Monday, May 14, 2012

SolusOS Linux

 
SolusOS Linux

     Last night I was surfing the web looking for nothing important as usual. In my searching I came across softpedia.com where I found an OS that I had never heard of, SolusOS http://solusos.com
  For the last couple of weeks I have installing and reinstalling different distros, like LMDE, Ubuntu 12.04, Kubuntu 12.04, Linux Mint 12, and Suse, and let me say that they all had there issues. Ubuntu 12.04, on my desktop and laptop, my wireless internet connection speed was reduce from 144 mb/s to 72 mb/s. Now in Linux Mint 12 it worked at 144. LMDE I couldn't get the wireless to work at all. I'm using a D-Link DW131 usb and a TP-Link usb wireless adapters. They both use the same driver rt8712. I didn't understand why it would chop the speed almost in half. I searched everywhere but could not find a solution. That was frustrating. It makes a world of difference when watching internet videos.

     Unity is better than it was but I still would rather use Gnome 3.2 just because I can move around faster. Getting them to look the way I want is not the issue. Over the last last few releases and changes with Gnome and Unity I have figured out how to fix all that. But getting the system to run smoothly without chocking was more important. My Toshiba Netbook NB255 isn't the fasted thing in the world but when a distro claims that it will run fast on old hardware I kind of believed it. Unity works great on my Dell Inspiron 530 destktop. Looks great and runs great. It's just the connection speed reduction got me stuck. Not much of a performance hindering ordeal with the desktop though. Linux Mint 12 is perfect in KDE 4.8. Everything is fast and smooth, Internet included with no noticeable reduced speed even at a reduced speed.

     Now my Netbook, using KDE, actually it didn't matter which distro, it would run slow as a slug in syrup. I realized that I had to use Xrender instead of OpenGL. The video card has a lot to do with performance. It would take forrrrreeeeever to click anything before changing it. Once I did that it ran much faster. It wasn't usable with OpenGL. Again my Internet connection was reduced with Ubuntu, no wireless with LMDE, and perfect in Linux Mint 12. Of course with all these distros something would be missing and had to be installed. No big deal. That's just the nature of the beast. One thing I did find odd was that although Linux Mint 12 in KDE work great, it was when I added Cinnamon that I ran into some problems. It installed a form of Unity and Gnome 3. I figured that was cool, until I tried using the settings. In Mint's version of Unity, Cinnamon, and Gnome the System Updater, Synaptic, or Cinnamon setting would not work. They just simply did not open. It would ask for the root password but then nothing. I tried running them in a terminal with no luck. If I tried as root I would get a GTK error and if I ran as a regular user I wouldn't get root privileges. Hmm. Could'nt figure that out either. So Linux Mint 12 was good in KDE only, but not in it's version of Unity or Gnome. I would just expect all that to just work if it is coming from Mint's repos. I guess not

     Then there is SolusOs. Something I just happen to stumble upon. I downloaded the torrent, burned it to a CD, installed it, and that was it. I am typing this article using SolusOS. I haven't had to do anything. The only thing I did different was I used the experimental video drivers which seems to be working fine and I installed Opera. Other than that, everything worked right out of the box. Both of my usb wireless adapters worked with no problem at the rate of 144-150 mb/s. Everything just worked.

I looked up the definition of Solus and found it to mean simply “Alone”. It's fitting because it's Alone, at least for me, in that its functionality has been flawless compared to the other distros that I have used. I listened to Ikey Doherty the lead developer and project founder of SolusOS, http://www.mintcast.org/2012/03/episode-105-ikey-on-solusos and I liked the direction he is going with this project. He believes that no matter what level you are at, that everything should just work. You shouldn't have to deal with a bunch of options or trying to get this or that to work during or after you install it. Your average user doesn't want to deal with all of that. You should be able to install it and get to work. I like that. Finally someone is listening. This is my first day with it and so far and I like it. Of course there is always the people who may think it's too simple and just for noobs. I get that. There are plenty of distros for you tinkering types. I have been using Linux for awhile now and It was fun in the beginning to learn how my computer worked and I appreciate those lessons, but I don't want to do all that now. I just want it to work.

I finally said goodbye to Windows. I realized I wasn't using it much. I tested Windows 8 and found it to be fast and smooth but the flipping back and forth from Retro to the Windows 7 look was too much. Everything that I used did not work in Metro. I'm done with that for now. I'll wait until a tablet comes out with it installed and then I'll play with the demo products at Fry's or BestBuy. I won't buy one though. I have no need for it at the moment. In my own opinion none of them tops the iPad. I kind of like the fact that Apple owns all their stuff because that way I know it's going to work. The Tablet and Smart Phone market is too fragmented for me to trust any of it at the moment. But we will see. The Tablet world will figure it out and Apple will have to keep innovating to stay on top and without Steve Jobs we can only hope that his team under Tim Cook can continue to pull it off.  It might be a fun project to install Linux on the BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0, . That maybe all that it's good for. You can catch Nixie Pixel's review here, http://youtu.be/XGFIsLavE8E

What do you think?

Saturday, March 31, 2012

      I have been using Linux for the past 11 years now and I have not looked back. My first experience was when I was working for this large medical company as a PC tech in their IT department. At the time I was fairly new in the tech world. Windows 2000 was the new thing so you can imagine how many Windows NT and 98 all over the place. It was not too long after the Win 2K malarkey, which I knew was hog wash. I was amazed at all the companies were hiring these consultants thinking that they could fix the problems. I loved it when on the next day nothing catastrophic happened. Tech dept's were buying up new hardware and upgrading like crazy spending mega bucks in the process. But I have to say that the Y2K scare was good for business. A lot of people made a lot of money.

      What the heck does that have to do with Linux. At that time the company I worked for hired some temporary techs to help with the work load. Our work space was out in a trailer at the time. I had came inside the trailer and noticed that the temp guy was always typing a bunch of stuff on the PC he was working on. One day it hit me that there isn't that much typing to be do in Windows because most of what you need to do uses a mouse, like point, click, click and you're done. So what the heck could he be typing. When I approached him and asked what he was doing he simply said that he was installing Linux. You could imagine what was going on in my head. Yeah, a bunch of ?????. Naturally I asked. "What is Linux". As you can guess I had no idea what he was talking about. The more he explained the more curious I got. I sat there for quite awhile watching with question after question and to my amazement he would answer without the attitude. He was willing to give me the information. That in itself shocked me because my introduction into the PC world was not easy. The so called techs I was suppose to learn from didn't seem to want to share what they knew with me. As if there knowledge was gold and top secret. I thought is was quite selfish. But that's another story. I found out as time went on I found that freely sharing information is how the Linux community works. 

      In the end he gave me 5 cd's of Debian 2.0 if I remember correctly. Whichever one came out in 1999. Anyway, He told me how to get started. Let me tell you, that was the hardest thing I had ever done. In Debian at the time you had to configure everything manually. No point and click at all. You had to configure everything, and I mean everything. The monitor, mouse, HDD, graphics card, network card. It was no easy task. This is stuff I should have learned in that school for profit I attended. It took weeks to get things somewhat usable. Trying to compile a kernel with modules and then hoping it worked was a hair pulling experience. At that time the internet was nothing like it is today where the most common phrase now is Google it. Back then it was books. Yeah, those things with paper pages in them. 

      But I have to say that if it wasn't for that version of Debian, I would not be able to appreciate what is available today. It taught me the in's and out's of a computer. When I finally got a working system I was very excited. I had accomplished something big, in my head that is. My favorite window manager was Window Maker. Gnome sucked majorly at the time. I did not like it at all. It was just not functional to me. Then as time went on and I learned more it got a little easier. I have tried many of the Distro's out there from their humble beginnings, like Redhat and Mandrake, now Mandriva. Then I moved on to Suse. I had tried Ubuntu when it had it's first version out but I found it too simple. It was like Lindows, if you can remember that one. After using Debian the simple versions Linux were just that, simple. I need something that I could work with. If it was too easy and didn't challenge me then I would get bored with it and delete it and move on to something else. After Redhat and Mandrake started dropping user support and wanted money I went on to Suse for awhile. Fedora Core started but it didn't work for me. Sound, and an internet connection was a major thing for me to have working and if I couldn't get them all to work then I had to find the one that did. This was before mp3 players were everywhere. I wouldn't give up until I figured it out though. Wireless started to become a normal nightmare. But due to a better Internet world just searching for a fix got easier and it would just be a matter of time to find the fix I needed. Once I got the Distro working then I would move on to another to play with. With all Linux Disto's the is always something that doesn't quite work right of the box so I'm able to still get my little challenge fix.
    
      After doing all that configuring and fixing for sometime I eventually just wanted a system that just worked . I gave Ubuntu another try after they were getting more one attention. I just couldn't shake my first experience with them. But I decided to give them another shot. I installed it and pretty much everything worked but not without some issues. I think it was ver 9.04. I would go back and forth with Ubuntu and Suse until I finally stayed with Ubuntu, until they changed it to Unity. That sucked. It was okay, and I do love change, don't get me wrong. What was bad about it to me was that they took away my ability to setup the system the way I wanted. If I wanted something that I couldn't change then I might as well stick with boring Windows. I was glad Gnome 2 was still there, then 3 came out. I just used those, which had there own set of changes and learning curves as well but far better than Unity. But with anything new there will be some changes that we either like of we don't like. 

      Today I find the newest Distro that I find appealing and install them to see how one is compared to the other. In the old days it was clumsy installing Linux on laptop but those day's are pretty much gone. I have been using a Toshiba NB255 for almost two years which has been my test machine. I just replaced the motherboard in the Toshiba about a week ago. Why would I do that you wonder? It was several hundred dollars cheaper than buying a new laptop and getting a new Netbook didn't make since if I could find the part for a fraction of the cost. Plus Toshiba stopped selling their Netbook. I don't like carrying a huge laptop in my backpack. It all happened after installing Windows 8 Customer Review. Hmm. Makes me wonder.  I had an eeePC but I fried it. I took the 2gigs of ram out and put in the Toshiba and used the hard drive to test other Distro's on. That way I don't screw up my Windows 7 partition which is also Dual booted with Ubuntu 11.10. I keep that intact until I know the version of Linux that I am using is stable. Backing up all my Windows files does help. I had to replace the HDD because 160gigs filled up pretty quick when it't divided between Linux and Windows. So the end cost of this Netbook comes up to the price of a regular Laptop. But all this was over time and not at once. Replacement parts are more manageable over time. Some may complain about the size of a 10" screen and smaller keyboard but it is perfect for me. Not too big and not to small. Thee eeePC had a really tiny keyboard though. It was a bit too small but this on is perfect for me. 
Replacing the Motherboard on my Netbook

      Well, in my upcoming Blogs I will give my reviews on the latest versions of Linux. I am currently using Linuxmint 12, Redhat 16, Ubuntu 11.04 and 12.04 Beta. These include Gnome 3, KDE, and Cinnamon, and even Unity. I know you can find this info all over the net and on youtube, but I will be doing it the old fashion way, by typing it.

      Linux has come a long way from it's early days. It is being used in places that weren't though of at the time. It may not be a mainstream desktop for the masses but it has it's place. For the average PC or office user it would serve all their basic needs. It may or may not happen, but now with cloud services becoming the normal then it may not matter what platform you are using. As long as it works and you get the desired results.

        Thanks to all the Developers out there who do all this hard work so we can have something to play with. I don't know programming or scripting because it's time consuming to me and I don't have a need. But if I need to learn it I know where to find it. Thanks guys.

      Should you find this floating around on the net please feel free to add your thoughts.