Show Notes for Distrohoppers’ Digest Episode 33

MONTHLY FOIBLES ...wherein we discuss what we did this month…

Moss - More car problems. Our new car required $4,000 of our money to fix, and then shredded the timing belt, requiring an engine rebuild. After much consultation, we decided to buy another car, and we found what looks like a good one, with the additional benefit that the lot we bought from also bought our motorless vehicle for sufficient amounts of money to pay off the loan.

I’ve had a lot of trouble keeping going this month. I played a pretty good concert at the convention in mid-May, but had a lot of side issues to the trip. It seems like everything lately has a hidden trap, and I get thrown off enough to need to take more time off, meaning I’m way behind on this script. But the past few days have felt like the pressure is lessening.

Dale - As I mentioned in last month's episode, I re-installed Debian Testing due to an upgrade that partially broke my Nvidia driver. I reverted back to the Nouveau driver and all was well except for using a lower refresh rate on my monitor. I thought I would install the Nvidia driver from Debian’s Sid repository. Well, that didn’t go as planned, as it wanted to upgrade some packages from Sid to satisfy the installation. I used Apt’s apt-pinning configuration, which allows selective package installation from Debian’s Stable, Testing, Sid, and Experimental. My next thought was to manually install the Nvidia driver from the Nvidia website. I ran their installation script and ran into a problem compiling the modules. Apparently, Debian updated GCC with the newer version that Linus Torvalds and the Kernel Dev team moved to. Debian’s default kernel was compiled using the previous version of GCC. So then I thought, well I will just compile a kernel. That lead to another defeat. After about 35 minutes into the compilation, I decided to stop it. I decided this was too much effort to install the driver and would continue to use the Nouveau driver.

In non-Linux-related news, I am moving about 7 miles away. Oh, what fun! Said by no one.

Josh - Well, I got the server at my parents house up and running again. I have ssh access to it and I installed KVM-QEMU onto it so I can remote manage VMs from Virt-Manager on my laptop from anywhere. I am planning on using Tailscale to remote connect to it in the future but that will come when I get time. I also bought a new mini PC called the Green N1. It has a 10th gen quad core Celeron, 8gb ddr4 ram, and 128gb nvme. I am officially breaking my usual naming convention for this little guy and naming it mini me as an homage to the Austin Powers movies. I plan on running Home Assistant, Mycroft, and possibly pfsense as virtual machines on this little guy since it's a fairly capable box. I also bought some smart light bulbs from cloudfree.shop and so far they have been working extremely well.

UPDATES (Where we discuss what we have learned about distros we’ve already reviewed)

Moss - Pearl Linux now has version 11 out. Pretty much the same, hybridizing LXDE and Xfce into something which vaguely resembles a MacOS desktop.

BEAUTIFUL FAILURES - What we tried, and failed, to install or run this month

Moss: I had Ubuntu Mate 22.04 installed. Then I installed Ubuntu Studio, which resulted in a much nicer looking Grub menu, even without being able to clearly identify which Ubuntu 22.04 flavor was on which partition. Then Mate wouldn’t boot. I tried reinstalling it. It wouldn’t reinstall because it couldn’t find an EFI partition to hold boot. Studio apparently didn’t think it needed one, so it didn’t install one. Eventually I had to create a small EFI partition on sdb, and it installed … and then, since Studio still controlled Grub via its non-EFI boot, Mate still wouldn’t boot. So I installed Mint on sda3, which previously held Bodhi. Mint then controlled the Grub, I installed Grub Customizer and ran it, and all is well. I currently have Studio on sda1, Mate on sdb1, Linux Lite 5.8 on sdb2, and Mint Mate on sdb3. I must say, I am disappointed with Ubuntu Mate, it has never previously presented a boot issue. I am also a tad disappointed with the software source selector, which seems new with 22.04. It is harder to find, with less transparency, less information, and perhaps even slower.

Dale: I didn’t have time for computer-related failures, I have been too busy with potential moving failures.

Josh: When trying to create my ssh key pair for my server at my parents house, I accidentally tried creating it from within the server itself effectively turning it into a jump server. I noticed my mistake and corrected it so I could ssh into their server without needing a password.

Reviews.

 

JOSH:

DISTRO NAME: Ubuntu Unity

INTRO: First I would like to say this distro is an amazing feat. Ubuntu Unity was started by an 11 year old named Rudra and that says it all really. I was not even competent with computers when I was 11 so just the fact that Rudra even had this idea is amazing. I respect everyone who works on a distro but Rudra deserves a special kind of respect for getting involved so early. Although Unity is really not my desktop of choice I'm glad that it has such a dedicated and talented individual working on it.

MY HARDWARE: (CPU: Intel Celeron n4000, GPU: Intel integrated 600, RAM: 4gb lpddr3, EMMC: 32gb)

(CPU: AMD Ryzen 5800X, GPU: Nvidia 1650 Super, RAM: 16GB 3200mhz DDR4, SSD: Silicon Power 256GB)

INSTALLATION EASE AND ISSUES: The installation went smoothly just as you would expect with any Ubuntu distro but I did have an issue on first boot. I selected to install 3rd party drivers in the installer and it did not install my Nvidia drivers even though in the command line on the installer it showed it was clearly installing them. I had to go into the additional drivers application and install my Nvidia drivers, and then, when clicking reboot on the additional drivers window the system did not reboot. I had to go to the power menu to reboot the system. Another box I checked was to install updates when installing Ubuntu Unity but on first boot after doing an `sudo apt update` there were 105 updates needed. Finally after all that I looked in the app store and again still more updates to be done both Firefox and the Snap Store needed to be updated. These 2 applications are snaps so they will get automatically updated in 4 hours but still this is to me not acceptable.

POST-INSTALLATION HARDWARE FACTS & ISSUES: After installation on initial boot I could not get Ubuntu Unity to update via a GUI tool. I tried Gnome Software (which is on the taskbar quick menu) and it listed all needed updates but when I clicked restart & upgrade it would just reboot the laptop and nothing actually got updated. I then tried the Ubuntu software store which is a snap package and that would only update the snaps installed on Unity. I then brought up the hub by clicking the super key and typed in update and there were no further GUI updating tools. I resorted to the terminal and did an apt update && apt upgrade and that seemed to work.

I did notice that Unity did remember my wifi password so that was a plus on first boot. I also love that Unity uses slick greeter the same login screen that Mint uses. Another plus was the dark theme Unity uses is persistent throughout the distro other than snap applications but that is to be expected with snaps as of today.

EASE OF USE: I found this distro to be 98% usable by anyone. The only issue I found was actually in Unity's flagship feature, its Hub. When you open the hub with the super key it only shows you some recent applications. You have to go down to the bottom of the screen and click on the Ubuntu application icon to open another section of the hub with categories including installed applications. After getting to this point you then have to expand the installed section to see all the installed applications. To me that seems very cumbersome unless you just know the name of the application you want then you can just type it into the search bar and boom it comes right up. Otherwise this distro would be easily picked up by any new user.

MEMORY AND DISK USE:

10.4 GB of space used on the SSD

872 MB of memory used was reported by free –hm.

EASE OF FINDING HELP: Ubuntu Unity is an Ubuntu distro so finding help is really easy. It gets even easier because they have a dedicated forum for Ubuntu Unity itself and it seems very active. I did not contact anyone myself on the forum but the latest post was 7 days ago so that seems fairly recent to me.

PLAYS NICE WITH OTHERS: Ubuntu Unity played well with Ubuntu proper so I feel it would work well with most distros that use grub bootloader.

STABILITY: This distro was very stable. I had no issues at all in that respect.

GAMING EASE: I installed the steam flatpak because that was the default install I saw when looking in the software center. I installed Valheim, Skyrim, and Resident Evil Remake and all played well. Both Skyrim and RE Remake are Windows only titles using Proton. Valheim is a native Linux game and that worked well also.

SIMILAR DISTROS TO CHECK OUT:

Ubuntu Gnome

RATINGS:

Ease of Installation new user                     9/10

                                experienced user      10/10

Hardware Issues                                       10/10

Ease of Finding Help (Community, Web) 10/10

Ease of Use                                              9/10

Plays Nice With Others                             10/10

Stability                                                     10/10

Works with Games                                    10/10

Overall Rating                                          9/10

FINAL COMMENTS: Although this distro is not my favorite, I still think it's got a good thing going and should definitely keep on trucking. Thanks Rudra!

 

MOSS

DISTRO NAME: Ubuntu Studio 22.04

INTRO: I tried over half the new flavours. Studio is the only one I could actually get installed and running without major issues. So here we are.

MY HARDWARE: I’m using my Lenovo ThinkPad T540p, with a 6th gen i7, 16 Gb RAM, and installed on the 256 Gb SSD.

INSTALLATION EASE AND ISSUES: This installed as smoothly as all of these should have. The installer is still the previous version, which is also identical to what is used in Linux Mint, and anyone who has installed any Mint or Ubuntu will be right at home.

POST-INSTALLATION HARDWARE FACTS & ISSUES:

I am having some trouble booting to it perhaps one time in three. I also had a notice for several days that there was a pending update of the snap of Firefox, but couldn’t get it to do the update. Finally I tried “sudo snap refresh firefox” (about my 3rd or 4th try) and it seems to have worked. The booting issue is odd, in that the failed boot attempts do not load the Nvidia driver and hang up trying to boot to the nouveau driver, which brings me to my login screen with the keyboard disabled. When it does work, I still get an error message that it failed to read GRUB.

I tried my usual games. PySolFC crashed the system and, despite rebooting, never did load.

In another issue, I have noticed that lots of distros help you out by showing what app you have loaded in which workspace. Studio just shows a blank box if you have something open, and a blue box for the workspace you are currently in. Thanks for the help, Ubuntu.

EASE OF USE:

It’s as easy as you’d expect. It’s basically Kubuntu with a low-latency kernel and tons of audio, video, and art tools. The big problem is getting time to learn to use the hyperabundance of tools. I will not be either the first or last person to mention that Firefox as a snap is incredibly slow to load, depending on your hardware. In fact, this entire setup might go better if everything was a Flatpak or a .deb, but I’m sure many of you expected me to say something like that.

MEMORY AND DISK USE:

15 GB of space used on the SSD reported by df -H

864 MiB of memory used was reported by free –hm.

EASE OF FINDING HELP:

There is always help for you when you run Ubuntu. UbuntuForums, AskUbuntu, LinuxQuestions, and any Google Search will find you more help than you need, plus all the Linux Telegram, Discord, and other groups.

PLAYS NICE WITH OTHERS:

The boot problems I have been having do not appear to be caused by a failure to play nicely, but I could be wrong about that. I am using the other distros on this machine without a problem.

STABILITY:

It’s a new LTS, so it probably won’t be completely stable until 22.04.1. But it should be good enough for the people who need to use it. If you need more stability right now, go get 20.04.

SIMILAR DISTROS TO CHECK OUT:

Kubuntu

KDE neon

RATINGS:

Ease of Installation new user                                9/10

experienced user                 10/10

Hardware Issues                                                   6/10

Ease of Finding Help (Community, Web)             10/10

Ease of Use                                                           7/10

Plays Nice With Others                                         10/10

Stability                                                                 10/10

Overall Rating                                                      8/10

FINAL COMMENTS:

I expected a lot fewer problems than I got. Perhaps if it were the sole distro on my machine it might have been better, but it is set up as the primary distro so perhaps not. If you need these tools, but not all of them, you might do better getting Kubuntu and adding what you need. But it has always been nice to know this distro is there, and it works much better with Plasma than it used to under Xfce.

Dale:

DISTRO NAME: Ubuntu Budgie

INTRO: Since I am a fan of Budgie on Solus, I wanted to see how Ubuntu’s Budgie was configured and worked.

MY HARDWARE:

The laptop I used is my Lenovo ThinkPad T460. It has an Intel Dual Core i5-6200U 2.8 GHz CPU, 14" display using Intel HD Graphics 520, 16 GB of RAM, and a 500 GB SSD.

INSTALLATION EASE AND ISSUES:

The Budgie edition uses the Ubiquity installer that is shared among some of the Ubuntu Flavors.

POST-INSTALLATION HARDWARE FACTS & ISSUES:

The mouse doesn’t appear on the screen unless you click the mouse buttons. I can tell the mouse is there because if it goes near the dock, I can see it respond to the mouse hovering over it.

EASE OF USE:

On first boot, for the first minute or so, I didn't have a mouse pointer. After continuing to move the TrackPoint, it finally appeared. I found out that if I click the mouse buttons, the pointer would appear without a delay. That is very odd, I have never seen a distro do that before.

One thing I really like is that the Wifi passphrase was saved from the installation. I wish more distros would do this, it is a very nice touch.

Since this is Ubuntu, I need to address the elephant in the room. The elephant in this case is Snap. Like them or hate them, if you use Ubuntu you have them installed by default. Which doesn’t mean you can’t install Flatpak or use Appimage when you can’t find what you want in the Deb packages.

Snap of Firefox took about 10 seconds to open. During the same session, the Firefox snap opened in 2 seconds which is equal to other native apps.

A window opened reporting Update information. Incomplete Language Support. “The language support files for your selected language seem to be incomplete. You can install them by clicking on "Run this action now"”. With further instructions on how to install them later.

Upon clicking on "Run this action now", a window pops up and reports No Language information available. The system does not have information about the available languages yet. Do you want to perform a network update to get them now?

After clicking install, I was presented with yet another window. It reported The Language support is not installed completely. Some of the translations or writing aids available for your chosen languages are not installed yet. Do you want to install them now? I was then prompted for my password and the installation proceeded.

The Budgie Welcome window opened. It had options to install software and change the theme and layout. There was also an Introduction, features, getting started, and some links to community information. When I tried to click on it, it reported I was not connected to the internet. The odd thing was, that I was connected to the internet.

I also noticed that when I went back to open Firefox, it took 10 seconds to open again, during the same login session.

Another window popped up, this time it was the software updater. It was announced that new updates were available. I had the option of reminding me later or installing now. It also showed the amount in MBs of how much would need to be downloaded. It also suggested that I plugged in my laptop.

Some required theme snaps are available: do I want to install them? I dismissed the popup because I didn't have time to look at it. A couple of days later, I saw the notification listed but it did nothing when I clicked on it. All I could do was remove the notification.

Oddly one popup I was expecting never occurred, namely the Update notification. I went to the terminal to use Apt update and saw a hundred updates available.

The software updater finally notified me of updates after a couple of weeks of waiting. One option very few distros have is the suggestion of plugging in a laptop before installing updates. They also had the option of reminding me later.

A few days later, a popup asked if I wanted to install themes for snap again. This time I proceeded with the install, a prompt for my password came up, then the installation completed.

There is a top panel with the app menu pinned to the left side. You can easily switch between category view and view items as a grid.

Each view had a search entry box. All the regular icons appeared in the system tray on the right side. There were some additions like Quick Note, which is a note taking applet. Another addition is Places, similar to what you would find in Mate. It shows your home folder, documents, downloads, and etc. The Raven menu is at the far right, it is unique to Budgie. Once clicked it shows the left tab by default with a calendar, volume control, any apps with audio playing, and microphone control. In the second tab are your notifications. The way they have the panel configured, there are redundancies like a separate notifications icon that opens the Raven notifications tab. The other is the duplicate time in the center of the panel and the conky like time and date on the lower right of the desktop. They are using Plank, which is a dock with the Budgie Welcome, Software Center, Rhythmbox, LibreOffice Writer and Calc, Firefox and Files.

On the desktop in the lower right is a digital clock with the date below it. The options for it are listed under desktop settings/top panel/applets. It is specifically called ShowTime.

Budgie version 10.6.1 using X11. Kernel 5.15.0-30. Ubuntu backports features from newer kernels so don't let the old kernel version bother you too much.

MEMORY AND DISK USE:

8.5 GB of space used on the SSD

716 MB of memory used was reported by free –hm.

EASE OF FINDING HELP:

I didn’t seek out any help. They are using Discourse for their support forum.

PLAYS NICE WITH OTHERS:

I dual-booted it with LMDE 5. One thing that is annoying, that Moss will agree with, is they don’t name their Grub entry with the specific name of the distro. All they use for the name is Ubuntu.

STABILITY:

I didn’t experience any stability issues.

SIMILAR DISTROS TO CHECK OUT:

Linux Mint Cinnamon

Solus Budgie


RATINGS:

Ease of Installation new user                           8/10

experienced user            10/10

Hardware Issues                                              9/10

Ease of Finding Help (Community, Web)         x/10

Ease of Use                                                     8/10

Plays Nice With Others                                     9/10

Stability                                                             10/10

Overall Rating 9/10

FINAL COMMENTS:

Aside from the random issues I previously mentioned, this was a decent Ubuntu release. The theme is pretty good, a mix of brighter colors while still maintaining a dark theme. If you don’t like Gnome or Xfce but you want to stay with a GTK desktop, I would suggest you try their Budgie spin.

 

NEW RELEASES SINCE LAST EPISODE:

from 05/03 - 06/05

Proxmox 7.2 "VE"

OpenMediaVault 6.0.24

Zevenet 5.12

Linuxfx 11.1.1109

SparkyLinux 6.3

Voyager 22.04.1

Tiny Core 13.1

Fedora 36

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.6

EuroLinux 8.6

AlmaLinux OS 8.6

ALT Linux 10.0

Live Raizo 13.22.05.14

Kodachi 8.22

Kali 2022.2

FreeBSD 13.1

Rocky 8.6

Proxmox 2.2 "Backup"

Oracle 8.6

Ultramarine 36

Peppermint 5-22-2022

openmamba 20220523

Alpine 3.16.0

Clonezilla 3.0.0-26

Pearl 11

KDE neon 20220526

AlmaLinux 9.0

ArcoLinux 22.06.07

LXLE Focal

Snal 1.18

Trisquel 10.0.1

Plop 22.2

SystemRescue 9.03

Batocera 34

4MLinux 39.1

ArchLabs 2022.05.29

NixOS 22.05

Linux Lite 6.0

SmartOS 20220602

Nitrux 20220602

Arch 2022.06.01

Armbian 22.05.1

deepin 20.6

Bluestar 5.18.1

Robolinux 12.06

Tails 5.1

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

We will all, including Tony, be back in about a month. For chatting with us further, you may choose to join our Telegram group, our MeWe group, or our Discord channel.

Josh: I’m @joshontech on most social networks or email me at joshontech@gmail.com, Also you can find me on the CrowbarKernelPanic podcast.

Dale: I’m @Dale_CDL on Telegram and Discord. My email is Dale_CDL@pm.me

Tony: You can contact Tony at distrohoppersdigest@gmail.com, http://hackerpublicradio.org/correspondents.php?hostid=338, Twitter @TonyH1212

Moss: And you can hear me every week on Full Circle Weekly News and mintCast. My email is bardmoss@pm.me, and my Telegram, Discord, Twitter and Mastodon contact info can be found in the show notes, [Moss Bliss on Telegram, @MossHippoLinux #3616 on Discord, @bardictriad on Twitter, @zaivala@hostux.social on Mastodon,] and you can find me, Dale and Dylan, at ItsMOSS dot com.



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