Linux General Questions

Not entirely happy with OpenSUSE 12.1 (running KDE), I decided to try Linux Mint 12, and so far, I love it. It is easily the best distro I've tried yet. For a noob like me, it's much more intuitive, and seems more user-friendly, yet doesn't punish you by hiding things.

After I had it installed, I was just looking around and up pops a notification that I had some proprietary drivers available (nvidia), and gave me a button to d/l them and then it installed them for me -- all I had to do was reboot. Now that's what I'm talkin' about

Mint is very good. I hope they continue to get more attention and attract more developers. I really like the idea of Mint Debian Edition, but at this point in time, it's a second-class project.

If I don't stick with Arch, though, I will probably use Mint.

Well, I don't have a problem with Shuttleworth experimenting with something new, and I suppose he was forced to by the f*ckhead GNOME team, but I wish he'd gone with KDE by default, instead of that crap he's shipping, until his guys could finish it. It's just not ready for primetime yet.

It's a shame there's not enough UI devs available to fork GNOME. 2.x was really good.

Malor wrote:
Well, I don't have a problem with Shuttleworth experimenting with something new, and I suppose he was forced to by the f*ckhead GNOME team, but I wish he'd gone with KDE by default, instead of that crap he's shipping, until his guys could finish it. It's just not ready for primetime yet.

Ubuntu is no longer content to just be a great Linux distro -- it wants to be its own, unique OS. I don't think it would've mattered what GNOME did; Ubuntu's been going down this path for a while now, and I don't think a sudden switch to KDE would've helped that goal at all.

Malor wrote:
It's a shame there's not enough UI devs available to fork GNOME. 2.x was really good.

Cinnamon is the pony to bet on -- I'm very, very, very glad that plans to fork GNOME 2 (the MATE project) seem to have died on the vine. What people seem to forget is that most of GNOME 3 *is* GNOME 2, just with a bunch of crufty old backwards-compatibility code removed. The new UI stuff that you find so objectionable is all in within GNOME Shell, and it's this that Cinnamon is replacing with a more "traditional" UI, but still on top of the more modern GNOME 3 libraries and components. That's a much better option, IMO, than trying to maintain a ten-year-old codebase for no good reason.

FWIW, I actually quite like the GNOME 3 desktop. There are some features I miss, and it does take some adjustment, but it's a really clean, efficient design, and I have no trouble at all launching apps or finding my way between them. The biggest adjustment to get used to Alt-Tab switching between applications, rather than windows, but given that both Windows and OS X work the same way, I think it's a good adjustment to make. The only other feature I really miss is the world clock, which I think GNOME 3.4 might be adding back.

You say that GNOME 2.x was really good, but to be more accurate, GNOME 2.x from about 2.8 onward was pretty good, but it didn't get really good until quite a bit later. GNOME 2.0 pissed off a lot of people, too, with its greatly streamlined feature set and its insistence on making apps confirm to its HIG, but it evolved and improved. I have no doubt that GNOME 3 will do the same.

I'm on the fence between gnome shell and unity. Every few months I'm switching back and forth between the two. There are some choices that make me wonder what were they thinking (such as hiding the power off option in gnome shell by default).

In terms of usability gain I'm very sceptical. I was already using a third party launcher called Gnome Do with gnome 2, therefore I have gained nothing on that front, and after a year of use, I'm still pining for the task bar. The biggest problem I have with the window overview style of switching between tasks, and with alt-tab (and alt-²) for that matter, is that there's no consistency or persistence. I have to scan all the windows in search of the right one (and multiple text documents all look like the same blank page once shrunk to a thumbnail), whereas with a task bar it's right where you left it.

Definitely going to give cinnamon a try.

Thanks you guys, I just wasted the last three days of my life.

However, I now have Cinnamon, running on Arch Linux, in Virtual Box.

It's pretty awesome.

I need to give Cinnamon a shot in Arch.

I think I'm doing something wrong in Arch with dbus. I can only get apps to communicate with dbus when run as root. Need to fix.

Also, I wish Compiz and LXDE played nicer. I like LXDE but I like Compiz effects too (especially transparency on my terminal window), but there's some annoying glitches going on between the two. Wonder if it has to do with me running Compiz by starting fusion-icon instead of another way?

And on the topic of Arch, hooray for cairo-ubuntu, freetype2-ubuntu, fontconfig-ubuntu, and libxft-ubuntu.

It's Ubuntu's font rendering patches above all else that have kept me from straying from Ubuntu.

I'll join the Linux bitchfest.

When my old laptop died last year, I was given a laptop from 2005. I figured that was the perfect time to try Linux (Edwin talked me into it, actually.) So I installed Ubuntu. Only initial issue was wireless didn't work, but I think I fixed that with an evening's worth of Googling.

But, it was an old laptop. With 384MB RAM. So I installed Lubuntu. Lubuntu ran much better... but I could never get the wireless working. I don't know what it was. Near as I could tell it should've been the same.

I'll try it agian sometime. On something newer. :p

Arch has been love at first site for me.

One of my problems with Ubuntu has been, as noted previously, that they're trying to make it its own OS. You can't Google "Linux [problem here]", it needs to be "Ubuntu [problem here]". Now, to be fair, there are very few issues I haven't been able to resolve in Ubuntu, but I just haven't been getting a good vibe lately.

I showed Arch to one of my co-workers a couple of days ago, and after a few hours he came back and said, "Wow, with Arch, you know exactly what's on your system." I agree, and I love that.

And now that I got Cinnamon running, I think I'm ready to redo my home Linux server.

Crespin,

The mistake I always made with Linux was putting it on old, crappy hardware. Virtual Machines finally got me to the point where I could work with it, and have a good enough experience to really get into it.

Linux Love-fest.

*Legion* wrote:
Also, I wish Compiz and LXDE played nicer.

Probably I should just forget about Compiz, which appears to be in a full-on state of bitrot.

From the Arch forums, it sounds like cairo-compmgr works nicely with LXDE. Have to give that a try.

Does Ubuntu come with GRUB standard?

I think it has for a long time. My 11.10 VM definitely has it installed.

Anything you can suggest I know before installing Windows 7 to dual boot? I've got a separate SSD I'm putting in exclusively for the purpose, and am currently doing all the usual backing up, making emergency boot disks, etc.

I haven't done a dual-boot system in years.

Once upon a time, NT pretty much demanded that it be the True Boot Loader, so you'd have GRUB write its boot info to the partition boot sector, and then extract those 512 bytes and save them as a file on a floppy or a memory stick. Then you'd boot NT, copy that file somewhere on C:, and modify the boot INI settings to chainload GRUB as one of the boot options. That way, if you didn't do anything, Windows would boot, but you could tell it to start GRUB, and GRUB could then start Linux.

You could do this with LILO too, but LILO generated a new boot sector every time you updated your kernel, so you had to go through that laborious transfer process each and every time you installed a new one. GRUB was way, way better.

But I haven't done any of this with Win7. I don't know if current-generation NTLDR will even allow you to chainload another boot loader anymore. That's the sort of thing I'd expect Microsoft to quietly sabotage.

Supposedly all that's fixed now, and 7 plays well with others. We'll see.

This will end in disaster.

If you're on Arch and you do a big update today and stuff doesn't work, that's because they've moved from libpng14 to libpng15, and some packages may not be rebuilt.

You can grab libpng14 from AUR.

Killed Compiz, installed cairo-compmgr.

So far, it's what I'm looking for, except for a strange bug that causes *some* of my menu fonts to render without subpixel hinting. Very weird.

EDIT: Bummer - cairo-compmgr and Virtualbox are a no-go together. And so my quest for compositing continues...

Yeah, cinnamon keeps crashing my VMs with an OpenGL driver error. I think I'm going to try to get Arch running off of a USB drive. That's usually my next step when it comes to trying out Linux distros.

I don't really have a spare machine right now, and I can't afford disrupting existing ones with dual-booting.

So any advice for someone looking to work with Linux for the first time, having no experience beyond installing windows since Win95 and never getting into NT when it was it's own thing. I'm mostly look at this since I saw the Raspberry Pi and it looks like a better solution than constantly turning my gaming console and computer on and off to watch my videos.

A google search turned this up so if nothing else I'll probably look at that.

mrtomaytohead wrote:
So any advice for someone looking to work with Linux for the first time

Either get something like Virtualbox, or a spare hard drive (pull all the cables from your normal hard drives during install), download a disc image from some 'big' distro, burn it to disc if you're going for a drive install, and dive in by booting from that disc. Most installs now are pretty painless, you follow a very simple wizard, point it at some free disc space and off it goes.

Scratched wrote:
mrtomaytohead wrote:
So any advice for someone looking to work with Linux for the first time

Either get something like Virtualbox, or a spare hard drive (pull all the cables from your normal hard drives during install), download a disc image from some 'big' distro, burn it to disc if you're going for a drive install, and dive in by booting from that disc. Most installs now are pretty painless, you follow a very simple wizard, point it at some free disc space and off it goes.

Would an old 20GB HDD be sufficient?

Lex Cayman wrote:
Yeah, cinnamon keeps crashing my VMs with an OpenGL driver error.

Yeah, there isn't yet a "Cinnamon 2D" for running without the OpenGL compositor.

mrtomaytohead wrote:
Would an old 20GB HDD be sufficient?

20GB is tons. Most of the install disc images will be less than a gig.

*Legion* wrote:
Lex Cayman wrote:
Yeah, cinnamon keeps crashing my VMs with an OpenGL driver error.

Yeah, there isn't yet a "Cinnamon 2D" for running without the OpenGL compositor.

And there won't be, either, with any luck -- only Canonical is crazy enough to reimplement their entire desktop shell just to run on hardware without OpenGL acceleration. The sensible solution, which the Fedora developers are mostly working on, is to improve the software OpenGL stack so that it has both the performance and the functionality required to run the composited desktop without hardware acceleration. This is due to be in the Fedora 17 release, but the code's out there and I think most of the work has been done, so it may end up in Arch before then anyway.

I'm currently typing this on my laptop, running Cinnamon on Arch from an external HD.

It took a while to iron all the kinks out, but I think I'm in love.

Now I just have to seriously consider all of the ramifications of dual booting my work machine.

Alright, I've never been a Linux desktop user. I spend ninety percent of my time on Linux via SSH.

Why are people so down on Gnome3? As someone who hasn't touched gnome since 1998 (literally), I think it's pretty sharp. It's clean, it responsive, and it seems to fit my work style pretty well. I'm not even sure I'll keep using cinnamon.

Enlighten a brother.

I have to say Gnome 3 is growing on me. Once I found gnome-tweak and switched to the classic mode it feels pretty comfortable. It's a lot calmer and more pleasant to use than KDE IMHO.

It is slick, but the issues I encountered with gnome shell are
- slow application searching (at least on my computer, might be a bug)
- multi-tasking not as efficient
- little bits of nonsense such as hiding the power off option (easy to fix)
- auto-hiding tray meant that if I missed a call on skype or some IM, it stayed hidden until by some chance I happened to check.

Great thread. I started with Ubuntu v5.04 Breezy Badger (I believe) many years ago, and stuck with it for about six months. It became clear that the GUI allowed me to be lazy, and laziness bred a lack of rigor, of taking care of the system properly. This, combined with the GUI itself, led me to feel overwhelmed at all the ways I could and should manage my system.

So I gave up, at least gave up on Ubuntu. I tried Slackware v10.2. Today I use Slackware v13.37, and could not be happier with it. I've tried KDE, XFCE, and LXDE, and always come back to Openbox as a window manager and a light panel app (in this case, the LXDE panel + tint2). I manage everything from the command line, and while I'm no hacker I'm proficient enough to figure out what I need to. Curiously, I find I split my time between virtual terminals and Chrome, with little in-between.

I also dual-boot XP, with the fantasy that I'll play some games my Lenovo R61i can handle, e.g., Fallout, Baldur's Gate, Tone Rebellion, etc. I have played almost 2 hours--all-in--of Fallout in the years I've had this machine. This, though, is another thread.

I recommend anyone to try a DE-less system using only a window manager, especially if your specifications are light.