The monitor also rises

Looking to solve my monitor issues,
I downloaded Kubuntu which I use on my main PC. At the same time I chose to download Manjaro Linux.
I added their ISOs on to DVDs and loaded the live view.
First up Manjaro KDE edition the screen settings gave me the option to have two screens and two separate resolutions.
Kubuntu the experience was he same as Manjaro.
Manjaro KDE 1
Kubuntu KDE 1
Linux Mint KDE 0
I installed Kubuntu to the hard drive. Configured the base software.
I was not informed that there was no desktop effects available like Mint Linux.
Kubuntu KDE 1
Linux Mint KDE 0
While doing this I thought I should install Manjaro on the second hard drive and give it a chance.

Installing Manjaro was OK the software told me it was beta but it worked OK.
I was informed that there were updates available (>100 packages). I checked what was available in the repository. I was surprised I searched for a number of items but was not really able to find anything. There were 3 search options one did not even change the output at all.
Then I chose to update and 90 minutes later it was still updating. Now slow internet was not the issue that bugged me it was the fact that only the current item update progress was given. I had no idea where I was in the whole chain of updating was I near the middle or the end. I could have gone through and tried to count them but why?
Finding packages and installing software.
Manjaro KDE 0
Kubuntu KDE 1
Kubuntu was the clear winner for me. But I was still sort of missing Mageia.
These were all first impressions.

“Sabayon, you’re cut.” And now I am a KDE convert.

I had to remove Sabayon from my system. Sorry, I just had to.
It lasted until sometime in November, but eventually it was driving me nuts and I just could not take it any more.
Whilst it was not the worst Linux I ever used (I would probably pick it over Ubuntu with a unity desktop). I found I spent more time trying to configure it than using it.
Well, sometimes you have to suffer and then good things happen. On my workshop computer I installed Mageia 3. Given that the workshop computer is really old I was impressed by how fast it ran, considering it was using KDE.

I installed Kubuntu, and as per my install of Mageia on my workshop computer, I was very surprised at how it had matured, become usable and was quick to load.

The thing that drove me mad with Sabayon was the installers for packages Rigo and Entropy. There were too many manual things to remember to do. Trying to find a package in that lot was irritating. I hate it when something is stripped of all functionality in the name of being light weight and fewer buttons etc, but made it more difficult and less functional (sort of like Gnome 3 and Unity).
The final straw was when an update came through and screwed up my system. I did not pay attention to the type of update clicked OK and then it went and installed a Kernel update.
This then broke all sorts of things that were previously working. I still had not got some programs to work and I seemed to be going round in circles. I wrote previously about how I screwed up my system; well this time it was Sabayon. As I was trying to do something I needed a distro that would allow me to do that and not spend all my time trying to fix things – I need something that was better (for me).

Sabayon first thoughts

A few weeks after backing up my main desktop, I started looking around to find another distro to take the place of Korora Linux.

When I had Korora on my computer I was tri-booting between Windows 7, Korora and Linux Mint 14. The Korora installation was an LVM style installation (setting this up was the source of my main issues I had with Korora).

One of the presenters on the MintCast podcast was always talking about Sabayon and how good it was. I have never used a Gentoo based distro and after giving a Fedora-based distro a chance last year I thought I should give Sabayon a try. Then when my Linux Format magazine turned up, Sabayon was the featured distro on the disk and it was not the Gnome version (Bonus!).

I installed it right into the same LVM area as used by Korora and kept my Linux Mint partition untouched. This went very smoothly – it found the LVM partition easily.

I have to say first impressions were good. The CUPS and the printer driver installed easily (and it actually tells me my ink levels). It seemed to recognize my dual monitor setup immediately and all I had to do was un-mirror the screens.

I went looking to install my base applications – Skype, Thuderbird, Google Chrome, Redbook, password manager etc. I used it for about a week. All was good until I realized that Sabayon (and perhaps Gentoo) is not really as mainstream as I was used to.

There was no direct install package available on the Codeweavers website for Sabayon or Gentoo. I tried to follow the instructions for the generic install and it just was not happening. I bypassed this and continued to look for other software. There is a lot of software available and the thing I noticed most was I started to dislike Rigo. At first it seemed like a good fast package manager, but I realized as I started to look for something like “editor”, that I could not order my search or define the fields where it should look. To make matters worse I could not figure out what order that they were in because it was not alphabetical.

It is touted as the equivalent of a Google search but it is not. It is too minimalistic. It could be better by adding a few features. I have added Entropy as an alternative. I tend to look there first however I have found that depending on how I put the search term in it will sometimes not find items either. This is perhaps the most frustrating thing about Sabayon.

A year of Korora linux

As the 1st of July comes along, I find myself preparing for a major backup of my computer. I installed Korora 17 Linux a year ago and now it is coming to the point where support is ending.
If it were a rolling release I would have stayed and just upgraded to the newer version.
However it is based on Fedora 17 which is not a rolling release and now it is time to look around for another Linux.

My experience with Korora was not terrible. Yeah that sounds bad, but it is not meant to.

I did have to do some extra configuration at the beginning to get it to work. I do have a tri-partition and that was the reason why it took some setup.

I do not really understand SElinux it keeps randomly popping up with cryptic reasons for everything.
I do not like YUM, as it is not as nice as how it is handled on Debian distro’s.
I was ready to ditch the Korora due to the Gnome 3.4 desktop that it came with originally. But then I got Cinnamon to work and now I hardly ever use Mint.

Korora is to Fedora what Mint Linux is to UbuntuDebian. Korora gets a 8.5/10 score.
I enjoyed Korora Linux but I am on the lookout for something new, once I have finished backing up.

The addiction is not satisfied

I spent the weekend updating and installing Linux on my workshop computer, amongst other things. I then turned to my EEEPC.

For a while I knew that somewhere along the way that my EEEBuntu installation was screwed up. I think that some upstream updates had come through that were not compatible with the EEE701. EEEBuntu seems to be moving away from ‘EEE’ and ‘Buntu’ and has changed its name to Aurora. Seems more ‘cloud-y’ to me and maybe not really what I want  (I will wait to see what people say).

I read some reviews, and Slitaz and Ubuntu Netbook Remix caught my attention, so I got my pendrive and loaded them up.

Slitaz was quite good but I am lazy and would need some time to get the wifi working. The thing is, whilst you can connect to the internet with ethernet you do need wifi with a netbook some of the time.

Ubuntu Netbook Remix to be honest seems like a vertical version of the ‘baby’ Xandros that came with the EEEPC701, except it also had some of the classic desktop available if you need it. The next step was to write to the internal memory card. That seemed to be easier this time around.

The one thing I find that is odd is that every time it starts up, it states that my battery is no good. I started looking for replacement batteries, since it is several years old now and it does seem plausible. However I had not seen the message prior to the install and the EEEPC and Slitaz did not mention anything about the battery. So I thought maybe I should test the battery life. I uplugged it and left it running. 2+ hours later I concluded that the battery life was reasonable for a computer that is this old.

Everything else  seems that it is working for me right now, so I will leave it for a while.

That was a BSD of an installation cage match

So six months had rolled around since my last install, it was a long weekend and the need to install a new variant of Linux came over me.

I felt it was time to update my workshop computer. It is an old Pentium 3 Dell Optiplex Gx something with 512Mb Ram but has a 250Gb drive that I added about a year or so ago (I bought the drive for my wife’s computer without checking the type first and then discovered I had bought IDE).

Of course that means about 232MB that are actually usable but it seems a shame to waste so much space on one distro again so I started by looking at live cd’s of what I thought were lightweight distros. The Dell has some sort of weird Intel video chipset that seems to screw up a lot of distributions.

I started by looking through my recent Linux format magazine disks and saw Mepis and Mint 9 Isadora. I downloaded PCLinuxOS2010  and, for a change, I thought I would check out BSD (or at least PCBSD). I had been reading a review and it peaked some interest.

PCLinuxOS had some video issues and I could not fix it while using the live disk so I rejected it. Mepis worked except for the same video issue but was fixable. Mint found the correct resolution straight away.

Mepis is predominantly KDE based and, to be honest, it was the nicest looking implementation (if that is the right way to describe it) of KDE 4 that I have seen. BSD took several goes to actually boot. The first failure was because the disk was corrupt. Then I had to play around a bit in the menus and ultimately install it to get it to work.

I decided I wanted to try to triple boot Mepis, Mint and BSD. I first installed Mepis and Mint and left a space for BSD, (about 70, 70 and 90GB split). BSD took just over an hour to install whilst Mint took just over 20 minutes. Mepis was about 5 minutes slower than Mint to install.

Mint and Mepis worked fine together and then at some point I clicked so BSD would overwrite grub. When I rebooted I had the menu for BSD, Mint and Mepis. The downside here is that the first time it did actually work, but when I rebooted the menu did not actually accept input. No matter what I pressed it just added a # character. BSD would take over another hour to install, just too much time to mess around if it then did not work, and so BSD was voted off the island.

I reinstalled Mepis and Mint together, 116GB each. This is where I got a chance to really look at Mepis. When it was on the live CD it seemed faster than once it was actually installed. It seemed pointless to keep Mepis when I could just put Mint (Gnome) on the disk and then install KDE as an option at boot up, so that is what I did I also installed (Mint XFCE) Well I have plenty of space.

Leaving Deb-by for openSUSE-ie Part 2

It took several hours to download the 4.2GB file, check the file and burn it to a DVD.
Installation was very similar to before except the screens looked older, and not quite as flashy.

The other difference I noticed is that I was given a choice to install Gnome, KDE or other. I chose to install Gnome.

The video card setup was quick.
First I was going to customize the desktop – I tried to enable Compiz fusion.
It popped up a message that moaned that my hardware configuration was not capable of running Compiz.
I ignored it and surfed the web for a while I noticed that the screen fonts were corrupted and looked odd like empty lines running through my text.

After some thought I went to the openSuSe website and with some digging I found an article that said for the HD3450 card it was recommended that I install the ATI drivers. I then found the one click install. Yes one click and it was installed.
This is where I held my breath because five months ago I did this with Linux Mint and it would not enable multi-display.
But OpenSUSE just worked. I identified the screens and found my screens were switched around so I moved the configuration around but after doing that and rebooting several times, a quick trip under the desk and switching the cables solved this.

Compiz now was now smiling and I could now zoom my window and flap my pages.

I installed the codecs and this time sound was working fine.

Next on the list was gPodder, a great podcatcher, and a newer version came with openSUSE. I really like the new features in gPodder

I was able to install Giver, a simple file sharing program that I use to pass files around over the internal network with other computers.

Finally my configuration was finished once I updated my user profile for Firefox and Thunderbird.

I’ve jumped in with both feet. I have my core utilities installed; now to explore YAST and the other features.