Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Decided to take a look at a live session of the Wheezy-based Handy Linux (with Xfce 4.8) after reading this article: HandyLinux 1.6 - A sample of what you can achieve using the power of Debian

Very nice-looking presentation of Xfce on the desktop, as you can see.

I downloaded handylinux-1.6.1-686.iso. Got the md5sum and verified it:

steve[~/Downloads]$ md5sum handylinux-1.6.1-686.iso
6a82e0dc7aeec0e6135eb27bad708fc0  handylinux-1.6.1-686.iso

Created the flash drive:

# dd if=/path/to/archlinux.iso of=/dev/sdx

# dd if=/home/steve/Downloads/handylinux-1.6.1-686.iso of=/dev/sdb

With the flash drive plugged into the HP G72 notebook, I booted with the "[EN] Test HandyLinux" option.

First thing that popped up was the Keyboard Selector window. I chose "us English US."

The next window that popped up was the Welcome to HandyLinux window.

The Handy Linux Main Menu simplifies things a bit too much for my tastes.

It's easy enough to get to the Applications List from the Raiders tab.

Or just add the Xfce Applications Menu to the panel.

When I opened up Chromium, everything was in French, including DuckDuckGo and Gmail.

I went to Settings > Show advanced settings... > Languages > Languages and input settings button. In the Languages box, I put English (United States) at the top.

That took care of any language issues in Chromium.

Some comments by Gary Newell in the above-mentioned article (might be important for anyone planning to install this distro):

Incidentally, whilst running the live version of HandyLinux everything worked fine but after installing the full version to disk the HandyLinux menu wouldn't start when I clicked on it.

I therefore ran the menu from the command line and the message that appeared stated that the file "/home/user/.config/user-dirs.dirs" could not be found. To resolve this issue I ran a search for the user-dirs.dirs file using the following command:

find / -name user-dirs.dirs

The file was found in /etc/skel/.config/user-dirs.dirs. I therefore copied that file to /home/user/.config/user-dirs.dirs using the following command.

cp /etc/skel/.config/user-dirs.dirs /home/gary/.config/user-dirs.dirs

After copying the file, the menu started to work correctly.

As you can see in this screenshot, Handy Linux's repos are pure Debian Wheezy (plus backports):

Handy Linux is another attempt to make Debian easy for folks new to Linux. For the experienced Debian user, Handy provides a quick-and-easy installation, loads of default applications (my download was about 1.2 G), and Debian underneath, with the Debian repos available. Nice for folks who love Debian and who want to get a machine up and running quickly.

Monday, August 18, 2014

browsers, browsers...

Back in May, I was talking about going back to Firefox. Since then, I've kinda re-converted to the Mozilla side, although I haven't uninstalled Chromium or Google Chrome.

Here's how I have Firefox in Debian Wheezy GNOME:

I've also, since May, spent some time with some other web browsers, including Iceweasel (in Debian Stable), QupZilla, and Pale Moon.

Extensions found at Firefox's Add-ons site work in Iceweasel and Pale Moon. I like that part. For example, with the Hide Caption Titlebar Plus extension, setting up the "home" button and its floating menubar is the same in all three browsers.

While Firefox is currently at version 31-point-something, Iceweasel in Debian Stable is "way back" at version 24.7. To me, that's okay, as I think Debian provides security updates for Iceweasel. I really just use Iceweasel about the same as I'd use Firefox. Here's Iceweasel in Wheezy Xfce:

Pale Moon, a wonderful, lighter alternative to Firefox and Iceweasel, looks and feels a lot like using Firefox.

Nice article about Pale Moon: Want Firefox without Australis? Try Pale Moon
I used some of the instructions there to install Pale Moon here. In other words, I downloaded the .tar.bz2 file from the Pale Moon for Linux page at Sourceforge; extracted it to my home folder; opened a terminal, cd'd to the pminstaller directory, and ran the script (this can be run later to update, uninstall, etc.). Something like:

#  ~/pminstaller-0.1.5/


$ sudo ~/pminstaller-0.1.5/ gives you this GUI:

I found the palemoon package at the Arch User Repository (, but I used the method above to install Pale Moon in ArchBang.

Extensions I'm using in Firefox, Iceweasel, and Pale Moon: Adblock Plus, Flashblock, Omnibar, Xmarks, Tab Mix Plus, Hide Caption Titlebar Plus.

I'm also using Forecastfox in Iceweasel; it works in Pale Moon as well, but doesn't work in Firefox as of FF 29. For Firefox, I'm using Fastest Weather Forecast 0.1.3.

Right now, on my systems, Chromium and Google Chrome have taken a back seat to  Firefox, Iceweasel, and Pale Moon. It's good to be back to the Firefox ecosystem; hopefully it'll be a nice, long run.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

just a quick glance

Took a look at a live session of the Arch-based Manjaro 0.8.10 (Xfce). I downloaded manjaro-xfce-0.8.10-i686.iso, used Unetbootin to get it onto a flash drive, and ran it live on my HP G72 notebook.

Manjaro comes loaded with apps -- the download was about 1.1 GB. They include the Whisker menu, but the standard Applications menu is available via desktop right-click.

Thunar, showing the ~/Desktop directory.

Manjaro ships with Firefox.

I found 36 backgrounds in the /usr/share/backgrounds/xfce directory.

Here's a listing of what's found in the live session's Whisker menu:

Under the Accessories menu - Application Finder, Bulk Rename, Catfish File Search, Clipman, Engrampa Archive Manager, Galculator, HP Device Manager, Menu Editor, Mousepad, Notes, Orage Globaltime, Screenshot, Sensor Viewer, Task Manager, Thunar File Manager, Xfburn.

Under the Development menu - OpenJDK Policy Tool, Qt4 Assistant, Qt4 Designer, Qt4 Linquist, Qt4 QDbus Viewer.

Under the Education menu - LibreOffice Math

Under the Games menu - Steam.

Under the Graphics menu - GNU Image Manipulation Program, Viewnior.

Under the Internet menu - Avahi SSH Server Browser, Avahi VNC Server Browser, Firefox, HexChat, Pidgin Internet Messenger, Steam, Thunderbird.

Under the Multimedia menu - Audio Mixer, PulseAudio Volume Control, Qt V4L2 test Utility, VLC media player, Xfburn, Xnoise.

Under the Office menu - Dictionary, Document Viewer, LibreOffice, LibreOffice Calc, LibreOffice Impress, LibreOffice Math, LibreOffice Writer, Orage Calendar, Orage Globaltime.

Under the Settings menu - Accessibility, Adobe Flash Player, Appearance, Bluetooth Manager, Desktop, File Manager, Firewall Configuration, IceTea-Web Control Panel, Keyboard, Login Window, Majaro Settings Manager, Menu Editor, MIME Type Editor, Mouse and Touchpad, Network Connections, Notifications, Orage preferences, Panel, Preferred Applications, Print Settings, Privilege granting, Removable Drives and Media, Screensaver, Session and Startup, Settings Editor, Settings Manager, Window Manager, Window Manager Tweaks, Workspaces.

Under the System menu - Add/Remove Software, Avahi Zeroconf Browser, Bulk Rename, dconf Editor, Firewall Configuration, GParted, Install Manjaro Linux, Install Manjaro Linux (cli), Login Window, Manage Printing, Manjaro Welcome, New Login, Print Settings, Sensor Viewer, Software Update, Task Manager, Thunar File Manager, Xfce Terminal.

Looks like a nice distro, overall. They include more apps that I would ever want or need, but it's probably a good selection for their target users. I was thinking of replacing my Bridge Linux (Xfce) with Manjaro, but decided against it. Maybe I'll install Manjaro sometime in the future.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

glowing review

A glowing video review of MX-14 "Symbiosis."

Nothing but accolades for MX-14; no negativity here! The reviewer looked at MX-14.0, but MX-14.2 is now available. Here's the brief release announcement from the antiX main page:

1 July 2014

MX-14.2 "Symbiosis" bugfix upgrade release available

Upgraded bugfix versions (pae and non-pae) of MX-14 are now available. This version has fixed some bugs found in MX-14.1.1 and Debian upstream.

- LibreOffice updated to 4.2.5version
- Google search engine bug fixed.
- Toned down faulty hard drive error when installing.
- Image files open with mirage.
- wl modules for broadcom wireless now on the cd image.
- updated documentation.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

kubuntu's cousins

Links to a couple more reviews done by Arindam Sen:

Netrunner 14 "Frontier" Review: Looks and feels awesome to use with new animated wallpapers!

Linux Mint 17 "Qiana" KDE Review: Better than Kubuntu with pleasant aesthetics and superb performance

Sen clearly prefers both of these distros over Kubuntu. The most recent Kubuntu release I've run here is 12.04, which I still have installed, and I haven't tried Netrunner 14 or Mint 17 KDE. I figure that Sen's correct in saying that Netrunner 14 and Mint 17 KDE are better, overall than Kubuntu 14.04. For my purposes, however, Kubuntu 12.04 is good enough that I haven't found any reason to bother with Kubuntu 14.04, Netrunner 14, OR Mint 17 KDE! Whatever -- they all pull from the Ubuntu repos, anyway...

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Arindam Sen likes it: Manjaro Linux 0.8.10 KDE and XFCE Review: Bang on target release after release!

Note the opening paragraph:

I have used a lot of rolling release distros in last 5 years, but, for production purpose, till recently, I mostly relied on only a few - Linux Mint, Debian and Ubuntu LTS. Primarily because the so-called "install it once only" promise hardly worked for most of the rolling release distros and they inevitably break or become unbootable after a couple of major upgrades. However, my experience with Manjaro Linux and Chakra Linux in the past 12 months have successfully changed that impression. These two Arch based distros survived 4 major upgrades and still running great, even with a whole lot of customization and niche packages that I installed.

What impresses me about this is that I've had a great experience with Arch Linux so far, and I consider it to be the best, most "stable" rolling-release distro that I've spent more than a few months with. Manjaro brings Arch packages into their (Manjaro's) own repos, so there's a bit of a buffer there that should make Manjaro even more "stable" than Arch. Makes sense, although this means (as Arch purists would say) that Manjaro is not Arch.

Sounds like a great distro. I may eventually install Manjaro here.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

looking in on bodhi

I've never installed Bodhi Linux here, but I've mentioned it here before, a couple of years ago. Recently, I downloaded bodhi-2.4.0-64.iso, used Unetbootin to get it onto a flash drive, and fired up a live session. I used the "Default" boot option.

As you boot into the live session, you're presented with several "Profiles" to choose from: Bare, Compositing, Desktop, Fancy, Laptop/Netbook, Tablet, and Tiling. I chose the Laptop/Netbook profile.

As well, there's a choice from six themes. I chose the "A-EB1-Moonlight" theme.

Here's the desktop:

Navigating the desktop takes a bit of getting used to if you aren't used to Enlightenment E17, but it isn't really much of a problem. E17 in Bodhi looks great, too.

Bodhi kinda keeps to the minimum with the default apps. The .iso weighs in at about 690 MB. There's no office suite -- no LibreOffice, not even AbiWord or Gnumeric. There's Leafpad for text editing. Terminology is the default terminal emulator. The system comes with the Enlightenment File Manager.

For web browsing, they include Midori.

The Synaptic package manager is also included; I tested it out by installing the Chromium web browser. No problems there.

Bodhi 2.4.0 is based on Ubuntu 12.04; the next Bodhi release, presumably based on Ubuntu 14.04, is still in the beta stage. But 12.04 is an LTS (Long-Term Support) release that will be supported for a few years yet, so Bodhi 2.4.0 should be fine to use for quite some time. I took a look at Bodhi's /etc/apt/sources.list file; as you can see (I've included only the lines that are uncommented by default in the live session, below), everything comes from Ubuntu 12.04 ("Precise"):

deb precise main restricted
deb precise-updates main restricted

deb precise universe
deb precise-updates universe

deb precise multiverse
deb precise-updates multiverse

deb precise-backports main restricted universe multiverse

deb precise-security main restricted
deb precise-security universe
deb precise-security multiverse

deb precise partner

deb precise stable
deb precise-getdeb apps games

Good-looking distro, from what I can tell, but I guess it's basically Ubuntu, when it comes down to it. For those who like E17, Bodhi's worth a look.