Why Xubuntu – Another Reason That Might Surprise You

I have written about a lot of Linux distros, and they’re all great in their own way and for a whole bunch of varied reasons. Sometimes I would try one out just to try something new. More often I would “distro hop” (change my Linux operating system from one distribution to a different one) because of other Linux users (hereafter “‘Nixers”) reviews and opinions. Sometimes I hopped to get away from systemd, which other ‘Nixers have written horrible stuff about, like “they’re watching, they’re spying, they’re gathering info, and systemd will eventually become Skynet and wipe out humanity!” I’m already scared of technology by nature, but all the fuss over systemd (used in most Linux distros now by people a lot smarter than I kinda freaked me out and I binged on distros that aligned against the coming takeover of human society by the Robotic Overlords.

I have already described why I love this distro, Xubuntu. But in this post I want to go beyond the user experience, and explore another compelling reason that I have settled on Xubuntu and expect to stick with it.

Sometimes I read blogs from other ‘Nixers who railed against Linux distributions made by corporations hoping to profit from free and open-source software (FOSS). How dare they! Profit is evil! The pursuit of money leads to all kinds of evil, exploitation, and ecological disaster! Red Hat, IBM, Oracle, and Canonical among others, all create and give away great Linux operating systems for desktops and servers. There’s nothing in the GNU license, under which Linux is offered, that forbids anyone from copying, modifying, selling, and mixing up Linux any way they please. Yet many ‘Nixers seem to be awash in anti-corporate and anti-capitalist sentiment. They insist that any decent Linux OS must be created and maintained by volunteers supported by donations from users, period. Yet look at what many of these volunteers supported by donations are building on: Corporate Linux! How many Ubuntu-based spinoffs are there, all asking for donations to “improve” Ubuntu with some unique software and shiny wallpaper? How many from Fedora, same thing? It seems so hypocritical. Using Ubuntu as a base and relying on Ubuntu’s software repositories, these spin-offs claim some higher morality? Pfffft. Use Debian as a base, then. Use Arch as a base, or Slackware or any other “non-corporate” distro to improve upon and release as a “new” distro (or “distrolet,” as I call many of them).

Now consider why Ubuntu is far and away the most popular “base to build a new distro on.” There’s always Debian, from which Ubuntu is based, and it’s not an evil profit-seeking corporation. But noooooo, they build their distro on Ubuntu. Why? Because Ubuntu has vastly improved upon Debian, from the easiest installation software ever devised to whatever “non-free blobs” they have added to make Ubuntu “just work” on a huge variety of hardware. The “evil profit-seeking corporation” that developed and maintains Ubuntu has done a heckuvalot to improve on Debian, and it’s so very much easier to build a new distro on than Debian is.

So: Why Xubuntu instead of Debian, Slackware, Arch, or Mandriva? Because of the amazing work and innovations of the corporation behind it, for one thing. Also because it is officially supported by that corporation, yet community-developed at the same time. It’s not going to disappear when it’s “lead developer” gets sick, dies in a car crash, or has a stroke and can’t work anymore (like almost every other non-corporate Linux distro). And because it is built from Debian, great grand daddy of distros, which is also backed by a large community and not just one guy or one small group.

The Lead developer of Xubuntu at present is also a developer of the wonderful Xfce desktop! Both projects benefit from sharing developers. Under the hood (or bonnet, for you chaps on the other side of the pond), it’s Ubuntu. But only minimally so. Updates are far less frequent on Xubu than on it’s flagship Gnome-desktop counterpart, and updates don’t seem to break things on Xubu. I’m using a well-broken in Long Term Support release of Xubu, so it’s far less prone to having an update break anything.

So if you’re a ‘Nixer because you’re an anti-capitalist left-leaning FOSS zealot, you’ll hate this post, and you might hate me for writing it. But if you’re a ‘Nixer because the locked single-vendor system of Microsoft or Apple has let you down, try Xubuntu.

Political Linux

Omy.  I’ve written before about how it seems that GNU/Linux and many free open-source projects seem to attract people with a politically left-wing bent.  It’s certainly true on Diaspora /Friendica/Hubzilla/Mastodon etc., where my Stream (feed) was full of anti-capitalism, Trump-hate, Antifa, and even Nazi propaganda.  I blocked and/or ignored many more people on Diaspora than I shared with because of all the politics in that network.  But Linux is supposed to be largely neutral politically, right?

I remember the Great Linux Mint Political Train Wreck and how they quickly tried to bury it after a bunch of people who support Israel (as I do) and saw that part of their donations to Linux Mint may have ended up in the hands of anti-Zionist groups because the Lead Developer donates to them.  Mint is a fantastic distro, and to it’s credit, did not mix it’s lead developer’s political views into the distro’s content.  But Mint suffered a setback when it’s official blog posted an anti-Zionist political piece.  It made it look as though Linux Mint officially endorsed the so-called “Palestinian” cause.

Now we have AntiX, the sister distro of MX-Linux, truly mixing politics into it’s official software distributed to users.  MX-Linux is avoiding that, but because they share the same developers, both distros may suffer from unintended consequences of AntiX’s political mixture.  The lead developer of AntiX calls himself “Anticapitalista,” which suggests he opposes capitalism.  But that’s not enough, not this time.  Now by default, included in the .iso of the distro,  are several anti-Zionist bookmarks!  If you happen to be an avid anti-Zionist, you probably have no problem with that.  But if you install antiX and discover these bookmarks when you open the browser for the first time, you’re going to wonder if this is some kind of malware or something!

Have a look at this reviewer’s take on the matter:

 

This is enough for me never to recommend antiX for older computers anymore.  And it sours me a little bit on MX-Linux as well, though not enough to stop recommending it, since they have remained above the fray, refusing to mix their political views into the actual software of the distribution.  AntiX’s choice is worse than Linux Mint’s!  When any open-source project gets so political that the line between the product and the politics is crossed, they lose my support.  Whether it’s left-wing or right-wing stuff, politics and FOSS projects should never mix.

 

New Computer in Seconds

Okay, so I found this advertisement online: It’s safe to click the link, but not to completely believe everything you find here:

https://thiswentviral.net/make-your-computer-like-new/

It’s just whatever Linux distribution on a bootable USB thumbdrive. I’ve been making those and giving them away to people literally for years! The price is kinda high, and I don’t think a 300% markup is arguably within the terms of the GNU license. And there are going to be booting issues sometimes, no matter what distro they’re using. It’s not some new revolutionary “device” either. Just a thumb drive, available at any corner store for a nickel ninety eight.

However, the idea is kinda clever. People who would never ordinarily consider using Linux might see this and think, “gee, a new computer for twenty bucks? Why not!”

Newly Installed Xubuntu 18.04

Ah, I can relax now. I’m back home, and it’s as warm, cozy, familiar, and easy as I remember. And the neighborhood is lovely, upscale but not snobby and uptight.

Home is Xubuntu, of course. I’ve been away a long time! But this is just exactly the way I remember my home distro, except that it seems a little slower than before. That might be just because the last time I was here was before systemd and all that extra junk was foisted on users. But I think I can speed things up a bit with the usual little things, like turning off services I don’t use, adjusting the “swappiness,” maybe going back to Seamonkey instead of the usual separate Firefox and Thunderbird applications.

This time instead of the usual Xfce panel with launchers on the bottom, I thought I’d throw a liiiiiiiiittle bit of eye candy in, so there’s Cairo Dock with weather applet, analog clock applet, and silly bouncing effects when you mouse over them and click them. Yet it’s lightweight, and just prettier than a plain ol’ Xfce panel. And I like that 3D shelf thing.

Lots less bloat than Linux Lite, and all I added was Synaptic Package Manager, because it’s what I’m used to and I think it’s better than “Software Center.” I added SystemBack and MintStick, just because they’re super-simple graphical tools for formatting and writing images to a USB drive, creating restore points and allowing me to make a bootable and installable copy of my installed system and write it to a pendrive. All done in under 40 minutes. On Debian this would have taken me a few days!

But this is Xubuntu. Almost perfect as-is, right out of the box, saving me lots of work and letting me get right to work, doing what I love.

The Linux desktop’s last, best shot — 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. Windows 7’s clock is ticking. It has six month left before Microsoft ends free support for it. That’s not news. We’ve known that for ages. But, […]

via The Linux desktop’s last, best shot — debexpert