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Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Introduction

Android x86 has been riding high in the Distrowatch rankings for the past 6 months. I haven't looked at this distribution since July 2012 which if my maths serves me correctly is 3 years.

Why so long between reviews? When I last looked at Android x86 it simply didn't work very well. It wasn't a case that the developers had done a bad job of porting it across but more an issue with regards to how Android works.


The main problem I had with Android on my netbook was navigation. Netbooks and laptops require the use of a keyboard and a trackpad. Android has been built for touchscreen devices. 

The lack of scroll bars was a major issue, especially if you wanted to read a long article as it relies on you continually dragging up the screen with the trackpad.

The fact that Android is such a popular download however has led me to believe that people really want this and are keen to give this a go.

How To Get Android x86

You can get Android x86 by visiting http://www.android-x86.org/.

The website has a mixture of some really useful information and some out of date information which makes it a little bit painful to decipher.

For instance the latest release is Android x86 - Release 4,4 r3 which can be found by reading the "What is new?" section on the front page.

The downloads page only has Android x86 - Release 4.4 r2 available. The downloads page is also a little bit over complicated.

There is a 2.3 release for the eeePC and then a 2.2 release for a number of different devices. Scroll down a bit further and there are download links for the 4.0 release (again for different devices) and finally you get the 4.4 release.

Below all that are a whole load of deprecated release links.

There is a lot of good information on the website but some duff stuff as well. For instance the instructions say that the "Play Store" isn't available for Android x86 but it clearly is.

So here are the two download links you need for the latest release which is Android x86 4.4 r3.
The links are stored on Google Drive so may take some time to download. It is worth using a download manager such as uGet so that you can continue the download should it fail half way through.

Installing Android x86


Installing Android isn't particularly difficult. Steps include detecting the hard drive, creating partitions and installing GRUB.

After you have rebooted into Android you will have to go through the Android setup screens which ask you to choose your language, sign in to your Google account, choose whether to link to Google Services, set the date and time and enter your name as the user of the tablet.

First Impressions





























Initially I tried Android within VirtualBox and for good reason. It is unlikely that I would want to use Android on a computer all of the time and so setting it as my sole operating system didn't seem like a good idea.

There are certainly some important gotchas that will hit you when you try Android x86 within VirtualBox.

For instance the screen resolution is locked to a fairly small window. There aren't any simple settings for solving this issue. You have to set the resolution using the command line for virtualbox and then you have to adjust the GRUB settings for changing the resolution within Android.

Another issue which will wind up first time users is the auto rotation. Remember that Android is designed for handheld devices. On a phone or a tablet it is ok for the screen to rotate so that the application can be used in the optimum way. On a laptop it is definitely an undesirable side effect.

The first thing you will want to do therefore is turn off the auto rotation. If you find that you are stuck in a rotated screen press the F9 key twice quickly.

Whilst locking the rotation works for the main Android system it doesn't work for all applications because some applications have been designed to work in portrait mode. Even though you have locked the rotation when you install some games they will remain on their side.
































If you can play games with your head tilting to one side then this might work for you, especially if you have great trackpad skills.

The resolution is actually quite a simple one. There is an application called "Smart Rotator" that lets you set whether the application runs in portrait or landscape mode. 

Whilst good, the "Smart Rotator" isn't a perfect solution. Take the small VirtualBox window I referred to earlier for instance.

When you turn a portrait screen on its side into a landscape window that is too small it can have disastrous effects, especially when you are trying to play a bat and ball style game like Arkanoid. The bat basically sits above the first row of blocks and the ball just flies off knocking down all the blocks. The game is rendered unplayable.

I found a better solution to this is to edit the GRUB file and have multiple Android menu options with different resolutions. (Some made to be portable and others landscape).

The next issue I found is how to control games. Android as mentioned previously is made for touch screen devices and therefore many games either work by tilting the screen or by pressing on screen buttons.

Whilst this is ok for slower games, it is a disaster when you are trying to play "Retro Racing".

The best solution I could find for this is to use a bluetooth controller such as a WII remote or an OUYA controller. 

The instant thought occurs, why bother using Android on a laptop to play Android games when you can use the actual OUYA which is designed for playing Android games.

Within VirtualBox it is not possible to use the built in Bluetooth controller from your laptop. Instead I used a USB Bluetooth dongle

All you need to get the WII remote working is the application "WIIMote Controller" or "Bluez"

The same frustrations remain with scrolling but to be honest if I wanted to use Android on my computer it would be for playing games rather than to use the web browser or to read books.

I have written an article called "5 tips and tricks for using Android x86 within VirtualBox" which covers most of the information I have given above in more detail.

VirtualBox Issues

I found that many applications installed from the Play Store within VirtualBox crashed, which is a shame because it is probably the best way to use Android x86.

Using A Live USB

After I had exhausted many hours within VirtualBox I decided it was time to try it out as a live USB to see if the issues I was having running certain applications would go away. 

For instance Google Maps failed within VirtualBox and I can't believe the developers wouldn't have tried Google Maps out before releasing it into the wild.

The Live USB worked well and I can confirm that more of the applications installed from the Play Store worked without issue. 

Within VirtualBox there is a 60/40 split of what works and what doesn't work whereas on a live USB it is more 90/10.

My main issue with using the live USB is that it was a bit sluggish.

Installed On A Netbook

I decided to install the latest version on a netbook, the same one in fact that I used last time in 2012. This was by far the best experience of using Android x86.

Most of the applications worked and I was able to play games using a bluetooth controller. The sound is also better natively on the netbook than via VirtualBox.

Summary

Obviously reviewing Android x86 is very different to reviewing a standard distribution. 

After 1 hour I was ready to throw it away and never look at it again. I found the mixture of auto rotation issues, screen resolution issues and controller issues to be a real frustration.

I found myself searching around for other reviews of Android x86. There aren't many up to date reviews but this one by Dedoimedo back in 2012 lists many of the problems that I experienced even on the current version.

I didn't want to give up however. I wanted to persevere. Android is a good way to play games casually and anybody who has bought an OUYA will testify to this fact. I love my OUYA, it has brought the world of retrogaming and homebrew games back firmly into the now. The OUYA isn't for hardcore games but great for casual gamers.

The OUYA is built on top of Android and so it makes sense to try and use Android x86 for casual gaming.

This review might not be very long but I have spent a long time playing and experimenting with Android x86 and if you stick with it and are willing to play with settings then you may get something close to desirable.

Those who will get the most out of Android x86 will be using a computer with a touchscreen.

Thankyou for reading.


An Everyday Linux User Review Of Android x86 - Release 4.4 r3

Introduction

Android x86 has been riding high in the Distrowatch rankings for the past 6 months. I haven't looked at this distribution since July 2012 which if my maths serves me correctly is 3 years.

Why so long between reviews? When I last looked at Android x86 it simply didn't work very well. It wasn't a case that the developers had done a bad job of porting it across but more an issue with regards to how Android works.


The main problem I had with Android on my netbook was navigation. Netbooks and laptops require the use of a keyboard and a trackpad. Android has been built for touchscreen devices. 

The lack of scroll bars was a major issue, especially if you wanted to read a long article as it relies on you continually dragging up the screen with the trackpad.

The fact that Android is such a popular download however has led me to believe that people really want this and are keen to give this a go.

How To Get Android x86

You can get Android x86 by visiting http://www.android-x86.org/.

The website has a mixture of some really useful information and some out of date information which makes it a little bit painful to decipher.

For instance the latest release is Android x86 - Release 4,4 r3 which can be found by reading the "What is new?" section on the front page.

The downloads page only has Android x86 - Release 4.4 r2 available. The downloads page is also a little bit over complicated.

There is a 2.3 release for the eeePC and then a 2.2 release for a number of different devices. Scroll down a bit further and there are download links for the 4.0 release (again for different devices) and finally you get the 4.4 release.

Below all that are a whole load of deprecated release links.

There is a lot of good information on the website but some duff stuff as well. For instance the instructions say that the "Play Store" isn't available for Android x86 but it clearly is.

So here are the two download links you need for the latest release which is Android x86 4.4 r3.
The links are stored on Google Drive so may take some time to download. It is worth using a download manager such as uGet so that you can continue the download should it fail half way through.

Installing Android x86


Installing Android isn't particularly difficult. Steps include detecting the hard drive, creating partitions and installing GRUB.

After you have rebooted into Android you will have to go through the Android setup screens which ask you to choose your language, sign in to your Google account, choose whether to link to Google Services, set the date and time and enter your name as the user of the tablet.

First Impressions





























Initially I tried Android within VirtualBox and for good reason. It is unlikely that I would want to use Android on a computer all of the time and so setting it as my sole operating system didn't seem like a good idea.

There are certainly some important gotchas that will hit you when you try Android x86 within VirtualBox.

For instance the screen resolution is locked to a fairly small window. There aren't any simple settings for solving this issue. You have to set the resolution using the command line for virtualbox and then you have to adjust the GRUB settings for changing the resolution within Android.

Another issue which will wind up first time users is the auto rotation. Remember that Android is designed for handheld devices. On a phone or a tablet it is ok for the screen to rotate so that the application can be used in the optimum way. On a laptop it is definitely an undesirable side effect.

The first thing you will want to do therefore is turn off the auto rotation. If you find that you are stuck in a rotated screen press the F9 key twice quickly.

Whilst locking the rotation works for the main Android system it doesn't work for all applications because some applications have been designed to work in portrait mode. Even though you have locked the rotation when you install some games they will remain on their side.
































If you can play games with your head tilting to one side then this might work for you, especially if you have great trackpad skills.

The resolution is actually quite a simple one. There is an application called "Smart Rotator" that lets you set whether the application runs in portrait or landscape mode. 

Whilst good, the "Smart Rotator" isn't a perfect solution. Take the small VirtualBox window I referred to earlier for instance.

When you turn a portrait screen on its side into a landscape window that is too small it can have disastrous effects, especially when you are trying to play a bat and ball style game like Arkanoid. The bat basically sits above the first row of blocks and the ball just flies off knocking down all the blocks. The game is rendered unplayable.

I found a better solution to this is to edit the GRUB file and have multiple Android menu options with different resolutions. (Some made to be portable and others landscape).

The next issue I found is how to control games. Android as mentioned previously is made for touch screen devices and therefore many games either work by tilting the screen or by pressing on screen buttons.

Whilst this is ok for slower games, it is a disaster when you are trying to play "Retro Racing".

The best solution I could find for this is to use a bluetooth controller such as a WII remote or an OUYA controller. 

The instant thought occurs, why bother using Android on a laptop to play Android games when you can use the actual OUYA which is designed for playing Android games.

Within VirtualBox it is not possible to use the built in Bluetooth controller from your laptop. Instead I used a USB Bluetooth dongle

All you need to get the WII remote working is the application "WIIMote Controller" or "Bluez"

The same frustrations remain with scrolling but to be honest if I wanted to use Android on my computer it would be for playing games rather than to use the web browser or to read books.

I have written an article called "5 tips and tricks for using Android x86 within VirtualBox" which covers most of the information I have given above in more detail.

VirtualBox Issues

I found that many applications installed from the Play Store within VirtualBox crashed, which is a shame because it is probably the best way to use Android x86.

Using A Live USB

After I had exhausted many hours within VirtualBox I decided it was time to try it out as a live USB to see if the issues I was having running certain applications would go away. 

For instance Google Maps failed within VirtualBox and I can't believe the developers wouldn't have tried Google Maps out before releasing it into the wild.

The Live USB worked well and I can confirm that more of the applications installed from the Play Store worked without issue. 

Within VirtualBox there is a 60/40 split of what works and what doesn't work whereas on a live USB it is more 90/10.

My main issue with using the live USB is that it was a bit sluggish.

Installed On A Netbook

I decided to install the latest version on a netbook, the same one in fact that I used last time in 2012. This was by far the best experience of using Android x86.

Most of the applications worked and I was able to play games using a bluetooth controller. The sound is also better natively on the netbook than via VirtualBox.

Summary

Obviously reviewing Android x86 is very different to reviewing a standard distribution. 

After 1 hour I was ready to throw it away and never look at it again. I found the mixture of auto rotation issues, screen resolution issues and controller issues to be a real frustration.

I found myself searching around for other reviews of Android x86. There aren't many up to date reviews but this one by Dedoimedo back in 2012 lists many of the problems that I experienced even on the current version.

I didn't want to give up however. I wanted to persevere. Android is a good way to play games casually and anybody who has bought an OUYA will testify to this fact. I love my OUYA, it has brought the world of retrogaming and homebrew games back firmly into the now. The OUYA isn't for hardcore games but great for casual gamers.

The OUYA is built on top of Android and so it makes sense to try and use Android x86 for casual gaming.

This review might not be very long but I have spent a long time playing and experimenting with Android x86 and if you stick with it and are willing to play with settings then you may get something close to desirable.

Those who will get the most out of Android x86 will be using a computer with a touchscreen.

Thankyou for reading.


Posted at 22:03 |  by Gary Newell

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

I have been on holiday for the past 10 days so I haven't had much of a chance to test new Linux distributions or work on any tutorials.

I have had lots of available reading time however and there was one particular story in Web User magazine that really amazed me, or should I say annoyed me.

Basically Windows XP and Vista users were enticed into trying out the "Insider Preview" version of Windows 10 to help Microsoft find bugs and react to feedback.

As a reward for their input into Windows 10, the "Insider Preview" users were to be given a free upgrade to the full version when it has been fully released.

Except of course now they aren't. Microsoft has changed the terms. Only Windows 7 and Windows 8 users will receive a free upgrade to Windows 10. 

There have also been rumours circulating that the upgrade will only be supported for 1 year for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users, at which point the operating system will work on a subscription basis. These rumours are considered to be false.

This article on the "The Inquirer" explains the situation further.

Quite simply if you have Windows XP or Windows Vista there is to be no free upgrade to Windows 10. If you wiped XP or Vista from your machine to install the "Insider Preview" and you don't have Windows disks or a recovery drive then you have been left high and dry. 

That is a big slap in the face from Microsoft isn't it? Thank you for trying our software and letting us fix the bad bits. They will now take all of the glory and your hard earned money as well.

It doesn't stop there of course. If you are a Windows 7 or Windows 8 user then you have to have a genuine version and that means if you upgraded from XP or Vista to those versions you are again in a tricky position.

What happens if Microsoft does indeed end up switching to a subscription model as they have with Office 365? Everyone is then locked in and Microsoft can basically set their own price from that point forward.

Switch to Linux. There are no scams, no teasers, no tricks. You can try it for free and you can use it for free.

Don't worry about the learning curve either. There are versions of Linux that are easy to install and easy to get to grips with such as Linux Mint, Zorin, PCLinuxOS and for those with older machines Lubuntu.

Need a guide? Try one of these:


There are many great reasons to use Linux. 

As well as being free to download and install (although it is a good idea to donate to the people that make the distribution you are using), there is a huge support network and people get back to you with answers to your queries far quicker than the Microsoft support forums and the answers are actually helpful.

The community is great. If you are looking for support, a bit of banter or want to contribute then it is easy to get involved but if you just want to use your computer that is perfectly fine as well. It is all about freedom.

If you are worried about certain software packages not working or hardware issues such as your printer not working with Linux then don't worry too much.

Every printer I have bought in the past 5 years has been easier to set up with Linux than it has with Windows.

There are thousands of really good free software packages available for Linux whether you are looking for a word processing package, spreadsheet tool, graphics editor, audio player or email client.

10 years ago Windows was dominant. Now you don't really need it. Don't let Microsoft get away with treating their customers like mugs.

Thankyou for reading.

Feel Scammed By Microsoft? Switch To Linux

I have been on holiday for the past 10 days so I haven't had much of a chance to test new Linux distributions or work on any tutorials.

I have had lots of available reading time however and there was one particular story in Web User magazine that really amazed me, or should I say annoyed me.

Basically Windows XP and Vista users were enticed into trying out the "Insider Preview" version of Windows 10 to help Microsoft find bugs and react to feedback.

As a reward for their input into Windows 10, the "Insider Preview" users were to be given a free upgrade to the full version when it has been fully released.

Except of course now they aren't. Microsoft has changed the terms. Only Windows 7 and Windows 8 users will receive a free upgrade to Windows 10. 

There have also been rumours circulating that the upgrade will only be supported for 1 year for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users, at which point the operating system will work on a subscription basis. These rumours are considered to be false.

This article on the "The Inquirer" explains the situation further.

Quite simply if you have Windows XP or Windows Vista there is to be no free upgrade to Windows 10. If you wiped XP or Vista from your machine to install the "Insider Preview" and you don't have Windows disks or a recovery drive then you have been left high and dry. 

That is a big slap in the face from Microsoft isn't it? Thank you for trying our software and letting us fix the bad bits. They will now take all of the glory and your hard earned money as well.

It doesn't stop there of course. If you are a Windows 7 or Windows 8 user then you have to have a genuine version and that means if you upgraded from XP or Vista to those versions you are again in a tricky position.

What happens if Microsoft does indeed end up switching to a subscription model as they have with Office 365? Everyone is then locked in and Microsoft can basically set their own price from that point forward.

Switch to Linux. There are no scams, no teasers, no tricks. You can try it for free and you can use it for free.

Don't worry about the learning curve either. There are versions of Linux that are easy to install and easy to get to grips with such as Linux Mint, Zorin, PCLinuxOS and for those with older machines Lubuntu.

Need a guide? Try one of these:


There are many great reasons to use Linux. 

As well as being free to download and install (although it is a good idea to donate to the people that make the distribution you are using), there is a huge support network and people get back to you with answers to your queries far quicker than the Microsoft support forums and the answers are actually helpful.

The community is great. If you are looking for support, a bit of banter or want to contribute then it is easy to get involved but if you just want to use your computer that is perfectly fine as well. It is all about freedom.

If you are worried about certain software packages not working or hardware issues such as your printer not working with Linux then don't worry too much.

Every printer I have bought in the past 5 years has been easier to set up with Linux than it has with Windows.

There are thousands of really good free software packages available for Linux whether you are looking for a word processing package, spreadsheet tool, graphics editor, audio player or email client.

10 years ago Windows was dominant. Now you don't really need it. Don't let Microsoft get away with treating their customers like mugs.

Thankyou for reading.

Posted at 21:02 |  by Gary Newell

Sunday, 5 July 2015


Somebody I have been conversing with for a while now asked me a very interesting question the other day and rather than answer it directly I thought it would be good to gauge the opinions of the Everyday Linux User readers.

Recently I have written a few articles about Debian and one of those articles suggested ways to improve some peripheral things about it such as the website and the installer.

I have become an advocate of GNOME recently and as such I have obviously mentioned this.

One of the comments that I received stated that because I liked GNOME I am therefore one of those people that needs things dumbed down.

This got me thinking. Is making something easier to use necessarily the same as dumbing down and indeed is there anything wrong with dumbing down if that makes something easier to use?

Whenever you look at technical videos online (and they don't have to be about Linux) you will quite often see Unity being used as the desktop environment.

Chris from the Linux Action Show uses Arch but quite often when you see demonstrations from one of their videos you will again see Unity being used.

The point is, do they use Unity because they need something dumbed down or do they use it because it is actually convenient and easy to use when you really just need to get a job done?

I think the beauty of desktop environments such as Unity, GNOME and for non-Linux users OSX and Windows 8.1 is that they are very intuitive and easy to use and they keep out of your way.

The keyboard shortcuts are definitely a good thing and the ability to search for applications, documents, audio files and videos with just a few key clicks is just great.

I think that the people who don't like the Unity and GNOME style interface fall into one of two categories.

The first category would be the people who like things to be the way they have always been. These people would appreciate Cinnamon, KDE and MATE.

The second category would say that the reason they don't like Unity and GNOME is that the developers have assumed the users want the desktop to work in a particular way but there is no way to change it if the user wants it to work in an alternative way.

To be honest I am not adverse to tinkering with a desktop environment and so I really like XFCE, LXDE and more recently Enlightenment. When it comes down to it though if I really need to get something done in a hurry I would turn to a machine with GNOME or Unity on it first.

So what kind of Linux desktop environments do you prefer?

Do you prefer the modern desktop environments with maybe less flexibility but perhaps better desktop integration and slightly more intuitive or do you like things more traditional with menus and panels? Maybe you don't care so long as you can make it the way you want it. Let me know in the comments below.

Thankyou for reading

Do You Prefer Modern Or Traditional Linux Desktop Environments?


Somebody I have been conversing with for a while now asked me a very interesting question the other day and rather than answer it directly I thought it would be good to gauge the opinions of the Everyday Linux User readers.

Recently I have written a few articles about Debian and one of those articles suggested ways to improve some peripheral things about it such as the website and the installer.

I have become an advocate of GNOME recently and as such I have obviously mentioned this.

One of the comments that I received stated that because I liked GNOME I am therefore one of those people that needs things dumbed down.

This got me thinking. Is making something easier to use necessarily the same as dumbing down and indeed is there anything wrong with dumbing down if that makes something easier to use?

Whenever you look at technical videos online (and they don't have to be about Linux) you will quite often see Unity being used as the desktop environment.

Chris from the Linux Action Show uses Arch but quite often when you see demonstrations from one of their videos you will again see Unity being used.

The point is, do they use Unity because they need something dumbed down or do they use it because it is actually convenient and easy to use when you really just need to get a job done?

I think the beauty of desktop environments such as Unity, GNOME and for non-Linux users OSX and Windows 8.1 is that they are very intuitive and easy to use and they keep out of your way.

The keyboard shortcuts are definitely a good thing and the ability to search for applications, documents, audio files and videos with just a few key clicks is just great.

I think that the people who don't like the Unity and GNOME style interface fall into one of two categories.

The first category would be the people who like things to be the way they have always been. These people would appreciate Cinnamon, KDE and MATE.

The second category would say that the reason they don't like Unity and GNOME is that the developers have assumed the users want the desktop to work in a particular way but there is no way to change it if the user wants it to work in an alternative way.

To be honest I am not adverse to tinkering with a desktop environment and so I really like XFCE, LXDE and more recently Enlightenment. When it comes down to it though if I really need to get something done in a hurry I would turn to a machine with GNOME or Unity on it first.

So what kind of Linux desktop environments do you prefer?

Do you prefer the modern desktop environments with maybe less flexibility but perhaps better desktop integration and slightly more intuitive or do you like things more traditional with menus and panels? Maybe you don't care so long as you can make it the way you want it. Let me know in the comments below.

Thankyou for reading

Posted at 22:19 |  by Gary Newell

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Introduction

I have now been using Debian for a few weeks and it is therefore time for me to write a review of my experience thus far.

Debian has been around for what seems like forever now and it is the base for so many other Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, Mint, SolydXK and Knoppix.

I think that the general consensus amongst Linux users is that Debian is stable, dependable and a good environment on which to build upon.

Does that mean it is suitable for Everyone?

A couple of weeks ago I put my hand firmly in the hornets nest and started waving it around. My article "3 ways to improve Debian and I haven't even booted it yet" received a very mixed response on Reddit.

In summary the 3 points I made were as follows:
  1. The website is hard to navigate
  2. I couldn't get the live USB to boot with UEFI
  3. The installer is a little bit convoluted with similar option spread over a number of screens
As usual the responses to my points were somewhere between complete agreement, to disagreement and of course to be called "a retard" (Their words not mine).

Here are a few quotes to prove my point:


Debian is not for noobs and shouldn't dumb itself down for the sake of "usability". Different users have different needs
A project can not call itself "the universal operating system" and then be satisfied when only a small minority of people have the knowledge, patience and motivation to actually make use of it.
Telling people to "go back to Ubuntu" is admitting defeat, plain and simple.
Just use Ubuntu if you want all that stuff. Isn't that why Ubuntu was made in the first place?
Yes, removing or separating all of the options to an options section and just having one download on the main section will make it better. Ubuntu is for ease of use, Debian is for choice. Its really not that difficult..
When I first came to Debian I was confused about which ISO to download. I thought net install was a PXE utility and thought it bizarre that they would offer that as the default. 
I thought that exact same thing. They don't do a good job of explaining the differences between the different ISO options.
You aren't alone... I've tried 3-4 times, and somehow I've actually succeeded once. I guess it was just a lucky day. It has really disencouraged me from using it, and the time I tried I eventually got rid of it because of the hard-to-use documentation. 
Hope the Debian website maintainers notice this post. I've been using Debian for 10+ years and the website has never once been a pleasant experience.
Debian is not Ubuntu, the argument is invalid. Debian is for people who know how to play with it and want to play with it. You want Ubuntu? Go use Ubuntu.
The thing that bothered me about a number of the responses is that Debian isn't for everyone, if you aren't happy, use Ubuntu. There are clearly enough people for which this is a problem. The quote where it says "hope the Debian website maintainers notice this post" had 56 upvotes. That is 56 potential Debian users who probably went elsewhere.

So where does that leave the rest of Debian? Well you might be surprised. Read on.

Installation

I have already covered much about the installation experience with the comments above.

The issue isn't really with the installation itself. There are a lot of screens to get through though and I think some could be condensed.

For instance there is a screen for entering the root password, another screen for entering the default user's name, a third screen for entering the username for the default user and a fourth screen for entering the passwords for the default user. Clearly this could be fixed with just one screen.

All in all though the actual install from the network installation download on the main Debian homepage made it simple enough to get a system dual booting Windows 8.1 and Debian Jessie.

Click here for a guide to dual booting Debian Jessie and Windows 8.1.

First Impressions

I chose to install the GNOME version of Debian because at the moment GNOME is my favourite desktop environment. (I do have a growing admiration for Enlightenment however).

The thing I like about GNOME is that it doesn't matter whether you use Debian, Fedora or openSUSE you know that the basic applications are going to be the same and the look and feel is going to be the same.


When you get used to GNOME's keyboard shortcuts it is incredibly easy to navigate and integrates well with other applications such as GNOME music and the Totem video player.

Connecting To The Internet

Once Debian is installed you will find that in the main it is as easy to use as Ubuntu or Mint.

Connecting to the internet using the GNOME desktop is a matter of clicking on the little arrow in the top right corner and selecting the relevant wireless network (assuming you are connecting wirelessly). You will of course be asked for a security key unless you are using an open network.

Flash and MP3


Flash isn't natively available within Debian but it is fairly easy to install.

I wrote a guide showing how to install Adobe Flash in Debian. It also shows how to use a free tool called Lightspark which does pretty much the same job. I used it to try out most of the Flash games that I like and it worked a treat.

Playing MP3s caused no issues whatsoever and no further codecs needed to be installed to get them to play. Potentially easier than Ubuntu then.

Applications

The applications installed with the GNOME version of Debian include everything the average person needs to get started.

The web browser is called Iceweasel which is an unbranded version of Firefox.

For email there is the Evolution mail client which has the look and feel of Microsoft Outlook. (Click here for a full guide to Evolution)

Rhythmbox is the default audio player which is the perfect client for listening to your music collection, podcasts and online radio stations. It can also be used as a DAAP server. (Click here for a full guide to Rhythmbox)

If you want to watch videos you can use the Totem video player. I had a few issues with playing online videos via this tool but I could play DVDs and local files.

LibreOffice is completely installed including the wordprocessing tool, spreadsheet package, presentation tool, database package and all the other surrounding tools such as Math.

If you need to burn disks you can use Brasero and for editing images GIMP is installed.

There are various other games and applications installed such as chat clients and bittorrent clients.

Installing Applications

The default package manager within Debian is Synaptic.





















One of the only things I don't like about Ubuntu is the software centre and I really appreciate the simple interface that Synaptic brings.

There are a list of categories in the left pane and applications for the category in the right pane. Selecting a package brings up a description.

To install applications place a check in the boxes of the applications you wish to install and click "Apply". Simple, easy, straight forward. The best bit is that all the applications in the repository are listed when you search for them. That may sound silly, but I have found the Ubuntu software centre hit and miss in this regard.

Performance


I am using a fairly decent Dell Inspiron laptop and it runs incredibly well even though I haven't installed any proprietary drivers.

Generally when nothing else is running 650 gigabytes of memory is used and my CPUs are hardly taxed at all.

Issues

As you would probably expect from running the stable version of Debian, the system is very stable indeed. I haven't received any odd messages, there is no performance degradation at any point and the experience has been largely positive.

The Totem video player has an issue when trying to play Youtube videos but I have seen this issue with other distributions running GNOME and Totem.

Summary

Some of the comments that I posted from Reddit at the beginning of this article are quite correct. Debian isn't Ubuntu and should not be seen as such.

I don't particularly understand some of the comments that suggest that Debian isn't for everyone and specifically not new users. Debian with the GNOME desktop has to be on a par with Ubuntu GNOME edition or very close to it.

Now that Debian is installed on my system it runs very well and has all of the software that I need.

If you don't for whatever reason like Ubuntu then Debian would be a really good alternative to go for.

The only real let down for me is the website and the installer. I would be interested to find out how many people out there are using Fedora, openSUSE, Ubuntu or a distribution based on Debian simply because they found the first stage of getting Debian too hard in the first place.

Thankyou for reading.

Click here for my Ubuntu vs openSUSE vs Fedora article where I compared the GNOME editions of all three distributions.

An Everyday Linux User Review Of Debian Jessie

Introduction

I have now been using Debian for a few weeks and it is therefore time for me to write a review of my experience thus far.

Debian has been around for what seems like forever now and it is the base for so many other Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, Mint, SolydXK and Knoppix.

I think that the general consensus amongst Linux users is that Debian is stable, dependable and a good environment on which to build upon.

Does that mean it is suitable for Everyone?

A couple of weeks ago I put my hand firmly in the hornets nest and started waving it around. My article "3 ways to improve Debian and I haven't even booted it yet" received a very mixed response on Reddit.

In summary the 3 points I made were as follows:
  1. The website is hard to navigate
  2. I couldn't get the live USB to boot with UEFI
  3. The installer is a little bit convoluted with similar option spread over a number of screens
As usual the responses to my points were somewhere between complete agreement, to disagreement and of course to be called "a retard" (Their words not mine).

Here are a few quotes to prove my point:


Debian is not for noobs and shouldn't dumb itself down for the sake of "usability". Different users have different needs
A project can not call itself "the universal operating system" and then be satisfied when only a small minority of people have the knowledge, patience and motivation to actually make use of it.
Telling people to "go back to Ubuntu" is admitting defeat, plain and simple.
Just use Ubuntu if you want all that stuff. Isn't that why Ubuntu was made in the first place?
Yes, removing or separating all of the options to an options section and just having one download on the main section will make it better. Ubuntu is for ease of use, Debian is for choice. Its really not that difficult..
When I first came to Debian I was confused about which ISO to download. I thought net install was a PXE utility and thought it bizarre that they would offer that as the default. 
I thought that exact same thing. They don't do a good job of explaining the differences between the different ISO options.
You aren't alone... I've tried 3-4 times, and somehow I've actually succeeded once. I guess it was just a lucky day. It has really disencouraged me from using it, and the time I tried I eventually got rid of it because of the hard-to-use documentation. 
Hope the Debian website maintainers notice this post. I've been using Debian for 10+ years and the website has never once been a pleasant experience.
Debian is not Ubuntu, the argument is invalid. Debian is for people who know how to play with it and want to play with it. You want Ubuntu? Go use Ubuntu.
The thing that bothered me about a number of the responses is that Debian isn't for everyone, if you aren't happy, use Ubuntu. There are clearly enough people for which this is a problem. The quote where it says "hope the Debian website maintainers notice this post" had 56 upvotes. That is 56 potential Debian users who probably went elsewhere.

So where does that leave the rest of Debian? Well you might be surprised. Read on.

Installation

I have already covered much about the installation experience with the comments above.

The issue isn't really with the installation itself. There are a lot of screens to get through though and I think some could be condensed.

For instance there is a screen for entering the root password, another screen for entering the default user's name, a third screen for entering the username for the default user and a fourth screen for entering the passwords for the default user. Clearly this could be fixed with just one screen.

All in all though the actual install from the network installation download on the main Debian homepage made it simple enough to get a system dual booting Windows 8.1 and Debian Jessie.

Click here for a guide to dual booting Debian Jessie and Windows 8.1.

First Impressions

I chose to install the GNOME version of Debian because at the moment GNOME is my favourite desktop environment. (I do have a growing admiration for Enlightenment however).

The thing I like about GNOME is that it doesn't matter whether you use Debian, Fedora or openSUSE you know that the basic applications are going to be the same and the look and feel is going to be the same.


When you get used to GNOME's keyboard shortcuts it is incredibly easy to navigate and integrates well with other applications such as GNOME music and the Totem video player.

Connecting To The Internet

Once Debian is installed you will find that in the main it is as easy to use as Ubuntu or Mint.

Connecting to the internet using the GNOME desktop is a matter of clicking on the little arrow in the top right corner and selecting the relevant wireless network (assuming you are connecting wirelessly). You will of course be asked for a security key unless you are using an open network.

Flash and MP3


Flash isn't natively available within Debian but it is fairly easy to install.

I wrote a guide showing how to install Adobe Flash in Debian. It also shows how to use a free tool called Lightspark which does pretty much the same job. I used it to try out most of the Flash games that I like and it worked a treat.

Playing MP3s caused no issues whatsoever and no further codecs needed to be installed to get them to play. Potentially easier than Ubuntu then.

Applications

The applications installed with the GNOME version of Debian include everything the average person needs to get started.

The web browser is called Iceweasel which is an unbranded version of Firefox.

For email there is the Evolution mail client which has the look and feel of Microsoft Outlook. (Click here for a full guide to Evolution)

Rhythmbox is the default audio player which is the perfect client for listening to your music collection, podcasts and online radio stations. It can also be used as a DAAP server. (Click here for a full guide to Rhythmbox)

If you want to watch videos you can use the Totem video player. I had a few issues with playing online videos via this tool but I could play DVDs and local files.

LibreOffice is completely installed including the wordprocessing tool, spreadsheet package, presentation tool, database package and all the other surrounding tools such as Math.

If you need to burn disks you can use Brasero and for editing images GIMP is installed.

There are various other games and applications installed such as chat clients and bittorrent clients.

Installing Applications

The default package manager within Debian is Synaptic.





















One of the only things I don't like about Ubuntu is the software centre and I really appreciate the simple interface that Synaptic brings.

There are a list of categories in the left pane and applications for the category in the right pane. Selecting a package brings up a description.

To install applications place a check in the boxes of the applications you wish to install and click "Apply". Simple, easy, straight forward. The best bit is that all the applications in the repository are listed when you search for them. That may sound silly, but I have found the Ubuntu software centre hit and miss in this regard.

Performance


I am using a fairly decent Dell Inspiron laptop and it runs incredibly well even though I haven't installed any proprietary drivers.

Generally when nothing else is running 650 gigabytes of memory is used and my CPUs are hardly taxed at all.

Issues

As you would probably expect from running the stable version of Debian, the system is very stable indeed. I haven't received any odd messages, there is no performance degradation at any point and the experience has been largely positive.

The Totem video player has an issue when trying to play Youtube videos but I have seen this issue with other distributions running GNOME and Totem.

Summary

Some of the comments that I posted from Reddit at the beginning of this article are quite correct. Debian isn't Ubuntu and should not be seen as such.

I don't particularly understand some of the comments that suggest that Debian isn't for everyone and specifically not new users. Debian with the GNOME desktop has to be on a par with Ubuntu GNOME edition or very close to it.

Now that Debian is installed on my system it runs very well and has all of the software that I need.

If you don't for whatever reason like Ubuntu then Debian would be a really good alternative to go for.

The only real let down for me is the website and the installer. I would be interested to find out how many people out there are using Fedora, openSUSE, Ubuntu or a distribution based on Debian simply because they found the first stage of getting Debian too hard in the first place.

Thankyou for reading.

Click here for my Ubuntu vs openSUSE vs Fedora article where I compared the GNOME editions of all three distributions.

Posted at 23:51 |  by Gary Newell

Thursday, 25 June 2015


I have been writing this blog since 2012 and I have been asked a number of times by other bloggers why I still use Google's Blogger service as opposed to a hosted Wordpress site.

The truth is that I still very much see Everyday Linux User as a hobby. It isn't a job and I am not actively trying to make money by doing it. I find the Blogger interface easy to use and the spam filters work quite well. I tried using Wordpress a while back and it became quickly apparent that with more power came more responsibility as I spent more time trying to keep Wordpress from being bombed by spammers than actually writing.

People more serious about their work use Wordpress because it supposedly has 1000s of plugins and is far more powerful than the Blogger style interface provided by Google.

Whilst web sites are built on technologies such as HTML, CSS, PHP, AJAX and .NET, most bloggers and small business owners don't really care because with the adoption of site builders and blogging platforms you don't need to have any coding experience to create a website.

Obviously big companies still use web developers and software developers to create bespoke websites and software but your average hairdressers and driving instructors are quite happy with a point and click template builder where they can set up a logo, add a few images and accompany the images with text about their business.

People wanting to sell products can use off the shelf shopping carts and there are loads of add-ons for creating polls, charts, chat rooms and photo galleries.

Everyday Linux User wasn't my first foray into doing stuff on the web. I had a web site about 10 years ago called "Easy Web Page Design". I won't post the link because I can't guarantee the content that is on there anymore but you can still find it on the wayback machine.

Easy Web Page Design
 The point of "Easy Web Page Design" was to teach HTML, CSS and JavaScript to ordinary people in the same way that Everyday Linux User is about promoting and teaching Linux to the average computer user who doesn't necessarily come from an IT background.

The site Easy Web Page Design did really well for a while especially when MySpace became a big thing and everybody wanted to learn how to customise their MySpace profiles.

You can still find some of the tools and scripts that I gave away for free at hotscripts.com. For instance there was the JS Menu Maker which was used to generate CSS sliding menus. Remember there was no JQuery at the time. Obviously I wouldn't recommend using any of the tools I created back then now because time has moved on and things change.

At the time that I created Easy Web Page Design I used Linux web hosting for various reasons and the main one was of course price. Other reasons included the support for PHP and MySQL which generally wasn't provided with web hosts selling Windows hosting.

The cost of Windows hosting back then was extremely prohibitive because not only did you have to pay for the cost of hosting but the database options were very limited. In many cases you had to use Microsoft Access unless you could afford to pay for Microsoft SQL Server hosting.

If you want to get a website up and running very quickly and you just need to use a shared web host (which is basically a virtual server running 100s or sometimes 1000s of websites on it) with a site builder or Wordpress pre-installed then there are literally hundreds or maybe even thousands of web hosts available.

There are loads of adverts on television and on the web for sites such as Godaddy, Host Gator and 1-and-1 hosting where they show point and click web site creation at incredibly low prices and quite often they will throw in a free domain name.

What is clear is that each of these web hosts prefer to sell Linux based web hosting. I looked at http://www.top10bestwebsitehosting.com/ which is a web hosting comparison site and clicked on each of the links.

Most of the hosts don't even bother telling you it is Linux hosting they are selling and very few offer Windows hosting at all and if they do you get a lot less for your money.

For web hosts, Linux is heaven. They provide a bit of disk space and bandwidth and the rest of the tools that they provide are available to them for nothing, yet make them look like they are giving you everything.


For instance web.com boast that their hosting gives you PERL, Python, PHP, MySQL, Wordpress, Ruby On Rails, Drupal and Joomla. (Wow, do people still use Joomla? I remember creating sites for Dressage Scotland and British Riding Clubs using Joomla over 10 years ago). What price do web.com offer for this service? Less than $1 a month.

Linux makes it possible for small businesses, entrepreneurs and bloggers to take a punt on a domain name and cheap hosting. Basically if you have an idea you can test it first using one of the cheap web hosts first and if it takes off scale up to dedicated servers.

Obviously there is an issue that many of the cheap web hosts offer the world's best service at the world's lowest price yet many fail to deliver. In addition because web hosting is so cheap scammers can quickly spin up a dodgy shop front and steal from thousands of people and shut the site down again before anyone has noticed.

The only real solution to this is to use comparison sites for comparing prices and user reviews and to search for bad reviews of the companies listed, using Google or on Youtube. When people have had a bad experience they aren't frightened to let the world know.

Thankyou for reading










Why Linux Web Hosting Is Good For Bloggers And Entrepreneurs


I have been writing this blog since 2012 and I have been asked a number of times by other bloggers why I still use Google's Blogger service as opposed to a hosted Wordpress site.

The truth is that I still very much see Everyday Linux User as a hobby. It isn't a job and I am not actively trying to make money by doing it. I find the Blogger interface easy to use and the spam filters work quite well. I tried using Wordpress a while back and it became quickly apparent that with more power came more responsibility as I spent more time trying to keep Wordpress from being bombed by spammers than actually writing.

People more serious about their work use Wordpress because it supposedly has 1000s of plugins and is far more powerful than the Blogger style interface provided by Google.

Whilst web sites are built on technologies such as HTML, CSS, PHP, AJAX and .NET, most bloggers and small business owners don't really care because with the adoption of site builders and blogging platforms you don't need to have any coding experience to create a website.

Obviously big companies still use web developers and software developers to create bespoke websites and software but your average hairdressers and driving instructors are quite happy with a point and click template builder where they can set up a logo, add a few images and accompany the images with text about their business.

People wanting to sell products can use off the shelf shopping carts and there are loads of add-ons for creating polls, charts, chat rooms and photo galleries.

Everyday Linux User wasn't my first foray into doing stuff on the web. I had a web site about 10 years ago called "Easy Web Page Design". I won't post the link because I can't guarantee the content that is on there anymore but you can still find it on the wayback machine.

Easy Web Page Design
 The point of "Easy Web Page Design" was to teach HTML, CSS and JavaScript to ordinary people in the same way that Everyday Linux User is about promoting and teaching Linux to the average computer user who doesn't necessarily come from an IT background.

The site Easy Web Page Design did really well for a while especially when MySpace became a big thing and everybody wanted to learn how to customise their MySpace profiles.

You can still find some of the tools and scripts that I gave away for free at hotscripts.com. For instance there was the JS Menu Maker which was used to generate CSS sliding menus. Remember there was no JQuery at the time. Obviously I wouldn't recommend using any of the tools I created back then now because time has moved on and things change.

At the time that I created Easy Web Page Design I used Linux web hosting for various reasons and the main one was of course price. Other reasons included the support for PHP and MySQL which generally wasn't provided with web hosts selling Windows hosting.

The cost of Windows hosting back then was extremely prohibitive because not only did you have to pay for the cost of hosting but the database options were very limited. In many cases you had to use Microsoft Access unless you could afford to pay for Microsoft SQL Server hosting.

If you want to get a website up and running very quickly and you just need to use a shared web host (which is basically a virtual server running 100s or sometimes 1000s of websites on it) with a site builder or Wordpress pre-installed then there are literally hundreds or maybe even thousands of web hosts available.

There are loads of adverts on television and on the web for sites such as Godaddy, Host Gator and 1-and-1 hosting where they show point and click web site creation at incredibly low prices and quite often they will throw in a free domain name.

What is clear is that each of these web hosts prefer to sell Linux based web hosting. I looked at http://www.top10bestwebsitehosting.com/ which is a web hosting comparison site and clicked on each of the links.

Most of the hosts don't even bother telling you it is Linux hosting they are selling and very few offer Windows hosting at all and if they do you get a lot less for your money.

For web hosts, Linux is heaven. They provide a bit of disk space and bandwidth and the rest of the tools that they provide are available to them for nothing, yet make them look like they are giving you everything.


For instance web.com boast that their hosting gives you PERL, Python, PHP, MySQL, Wordpress, Ruby On Rails, Drupal and Joomla. (Wow, do people still use Joomla? I remember creating sites for Dressage Scotland and British Riding Clubs using Joomla over 10 years ago). What price do web.com offer for this service? Less than $1 a month.

Linux makes it possible for small businesses, entrepreneurs and bloggers to take a punt on a domain name and cheap hosting. Basically if you have an idea you can test it first using one of the cheap web hosts first and if it takes off scale up to dedicated servers.

Obviously there is an issue that many of the cheap web hosts offer the world's best service at the world's lowest price yet many fail to deliver. In addition because web hosting is so cheap scammers can quickly spin up a dodgy shop front and steal from thousands of people and shut the site down again before anyone has noticed.

The only real solution to this is to use comparison sites for comparing prices and user reviews and to search for bad reviews of the companies listed, using Google or on Youtube. When people have had a bad experience they aren't frightened to let the world know.

Thankyou for reading










Posted at 23:47 |  by Gary Newell

Tuesday, 23 June 2015



One of the things we all love about Linux (sorry I mean GNU/Linux) is the amount of choice that is available to us.

When it comes to choosing a desktop environment there is an abundance of choice and each one has its own unique way of providing a user experience which the developers hope will make us happy enough to use it over one of the other products on the market.

The way to dominate any market place relies on a few key factors which can determine whether a product is successful or not. For instance being first to market can give you a head start on the competition. If there is already something on the market then you have the choice to be better or be cheaper.

When it comes to Linux, cheaper usually isn't possible, as most software is free to use anyway (although it is a good idea to donate to the developers of the products you use most). If you can't beat the competition on price then you either have to be the best or you have to provide a unique selling point or target a niche.

Over the years I have used and enjoyed many of the most popular desktop environments including UNITY, GNOME, KDE, Cinnamon, MATE, XFCE and LXDE. Each of them have nice features and it is hard to choose one over another.

Earlier on this year I debated the merits of Unity vs GNOME. They tend to occupy the same space in terms of the types of users that would use them. They both provide modern interfaces with ease of use, desktop integration and speed of navigation the key to success. At the moment I am swaying more to the GNOME side than Unity but that decision can change based on my current mood. To be honest I am happy using either of them.

Cinnamon is for those people who like a more traditional user interface with menus, panels and icons. If you are the type of user who likes to customise the desktop to make it the way you want it then it has a number of features to allow you to do so. (Click here for a guide to customising Cinnamon). 

KDE is somewhere between traditional and modern. If you don't mess around with the activities views then you can happily live in a world with traditional menus and icons but the activities views enable you to create different themes for different tasks such as multimedia and search.

MATE, XFCE and LXDE all cover very similar ground. They are all lightweight and they are all heavily customisable. Personally I think that XFCE is the ultimate desktop when it comes to customising your experience. (Click here for a guide to customising XFCE, and LXDE).

A while ago now I had Bodhi Linux 2 installed on a netbook and the desktop environment used by Bodhi is, or has been Enlightenment or E17 as it was known then. I really liked Bodhi on my netbook. It was easy to use and the performance was great but Enlightenment takes a bit of getting used to.

If you have been reading my work over at linux.about.com then you might have read my recent review of Bodhi Linux 3.0. In general the review is positive and to be honest if I wrote the review again today it would be even more positive because I have been using it on my main laptop every day and I am really enjoying the experience.

I decided to write a guide showing how to customise Enlightenment expecting it to be a 3 or 4 page post but I have now written three articles and I have barely scratched the surface. The truth is that the Enlightenment desktop has an incredible amount of customisable features, modules, gadgets and tweaks that you can adjust, install and use to make your desktop work the way you want it to.

There are some bugs and it isn't 100% perfect and I think there are areas where it can be improved such as the documentation, support and basic overall clarity of the use of certain features.

Bodhi Linux have an announcement on their blog stating that they are forking the Enlightenment desktop because there were so many bugs in E18 that it was unusable and E19 whilst a little bit better did not perform as well as E17 had done so for many years. The new desktop environment will be called Moksha and will be based initially on E17.

So just as I was beginning to love Enlightenment this comes as a huge blow because no other distribution has worked so hard to make Enlightenment shine the way Bodhi Linux has. Yes, other distributions have an Enlightenment version available but they haven't embraced it in the same way. 

Could this be the age of Enlightenment? It is difficult to see how it can be but yet in a way it could be but under the name Moksha.

Have you used Bodhi Linux or another distribution with the Enlightenment desktop? What do you think of it? 

If you are thinking of trying a different Linux distribution then consider giving Bodhi Linux a go and spend some time getting used to it. 

Feel free to read my guides on installing and customising Bodhi and E19. We are only 3 parts in to what could be a mammoth series:
Thankyou for reading

Could This Be The Age Of Enlightenment?



One of the things we all love about Linux (sorry I mean GNU/Linux) is the amount of choice that is available to us.

When it comes to choosing a desktop environment there is an abundance of choice and each one has its own unique way of providing a user experience which the developers hope will make us happy enough to use it over one of the other products on the market.

The way to dominate any market place relies on a few key factors which can determine whether a product is successful or not. For instance being first to market can give you a head start on the competition. If there is already something on the market then you have the choice to be better or be cheaper.

When it comes to Linux, cheaper usually isn't possible, as most software is free to use anyway (although it is a good idea to donate to the developers of the products you use most). If you can't beat the competition on price then you either have to be the best or you have to provide a unique selling point or target a niche.

Over the years I have used and enjoyed many of the most popular desktop environments including UNITY, GNOME, KDE, Cinnamon, MATE, XFCE and LXDE. Each of them have nice features and it is hard to choose one over another.

Earlier on this year I debated the merits of Unity vs GNOME. They tend to occupy the same space in terms of the types of users that would use them. They both provide modern interfaces with ease of use, desktop integration and speed of navigation the key to success. At the moment I am swaying more to the GNOME side than Unity but that decision can change based on my current mood. To be honest I am happy using either of them.

Cinnamon is for those people who like a more traditional user interface with menus, panels and icons. If you are the type of user who likes to customise the desktop to make it the way you want it then it has a number of features to allow you to do so. (Click here for a guide to customising Cinnamon). 

KDE is somewhere between traditional and modern. If you don't mess around with the activities views then you can happily live in a world with traditional menus and icons but the activities views enable you to create different themes for different tasks such as multimedia and search.

MATE, XFCE and LXDE all cover very similar ground. They are all lightweight and they are all heavily customisable. Personally I think that XFCE is the ultimate desktop when it comes to customising your experience. (Click here for a guide to customising XFCE, and LXDE).

A while ago now I had Bodhi Linux 2 installed on a netbook and the desktop environment used by Bodhi is, or has been Enlightenment or E17 as it was known then. I really liked Bodhi on my netbook. It was easy to use and the performance was great but Enlightenment takes a bit of getting used to.

If you have been reading my work over at linux.about.com then you might have read my recent review of Bodhi Linux 3.0. In general the review is positive and to be honest if I wrote the review again today it would be even more positive because I have been using it on my main laptop every day and I am really enjoying the experience.

I decided to write a guide showing how to customise Enlightenment expecting it to be a 3 or 4 page post but I have now written three articles and I have barely scratched the surface. The truth is that the Enlightenment desktop has an incredible amount of customisable features, modules, gadgets and tweaks that you can adjust, install and use to make your desktop work the way you want it to.

There are some bugs and it isn't 100% perfect and I think there are areas where it can be improved such as the documentation, support and basic overall clarity of the use of certain features.

Bodhi Linux have an announcement on their blog stating that they are forking the Enlightenment desktop because there were so many bugs in E18 that it was unusable and E19 whilst a little bit better did not perform as well as E17 had done so for many years. The new desktop environment will be called Moksha and will be based initially on E17.

So just as I was beginning to love Enlightenment this comes as a huge blow because no other distribution has worked so hard to make Enlightenment shine the way Bodhi Linux has. Yes, other distributions have an Enlightenment version available but they haven't embraced it in the same way. 

Could this be the age of Enlightenment? It is difficult to see how it can be but yet in a way it could be but under the name Moksha.

Have you used Bodhi Linux or another distribution with the Enlightenment desktop? What do you think of it? 

If you are thinking of trying a different Linux distribution then consider giving Bodhi Linux a go and spend some time getting used to it. 

Feel free to read my guides on installing and customising Bodhi and E19. We are only 3 parts in to what could be a mammoth series:
Thankyou for reading

Posted at 21:56 |  by Gary Newell

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Introduction






















A few weeks ago I listened to the Linux Luddites podcast and they were discussing Debian Jessie. The comments made on that podcast pretty much echo my views as well. 

This article lists the 3 main issues that I have with Debian before it has even booted. A full review will be coming shortly.

1. The Debian Website

I recently wrote an article showing how to get Debian without navigating the Debian website. The truth is that the Debian website is huge and incredibly difficult to navigate.





















I will try and explain what I mean by difficult to navigate with the use of screenshots. The above image shows the main Debian homepage.

In the top right corner you will see a link for "Download Debian 8.1 Network Installer". This is actually the link you need to use to download and install Debian. This might sound simple but most people are used to trying out a live image first to get a feel for the distribution and the term network installer won't convince all users that this is what they need to be downloading. The link is also too small and hidden to the right.

There is a section called "Getting Debian" on the homepage. The first option is network install and then comes a section for CD/USB ISO images. I think this is where most new users will end up going.






















The first option is to buy Debian on CD (CD? Not DVD?).

The next option is "Download CD/DVD images with Jigdo". I tried using Jigdo and it just didn't work for me.

The third option is "Download CD/DVD images with Bittorrent" followed by "Download CD/DVD images using HTTP or FTP".  For bandwidth reasons the preferred option from Debian's developers point of view is for users to use Bittorrent.

Finally there is an option to download live images using HTTP, FTP or bittorrent.

I am going to deal with the option of buying CDs first. I clicked on the "Buy finished Debian CD-Roms" link and a list of vendors appears separated by country.



I am in the UK and therefore I clicked the first link which is for linuxdeli.com. There are no options for purchasing Debian Jessie DVDs.

Maybe that was bad luck. So I tried the 2nd link for linux-man.co.uk. Again no Debian Jessie. 

If you are going to recommend vendors you need to make sure they are offering the latest stable version.





















Assuming that you ignore the jigdo option (although the screen is pretty much the same) and go for either the bittorrent or http/ftp option you are now presented with the choice of CD or DVD and a large array of choices for platform such as amd64, arm64, i386 etc.

It might be worth changing this list to be bullet points showing that the amd64 is the most likely one required for 64-bit laptops and desktop computers and i386 is the most likely for 32-bit laptops.



If you select the amd64 option (or any of the other options) this is what you are now presented with.

The checksums are provided to guarantee that your download is valid. Look at the size of the disk images. 3.7 gigabytes and 4.4 gigabytes. This would put a lot of people off especially if they have download limits or limited internet connections.

I think more people will therefore be drawn to the live images. The live images link is a bit better in that there are only options for amd64 and i386 but again it would be better to just have 32-bit and 64-bit options. 





















Look at the list of files that are shown under the live images section. There is a live ISO for each desktop type which is acceptable but then there is a contents file, a log file, a packages file and an rsync file. I think those files should be placed somewhere else as they are just noise to the majority of users.

There is also a link to the standard Debian ISO. The standard ISO has no desktop at all. This isn't obvious. I think it should be renamed to debian_no_desktop.

Hopefully you can see my point though about how difficult the Debian website is to navigate especially when you compare it to this:






















All the major Linux distributions make it easy to download live images including Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora and openSUSE. Debian needs to make serious improvements to their website to make it more accessible.

Incidentally if you want to buy a full Debian DVD I find the best place to go is OSDisc.com. You should go for the full set rather than the live images if you are using a computer running Windows 8 as explained by point number 2 below.

2. Live Images Are Not UEFI Bootable

As mentioned previously, most users are drawn to the idea of downloading live images. The reasons for this are simple. 
  • The download size is usually between 1 and 2 gigabytes which isn't too large.
  • The live ISOs allow users to test the distribution without installing it
  • There is usually an install option enabling a full install with up to date packages
If you have downloaded one of the Debian live ISO files and you have tried booting it on a machine currently running Windows 8.1 then you may have had more than your fair share of issues.



























The above image shows the contents of the Debian Gnome live disk. Notice that there isn't an EFI folder. That means this disk will never boot on a UEFI based computer.






















This image shows the contents of the net install ISO. Notice that there is an EFI folder which means that when you install it to a USB drive or DVD it will boot on a UEFI based computer.

Why on earth is the EFI option missing from the live disks?

3. The Installer Has Too Many Screens

Compared with the other 2 issues this is a minor one but worth pointing out.

There are over 20 screens to navigate in order to install Debian when using the network install option. (Which really is the only sensible option for installing Debian).
  • Choose installation language
  • Installation steps
  • Select timezone
  • Configure the keyboard
  • Detect network hardware
  • Configure the network
  • Select Wireless Network
  • Choose open or secure network type
  • Enter security key
  • Configure network - enter a hostname
  • Configure network - choose domain
  • Set up root password
  • Enter your full name (create a user)
  • Select user name (create a user)
  • Enter password (create a user)
  • Disk partitioning (select type)
  • Disk partitioning (how many partitions)
  • Disk partitioning (how the partitions will look)
  • Disk partitioning (warning telling you how the disks will change)
  • Configure the package manager (choose location where packages should be downloaded from)
  • Configure the package manager (choose mirror)
  • Configure the package manager (enter a proxy)
  • Popularity Contest (send installation choices back to developers)
  • Select Packages
There are at least 5 screens which ask you either where you are from or your language. This is overkill. If I have selected the UK as a timezone it is likely that my nearest mirror would be the UK. Maybe the installer should be more intelligent and set up default options based on previous input with the option of changing them. This would cut down on user input.

There are 6 screens for configuring your network and 4 screens for setting up the administrator and user accounts. I think the users bit could be condensed into one screen without confusion.

Finally there are a couple of screens which are fairly specific to user requirements such as the "choose domain" option and the "enter a proxy" when configuring the package manager. Maybe these screens should be provided as links without being part of the main installation.

Summary

I have written a guide showing how to dual boot Windows 8 and Debian. The one thing I commend the Debian developers on is making the dual boot easy. I didn't have to choose the location of the EFI partition as the installer worked it out for itself.

Therefore having worked out that the best option is to use the network install link on the Debian homepage the rest was quite simple.

You do need to use the Win32 Disk Imaging Tool if you are creating a USB drive using Windows but that is listed within the Debian Installation Guide.

Have you been left confused about how to download, try and use Debian? Alternatively did you find it easy and think that all this is nonsense? Let me know in the comments below.

Thankyou for reading.

3 Ways To Improve Debian And I Haven't Even Booted It Yet

Introduction






















A few weeks ago I listened to the Linux Luddites podcast and they were discussing Debian Jessie. The comments made on that podcast pretty much echo my views as well. 

This article lists the 3 main issues that I have with Debian before it has even booted. A full review will be coming shortly.

1. The Debian Website

I recently wrote an article showing how to get Debian without navigating the Debian website. The truth is that the Debian website is huge and incredibly difficult to navigate.





















I will try and explain what I mean by difficult to navigate with the use of screenshots. The above image shows the main Debian homepage.

In the top right corner you will see a link for "Download Debian 8.1 Network Installer". This is actually the link you need to use to download and install Debian. This might sound simple but most people are used to trying out a live image first to get a feel for the distribution and the term network installer won't convince all users that this is what they need to be downloading. The link is also too small and hidden to the right.

There is a section called "Getting Debian" on the homepage. The first option is network install and then comes a section for CD/USB ISO images. I think this is where most new users will end up going.






















The first option is to buy Debian on CD (CD? Not DVD?).

The next option is "Download CD/DVD images with Jigdo". I tried using Jigdo and it just didn't work for me.

The third option is "Download CD/DVD images with Bittorrent" followed by "Download CD/DVD images using HTTP or FTP".  For bandwidth reasons the preferred option from Debian's developers point of view is for users to use Bittorrent.

Finally there is an option to download live images using HTTP, FTP or bittorrent.

I am going to deal with the option of buying CDs first. I clicked on the "Buy finished Debian CD-Roms" link and a list of vendors appears separated by country.



I am in the UK and therefore I clicked the first link which is for linuxdeli.com. There are no options for purchasing Debian Jessie DVDs.

Maybe that was bad luck. So I tried the 2nd link for linux-man.co.uk. Again no Debian Jessie. 

If you are going to recommend vendors you need to make sure they are offering the latest stable version.





















Assuming that you ignore the jigdo option (although the screen is pretty much the same) and go for either the bittorrent or http/ftp option you are now presented with the choice of CD or DVD and a large array of choices for platform such as amd64, arm64, i386 etc.

It might be worth changing this list to be bullet points showing that the amd64 is the most likely one required for 64-bit laptops and desktop computers and i386 is the most likely for 32-bit laptops.



If you select the amd64 option (or any of the other options) this is what you are now presented with.

The checksums are provided to guarantee that your download is valid. Look at the size of the disk images. 3.7 gigabytes and 4.4 gigabytes. This would put a lot of people off especially if they have download limits or limited internet connections.

I think more people will therefore be drawn to the live images. The live images link is a bit better in that there are only options for amd64 and i386 but again it would be better to just have 32-bit and 64-bit options. 





















Look at the list of files that are shown under the live images section. There is a live ISO for each desktop type which is acceptable but then there is a contents file, a log file, a packages file and an rsync file. I think those files should be placed somewhere else as they are just noise to the majority of users.

There is also a link to the standard Debian ISO. The standard ISO has no desktop at all. This isn't obvious. I think it should be renamed to debian_no_desktop.

Hopefully you can see my point though about how difficult the Debian website is to navigate especially when you compare it to this:






















All the major Linux distributions make it easy to download live images including Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora and openSUSE. Debian needs to make serious improvements to their website to make it more accessible.

Incidentally if you want to buy a full Debian DVD I find the best place to go is OSDisc.com. You should go for the full set rather than the live images if you are using a computer running Windows 8 as explained by point number 2 below.

2. Live Images Are Not UEFI Bootable

As mentioned previously, most users are drawn to the idea of downloading live images. The reasons for this are simple. 
  • The download size is usually between 1 and 2 gigabytes which isn't too large.
  • The live ISOs allow users to test the distribution without installing it
  • There is usually an install option enabling a full install with up to date packages
If you have downloaded one of the Debian live ISO files and you have tried booting it on a machine currently running Windows 8.1 then you may have had more than your fair share of issues.



























The above image shows the contents of the Debian Gnome live disk. Notice that there isn't an EFI folder. That means this disk will never boot on a UEFI based computer.






















This image shows the contents of the net install ISO. Notice that there is an EFI folder which means that when you install it to a USB drive or DVD it will boot on a UEFI based computer.

Why on earth is the EFI option missing from the live disks?

3. The Installer Has Too Many Screens

Compared with the other 2 issues this is a minor one but worth pointing out.

There are over 20 screens to navigate in order to install Debian when using the network install option. (Which really is the only sensible option for installing Debian).
  • Choose installation language
  • Installation steps
  • Select timezone
  • Configure the keyboard
  • Detect network hardware
  • Configure the network
  • Select Wireless Network
  • Choose open or secure network type
  • Enter security key
  • Configure network - enter a hostname
  • Configure network - choose domain
  • Set up root password
  • Enter your full name (create a user)
  • Select user name (create a user)
  • Enter password (create a user)
  • Disk partitioning (select type)
  • Disk partitioning (how many partitions)
  • Disk partitioning (how the partitions will look)
  • Disk partitioning (warning telling you how the disks will change)
  • Configure the package manager (choose location where packages should be downloaded from)
  • Configure the package manager (choose mirror)
  • Configure the package manager (enter a proxy)
  • Popularity Contest (send installation choices back to developers)
  • Select Packages
There are at least 5 screens which ask you either where you are from or your language. This is overkill. If I have selected the UK as a timezone it is likely that my nearest mirror would be the UK. Maybe the installer should be more intelligent and set up default options based on previous input with the option of changing them. This would cut down on user input.

There are 6 screens for configuring your network and 4 screens for setting up the administrator and user accounts. I think the users bit could be condensed into one screen without confusion.

Finally there are a couple of screens which are fairly specific to user requirements such as the "choose domain" option and the "enter a proxy" when configuring the package manager. Maybe these screens should be provided as links without being part of the main installation.

Summary

I have written a guide showing how to dual boot Windows 8 and Debian. The one thing I commend the Debian developers on is making the dual boot easy. I didn't have to choose the location of the EFI partition as the installer worked it out for itself.

Therefore having worked out that the best option is to use the network install link on the Debian homepage the rest was quite simple.

You do need to use the Win32 Disk Imaging Tool if you are creating a USB drive using Windows but that is listed within the Debian Installation Guide.

Have you been left confused about how to download, try and use Debian? Alternatively did you find it easy and think that all this is nonsense? Let me know in the comments below.

Thankyou for reading.

Posted at 11:49 |  by Gary Newell

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Here is a guest post from Paul Surmon who decided to send me an email with his views on the Linux / GNU/Linux debate following my recent article "I say Linux, you say GNU/Linux".

Those of you who read regularly may have seen Paul's last article on this site "Thoughts On Using Linux Mint Cinnamon 17.1" published in March this year.

_______________________________________________________________

I read with interest Gary's piece about Linux Vs GNU Linux, and it sent me to look at the site, sponsored by the free software foundation, of the GNU operating system, to at least get a flavour of the history of GNU and Linux, and that on its own is worthwhile.

I can see where Richard Stallman is, as they say, coming from, and can appreciate his point of view, which is obviously informed by a passion for GNU and the free software movement. But I also understand what Gary is saying, and there is one thing about history that's difficult to avoid. Once it has decided on its chosen direction it is hard to stop it.

Under the momentum of history the Greek Colonels gave up on their unwholesome reign. Apartheid collapsed, and the long imprisoned Nelson Mandela became a president. History decides everything in the end. It will decide the GNU Linux/plain Linux matter.

I am a very recent convert to using GNU Linux / Linux, and as converts tend to be, already quite passionate about it. In a previous article Gary kindly published I recounted my thoughts on using Linux Mint. There was much more I could have said about my entirely positive experience of Mint. I hope to make a contribution in future even if it is only via donations or suggestions.

I'm not technically savvy. I use a computer in pursuit of my life as a poet, and also to produce the posters, and other documents needed by the group of poets I belong to in Oxford. Libre Office is my most often used software, but also Scribus for posters, and most recently Kazam to do a screencast to demonstrate to other members how to help maintain our website. The ease of use that Linux has brought, and the availability of excellent open-source software, has been a revelation. The big commercial software corporations won't get me back now.

But there is something less tangible about becoming a convert that I have found very attractive, and that is the sense of community, and an international community at that. Mint for example being run by a Frenchman living in Ireland, and all the distributions seem to get contributions from throughout the world. All these people working together to produce excellent software for the love of doing it must be worth something in a world that is too often divided on itself by politics, religion, and any number of other perceived differences. Or all too often the kind of greed that doesn't understand people doing something for the love of it.

I joined my local Linux User Group who have been very helpful, and everywhere you go there are people willing to assist newcomers or experienced users alike. This seems to me to be something the community should celebrate. I know you all know this already, but many of you who have been involved for a long time might not see it as forcefully as someone coming to GNU Linux / Linux / Open-source for the first time.

What's in a name? I think it is bigger than a name. Whatever the name might or might not be, I for one am very grateful to everyone involved. One small plea, I get an impression that not enough people make donations to software producers. I suspect even small donations would be appreciated from time to time. Whatever the name it is a remarkable movement.

________________________________________________________________

Thankyou for sending this to me Paul.

If you have something you want to say about this or any other Linux related subject, please feel free to send me an email using the link above.





Linux vs GNU/Linux - A Reader's Response

Here is a guest post from Paul Surmon who decided to send me an email with his views on the Linux / GNU/Linux debate following my recent article "I say Linux, you say GNU/Linux".

Those of you who read regularly may have seen Paul's last article on this site "Thoughts On Using Linux Mint Cinnamon 17.1" published in March this year.

_______________________________________________________________

I read with interest Gary's piece about Linux Vs GNU Linux, and it sent me to look at the site, sponsored by the free software foundation, of the GNU operating system, to at least get a flavour of the history of GNU and Linux, and that on its own is worthwhile.

I can see where Richard Stallman is, as they say, coming from, and can appreciate his point of view, which is obviously informed by a passion for GNU and the free software movement. But I also understand what Gary is saying, and there is one thing about history that's difficult to avoid. Once it has decided on its chosen direction it is hard to stop it.

Under the momentum of history the Greek Colonels gave up on their unwholesome reign. Apartheid collapsed, and the long imprisoned Nelson Mandela became a president. History decides everything in the end. It will decide the GNU Linux/plain Linux matter.

I am a very recent convert to using GNU Linux / Linux, and as converts tend to be, already quite passionate about it. In a previous article Gary kindly published I recounted my thoughts on using Linux Mint. There was much more I could have said about my entirely positive experience of Mint. I hope to make a contribution in future even if it is only via donations or suggestions.

I'm not technically savvy. I use a computer in pursuit of my life as a poet, and also to produce the posters, and other documents needed by the group of poets I belong to in Oxford. Libre Office is my most often used software, but also Scribus for posters, and most recently Kazam to do a screencast to demonstrate to other members how to help maintain our website. The ease of use that Linux has brought, and the availability of excellent open-source software, has been a revelation. The big commercial software corporations won't get me back now.

But there is something less tangible about becoming a convert that I have found very attractive, and that is the sense of community, and an international community at that. Mint for example being run by a Frenchman living in Ireland, and all the distributions seem to get contributions from throughout the world. All these people working together to produce excellent software for the love of doing it must be worth something in a world that is too often divided on itself by politics, religion, and any number of other perceived differences. Or all too often the kind of greed that doesn't understand people doing something for the love of it.

I joined my local Linux User Group who have been very helpful, and everywhere you go there are people willing to assist newcomers or experienced users alike. This seems to me to be something the community should celebrate. I know you all know this already, but many of you who have been involved for a long time might not see it as forcefully as someone coming to GNU Linux / Linux / Open-source for the first time.

What's in a name? I think it is bigger than a name. Whatever the name might or might not be, I for one am very grateful to everyone involved. One small plea, I get an impression that not enough people make donations to software producers. I suspect even small donations would be appreciated from time to time. Whatever the name it is a remarkable movement.

________________________________________________________________

Thankyou for sending this to me Paul.

If you have something you want to say about this or any other Linux related subject, please feel free to send me an email using the link above.





Posted at 21:26 |  by Gary Newell

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Introduction

It has been a while since my last post and so to kick start the blog up again I thought I would write a little opinion piece.



This article has come about because every time I post a link on Twitter with the #Linux tag I get a tweet from a guy calling himself Richard Stallman (@rmsthebot) telling me that I should be using GNU/Linux and not Linux.

Why The Fuss?

Linux really just amounts to the Kernel. The average Linux distribution has more GNU in it than Linux. GNU generally refers to a collection of tools and libraries shipped along with the Linux kernel  such as the GNU CoreUtils, C compiler, BASH etc.

Logically speaking if I were to write an article stating that there is a new release of a Linux distribution available I should say the GNU/Linux distribution because otherwise I am giving all the credit to the Linux kernel and no credit to GNU.

So in theory every time I use the word Linux I should say GNU/Linux unless I am specifically talking about the kernel. 

This Is All Of Course Nonsense

Everybody knows Linux as Linux. Nobody really uses the term GNU/Linux do they? If you look at the magazines on the shelf of your local newsagents then you will see "Linux Format", "Linux User And Developer" and "Linux Journal". 

The truth is that barely anybody uses the term GNU/Linux. Does anybody really care that the Linux Action Show isn't called the GNU/Linux Action Show or that Linux Luddites aren't the GNU/Linux Luddites?

Average users don't care that by grouping applications, desktops and the Linux kernel together you are now talking about GNU/Linux and not just Linux.

Even Linus Agrees

According to this Wikipedia page  (and everybody knows Wikipedia is always right) Linux Torvalds agrees with me:

Well, I think it's justified, but it's justified if you actually make a GNU distribution of Linux ... the same way that I think that "Red Hat Linux" is fine, or "SuSE Linux" or "Debian Linux", because if you actually make your own distribution of Linux, you get to name the thing, but calling Linux in general "GNU Linux" I think is just ridiculous

There Is Already Enough Confusion

New users to Linux already have enough to be confused about with hundreds of distributions, dozens of desktop environments, an incredible selection of software packages for each type of application, different packaging systems and different installers and even different ways to create a bootable USB drive.

If that isn't enough new users have to understand the difference between a standard bios and UEFI, xinit and systemd, mir and wayland. 

I think making users care whether you call it Linux or GNU/Linux is just completely unnecessary. So @RMSTheBot I am afraid I will not be acquiescing to your request. I will continue to use the #Linux tag.

What do you think? Do you call it Linux or GNU/Linux?




 


I Say Linux, You Say GNU/Linux

Introduction

It has been a while since my last post and so to kick start the blog up again I thought I would write a little opinion piece.



This article has come about because every time I post a link on Twitter with the #Linux tag I get a tweet from a guy calling himself Richard Stallman (@rmsthebot) telling me that I should be using GNU/Linux and not Linux.

Why The Fuss?

Linux really just amounts to the Kernel. The average Linux distribution has more GNU in it than Linux. GNU generally refers to a collection of tools and libraries shipped along with the Linux kernel  such as the GNU CoreUtils, C compiler, BASH etc.

Logically speaking if I were to write an article stating that there is a new release of a Linux distribution available I should say the GNU/Linux distribution because otherwise I am giving all the credit to the Linux kernel and no credit to GNU.

So in theory every time I use the word Linux I should say GNU/Linux unless I am specifically talking about the kernel. 

This Is All Of Course Nonsense

Everybody knows Linux as Linux. Nobody really uses the term GNU/Linux do they? If you look at the magazines on the shelf of your local newsagents then you will see "Linux Format", "Linux User And Developer" and "Linux Journal". 

The truth is that barely anybody uses the term GNU/Linux. Does anybody really care that the Linux Action Show isn't called the GNU/Linux Action Show or that Linux Luddites aren't the GNU/Linux Luddites?

Average users don't care that by grouping applications, desktops and the Linux kernel together you are now talking about GNU/Linux and not just Linux.

Even Linus Agrees

According to this Wikipedia page  (and everybody knows Wikipedia is always right) Linux Torvalds agrees with me:

Well, I think it's justified, but it's justified if you actually make a GNU distribution of Linux ... the same way that I think that "Red Hat Linux" is fine, or "SuSE Linux" or "Debian Linux", because if you actually make your own distribution of Linux, you get to name the thing, but calling Linux in general "GNU Linux" I think is just ridiculous

There Is Already Enough Confusion

New users to Linux already have enough to be confused about with hundreds of distributions, dozens of desktop environments, an incredible selection of software packages for each type of application, different packaging systems and different installers and even different ways to create a bootable USB drive.

If that isn't enough new users have to understand the difference between a standard bios and UEFI, xinit and systemd, mir and wayland. 

I think making users care whether you call it Linux or GNU/Linux is just completely unnecessary. So @RMSTheBot I am afraid I will not be acquiescing to your request. I will continue to use the #Linux tag.

What do you think? Do you call it Linux or GNU/Linux?




 


Posted at 23:35 |  by Gary Newell

Monday, 18 May 2015

Hi everyone.

You may have noticed that I haven't posted on this site for a while.

I started a new job about 6 weeks ago and it is taking up a huge amount of my time.

I am still writing 2 articles a week over at linux.about.com so if you like the articles that I write please hop over there and take a look.

Last week I wrote a review of Chromixium and a guide to installing it. I also have comparison articles of Ubuntu GNOME, Fedora and openSUSE as well as Unity vs GNOME.

I will get back to writing here more regularly again as soon as work settles down but until then please visit linux.about.com.

The articles are basically the same, it is just the place that has changed.

A Quick Update

Hi everyone.

You may have noticed that I haven't posted on this site for a while.

I started a new job about 6 weeks ago and it is taking up a huge amount of my time.

I am still writing 2 articles a week over at linux.about.com so if you like the articles that I write please hop over there and take a look.

Last week I wrote a review of Chromixium and a guide to installing it. I also have comparison articles of Ubuntu GNOME, Fedora and openSUSE as well as Unity vs GNOME.

I will get back to writing here more regularly again as soon as work settles down but until then please visit linux.about.com.

The articles are basically the same, it is just the place that has changed.

Posted at 22:36 |  by Gary Newell

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