Posts Tagged ‘ubuntu’

Ubuntu Mate ROCKS

02.01.16

Posted by adamlinuxhelp  |  No Comments »

Hi all, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here. But I wanted to take a moment and talk about Ubuntu Mate.

Since Kubuntu 14.04 came out (and I did use 13.04 & 13.10) I used it on my Dell Inspiron 15z laptop. The only issue of installation was the usual pain points of Dual-booting with UEFI and Safe mode. Things that can typically be fixed easily using the Ubuntu Boot Repair CD.

However, over time I did notice recently that the machine under Kubuntu just didn’t feel as responsive as it once was. KDE is a full desktop experience and a good one. I don’t blame KDE for being KDE, but I think it was a good time to consider alternatives ahead of the upcoming 16.04 release.

Still a fan of the Jupiter Broadcast shows (such as Linux Unplugged and the Linux Action Show), there were numerous mentions of Ubuntu Mate. It got my attention.

I installed it, had the same UEFI nonsense and fixed it.
It is a great distro. I recommend the current 15.10 release to anyone who wants a full GTK desktop but one that runs faster than KDE.

I mean, it “isn’t KDE” but that’s beside the point.

I’m very happy with its performance and visuals.

Cheers,
Adam

Bye Bye Buntu, hello Solyd

12.22.13

Posted by adamlinuxhelp  |  No Comments »

I’ve used Ubuntu for quite a long time now. I would say since 12.04 on my current laptop (Dell Inspiron 15z that I mentioned in another post. Yes, the one with Windows 8 and Secure-boot UEFI). Seemed to be the “good/easy” choice to get up and running with a dual-boot for this newfangled secure-boot BIOS since Ubuntu has “signed kernels” since 12.04 version. Setting this up, was not simple, yet not too complicated once I found advice on the net that actually worked.

After upgrading from 12.10 to 13.04, things simply were not the same. The machine would not boot in secure mode. No big deal, but after a while it makes one think… what changed? what’s different? and the next thought… do i really want to be forced to press and hold the F12 key each and every time I want to boot into Linux properly. The answer to that last part was an obvious ‘no’.

So, it was time for a change of distro. The criteria was kind of simple: Stable (well I think everyone wants stable..) and if possible, a rolling style release, so I wouldn’t have to worry about `upgrades in-place` doing silly things, or having to do fresh installs. Under ‘normal’ circumstances I prefer fresh installs, but also prefer it when the machine itself is easy-to-control. Which I would say is somewhere between the days of Fedora Core 2 (when I was learning Linux) and this new age of Secure-boot BIOS. I feel like this machine’s BIOS is not under my full control (A P.I.T.A if you ask me).

The Linux Action show podcast reviews Distros every now and then, and one week, they mentioned “SolydXK“. The review goes back a few months, so I had forgotten most of the review. It was a positive one, which made me consider trying it. I wanted a KDE environment (as recently) I’ve been using KDE, even in Ubuntu (google for the 3-5 commands it takes to migrate Ubuntu to Kubuntu) if you like Ubuntu but have grown a bit tired of Unity and older GNOME.

My choices came down to Kubuntu 13.10 and SolydK (the KDE version of Solyd). So far, I’m really liking Solydk. There are few weird things, such as flickering splash screen on boot – which occurs whether I have the USB external keyboard/mouse plugged in or not. Also, I’m liking that SolydXK is a rolling distribution. Given that Linux offers choice, I can always switch back if necessary to Kubuntu. But for now… Solyd is working really nice. Really responsive on this computer and gives a great KDE Desktop where stuff basically works as expected in other KDE-based distros.

Some other qualities of Solyd are that it was not derived, but “forked” i believe from Linux Mint (read more here), which I have used and is quite nice. So that puts in the ‘based-on-debian’ category of distros. Solyd is based on Debian testing and uses Synaptic Package Manager. Even though software stores/managers are all the rage these days, I still (from time to time) will use the GUI Synaptic or the more common apt-get install command at the terminal.

If you’re in a similar spot with a relatively new computer (2 yrs old or so) and want a good KDE experience (rolling release) you do (thank goodness) have many great choices. Some of you still reading might be screaming “Arch, Archlinux has all this!” and you’re correct, Arch is well-known for its rolling style. However, it’s not easy or quick to set up and I wanted to get going quick so I can try the distro out.

I recommend SolydK for KDE fans out there, (no shopping lens or other spying apps that send data – as far as I know). And I’m thinking of putting SolydX (the XFCE version) on a friend’s computer (right now the machine runs Puppy Linux from CD-rom).

More new software

11.29.13

Posted by adamlinuxhelp  |  No Comments »

With the upgrade to Ubuntu 13.10, I was looking forward to the better performance (which it “does have”) however what I failed to consider – was what things might “stop working” post-upgrade.

I should have paid more attention to the multiple questions during the upgrade process. Questions such as “do you want to keep existing file “fileName” or use new file. I didn’t consider the impact of the decisions. Nor do I remember them to be honest.

End result – system that previously dual-booted windows and linux now would not boot directly into linux. At all. I then proceeded to turn off Secure Boot in the BIOS and after quite a few tests, trial, and error I wound up being able to get into Linux by holding down F12 at every boot and then selecting UEFI OS. Not ideal to say the least.

Got so irritated, that I was “moments away” from dumping Ubuntu 13.10 in favor of Fedora 19. But before doing that, I first made a backup of files, and followed some easy steps to convert Ubuntu into Kubuntu. Wow, I had not used KDE in such a long time, and I must say that I’m impressed with it. For many years I didn’t use it, as it simply works better on newer machines with decent Ram and hardware. Since I now have a machine with decent specs, I figured “why not” try out KDE again.

I’m writhing this post in KDE as we speak, and it’s wonderful to have the choice of booting into Unity Ubuntu, Ubuntu Flashback, or KDE. I totally enjoy the customizing and how it “gets out of the way”. I put my favorite/most used applications icons in a vertical dock at the right-hand side of my screen and set the bottom panel to auto-hide. Konsole is an awesome terminal and starts immediately.

Still, I find it a nuisance to need to press and hold F12 each time and make a BIOS selection in order to boot the system. I may yet still scrap Ubuntu entirely and go with Fedora and make use of KDE from there. While I got used to Unity via Ubuntu, I can’t say I’m a big fan of it. But then again, that’s the awesomeness that is Linux. We usually always have a choice of what we want to use right out of the box, or customize/add/remove things to our heart’s content.

New Hardware, New Software

11.28.13

Posted by adamlinuxhelp  |  No Comments »

Well, new is tough to define since computers and technology move so fast.

April 2013: I treated myself to a new laptop: an i7 machine (Dell inspiron 15z) and I’m happy with it. Great specs, such as 8GB of RAM, a touchscreen, and the “dual-drive” thing where one drive is a 5400 RPM in tandem with a 32GB SSD. So far, it’s got the best response time of any computer I’ve owned.

We’ve covered the hardware, on to the Software! The machine has Windows 8 & a UEFI Secure-boot BIOS. Yes, my fellow fans of Linux, I was “well aware of the challenge” of dual-booting that lay ahead. Still, I pressed on.

Information these days it’s available from many sources. For up-to-date Linux info, I trust Chris Fisher and Matt Hartley over at the Linux Action Show podcast and have been a listener for many years – a shout out to you, Brian Lunduke as well. Miss ya bud.

While listening to the podcast, they mentioned the emerging (at the time) technology of Secure Boot computers, and the potential impact it would have on us Linux users. I could have (and there are days that I wish I had) purchased a System76 laptop – however I did want to have “some access” to a late-model windows OS “just in case”. Chris and Matt informed me that Ubuntu and Fedora were (again, at the time) the only distros that would be compatible with the UEFI Secure Boot System.

A few of you still reading this post may be saying “Booooo, down with MS Windows…” – but I must say that having the real “Microsoft word” was critical for my job hunting. Open Office just isn’t there yet (sorry Apache), and Libre Office… disappointing as well. I needed (and used) the “real deal” – I don’t enjoy saying this, but there are just some MS Apps that are not directly replaceable (yet) in the Linux world.

I will say that getting Ubuntu to properly dual-boot was an arduous process. The good thing is that I did eventually get it working with the help of various software (such as EasyBCD for Windows, and Boot Repair Tool for Ubuntu). Things worked great for a long time. Then it was time for upgrade to Ubuntu 13.10, which I now sort-of regret. The upgrade broke a lot of stuff. Broke it to the point where I had to disable a lot of BIOS things just so I could hold down F12 key each and every time I boot.

I was livid, and have so much ire about this, that it deserves to be in it’s own blog post. Stay tuned – more to come.

Ubuntu 12.04 on Macbook 6,2

05.20.12

Posted by adamlinuxhelp  |  No Comments »

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS edition installed great on this Macbook.  I chose the 32-bit edition as 32-bit was recommended from the Mint tutorial that I first used as a guide for dual-booting linux and MacOS.

I was running Ubuntu 11.04 on the machine, and was hesitant to try and upgrade it “in place” to Ubuntu 12 based on experiences with my Desktop PC. The Desktop PC I’m referring to is the E-machines T5048 as discussed in my other post “Linux saves older computer“.

Basically, I did not want to run into the same ACPI-related issues where Linux Kernel 3 would not be supported.  Also there was an apprehension towards the Unity desktop environment.  This is, mind you, after trying it out on Ubuntu 11.

I was able to install 12.04 using the CD-rom install.  All went great, no bootup issues at all. Whew, what a relief to not see the forever hanging “waiting for /dev to fully populate”.  And with that, I am now dual booting Mac OSX with Precise Pangolin.  And because it’s an LTS, I can leave it on there for a good long time.  As per wikipedia, “this [12.04] release will be supported for five years“.

Unity

When Ubuntu made Unity the default environment, I did not like it at all.  I found myself immediately searching Google for ways to get that GNOME 2 look and feel back.  I just didn’t like or understand why Unity changed a lot of keyboard shortcuts that I grew to enjoy using either.  But the general ease-of-use, along with large community (interwebs) support of Ubuntu makes it such a “go-to” Operating System.  Of course, this is going to vary from person to person.  Now that I’ve used it for a while, it’s not so bad.

I’ve found that with some patience, and the willingness to learn new things, I can actually function in this environment.  I chose the auto-hide feature of the Unity dock to save on screen real estate (13.3″ macbook).  Another reason I chose auto-hide is I quite love the ‘minimalist desktop appearance’ that Crunchbang (with Openbox) provide, so now I have an all-out Ubuntu long term release, with a lightweight look to it.  Lightweight in looks is fine, as this machine is (so far) keeping fine pace with the resource demands of Ubuntu 12.

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