Sunday, December 7, 2014

spacefm still comatose

Still no news about the SpaceFM file manager. Its developer, IgnorantGuru, announced a "hiatus" from his public projects back in April, and there's been no work done on SpaceFM since then. I wonder if IgnorantGuru will ever come back to the project. I've seen some updates coming down the pipe in Arch every now and then -- maintenance updates, I guess -- but that's it.

I'm still using SpaceFM, and it's still working fine; but, for future installations, I'm gonna go back to using Dolphin, even for non-KDE installations. (That's the only file manager I'm using in openSUSE 13.2 KDE, by the way.) I do like the Sunflower File Manager, but not as much as I like Dolphin, and I figure that there's a better chance that Dolphin will be around long-term than there is that Sunflower will. Even with all the KDE stuff Dolphin brings in, it's still worth it to add Dolphin to non-KDE installations; in my opinion, Dolphin's the best Linux file manager out there.

"Small" or "one-man" projects can be great but it stinks when they die.

Some links:

IgnorantGuru's blog:

SpaceFM home page:

Arch Linux forums thread: "SpaceFM - A Customizable File Manager"

Monday, December 1, 2014

current installations

Here are the distros I currently have installed, across four different computers; desktop environments/window managers as shown:

- HP G72: Debian Wheezy Xfce

- Compaq Presario CQ56 (a): Debian Wheezy GNOME; Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Unity; also GNOME Shell); Arch Linux (Xfce); openSUSE 13.2 KDE (also Fluxbox); Bridge Linux (Xfce; also Window Maker)

- Compaq Presario CQ57: Kubuntu 12.04 LTS (KDE; also Openbox); Debian Wheezy KDE (also Openbox); ArchBang (Openbox)

- Compaq Presario CQ56 (b): CrunchBang 11 ("Waldorf") (Openbox)

Sometime soon -- probably in early 2015 -- I plan to replace the Debian Wheezy installations with Debian Jessie, which is still in the "Testing" stage. I like to move from Stable to Testing once Testing has been "frozen," but this time around I might wait until Jessie moves to Stable, just so that any systemd bugs in Debian have been taken care of.

Not sure yet if I'll continue on with CrunchBang when the Jessie-based release comes out. That certainly depends on whether or not the developer, Philip Newborough (aka "corenominal"), decides to continue on with the project, and what direction he decides to take. I'm hoping that he'll stick with Openbox, which I really enjoy using. I think it would also be nice if he offered Fluxbox. If Newborough drops the project (hey, it could happen!), or if he switches to Xfce for the default DE, I'm thinking that I might switch to the MEPIS/antiX project called MX; if I do, I might add Openbox or Fluxbox to that.

All four of my computers -- they're all considered to be "notebooks" -- are very similar; they seem to belong to the same family of laptops. They're all very Linux-friendly, and have worked out fine with every distro I've thrown at them. As you can see above, I actually own two CQ56 notebooks. One thing to note is that I don't know how well wifi on any them works with the distros installed; I've stuck with using an ethernet cable in each case -- just seems easier for my situation. I use my laptops/notebooks only at my desk.

I consider Debian Xfce to be my "primary" system, but each of the distros here has been great. I think I actually spend more time using Arch (and the Arch-based Bridge and ArchBang) than anything else, but lately I've been using openSUSE (which I'm posting from at the moment) quite a bit, mainly because openSUSE 13.2 is my most recent installation.

Besides the Debian and CrunchBang (or possibly MX) installations (when I'll go from Wheezy to Jessie), I don't foresee doing any other distro installations in 2015, unless I decide to upgrade Kubuntu 12.04 to the 14.04 release. More likely, I'll be installing new releases of Ubuntu and openSUSE in 2016, when Ubuntu 16.04 comes out, and when openSUSE 13.2 reaches its End Of Life. I'm thinking that I'll stick with my current Kubuntu installation until the 16.04 release. Arch, Bridge, and ArchBang are rolling-release distros, so there should be no need to re-install -- in theory, at least.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

more 13.2

Added Fluxbox to openSUSE 13.2.

Fluxbox isn't in the main openSUSE repos, but it can be found in the X11:windowmanagers repo once that's added. Or -- and this is one cool thing about openSUSE -- users can just go over to the openSUSE Package Search site and take advantage of the handy One-Click Install feature:

That adds the repo and installs the package. Nice!

Monday, November 17, 2014


I replaced openSUSE 12.3 (KDE) with openSUSE 13.2 (KDE). I installed it using the Live KDE option at the Download page, rather than from the full (4.7GB) DVD. This release ships with KDE 4.14.2.

A shot of the default desktop:

And after some customization:

Monday, November 3, 2014

college football and tradition

So many people keep saying that the Big Ten Conference needs Michigan football to return to a position of dominance.

Why? Why return to something like the days of the Big Two (Ohio State and Michigan) and the Little Eight (everybody else in the conference)?

Why do college football fans long so much to keep things the way they were? What is this attachment to tradition all about?

The problem I have with "tradition" is that sometimes it keeps you stuck in the past while the world is changing around you. Further, many times we try to hold on to traditions even when those traditions are not necessarily good for everyone.

A college football landscape where the same old teams rule -- many people think that's a tradition that we need to keep. Not me. I'd like to see Indiana or Northwestern or Purdue string together three or four consecutive Big Ten titles. I'd like to see Vanderbilt win the SEC a few times, or Oregon State and Washington State ruling the Pac-12 for awhile.

I'd even like to see the name of the Big Ten Conference changed to something else. Let go of the past; the conference has had more than ten teams for over two decades now, and currently includes 14 schools from 11 different states. Guess what, folks: Bo and Woody are not coming back.

Change happens, and that's a good thing. The ruling class will always want things to remain the same, while the lower classes will always strive to upset the equilibrium and get a piece of the action. Poor people don't want to remain poor; slaves want to be free. Nobody wants to be told to "know your place."

The Big Ten is not what it once was. College football is not what it once was. The world is not what it once was. The time comes when it's simply best to deal with reality and move on.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

no thanks, mint

The "crippled" Synaptic Package Manager that Linux Mint ships with has been one of the main reasons I've stayed away from the distro since I stopped using it after the Mint 9 ("Isadora") release. For users like me, it looks like things have only gotten worse. Here's Ken Starks in "Synaptic Vs. Update Manager in Linux Mint":

Mint had already made upgrades [using Synaptic] a bit more difficult by making you choose all apps with a ctrl+A command and then right click to update all apps. But now, you can’t do even that. The Mark All Upgrades button is completely missing. It wasn’t stripped out; from my understanding, Synaptic had been replaced by Mint’s version of Synaptic. You can search and install applications with it…you just can’t upgrade your system with it.


What I will gripe about is completely neutering Synaptic as an alternative method of system upgrade/update.

There was a work-around for the "crippled" Synaptic in Mint back when I was using it, and I think there's a different work-around now. But Linux Mint does way too much hand-holding for my tastes. Great distro, for sure, but it isn't for me.

In the comments following the article, one person wrote:

Mint forks a huge number of packages from the Debian/Ubuntu repos. Synaptic installs the Debian/Ubuntu versions from the Debian/Ubuntu repos, and the Mint update manager/package manager installs the Mint version from the Mint repos. A full upgrade using synaptic would result in a Ubuntu/Mint hybrid. If you have ever noticed when upgrading with synaptic in mint that it will ask to keep the original config (mint version), or install the package maintainer’s config.

Okay, I can understand that. So, why even include the "crippled" Synaptic in the default Mint installation? Leave it up to the user to decide whether or not to use Synaptic the way it's supposed to be used. Don't make the user have to jump through hoops to do this. If the user wants to install and use the real Synaptic and risk borking Linux Mint, that should be up to the user to decide.

No other distro that I'm aware of does what Mint does to Synaptic. The whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth back when I was running Mint. I actually liked the distro, for the most part. But as long as the Mint devs feel the need to protect users from themselves like this, I won't be going back. Thanks, but no thanks.

Monday, October 20, 2014