Upgrading to Fedora 28 from Fedora 27

Upgrading is slow but definitely worth it.

I am presently upgrading from Fedora 27 to Fedora 28, which as of writing just came out.

At the stage I am at now I have already undertaken all of the command line instructions and have rebooted the computer. The system has started the upgrade process in the reboot. It’s taking a while but I think it will be worth it.

In the meantime, I am without my computer. So I’m using my new Pixel 2XL phone to dictate this article. It makes a few mistakes but that’s ok.

I was once a big fan of rolling Linux distributions but sometimes found them unstable. Sometimes certain programs would just stop working, or the whole OS, which is part of the deal with rolling distributions. I always thought I wanted the bleeding edge of Linux software, something you can get with rolling distributions.

What what I found, however, was that I really didn’t have the stomach or patience to wait for those programs that stopped working to start working again or go through tedious and confusing steps to get the program that stopped working to work again, or get the whole OS up and going again.

I am no newbie to Linux. I’ve been using Linux since 1998. So in these 20 years I have used most of the major distributions, if not all. Pretty much you name it, I’ve run it.

What I’m using now is Fedora Linux. The reason I decided to go with Fedora is that Linus Torvalds uses it and he is the creator of Linux.

Furthermore, I discovered, unlike some other non-rolling distributions, Fedora Linux can be upgraded to the next version without reinstalling the whole software. Meanwhile, you get regular updates so your programs stay fairly bleeding edge.

Upgrading Fedora from one version to the next can be done easily either from the command line or from inside the desktop environment, (which in my case is KDE).

That’s what I’m doing now. I’ve upgraded, or rather am still upgrading, Fedora 27 to 28, all from the command line. It’s easy to find instructions how to do this by a simple Google search, or if you prefer, DuckDuckGo.

At a certain point in the installation procedure the computer automatically restarts to begin the actual update process. That takes time. Be prepared not to be able to use your computer for about 45 minutes or so, which explains why I’m dictating this article on my phone rather than typing it on my computer.

So if you’re thinking of upgrading, by all means do so. Just search Google for “upgrade Fedora 27 to Fedora 28.” Be prepared that this will take some time but it will be worth it in the end.

The process is now complete. My computer is back to normal. Everything is as it was but under the hood is the new Fedora 28 version of Linux.

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.

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.

Disappointment in Manjaro Linux

I’m really disappointed by Manjaro Linux. Not the distro, but the people. The forums.

The problem with rolling distributions of Linux is they can break. The cool thing about rolling distributions of Linux is you always have the latest greatest software, even if it doesn’t work.

Let’s take a look at Arch and the Arch derivative Manjaro. Manjaro is steady.

Take another look. Manjaro Linux forums are as unfriendly as the Arch forums. The entire line suffers from antagonistic people who, if they look at other derivatives they are scorned.

You may think a distro, or derivative, community is not important, but eventually, if you settle somewhere, you’ll need to talk to people who run that derivative.

Look away.

Arch people hate non-Arch people. Manjaro people hate non-Manjaro people.

Go with Antergos.

It’s a derivative. It’s solid. It works. The forums are small, but non-critical.

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.

Manjaro – getting volume up/down to work on your Linux system

I’ve been having a problem getting my volume up/down/mute keys on my keyboard to do anything at all with the volume level of my Manjaro Linux computer.

After much research I came up with a solution that works for my computer, and I will document it here for my future reference and anyone else in the Linux world who needs this information.

Originally, on askUbuntu.com someone asked, “When I press the volume up/down keys on my keyboard, the volume changes too much. How can I make the step size smaller so that I have finer control?”

This topic was close to what I needed. In my case I needed the keyboard volume up/down/mute to do something to the sound. It wasn’t.

I found the solution way down in the discussion. This solved my problem and even after repeated reboots still works.

This easy solution works and does not require CCSM.

You will not have on-screen volume bar action when you use the keyboard shortcuts, but you will have however fine-grained volume control as you wish.

  1. System Settings > Keyboard > “Application Shortcuts” tab
  2. At the bottom click the “+ Add” button
  3. The “Shortcut Command” dialogue pops up. Where it says “Command” type
    amixer set Master 2%+

    Experiment with the percentages. You may ned to go more or less than 2% at a time. The “+” increases the volume by that amount.

  4. Assign a key or key combo: Select a shortcut and press the desired key on your keyboard (volume up).
  5. Click OK and follow step 1 -3 for each of the following two set of commands:
    Name: Volume Down
    Command: amixer set Master 3%-
    Name: Volume Mute
    Command: amixer set Master toggle

After this, when you use your keyboard volume controls you should have whatever volume increments you specified. You can always go back to the original behavior by disabling your custom shortcuts and re-enabling the premade ones in the “Sound and Media” category.

Musings of an Amuser

This is a wandering article. It’s about the flu, my computer, and software.

As I write, I’m sick with what I think is probably the flu. Probably, because I haven’t been to the doctor. I will probably go to the doctor before I have to go back to work so I don’t have to go back to work so I can get better.

In the environment of my work place I am exposed to many people. Some of those people have confirmed cases of the flu. It’s likely I contracted the flu, if that’s what I have, from there.

Oh, I’ve had the flu before. I have aches and pains, my muscles and joints ache. I have a fever of about 100 F. My nose is stuffy. I sleep all day and all night. The glands on my neck are swollen. My head is in a fog. I have no energy.

I think it’s probably the flu.

I sit here in front of my computer because I can’t stay on the couch in the living room all day. I try flipping through Facebook or Twitter, but my head is in a fog. I feel awful.

I’ve got some minor glitches with my computer which, for the last several days, is running on Ubuntu Studio. Most annoyingly, the volume control on my keyboard isn’t controlling the volume control of whatever comes out the speakers. If this were Linux Mint it would be okay, but it’s Ubuntu Studio. There’s several fixes I found when I Googled them, but I’m sick and don’t have the concentration or energy to do anything about it.

I did think about going back to Linux Mint. It wouldn’t be hard. I could do that even if I was sick. But I’m happy in the Ubuntu environment for now. I do miss the software repositories. I do miss a lot of stuff. It wouldn’t be much different. I’d be using the same desktop environment, xfce.

So what is it that I want to stay away from Linux Mint for now? I’m not sure.

I guess I don’t want to be held in a box, backed into a corner, with no other options. I’m a “computer freedom” guy. It’s why I have a different operating system on my computer than most people who run the boring and security flawed Microsoft Windows.

So here I’ve been in the Linux world for years. I use an Android phone, Android being built upon Linux. iPhones being built upon Unix-like just like BSD. Windows phones, fortunately, never really took off, but Windows still dominate the computer world. Most people who use a laptop or desktop computer don’t even know that you don’t have to be restricted to running Microsoft software. You don’t have to pay for software. And why pay for vulnerable software anyway? You don’t have to.

For a couple years recently I went without my desktop. When I started this blog, I wasn’t using a desktop. It was all done from my tablet or Samsung Galaxy S6 phone. Eventually, however, I realized that I’m a touch-typist. I can type about as fast as I can think and I don’t have to look at the keyboard. I look at the screen. These words were typed looking at the screen, not the keyboard. Everyone should learn how to touch-type. It’s great. So touch-typists need a keyboard. I revived my computer and here I am. Inside Ubuntu Studio.