With LXQt taking over for LXDE I wasn’t sure we’d see another Manjaro LXDE release. After firing this one up, I’m glad I was wrong. Immediately after booting the LiveCD I saw that they had fixed the ugly icon setup they had last time I tried this. Then while going through the install I noticed something awesome, The Calamares netinstall functionality. Finally a way to cut out some of the unwanted programs before they ever get installed. I unchecked a chunk of programs and breezed through the rest of the install without an issue. Once into the installed system I switched the theme to dark, ran updates, installed a few programs and was in business. I then also found out that this spin supports SMB connections out of the box. No more needing to install gvfs-smb manually. While I haven’t put a ton of time into this spin yet, I am quite happy with the changes made since last using it and plan to put in some more time with it.
Last week I moved a client from a single Windows Small Business Server 2008 setup to a Windows Server 2016 setup using Hyper-V. The new setup is 1 physical server with a handful of virtual machines broken out for different roles. Part of this migration was a new domain and a new Exchange server. The Exchange 2016 based setup worked without a problem until I was dealing with a remote user. The remote user is not on the domain but has a router to router VPN back to the main location. When trying to change their Outlook over to the new Exchange server I kept getting errors about a MAPI timeout. I tested and could ping the Exchange server by IP, name, FQDN, and even external address. Typically when changing a user’s Outlook from one system to another I just create a new Outlook profile so I can keep their old one as a backup just incase. After continuing to get the MAPI timeout errors I gave in and decided to blow out all their old Outlook profiles. No go. They had 3 Outlook profiles and when trying to delete any of them I would get the error: The action could not be completed because the action could not be completed. Not a very helpful error but it did confirm I had issues with the old profiles. I ended up deleting the profiles via the registry then guess what? The new Outlook profile worked without a hitch.
After reading about the new antiX release I decided I had to give it a try. A Debian based distro with Fluxbox is just what I’ve been wanting. Once I got it installed I realized there was a lot more to it. First thing I found, which is really cool, is you can switch the desktop on the fly. No logging out need to switch between IceWM, Fluxbox, and JWM. Being a fan of Fluxbox I spent the majority of my time there. I didn’t love the way it looked but some tweaking got it to a point where I rather like it. The next thing I found was there is a ton of junk installed. While some people may like this, I don’t. This meant time spent removing programs. However, another cool thing I found is the metapackage installer. It makes a nice, simple way to get the programs most people want installed quick and easy including things like Spotify, Google Chrome, Steam, etc. I then jumped into the Control Panel, it is a nice central spot to edit most things. It is so-so though. While it puts most things you need to edit in one spot, it is very basic in what it does. The most noticeable thing I found was the wallpaper picker was quite spare and didn’t even have an option for tiling. Back to the good stuff, iso-snapshot. It is more or less a Remastersys for antiX. This is one of those things I wish every distro had. Let me tweak things to exactly where I want them then I’ll create and backup or distribution ISO that I can install on other PCs. I’ve used Remastersys for years and started using PinguyBuilder in the last few distro release cycles. For benchmarking hardware these can be great as it removes OS differences from the equation making it so you can compare machines apples to apples.
Back in December I was looking for something to do with my old HP Pavilion dv2500. Then in January I took Solus for a roll in a VM. I ended up being really impressed with Solus. So impressed I decided I wanted to find some real hardware for it to live on. Well things worked out and I now have Solus on my dv2500. It is not the fastest machine due to the fact it is about 10 years old but I works rather well. It actually works good enough that I don’t mind pulling out this laptop and using it for a bit now. The install was simple but I had no wifi and like most other distros it thought I had a 2nd screen attached. The wifi was a quick fix with the hardware manager. I clicked the Broadcom wireless, told it to use it, then an install and reboot later I was in business. The 2nd screen issue required me to open the display program and turn off the 2nd screen…pretty easy. Again I am completely impressed how a young, independent distro could work so well. I thought for sure it would fall short on hardware support but so far so good.
It seems like I keep hearing about this distro so that means I had to take if for a spin. Right off the bat things were looking good. Ubuntu LTS base, up-to-date KDE, and minimal preinstalled software. The install was quick and painless. After rebooting back into the installed distro I was notified that I had updates available. The software updater is decent and ran without a problem. The only issue I could find is with the logon/lock screen and I know this affects all KDE distros. If you set the wallpaper and user image, the logon screen shows the wallpaper but not the user image and the lock screen shows the user image but not the wallpaper. It’s a small quirk but it is rather irritating. That aside, this distro is pretty great and it has earned its way into my list of distros I want to try on real hardware.
Going into this I thought there was no way the Raspberry Pi 2 would handle this. To my surprise it was ok…mostly. Loading the sdcard was easy; dd, boot, resize, done. After getting the base setup I ran updates, changed the password, and was ready to take it for a spin. Things worked rather well. I was able to quickly flip through the system and only stumbled into minimal issues. Issue #1 Manajaro Settings Manager took some convincing to get to open. Issue #2 Clicked the user avatar, mugshot not installed, tried to install mugshot, not in the repo. Minor issues though, no showstoppers. Then it happened. I opened Chromium, signed in to a Google account, the opened a Google Sheet. 1st try after a couple minutes it crashed. 2nd try it worked but required a couple minutes of waiting. While I am liking Manjaro on the Pi I think I’ll have to put this sdcard in the Pi3 because the Pi2 struggles when trying to do real things.
I’ve been using Raspberry Pi since the original came out and I have tried a lot of different setups but none I find as good as this. RetroPi was a quick setup on the SD card, I then configured my XBox 360 controller’s mapping, and loaded ROMs. After playing a few games I realized I had to swap the mapping for the A and B buttons. I’m not sure if this goes for all XBox 360 controllers or if it is because I am using an off brand controller. Either way it was not a big deal. Since getting it setup I have played a number of NES games, some Genesis and SNES games. What I have put the most time into though are PSX games. I have completely played through a handful of games for PSX without an issue. In fact, so far the only issue I have had was with N64 games but I have only tested one game so far. The only downfall I find for RetroPi is that it does not play PS2 games. I get that that is asking a bit much but after using RetroPi, looking at my dusty PS2 sitting next to it makes me want to play those games as well.