Noodlings 4 | MX Linux, Pine64, BDLL openSUSE News

This noodling is brought to you by poor spelling and bad math. Maybe a little more time as a kid watching Sesame Street instead of Transformers would have done me well.

The 4th Installment of my Noodlings can be found here

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MX Linux 19 Beta

I have installed MX Linux on several machines. December of 2018 was my first experience with it and I really enjoyed how it worked, quite literally everything about it. I was thinking a lot about WHY I like MX Linux and I think these are my top reasons:

Simplicity of the desktop. Although my primary machine runs Plasma as my desktop of choice and it does what I want it to do, it feels snappy and is tuned to my preferences, Xfce accomplishes all of that but differently. It has the right look, it IS rather easy to customize although not quite to the same accessibly easy level and is most certainly quite snappy.

The changes in MX 19 are not “earth shattering” and headline popping but they are all quite welcome. The High DPI support is of no benefit to me but for those with those fancy 4k monitors there is. A visual update to MX 19 that is partially related to Xfce 4.14 but is also due to general visual updates that MX has been given over time.

The opacity of the main panel, by default, is subtle yet noticeable and you don’t get any impression that what you are using is dated or stale at all. The default wallpaper has a new freshness feel to it, especially juxtaposed to the desktop panel, widgets and floating windows. The whole package just feels right and it feels like it is all being orchestrated by developers with vision and craftsmanship.

I am an openSUSE guy but there is something about MX Linux that makes me feel comfortable. Using a house analogy, openSUSE is the house where I do most of my living, working and learning but MX Linux is like that vacation cabin on the lake that doesn’t have all the amenities I am used to but still lets me unwind and have a good time with a welcome change of scene.

Pine64 ARM Based Hardware

My technical knowledge is about modern hardware is fairly limited. I can understand 6502 era machines like the Commodore 64 pretty well as it is quite straight forward. Modern x86 architecture computers are easy to assemble and get running as they are just giant Lego bricks but it seems like the world of ARM based computers has me befuddled a bit. I am not sure if it is all messy or just still to early to put any real weight behind but I think Pine64 seems to really have a pretty unified platform to target.

Since I am barely ARM-literate, I couldn’t help but think, what a great way to learn more about the hardware than to invest time and effort into making openSUSE work better on the hardware. It’s not like the other options are not as good, they are all fine choices, but there is almost an ineffable quality to openSUSE Tumbleweed that I can only somewhat articulate, I just don’t get that same level of excitement from most other distributions.

I am very much enamored with the idea of having openSUSE Tumbleweed on a PineTab and PinePhone, all connected to the PineTime watch that is soon to start shipping out developer kits. None of these devices are particularly powerful but the battery life you would get on the laptop, tablet and phone tuned just right could make for a spectacular user experience.

Today, I have too many knowledge gaps in the wonderful tooling of openSUSE to be effective with a piece of Pine64 hardware. As much as having a Pinebook Pro with openSUSE would be, at this time, I need to put that on the back burner until I get some other things mastered.

BDLL Follow Up

AMD has been known as of recent of shipping hardware before it “fully baked” as it were. Driver updates do come down later and fix issues and improve performance but is this creating a kind of behavior out of consumers to weight to buy something? Does it hurt or benefit a company to push things out sooner rather than waiting until it is ready.

Video cards in the late 90s and early 2000s suffered this same irritation trying to play Descent³.

Seems like it is common practice to push things out on a deadline before they are ready. I personally think it is not a good idea but I understand the pushing from business teams and sometimes, in all fairness, the engineering teams need some urgency to really hammer a design out so that it isn’t continually improved and the company doesn’t end up making money.

Sometimes, I think an 80% solution and acting immediately is better than a 100% solution that never arrives.

openSUSE Corner

The last week was a little bit light on news but not light on importance of package software updates.

Snapshots 20190916 and 20190917

Linux Kernel 5.2.14 Ceph buffers and Advanced Linux Sound Architecture

KDE Applications 19.08.1, Krita 4.2.6 many bug fixes like lags in Move Tool when using a tablet device (bug:410532), Make the settings dialog fit in low-res screens (bug:410793), low res in this instance is 1366 x 768. Fix a deadlock when using broken Wacom drivers on Linux (bug:410797). The new feature for this version of Krita is to add a new layer from an existing layer.

Intel’s Graphine package received an update to 1.10.0 that now uses an ancillary library called µTest for it’s test suite to allow you to build and run the suite without depending on Glib.

Mozilla Firefox 69.0 was bundled with Enhanced Tracking Protection as they are putting an emphasis on stronger privacy protections and added support for multiple video codecs to make it easier for WebRTC conferencing services.

Icecream received a delicious update to 1.3. This is the first I’ve heard of “Icecream” so I had to look it up. It is based on distcc which takes compile jobs from a build and distributes it among remote machines allowing for a parallel build. Unlike distcc, Icecream uses a central server that dynamically schedules the compile jobs to the fastest free server. This pays off when there are multiple users on a shared pool of computers. This update improved the speed of creating compiler tarballs.

Libvirt 5.7.0, a C toolkit used to interact with the virtualization capabilities of Linux, added AppArmor-abstractions as a required package for the libvirt-daemon.

Some other honorable mentions are updates to glib2, gtk3, flatpak-builder and VirtualBox rolled through

Snapshot 20190916 score of a moderate 72, Snapshot 20190917 scored a moderate 85.
Tumbleweed Snapshot Reviewer

Fun Little openSUSE Tool

Depending on how long you have spent within openSUSE you may or may not be aware of a fun little tool that lets you know the status of the various openSUSE systems. You can view the real time status at:

Everything from Wiki pages, Software repositories to the home page, forums and the Build Service, can be monitored in the comfort of your very own cubicle. This is yet another example of the transparency of the openSUSE Project.

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