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.


Interesting project. They're trying to port Android to run on a regular computer. I mean mainly for stuff like laptops, notebooks, and netbooks, but (I guess) not for your typical classic desktop computer. Although these days I use my notebooks as desktop computers. But don't let me digress here.

The development is at RC2 (that is, 2nd release candidate). It can be downloaded and run live or installed like any other Linux distribution. Cool, I do that kind of thing all the time.

RC2-level, in this case, as least, is too raw for me, so I'll wait awhile. But I'm curious, so I'll take a look at it later, on one of my notebooks. Maybe. I've read some reviews of the earlier release candidates, and as things stand right now, I don't see Android-x86 as being suitable for laptop/notebook use. It definitely falls short of what can be done with any of the many desktop environments currently available for Linux.

Also, it looks like Android-x86 involves too much Google for my tastes.

Still, this project is in its infancy; and, there's considerable interest, for whatever reasons. Potentially, it could actually work out.

I'd like to do a more in-depth blog post about it, but I don't want to have to jump through hoops just to do simple stuff like, for example, get screenshots and save them somewhere to use later. Here's what Dedoimedo wrote in his review of Android-x86:

To be able to record my activity with the system, I had to install a screenshot utility. Now, this worked just fine, however, I had to disable the system privilege escalation prompts in order to keep the screenshots clean. All right, so I had a bunch of images now, but no way to copy them from the virtual /sdcard device to a persistent storage. As I've noted earlier, Samba sharing worked only in one direction. The internal hard disk in my eeePC netbook was invisible. And I did not want to upload my files to my Google account.

So what I did was connect an 8GB micro-SD card using an SD card adapter. Android automounted the storage card to /mnt/USB, however with root privileges. So I had to open the terminal emulator, su myself and then do a classic command-line copy from the virtual SD card to a real one. But this worked, and now you enjoy some lovely screenshots.

See, I read all that and say, "Aw, hell naw."

In any case, like I said, I might take a look at all this later. For now, here's a link to their website:

Some screenshots:

And, a couple more reviews:

From LinuxBSDos: Android-x86 4.4 review – first Release Candidate

From LinuxInsider: Android-x86 Just Might Make a Good Linux Desktop Alternative

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

for the most part

Steven Rosenberg concludes his article "Fedora is remarkably stable despite a constant flow of new" by saying, "But for the most part, it works."

That falls in line with my experiences; my first Fedora release was F14, and from there I ran each release through F18. As Rosenberg notes, sometimes things go wrong. "...kernels, applications and lots of other components are new, new, new," he writes; several times with Fedora, I had to revert to using an older kernel because the most recent one sent down the pipe didn't work out here.

Writing about Mat Enders' comments about Fedora in a recent episode of Sunday Morning Linux Review, Rosenberg says:

Mat's point, more specifically, was that he has less trouble with Fedora than he did with Debian Sid, the "Unstable" release that gets new packages all the time.

What's notable is that Fedora is almost always ahead of Debian Sid when it comes to newness. (It's not ahead of Arch, but what is?)

However, so far I seem to be having less trouble with Arch than I had with Fedora. And, while Arch might be more difficult to install than Fedora, it's a rolling-release distro; in theory, you could go years rolling with the same installation.

Not to knock Fedora here, though; I enjoyed using it. I'd probably still be running it, if I wasn't running Arch, and I may even get back around to Fedora at some point. I'm a Debian person when it comes to my production machine, where I need "solid and stable," but one thing I liked about Fedora was getting to try out new stuff -- especially newer versions of KDE and GNOME.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

mint will be "LTS-Only"

Clement Lefebvre has made the following announcement:

The decision was made to stick to LTS bases. In other words the development team will be focused on the very same package base used by Linux Mint 17 for the next 2 years. It will also be trivial to upgrade from version 17 to 17.1, then 17.2 and so on. Important applications will be backported and we expect this change to boost the pace of our development and reduce the amount of regressions in each new Linux Mint release. This makes Linux Mint 17.x very important to us, not just yet another release, but one that will receive security updates until 2019, one that will receive backports and new features until 2016 and even more importantly, the only package base besides LMDE which we’ll be focused on until 2016.

Excellent plan. I stick with the LTS (long-term support) releases of Ubuntu, and I did the same when I used Linux Mint. This should free up some time for the Mint devs, who will no longer have to work on those "in-between" releases.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

it's always the refs!

Clippers led OKC 101-88 with just over 4 minutes left in the 4th quarter. Couldn't seal the deal. Got outscored 17-3 the rest of the way and lost 105-104. 

Questionable calls at the end? Pfft. Handle your business and don't leave the game in the refs' hands. After the game, it's always only the losers whining about the refs. Key word being "losers."

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

back to firefox?

Back when I used Windows XP, someone told me about Mozilla's Firefox web browser, which had recently come out. That was the first time I'd heard of open source software. I started using Firefox instead of Internet Explorer, and as I became more aware of other open source projects (OpenOffice was something else I started using at about that time), I found out about Linux, which kinda left me with a sentimental attachment to Firefox -- in a way, it led me to using Linux. It was the first step I took in that direction, anyway.

Later, Chromium and Google Chrome were released. I liked that interface even better than Firefox's (I also liked the way Chromium/Chrome started up so much faster than Firefox did); I've been using mainly Chromium as my default web browser for about five years now. So much for that sentimental attachment; I guess I'm not really much for brand loyalty.

It might be time to switch back to Firefox. Mozilla recently released Firefox 29; the interface is somewhat similar to how Chromium/Chrome looks, with the tabs placed up at the top and the so-called "hamburger menu button" to get to the browser's settings.

A few more add-ons (Omnibar, Tab Mix Plus, and Hide Caption Titlebar Plus) give me a Firefox browser that looks and performs almost like Chromium. Here's my set-up in Kubuntu 12.04, using Openbox:

Lots of people are very unhappy -- even angry -- with the changes Mozilla brought with Firefox 29, but I'm thrilled and excited. For the first time in a long while, I'm seriously considering switching back from Chromium and making Firefox my default web browser again. I'm gonna take a closer look and spend more time using Firefox over the next week or so, but so far I'm quite pleased with what I'm seeing. Looks like Mozilla may have won back this former Firefox devotee!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

cut off

Here's something I don't like about GNOME Shell:

Truncated application names in the Activities overview (shot from GNOME 3.10 in Ubuntu 14.04). Not a big issue, but it can be kinda annoying.

trusty screenshots

I finally decided to go ahead and install Ubuntu 14.04 ("Trusty Tahr"), Ubuntu's latest LTS release. Here's what my default desktop looked like:

I went to System Settings > Security & Privacy and basically turned everything off, and that pretty much took care of the online search stuff and all that. Easy enough.

I added compizconfig-settings-manager (haven't used it, though), Nautilus-Actions Configurations Tool (haven't used that yet, either), Ubuntu Tweak, Unity Tweak Tool, Synaptic, SpaceFM, Variety wallpaper changer, and a bunch of other things.

Overall, Trusty looks pretty good, but not perfect. These LTS releases tend to get better with time, though. This screenshot shows the "Utilities" quicklist that I added in Unity:

I also added GNOME Shell:

I spent a lot of time tweaking, but for the most part I've got things set up nicely. I'm definitely having a lot of fun with Ubuntu 14.04; looks like it'll be great to use over the next few years.