Why Desktop Linux Still Matters

WHY desktop Linux matters: Now more than ever!

Wag 'n Bietjie

A developer coding on a Linux desktop PC.

The fabled “Year of the Linux Desktop” has never materialized, and it likely never will. Does that mean Linux on a desktop PC is irrelevant? Not at all! Desktop Linux is still awesome.
The Year of the Linux Desktop?

Dirk Hohndel, who was then the chief Linux and open-source technologist at Intel, predicted that in 1999, Linux would penetrate the PC desktop market and displace Windows. He’s credited with coining the phrase “the year of the Linux desktop.”

Two decades later, we’re still waiting. Every year or so, an industry pundit will stick their neck out and declare that year the year of the Linux desktop. It’s just not happening. About two percent of desktop PCs and laptops use Linux, and there were over 2 billion in use in 2015. That’s about 4 million computers running Linux. The figure would be higher now, of course—possibly about 4.5 million, which is…

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PCLinuxOS the distribution for everyone without systemd

A less partial review of PCLinuxOS from the folks at systemd-free.

systemd-free linux community

You may think that we gave up and not “producing” anymore, but we haven’t.  We are still at it, but we are not under this “productive” insanity pressure most others live with.  If there is nothing interesting to report we will not waste your time.  When we try various distributions that we either disliked or found nothing of interest, just another tried recipe with a twist of personalization, we just scrap the installation and move on.  Then one day a couple of weeks ago we took on PCLinuxOS.  If that says something, we are still at it, on a HD installation.

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He just wanted a normal life and to be happy.

People have no idea.

Wag 'n Bietjie

Q. What was the cruelest rumor you’ve heard about another kid when you were in school?

answered byRobert Hartford(Studied Building Technology at RMIT University, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology)

There was this boy in my class at school in 7th grade. He was short for his age. He kept to himself and never really mixed with anyone. He always ate his lunch alone on a bench seat which was on the edge of the playground just staring into space. It was like he was in his own little world and nothing mattered to him. I never saw him smile in all the time I knew him.

He would get called all kinds of names that really hurt him deep down. But he never retaliated or showed how much it hurt him, which seemed to infuriate his tormentors.

They were relentless. Mean. One day he stepped in front of…

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Linux Sucks 2020

The annual “Linux Sucks” clog. It’s very lengthy, and you can kinda skip through the slides one at a time to get the larger picture, but listen with your heart and soul to the last 15 minutes or so.

Thar She Blows!

Hey!

You was too stupid to access Bryan’s talk over at lbry.tv? No problemo, here it is on his YouTube channel:

You seen it when I posted the first time? No reason to klikka now, it’s the same widdioh. So go on and enjoy this year’s rendition of Linux Sucks.

Today, until now, 10:12 a.m., is the lamest day in lockdown yet. :/ Maybe another day without my semi-regular prison report?

We shall see.

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PCLinuxOS 2020.01 and XFCE

Good stuff here! This caught my eye both as a Xfce fanboy and a PCLinuxOS user.

www.spagnol.co.uk

My favourite Linux distribution is PCLinuxOS, and I have been using it for years. My favourite Desktop is XFCE. More recently, I discovered another Linux Distro, MX Linux, which specialises in the XFCE desktop. So, the aim of this article is to get XFCE working in PCLinuxOS, as well as, or better, than it does in MX Linux, so I can return home. I shall be listing, in this article, a number of tips to do this. Some will be straightforward and others might need some digging into the system. I hope you can make use of them!

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KDE vs Xfce on PCLinuxOS

Well KDE is an awesome, hungry and bewildering desktop on PCLinuxOS! Timeshift (backup-and-restore utility) refused to let me create a snapshot after two days of work getting it kinda-sorta mostly to how I wanted my configuration. It’s default pdf reader is Krita, which offered all kindsa fancy options, except to simply print the damned thing. Really? Setting up the printer was easy, but keeping it was a whole ‘nother story. It would quit working, seem to set up my printer again, but refuse to print unless I rebooted! What?! The forum is full of wonderful people, but I apparently confused the heck out of them with the way I asked about the Timeshift issue – solved by installing task-xfce and logging into an xfce session. What the hell does the desktop environment have to do with whether or not Timeshift works??

I dunno, maybe I had a bad copy of PCLinuxOS KDE Edition. But a community released Xfce edition is flawless. Everything works, and it’s a helluvalot less confusing. And much faster.

I’ll play with some other desktops in Virtualbox or on LiveCDs when I have time, but in the meanwhile here’s a look at the good ol’ Xfce desktop on PCLinuxOS!

Amazing Awesome PCLinuxOS

Welllll, since I’m leaving the ol’ favorite Ubuntu-based world (Mint, Xubuntu, Linux Lite – all old favorites) to escape the imposition of snaps-by-default, systemd, and a host of other issues Ubuntu is famous for, I decided to give a whole new desktop a try.  As much as I love the Xfce desktop and may go back to it, I’m intrigued by KDE Plasma.

And I just gotta say, Plasma in PCLinuxOS freakin’ amazing, visually stunning, full-featured beyond my wildest imagination, and all very confusing at the same time.  I’ve been at it almost all day today, and I hope I’ll find some kind of “KDE Plasma for Dummies” guide for newbies who have no idea what all these things do.  But this is surprisingly responsive on this modest Dell Optiplex computer with a modest 8gigs of RAM (PCLinuxOS recommends 4 gigs or more for it’s KDE edition).

PCLOSviewThis is a desktop screenshot (sorry it’s choppy, still learning) of my PCLinuxOS Plasma desktop!  Got a big ol’ analog clock and desktop weather like usual, but check out the animated wallpaper!!  Disappearing panel on the bottom (until I mouse over it), then it’s transparent except for the stuff I have on it.  Lots of people use a dock for KDE called Latte which looks and acts kinda sorta like Cairo Dock did, and I might play with that a bit too.

PCLinuxOS doesn’t come with all the gadgets out of the box like this, but I’m just playing and discovered quite by accident that it’s possible to run animated gifs as wallpaper in KDE without using a zillion and twelve terrabytes of RAM.  This is not the resource-hog it used to be!

Soooooo much fun.  And so much to learn!

 

Moving On

My beloved Xubuntu 18.04 is good until next April, but I won’t wait that long to replace it. In my previous post I wrote about the Future of Ubuntu, and have looked closely at the new default package management, snap. The old .deb packaging will still be around for legacy apps and stuff that we all depend on, but the default in 20.04 is snap packaging. To me this will mean a ton of duplicated libraries and cruft, since snaps are kinda-sorta sandboxed and snaps do not share libraries. Bad for those of us who don’t have super-ultra-mega-terrabyte hard drives, right?

Ordinarily rolling-release distros scare me a bit. But even without selectively updating (other than the kernel), there are cool tools like Timeshift that can put things back to a “restore point” in a few clicks and a few minutes’ time. And I dislike the idea of re-installing an OS from scratch and configuring everything the way I want it, adding and removing applications, fonts, themes, and all the rest of it. Updates breaking things has always been a kind of phobia for me I guess, but maybe it’s one that I have overcome with the reassurance offered by super-simple backup-and-restore tools, and the fact that my new distro of choice has a thorough vetting process for updates that filters out a lot of buggy stuff before it hits the stable repositories.

Experimental, beta, or too-new-to-be-proven stuff appears in Ubuntu (and all it’s flavors and downstream distros) without warning all too often. I still remember how buggy PulseAudio was when it foisted upon us all. I dumped it for ALSA with every new installation for months until it wasn’t possible anymore, but by that time it was stable enough. Then Unity. Then systemd. All buggy as hell at the start, but everyone became a tester, like it or not. In a distro intended for newcomers, novices, simpletons, technophobes, and other “ordinary” desktop users, this buggy experimental stuff thrown in as the new default is – well, bullshit. Snaps is the last straw. While I grant that snap isn’t replacing apt for the time being at least, by making it the default, Ubuntu has again brought buggy beta crud to “ordinary” users. No lessons learned from the last several times they’ve pulled this kinda stuff. I’m all for innovation, but let’s not use the LTS versions for that! Enough surprises.

Goodbye again, Xubuntu. Hello, PCLinuxOS!

The Future of Ubuntu (and Ubuntu-based distros)

There are Pros and Cons for everything, but when a distro’s development team makes big changes in policy towards users, there’s always a reason for it, and it’s not always a reasonable choice. Such may be the case with Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux distribution. There’s a big discussion about it going on in their forums (clicky here to have a look). Yes, this matters a lot because it affects every flavor of Ubuntu and every “downstream” project derived from Ubuntu (Linux Mint, Linux Lite, ElementaryOS, and one zillion and twelve others).

Snaps and Flatpaks and such are probably the future anyway, but the vetting of software by a bunch of testers before distribution to users should never go away. But unless you build your own OS from scratch (and some people do), you have to live with whatever the distribution developers decide.

That would be most of us. This “apparent” decision by Ubuntu developers, while probably relieving them of the burden of maintaining packages for their users (and making their job a lot easier and not having to keep package maintainers on the job getting updates to testers and then to users), it also means that we ordinary desktop users could end up as unwitting software testers, trying to find workarounds for broken software. We’re already finding that in instances where the Snap version of a software won’t work but the .deb version from the repository works fine, or vice versa. And that, more than anything else, has been my chief complaint with Ubuntu for years: Making unwitting testers out of novices and newbies without their knowledge (let alone consent).

Read the linked discussion and offer some comments! I’d love to know what some of my Linuxer readers think of this new trend.

How I Graduated Debt-Free — Back To Stable Hill (reblogged)

I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you this, but just in case you were wondering, college is expensive. Even more so now that colleges are increasing tuition because they have lost money due to the COVID-19 pandemic (while forgetting that their students have, as well). So how can you get around the extraordinary […]

via How I Graduated Debt-Free — Back To Stable Hill