Month: December 2016

2 Birds 1 Stone

macbook-lm-18-kde

I was looking for some hardware to install LinuxMint KDE 18 on and I found it. I’ve had a Macbook Air that I don’t use because I find OSX to be incredibly irritating. So I decided to dual boot it. After getting rEFIt setup I proceeded through the install like normal. Everything works great. I just had to get the wifi drivers installed as the MBA uses Broadcom. It’s been a while since I liked used KDE or my MBA but now I can say I enjoy both. The MBA is a great piece of hardware (but not as good as my Dell XPS 13) with a terrible OS. I only wish this had a bigger hard drive so I could dual boot a couple of distros at once.

Windows 8

Windows 8.png

Windows ME crashed constantly, Windows Vista ran terribly on almost all PCs available when it was released, but I believe Windows 8 beats both for the title of worst Windows release ever. When Windows ME wasn’t crashing things were usable. Similarly with Windows Vista, if you had enough power it was usable. Windows 8 on the other hand, doesn’t crash constantly and runs fine on most hardware. Where is falls apart is, it is completely unusable. The UI is a complete wreck. Drop someone in front of it and ask them to open a program without a shortcut on the desktop. See how long it takes for them to pull up even the Start screen. Then on top of that, wait for them to figure out how to get to the All Apps screen. There is also the garbage Charms bar which loves to popup when you don’t want it. Windows 8 is also the starting point for Windows jamming their terrible “Modern Apps” onto your PC. Windows 8 and 8.1 come with things like News, Sports, Stocks, etc. installed out-of-the-box. At least you can uninstall these apps. Windows 10 takes that idea and goes full on spam, installing the apps (and sponsored apps) out-of-the-box. Then even if you unistall them, it will reinstall after certain updates. This OS was a complete miss after probably the best Windows version ever, Windows 7. Windows 8.1 is not great either but when compared to Windows 8, it feels great.

Manjaro MATE 16.10.2

manjaro-mate-16-10-2

It’s been awhile since I’ve taken Manjaro’s MATE version for a spin and the first thing I noticed is it looks a ton better. The last version I used did not look good. Nothing seemed to match and I had to do a lot of tweaking to make it look decent. Right out of the box this one looked good. It also didn’t have an abundance of software installed like some versions of Manjaro. While I do like this distro it still doesn’t feel as good as LinuxMint’s MATE spin or Ubuntu MATE. If you want MATE with a pacman base it is good though.

LinuxMint KDE 18

LinuxMint KDE 18.png

Before it was released I had heard that LinuxMint was making a green theme. Not sure what happened as I see a lot of blue. I also see a lot of extra junk I don’t want. I started cleaning up only to realize I needed to allocate more resources to the VM as it was running terribly, not that this is weird for KDE (or Gnome for that matter). I then reboot and it decided that it was going to hang up multiple times while trying to enter my password. Not sure why that happened as it is running normal now. After reading that you probably think I hate the distro, actually after some cleanup I think it is great. Once it settled it felt much more usable than the other KDE distros I have tested. The only lasting issue I have is finding some good hardware to run it on physically. I’m also a little worried that I hear the LinuxMint team is having trouble managing this spin.

Manjaro JWM 16.10

Manjaro JWM 16.10.png

One thing I can say is every new Manjaro JWM release looks different from the last. This release isn’t bad but it does have a few issues. While it is labeled Manjaro JWM 16.10, it actually runs on the Manjaro 16.08 release. It also lacks the fakeroot and build-devel packages out-of-the-box. Neither of these are major issues and can be fixed/updated quite easily. I also needed to make a couple adjustments to the conky config but again, not a big deal. After getting this distro up-to-date nitrogen stopped automatically starting. It was still in JWM’s autostart file but I had to add sleep 5s to get it work again. While I do like this distro, the number of little quirks are a bit irritating. Even with the quirks I could see myself using this distro if my Manjaro Fluxbox install broke.

LMDE XFCE 1

LMDE XFCE 1.png
Before getting it updated
lmde-xfce-1-2
After all updates and cleanup were done

While looking through my old VMs I found this guy. I made this VM while distro hopping a few years back so I could keep working versions for a few things as I bounced between distros trying to find the right fit. I didn’t know I still had this and it made me remember how I thought LMDE was a great idea. It was originally billed as a rolling release that would use Debian testing with all the ease of LinuxMint. After short time problems kept arising and the Mint team completely overhauled it with LMDE2. LMDE2 is not a rolling release and is based on Debian stable. It’s not like Debian comes out with new releases often so that wasn’t a big deal but it did mean the packages would be even more dated. The original LMDE was an interesting idea that I thought would be great, but instead it became a battle to keep a working system and eventually ended up in a lot of manual tweaking. So after creating a snapshot of this machine I figured I’d try my hand at getting it updated. Right off the bat I had issues. Most of the repos I had were dead. I was able to update a few Mint specific packages and as part of this my repos were updated. I got it as far as an “apt-get upgrade” would take me (the 1st screenshot) it was now time for an “apt-get dist-upgrade” which I figured would completely destroy it. Surprisingly it did boot after but I had errors and weird issues. I found most of my errors were due to hal being killed off. After removing it most of the errors were gone. Updating the VBox guest additions also helped out a bit. The rest of my issues seemed to be from an XFCE upgrade that took place during my updates. This one took a bit to figure out but after clearing my cached and saved XFCE sessions it looks like all is well. With the problems I had when using this I never imaged that years later I’d be able to get it up-to-date after not touching it for so long.

What to do with a HP Pavilion dv2500?

hp-ubuntu-mate-16-10

This laptop has been a hassle since I got it. I picked it up for my wife years ago. At the time I had also had the larger sibling the HP Pavilion dv6700. Both were similar with the most noticeable difference being the dv6700 having a Broadcom wifi chip and the dv2500 having the Atheros wifi chip. These laptops went through many different setups. They came with Windows Vista, were downgraded to Windows XP, and were upgraded to Windows 7. The dv6700 spent most of its life running different Linux installs (which the Broadcom chip always made difficult) until it died from the video card issue that plagued a number of the HP Pavilions from this time. My wife replaced the dv2500 years ago and it became a machine to test different distros on. The Nvidia card tended to require some tweaks to Ubuntu based distros but worked decently. For the last couple years this laptop ran different versions of Lubuntu without an issue. Upon upgrading it to Lubuntu 16.10 though, the video card became a bigger nuisance. It didn’t give me the normal line offset video issues as older version upon install but I could not get anything to actually use the video card (Minecraft would not even launch). After a bit of tweaking I got it to kinda work but never got it working perfectly. I then decided to try another distro, Antergos with Openbox. It installed and worked but it kept trying to add a 2nd screen via the svideo port. No matter how many times I disabled it, it reenabled every reboot and tried to spread the screen across both making it a battle to even login. I also tried Manjaro LXQt which crashed everytime I tried to install  Next up was ROSA LXQt R6. It installed but had the lined video screen like older Lubuntu. I figured I could get it fixed but after installing, everytime I started typing my password the display crashed and all I got was a black screen with the “X” cursor. I then tried Ubuntu Budgie Remix 16.10 and the video crashed at every login (testing on another machine, I now know this has to do with the Nvidia driver). At this point I gave up and installed Ubuntu MATE 16.10 and am not worrying about dealing with the video card. It can do the basic like run Chrome and Firefox so it is good enough for now. I’ll try some more distros in the future but at this point I’m thinking this machine may be ready for retirement.