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.

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 15.0RC1

Hi!

It feels like for.ev.er since Slackware updated to 15 from 14.2, and even lonnnnnger since it’s awesome Xfce derivative was updated. But I’m pleased to announce that “Linux for Lazy Slackers” has released Release Candidate 1 of SalixOS 15.0! Read the announcement here. It is available in both 64-bit and 32-bit ISOs, both systemd-free, lightweight, and they work with the usual mind-bending speed users have come to expect.

Newest Xfce desktop with Whisker menu, flatpak-enabled, choose between Lilo and Grub, vast software repositories bigger than any previous for Salix! SalixOS 15.0 RC1 boasts the new Qogir icon theme and some new features.

Sourcery is gone, but hopefully not forever. In the meantime there’s the wicked-kewl slapt-src tool, but it’ll probably rarely be needed now that SalixOS offers flatpaks.

Screenshots courtesy of “Gaucho.” There is a cool dark theme called “Dracula” and some different light and dark themes to choose from.

It’s Xfce, so infinitely configurable of course, and easily so. The top photo is the “Full” version as it appears on first boot.

One of the testers, who apparently would rather use Ubuntu, Zorin, Elementary, or Mint to read her posts, has suggested all kindsa add-ons and features that the big one-size-fits-all distros use. The backlash against that is nearly universal, thankfully. Add all the bling you want in a few clicks, for cry’n out loud, but the Keep It Simple mantra, and the one-application-per-task philosophy that has served Slackware and SalixOS so well for so long remains popular with the niche of users Salix is aiming for: Lazy Slackers. But not irresponsible ones who are loath to open a terminal window for any reason.

Development has been deliberately slow and steady, both for the usual quality of getting things right early and for a shortage of testers. But “Gapan,” the project lead, has devoted countless hours to it. He’s in the forums frequently and takes suggestions happily and speedily. Needed changes find their way to the repos often the same day they are requested or suggested in the forums, and instructions posted.

Whoever the heck over at Distrowatch ever suggested that this project is “dormant” needs to repent in dust and ashes, say three Hail Gapans and at least three Our Salixes as penance for such blasphemy!

Skip to content

Search Advanced search

Salix Xfce 15.0RC1

Post Reply

Search Advanced search
25 posts

User avatar
gapan

Salix Wizard Posts: 5919 Joined: 6. Jun 2009, 17:40

Salix Xfce 15.0RC1

Post by gapan » 8. Aug 2022, 00:17

Hi all!

Finally, here is 15.0RC1! I know it took a lot of time, but we’re very close to the final release now. With any luck, there will be no show-stopping bugs with this and we can release it in a few days as final.

A lot of work has been done in the repos since the beta. We now host almost everything that exists in SBo as binary packages! There is still a little bit of work do be done, but we now have several thousands of packages ready for installation. Our repositories for 15.0 alone are bigger than all previous Salix releases combined! Add to that the ability to install software through flatpak and there will be no shortage of software for 15.0!

Few other things have changes since the beta, one that is immediately obvious after installation is that the traditional applications menu has now been replaced by whiskermenu. Lots of other fixes here and there, the default GTK theme is now “Salix” and the default icon theme, Qogir, has received several fixes.

If you’re updating from a beta installation and you don’t want to reinstall, make sure you run something like this:

Code: Select all

sudo slapt-get -u sudo slapt-get -i spkg sudo slapt-get -i slapt-get sudo spkg -d qogir-icon-theme sudo rm -rf /usr/share/icons/Qogir* # for good measure sudo slapt-get -i qogir-icon-theme sudo slapt-get --upgrade

There won’t be any breaking changes like this from now on.

Please install and report anything that comes up!

Salix64 Xfce 15.0RC1 (64-bit, x86_64)
(md5: 34065908a1c9f73bf0afe3fc506e62e2, size: 1.4GB)
https://downloads.sourceforge.net/proje … 5.0RC1.iso

Salix Xfce 15.0RC1 (32-bit, i586/i686)
(md5: 34a36deb0fa2e949023ecac5768b656e, size: 1.4GB)
https://downloads.sourceforge.net/proje … 5.0RC1.iso

(64bit iso has been uploaded already, 32bit iso being uploaded as I’m posting, should be ready in ~15 mins)

Thanks for testing!
Image
Image

Top

No Systemd, No Pulseaudio

Last time I wrote about systemd-free Debian, but not Devuan, for reasons which appear in the comments of that post, “Why Not Devuan?” Mostly it has to do with trust of their repositories.

But I messed up my first installation of antiX by installing my beloved Xfce desktop from Synaptic instead of using antiX’s own package installer. I don’t know how that makes any difference, but it matters!

In my zeal to rid my OS of any unneeded and unwanted antiX stuff (for the sake of my need to purge socialist-communist-statist-leftist elements as much as possible), I removed some essential elements that disabled control over sound, printing, scanning, and other features I really need. It was plain stupid to proceed in a hurry like that.

Doing it right this time, I have exactly what I need, with a few extra things I don’t want and will never use but cannot safely purge without breaking my system again. No big deal. I had thought, for about 0.68 seconds (nearly a lifetime for an android, according to Commander Data), to just return to MX-Linux because it’s Xfce anyway. But then, there’s that hideous systemd “there but unused” factor. I think I’d rather have a few antiX things there but unused than to have any systemd or PulseAudio crap contaminating my hard drive. The latter is just a matter of political preference, but the former is a dangerous back door to my OS, in my opinion.

So a word of advice to any other creatures of conscience looking to avoid systemd and pulseaudio and untrustworthy Devuan repositories, but eager to purge socialist-communist-statist-leftist antiX stuff, do it right. Read the manual, proceed carefully and deliberately, and slowly.

Why Not Devuan?

So in my last posting I wrote about replacing Linux Lite with antiX, addressing the “political Linux” concerns and my apparent hypocrisy in choosing antiX.

The expected question I never got, surprisingly, was why don’t you just use Devuan instead of antiX?

It’s a good question even though no one ever asked me. On the interwebz the question is asked once in a while among those who favor the non-systemd distros. And the usual answer is that Devuan is much better. Plus the default desktop in Devuan is Xfce, my most favoritest and the bestest, most wonderfulest and awesomeful desktop environment in the history of ever. In antiX the desktop is a choice among window managers that doesn’t even include the best of them, which in my opinion is Openbox.

My answer is that I want to the supercool tools found in antiX and MX-Linux, to include the USB-formatter, ISO-maker and other wicked-kewl tools.

If there’s a way to get those on Devuan instead of using antiX, I’ll sure as heck do so. Do I just add MX-Linux repositories to Devuan or what? Remember I suffer from moderate-to-severe technophobia, so don’t make the answer (hopefully in a comment) all complicated and technical.

Thanks!

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).

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.

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!

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!

New Linux User Questionnaire

Before installing either Xubuntu or Linux Lite on a brand new Linux user’s computer, I always use this questionnaire to customize their machine with the proper applications, themes, panel(s) set-up, icon sets, etc to make their first experience as awesome as possible:

1. What do you want to use your computer for?
2. Are you “technically challenged” and just want to keep it simple, or would you like to explore your “inner geek?”
3. How old is your computer and what Operating System did it ship to you with (example: Windows XP or Vista, OSX, etc)? How big is the Hard Disk Drive and how much RAM?
4. Do you like “eye candy” and pretty special effects on your desktop, or do you prefer a faster, basic desktop with fewer bells and whistles?
5. Please list your favorite and most-used computer applications (programs). Try to categorize them if you can, under headings such as Web Browsing, E-Mail, Music Editing, CD-burning,
Office/Word Processing, Photo Editing, etc.
6. Would you like the latest “bleeding edge” stuff or do you prefer older, proven, rock-stable programs?
7. What’s your favorite color?
8. How will you connect to the Internet (if applicable)? Dial-up, wifi, Cable
9. Will you tell all your friends how awesome Linux is (and how nice Robin is for getting it up and running for you)? Don’t answer this one yet…