Testing Linux Lite 6.2 Release Candidate

Testing the Linux-Lite 6.2 release candidate today. First thing of course, will be to dump the stupid default browser (Google Chrome) for an old favorite (Brave, for now). Then my usual desktop customizing and off to the races.

Ubuntu-based, but snapd is disabled, thankfully, as they are in Linux Mint and some other Ubuntu derivatives. Lite Tweaks is a favorite feature of mine on this lightweight, beginner-friendly Linux distro. Point-and-click simplicity to maintain, clean, and update the OS.

It’s a little bit buggy right now, probably not for those who want a ready-out-of-the-box experience. The bottom panel disappeared when I installed my alternate browser and changed the panel to reflect the replacement browser. Once restored, it got to blinking on and off between a black background and my custom choice (transparent). A reboot fixed it. A little bit weird, but theme changes in almost every distro have their little temporary quirks. It’s FAST though! Very responsive, even on my modest li’l ‘puter.

IF YOU WANT FIREFOX, DO NOT INSTALL IT USING LITE SOFTWARE unless you’re okay with snap packaging (the default in Ubuntu, disabled in Linux Lite). Use the Mozilla PPA instead. This warning is visible in Lite Software if you select Firefox from Lite Software. But if you dislike or are the least bit hesitant about snapd, you have other options, external to Linux Lite.

Other than those minor blips, Linux Lite 6.2 (RC1) runs nimbly and quick. Added Z-RAM (from Lite Tweaks) and Preload to speed things up even more. After their first runs, apps load and run at surprising speed for such an old box.

Why the ミ★ Confederate Space Force ★彡 Uses Linux

On my recommendation, the Confederate Space Force has officially adopted Linux for use in all of our starships, satellites, and ground support.

    • Every member of even the Space Force is above all, a rifleman. The last thing we want is to unnecessarily complicate things for even the least technically sophisticated soldier in our armed forces, whether in the infantry, artillery, cavalry, navy, air force, or space force. The primary reason for using Linux is to simplify the user interface and experience of even the most advanced technology. Linux is much simpler and easier to use and maintain than Windows® or Mac.
    • For years the armed forces have been vulnerable to Yankee influence and sabotage through the use of proprietary computer operating systems which are susceptible to viruses and other malware. Linux is far less susceptible to malware.
    • Most software available for Linux is free of cost to the user, saving the Confederacy zillions of dollars. No license fees and none of that other Yankee bovine excrement that drives up expenses to benefit our enemy.

Whether for military use or otherwise, Linux beats the living hell out of the major alternative operating systems available.

If you have thought about enlisting in the Confederate Space Force but have assumed that the technology must be beyond your ability or comfort level as an “ordinary user” of computers, rest assured: Linux makes it easy on even the most technophobic among us (including myself).

Usability, Reliability, and Simplicity

I should claim disability for my techno-phobia or something. It’s paralyzing at times.

Reasons to be Scared of Everything Tech:

  • Systemd
  • Elogind (in systemd-free distros)
  • Google (and Google Chrome)
  • Pulseaudio
  • Snaps
  • Anything else that someone thinks might be spyware/malware

The only way to completely eliminate or mitigate exposure to all these terrors is to just unplug altogether, get off the Internet, lose the cellphone and laptop, abandon anything connectable to a server, and live off the grid. Most of us can’t do that and don’t even want to. We may end up doing that anyway if the “new world order” our leaders are pushing for succeeds. But in the meantime, I prefer to keep my devices that I rely on for paying my bills and living my middle-class life in rural America.

Reasons to Stop Being Scared of Everything Tech:

  • Necessity
  • Possibility
  • Connection with other people
  • Simplicity
  • Reliability
  • Utility

My fear of all these terrors in computing has sent me some wild goose chases along the way, changing operating systems and software to avoid them, and ending up with a computer I can’t even use comfortably, yet still free of unnecessary bloatware* and other stuff I don’t want or need. Even my Xfce-supplemented antiX mixture has extra window managers and menus and special needs (like choosing certain repositories and rejecting others for specific software installation and when updating). It’s unnecessarily complicated and cumbersome without the compatibility of most software that depends on stuff like the dreaded systemd or elogind packages.

What principles can I stick with and what priority should they have when choosing an operating system and software?

The Operating System:

  • Must be Linux or BSD, not proprietary.
  • Must be non-political.
  • Must be as free as possible while remaining functional and easy to use.

Software:

  • Must be Linux or BSD compatible.
  • Must be non-political.
  • Must be free and open-source (FOSS) whenever possible.

To meet these criteria, I really should rule out “politicized” Linux distros like antiX, even though “de-politicizing” antiX is as easy as removing bookmarks from Firefox. It “de-policizes” only my copy of antiX, but I can’t advocate for the OS I’m using! Kinda hypocritical, and I’m supposed to be a man of principle above all.

Then there’s Firefox, which has “gone woke” besides the other big issues it’s having. Firefox is out. So is Google Chrome, because Google is friggin’ evil and I won’t have anything to do with it. I’m still a Seamonkey fanboy even though it’s based on Mozilla and hosted there for the time being, because it is no longer a Mozilla product. It’s independent and therefore non-political. Same for Brave Browser: Based on Chromium (which is FOSS) but not a Google-affiliated descendant of evil geniuses trying to spy on everyone and steal their data.

To stay true to my principles, yet without crippling or severely encumbering my user experience, I could return to an old favorite, Xubuntu-based Linux Lite (which has snaps disabled, thank you very much) and dump that evil default browser and replace it using a PPA.

*Bloatware: (noun) 1. Software unneeded by the user, but required by the operating system 2. Unnecessay and unneeded software not needed by the operating system but not removable from the operating system

SalixOS 15 Beta

Hardly the “dead project” that some people wrongly assumed, Slackware-based SalixOS, which I have posted on before, is still n Beta development and not yet suitable for “mission-critical” use on the desktop. SalixOS attempts to make Slackware suitable for intermediate-level Linux desktop users, with some sweet GUI tools and such. It’s “Linux for Lazy Slackers.”

I think that packaging is going to be a big deal with the new Salix. Appimages and Flatpaks may be the way to go, at least for now, since Sourcery is obsolete now and gslapt-get doesn’t work nearly as well now as it always did in Salix 14.2. Theming breaks the simplest of apps, and it’s trial-and-error to get things working as they should. Even Micro$oft Winblows does a better job of running open-source apps like LibreOffice, believe it or not. SalixOS is definitely not ready for prime time, but then it doesn’t claim to be. Theming, especially if you like dark themes as I do, is still a big problem so far.

My current daily driver remains my own highly-modified Xfce version of antiX, with it’s wicked-kewl tool set and it’s complete absence of twisted systemd and Pulseaudio crap “there as a necessary dependency for other applications but otherwise but not used.” Why fill up the hard drive with all that?

It’s the same issue with Flatpaks, appimages, and snaps on Slackware/SalixOS. Flatpaks and appimages fill up the hard drive with libraries that aren’t shared by all the apps that depend on them. It’s fine if you have a 500-zillion terabit hard drive, but come on already. If the old Slackware philosophy of one application per task remains in effect, but applications don’t share libraries or dependencies, what the heck! I say one library per app is not in keeping with one app per task. Wasted disk space on an aging hard drive is not a good practice. That said, I think that if gsplat-get catches up in Slack/Salix to be like what it was in the previous stable version, Salix will be awesome. So here’s hoping.

With gratitude for those who can handle the testing, and for the careful devs who create and maintain both Slackware and SalixOS, hats off. I salute you!

7 Reasons Why Linux Is Not The Dominant OS On PCs — Renard’s World

Renard tells us the reasons why Linux is not the dominant OS on PCs.

7 Reasons Why Linux Is Not The Dominant OS On PCs — Renard’s World

Okay, that’s the desktop. But the server market share is a whole ‘nother thing! Linux dominates the server market share by a huge margin. It’s not the point of Renard’s article, but it’s certainly worth mentioning.

The Linux desktop is a hodgepodge of different desktop environments, window managers, software packaging, and support options. Most Linux distros do not take the one-size-fits-all approach the way that Ubuntu, Mint, Zorin, Mangero, PCLinuxOS, etc do. And of those that try the one-size-fits-all thing, there are huge differences even among the ones that are “made to look like Windows or Mac.” And that is key: One-size-fits-all does not work for Linux. It never can. There’s no “standard desktop” or “standard software management” or even a standard kernel for cry’n out loud. Linux will never enjoy a decent market share of the desktop, but that’s no awful tragedy or anything. It’s really okay. You use what you like and just enjoy the benefits of greater security and freedom, and the admiration of your friends who think you’re some kinda wonderful computer wizard with awesome techno-knowledge and mad geek skills – even if you’re just an ordinary kid or an aging great-grandparent or even a technophobe like me, still generally scared of technology.

Easy Linux. So Easy It’s Downright BORING.

And isn’t that what we casual computer users want our operating systems to be? Yup, literally nothing to write about. It’s that dull.

So I must confess, out of some twisted need to have something “Linuxy” to write about, I went and tried the Xfce flavor of Linux Mint. And sure enough, there’s stuff to write about. But let’s be sure to note that this test was one of the community editions of Linux Mint, not the big official flagship Cinnamon edition of Linux Mint, which I’m sure must be awesome. I did the Xfce flavor because I’m a rabid Xfce fanboy, that’s all. Bestest, most wonderfulest and awesomeful desktop environment in the history of ever because it’s super-simple, infinitely configurable, rock-stable, and intuitive. For me. Some people think it’s too boring and retro, but those are the very reasons I like it! So to each his or her own.

Okay, so Linux Mint Xfce 20 installed effortlessly as always, thanks to Ubuntu’s awesome Ubiquity installer. Even setting up partitions was no big deal, daunting as it once was having to use GParted and stuff. Install, reboot…

Then it gets interesting.

The first thing I always do after updating the OS (and I’m a big fan of the Mint Updater, by the way) is switch out some of the distro’s default applications in favor of the ones I prefer. I have issues with Mozilla (the company) and refuse to use their politically-correct software even if there’s nothing better on the planet. So I open a terminal and get a black screen with spaces between every letter:

r o b i n > a p t – g e t a p p l i c a t i o n

It’s hard to read even full screen for cry’n out loud. But I manage for a few tasks, then decide to try out Mint’s software center. I want Geary instead of Mozilla Thunderbird, Brave Browser instead of Firefox, stuff like that. Geary installs from a .deb in the repositories, cool. Brave is a Flatpak. What?! There’s no .deb for Brave? Okay I understand why the lead dev over there at Mint refuses Snaps, and the sneaky way Canonical redirects input from Synaptic Package Manager to their own software store. But Flatpaks are okay? Why? They’re just Red Hat instead of Canonical as far as I know. Nope, I want a good ol’fashioned Debian-type package, so I do the PPA thing to get Brave.

Geary doesn’t get past the Create Account screen before it locks up and has to be put to death via the Terminator – I mean terminal.

p k k i l l G e a r y

Two or three tries, okay, bye Geary. Let’s try something else. Y’know, computers exist to do what we tell them to do. If they don’t do what we tell them to do, then they have no freakin’ reason to exist! Right? This is how computers get smashed with sledge hammers and axes! Okay, sorry, /rant.

An unexplained installation error prevents me from getting either Ungoogled Chromium or Brave Browser installed. Unexplained. “Installation failed.” No explanation given. The freakin’ attitude, right?

So instead of using the sledge hammer literally, I used a virtual sledge hammer to silence Mint Xfce’s sassy attitude and restore order to my galaxy. And now it’s just boring again. But peaceful. Reliable. Simple. Everything just works (including Geary) and life is good again.

Next time I get bored for something to write about, I’ll not go beyond a Live session (maybe).

So, is Microsoft Taking Over Linux?

There’s a lot of paranoid-sounding stuff going around the Interwebz about Microsoft “taking over Linux” by “buying their way in” to the Linux Foundation, contributing lots and lots of code, and there’s the famous “embrace, extend, extinguish” meme that makes the rounds over and over again. But is any of it true? Can a big, greedy, evil corporation actually take Linux over the Linux kernel and get control over many or all of the distributions and operating systems built on it?

Well, here’s where it might actually be helpful to remind ourselves that it’s GNU/Linux, not just “Linux.” Linux is the kernel, and GNU is the license it is released under. And maybe it’s that GNU license that can/is/will always prevent a “takeover” of your favorite ‘nix operating system. Consider:

For one thing, I highly doubt that Microsoft has contributed any significant amount of code to Linux (by significant, I mean that Linux would fail if the MS code were removed)

But even if they had, under the terms of the GNU/GPL license, that code is also free. Microsoft cannot stop you from downloading it for free, redistributing it for free (or even charging for copies if you like and anyone is dumb enough to pay you for it) modifying it as you see fit, and redistributing the modified versions.

Essentially, the moment Microsoft contributes code to a GNU/GPL licensed project, they lose all control over that code. It becomes GNU/GPL code. This might explain why, for all of history, there’s never been Microsoft Code in Windows®to access Linux File Systems like Reiser, EXT2, EXT 3 and so on… because adding that code to Windows® would have forced Microsoft to acquire GNU/GPL licensing on Windows, thereby making Windows “free software!” On the flip side, it was perfectly legal and still meets GNU/GPL code for Linux to add code to access DOS and NT file systems, as long as the code used was not a copy of the Microsoft-owned code.

Credit and thanks to fraterchaos@diasp.org for pointing these things out in this thread on Diaspora. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Maybe a little reassuring, I hope.

YESSSS!

It was not easy to do on Salix like it was on just about every other Linux distro I’ve ever installed. Underneath the friendly “Linux for Lazy Slackers” is Slackware, after all. Second only to Gentoo or Arch “from scratch” in level of difficulty for an ordinary mortal. Much less a technophobe. But I did it. Somehow.

YESSSSS!

I got the icon set and themes I wanted that were not in the repositories, and the Brave browser (also not in the repositories and without resolution from Slackbuilds using Sourcery, the very cool Salix tool that builds Slackware packages). I actually found it in another Slackware-compatible third-party repository and unpacked it and installed from the command line. Imagine li’l ol’ me using the command line for anything! Much less making and installing software from outside my distro’s own repositories. And no, not like from just adding some high-risk dumbass PPA for Ubuntu either.

And I think that’s the point in using a Slackware-based Linux distribution. You really can’t help but “learn Linux” just from using it as an ordinary casual user. Yet another good reason to use it.

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

This one bears repeating even though it’s a couple of years old now. I must have had a flash of common sense once, but then soon wandered off. And look where I ended up – right back here again!  So I’m changing the date of this post just to show ehere I keep coming back to.

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.