A new Linux distribution is here with a new init system

Can Arch Linux be Systemd-free and Fast as Light? Read on!

systemd-free linux community

For those who have never heard the name of the distribution and have not researched the late and current differences of init systems and service management and supervision, this may be a shock and major news.  For those who have really done their research, they have gone beyond the pop-ular polarization and fallacy of “systemd vs sysvinit” , there is nothing new here to read …

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Slackware – Stable and Current

Just as Debian has it’s Stable branch and it’s Testing branch, Slackware has them too. Except in Slackware, the last official release is Stable,” and what you might call the “Testing” branch is called “Current.”

Wanna try the latest cool stuff on Slackware but you’re not very geeky? Try Slackel! It’s the sibling distro of Salix, only it’s based on Slackware “testing/unstable” instead of the stable branch like Salix is.

More good news! If you liked Crunchbang Linux and/or Bunsen Labs Linux, there’s a new Openbox Live version of Slackel now. Verrrrry geeky, yet a lot easier for us non-technically-inclined folk than straight Slackware Current. Here’s a screenshot:

Find Slackel Openbox here! It’s also available in both 32-bit and 64-bit isos.

Likely to Be my Permanent – and my Only – Linux OS

I have kept Linux Lite and MX-Linux around for a long while, mostly to help introduce new users to Linux. Many of them got started because the Microsoft OS they were used to is such a freakin’ resource-hog that you have to buy a new computer every three years or so just to keep up! Why let a perfectly good working machine go to the landfill because Micro$oft has decided not to support it anymore, right? So, Linux to the rescue, right?

Nope, not nearly as much as it ought to be. A trip to the Swap Shop finds a dozen or so vendors offering refurbished computers for $40 or so, but they still have Windows and they’re slower than snails. When I used to brag about how Linux could make them run better than new, and without any need for the dreaded terminal, I won a few “converts,” and a few more by cleaning up and donating old computers with a lightweight “newbie-friendly” distro pre-installed. Of allllllll those people I helped, guess how many are still using Linux?

One. Just one. As far as I know, anyway, we lost touch when I moved away. So maybe none! All of them – and we’re only talking a dozen or so – have since traded up to new computers and – one guess – they’re Windows or Mac.

So, my OS is gonna be for ME, not for anyone else. Not to “show off” to others in hopes of winning them over; not on my computer so I can walk others through the steps of configuring, fixing, tweaking, and installing software. Not for the coolest, awesomest, most thrilling visual effects and eye candy I used to care about. No more of that now… my ‘puter is my own, and it’s just for me, and it’s gonna be what I want: Blazing fast, graphical, simple, uncomplicated, and basic. No systemd. No bloat. Nothing I don’t need or want. One application per task, faithful to the old Unix ideal, quaint and outdated as that might seem to others who like the bleeding edge, eye candy, and super gaming capability. Does anyone know of a Linux distro that offers just that, without all the busy bovine excrement that has to be included in the OS just to make this-or-that other thing work that you actually want? One that is still supported and up-to-date without the instability of the Big Major desktop distros? I can think of one. It’s an old faithful standby that has kept my ancient spare 32-bit Dell out of the landfill for over a year now, with no issues. And it’s mind-bending fast on my higher-end 64-bit desktop and laptop.

I’m so disheartened by the fact that all my enthusiasm, “evangelism,” and newbie support for Linux hasn’t actually changed anyone’s mind for more than a temporary short period, that I think I’m pretty much done with all that now. I’ve got better things to use my computer for than just writing about computers, OSes, software, and why these things should matter to people. In fact they don’t matter to most people, and desktops and laptops have largely been replaced by smart phones and tablets now anyway. You like your Chromebook? Cool. Does it matter to most people that it’s Linux-based? Prob’ly not. Does it matter that it’s a Google gadget and it’s likely spying on you and reporting back to the Mother Ship for targeted ads and to predict what you’re likely to spend money on and where you go every day? Apparently not.

Well, it matters to me. And to maybe 2% of all desktop computer users on Earth. The other 98% are content to be carried along, captive to a single vendor and subject to it’s whims. Fine, fools.

I’m moving on.

Moving on from Diaspora the digital ghetto, moving on from trying to convert others to this truly better way of computing and managing applications, data, and workload. I’ll still advocate for Linux and Free Open Source Software (FOSS) when and if the subject ever comes up at school or work or church or hanging out, and here in this blog from time to time when I feel moved to do so and have something interesting to write about that might be of interest to others who appreciate it’s value.

Debian 10 ‘Buster’ Linux arrives — Reshared from debexpert

What’s holding the Linux desktop back? Linus Torvalds looks to Chromebooks and Android for the future of the Linux desktop, while Linux Mint developers aren’t happy with each other. Debian, the most important, truly independent Linux distribution, has just released Debian 10 “Buster”. Apart from Debian, there are many important community Linux distros such as Fedora, […]

via Debian 10 ‘Buster’ Linux arrives — debexpert

Diaspora: A Digital Ghetto

For over three years I have encouraged people to dump Facebook and move to Diaspora. I still say dump Facebook, along with Google, because they’re just evil, and their users become the commodity they sell.

But I retract my recommendation to join Diaspora or any of those “decentralized, free-and-open-source, federated” platforms. There are probably a dozen of them now, all competing and arguing over which protocol to use, what features are important and which aren’t, whether or not to block other instances or “pods,” the definition of free speech, and all the rest of it. The result is a hodgepodge of completely different platforms, some of which communicate with others and some of which can’t. Different interfaces, features, protocols, user bases, filters or the lack of any. I chose to stick with one, the oldest, best known, and most used: Diaspora.

But it’s still a digital ghetto, still full of fragmentation and the same arguments. And users who come from the Big Platforms join only to find the squabbling and juvenile conduct offensive at worst and a waste of their time at best. Following tags you like only shows a half-dozen other users, maybe, most of which have given up and left.

Me too. I can’t recommend any of those platforms in “the Federation,” and I have tried several.

I think I can do better just posting to forums that are dedicated to the stuff that interests me. I think Forums could replace social networks altogether and the world would be a better place.

Mastodon, presumably a Twitter alternative, has no settings or ability for a user to delete his or her account!  You would think that kinda matters, huh?  The best you can do is abandon a Mastodon account.  That’s just stupid design.

Pluspora, a Diaspora pod that was created for users of the now-defunct Google Plus platform, is perhaps the only exception to the general rule that while Diaspora is a great idea, the users generally SUCK.  If it’s not cat pictures and political memes, it’s political shills, porn, and people showing off their pictures of sunsets, flowers, landscapes, etc.  Many Diaspora users left or were kicked off other platforms for antisemitic rants, hate speech, advancing stupid extreme conspiracy theories and fringe cult stuff.   But Pluspora has it’s share of political extremists now as well.

My experienced advice to anyone looking at alternatives to Facebook and Twitter:  Don’t bother with these “Federated” platforms like Diaspora, Friendica, Hubzilla, Pleuroma, RedMatrix, or Mastodon.  Maybe someday they will be worth revisiting, but for now, with rare exception, these “social networks” are a gathering spot for people who have been justifiably expelled from other platforms.  Don’t bother.



Connect Updated Android Phone to Your MX-Linux Computer

Thanks to “Chrispop” on MX-Linux forums for this awesome tip, found here.

t has always been easy to connect Android-based phones to MX Linux by changing the connection mode of the phone to MTP (Media Transfer Protocol) mode. The phone then appears as a drive in Thunar (Xfce’s own file manager). The method is detailed in the MX-Linux user’s manual.

This has changed with the introduction of Android 9 ‘Pie’, as there is no MTP mode available. It has been replaced by ‘File Transfer’, but that does not work out of the box in Linux. Connecting the phone via USB, swiping down, then selecting File Transfer creates an icon together with the spinning ‘mounting’ wheel in Thunar, but nothing else happens. Eventually, Thunar locks up, needing to be killed to regain control.

This is an Android problem, possibly related to permissions, and can be overcome in the following way. (Note that various phone makers customize Android in different ways, and the method described is the most generic I could devise from information online.)

It is necessary to put the phone in Developer mode. To do this, open Settings and search for ‘Build Number’. Once found, tap Build Number several times, and a countdown will begin. Once the correct number of taps is made, you will be asked for credentials – PIN, or pattern lock. The phone will now be in Developer mode, giving access to additional settings. Note that changing some of these settings may give undesired results, so don’t change anything you don’t understand. It is not necessary to make any Settings changes to connect to Thunar; just changing to Developer mode will enable this.

Connecting the phone, swiping down to change the USB mode, then selecting File Transfer should now work correctly, enabling files on the phone to be browsed from Thunar.

The phone can be left in Developer mode if desired. Otherwise, go to Settings and search for ‘developer’. At the top is a toggle to turn Developer Mode back off.

Even with Developer Mode off, the phone will now connect correctly to Thunar, both on the original Linux machine used, or on others.

This was tested using MX Linux 18, and a Motorola Moto(g6) with Android build number PPS29.55-24.

Thanks, Chrispop!