Friday, August 29, 2014


Earlier this month (see browsers, browsers...), I wrote about switching over from Chromium to Firefox. I haven't removed Chromium or any other web browser. I've been using Firefox most of the time. I want Firefox to be my main browser. I've added Pale Moon to only half of my Linux installations.

The problem is, in my systems, Firefox Australis is slower than Pale Moon, Chromium, or Iceweasel.

I'm in Wheezy GNOME today, and I was using Firefox earlier. Later, switched over to Pale Moon, and the words that come to mind are "blazing speed."

I'm disappointed in Firefox. I've really given it an honest chance this time around. The Australis interface isn't an issue here. But, I'm seeing a huge difference between Firefox and the other browsers in how long it takes web pages to load -- even with only one tab open.

Not cool.

In Wheezy Xfce and in Wheezy KDE, I have Iceweasel installed, but not Firefox or Pale Moon. I'm okay with Iceweasel's performance, so I think I'll keep using Iceweasel in those installations.

Firefox, though, is (sadly) very close to getting kicked to the curb. It's Pale Moon FTW.

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.