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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Some of you will be aware that I haven't posted on this site for a little while.

I haven't given up on the site. On the contrary I have been working on moving the site away from the current blogger platform to a Wordpress site.

Moving all the articles is taking some time because the import routine for Wordpress isn't exactly the best.

This could take me another month to complete but once I have the benefits are that the front page will be cleaner and you will be able to see more results straight away which is something some of my readers have brought to my attention.

The new site will also stop formatting issues on phones and tablets and it will stop blank spaces appearing in funny places in the articles that I write.

Sorry for the delay but rest assured I am working hard to get the new site up and running as soon as possible.

A Quick Update

Some of you will be aware that I haven't posted on this site for a little while.

I haven't given up on the site. On the contrary I have been working on moving the site away from the current blogger platform to a Wordpress site.

Moving all the articles is taking some time because the import routine for Wordpress isn't exactly the best.

This could take me another month to complete but once I have the benefits are that the front page will be cleaner and you will be able to see more results straight away which is something some of my readers have brought to my attention.

The new site will also stop formatting issues on phones and tablets and it will stop blank spaces appearing in funny places in the articles that I write.

Sorry for the delay but rest assured I am working hard to get the new site up and running as soon as possible.

Posted at 21:31 |  by Gary Newell

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Introduction

I am aware that it is a while since I added any content to this site. To be honest I have been inundated with work and so I have had little opportunity to write anything worthwhile on this blog.

I am learning new programming techniques for my day job and this has meant watching lots of Pluralsight videos and trying out what I have learned.

This doesn't mean that I have been completely idle when it comes to writing but most of the content I have written has been for Lifewire.com and I wanted to point you in the direction of these articles because I'm sure many of them will be useful to the readers of this site.

How To Install Cinnamon On Ubuntu


As many of you know Cinnamon is the default desktop environment with Linux Mint and Linux Mint itself is based on Ubuntu.

So why bother installing Cinnamon on Ubuntu? Why not just install Linux Mint? 

Well if you want the traditional look and feel of Cinnamon but you have already installed Ubuntu and you have everything else working and installed the way you like it then it seems a lot of effort to go to if you decide to uninstall Ubuntu and then install Linux Mint.

In addition Linux Mint is stuck on the LTS release whereas you might be one of those people who like to run the latest versions of Ubuntu.

Whatever your reason this guide shows how to install Cinnamon on Ubuntu.

How To Backup Files And Folders Using Ubuntu






















Hopefully you will see by this article that a lot of the articles I write at Lifewire are just as much for the Everyday Linux User as the articles on this site.


How To Create A UEFI Bootable Ubuntu USB Drive

























One thing that I have tried to do over the years is help users to install Linux as it is the first step on the journey.

When I first started using Linux I had to fall down many holes and I lost many a Windows partition trying to get it installed.

I have wanted as much as possible to help other people by showing the steps I have taken to install Linux.

The steps continue to change as the years go by and better and better tools come out including the impressive Etcher.


38 Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu

I initially started this guide for About.com in 2014 and there were 15 items listed. I try to add to the list regularly and update it as things change.

I am now up to 38 things you could and indeed in some cases should do after installing Ubuntu.

The list includes: learn about the Unity Launcher and the Unity Dash. Learn how to connect to the internet, update Ubuntu and use the Ubuntu Software tool. 

Enable extra repositories and use the Ubuntu After Install tool to install common applications not available via the software tool.

Learn how to open a terminal and use the apt-get command to install software from the command line. Also learn all about the sudo command.

Install the restricted extras package to get multimedia codecs.

Change the desktop wallpaper and pimp your desktop using Ubuntu tweak. 

Set up a printer and import music into Rhythmbox. Talking of Rhythmbox find out how to use it with your iPod.

Find out how to set up online accounts and how to install Google's Chrome browser which in turn gives you the ability to watch Netflix.

Install Steam, WINE, PlayOnLinux, Skype, Dropbox, Java and Minecraft. 

Backup your system and change the desktop environment.

Listen to the Ubuntu podcast, read Full Circle magazine and get support for Ubuntu.

Upgrade to the latest version of Ubuntu, enable virtual workspaces, enable DVD playback, uninstall unwanted packages, change the default applications, clear the DASH history and finally learn how to launch an application when Ubuntu starts.


All About SUDO

Have you ever wondered what the sudo command really means and how some users have permissions and others don't.

This guide shows how to add users to the sudoers list using Ubuntu. It is easier than you think.

How To Share Your Ubuntu Desktop

This article is very Ubuntu heavy and much of the work I do at Lifewire is about Ubuntu.

The reason is that many new Linux users choose Ubuntu and it is a really good place to start.

I use Ubuntu most of the time when not reviewing other distributions.



Have you ever needed to share your desktop so that other people can view it. Perhaps you want to present something that is on your screen or you want to connect to your computer from another room.
You can even connect to it from a phone or tablet.


How To Remove Amazon From Ubuntu






















Ubuntu has had Amazon embedded as part of it for a number of years now but it has become less and less of an issue as the developers have turned most of it off with just the icon on the launcher the only active element.

I have read many articles about how to uninstall the Amazon stuff and to be honest you have to be a little pragmatic about it.

This guide shows how to remove Amazon (or most of it). From a user point of view you won't notice that there is anything left behind.

How To Create A Multiboot Linux USB Drive That Works With UEFI






















Creating a multiboot USB drive was simple before UEFI came along but then everything was ruined.

Now though the team behind YUMI have made it so that you can now use it with UEFI and everything is ok again.


Summary

So there you have it. I am sorry I haven't posted more here recently and this is just a short term measure whilst I update my programming skills.

In the meantime try out my content at Lifewire.com.



February And March Linux Articles

Introduction

I am aware that it is a while since I added any content to this site. To be honest I have been inundated with work and so I have had little opportunity to write anything worthwhile on this blog.

I am learning new programming techniques for my day job and this has meant watching lots of Pluralsight videos and trying out what I have learned.

This doesn't mean that I have been completely idle when it comes to writing but most of the content I have written has been for Lifewire.com and I wanted to point you in the direction of these articles because I'm sure many of them will be useful to the readers of this site.

How To Install Cinnamon On Ubuntu


As many of you know Cinnamon is the default desktop environment with Linux Mint and Linux Mint itself is based on Ubuntu.

So why bother installing Cinnamon on Ubuntu? Why not just install Linux Mint? 

Well if you want the traditional look and feel of Cinnamon but you have already installed Ubuntu and you have everything else working and installed the way you like it then it seems a lot of effort to go to if you decide to uninstall Ubuntu and then install Linux Mint.

In addition Linux Mint is stuck on the LTS release whereas you might be one of those people who like to run the latest versions of Ubuntu.

Whatever your reason this guide shows how to install Cinnamon on Ubuntu.

How To Backup Files And Folders Using Ubuntu






















Hopefully you will see by this article that a lot of the articles I write at Lifewire are just as much for the Everyday Linux User as the articles on this site.


How To Create A UEFI Bootable Ubuntu USB Drive

























One thing that I have tried to do over the years is help users to install Linux as it is the first step on the journey.

When I first started using Linux I had to fall down many holes and I lost many a Windows partition trying to get it installed.

I have wanted as much as possible to help other people by showing the steps I have taken to install Linux.

The steps continue to change as the years go by and better and better tools come out including the impressive Etcher.


38 Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu

I initially started this guide for About.com in 2014 and there were 15 items listed. I try to add to the list regularly and update it as things change.

I am now up to 38 things you could and indeed in some cases should do after installing Ubuntu.

The list includes: learn about the Unity Launcher and the Unity Dash. Learn how to connect to the internet, update Ubuntu and use the Ubuntu Software tool. 

Enable extra repositories and use the Ubuntu After Install tool to install common applications not available via the software tool.

Learn how to open a terminal and use the apt-get command to install software from the command line. Also learn all about the sudo command.

Install the restricted extras package to get multimedia codecs.

Change the desktop wallpaper and pimp your desktop using Ubuntu tweak. 

Set up a printer and import music into Rhythmbox. Talking of Rhythmbox find out how to use it with your iPod.

Find out how to set up online accounts and how to install Google's Chrome browser which in turn gives you the ability to watch Netflix.

Install Steam, WINE, PlayOnLinux, Skype, Dropbox, Java and Minecraft. 

Backup your system and change the desktop environment.

Listen to the Ubuntu podcast, read Full Circle magazine and get support for Ubuntu.

Upgrade to the latest version of Ubuntu, enable virtual workspaces, enable DVD playback, uninstall unwanted packages, change the default applications, clear the DASH history and finally learn how to launch an application when Ubuntu starts.


All About SUDO

Have you ever wondered what the sudo command really means and how some users have permissions and others don't.

This guide shows how to add users to the sudoers list using Ubuntu. It is easier than you think.

How To Share Your Ubuntu Desktop

This article is very Ubuntu heavy and much of the work I do at Lifewire is about Ubuntu.

The reason is that many new Linux users choose Ubuntu and it is a really good place to start.

I use Ubuntu most of the time when not reviewing other distributions.



Have you ever needed to share your desktop so that other people can view it. Perhaps you want to present something that is on your screen or you want to connect to your computer from another room.
You can even connect to it from a phone or tablet.


How To Remove Amazon From Ubuntu






















Ubuntu has had Amazon embedded as part of it for a number of years now but it has become less and less of an issue as the developers have turned most of it off with just the icon on the launcher the only active element.

I have read many articles about how to uninstall the Amazon stuff and to be honest you have to be a little pragmatic about it.

This guide shows how to remove Amazon (or most of it). From a user point of view you won't notice that there is anything left behind.

How To Create A Multiboot Linux USB Drive That Works With UEFI






















Creating a multiboot USB drive was simple before UEFI came along but then everything was ruined.

Now though the team behind YUMI have made it so that you can now use it with UEFI and everything is ok again.


Summary

So there you have it. I am sorry I haven't posted more here recently and this is just a short term measure whilst I update my programming skills.

In the meantime try out my content at Lifewire.com.



Posted at 19:28 |  by Gary Newell

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Introduction

The last time I reviewed Fedora was in March, 2015 and I was in the main happy with it. Fast forward 2 years and I felt it was high time I had a look at the latest version.

Strap yourselves in guys because we are in for a bumpy ride.


How To Get Fedora 25


You can download the latest desktop version of Fedora (version 25) from https://getfedora.org/en/workstation/download/.

How To Create A Fedora USB Drive

There are a number of tools you can use to create a Fedora USB drive. I wrote about one method for a previous version of Fedora here.

I prefer nowadays to use a tool called Etcher which you can download from https://etcher.io/. This guide shows how to use it to create a Fedora USB drive. The good news is that Etcher works on Windows and Linux.

Installation

The Fedora installer hasn't changed since the last time I used it and this guide shows how to install Fedora. If you are interested in dual booting Fedora and Windows follow this guide.

Ok, so I am now going to do something I have never done before. I am going to rank the order of the installation experience of the top distributions.
  1. Ubuntu/Mint/Zorin - Easy peasy. A simple 6 step process and the partitioning works by itself whether you are dual booting or not
  2. Mageia - Another straight forward installation and the partitioning is self explanatory
  3. Fedora/CentOS - If you go for the default options then the installation process is a 2 step process. The partitioning isn't quite so straight forward however and I recommend creating a blank partition before starting the installation. Even if you want to use the entire drive you have to go through a process of reclaiming all the space. Compare this to Ubuntu where the options are use entire system, install alongside another operating system or something else then you can hopefully see this is a little less intuitive.
  4. Debian - Long winded but ultimately decent. There are more steps than your average person needs and the web site is a bit of a nightmare as there are so many versions
  5. openSUSE - Ouch. Great if you want to install as a standalone operating system but you are in big danger of losing a partition or two if you try and dual boot
I am going to expand this as an article in its own right and explain with images the issues. For now though lets just say that whilst I find Fedora easy enough to install others might find that it isn't quite as logical as it might be.

It is worth pointing out that whilst running the installer for Fedora 25 I experienced a severe lag on the first screen. The time between clicking "Continue" and the second screen showing was very long.

First Impressions


When you boot Fedora for the first time you are greeted with a welcome screen and from here you can make some initial settings.

The first screen lets you choose your language.


On the next screen you are asked to choose your keyboard layout.


The third screen lets you connect to the internet by choosing the appropriate wireless network. Simply choose the network and enter the security key.


The next again screen asks you whether you want location services turned on or off and whether you want error reports sent straight back to the developers.


Finally you can connect to online accounts. This integrates your online services with applications within the GNOME desktop. For instance your GMail or Windows mail will appear in the Evolution mail client.


Before you finally start using Fedora you are shown a page with links to documentation to help you get started with Fedora.

First Impressions


As pointed out in my review of openSUSE 42, when the chosen desktop is GNOME it is difficult to tell one distribution apart from another using the same desktop.

The real power lies in the added extras, how intuitive the distribution is, the applications that are included and how much pain you have to go through to get up and running.

GNOME is straight forward to use. There is a panel at the top. The "Activities" link opens up a screen with favourite icons and workspaces. Pressing the icon at the bottom of the launch bar shows a list of applications as shown above and you can easily search for what you are looking for using the search bar.

GNOME also includes system icons in the top right corner which make it possible to adjust audio settings, power settings and user settings.

This isn't a review of GNOME however. This is a review of Fedora 25.

Installing Software


The GNOME software manager is the graphical tool used to install software and as with Ubuntu and openSUSE it doesn't show everything you require.

The reason I am starting with installing software is that Fedora ships with only free software which means you can't play MP3 audio or watch DVDs using your computer. In order to do so you need to install extra codecs.


There are a set of repositories you can add to Fedora which make it possible to install the necessary non-free codecs and these are called RPM Fusion. (click here for the website)

On the linked page there is an option called "Enable repositories" which takes you to this page.



You need to click on 2 links. The first installs the RPM Fusion Free for Fedora 25 and the second installs the RPM Fusion Non-Free repository for Fedora 25.


From within GNOME software you can now search for CODECs and install all of the GStreamer libraries.

In theory this should make it possible to play music, except for me it doesn't.

Whilst we are on the subject of installing software searching for the cool stuff such as Chrome, Steam and other gems results in no results at all.

I found a link to a repository and tool called Fedy which makes it easy to install all of this software although you can install Chrome from Google's own website.


Click here for the Fedy website.

To install the software you just need to open a terminal and paste in the lines of code highlighted in the image above.


Fedy has links to a large number of applications including Chrome, the Hangouts plugin, a PDF editor, Skype, Dropbox, Handbrake, Popcorn Time, Spotify and Steam.

Chrome Issue

I tried installing Chrome from the website and from Fedy but the icon never appears under the applications within GNOME.

I can run Chrome from the command line easily enough and there is clearly a desktop file in the correct folder and it appears to have all the correct values in it but it doesn't show up.

Software

Rhythmbox hung every time I used it, so I uninstalled it and re-installed it. Now it doesn't crash but I can't play any music because despite installing the codecs using the RPM fusion repositories, using Fedy and following this guide on Dedoimedo's site, as well as using Yum Extender to install the GStreamer bad and ugly libraries the system complains there aren't any libraries installed. The application offers to find the correct codecs and then promptly crashes.



Video playback is the same. It complains there are no codecs, offers to find them and then falls on its proverbial backside.


With these minor things (?!?) out of the way lets look at the rest of the software. Default applications include Firefox for web browsing, Evolution for email, Rhythmbox for audio, Totem for video playback, GNOME Boxes for virtualisation, a calendar, clock, webcam viewer, document viewer, LibreOffice office suite, GNOME Maps, GNOME weather and Shotwell for photo management.

Hardware


On a positive note my printer was easy enough to set up. Simply click on settings, printers and then add printer.


On an even more positive note my WDMyCloud also worked without error.

Summary

So where does that leave us?

I have always loved Fedora but I love music more and the amount of hassle and the amount of hoops I have had to jump through to try and get it working this time is just not worth the effort. The Google Chrome thing is also an issue for me. It works fine in openSUSE so why is it not working in Fedora?

Wayland seems to be performing well enough and I haven't experienced any problems that seem to be related to the graphical side of things.

Unfortunately I have witnessed far too many errors, notifications, application crashes and general pointless pain to be able to recommend Fedora 25. Fedora 23 worked great, 25 doesn't. 

I recommend either CentOS or openSUSE for now.

An Everyday Linux User Review Of Fedora 25 - Oh No, So Many Problems

Introduction

The last time I reviewed Fedora was in March, 2015 and I was in the main happy with it. Fast forward 2 years and I felt it was high time I had a look at the latest version.

Strap yourselves in guys because we are in for a bumpy ride.


How To Get Fedora 25


You can download the latest desktop version of Fedora (version 25) from https://getfedora.org/en/workstation/download/.

How To Create A Fedora USB Drive

There are a number of tools you can use to create a Fedora USB drive. I wrote about one method for a previous version of Fedora here.

I prefer nowadays to use a tool called Etcher which you can download from https://etcher.io/. This guide shows how to use it to create a Fedora USB drive. The good news is that Etcher works on Windows and Linux.

Installation

The Fedora installer hasn't changed since the last time I used it and this guide shows how to install Fedora. If you are interested in dual booting Fedora and Windows follow this guide.

Ok, so I am now going to do something I have never done before. I am going to rank the order of the installation experience of the top distributions.
  1. Ubuntu/Mint/Zorin - Easy peasy. A simple 6 step process and the partitioning works by itself whether you are dual booting or not
  2. Mageia - Another straight forward installation and the partitioning is self explanatory
  3. Fedora/CentOS - If you go for the default options then the installation process is a 2 step process. The partitioning isn't quite so straight forward however and I recommend creating a blank partition before starting the installation. Even if you want to use the entire drive you have to go through a process of reclaiming all the space. Compare this to Ubuntu where the options are use entire system, install alongside another operating system or something else then you can hopefully see this is a little less intuitive.
  4. Debian - Long winded but ultimately decent. There are more steps than your average person needs and the web site is a bit of a nightmare as there are so many versions
  5. openSUSE - Ouch. Great if you want to install as a standalone operating system but you are in big danger of losing a partition or two if you try and dual boot
I am going to expand this as an article in its own right and explain with images the issues. For now though lets just say that whilst I find Fedora easy enough to install others might find that it isn't quite as logical as it might be.

It is worth pointing out that whilst running the installer for Fedora 25 I experienced a severe lag on the first screen. The time between clicking "Continue" and the second screen showing was very long.

First Impressions


When you boot Fedora for the first time you are greeted with a welcome screen and from here you can make some initial settings.

The first screen lets you choose your language.


On the next screen you are asked to choose your keyboard layout.


The third screen lets you connect to the internet by choosing the appropriate wireless network. Simply choose the network and enter the security key.


The next again screen asks you whether you want location services turned on or off and whether you want error reports sent straight back to the developers.


Finally you can connect to online accounts. This integrates your online services with applications within the GNOME desktop. For instance your GMail or Windows mail will appear in the Evolution mail client.


Before you finally start using Fedora you are shown a page with links to documentation to help you get started with Fedora.

First Impressions


As pointed out in my review of openSUSE 42, when the chosen desktop is GNOME it is difficult to tell one distribution apart from another using the same desktop.

The real power lies in the added extras, how intuitive the distribution is, the applications that are included and how much pain you have to go through to get up and running.

GNOME is straight forward to use. There is a panel at the top. The "Activities" link opens up a screen with favourite icons and workspaces. Pressing the icon at the bottom of the launch bar shows a list of applications as shown above and you can easily search for what you are looking for using the search bar.

GNOME also includes system icons in the top right corner which make it possible to adjust audio settings, power settings and user settings.

This isn't a review of GNOME however. This is a review of Fedora 25.

Installing Software


The GNOME software manager is the graphical tool used to install software and as with Ubuntu and openSUSE it doesn't show everything you require.

The reason I am starting with installing software is that Fedora ships with only free software which means you can't play MP3 audio or watch DVDs using your computer. In order to do so you need to install extra codecs.


There are a set of repositories you can add to Fedora which make it possible to install the necessary non-free codecs and these are called RPM Fusion. (click here for the website)

On the linked page there is an option called "Enable repositories" which takes you to this page.



You need to click on 2 links. The first installs the RPM Fusion Free for Fedora 25 and the second installs the RPM Fusion Non-Free repository for Fedora 25.


From within GNOME software you can now search for CODECs and install all of the GStreamer libraries.

In theory this should make it possible to play music, except for me it doesn't.

Whilst we are on the subject of installing software searching for the cool stuff such as Chrome, Steam and other gems results in no results at all.

I found a link to a repository and tool called Fedy which makes it easy to install all of this software although you can install Chrome from Google's own website.


Click here for the Fedy website.

To install the software you just need to open a terminal and paste in the lines of code highlighted in the image above.


Fedy has links to a large number of applications including Chrome, the Hangouts plugin, a PDF editor, Skype, Dropbox, Handbrake, Popcorn Time, Spotify and Steam.

Chrome Issue

I tried installing Chrome from the website and from Fedy but the icon never appears under the applications within GNOME.

I can run Chrome from the command line easily enough and there is clearly a desktop file in the correct folder and it appears to have all the correct values in it but it doesn't show up.

Software

Rhythmbox hung every time I used it, so I uninstalled it and re-installed it. Now it doesn't crash but I can't play any music because despite installing the codecs using the RPM fusion repositories, using Fedy and following this guide on Dedoimedo's site, as well as using Yum Extender to install the GStreamer bad and ugly libraries the system complains there aren't any libraries installed. The application offers to find the correct codecs and then promptly crashes.



Video playback is the same. It complains there are no codecs, offers to find them and then falls on its proverbial backside.


With these minor things (?!?) out of the way lets look at the rest of the software. Default applications include Firefox for web browsing, Evolution for email, Rhythmbox for audio, Totem for video playback, GNOME Boxes for virtualisation, a calendar, clock, webcam viewer, document viewer, LibreOffice office suite, GNOME Maps, GNOME weather and Shotwell for photo management.

Hardware


On a positive note my printer was easy enough to set up. Simply click on settings, printers and then add printer.


On an even more positive note my WDMyCloud also worked without error.

Summary

So where does that leave us?

I have always loved Fedora but I love music more and the amount of hassle and the amount of hoops I have had to jump through to try and get it working this time is just not worth the effort. The Google Chrome thing is also an issue for me. It works fine in openSUSE so why is it not working in Fedora?

Wayland seems to be performing well enough and I haven't experienced any problems that seem to be related to the graphical side of things.

Unfortunately I have witnessed far too many errors, notifications, application crashes and general pointless pain to be able to recommend Fedora 25. Fedora 23 worked great, 25 doesn't. 

I recommend either CentOS or openSUSE for now.

Posted at 21:30 |  by Gary Newell

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Introduction

It has been a long time since I last reviewed openSUSE. I don't think it is quite as long as the numbering system suggests but it has been about 3 years.

There are 2 versions of openSUSE available via their website:
  • Leap
  • Tumbleweed
The Tumbleweed version is a rolling release distribution whereas the Leap version follows a frequent 6 monthly release schedule.

Today I will be reviewing openSUSE Leap 42.2.

How To Get openSUSE

The openSUSE website can be found at https://www.opensuse.org/


To get the Leap version click on the "install" button below the word "Leap".


There are two options available. You can download the entire 4.7 gigabytes or you can download the network installer ISO.

There are no official live DVDs or USBs easily available from the openSUSE website but they do link to community ISOs which provide live versions.

If you want to try a live DVD visit https://en.opensuse.org/Derivatives

I went for the full 4.7 gigabytes download. (I made the most of the superfast broadband in the hotel I am staying in).


The openSUSE Installer

It has to be said that this is my least favourite part of openSUSE. 

I think the best I can say about this installer is that if you are installing openSUSE as the sole operating system then it is adequate however if you want to dual boot with another distribution or Windows it isn't very intuitive and it is very easy to accidentally overwrite the other system.

As a guide I find this one quite useful: http://opensuse-guide.org/installation.php or indeed there is this guide that I wrote for Lifewire.com last year.


First Impressions


During the installation you get the choice of the GNOME or KDE desktop environments. I chose to install the GNOME desktop as that is my personal favourite.

GNOME is GNOME is GNOME. It doesn't matter whether you install Fedora, Debian or openSUSE, the look and feel of GNOME is the same in each of them. The real value is added by each distribution in turn and later on I will show you the value that openSUSE offers.

For beginners to Linux the GNOME desktop has a single panel at the top with an "Activities" link in the top left corner and system icons in the top right.

Clicking on the system icons in the top allows you to do things like adjust the audio, change the language, set up bluetooth and connect to the internet.

The "Activiies" link when clicked brings up the screen below:


GNOME is very keyboard centric and so as well as clicking on icons you can find your way around much more easily by using one of the special keyboard shortcuts.

The above screen provides a list of applications you are likely to use quite often such as the Firefox web browser, Evolution mail client, Empathy chat client, GNOME music player, Shotwell photo manager, LibreOffice, the file manager and the documents folder.

On the right side of the screen is a list of workspaces. You can open a new workspace by clicking on it. The keyboard shortcuts are invaluable in this regard.

At the bottom of the list of icons is a grid of dots and when this is clicked you will see the screen below:


This screen shows a list of applications and you can see subsequent pages by clicking on the dots to the right of the screen. You can also switch between frequently used applications and all applications.

The search bar is useful for finding the application by name or description.

Connecting To The Internet


To connect to the internet click in the top right corner and choose "Select network". A list of available networks will appear.

Click on the network you wish to connect to and enter the required security key.

Setting Up Audio

By default openSUSE doesn't have all the multimedia codecs installed. 

It is a good idea when using openSUSE to bookmark http://opensuse-guide.org/

This site tells you all you need to know. For instance you can mess around getting the multimedia codecs to work by adding the relevant repositories and installing the correct software or you can visit http://opensuse-guide.org/codecs.php and click the one-click install link.

Software

I installed from the full DVD so I appear to have a great deal of software installed by default. By default because I have installed the GNOME desktop I have all the regulars which are as follows:

  • Firefox - Web Browser
  • Evolution - Email Client
  • Empathy - Chat
  • GNOME Music - Audio Player
  • Totem - Video Player
  • Shotwell - Photo Manager
  • Nautilus - File Manager
Other software that is included is the LibreOffice office suite, GIMP image editor, Brasero disk creator, Cheese webcam viewer, Liferea RSS reader, GNOME Maps and GNOME Weather.

There are loads of other applications and tools included such as a remote desktop client, disk management tools and other clever little utilities.

GNOME Music


The GNOME Music player is very basic. Import the songs and then play them. Sure you can filter by albums, artists and songs and there are some simple playlists which let you play your favourite songs, most played tunes, never played songs, recently added and recently played. You can add your own playlists as well by clicking on a song and selecting add to new playlist.

It is straight forward and it works, although I would say it has bombed out on me a couple of times with no error messages.

Shotwell




























GNOME provides a fairly generic set of tools and the Shotwell photo manager is an example of this. As with GNOME music it is very basic. You basically import your photos and then you can view them and do fairly basic other stuff with them such as tag them, open them in external editor or set a rating. For more involved editing features you would use GIMP.

GNOME Video Player






















The GNOME video player allows you to watch videos which are stored on your computer or from the web. 

There are two headings at the top of the screen:

  • Videos
  • Channels
Under the Channels there is one option which is Raj.tv. I don't know how many people watch this and why it is particularly included. It seems fairly random.

GNOME Maps

GNOME now comes with a nice desktop mapping tool. Simply enter your location and you can view directions and view a satellite image. 




GNOME Weather

GNOME weather shows you the weather forecast in your current location or indeed any destination of your choosing.

You can view the weather by specific time slots during the day and you get a nice 5 day forecast.








GNOME Software

GNOME software is the tool you are supposed to use to install software when using the GNOME desktop environment.

However it is about as useful as trying to eat soup with a fork.

Everything appears to be there. You have nice categories, you can click into the categories and software appears and you can install software.

It all seems to look good, except that it never shows anything good and the search tool never seems to find anything.

There is a much better application for finding and installing software within openSUSE and I am coming to that shortly.

YAST Control Center

So earlier on in the review I said I would let you know what else openSUSE provides above and beyond the standard GNOME desktop environment and pre-installed software.

The YAST Control Center is the best thing about openSUSE and it is superb.

From here you can do literally anything.




The YAST control center is broken down into the following categories:

  • Software
  • Hardware
  • System
  • Network services
  • Security and users
  • Virtualisation
  • Support
  • Miscellaneous
From this tool you can see why openSUSE is a professional choice and a key reason for using it as your desktop operating system.

Let us start with the software section. From here you can choose "Add-on products" or indeed "Software repositories" and they both lead you to the same place.






















By default openSUSE is deployed with software repositories offering only free software. However using the Add-on Products tool you can add further repositories such as the non-oss software repo. You can also add the NVidia repository for installing NVidia drivers or the Libdvdcss repository so that you can play DVDs.

Where the Add-on products lets you add repositories the Software Repositories option lets you manage the repositories you have installed.

To install software you can use the "Software Management" tool which comes as part of the control center. 


























This tool isn't as pretty as the GNOME Software tool but it packs more punch. You can find all the good stuff such as Steam, Dropbox and other such gems.

Chrome isn't available via the repositories but you can install it via the Chrome website. Here is a good guide for installing Chrome.

Other items within the YAST Control Center under software include the media checking tool for checking the validity of ISO images and discs. You can also perform an online update to keep your system up to date.

Under the hardware setting you can setup printers and it works really well. You can also set up scanners, audio devices and set keyboard layouts.

The system settings has the options to manage the boot loader, manage disks, kernel settings, network settings, fonts, date and time and services.

The network settings lets you change the hostname and set up a mail server. 

The security and roles section is for managing users and groups, setting up a firewall and managing the sudo settings.

Basically this part of openSUSE is really useful. 

Issues

I haven't really experienced any issues in the past couple of weeks. There is a bit of extra searching around for stuff as I am not overly familiar with openSUSE however I have most things set up now and it feels very stable.

The only blips I have had are with GNOME Music which for some reason has crashed without notice on the odd occasion.

Summary

So here is the deal. If as the Everyday Linux User you are going to use openSUSE then you have to stick with it and in reality it should be the only operating system on your machine. Trying to dual boot will probably tie you up in knots.

After you have installed it and you have the most important non-free packages installed (Google Chrome being the main one) then you are likely to find openSUSE and GNOME a joy.

GNOME is really easy to use. It really is point and click and if you can get a handle on those keyboard shortcuts then life will be very easy indeed.

openSUSE is stable and it won't let you down with odd quirks that some other distributions have. It really is a case of taking that bit more time to get used to than you may have to with a Linux Mint for instance.

The good news is that there is a lot of documentation available and most things you will try have been tried before and there is usually a straight forward guide to follow to get to where you want to be.

All in all a positive experience.


An Everyday Linux User Review Of OpenSUSE Leap 42

Introduction

It has been a long time since I last reviewed openSUSE. I don't think it is quite as long as the numbering system suggests but it has been about 3 years.

There are 2 versions of openSUSE available via their website:
  • Leap
  • Tumbleweed
The Tumbleweed version is a rolling release distribution whereas the Leap version follows a frequent 6 monthly release schedule.

Today I will be reviewing openSUSE Leap 42.2.

How To Get openSUSE

The openSUSE website can be found at https://www.opensuse.org/


To get the Leap version click on the "install" button below the word "Leap".


There are two options available. You can download the entire 4.7 gigabytes or you can download the network installer ISO.

There are no official live DVDs or USBs easily available from the openSUSE website but they do link to community ISOs which provide live versions.

If you want to try a live DVD visit https://en.opensuse.org/Derivatives

I went for the full 4.7 gigabytes download. (I made the most of the superfast broadband in the hotel I am staying in).


The openSUSE Installer

It has to be said that this is my least favourite part of openSUSE. 

I think the best I can say about this installer is that if you are installing openSUSE as the sole operating system then it is adequate however if you want to dual boot with another distribution or Windows it isn't very intuitive and it is very easy to accidentally overwrite the other system.

As a guide I find this one quite useful: http://opensuse-guide.org/installation.php or indeed there is this guide that I wrote for Lifewire.com last year.


First Impressions


During the installation you get the choice of the GNOME or KDE desktop environments. I chose to install the GNOME desktop as that is my personal favourite.

GNOME is GNOME is GNOME. It doesn't matter whether you install Fedora, Debian or openSUSE, the look and feel of GNOME is the same in each of them. The real value is added by each distribution in turn and later on I will show you the value that openSUSE offers.

For beginners to Linux the GNOME desktop has a single panel at the top with an "Activities" link in the top left corner and system icons in the top right.

Clicking on the system icons in the top allows you to do things like adjust the audio, change the language, set up bluetooth and connect to the internet.

The "Activiies" link when clicked brings up the screen below:


GNOME is very keyboard centric and so as well as clicking on icons you can find your way around much more easily by using one of the special keyboard shortcuts.

The above screen provides a list of applications you are likely to use quite often such as the Firefox web browser, Evolution mail client, Empathy chat client, GNOME music player, Shotwell photo manager, LibreOffice, the file manager and the documents folder.

On the right side of the screen is a list of workspaces. You can open a new workspace by clicking on it. The keyboard shortcuts are invaluable in this regard.

At the bottom of the list of icons is a grid of dots and when this is clicked you will see the screen below:


This screen shows a list of applications and you can see subsequent pages by clicking on the dots to the right of the screen. You can also switch between frequently used applications and all applications.

The search bar is useful for finding the application by name or description.

Connecting To The Internet


To connect to the internet click in the top right corner and choose "Select network". A list of available networks will appear.

Click on the network you wish to connect to and enter the required security key.

Setting Up Audio

By default openSUSE doesn't have all the multimedia codecs installed. 

It is a good idea when using openSUSE to bookmark http://opensuse-guide.org/

This site tells you all you need to know. For instance you can mess around getting the multimedia codecs to work by adding the relevant repositories and installing the correct software or you can visit http://opensuse-guide.org/codecs.php and click the one-click install link.

Software

I installed from the full DVD so I appear to have a great deal of software installed by default. By default because I have installed the GNOME desktop I have all the regulars which are as follows:

  • Firefox - Web Browser
  • Evolution - Email Client
  • Empathy - Chat
  • GNOME Music - Audio Player
  • Totem - Video Player
  • Shotwell - Photo Manager
  • Nautilus - File Manager
Other software that is included is the LibreOffice office suite, GIMP image editor, Brasero disk creator, Cheese webcam viewer, Liferea RSS reader, GNOME Maps and GNOME Weather.

There are loads of other applications and tools included such as a remote desktop client, disk management tools and other clever little utilities.

GNOME Music


The GNOME Music player is very basic. Import the songs and then play them. Sure you can filter by albums, artists and songs and there are some simple playlists which let you play your favourite songs, most played tunes, never played songs, recently added and recently played. You can add your own playlists as well by clicking on a song and selecting add to new playlist.

It is straight forward and it works, although I would say it has bombed out on me a couple of times with no error messages.

Shotwell




























GNOME provides a fairly generic set of tools and the Shotwell photo manager is an example of this. As with GNOME music it is very basic. You basically import your photos and then you can view them and do fairly basic other stuff with them such as tag them, open them in external editor or set a rating. For more involved editing features you would use GIMP.

GNOME Video Player






















The GNOME video player allows you to watch videos which are stored on your computer or from the web. 

There are two headings at the top of the screen:

  • Videos
  • Channels
Under the Channels there is one option which is Raj.tv. I don't know how many people watch this and why it is particularly included. It seems fairly random.

GNOME Maps

GNOME now comes with a nice desktop mapping tool. Simply enter your location and you can view directions and view a satellite image. 




GNOME Weather

GNOME weather shows you the weather forecast in your current location or indeed any destination of your choosing.

You can view the weather by specific time slots during the day and you get a nice 5 day forecast.








GNOME Software

GNOME software is the tool you are supposed to use to install software when using the GNOME desktop environment.

However it is about as useful as trying to eat soup with a fork.

Everything appears to be there. You have nice categories, you can click into the categories and software appears and you can install software.

It all seems to look good, except that it never shows anything good and the search tool never seems to find anything.

There is a much better application for finding and installing software within openSUSE and I am coming to that shortly.

YAST Control Center

So earlier on in the review I said I would let you know what else openSUSE provides above and beyond the standard GNOME desktop environment and pre-installed software.

The YAST Control Center is the best thing about openSUSE and it is superb.

From here you can do literally anything.




The YAST control center is broken down into the following categories:

  • Software
  • Hardware
  • System
  • Network services
  • Security and users
  • Virtualisation
  • Support
  • Miscellaneous
From this tool you can see why openSUSE is a professional choice and a key reason for using it as your desktop operating system.

Let us start with the software section. From here you can choose "Add-on products" or indeed "Software repositories" and they both lead you to the same place.






















By default openSUSE is deployed with software repositories offering only free software. However using the Add-on Products tool you can add further repositories such as the non-oss software repo. You can also add the NVidia repository for installing NVidia drivers or the Libdvdcss repository so that you can play DVDs.

Where the Add-on products lets you add repositories the Software Repositories option lets you manage the repositories you have installed.

To install software you can use the "Software Management" tool which comes as part of the control center. 


























This tool isn't as pretty as the GNOME Software tool but it packs more punch. You can find all the good stuff such as Steam, Dropbox and other such gems.

Chrome isn't available via the repositories but you can install it via the Chrome website. Here is a good guide for installing Chrome.

Other items within the YAST Control Center under software include the media checking tool for checking the validity of ISO images and discs. You can also perform an online update to keep your system up to date.

Under the hardware setting you can setup printers and it works really well. You can also set up scanners, audio devices and set keyboard layouts.

The system settings has the options to manage the boot loader, manage disks, kernel settings, network settings, fonts, date and time and services.

The network settings lets you change the hostname and set up a mail server. 

The security and roles section is for managing users and groups, setting up a firewall and managing the sudo settings.

Basically this part of openSUSE is really useful. 

Issues

I haven't really experienced any issues in the past couple of weeks. There is a bit of extra searching around for stuff as I am not overly familiar with openSUSE however I have most things set up now and it feels very stable.

The only blips I have had are with GNOME Music which for some reason has crashed without notice on the odd occasion.

Summary

So here is the deal. If as the Everyday Linux User you are going to use openSUSE then you have to stick with it and in reality it should be the only operating system on your machine. Trying to dual boot will probably tie you up in knots.

After you have installed it and you have the most important non-free packages installed (Google Chrome being the main one) then you are likely to find openSUSE and GNOME a joy.

GNOME is really easy to use. It really is point and click and if you can get a handle on those keyboard shortcuts then life will be very easy indeed.

openSUSE is stable and it won't let you down with odd quirks that some other distributions have. It really is a case of taking that bit more time to get used to than you may have to with a Linux Mint for instance.

The good news is that there is a lot of documentation available and most things you will try have been tried before and there is usually a straight forward guide to follow to get to where you want to be.

All in all a positive experience.


Posted at 20:18 |  by Gary Newell

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