To what extent can you tinker and customize Ubuntu when compared and contrasted with Debian?

Well recently I was using Ubuntu KDE, i.e. Kubuntu. You can customize it to look and feel pretty much like anything you want!

For example, are you tired of the Ubuntu logo rotating as your computer boots? You can change that. Are you tired of the boring login screen when you type your password? You can change that with two programs I helped write. Here they are.

ISS-Sunrise shows the sun rising over Earth while your computer is booting. You candownload it here and follow the instructions in the readme file.

PenguinOfLiberty is an alternative login screen with animation and sound. You can download it here. Again follow the included instructions. They come as zip files. Unzip them by clicking on them. Ubuntu will give you an option to extract the files. Extract them all.

I like PenguinOfLiberty. It shows a statue of Liberty that looks like a Linux Penguin at night. There are little stars floating about and sounds from the city and the ocean sounds you might hear in New York. I spent a lot of time developing the sound track. It annoys my wife whenever I reboot my computer, though!

Here’s a screen shot of the login screen on my computer.

What is the purpose of SteamOS (based on Linux), as there are almost no good games designed for Linux?

If you are seriously interested in gaming, then I who have been using Linux only as my OS for twenty years, recommend you to buy an Xbox or PlayStation.

SteamOS allows many games written for Windows to run on Linux.

The point is that real Linux people don’t run anything exclusively for Windows. Why? Because we don’t believe in it. It’s an ethical issue.

We have a free operating system that we can download and reinstall on as many computers as we want for no money – legally by the way. We have free software that is as good as or in most cases better than Windows programs. Like GIMP – replaces Adobe Photoshop. Kdenlive – replaces video editing programs. BLENDER – which is used by Disney and Pixel to make animated movies. LIBREOFFICE – replaces entirely Windows Office.

It’s not that we migrate to Linux and then try to find a way to run Windows programs over here. It’s that we migrate to Windows and never look back. I have no software made by Microsoft or for iOS and Windows machines on my computer.

And you know what? I’m writing to you. Presently, I’m using Fedora KDE (my version usually changes 2 or 3 times a year).

I have no virus protection software – I pay no money for that ’cause we Linux people don’t need it. I’m saving a bunch of money.

Why I switched from OpenSUSE Tumbleweed to Kubuntu to Fedora

I’ve been doing this awhile – installing Linux on my computer is my hobby. By “awhile” I mean I first started using Linux back in the 1990s. I ran RedHat Linux before it went public!

Let me tell you about my journey from stable point releases to full-rolling distros back to point to point distros and now to Fedora.

Everybody, and I do mean everybody in the Linux world has a million opinions about which Linux OS or desktop environment is best. You can see people arguing this stuff intensely online! I have no intention to try to convince you which Linux to run. I’ve run a lot of them over the years. No sense in naming them.

For stability, I settled on “point to point” distros for years. These included Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSUSE Leap – the list will go on and on, trust me.

The problem is that most of these require you to do a reinstall of the OS when there comes along a major upgrade every six or twelve months or so.

It occurred to me, then to move from Ubuntu Studio (which I was using a year ago) to something completely different. I went with Manjaro Linux, a rolling distribution based on Arch. From there I went to Antergos and stayed there a long time.

Then I switched, just to be different, and went with OpenSUSE Tumbleweed, a rolling distribution that worked great for me. I used it for an exceptionally long time – a few months I believe.

Now, as a Linux hobbyist, I’m always fiddling, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve broken my Linux and had to reinstall! What ultimately happened, though, is that my Tumbleweed system broke all by itself with just a simple upgrade. Then it happened two or three more times and I got frustrated. OpenSUSE Tumbleweed began to look unstable and frustrating to me.opensuse_tumbleweed_01

Said I to my wife (who tolerates me – she runs Windows on her computer), “That’s the problem with rolling distributions. I’m going back to something more stable.

So I went with Kubuntu and was very happy for a long time.kubuntu

After some time, however, I did start to notice that online videos from sources like YouTube, Netflix and Amazon, started to get “choppy,” which was very annoying. I reinstalled and it fixed it, but not completely. You could still detect a slight jerk in the video every 5 seconds. Oh how annoying that became. On top of that I started thinking about that selling point of the rolling distros: “Once you install a rolling distribution of Linux you will never have to reinstall it again.”

Well, I know that’s not completely true, because it can break, but it’s still a good selling point.

Then I started thinking about Fedora, the upstream distribution to RedHat Linux (a commercial version of Linux).

Fedora-Core-400x270

Fedora is a point to point distribution. There are minor security system and other updates, but the base system changes once every six months. And…. get this… you don’t have to reinstall to upgrade from Fedora 27 to Fedora 28 (for example). The whole thing can be upgraded simply from a command line interface.

So here I am. Fedora. (Also I’m using KDE these days, but that’s another journey to tell you about sometime.)

And guess what? The “jerking” of the videos? It doesn’t happen anymore! I didn’t expect that, but my video experience has improved many times over.

Of course, learning things like “dnf” instead of “apt-get” and getting things like kdenlive or ffmpeg working for me took some fiddling, but nothing too difficult and always easy to find help online.

That’s why I’m now using Fedora.

What made you switch from Linux to FreeBSD?

I’ve switched to FreeBSD a few times, and always came back to Linux. FreeBSD is useful for various systems. Now days, you can even run top-notch desktop environments on a BSD system, like KDE and Xfce and others.

It just depends on what you like to do with your computer. Me? I do a lot of video and audio editing, writing, and for entertainment, I like to watch YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Video online. BSD still struggles with Flash and certain other non-free programs.

Mainly this happens because, although BSD predated the development of Linux by Linus Torvalds, BSD and subsequent derivatives like FreeBSD, OpenBSD, TrueOS, NetBSD and so on were stalled by court battles over ownership of the Unix code.

BSDs are descendants of Unix. In fact all BSD and Linux OSes are in a class of operating systems called Unix-like.

They are not Unix, however. All the code had to be rewritten from scratch.

Anyway, while Unix/BSD were held up in courts, Linus Torvalds came along and developed Linux, another Unix-like OS with completely new code. That, coupled with the good people at GNU, make up the GNU/Linux family of operating systems.

Linux took off. BSD, including FreeBSD, is still trying to catch up, and is still a little clumsy for some folks (not all).

So despite trying to go to FreeBSD (and other BSDs) I’m forced to keep coming back to Linux. I’m sure it will change over time. The image below is old (I change OS from time to time). I’m now running Fedora. By the time you’re reading this I might be running something else!

Fedora: Banned?

I recently switched from Kubuntu Linux to Fedora KDE and have really been enjoying it. I tried to join the Fedora Forums today. Later I logged in to the forums to see what was going on and received this message:

vBulletin Message
You have been banned for the following reason:
No reason was specified.
Date the ban will be lifted: Never

What did I do? I’m literally stunned. I hadn’t even posted a message yet! It’s odd and really inconvenient.

This has never happened to me before. I belong to a number of Linux forums, and highlight Linux on this website often.

FOLLOW UP: We have Jim Dean to thank for messaging one of the Fedora Forum’s administrators, who said it had been an error and the problem is now corrected! Thanks, Jim!

Which Version of Linux is Right for You?

Do you know how many times I’ve heard that question asked in the media or various Linux magazines or what not? Too many. So I’m going to tell you KISS, Keep it simple, stupid. That is the philosophy of the Arch Linux distribution, but for those who are just starting out with Linux, I highly recommend Keep it Simple, Stupid by just going with Linux Mint. I use Linux Mint KDE when I use Linux Mint.

Now I’m an experienced user. I’ve used all kinds of distros from Arch itself as well as offshoots like Manjaro and Antergos to Gentoo and Slackware. I’ve used Debian, Ubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu Studio, Linux Mint, SolyXK, Fedora, openSUSE plus I use an Android phone (Android being a derivative of Linux developed by Google).

I’m not talking about installing these operating systems in a virtual box. I’m talking about actually installing it on my computer as my sole and only operating system for weeks, months or years at a time. So I really know what it’s like to live and work in a computer that runs Linux as it’s operating system.

This blog post – posted inside Linux. Although once I was also a kind of Windows XP expert, but I don’t even like, trust or understand Windows anymore. Everything I need is here on my computer and I pay nothing for the privilege of using any software I need. I’ve learned to meet all my needs inside a “Linux box” as we call it.

There’s people going to tell you to install this version or that version, and that’s fine. But if you’re just starting out, go with the most popular, robust and driver friendly version of them all that works right out of the box every time on every computer. Linux Mint.

Bad Blood and Help Vampires in Linux Forums

by Wayne Boyd
April 3, 2017

As you probably know there are about a hundred billion versions of GNU/Linux freely available for download that you can install on your computer, wiping out Windows altogether (or keeping it if you like too).

Some of these versions were started from scratch using the Linux kernel developed and maintained by Linus Travalds in the early 1990’s. It also includes various other pieces of software from GNU and even sometimes proprietary sources. (Android is one of these Linux branches and runs on many, many smart phones.)

There are charts you can look at on Wikipedia about the history of the development of these many Linux distributions (herein called distros), but many of them branched out from some older and often still maintained distros.

The largest family tree is Debian. From Debian come so many versions of Linux it takes up have the chart on Wikipedia. It includes Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu Studios, Linux Mint, Linux Debian, SolyDX, Bodhi,  ad infinitum. No way to do it justice here.

Then there’s the Red Hat branch, and that’s the next big branch. It includes dozens and dozens of offshoots, including openSuse, Fedora, and Lord knows what.

Slackware is a distro with many active branches.

More recently Arch and then later Android (developed by Google) came along.

Arch is a gloves off roll up your sleeves operating system that you install from the ground up with certain command line tools. Unlike other popular distros, after you install Arch on your computer, you wind up with a command line. What you do from there is partition your hard drives with fdisk and start installing the bits and pieces that eventually will give you some kind of functioning desktop computer down the line.

These Arch people are hard core. They have little time for fools like you and me who they call Help Vampires come to suck the life blood out of their efforts. Honestly, though, as someone who has used Linux since the turn of the century (exclusively since 2002), and somewhat familiar with how a Linux system is put together and works, I just don’t want to build a version of Linux from the ground up anymore.

There’s no need.

So along came some branches off of Arch, most notable but not exclusively, CineArch and Manjaro. CineArch was an Arch based distro with a graphical install and which provided the Cinnamon desktop environment. Thus the name: Cinnamon + Arch: CineArch. But when Cinnamon was dropped by CineArch and they went with Gnome 3, they need to change the name of the distro. Thus Antergos was born.

I’ve used both Manjaro and Antergos now, and they are great operating systems that give you a wonderful graphical experience and you don’t have to worry how it was put together underneath the hood.

The Arch people are very quick to point out, despite so many YouTube videos and forum claims, Arch is not 100% Antergos. Antergos has their own repositories and software, their own wiki, their own forums and their own administrators. It is not true that Antergos is just a graphical installation of Arch. Antergos is a full-fledged Linux distro in it’s own right using the Arch framework plus their own tools to build their own operating system.

The Antergos community and their forums are not as populated as the Arch forums, and so a lot of Antergos users, thinking Antergos is just Arch, go to their forum and ask questions. This makes some in that community upset. Many of the original Arch developers have stated their feeling that they should not help Antergos. Antergos should provide their own help on their own forums to their own users.

Life is a two way street, and although much less so, there’s a similar mood from Antergos diehards about the Manjaro people that come to their forums and ask questions about their Arch based distro.

Arch forum moderators get all hot headed and have no tolerance for what they are calling Help Vampires. Help Vampires, they say, come in swarms and completely distract and destroy a well developed online community.

That’s what they think of us – the Antergos community.

So I found bad blood and calls of Help Vampires after reading a prominent article tonight on the Arch user forums. Now I don’t want to go there anymore. Let them have their world all to themselves. Power to them.

I just want a computer that works pretty good, is fun to fiddle with, looks pretty and functions effectively. I’ve got that with Antergos. I recommend it.

That’s my two cents worth. I came here to get away from politics, not to find it.