):

  • I could not get wifi right away.  This was annoying but solved with a cable.
  • It never seems up-to-date due to problems with the update manager (Mint mentions this, but I proceeded anyway).
  • I didn’t think it would crash “that much”.  I’ve been using Linux since 2003 and the last time I remember crashing an OS was when I tried to run Mandrake on a Compaq 7360 with an AMD K6.  That machine ran Ubuntu and even Fedora Core 4 (slowly yes, but without crashing).  I crashed Yellow Dog Linux several times on a Powermac 7300, but I digress. The point is, maybe I should not depend so heavily on Mint Debian right now.  And again, the good people at Mint do specify that things may happen in the way of stability.  That, i guess, is the downside of using a bleeding-edge distro.  Crashes will occur. Hats off to you Mint, it is a cool distro, but not for me right now.

The next distro that I tried was Crunchbang 10 or “Statler” as I have grown to adore the lightweight Openbox environment and since I ran Crunchbang 9.04 already on this machine, I was thinking “this was the one” for a few other good reasons:

  • It was a newer version of Crunchbang
  • It changed from being Ubuntu-based to Debian-based (Ubuntu-based is NOT a bad thing)
  • Historically-speaking (9.04) was very stable, even though the #! site mentions it might make the system go “Crunch Bang”

So I downloaded the iso, checked its MD5 sum, and burned the installer.  Had some kind of issue where it would not boot after the HD install (maybe the media was a bad CD? dunno.  Maybe I’ll try it again on a new cd).

Next, I was thinking of trying out a different, unknown flavor of Linux altogether: Archbang Linux, which is basically Arch Linux with an Openbox as its default environment.  The only issue, is that I was surprised to find a text-based installer.  I’ve used text-based installers before, but since this is a macbook, there’s a “gotcha” when it comes to installing the boot loader.  You need to install it on the same partition that holds your distro (and not the MBR). So if you do install it on MBR it’s a bit of work to get the system back to where it was before.

The Archbang partitioner just seemed clumsy to me, and I did not want to lose time by accidentally hosing the MBR or deleting any of the mac partitions, so I just bailed out on Archbang.  I can always use the LIVE CD part of it, but I don’t think it’ll help much because it was really the package manager difference that I was planning to learn my way around.

Thanks for reading all the pre-amble (or pre-ramble).

Even though ubuntu has a planned release next month, I needed an OS immediately, so I went with Ubuntu Maverick.  I was impressed right away. I have not used Ubuntu since 7.04 in favor of trying other distros, getting away from GNOME in favor of speed.  I did need to run a cable to get connected to the Internet, but I knew this “Up-Front” as the installer GUI requested that I connect, plug in the AC Charger, etc.

So, I’m happy with 10.10 and will use the onboard tools to upgrade to next version when it’s available.  The boot up time I think could be faster, and for some reason I get a blinking dash for 5-15 seconds before I get to the login prompt.  But I think that’s the worst of my issues for now. It hasn’t crashed at all.

Previously, any ubuntu-based distro needed tweaking to get the sound working on this macbook.  This time, with Ubuntu, it was as simple as running apt-get on the command line to install gnome-alsamixer and the sound was good-to-go!

Cheers, and happy Linux-ing.

Adam

Favorite CLI Linux Apps: Guake

02.19.10

Posted by adamlinuxhelp  |  No Comments »

Guake and Yakuake are drop-down terminal shells

Guake, or (if it’s a K Desktop Environment) Yakuake are “drop-down terminal shells” that appear when you press a button (usually F12).

If you usually open a terminal with every log in to your Linux desktop, there’s a more convenient (not to mention laaazy) way.  Simply tell the OS to run Guake after your user’s successful login. In Openbox, you’d add it to your autostart.sh file

The Guake terminal will notify you that it has started, and then auto-hides itself until you “un-hide it” by pressing the F12 key.  When you’re done with your current command-line stuff, simply press F12 again and Guake gets out of your way.

Favorite Linux Apps: Text Editors

02.12.10

Posted by adamlinuxhelp  |  No Comments »

Linux Gui Applications to write and edit text

For simple stuff I recommend Gedit that comes with GNOME-based Linux distros.  If you’re running a K-Desktop Environment (KDE) then Kate is really good.   Gedit works well for writing quick text snippets or copying text from websites to use later on.

For text writing in general, I like Pyroom which came pre-installed with Crunchbang Linux 9.04 and I happen to be writing this very blog post using Pyroom.  Pyroom reminds me of a typewriter interface—everything else on the screen (except for your text and a light border) is invisible.  Nothing to distract your eyes.  You only see the words that you type (non-formatted) on your (virtual) page.  Each time you hit “return”, your work just scrolls upward.  And it can “auto-save” your work at intervals that you set in preferences.

If you’re going to write scripts in various programming languages, then you’ll need a decent IDE-style code editor.  This comes in handy if you’re building a website, because you can create a “project” file that will group together the text-based files related to your website.

For this type of work, I use Geany, but have recently installed Aptana Studio to try it out.

The benefit of an IDE-style editor is that it can color the syntax so your commands don’t look like a big vat of text.  This makes reading, writing, documenting (or “in-code comments”) and troubleshooting your work much much easier.

Openbox Desktop Environment

02.02.10

Posted by adamlinuxhelp  |  No Comments »

[UPDATE TO POST] Hello, my apologies, but I have made a silly error in calling Openbox a Desktop Environment.  Openbox is not a desktop environment, Openbox is a Window Manager.

I feel I made that mistake for a few reasons:

  1. My current distro, CrunchbangLinux, runs Openbox with other apps such as a system tray & taskbar.  This “combination of apps” compose the desktop environment.
  2. For fast performance, you simply run Openbox without an overall Desktop Environment.
  3. Without a desktop environment, I thought Openbox was the desktop environment.

Openbox provides a “Minimalist Environment”.  For example, Openbox does not put icons on a user’s Desktop.

Here are some screen shots from my Openbox Environment on my Dual-boot laptop (MacBook).

Openbox Desktop Environment in Crunchbang Linux

Screen Capture: Openbox in Crunchbang Linux

In the above picture we see the main “Desktop” interface with a circa 1970’s picture of the dudes from RUSH.  To the right, some keyboard shortcuts. At the bottom of the screen capture,  we see three (3) virtual desktops represented by the thin gray rectangles, and the System Tray with a few icons: (wifi-connect, volume) and the system clock.  Multiple (virtual) desktops can help you manage your computing tasks.  Most (if not all) applications allow you to “pin them” to all desktops. There are 2 advantages to “pinning” (if that’s the correct term).

  1. It allows you to run only one instance of an Application instead of “1 per desktop”.
  2. No need to scroll between desktops to access an app that you need to use instantly.

Openbox Desktop in Crunchbang

In the above picture we see some applications running.  When an application is running, you will usually see its icon within the rectangle that represents a specific virtual desktop.

One thing I like about Openbox is that when you launch an app, it’s default window position is the center of your screen.  This can be changed, but I like it, so I’ll keep it that way.

The above screenshot features a few applications one might use when designing a website.  “Agave” lets you preview color schemes.  Selecting colors that complement each other on a web site is really important.  You don’t want to create a visually-jarring website.

Also shown is the “Specimen” font previewer—good for general usage for viewing a font at various sizes.  Specimen even lets you type in your own arbitrary text.  Last but not least we see the “Terminator” terminal emulator that comes with the Crunchbang distro.

Because Linux is all about choice, you can choose any Desktop Environment you like, or even make up your own if you feel like doing so.