| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 601, 16 March 2015
Welcome to this year's 11th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Technology moves forward quickly and some of us see more benefit in sticking with what works than racing ahead to experiment with unproven ideas. With this thought in mind, this week we are focusing on distributions that provide classic desktop environments and work on older computers. We begin with a review of the Ubuntu MATE distribution, the newest project to join the list of official Ubuntu community distributions. In our Questions and Answers column we discuss modern distributions which provide up to date software for older computers. In our News section we talk about Fedora's recent Alpha release where we see a preview of features to come. Plus we talk about Debian's election for Project Leader and the possibility of AppArmor being a fully supported default feature in the Debian distribution. Computers bundled with Ubuntu were in the news a lot last week and we summarize some of the attractive options for people who want to buy new computers with Linux pre-installed. Plus we cover the distribution releases of the past week and list the torrents we are seeding in our Torrent Corner. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First Impressions of Ubuntu MATE 14.10
The Ubuntu MATE project is the latest official member of the Ubuntu family of community distributions. Despite the Ubuntu MATE project's young age and its very recent official blessing from Canonical, I probably receive more e-mails requesting information about Ubuntu MATE than any other distribution. So let's talk about Ubuntu MATE.
According to the distribution's website, "Ubuntu MATE is a stable, easy-to-use operating system with a configurable desktop environment. Ideal for those who want the most out of their desktops, laptops and netbooks and prefer a traditional desktop metaphor. With modest hardware requirements it is suitable for modern workstations and older hardware alike."
Ubuntu MATE is currently available in two versions. There is long term support release labelled 14.04 and a short term support release with newer software carrying the version number 14.10. I decided to try out version 14.10 for a week. The project provides release notes for the distribution. Essentially, it looks as through the project takes Ubuntu, strips away the Unity desktop and replaces it with MATE. Most applications, apart from those relating directly to configuring the MATE desktop, appear to be the same across both distributions. The version of Ubuntu MATE I downloaded is available in 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds and the ISO file is 980MB in size.
Ubuntu MATE 14.10 -- The MATE desktop and application menu
(full image size: 695kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Booting from Ubuntu MATE's live disc brings up a graphical screen where we can select our preferred language from a list. At this time we can choose to run a live desktop environment and experiment with the distribution or jump straight into the project's system installer. I decided to launch the system installer. As it turns out, Ubuntu MATE not only uses the same graphical system installer used by its parent, Ubuntu, but the identifying information is the same too. That is, the system installer and (as I found later) the update utilities still refer to the operating system as Ubuntu. One of the first things the installer asks us to do is select whether we would like to download updated software packages during the installation and if we would like to install third-party packages. These third-party items supply extra device drivers and multimedia support. The first time through I opted to install third-party packages and the installer immediately froze. After waiting five minutes to see if the installer would resolve the situation, I rebooted the machine and tried again. The second time through I chose a plain installation without third-party software or updates. The installer proceeded, walking me through disk partitioning, selecting our time zone from a map of the world, confirming the keyboard's layout and creating a user account. I quite like how the Ubuntu installer handles disk partitioning, we can opt to have the partitions automatically set up for us or we can manually divide up the disk. The installer handles ext2/3/4, Btrfs, JFS and XFS partitions. We can also select where to install the GRUB boot loader. When we create our user account we can choose to encrypt our files for improved security. The installer quickly copied its files to my hard drive and then prompted me to reboot the computer.
Loading our new copy of Ubuntu MATE brings us to a graphical login screen. Signing into our account brings up the MATE desktop. MATE is arranged with the Applications, Places and System menus placed at the top of the screen. The system tray is located in the upper-right corner and the task switcher sits at the bottom of the display. The wallpaper looks like a night sky decorated with the Northern Lights. Shortly after I signed into my account, a minimized window for the update manager appeared in my bottom panel. Bringing up the update manager window shows us a list of available software upgrades. While I did not get a count of how many packages were waiting to be downloaded, the total size of the packages was approximately 190MB. During my time with Ubuntu MATE I was happy to find all software upgrades installed cleanly and quickly.
One thing I discovered very early on with Ubuntu MATE was that the distribution did not handle running in a virtual machine gracefully. While I was installing Ubuntu MATE in a VirtualBox environment the distribution presented a resolution of about 1024x768, but when I booted the installed copy of the distribution my screen resolution was limited to 640x480 pixels. The MATE desktop handled the lower resolution surprisingly well, showing menus that could be scrolled through and scaling down the desktop. Once I installed VirtualBox guest packages through the distribution's Additional Drivers utility, my screen resolution increased to 1280x1024 pixels. When running in the virtual environment, the distribution was responsive and performed tasks quickly. When I ran Ubuntu MATE on a physical desktop machine all my hardware was properly detected and utilized. My display was set to its maximum resolution, sound and networking worked and the desktop was responsive. In either environment, the distribution required approximately 250MB of memory when sitting idle at the MATE desktop.
Ubuntu MATE 14.10 -- Changing desktop settings
(full image size: 494kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
The distribution ships with a fairly standard set of applications. Apart from the MATE 1.8.1 desktop and the many configuration tools MATE ships with, we find a capable set of programs in the application menu. The Firefox web browser is included along with the HexChat IRC client, the Pidgin instant messaging software, the Thunderbird e-mail application and the Transmission bittorrent client. The LibreOffice productivity software is available along with the Atril document viewer and a dictionary. The Eye of MATE image viewer is installed for us along with the Shotwell photo manager. The Brasero disc burning software is provided along with the Cheese webcam utility, the Rhythmbox audio player and the Totem video player. By default, Ubuntu MATE does not ship with multimedia codecs or Flash, but these extras are available in the repositories. In fact, attempting to play an audio or video file for which we do not have codecs brings up a window asking if the appropriate codecs should be installed. Confirming we wish the codecs to be downloaded causes the required packages to be installed. Digging further through the application menu uncovers the Caja file manager, a screen magnifier, a screen reader and an on-screen keyboard. Network Manager is available to help us get on-line. Apart from MATE's configuration tools there are a number of system administration utilities for adjusting the date & time, managing user accounts, setting up printers and installing third-party device drivers. In the background we find the GNU Compiler Collection and version 3.16 of the Linux kernel.
Ubuntu MATE 14.10 -- Running desktop applications and configuring backups
(full image size: 614kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
All of the default software provided with the distribution worked well for me. Still, I think a special mention should be made of the Deja Dup backup utility. Ubuntu MATE's backup manager has a very simple, very clean interface. It's quite easy for users to create backups of their home directories, schedule regular backups and exclude certain directories. We can select where to store backups, placing them either on our local disk or on a remote server. In fact, the backup utility supports saving archives on servers running OpenSSH, WebDAV and FTP. Deja Dup also supports Amazon cloud storage accounts. Creating a backup or restoring files from a backup takes just a couple of clicks and the interface walks us through the required steps in a friendly fashion.
Users of Ubuntu MATE have access to the huge supply of software in the Ubuntu repositories. To help us access these additional items we have the Ubuntu Software Centre. The Software Centre is a modern, friendly package manager that will allow us to browse through categories of software, make recommendations and sort items based on their popularity. Clicking on a package's entry brings up a full screen summary with a description of the application, a screen shot and user supplied reviews. Clicking an Install button causes the package to be downloaded and installed in the background while we continue to use the Software Centre. I found the Software Centre worked well for me and I encountered no problems while using it.
Ubuntu MATE 14.10 -- The Ubuntu Software Centre
(full image size: 560kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
I enjoyed my time with Ubuntu MATE and I ran into only a few minor problems with the distribution. For instance, the installer locked up when I attempted to install third-party software. Otherwise the distribution functioned beautifully. Ubuntu MATE runs quickly, the distribution was stable during my time with it and the desktop environment was always responsive. The applications that shipped with the distribution worked well for me and I appreciated the small, but capable collection of software offered.
Ubuntu MATE is quite straight forward in that the distribution is exactly what the developers claim. The distribution is a MATE spin of Ubuntu. It ships with a classic desktop environment, the distribution performed well and everything worked as expected. The project has a clear goal and the developers have achieved it. That might sound dull, but it is nice for me, as a reviewer, to run a distribution that does not over-promise or under-perform; it just does what it sets out to do.
I believe I understand why so many people have been e-mailing to ask me about the Ubuntu MATE project. Running the distribution this past week felt a lot like running Ubuntu back before the Unity desktop was introduced. Whether you like Unity or not, I think it is fair to say a lot of people enjoyed using Ubuntu with the classic GNOME 2 desktop. Ubuntu MATE recreates the pre-Unity Ubuntu experience with up to date applications and great desktop performance.
Personally, I am happy the Ubuntu MATE distribution has become an official Ubuntu community project. The distribution certainly carries on the spirit of older Ubuntu releases and I think this re-spin will provide a welcome solution for people running hardware with limited resources.
* * * * *
Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a desktop HP Pavilon p6 Series with the following specifications:
- Processor: Dual-core 2.8GHz AMD A4-3420 APU
- Storage: 500GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Fedora releases new Alpha, Debian considers improving AppArmor support and announces election candidates and Ubuntu shipping pre-installed on computers
One of the more exciting developments of the past week was the release of Fedora 22 Alpha. The new Alpha release provides users with a preview of what the next Fedora release will bring, along a snapshot of some of the latest open source software available. "The Alpha release contains all the exciting features of Fedora 22's editions in a form that anyone can help test. This testing, guided by the Fedora QA team, helps us target and identify bugs. When these bugs are fixed, we make a Beta release available. A Beta release is code-complete and bears a very strong resemblance to the third and final release. The final release of Fedora 22 is expected in May." According to the Alpha's release notes, Fedora 22 will be offering improved Wayland support, a terminal application which notifies the user when long-running jobs have completed and the bug reporting tool integrates with the desktop's privacy settings. Fans of KDE will find the KDE spin of Fedora features Plasma 5 as the default desktop environment. The Xfce spin has also been updated to include the recent release of Xfce 4.12.
* * * * *
The election for the next Debian Project Leader has begun. The election will consist of two parts, the campaigning portion is currently under way and voting will take place during the fortnight of April 1st to April 14th. Three nominees are running in this election: Mehdi Dogguy, Gergely Nagy and Neil McGovern. Information on the election, the candidates and their platforms will be made available through the Debian website.
AppArmor is a security tool which restricts an application's access to operating system resources, particularly files. Using AppArmor, an administrator can lock down an application, confining it and reducing the damage a rogue or hijacked application can do. AppArmor is already shipped in a number of Linux distributions, including openSUSE and Ubuntu. Some developers feel AppArmor should be enabled by default in Debian too. "You might already be aware of the existence of AppArmor, a Linux kernel security module which protects the operating system and applications from external or internal threats by enforcing good behaviour and preventing even some unknown application flaws from being exploited. It works by confining processes and applications with access control profiles. AppArmor has been activated by default in several other Linux distributions for years. The security layer which AppArmor provides is very important to us, and we believe that it should be more widely deployed in Debian." More information on the work being done with AppArmor within the Debian project can be found in Debian's wiki
* * * * *
While mainstream Linux distributions have been used on millions of desktop computers for many years, there are still relatively few places where a person can purchase a computer with GNU/Linux pre-installed. However, the tide is turning and this past week featured several announcements indicating hardware manufacturers are taking Linux more seriously. This Insights post mentions that not only has Ubuntu Kylin's latest long term support release been downloaded over one million times, but HP is partnering with the distribution to offer Ubuntu Kylin pre-installed to the people of China.
In a similar move, Dell has launched a new line of products in Latin America countries that ship with Ubuntu pre-installed. "Ubuntu has once again expanded its distribution presence by launching across 500 stores in Latin America with Dell. This comes off the back of successful retail efforts in other global markets such as China, India and South-East Asia. Consumers in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru will now be able to more readily purchase Ubuntu-based Dell laptops and desktops from numerous local resellers."
Finally, later this week System76, a company which has been selling computers with Ubuntu pre-installed for years, plans to ship a brand new mini-sized computer bundled with the popular Linux distribution. The new device is called the Meerkat Ubuntu Desktop and should be available from System76 starting on March 19th.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Modern software on older computers
Making-the-most-of-old-hardware asks: Do you have any resources for using current Linux distros on older machines? When I upgrade, are there any standards or specs on the type of video chip, or its capabilities, that most Linux distros need/require for better/best performance?
DistroWatch answers: First, let's look at modern distributions that will run on older hardware or low-specification machines. There are quite a few distributions which try to offer both modern features and compatibility with legacy hardware. We have a list of actively maintained Linux distributions which are designed for older machines here. I recommend experimenting with the first four or five entries on the list. I personally like LXLE, Lubuntu and Peppermint OS. I have especially had good luck introducing people to Linux by installing Peppermint on ageing computers that formally ran Windows XP.
As for specific hardware or video cards to try when you upgrade, I have found that most cards work well with Linux. Though I have had slightly better luck with Intel based video and wireless cards than those provided by other manufactures. That is just my experience and different people may recommend different hardware. To be safe, I suggest browsing hardware compatibility sites. The Ubuntu and Linux Mint projects maintain lists of certified and compatible hardware, respectively.
As an example, to find video cards that are likely to work with Linux Mint and other Ubuntu-related projects, visit the Mint community website, select "Video card" for the hardware type and "Works perfectly" for the status and click the Search button. The website will return several pages of cards tested and reported to work by members of the Mint community.
When upgrading you may wish to purchase your new equipment from a vendor that specifically supports Linux-based operating systems. Organizations such as Think Penguin and System76 sell computers that are built with Linux compatibility in mind. They take the guess work out of selecting the proper hardware.
Bittorrent is a great way to transfer large files, particularly open source operating system images, from one place to another. Most bittorrent clients recover from dropped connections automatically, check the integrity of files and can re-download corrupted bits of data without starting a download over from scratch. These characteristics make bittorrent well suited for distributing open source operating systems, particularly to regions where Internet connections are slow or unstable.
Many Linux and BSD projects offer bittorrent as a download option, partly for the reasons listed above and partly because bittorrent's peer-to-peer nature takes some of the strain off the project's servers. However, some projects do not offer bittorrent as a download option. There can be several reasons for excluding bittorrent as an option. Some projects do not have enough time or volunteers, some may be restricted by their web host provider's terms of service. Whatever the reason, the lack of a bittorrent option puts more strain on a distribution's bandwidth and may prevent some people from downloading their preferred open source operating system.
With this in mind, DistroWatch plans to give back to the open source community by hosting and seeding bittorrent files for distributions that do not offer a bittorrent option themselves. This is a feature we are experimenting with and we are open to feedback on how to improve upon the idea.
For now, we are hosting a small number of distribution torrents, listed below. The list of torrents offered will be updated each week and we invite readers to e-mail us with suggestions as to which distributions we should be hosting. When you message us, please place the word "Torrent" in the subject line, make sure to include a link to the ISO file you want us to seed and please make sure the project you are recommending does not already host its own torrents. We want to primarily help distributions and users who do not already have a torrent option. To help us maintain and grow this free service, please consider making a donation.
The table below provides a list of torrents we currently host. If you do not currently have a bittorrent client capable of handling the linked files, we suggest installing either the Transmission or KTorrent bittorrent clients.
Archives of our previously seeded torrents may be found here. All torrents we make available here are also listed on the very useful Linux Tracker website. Thanks to Linux Tracker we are able to share the following torrent statistics.
Torrent Corner statistics:
- Total torrents seeded: 32
- Total downloads completed: 12,996
- Total data uploaded: 2.6TB
|Released Last Week
MakuluLinux 8.0 "Cinnamon"
The MakuluLinux project has announced the release of MakuluLinux version 8.0 "Cinnamon". According to the release announcement, the new release is the first from the project to be built for 64-bit x86 computers. Apart from the new architecture, the new release has a strong focus on multimedia and streaming support: "Netflix and Popcorm Time are both now fully supported in this edition. Users can easily install Popcorn Time straight from the software manager or Synaptic manager with one click of a button, no other configuration is needed. It has never been so easy to run Popcorn Time on Debian before. Netflix is now fully integrated and functional on Google Chrome. So truely streaming is something Makulu users can now enjoy with ease. Safety and Security: MakuluLinux Cinnamon x64 Edition now also sports a built in firewall to keep your system secure at all times as well as a built in anti-virus to keep your system safe at all times."
MakuluLinux 8.0 -- Running the Cinnamon desktop
(full image size: 703kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Chakra GNU/Linux 2015.03
Neophytos Kolokotronis has announced the release of Chakra GNU/Linux 2015.03, a new update in the project's "Euler" series which follows the KDE 4.14 line: "The Chakra team is happy to announce the third release of the Chakra Euler series. This is a maintenance release to fix some installation issues and provide all the updated packages that landed in the stable repositories since the previous release. The main new feature is that our ISO now supports booting and installing on UEFI systems! We are aware that everybody is looking ahead into Plasma 5 and we are working on the transition, but we believe it is too early for this to be shipped by default and decided to wait for a little bit longer until Plasma 5 has matured and more KDE Applications have switched to Frameworks 5. This ISO ships with the following notable packages and updates: KDE Applications 14.12.2, except for the applications that have been ported to frameworks 5, which will remain on their 4.14.3 versions; kde-workspace 4.11.16 and kdelibs 4.14.5; Frameworks 5.7; Calligra 2.9.0..." The release announcement.
chakra 2015.03 -- Running the KDE desktop
(full image size: 469kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
John Martinson has announced the release of Robolinux 7.8.3, the latest update of the beginner-friendly distribution based on Debian's stable branch: "Robolinux is very pleased to announce 'Ultra X10 Privacy and Security!' built into all eight Robolinux GNOME, KDE, Xfce and LXDE 32-bit and 64-bit editions which include the following new powerful privacy and security applications: Tor anonymous browser, Tor anonymous chat, a new Robolinux application called 'Stealth Text Vault'; BleachBit data scrubber; PGP email encryption for Thunderbird. Unfortunately privacy and security on the Internet are turning into a complete nightmare, so Robolinux has taken serious action. All eight of these new releases are a direct result of our users asking for more privacy and security applications after we released 7.8.2 on February 22nd which had JonDo anonymous encrypted browsing, KeePass for encrypting all passwords...." Visit the project's SourceForge page to read the full release announcement.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Distributions added to waiting list|
- Linkat. Linkat is a GNU/Linux distribution designed for use in education systems. The distribution is developed for Catalan-speaking people.
- FibreOS. FibreOS utilizes a custom, optimized and hardened Ubuntu environment, based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. FibreOS is a secure and anonymous operating system. Anyone with a PC or laptop will be able to use FibreOS because the OS and wallet data files are stored on a USB.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 23 March 2015. To contact the authors please send email to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, suggestions and corrections: news, donations, distribution submissions, comments)
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • Ubuntu MATE 14.10 (by Bill on 2015-03-16 01:31:35 GMT from Planet Mars) |
As I stated last week, I am very happy to see that you have aded Ubuntu MATE to the database. It just so happens that I started using Ubuntu MATE 14.10 a couple of weeks ago now and I have no complaints whatsoever. I like it so much I am going to donate. I have been using Mint Rebecca 17 for a while and compared to that Ubuntu MATE just feels much less bloated. Yes it is very fast. I think my boot up time is 7 seconds. But I have everything from Netflix to Compiz to gwave under WINE all running quite nicely. Here is what my Ubuntu MATE 14.10 desktop looks like:
I highly recommend it.
2 • Ubuntu MATE (by linuxista on 2015-03-16 02:27:44 GMT from North America)
At the end Jesse said, "Personally, I am hoping the Ubuntu MATE distribution becomes an official Ubuntu community project."
I'm pretty sure they are an official variant as of about a month or two ago. The UbuntuMATE vivid vervet beta is hosted on the official Ubuntu site. http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ubuntu-mate/releases/vivid/beta-1/
3 • Ubuntu MATE (by Jesse on 2015-03-16 03:11:03 GMT from North America)
@2: That was just a typo. It was supposed to be "happy" not "hoping". The project did become an official community distro and we covered it here just a few weeks ago.
4 • ubuntu mate (by erinis on 2015-03-16 03:12:52 GMT from North America)
@2 Wrong website. Go to the website in the article. Having used it now for 2 weeks have to say Vey impressive and fast. Love it.
5 • cmon mate (by Chris on 2015-03-16 05:21:27 GMT from Oceania)
Is it really necessary to reinstall just to use a different Desktop Environment?
6 • Another L'buntu LTS remix for low-spec/older and/or friend/family-supported (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2015-03-16 07:38:57 GMT from North America)
The Pangaea-Lubuntu spin at SourceForge has a dual app-selection of both 'cross-platform full-featured' and 'lightweight/minimal' alternatives.
Nothing you couldn't get by customizing stock Lubuntu, I suspect, but it may be handy for some. Might be interesting to compare to, say, LXLE.
7 • @5 / Mate (by kc1di on 2015-03-16 10:51:26 GMT from North America)
Thanks Jesse for another fine review - been using Ubuntu-Mate since it first appeared and have enjoyed it also. Just works for me.
@5 You can install other desktops on the same install of Ubuntu - there is a tutorial or two on the web a google search will unveil them.
The one draw back of that approach is that often there is interaction among the various DE's install on the same system and you may end up with some duplicate packages that are not needed. so it is more bloated. But it can be done. If you want a pure look at say Mate on Ubuntu though it's better to do a fresh install. Just MHO :)
8 • Old harware? (by Justiniano on 2015-03-16 11:07:51 GMT from Asia)
I can vouch for Simplicity Desktop being nice and kind enough to systems as low as a middling Pentium 4 with only 512 mb ram.
9 • Ubuntu Mate 14.x (by Chris2kari on 2015-03-16 11:26:10 GMT from Oceania)
Extremely polished & very efficient fully featured alternative to the Unity flavor of Ubuntu. As it matures & gains users I can't see a need for Xubuntu frankly. And by the way, Mate is very nice on high end machines, It's not just for museum pieces! I think Ubuntu Mate is the perfect business/productivity/workstation. (For gaming, unfortunately Manjaro is the better choice due to extremely responsive developers to tech issues with Steam etc)
10 • Modern software on older computers (by dragonmouth on 2015-03-16 11:32:10 GMT from North America)
Can we quantify what "older computer" is? The term is very vague and means different things to different people. To some, a P3-based PC is an "older computer", to others, last month's PC is already old. I have no problems running the latest 32 bit versions of distros on 10 year old P4 PCs, or 64 bit versions on 6 year old AMD Athlons. Until it met with an unfortunate accident. recently, I ran Debian Wheezy on a P3 866mhz laptop. Granted I am not getting 5 second bootup times but neither are the PCs painfully slow. Recommending lightweight distros, such as Puppy or Slitaz, for "older computers" without defining the term could be depriving a lot of users of experiencing full distros like Slackware, openSUSE, PCLinuxOS or Mageia.
11 • Try Linux Lite for older systems (by Eddystone on 2015-03-16 12:06:23 GMT from North America)
I have always owned hardware that is quite a bit behind the curve. The specifications of computer hardware being phased, updated or discarded by higher-end users continually improve as time goes by. The only way to determine which distribution matches your needs AND your hardware is to try several of the recommended distros on your machine and check them out. The best place to start is with a system with no data that needs to be preserved onto which you can simply install Linux as the main operating system. I have tried many systems for less powerful hardware and have found that some rather fully fleshed out distros sometimes work as well or better than the minimalist distros.A good example of one of these is Linux Lite 2.0 32-bit which I currently have on my three household computers and on a couple of computers of friends over 80 years old. Lite has a customized XFCE desktop with many user friendly tools for performing routine system tasks. I would recommend it as on distro people with older systems should install and test drive. www.linuxliteos.com
12 • Re 10 Dragonmouth older pcs (by Eddystone on 2015-03-16 12:18:14 GMT from North America)
You can't really quantify the specification of "older computers" because it is a moving target that's always changing. I have used Linux on some REALLY old laptops like your P3 for things like streaming oldies into a 1959 stereo console or for listening to something as I fall asleep. Sometimes it's necessary, and sometimes it's just interesting to see how much functional use you can still get out of simpler hardware. However, there are so many hardware variations for things like sound and video and so many little quirks in different distros that you really do just have to load the distro onto the system and see what happens. There are always surprises, some delightful and some disappointing.
13 • Older Hardware (by matte on 2015-03-16 12:20:10 GMT from North America)
It seems with older hardware, the biggest drag is the browser. From what I've read, some browsers make specific use of the add-on graphics adapter. This seems to work for me. Linux and Windows.
(Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 2.33G, 4GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 8400GS)
BTW: 1 computer year = 20 people years
14 • Re 10 Dragonmouth older pcs (by Eddystone on 2015-03-16 12:22:19 GMT from North America)
"Recommending lightweight distros, such as Puppy or Slitaz, for "older computers" without defining the term could be depriving a lot of users of experiencing full distros like Slackware, openSUSE, PCLinuxOS or Mageia." And others, too.
Meant to give you a big thumbs up on this recommendation.
15 • Re: 9 Ubuntu Mate 14.x (by Walt on 2015-03-16 13:06:05 GMT from North America)
@9: "As it [Ubuntu Mate] matures & gains users I can't see a need for Xubuntu frankly."
How about because the user prefers Xfce over the MATE desktop and doesn't want or need both installed? That might be one reason (I'm pretty sure there might be other reasons as well.). While I do intend to look at Ubuntu MATE for my new computer, I am a fan of Xfce and the Whisker menu. I do not plan to have both on my system.
16 • Re 13 Browsers Older PCs (by Eddystone on 2015-03-16 13:11:41 GMT from North America)
I use Firefox and find that AdBlock and Ghostery add-ons significantly improve browser performance by blocking a lot of unessential crap. Some sites are so poorly coded and include so many scripts that you will never get decent performance without the latest hardware. The other 95% of sites will usually function adequately with slower systems. To me, that's a shortcoming of the website and not a bad reflection of the browser or even the older hardware. If sites cannot be viewed properly or smoothly by slightly older hardware, just avoid them. It's their loss.
17 • @10 Modern software on older computers (by Hoos on 2015-03-16 13:15:48 GMT from Asia)
I was running KDE 4 on Debian Testing on a 10 year old P4 with 1 GB RAM until a month ago when it finally died.
RAM was limited but I had no problem with 6 or 7 open browser tabs, a media player running, plus 1 or 2 documents open on Libreoffice. KWin desktop effects were activated. The main resource hog was Flash.
I would say that Pentium 4s are still fairly capable machines for so-called heavier desktop environments, so long as you have at least 2 GB RAM and you're not doing graphics/CPU-intensive tasks.
KDE took maybe 30+ secs to boot up to the login window. Not horrible. XFCE and MATE also ran fine on my machine.
I think the pre-Pentium 4 hardware is where you really consider something old. :-) That's not to say they can't run Linux too. But there will be lots more restrictions on what you can do and your choice of DEs or window managers.
18 • gnome2/mate (by Lee on 2015-03-16 14:03:35 GMT from North America)
On a desktop system with keyboard & mouse, gnome2 has been my
choice for many years. My desktop is littered with files, links,
directories, pictures, & etc. The top panel has menu, clock,
load monitors, desktop switcher, & app links.
On touch screens in the house, I have Win 8.1, iOS, & android.
Someday, maybe, Ubuntu Touch with Unity will be my desktop of
@5 & @7 Recently, the magazine, Linux Format, offered a disc
with a Mint 16 respin and 10 IDEs. The default was MATE, but
almost any other desktop you can think of was on offer. It
is very heavy and there is a lot of duplication of apps but
one can simply log off one desktop and onto another.
19 • Ubuntu Mate vs Mint Mate (both LTS, 64bits) (by Carlos on 2015-03-16 14:23:35 GMT from Europe)
By coincidence, I've been trying to decide between the two, because I like Mate.
Here's my experience, on my i3 2120 + 16GB RAM desktop machine.
Ubuntu Mate is much faster to boot and feels much faster overall.
By comparison, Linux Mint Mate 17.1 is horribly s-l-o-w and bloated.
Both tried on the same HDD, same partition.
I didn't yet investigate why Mint is so slow, might just install BUM and start clicking, I suspect there's a lot of trash being loaded.
Or I may simply reformat and install Ubuntu Mate again.
20 • Ubuntu Mate 15.04 for Raspberry Pi 2 (by Mahmut Sedat Eroğul on 2015-03-16 15:11:02 GMT from Europe)
few days ago there was news about Ubuntu Mate 15.04 for Raspberry Pi 2, most probably beta, but not mentioned. I downloaded and copied to microSD tested several days.
I was happy with Raspbian but now I feel better.
21 • @12: Eddystone (by dragonmouth on 2015-03-16 15:19:27 GMT from North America)
"You can't really quantify the specification of "older computers" because it is a moving target that's always changing."
I beg to differ. The time of the writing of an article can be used as the target for the specs. I'm not looking for precise definition, only ballpark. For example - "pre-2010" or "CPU slower than P4, 1.6 ghz"
Thanks for the thumbs up. I find that, for some reason, many writers/bloggers consider any PC older than 6 months to be incapable of running the latest distros. :-)
22 • @9 (by Nick on 2015-03-16 15:29:45 GMT from Europe)
It's a bit silly saying that. You could also say:
"As Xubuntu is mature and has many users, I can't see a need for Ubuntu MATE frankly."
23 • Ubuntu Mate vs Mint Mate (by Angel on 2015-03-16 15:34:04 GMT from Asia)
That's odd. I've been running Mint Mate since Mint 13 (Now on 17.2) on the same CPU and half your ram, and Mint Mate is not slow and does not feel "bloated," whatever that is. Never a problem. I dual-boot Ubuntu XFCE on the same machine, and I see no noticeable difference between the two as far as performance.
24 • Linux Format magazine's Mint 16 Mega Mix DVD (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2015-03-16 16:15:57 GMT from North America)
Per Clem, "
- It's broken in many places ...
- It stacks about 10 DEs on top of each others with no care for integration...
- There are branding issues all over the place
- It's not even based on Mint 16, as thought by Linux Format, but on LMDE 201403. ...
they're a great magazine. This is not like them and it isn't like us to produce something that ridiculously broken.
- They promised to be more strict on this and not to customize Mint anymore. They're sorry, they'll publish an errata in the next issue and it won't happen again.
- If you own that DVD, get rid of it. It's no good, it would have never passed QA and we would have never released something like that.
As for me (Fossilizing Dinosaur), I'd recommend cross-platform MultiBootUSB (at SourceForge).
(Whether a particular computer is old or not, isn't it best-practice to mention that some hardware is picky about boot parameters/cheatcodes, and point out how to cope?)
25 • Ubuntu Mate vs Mint Mate (by Carlos on 2015-03-16 16:33:44 GMT from Europe)
There is a certain sluggyness in Mint, for instance after booting completely I click on "Computer" for the first time in the desktop to open the file manager and it takes a few seconds to open. (!)
It's an ethernity and sometimes I wonder if I really clicked on it.
Opening Firefox for the first time after booting takes an ethernity too.
After loading it the first time, next time it's fast, it loads instantly.
But Mint Mate is also slow to boot, much slower than Ubuntu Mate and Ubuntu loads the programs much faster.
I guess you could get used to how Mint works.
It feels like the most bloated KDE 4 distros, where you see the mouse cursor jumping for 5 seconds before a program starts. LOL.
Mate should be and IS much lighter.
26 • Mint Mate (by Carlos on 2015-03-16 16:40:06 GMT from Europe)
LOL, I can't believe this!
"I looked at this file: /usr/bin/startcaja. It says
Code: Select all
caja -n "$@"
and I changed it to
Code: Select all
caja -n "$@"
Then caja starts instantly."
27 • old pc's (by djsi on 2015-03-16 16:51:15 GMT from North America)
Considering a 10+ year old pentium 4 desktop pc doesn't have a single piece of hardware worth more than 5 dollars in it and can be had regularly for free from most town dumps,I wouldn't bother with anything older than that for the internet.
28 • Ubuntu MATE (by Rick on 2015-03-16 16:58:11 GMT from Planet Mars)
It appears that Canonical finally gave in to the outcries of the Linux community and "backpedaled" on abandoning the GNOME2 desktop. However, after 4 years of trying to convince everyone to embrace GNOME 3 and Unity, I think it is way too late to bring the many users they lost back into the fold. Many former Ubuntuites have simply moved on to other distros such as Mint, which has a team and community that really cares about and actually listens to its users. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for Canonical.
29 • Ubuntu MATE is a fine piece (by Barnabyh on 2015-03-16 17:46:22 GMT from Europe)
Spot on Jessie, my thoughts exactly. People who know my preferences might be surprised (or not, considering stable and predictable is an important virtue in a distribution for me), but IMO Ubuntu MATE is a fine piece indeed.
It brings back the glory days of Ubuntu, around the early versions 5.x and 6.x, brings it up to date and delivers it all with a fresh and more appealing theme. A good call indeed.
30 • Not exactly correct. (by Eddie on 2015-03-16 18:06:39 GMT from North America)
@28, I don't believe that is exactly correct Rick. For one thing, there is no Gnome2. Mate is a whole different animal. Canonical has not backpedaled in any way. Unity, which I do like, is still their main desktop environment even tho Ubuntu Mate is very nice. Why does everything have to be a contest with you people? I do believe that people over estimate the amount of people who left Ubuntu all together for Mint. It's a shame that people in Linux world love to hate each other. As far as Ubuntu Mate goes, it's going to be a force to be reckoned with.
31 • Users preferences? (by mechanic on 2015-03-16 18:41:05 GMT from Europe)
"Many former Ubuntuites have simply moved on to other distros such as Mint, which has a team and community that really cares about and actually listens to its users."
Perhaps some like the alternative - identify some guru/designer/project whose values and approach you admire and follow them, trusting they will lead to better, more attractive systems. Worked for Steve Jobs and Apple, customers aren't always right nor do they always appreciate development and improvements.
32 • Security & Mate (by M.Z. on 2015-03-16 19:29:37 GMT from Planet Mars)
I'm glad to hear that Debian is getting more proactive about security, though frankly I'm a bit surprised that they didn't already have AppArmor enabled by default. It seems like many open source projects have the same bad tendencies as closed source counterparts. I remember hearing something about how some of the major Linux desktops weren't set up to be secure by default, & they expected Distros to handle security. I don't remember what it was exactly, but they expected others to turn security features on rather than shipping stuff secure by default & letting the oddballs that don't want the security turn features off. A very wrong headed attitude, IMHO. This Debian move is in the right direction, though it is a bit later than it should be. I also think Wayland can't ship fast enough if all the security issues in X are going to be eliminated. I think all Linux project should stop relying on their general reputation & get more proactive about security.
So you're saying a Linux Distro might have a minor bug in it? That's far from surprising. From what I can see the big bloat difference in Mint Mate amounts to about 40 MB of extra RAM use & perhaps it a bug in the file manager. At least that is, if RAM usage hasn't shrunk in 17.1 compared to Mint 17 when it was reviewed here on DW: http://distrowatch.com/weekly.php?issue=20140616#feature
Everyone has different hardware & can run into different bugs, so your experience could be worse than in Jesse's glowing review in Mint 17. Of course if your problem with bloat is that extra 40 MB of RAM you might consider switching to a lighter DE like LXDE. Going with a lighter DE is always the best cure for any feeling of bloat, although switching to other distros can help at the margins. Sorry if you ran into a bug, but that happens in all OSs. I've mainly been using the KDE & Cinnamon versions of Mint, which both seem very snappy on my admittedly newer laptop hardware. I couldn't be much more satisfied with Mint personally.
33 • How to make Mate panel menus faster (by Georgios on 2015-03-16 20:55:53 GMT from Europe)
Since I have just (accidentally) discovered something that solves a bug(?) in Mate, I want to share it with the rest of you who currently use/try Mate.
With vanilla Mate the menus in the panel (Applications, Places and System) are painfully slow regardless of the cpu power of the computer. Sometimes it takes 5 secs for a submenu to open and the icons of the applications to appear (e.g., Applications->Office). This happens randomly (and almost always after login) and it is true at least in Debian and Arch with the default Mate installation.
Well, the problem appears to be the default icon set. If you install mate-icon-theme-faenza and customize your favorite theme to use Mate-Faenza (via System->Preferences->Appearance), then the lag completely disappears! I cannot offer a reasonable explanation for this behavior.
34 • @33 : icon cache not generated ? (by Frederic Bezies on 2015-03-16 21:34:25 GMT from Europe)
I saw same kind of slowness. Could it be related to icon cache not generated on installation ?
35 • Mint (by Carlos on 2015-03-16 22:02:28 GMT from Europe)
What I'm saying is that Mint Mate feels "heavyer", even Firefox takes longer to start.
This, compared to Ubuntu Mate.
It's not the 40MB of RAM, of course, it has to be more than that.
Even Opensuse with KDE doesn't feel as slugish, although it does take some time to boot, too.
BTW, about that Mint bug, did you notice the thread I linked to is from December 2013, related to Mint Mate 16?
What I find ridiculous is that this ridiculous "bug" is still present in Mint Mate 17.1 - now LTS!
I'm sure they'll keep this bug until 2019. :o)
Let me quote another sentence from that thread:
"I don't see any reason, why one would like to have this sleep-command, other than only for debugging purposes, so I like to change this, because it annoyes everyone."
36 • Bugs: fix vs. work-around (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2015-03-16 22:21:03 GMT from North America)
For an LTS, it's probably best to establish an (independent?) list of work-arounds, since fixing a bug in an LTS means (a LOT of) re-testing.
37 • Linux Mint 17.1 (by Carlos on 2015-03-16 22:50:32 GMT from Europe)
I've cheched on my Mint 17.1 and Caja still has "sleep 1".
Removing it gets just a little faster (guess what... minus 1 second) but loading it for the first time after boot is still slow.
I'm really sorry but Ubuntu Mate wins.
38 • Re: @34 • @33 : icon cache not generated ? (by Georgios on 2015-03-16 23:05:10 GMT from Europe)
No, it does not appear to be a caching problem. There are various forum threads on the web dealing with this problem, but no real solution is offered. Maybe Ubuntu and Mint do not experience the problem because they don't offer a vanilla installation.
39 • Still snappy for others (by M.Z. on 2015-03-17 00:01:14 GMT from Planet Mars)
Yes, I noticed, so there is a similar issue for you still; however, not everyone seems to have the issue as the review of Mint 17 I linked to indicates. Others seem to be having completely different issues in other versions of Mate (see @34), so Mate in general seems to have some problems.There are probably other issues in Ubuntu Mate that will cause a few users to switch back to Mint. I'm still very happy with the versions of Mint I'm using & others seem happy with Mint Mate (see #23). I guess the kind of differences that #39 is hinting at are causing different issues for different users. If the Ubuntu version works better for you then use it, I'll stick with Mint with KDE & Cinnamon on my various partitions. They offer a lot more of what I like anyway, & XFCE seems more appealing to me than Mate while operating in the same basic niche. If you hit a bug specific to one distro being able to hop to another is always a good options as long as you find a DE that works well for you.
40 • Ubuntu Mate vs Mint Mate (by James on 2015-03-17 00:03:48 GMT from Oceania)
I've been using Ubuntu Mate since it first came out. I like it much more than Mint Mate due to:
Up to date codebase (Ubuntu 14.10)
Does not have preinstalled Mintinstall, mintupdate and other mint apps.
A 'plain' distro - much less software pre-installed by default
Prefer Ubuntu's standard upgrade path.
The only thing I can say that I poach from Mint Repo is the excellent MintMenu + 2 or 3 dependencies; with this I'm more than happy to step back in time to have a stable functioning desktop.
41 • Ubuntu Mate 14.10 and downloading updated software during installation (by Rev_Don on 2015-03-17 00:04:24 GMT from North America)
Jesse, I have had no problems selecting the updated and third party option during installation on Ubuntu Mate 14.04 or 14.10. I am using Intel based systems with a mixture of Intel, nVidia, ATI, and AMD graphics. Not sure what difference that might make, but I have for years had far fewer problems with Intel chipsets and cpus than with AMD based systems.
42 • #27 old pc's (by anticapitalista on 2015-03-17 00:08:55 GMT from Europe)
[quote]Considering a 10+ year old pentium 4 desktop pc doesn't have a single piece of hardware worth more than 5 dollars in it and can be had regularly for free from most town dumps,I wouldn't bother with anything older than that for the internet.[/quote]
The billions of people who live outside the wealthy nations, however, do not have the same choices as you do. They would love to have a "10+ year old pentium 4 desktop pc ... worth more than 5 dollars"
Try to think outside your own reality.
43 • Extras during install (by cykodrone on 2015-03-17 01:35:28 GMT from North America)
@41 and Jesse, I too have had the same problem in the past with several distros that offer that option (3rd party + updates during installation), and that was on my old Intel/Nvidia machine (I switched back to AMD/Radeon and glad I did, I have ZERO problems with my AMD hardware). I guess it depends on your hardware. I got the impression the bork was caused by Nvidia not installing the header properly, configuring the kernel, etc. It's kind of silly to make huge system level changes when the system isn't even installed yet. After wiping the first bork, Nvidia and codecs installed properly (left both options unchecked) AFTER getting to the desktop for the first time. It's a nice idea but if it has the chance (50/50 in my estimation) of leaving n00bs with a sour puss and giving up their install, it should be removed until it works for the majority of hardware setups.
44 • @43 - Ubuntu's installer doesn't install proprietary NVIDIA drivers (by eco2geek on 2015-03-17 02:33:44 GMT from North America)
> I got the impression the bork was caused by Nvidia not
> installing the header properly, configuring the kernel, etc.
At this point, I've installed Ubuntu products (e.g. Kubuntu, Lubuntu, distros based on Ubuntu, etc.) dozens and dozens of times on computers with supported NVIDIA graphics cards.
The installer has NEVER, not once, EVER, installed the proprietary NVIDIA video drivers by checking the "Install this third-party software" box. That's an extra step that has to be done later.
(Any problems I have with that option are usually caused by an Internet connection to a slow repository.)
This is what the "Install this third-party software" checkbox does:
45 • "More Exciting Developments" (by Landor on 2015-03-17 02:39:44 GMT from North America)
What makes an alpha release of a project that releases regularly more of an exciting development than any other recent news?
Keep your stick on the ice...
46 • Ubuntu Mate and antiX MX-14 (by eco2geek on 2015-03-17 02:42:24 GMT from North America)
(Sorry for the double post; please nuke #44...)
Ubuntu MATE is nice. About the only thing I don't like about it is cosmetic; that's the ugly green highlight color they're using in the menus. Something to get used to.
If you want a distro that's both light on resources and long on usefulness, try antiX MX-14 (hi, anticapitalista). On my computer, MX-14.4-rc1's footprint was less than 200MB when running from a USB stick. That's pretty impressive.
47 • Mint Mate lag? (by Hoos on 2015-03-17 04:22:44 GMT from Asia)
I read somewhere that Mint has higher setting of swappiness than others. If you do some research, I think there are some articles on how to set it lower.
48 • Mint Mate lag (by Carlos on 2015-03-17 10:15:52 GMT from Europe)
@47 - Mint Mate lag, by Hoos
I have 16GB of RAM in my desktop machine and one of the very first things I always do is set vm.swappiness = 1.
And also noatime in all the mounts in fstab.
So, that is not the problem.
49 • Updates during install (by Carlos on 2015-03-17 10:18:24 GMT from Europe)
I never select this because it's a lottery, as during install you can't change the repositories to something nearer to you (ideally, mirrors from your country), so the install with this option selected may turn to be very slow.
50 • Offline install (@49 • Carlos) (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2015-03-17 14:20:49 GMT from North America)
I also prefer to install offline, and on initial boot review/adjust settings.
Particularly in LTS releases, DE "development" repeatedly breaks authentication/policy, so it helps to wait for one or two point releases before hoping offline installs will work without hacking in some work-around.
Since fixing bugs in LTS takes a lot of testing and is therefore unpopular/unlikely, work-around notes in installation documentation should be best-practice, avoiding perceptions of "disrespect for standards", not to mention frustrating newcomers.
51 • @Carlos 25, 26 Mint mate (by Angel on 2015-03-17 15:26:03 GMT from Asia)
Just because I had time, I downloaded and installed Ubuntu Mate in Virtualbox alongside an identical VM for Mint Mate. Ubuntu boots about round 3 seconds faster and uses 284MB ram at idle vs 308 for Mint. I really detect no difference opening applications like Caja or Firefox. As I wrote in my previous post, I also see no noticeable difference in performance between Mint Mate and Xubuntu, installed on my hard drive. Not a matter of getting used to anything.
My use of Linux is not philosophical. It is pragmatic. We run a PC shop here, mostly working on Windows PCs, and I really don't want to spend time messing around with my work PCs. Tried Ubuntu first, 9 years ago. Wifi problems. No problem with either Mint or PCLinuxOS. Have tried Ubuntu several times and always something has been lacking. No emotional attachment to Linux Mint other than it works for me with few if any hassles.
I did try editing "startcaja" as per your post about Mint Forum. Didn't really change anything. The delay should be only at start of session, and that seems to be the case. Afterward Caja opens quickly, as in Ubuntu.This was reported as a bug on Launchpad. In my desktop install (Rebecca) it has been changed to "sleep 1" rather than "3." According to Clem, the delay should no longer be needed, but better to read what he says. ("startcaja'" by the way, is not in Ubuntu.)
52 • Mint Mate (by Carlos on 2015-03-17 16:36:12 GMT from Europe)
Maybe the test in VMs is not exactly the same as in bare metal, but I'm not going to discuss that.
About Mate in general, I'd better return to my beloved and fast(er) XFCE, which is rolling (literally, from the Cauldron repositories) for a couple of years in my laptop with Mageia, without problems.
53 • Mate (by Carlos on 2015-03-17 16:40:28 GMT from Europe)
Oh BTW, I can't resist:
apt-get install thunar :o)
54 • @52 Carlos Mint Mate (by Angel on 2015-03-17 19:58:50 GMT from Asia)
I normally don't have a problem making myself understood, but I guess there's always a first time.
I repeat: I am running Mint Mate on my desktop's hard drive with no issues of lagging, bloating, slowness, etc. I think that qualifies as "bare metal." I am also running Xubuntu (XFCE) on the same desktop, which runs fine but not so much faster than Mint Mate that it is noticeable when using it. Also bare metal. I used the VMs to compare side by side so they would be as equal as possible and since I have no desire to change what's in my desktop at the moment.
55 • Mint MATE icons (by frodopogo on 2015-03-18 05:58:45 GMT from North America)
@33 and those responding to Georgio.
I've had some lagging menu openings in Mint MATE 17 and 17.1, and changing the icons to MATE branded icons seems to fix it. (Thanks, Georgio!)
It may be more likely to happen if you use custom themes.... If I understand correctly, the themes change the icon set even though you might not be intending to do so. I tend to do this first thing after a new installation to make it feel like "home", so that may be the problem. The themes I've been using were off the Gnome-looks site for Gnome 2.
On another computer with MATE, changing to an icon set with the Linux Mint logo fixed the problem.
Preferences>Appearance> Customize (button)>Icons
I've been experimenting, and the Gnome icons also work. The Mint-X icons when used immediately cause the lagging Menu behavior ("start" menu). Maybe the Mint-X icons are incompatible with Gnome themes? IIRC, the Mint -X themes came packaged with Mint MATE 17.1, so maybe they work fine with the Mint-X icons.
56 • Getting rid of lagging in Mate menu (by Georgios on 2015-03-18 14:22:56 GMT from Europe)
frodopogo, you are welcome! It is really a mystery. The default icon set (and theme) for Mate is the one used by Gnome2 (in order to make Mate users feel at home). Obviously, there is something wrong regarding compatibility. The interesting thing is that the choice of theme does not cause any problem - it is the 'wicked' Gnome2 icon set that somehow causes the lagging.
BTW, one can change the leftmost icon next to the Applications menu by replacing /usr/share/icons/matefaenza/places/24/start-here.png with a user provided icon. The new icon can be svg or png (in the latter case it must be 24x24 in size).
57 • LMDE (by Leonard Ashley on 2015-03-19 08:03:45 GMT from North America)
Took LMDE 2 Mate for a spin, got bored and installed openbox 3.5.2-8, obconf, obmenu, tint2, and conky with synaptic. I rebooted into a Crunchbang clone, even with a similiar conky. Tint2 was similiar to Crunchbang's, not the rounded corners that is normally offered. I began to ponder how much of this was in-house with LMDE. Ran into some obmenu issues, simply would not accept changes, but ~/home/.config/openbox/autostart was the culprit with commented out lines pertinent to the obmenu. Actually not a bad openbox, and quite stable. Thought I would toss it out there for folks who are looking for a new openbox to try out. It is on top of Debian Testing, and that is a real plus. Also seems to have some pipe-menus linked to i3 tiling window manager, new on me. Also with the exit, required tl-exit, but installed cb-exit with no problems. I think it will be a good substitute for Crunchbang followers. The default Mate install was really very updated and appearance a welcomed change. LMDE 2 RC was full of surprises.
58 • Some comments (by Alex on 2015-03-19 10:24:26 GMT from Europe)
@ 5 • cmon mate Chris
Is it really necessary to reinstall just to use a different Desktop Environment?
If you are using Debian or Ubuntu, it is just apt-get install "desired DE." If you are using any Mint distro, you'd have to get rid of all kinds of Mint blocks to do something like that.
While, Ubuntu would put out more and more releases, Mint would just stay back with Ubuntu 14.04. Also, LMDE would be at RC level for a long time, and while other developers would release Debian based distros.
59 • @58 (by jaws222 on 2015-03-19 15:07:06 GMT from North America)
"Is it really necessary to reinstall just to use a different Desktop Environment?"
In some cases yes. Pinguy and Parsix are two great examples. They push the default gnome desktop and I always run into issues. Under the hood these are both pretty good distros and when I add the Mate desktop both run like champs. I've been running Pinguy 12.04 for quite a while and all my issues went away when I went to the Mate DE.
60 • Mutiple DEs (by M.Z. on 2015-03-19 17:22:06 GMT from Planet Mars)
In my experience multiple DEs can leave bits of each other floating around & causing a disjointed effect, like wallpaper from Cinnamon showing up every time you log out of KDE for example. I think a fresh install devoid of other DEs would offer the best & lightest experience with any particular DE because that would be no cross contamination between configurations in your hidden .dot files that exist in your /home folder. It might not be noticeable on all system, but it can cause an issue with any shared home folder, whether you're using different DEs in the same distro or booting into a different partitions using the same /home folder.
61 • Is a DE an OS? (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2015-03-19 23:28:36 GMT from North America)
Don't some LTS releases consider a Desktop Environment an integral part of an Operating System? This could explain why some "push the default", especially when the default is not compatible with other DEs.
Is "Open Desktop" an oxymoron?
62 • LMDE 2 (by Leonard Ashley on 2015-03-19 23:45:18 GMT from North America)
Topic 57: Had this checked out by others more knowledgeable about Linux, not an LMDE2 issue, seems it could be somehow residual openbox info somehow making it's way into an LMDE 2 install and openbox attempt. I would say this, LMDE 2 behaved quite nicely with openbox, although not the correct file normally associated with a newly applied openbox application. I stand corrected that Crunchbang cloning was an internal hard drive error.
63 • MATE is great. (by Paperless Tiger on 2015-03-20 00:43:09 GMT from North America)
I liked Gnome 2, because, as a user, I felt empowered to redesign the interface to suit myself. The new shell paradigm seems a bit stiff in that regard, although there are several nice shells to choose from. When Ubuntu changed to Unity, I tried it out, but soon embarked on a quest to find my ideal desktop. The problem is, I don't like the default look and feel of any of them. Old school MATE is adaptable, so that works. KDE is even more adaptable, but that cashew was driving me nuts. Note to developers: make everything an option, except for that button that reverts to default when user gets carried away. Thanks.
64 • Multiple DE contamination (by linuxista on 2015-03-20 01:29:58 GMT from North America)
I think it depends on which desktops as far as whether they'll interfere with each other. Generally, the simpler the DE the fewer problems. Also, I avoid mixing GTK and Qt families. So on one partition I have Gnome3, Xfce, Openbox, i3, Awesome and Qtile (I know, I know, but I only really use Gnome, Ob and i3), and they don't interfere with each other at all. On another I've got KDE, LXQt and Lumina, and they seem to be okay together, though I've tested that one less. One thing I've tried before and never will do again is to have Gnome and KDE on the same install (and probably Unity or Cinnamon for that matter).
65 • @ 60, 61, 64: Multiple DEs. (by Kubelik on 2015-03-20 03:33:27 GMT from Europe)
Multiple DEs are certainly often oxymorons.
Multibooting is centainly often your friend:)
66 • Yes & no (by M.Z. on 2015-03-20 07:09:03 GMT from Planet Mars)
I'd warn that multiboot can be just as bad if you're using a shared /home partition, because you have the same cross contamination of .dot files, or else you can't access all your data from the various distros. That's when you have to do some creative stuff like create a unified /data partition that is recognized by all your distros. Be ready to open up nano to edit /etc/fstab & go over the tutorial here:
I should play more with GRUB so I can get different distros to play better with each other, but I havn't gone that deep yet. As is stands my laptop has Mint 17.1 Cinnamon & 17.1 KDE working well, but when I try to get PCLOS or Magiea to work I end up reinstalling a Mint so I can get back to Mint after the new distro refuses to recognize the old ones. I also have Mint 17.1 XFCE & Debian playing well on an old junk computer, & of course everything connects to the /data partition well, but not everything duel boots as easily as I'd like. It's always because of a GRUB issue from different & unrelated distros, but I'll probably get it working eventually. I've found lots of generic stuff related to what I'm trying to do, but it doesn't ever seem to do what I want.
67 • @ 66 (by kc1di on 2015-03-20 13:13:37 GMT from North America)
You may be interested in this article. though he doesn't go too deep about it he has a good way of doing multiple distros. both uefi and non-uefi together. good luck ;)
68 • @66M.Z. (by gee7 on 2015-03-20 13:36:59 GMT from Europe)
Re@66 Quote "when I when I try to get PCLOS or Magiea to work I end up reinstalling a Mint so I can get back to Mint after the new distro refuses to recognize the old ones.. " Unquote
hi M.Z. I have had problems in the past with that but not recently - I have 15 open source distros in a multiboot on my old computer, spread over two 500 GB hard drives, including Mint and PCLOS, so the following is how I used to recover grub2 without having to re-install Mint or Debian, or whatever your main operating system is: I found that is is easiest and best to have one main operating system, the grub of which boots all the others. That for me is Debian 8, soon to be new stable.
The following has always worked well for me in the past but whether systemd creates problems now, who knows?
So … how to re-install Grub2 using Linux Mint Debian installation DVD
or any other live DVD on to an operating system which is on, for example, /dev/sdb3.
In the second line, substitute “sdb3” for the root partition that holds the Linux operating system you want to recover.
Thanks to cariboo907 on Ubuntu forums for initial post 3rd February 2011, copied out below:
= ================ =
Pop live installation DVD into dvd drive and boot.
Open a terminal and type:
$ sudo su
# mount /dev/sdb3 /mnt
# mount -o bind /dev /mnt/dev
# mount -o bind /sys /mnt/sys
# mount -o bind /proc /mnt/proc
# chroot /mnt
# grub-install /dev/sdb
= ================ =
69 • Multibooot cross-contamination (by linuxista on 2015-03-20 14:19:51 GMT from North America)
@66 "I'd warn that multiboot can be just as bad if you're using a shared /home partition, because you have the same cross contamination of .dot files, or else you can't access all your data from the various distros."
If you're multibooting and sharing a /home partition, each distro/install should have a unique username to avoid cross-contamination. You should end up with a /home/MintUser, /home/UbuntuUser, /home/ArchUser, or whatever, that way the user config files are separate. Then you can create softlinks between the data folders like /home/MintUser/Documents, etc. Works for me, and 0% cross-contamination.
70 • 65 • Multi… (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2015-03-20 16:21:45 GMT from North America)
(Indeed, I've only seen a few successful mixes of GTK and Qt.)
In time perhaps using multiple computers will give way to multibooting, then multiple virtual machines, even jails/containers/dockees/domains? Meanwhile, portable is handy…
A separate place for (valuable) data - wisdom.
(Likewise, separate users in common /home for each distro kept.)
Meanwhile, an insistent test distro may be allowed to install its bootloader … to its own partition.
Will os-prober find them all (GrUB2, BUrG, Grub(v0.99/"legacy"(as in PCLinuxOS?), GrUB4dOS, LILO, syslinux, loadlin, GAG, Plop, XOSL, freeldr, DOS/FreeDOS/MSDOS, …, U-boot, CoreBoot, Darwin, NTLDR)?
Will grub-customizer help?
Keep It Short & Simple (and preferably cross-platform).
Linux - It Just Works (aka "I don't care how"), except when it doesn't, of course.
71 • multiple DE conflcts (by linuxista on 2015-03-21 02:22:48 GMT from North America)
I just ran across an interesting article that throws a new wrinkle into using multiple DEs on the same distro install. The guy says:
"I have Gnome, KDE, Cinnamon, Mate, Deepin, and LXDE installed on my Arch system and there is nothing broken. I must admit that the issue of multiple DEs is more visible on Ubuntu-based systems that have forked components of Gnome, which creates some conflicts. Other distributions are quite tolerant of multiple DEs sharing the same space on the hard drive - no hard feelings." http://www.itworld.com/article/2898189/five-reasons-i-roll-with-arch-linux-and-why-you-should-too.html
The system I was referring to above @64 is an Arch install (the KDE one is Manjaro).
72 • Multibooting (by Kubelik on 2015-03-21 02:35:46 GMT from Europe)
On a PC running BIOS the simplest way of multibooting - in my experieence - is first to make a partion table with Gparted (or the like). You can have 4 primary partitions. So this is what I do:
sda1: to have a place to dump unwanted bootloaders.
sda2: here I put my favorite distro.
sda3: use as extended. I make 7 (sub-)partitions and a swap: sda5-12. If you like you can write labels with distro names.
sda4: here I have all my Data, separated from but readily accessible from all 8 distros. I write DATA on the Label.
To automount the DATA partition you have first to make a folder in each distro:
# mkdir /mnt/DATA
Then you tell the distro to automount the DATA partition:
# echo "LABEL="DATA" /mnt/DATA ext4 defaults,noatime 0 2" >> /etc/fstab
To be sure there are no problems with user rights:
# chmod -R 777 /mnt/DATA
To install a distro you chose a partition and install everything in /. You only need one bootloader, the one you want to command the MBR.
As long as the distro has GRUB 2+ it will automatically find the rest of the distros (via os-prober). No need for configuring. But when you install a new distro, you will have to mount the one that commands the MBR and reinstall GRUB.
All other bootloaders you can safely dump in sda1.
- Some distros won't allow install of bootloader in /. And lately some distros automatically install it to MBR - yes, I am looking at you Fedora and openSUSE. Then you can use a GRUB rescue disc to mount the distro you want to have the bootloader in MBR. From there you reinstall GRUB to MBR. Just use the package manager.
Well this has worked for me in a lot of years. Maybe it will work for you. - openSUSE has a pretty GRUB menu:)
Number of Comments: 72
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