Ubuntu Cinnamon | Review from an openSUSE User

There is something fun about the smattering of new releases of Ubuntu and flavors every six months. I don’t try them all as I just don’t have the time. I do like to try the new ones, see what they’re all about. It’s one thing to try Kubuntu, where you already know what you are getting, it’s another thing to try a respin, especially one that is brand new to the scene.

As part of the BDLL community, we are encouraged to try out the new shiny and then talk about it. We had the conversation on the 27th of June, 2020. I didn’t have much to contribute as I was late to the party in testing it. We also had the privilege of having the distribution maintainer and creator, Josh, there as well too.

Button line up front: Ubuntu Cinnamon, as a new remix was a remarkably enjoyable experience, especially since this is the first release and Josh is, not exactly a seasoned distro maintainer. I am not particularly a fan of Cinnamon and I knew this going into it but was interested in seeing a version of Cinnamon as an alternative to Mint due to their rather poignant stance on the universal Linux package system, Snaps. This is the first release of Ubuntu Cinnamon and I think it is well done. I would not switch to it but I do think it is worth trying, if nothing else, to hedge your Cinnamon bets.

This is my brief experience as a biased openSUSE User from installation to desktop usage perceptions.

Installation

The place to begin on any installation is going to the website of the distribution, the face of it, the first presentation of the experience to come. The part of the experience that sets the bar for their experience.

UbuntuCinnamon.org

I am not normally a fan of the light themes for anything, but this was splendidly clean and straight forward. There is no question as to where you should go to download the ISO. Simply beautiful and well done! Of course, feel free to click around before you download, take time to read the blog and so forth. There is not a bit of clutter to this site and it feels super well done.

Since my standard practice is to start with VM, this is what I did. I am already taking into account he VM penalties and therefore I will not make a fuss of any minor hiccups or glitching. This is an evaluation of how the overall system feels, the process to install and what goodies you get right out of the gate.

Upon initial boot of the ISO, I was greeted with something I am not all that familiar with seeing. Very admirably, the system does a self check. Perhaps other distros do this but I haven’t seen it, front and center.

Depending on your level of impatience, you may or may not appreciate this. You are able to skip past this by pressing Ctrl+C. I let it go, it didn’t take long.

The Live Desktop was very… cinnamon-y looking… I took out my container of cinnamon spice and found the color to be remarkably similar.

The orange theme was unabashedly orange and it reminded me of the days of Ubuntu old. This is certainly not my favorite color scheme but I am glad Ubuntu Cinnamon is setting itself apart from the other flavors with it’s own flash and flair.

Ubuntu Cinnamon uses the Calamares Installer so if you have used this before, you will be quite comfortable here. When opened, the installer “warms up” and you are presented with your language preference option in a drop down.

The next couple steps include setting your location and keyboard preference. Since I have lived in the same timezone basically my entire life, I have no idea if this is correctly detecting or if everyone is assumed to live in the same timezone as Detroit.

Your next task is to set up your disk partitioning. The distribution is supposed to work well alongside other operating systems. I did not test that, nor is that something I do and therefore would not test that normally. I selected to use the entire partition and let it do its thing. After that, I set my username and password. Note, I took the screenshot before I put in my password. This way you cheeky folks can’t try to guess my password.

I appreciate a nicely consolidated installation summary and final sanity check before committing to these changes. There are some installers that step you though and your point of no return is much sooner in the process. This one is right at the very end. Good bad or otherwise.

The installation process itself does take a bit longer than what I am more accustomed to experiencing on Ubuntu flavors. I am guessing it has to do with not using SquashFS but I am really not sure. I am not terribly concerned about installation time. It is not like this part is factored into my desktop Linux experience.

That is it. The installation is done. I left the Restart Now option checked when I selected done.

First Run and Impressions

Cinnamon seems to be a BDLL family favorite, or at the very least, very few are turned off by it. I can see why there is a significant fan base for this desktop environment. There is a simple elegance to the experience. For most people, it is likely everything they will ever need. You have icons appropriately and smartly placed at the bottom of the screen. The task manager is icon only, which is fine, that is what Windows is doing these days. If you are not happy about the panel. You are more than welcome to change some aspects of it.

For the most part, this is good enough, really. I would like a few other options and ability to add widgets but this is good enough. I’m sure there is an extension or something but I didn’t care to look. That is outside of the scope of this article.

The layout of the system settings is a nice familiar and clean layout. I appreciate this Plasma like layout. Very nice to navigate and smartly, if you start typing something in the search. It will filter out your options accordingly. It’s worth play with for a little while.

The default theme and color scheme is fine. Orange highlights is not bad on the dark theme that is default. As a note, the default Controls is “Kimmo-Dark” and the preview looks nothing like the actual theme. Just a note for those that switch around and can’t find their way back to how they started.

My main issue here, and this is a technical limitation (by design?) of Gnome but you can’t customize the colors easily. Maybe there is an extension for that too, I didn’t look. For most people this is probably okay too. It’s just what to expect from Cinnamon.

The file manager, Nemo, is basic and perfectly acceptable. It is not my favorite but it does the job that most will ever need from a file manager.

If you have used the update tools in other Ubuntu flavors, it’s the same thing, although, in my time running it, I didn’t actually see the notification for updates. Evidently, this release has been perfect and doesn’t require updates, hooray!

Or maybe it is another issue. I can’t say for sure nor did I investigate.

The default drive layout has a single partition. I am not sure if the automatic partitioning changes per the size of the drive or not, I didn’t allocate much towards this installation.

I tested out some other applications, they all work as expected. You get basics that allow you to be up and running in short order. I am glad Ubuntu Cinnamon is bundled with LibreOffice. If this is not your preference, there are many options in the Ubuntu ecosystem to utilize whatever you want.

The default menus is well done with its favorite application icons slightly larger and to the left side. It is easy to figure out how to reboot or shut the system down. The menu well laid out as you can go to see all the applications or look at it broken down by category. You can skip all of that, use the search and very quickly get to whatever application that is installed.

My only criticism for the menu is the lack of “recent applications” or “recent documents”. It is a feature I use rather often on Plasma and would miss having it if I were using Cinnamon.

The software center that is installed is an efficient and rapid way to get to applications. It also gives you some welcome suggestions. I know that some people don’t like such thigns but I am not one of those people.

I tested a few applications that I cared about, they seemed to work as I would have liked. So, overall, I am pleased with the software availability. The base applications are what I would expect with LibreOffice and Firefox ready to be used.

My over all impression of Ubuntu Cinnamon is very positive. I am impressed with all the effort they have put into it for their first release. It is a very usable system with no glaring issues.

What I Like

My number one appreciation of Ubuntu Cinnamon is the simplicity of the setup process. It doesn’t take long to just get going with getting Ubuntu set up with the Cinnamon desktop. There is no fussing around with the system at all. Just click through and you are off to the Cinnamon races!

Although not for me, I do appreciate the uniquely bold color scheme. It certainly sets itself apart from the other distributions that go with more calming blues or greens in the scheme. If I were to use this distribution, I would probably change it to a green scheme eventually, but that is purely for my visual preference.

I appreciate that this distribution makes no restriction on Snaps, Flatpak or AppImage. They will work. The only caveat is that you will have to install Flatpak but that is not a big deal a simple

sudo apt install flatpak

From there, use the Flatpak management tool of your choice, for me it’s the terminal because that is easily available on all distributions of Linux! In all seriousness, I am glad I have access to all the universal package types

What I Don’t Like

Cinnamon feels limiting. I was well aware of this going into the testing but I don’t spin this ISO thinking I was in it as an openSUSE Tumbleweed replacement. My interest was more so to find a Mint alternative due to the fact that Mint has a Snap phobia.

I did say I liked the bold color scheme choice, but only sort of. Since it’s not very calming for me. I feel slightly pensive using it. For someone that likes this, great, it’s just not my preferred flavor. I can’t say that they shouldn’t make this the default but what I would like are some dark and calm options.

There isn’t yet a welcome screen. This is something that Mint historically has done quite well. It’s also kind of standard fare on distributions these days. I know it is under construction but just in case Josh or any of his team helping happens to read this, I wanted to put my vote in on the welcome screen. Those feel like the final topping and being without it on a Linux distribution is a bit like having a banana split without cherries.

Final Thoughts

I am very glad to see a Cinnamon flavor of Ubuntu. Admittedly, t is at the starting level of “Remix” and this is the first release. I truly believe that they have done a fine job. I am glad they made it for the 20.04 release. I am hoping that this project continues and they are able to continue to do great with it.

I view Cinnamon to be a Gnome desktop environment with all the necessary basics added to make it feel more Windows familiar. There are some arguments that could be made that Cinnamon is a better version of Gnome, at least a more complete and usable version. There are plenty of good reasons that Cinnamon is as popular as it is with Desktop Linux users and a Cinnamon version of Ubuntu really is a welcome addition to the family.

Would I switch to Ubuntu Cinnamon from my beloved openSUSE Tumbleweed? No. Would I switch from Plasma to Cinnamon? Not a chance. I do, however, think that this is a good experience and if you like Cinnamon, you should give this a try. At the very least, this is a good fall back or refuge for those that do not like the direction Mint Linux is going with their Forbidding of Snaps.

References

UbuntuCinnamon.org
Mint Linux is going with their Forbidding of Snaps
openSUSE.org Site
BDLL community
BDLL conversation on the 27th of June, 2020

CubicleNate now on LBRY | Blathering

For the half dozen or so of people that might manage to care, I have decided to start synchronizing my piddly YouTube content over to LBRY. I’d say this is nothing against YouTube but actually, it is. Although I will still use and enjoy YouTube, many of their decisions have shaken my confidence in their ability to be a truly open platform, therefore, I am following the lead of many other “content creators” and also putting my stuff on LBRY.

LBRY is a decentralized video platform that uses blockchain (that cryptocurrency magic) to distribute the video content. That said, I don’t really understand or frankly care how it works, but I do wonder if some videos will eventually get lost in the ether due to this decentralized nature.

Bottom Line Up front: I am not expecting much to come from it and since most of the people I personally enjoy are on YouTube. I am starting to use LBRY a bit, from time to time, because, why not. It’s something somewhat new and shiny and I want to see some sort of competitor to rise up and challenge the top dog.

Sync from YouTube to LBRY

Not that I have much to manually copy over, but the fact that there is a process to synchronize your content over, this was the way I would start. The process is very straight forward. Once you have an account set up with LBRY, you have to “claim your channel” on it. This is done by navigating to https://lbry.com/youtube

Then, just follow the directions. You will essentially log into your Google account and like an addon, have LBRY connect with your YouTube things. The synchronization process takes a while, as in, a few days. Once the content is on LBRY, you will have to claim the channel. Truthfully, this part scares me a bit, is it possible for someone else to claim your channel? No idea. Regardless, I claimed it without any issues and now my stuff is there.

CubicleNate LBRY Channel

I did find a rather well put together video on YouTube (ironically) for this process. It was about the same for me if you would like to watch that.

What I Like

Using LBRY is not any different than YouTube, really. At least, from my very non-power user look at it. I just want to look up Linxy things or other nerdy content and I seem to be able to find some very interesting things there.

It’s another platform, I don’t have to do any additional work to mirror my content. Now, I don’t have much content but I am working on that. I also want to have more than one place to store it. YouTube, for the time being is my primary but it’s nice to have a back up.

I like that it is decentralized so that there is a bit more user freedom in this. The idea of federation of systems, seems like the future of services. Give the end user a bit more control as opposed to some unknown, faceless authority.

I like that you get LBC “rewards” for watching content. What does it really mean? Supposedly you can cash it out. Like all crypto currency, it fluctuates in value so I am not sure it is really worth that much either. There is this feature where you can “tip” creators with the funny-money as well. I kind of like that idea. Though, I don’t see any advertising so I don’t know how the funds are generated.

What I Don’t Like

The analytics aren’t quite as interesting as what you are given on YouTube. Perhaps it is by nature due to the decentralized system. I couldn’t say for sure. Either way, not as entertaining for me.

The LBRY application client just doesn’t seem to run for me. I keep getting this Daemon has exited error and I have yet to find the solution for it. I have tried the Flatpak and AppImages but I get the same result. I have searched a bit for this and I am wondering if my firewall is stopping it from working. Not the computer’s firewall I have tested it and get the same result. I am wondering if it is the main edge device / firewall. I should probably check before publishing this but that would require extra work and this is just a blatheirng.

Final Thoughts

My video content is nothing impressive, my views are very minimal and I am okay with all of that. I do it all for fun and to share. My intent is to continue to share whatever it is with as many people as are interested. Some people do not want to use YouTube, so I have made an alternative.

I don’t really know how the whole things works. I don’t know if it will last and I don’t truly understand the business model. Regardless, I will use it and see how it grows or doesn’t grow and hope the best for this platform. It could be great or just another flash in the pan.

References

LBRY Home
LBRY CubicleNate Channel
LBRY Youtube Partner Program – How to Sync a Channel

A new Amiga 1200 Case and Keys in 2020

I love my retro tech. Old computers are just great things. I moved to the Amiga after the Commodore 64 in the early 1990s. I stumbled upon this site and now I want to turn to my aging Amiga 1200 and black it out.

https://www.a1200.net/

So, why would I want to do this to my Amiga 1200? Well, my old case is yellowing and so are the keys. The keys and I have never really liked that biscuit and gray look. When I saw the Amiga CDTV with its black keyboard and case, I thought how cool and sleek it looked but I wanted a more traditional computer (at that time) not something that was meant to go on your Hi-Fi stack. Now, today, you can have both the cool black look along with the full fledged Amiga Computer.

What a great time to be an Amiga 1200 owner! Things I only dreamed of, some 25 years ago are now availale today.

Case

There are a lot of colors from which to choose. Many more options than just black but I am not sure why anyone would want any other color than black. The color computers are supposed to be. Regardless of these color variations falling far outside of my preference, they do look pretty cool.

At the time of writing your options are the original white it called “Escom”, black, light grey, grey, pink, light blue, dark blue, orange, rubine red, violet, purple and translucent.

Link to Gallery of Amiga 1200 cases

I would personally go with black or dark grey for the cool factor. Outside of wanting a different color of case, if you were anything like me, your computer was opened up with some kind of frequency and being an uncoordinated young teen, your case may be damaged from insertion and removal of the screws or breaking the plastic clips along the back by opening it up in the non-recommended fashion. These new cases have screw brass inserts in all 6 screw towers. So, unless you ‘Magilla Gorilla’ those fasteners, you are not likely to have issues. Also, it’s all screws that hold the case together, no more clips to break. I understand why Commodore did the clips, screws cost money and also add complexity into the manufacturing. They were always looking to pinch a penny.

_Overview Brass Insert
Brass inserts in screw towers

The bottom trapdoor, instead of being a slab of plastic now offers better cooling with extra vents. The rear trap door (that I never used) has 3 options: The Plain door, like you would have had on your original A1200; a VGA hole for VGA out; and a DVI hole. No HDMI, but I’m good with that. I’m sure that can easily be remedied.

_Overview Rear Trap doors
Rear trap door options

If you don’t have an actual Amiga 1200 motherboard to put in this, that is NOT a problem as this supports more than just the original board. Smartly, you can use a Raspberry Pi, MiST FPGA, Keyrah V2 keyboard adapter, RapidRoad DoubleUSB and Lotharek HxC Floppy emulator. So essentially pair this with an original keyboard or a new mechanical keyboard designed to fix this case and you are off to the races!

Keycaps

Since my keyboard is in good shape, I haven’t ever spilled anything on it or eat Cheetos while playing games as a young teen, I am looking to replace the keycaps. It should also be noted that the new mechanical keyboard isn’t ready for purchase yet. The look of these keys are great. Black and dark grey looks absolutely fantastic. My keyboard has the UK layout so this would fit perfectly.

Final Thoughts

I am pretty excited about having access to new things for old hardware. What an exciting time to be into Retro Hardware. I hope that this is a successful venture. In order to buy a case, you will have to go to one of the partner site.

This is a great time to be a nerd into 1990s or earlier tech. I have explored a lot of the Commodore 64 side of things and I think it’s time to play in the Amiga sphere a bit now.

References

https://www.a1200.net/
Commodore 64 references on CubicleNate.com

Noodlings | KDE Plasma 5.19, Partition Manager and a BADaptor

Really kicking it in to 3rd gear… not high gear yet.

15th Noodling of nonsense

KDE Plasma 5.19 Experience

It is another fantastic release with much attention being made to the finer details that enhance the usability experience without taking away from any of its functionality.

KDE Partition Manager

I have become quite the fan of Gparted over the years of my Linux life and I started wondering if there were other partition management options out there. Specifically one that is Qt based instead. This is not a light on GTK based applications, I just find that they don’t tend to look as nice and clean as Qt apps. In this off-hand search, I stumbled upon PartitionManger which is in official openSUSE Tumbleweed and Leap Repositories.

openSUSE Tumbleweed on an HP Zbook 15 G2 with Nvidia Quadro K2100M

I have reached the end of the road with this machine. We have been together for about three years and before sending it off to the ether, I wanted to try out openSUSE Tumbleweed on it. It was something of a question I have been asking myself since I was first assigned the piece of hardware. Windows 7 worked fine on it but how would it spin with the Plasma desktop.

Badaptor, DeWalt 20v MAX battery to Ryobi 18v One+

In 2019, I bought into DeWalt 20v MAX cordless tool platform as part of my mission to reduce complexity in and improve efficiency in as many aspects of my life as possible. This is a long term mission of mine with many facets but basic tools was at the foundation of this plan. DeWalt has a great line of tools to choose from, but they are aimed at the commercial, industrial or professional builder. I would consider myself an intermediate or advanced DIY-er with the occasional moonlighting as either a handyman or builder, so I wanted some of those higher end tools to be available.

BDLL Follow Up

UbuntuDDE Discussion

UbuntuDDE Review from an openSUSE User on CubicleNate.com

openSUSE Corner

  • Leap 15.2 upcoming release in only 7 days. One week from today
  • openSUSE + LibreOffice Conference Updates
    • https://news.opensuse.org/2020/06/17/opensuse-libreoffice-conference-update/
    • Organizers of the openSUSE + LibreOffice Conference have been slightly adjusted the conference dates from the original dates of Oct. 13 – 16 to the new dates of Oct. 15. – 17.
    • The new dates are a Thursday through a Saturday. Participants can submit talks for the live conference until July 21 when the Call for Papers is expected to close.
    • The length of the talks for the conference have also been changed. There will be a 15-minute short talk, a 30-minute normal talk and a 60-minute work group sessions to select. Organizers felt that shortening the talks were necessary to keep attendees engaged during the online conference. The change will also help with the scheduling of breaks, social video sessions and extra segments for Questions and Answers after each talk.

Tumbleweed

https://review.tumbleweed.boombatower.com/

  • 20200611 Stable 98
    • Alsa 1.2.2 -> 1.2.3
    • ffmpeg-4 4.2.2 -> 4.2.3 – Stable bug fix release, mainly codecs and format fixes
    • ncurses 6.2.20200502 -> 6.2.20200531
    • yast2 4.3.5 -> 4.3.6
    • 20200612 Moderate 72
    • iwlwifi broken in kernel-5.7.1
    • NVIDIA kernel module broken release
  • 20200614 Unstable 66
    • zypper dup from 20200609 to 20200614 and run into an infinite boot loop: https://paste.opensuse.org/89998412
      Hardware: Processors: 12 × Intel® Core™ i7-9750H CPU @ 2.60GHz Memory: 15,4 GiB Arbeitsspeicher Graphics Processor: Mesa DRI Intel® UHD Graphics 630
    • This was probably due to the move to GCC10
  • 20200615 Moderate 71
    • Fix building with gcc10
  • 20200616 Moderate 73
    • plasma-framework 5.70.0 -> 5.71.0
  • 20200617 Moderate 74
    • zypper (1.14.36 -> 1.14.37)
    • Mesa (20.0.7 -> 20.1.1)
  • 20200618 Pending moderate 74
    • PackageKit
    • flatpak
    • plasma5-thunderbolt
  • 20200621 Pending moderate 79
    • plasma5-workspace (5.19.0 -> 5.19.1)
    • snapper (0.8.9 -> 0.8.10)
  • 20200622 Pending moderate 78
    • gnome-desktop (3.36.2 -> 3.36.3.1)
    • libreoffice (6.4.4.2 -> 7.0.0.0.beta2)

Computer History Retrospective

Computer Chronicles – Computers in Education (1983)

Fear of computers replacing teachers and dehumanizing education
– I think in many ways this has happened but in a way, with the changes in multimedia, as opposed to the beeps and boops of computers in 1983, we have humanized computers a bit. With individuals creating tutorials and education personalities you can follow online have made more educators out of us as opposed to less
– Terminal becomes a kind of personal tutor
– Time at the terminal is more like a game
– Computer instruction was more like rote training
– Kids trained in logic
– Logo whimsical way to tell a computer what to do taught

Final Thoughts

If you are going to spread anything, make it love, joy and peace. You can’t ever go wrong with that

Badaptor | DeWalt 20v MAX battery to Ryobi 18v One+

In 2019, I bought into DeWalt 20v MAX cordless tool platform as part of my mission to reduce complexity in and improve efficiency in as many aspects of my life as possible. This is a long term mission of mine with many facets but basic tools was at the foundation of this plan. DeWalt has a great line of tools to choose from, but they are aimed at the commercial, industrial or professional builder. I would consider myself an intermediate or advanced DIY-er with the occasional moonlighting as either a handyman or builder, so I wanted some of those higher end tools to be available.

I also found that there were some Ryobi cordless tools that I wanted as well. I didn’t, however, want to have another battery platform as that would go against my mission of reducing complexity. The good news is, I was able to find this adapter on eBay from a US Seller, the cost $25. Significantly cheaper than a Ryobi battery plus charger.

Enjoy my low-fi video. Maybe I would have been better off scrapping.

Design fit and Function

This is actually the second adapter I bought but what caught my eye is that it is a more simplified design and I am certain I prefer this. There are no moving parts, the battery retention latches into the tool but this is very welcome as it makes the design far more low profile than another version I have purchased. It almost makes using a DeWalt battery on a Ryobi tool purposeful looking.

The design of this appears to be quite rigid too. It doesn’t feel flimsy or fragile. The manufacturer claims it is has been rigorously tested for shatter resistance and general wear and tear. I do think that to be an accurate statement based on how it feels. The wall thickness is between approximately 2.5 mm and 3 mm with what appears to be a glass filled plastic. Interestingly, the Ryobi battery packs I have disassembled have a wall thickness of about 2 mm.

DeWalt 20v MAX battery on Ryobi Hot Glue Gun

I am very confident in the design of this adapter that I will get many years of use out of it. It feels quite robust in the design. It’s rigid and the marketing on the website promises it won’t shatter!

Use

The tools that I currently use with my Badapter are a hot glue gun, caulk dispenser (something of which DeWalt does have but I already had in my possession), and a chemical sprayer that I use around my home for fertilizing my small garden and flower beds as well as spraying for insects. At the time of writing, DeWalt doesn’t have a hot glue gun or chemical sprayer. Maybe that will change in the future? No idea. I don’t really see them adding such things as those are more “hobby” or “home-gamer” type tools, not something you would see in the commercial or industrial space.

Final Thoughts

There aren’t many Ryobi tools that I want or need but this really opens up the possibilities to getting whatever tools I think will make taking on challenges and home owner responsibilities a bit more enjoyable. I do believe that work and accomplishment should be a rewarding experience. Badapter certainly is an efficiency multiplier.

It should also be noted that Badapter has other adapters as well. Bosch, Milwaukee and Makita to Ryobi. If those are of interest to you, check them out.

References

Badapter.com Home Page
DeWalt to Ryobi Badapter
DeWalt Tools
Ryobi Tools
Outside the Cubicle | DeWALT 20v Max Cordless Tool Platform

KDE Partition Manager on openSUSE

I have become quite the fan of Gparted over the years of my Linux life and I started wondering if there were other partition management options out there. Specifically one that is Qt based instead. This is not a light on GTK based applications, I just find that they don’t tend to look as nice and clean as Qt apps. In this off-hand search, I stumbled upon PartitionManger which is in official openSUSE Tumbleweed and Leap Repositories.

I should note, they both Gparted and KDE Partition Manager use the same icon.

Installation

Since this isn’t installed by default with the Plasma Desktop, arguably it should be, here is how you o about it. I noticed on the openSUSE Software Site, its short description is that you can Easily manage disks, partitions and file systems on your KDE Desktop. So I guess we will see if this holds true.

It is also described as being software that allows you to manage your disks, partitions and file systems that allows you to create, resize, delete, copy, backup and restore partitions with a large number of supported file systems. These file systems include ext2 ext3, reiserfs, NTFS, FAT32 and more. I am guessing you can also do Ext4, BTRFS and others.

It goes on to say that it makes use of external programs to get its job done, so you might have to install additional software (preferably packages from your distribution) to make use of all features and get full support for all file systems.

That’s good news as I am hoping it wouldn’t re-implement anything and just use existing tools.

To install in terminal:

sudo zypper install partitionmanager

or navigate here for the Direct Install Link

https://software.opensuse.org/package/partitionmanager

As expected, it installed very little, a total of 4 new packages:

  • kpmcore – KDE Partition Manager core library
  • libkpmcore7 – KDE Partition Manager core library
  • partitionmanager – Main Application package
  • partitionmanager-lang – Language support

Considering I have Gparted already installed, most of everything else is likely already there. I have a great respect and love for Gparted at this point, I am hoping that I am not losing any features by using KDE Partition Manager.

First Run and Impressions

Using the handy Plasma menu with the search feature, I started typing “Partition” and it popped up. I launched it and was given the dialog for root user permissions.

I am on the fence if I like that very detailed command being being shown by default. Instinctively, I say it is fantastic, but for a less experienced user, it could feel a bit overwhelming, perhaps.

After the root login requirement, I had this warning pop up which I thought was fantastic!

I have been using Gparted for quite some time and was having issues with an SD Card. My laziness, I just ignored it and now I see what the problem was. I needed the exfat utilities and now the world is right again. Adding this was as easy as running this in the terminal:

sudo zypper install exfat-utils

This automatically selected fuse-exfat package to be installed as well.

Once all this was up. I was greeted with a nice clean and familiar interface

What sets this apart from Gparted is that it shows you all the devices in a side pane instead of the drop-down. I will say, I much prefer the side pane to the drop down. It gives a better overview of what you are doing.

Gparted with the drop-down to select the device

I wanted to format a device and give it a label for my upcoming experimentation with Ventoy for keeping and testing Linux distribution ISOs. So that is what I did.

Mainly, I just wanted the appropriate label. I also took this as an opportunity to format that SD Card, also an easy success.

Final Thoughts

It works! I can’t say it’s any better than Gparted as they both seem to work the same and have a similar appearance and workflow. If you can use one, you can use the other. The biggest difference is the devices side menu. I do like that more than the Gparted drop down. It provides a better snapshot of the status of the storage devices on your machine. Outside of that. KDE PartitionManager as well as Gparted are fantastic tools and this is mostly an appearance preference as I am sure they are using all the same backend of tools.

References

https://software.opensuse.org/package/partitionmanager
https://www.kde.org/applications/system/kdepartitionmanager
USB or Removable Media Formatting in Linux on CubicleNate.com

KDE Plasma 5.19 on openSUSE Tumbleweed

It was not so long ago that Plasma 5.18 graced my computer and very excitingly, 5.19 is here now. Since Tumbleweed is my main Linux system I use, I decided to share my experience on openSUSE Tumbleweed but it should be noted that you can enjoy Plasma 5.19 on Leap as well using the backports repositories. Leap is not my preferred method but it is an option.

Bottom Line Up Front: It is another fantastic release with much attention being made to the finer details that enhance the usability experience without taking away from any of its functionality.

This release of Plasma is being called the “more polished Plasma” and I think this is absolutely correct. The transition for me has been quite delightful. New little bits of happiness have been sprinkled about my desktop experience. There is nothing particularly earth shattering going on here. Just continued refinements.

The Little Things

I will be the first to call me out and remind anyone that I would totally poo-poo on making a big deal about the little touches of a desktop environment. I will hold fast on my belief that function over form but when you can add some form to function, you really hit the sweet spot with me.

For starters, what really stands out is the Bluetooth connections applet that shows the status of a connection. It is just a small thing, a status icon on the disconnected devices.

Discover is becoming my favorite software center now. It has been working quite nicely. The only thing it is missing on openSUSE is access to the Snap store. It has been handling updates quite nicely as well as anything with Flatpak. I do have a propensity to use the terminal because I love the terminal but Discover is really eating into that a bit.

It’s easy to use, responsive and has been working very well for me when installing new applications. This is not the Discover of 2 years ago and if you haven’t used it in a while, now may be a good time.

The neatest feature that I think is noteworthy is how system settings are presented to you know when you call them up. For example: in Plasma past, when you opened the display settings using krunner or in the application menu, it opened up that specific module only. Now, calling the Display Settings, will open up the module but in the context of the system settings menu so you can Select < All Settings arrow back to all your settings and continue on with your modification of things as you may see fit.

This is just a little thing but it is a great little thing and quite welcome.

The Media Player applet looks a lot nicer now. Before it was fine but now it has a more appealing layout and you can adjust the volume of what is being played back right there, which is very nice.

There was some talk about improving the spacing to give a more consistent look but it must be so subtle to me that I am just not picking up on the differences there. I will say that the notifications are is far better now than it was a year or so ago where it would become an almost epileptic mess of dialog boxes and rendering other applets non-functional until Plasma was done telling you what it insisted upon telling you.

What I Like

All theses little tweaks and user experience enhancements certainly plays into the idea that this is mostly a “Polished Plasma” release. I would say, that these incremental enhancements are very welcome and further underscore why I enjoy using Plasma, day in and day out. It is as though the developers have my interests at heart when they do their fantastic work.

The Memory information is nothing new but I really enjoy just looking at it sometimes. I often wonder, what exactly is going on right now that the memory is fluctuating like it does. Regardless, it is just a fun informational display that really appeals to my nerdiness.

What I don’t like

Due to the nature of rolling distributions and enhancements, I do have a lot of updates in a week or if I wait, a couple of weeks. Because of this, I am often eagerly looking for updates to see what has rolled down. This means, when new things are coming, like Plasma, I am going around and updating everything excitedly to see the new shiny. Not is not a bad thing about openSUSE or Plasma but rather a problem with me as I have a hard time waiting to the end of the work day or weekend to see what great newness I get to play with. It has also made me very spoiled and when I do, on the rare occasion, have an issue I can forget how good I have it.

Final Thoughts

I would most certainly call this a “Polished Plasma” release and I am very content with it. I look forward to further releases like this. They make the time spent on my computer just a bit more enjoyable. Not just with new features but all the different usability and customization tweaks to which they give me such easy access. I hope they continue down this fantastic path for years to come.

References

KDE Repositories for openSUSE Leap
KDE Plasma 5.19.0 release notes
openSUSE Tumbleweed Download
Plasma 5.18 Release for openSUSE Tumbleweed on CubicleNate.com

UbuntuDDE | Review from an openSUSE User

The Linux and open source community is a wonderful thing and as part of a BDLL community we have these distribution challenges. Try out a different distribution and talk about your experience. There was a lot of excitement about having the Deepin Desktop on the Ubuntu base and I decided to commit to this challenge. After using I was thinking, you will often hear that the Deepin Desktop is something remarkable and “beautiful” and stands apart from other desktops because of this. I also find, that for some reason, there are these ideas that stick in people’s heads that is so matter of fact, that going against this is like passing gas in church during communion.

This is my biased review as a fairly seasoned openSUSE User. I openly admit that my views are heavily slanted towards a very specific paradigm and not eager to change, but I am open minded to different ideas and make an effort to appreciate the art in a distribution. I should also note, I have a strong disposition towards to KDE Plasma for my Desktop Environment. That, to me, is the pinnacle of the desktop experience.

Bottom Line Up Front: Ubuntu DDE appears to be a distribution that is well on its way to becoming something special. It is built on a fantastic foundation of Ubuntu. The team building it haven’t made any bazaar choices for limiting universal package functionality. Right out of the gate, you have access to the wealth of AppImages, Flatpacks and Snaps. The Deepin environment is okay. I don’t really see what the big deal is but there is certainly a fan base. Would I use it? Nope. There is far too much functionality I would miss that is easily accessible within Plasma that I enjoy using too much and although it has the great Ubuntu foundation, I just happen to prefer the openSUSE base.

Installation

I navigated to the UbuntuDDE site to get the ISO to try out this Respin of Ubuntu. The site is clean, uncluttered experience with a pretty bold claim. “…the most beautiful desktop environment”. That certainly ratchets up my expectations of this experience.

I selected the Download menu option and chose the Torrent link. Maybe it is an old-fashioned idea, but I like using and seeding torrents of any distribution I try out in order to a very tiny part of helping out with the network effect. If torrents are not your thing, there are other options.

After the ISO downloaded, I set out to test UbuntuDDE in a VM. When I try out a ‘new’ distribution, I do it in a VM first. If I really like what I see and find something really compelling, I will move to actual hardware and kick the tires some more, really open it up, as it were. I knew that I am stepping into something real beautiful so prepped my socks to be blown off.

On the initial boot of the ISO, it goes through a check process. I don’t recall going through this on other distributions, but not a huge deal, I’m patient and maybe I will thank it later?

I am also given a “Friendly Reminder” that it has detected my use of a virtual machine which will affect the system performance and operation. I am a bit puzzled on the wording of “Friendly Reminder” as I am quite aware of the performance penalties of using a VM. I went for “Normal” mode to enjoy the fast performance. I think a better explanation is in order here as it also hampers the usability. More on that later.

My initial impressions, welp, my socks were still in place. The desktop was okay. I’m not sure it lives up to the claim of being “the most beautiful desktop environment” but it is very okay. I have to let things slide as I am using it in a VM. Perhaps my experience would be different if I chose to use effects instead.

The next step was to go through the installation process. Thankfully, it was super simple as it uses the well known and loved Calamares Installer. Once you launch the installer, select your language, hit next then your location.

Your next task will be to specify your keyboard layout followed by your partition preference. Since I am running this in a VM, I want to just have it use the entire virtual disk. After that you will have to supply user information. There is no option to set a root password.

Last step is to review, do a sanity check and think about your actions you are about to take.

The installation process takes a bit longer than you might be expect for an Ubuntu Distribution. Not a huge deal just noteworthy. It’s not like you install Linux every day so a super fast installer is not that critical.

Once you are done, you can reboot and experience the all the wonders of the Deepin Desktop on Ubuntu

First Run and Impressions

The login screen is pretty nice. Very pleasant and not the boring flatness that seems to be trending. So points there. The default picture is a little funny… kind of makes me miss the days of old when default users where whimsical Linux and open source related clipart.

After logging in and waiting for the desktop to settle I was greeted with a little error.

I of course selected to report that problem.

The default menu is by far my least favorite style of menu. It takes over the whole screen, there is no organization and hovering over an icon provides no further information.

Thankfully, there is an option to change the menu style to a more sensible menu. Still no organization but it does provide quick links to locations in your home directory. I think, if you are going to have one of these two lack-luster menus, the second should be default.

My next area of exploration was to look at the control center and view my options there. I have heard many good things about it and now it was time to see what all this goodness is about.

The control center is fine. I don’t mind it. I think it is a nice consolidated and simple example of what a control center can be. Overall, I find the experience to be straight forward and simple but in a way also quite limiting. To be clear, it is very functional but very controlled with a reduced set of options. I would venture to guess that it will suffice for most but it lacks a lot of the detailed control I enjoy in Plasma. I don’t fault the DE for this as I think the user focus is different than what you would have on Plasma.

I do like this neat feature of of the control center of the double-click test. You have a Kawaii looking cat that when you successfully double-click will appear raise and lower behind a kind of concealment .

When I decided to use the pager or virtual desktop switcher I would get this error that I need to have effects enabled. To fix this, you have to go into the Control Center > Display and toggle the effects there.

Another VM-ism, perhaps but I was super annoyed with the Normal Mode not being able to use the virtual desktops. If you recall earlier, there were two options, “Normal Mode” and “Effects Mode.” This leads me to believe that “normal mode” means, limited functionality mode. I don’t find that to be “normal”. It would be better if that screen that asks you what mode you want actually spelled this out a bit more clearly. “Effects Mode” means fully functional, while “Normal” means limited functionality. I personally am not okay with using a system that doesn’t have multiple desktops.

Once activated, you will have access to the wonders and freedom of virtual desktops.

Selecting a “Dark Theme” doesn’t mean that you will have a dark theme throughout your desktop. I can specifically specify that the file manager use a dark theme but even after doing so, the settings window still does not respect the dark theme. I would say, this anti-feature alone makes this NOT the most beautiful desktop.

On a positive, without having to fuss at all, Firefox is multimedia ready. I can watch YouTube or Netflix without having any issues. I don’t have any issues with adding restricted codecs but having them readily available is a huge plus, especially for new users.

The standard office applications are available right from the installation making access to spreadsheets, presentations and word-processing readily available.

Disappointingly, there is no consideration into the Qt theming. I checked Kdenlive, a very important application and not only was it the wrong theme, but there were no options out of the gate. It is usable but it doesn’t feel like it is part of my Deepin Desktop experience, at all.

In the end, it is not a bad desktop. I have my issues with it and if not having used Plasma, before, I would have probably been far more accepting of all the little quarks.

What I Like

There are a lot of cute little things about the desktop. The attention to the double-click is what stands out the most for me. I like how accessible and fun that little bit is and I encourage such creative ideas.

I can use AppImages, Flatpak and Snaps right out of the gate on UbuntuDDE without having to fuss with anything., I think this is such an smart way to go about building a desktop. Not even my beloved openSUSE makes it this easy. You have to turn on Flatpak and Snaps in order to use them, which is not a big deal but I want to give marks where marks are appropriate for UbuntuDDE

The whole process was clean. Everything from downloading through the installation process. There were no headaches in any of it. I appreciate that and it tells me that UbuntuDDE is targeting a user that doesn’t want to fuss around with mundane details.

What I Don’t Like

The Normal Mode or Effects Mode needs some clarification on what you are losing out on. This isn’t a just a difference between having the nifty effects or not. This is a reduction in functionality and having “normal mode” therefore means “less usable” mode and this needs to be corrected.

Not a huge deal, but when I would change the resolution on the VM to match my actual display, I would be logged out of the session. I chalk this up to a VM-ism and something I wouldn’t have to deal with on actual hardware

Not all applications respect the theme selection by the control center. This to me is a rather large irritation. I could deal with it more so if it was just Qt applications that were not respecting GTK themes as that is basically expected with all GTK based desktops. My issue is that the file manager didn’t respect the dark theme and that is just no good. I would call my experience here, far, far less than beautiful.

Final Thoughts

UbuntuDDE is a satisfactory Desktop Environment. Would I say it is the most beautiful? No, not a chance. I think it is fine though. What bothers me most about it is the very limiting feeling I get from it. I don’t feel attached to the desktop. I don’t feel like it is mine and things like not all applications respecting the dark theme just added more to that pile.

Despite my experience with the desktop. I think you should give it a try, in a VM or on actual hardware. After all, your experience may be far different than mine. It could be all roses and puppy dogs or maybe Kawaii cats hiding and appearing. After all, I am a biased openSUSE Plasma user that wants his bacon fried to a certain perfection. My tastes are different than yours so you should explore and find your Desktop Home.

References

UbuntuDDE Home Page
Calamares Installer
BDLL community

openSUSE Tumbleweed on an HP Zbook 15 G2 with Nvidia Quadro K2100M

I have reached the end of the road with this machine. We have been together for about three years and before sending it off to the ether, I wanted to try out openSUSE Tumbleweed on it. It was something of a question I have been asking myself since I was first assigned the piece of hardware. Windows 7 worked fine on it but how would it spin with the Plasma desktop.

The Opportunity

Since I had received my ‘new’ computer and transferred everything over, I decided now was the time. I felt it important to wipe the SSD on it anyway before shipping it out so trying out somethings seemed like a good idea. In order to boot from the USB drive, I had to change the boot order. I went into the BIOS to access the boot option. To go into the BIOS I pressed F10 on the POST Splash screen.

Using the fantastic openSUSE installer, I set up the machine very easily. I realize, that at this point, this installer is like second nature to me so making it more “user friendly” would likely not be to my liking.

I did note that the default drive arrangement now is to have a single BTRFS partition with a Swap partition. That isn’t my preference but I went with it.

After setting up all the bits, it took about 6 minutes to install the standard KDE Plasma desktop. Fir reference, I am using snapshot 20200612 which includes Plasma version 5.19.

The initial boot took 32 seconds to get to the login screen. Not sure if that is “fast” enough for most people but I was happy about that. After logging in, it took another 7 seconds to a settled desktop… which is not to my dark-theme liking but easily remedied.

I have my color preference stored here but I really should put it out there as a downloadable theme… someday, perhaps.

Specifications (the ones that matter to me)

Using my favorite system info tool, neofetch, I installed that first.

sudo zypper install neofetch

and ran the thing to get the output of those little things that matter to me about the system

This basically told me what I wanted / needed to know

  • CPU: Intel i7-4810MQ, 8 thread at 3.80Ghz 4th Generation Core
  • Screen: 1920×1080 matte finish screen
  • GPU: Nvidia Quadro K2100M
  • Memory: 32 GiB
  • Storage: 477GiB SSD (no idea the brand, didn’t care)

This is by no means a new machine but it did do its job very effectively as a CAD machine.

Setup and Configuration

Since the secondary monitor was to the left, I had to use the screen selection hotkey Fn+F4 to get to the onscreen switcher, arrow over and done. Plasma is beautiful in the way it works like that. Sicne the dark theme was added as previously described, I had to install the Multimedia Codecs from here. It’s also good to check to make sure that my instructions are still valid. They are!

The next thing to fix was this single-click nonsense. Not a fan of this out of the gate but I understand that openSUSE likes to stay close to the upstream. Not my preference but thankfully that is an easy fix by going to System Settings > General Behavior and changing the Click behavior to “Double-click to open files and folders.

The other thing I wanted to do was to set the window decoration to have the “Keep below” and “Keep above” buttons on it. These are buttons I use quite often. Mostly the “Keep Above” and to not have it makes my titlebar feel… inadequate.

Next was to install the Nvidia packages to take advantage of this GPU. The easy way can be found here on the openSUSE Wiki.

I used YasST to do the installation as I was thought, why not.

There is more than one way to get to managing the Repositories. I did it through the Software Management tool under Configuration > Repositories…

Next, I selected “Add” in the lower-left corner of the window then Community Repositories. On the next screen, I added the nVidia Graphics Drivers.

When it begins the process of adding the repository, you are asked if you want to Import an Untrusted GnuPG Key. I of course will trust this because, this is the openSUSE community!

After the import was complete, I searched and selected the nvidia-glG05* drivers which triggered the other required dependencies.

I selected the final Accept and the installation began.

Everything seemingly installed properly but I couldn’t use my secondary monitor after my reboot. No idea why. I event tried the older drivers but nothing. I chalk that up to Nvidia being what Nvidia is… painful to deal with. Maybe another distro would have recognized it better but I wasn’t interested as my time was incredibly limited with this machine.

I also downloaded the LeoCAD app Image because, why not do some fun CAD on this machine!

Since that worked out fantastically well, I thought I would do the other basic tests that I would need to do like visiting my favorite YouTube channels and made sure I could watch Netflix on Firefox. It all went well and really, I wasn’t disappointed.

I did end up removing the proprietary Nvidia drivers and going with the open source option so I could use the secondary monitor. Not a huge deal, a bit of a disappointment but at this stage I just wanted the secondary monitor.

The Good

This machine feels super snappy. Fast boot times, used very little memory when settled. Seemingly things work fine, for regular user usage. Though, this machine was specifically set up from HP as a CAD focused machine. Having 32 GiB of RAM, and 8 threads is pretty great. I didn’t get the opportunity to really test the hardware out as I would have liked but what little I did do, was pretty great.

The Touchpad is of a nice size and I like that there are buttons above and below the pad along with the Trackpoint between the G, H and B.

The Bad

The keyboard on this machine is just miserable. I am not sure what HP was thinking with this but the key-press is not consistent across the keyboard and they just don’t have a good feel to it. I feel like I have to use unnecessary forceful key presses to get the keys to recognize.

The arrow keys are of a silly layout and I often stumble a bit on it. Either hitting the up and down together or up and shift. It wasn’t meant for my long gangling fingers.

The Ugly

Nvidia didn’t play real well. It worked but not like I would have preferred. I wanted this to be a hugely bragging story about openSUSE and working well with Nvidia. I am sure that had I dug into it a bit, I could have ironed it out but I was less than happy. I have had other great success stories with Nvidia an openSUSE but this was not one of them.

… insert shrug emoji…

Final Thoughts

Outside of the Nvidia issue, which I may have eventually worked out if I had the time or the inclination, openSUSE Tumbleweed with the Plasma desktop was a nice experience. At least, far nicer than the Windows 7 experience and now that I am thinking of it. The graphics drivers on Windows were wonkey too. I often had to reboot the machine to clear things up. So, it is possible there may be something not quite right with the hardware. It is also possible the keyboard may have been abused before I obtained it so that might account for the poor keyboard performance too.

If I had more time, I would have probably tried a few more distros on it. Leap being one and Pop_!OS being the other. Just to see if the Nvidia issue was a hardware thing. Would I ever buy this machine for myself? Nope. Lots of little things I don’t like about it, really. I would call it an “almost” machine. Everything about it is almost great but just happens to fall short in a lot of areas.

References

Download openSUSE Tumbleweed
CubicleNate.com openSUSE dark theme
Cubiclenate.com Multimedia Codecs terminal instructions
Nvidia Drivers on the openSUSE Wiki
LeoCAD AppImage Download

Noodlings | LeoCAD, DeWalt and a UPS

Dusting off for the 14th installment.

14th Noodling of nonsense and clamoring

LeoCAD from Design to Publication

Designing, organizing the timeline and publishing a MOC (My Own Creation) on Rebrickable.com using LeoCAD on openSUSE

DeWalt cordless Power tool platform

A little trip outside the cubicle for my appreciation for a great cordless tool platform that enables me to do more with greater efficiency. My mission to simplify and reduce life complexity

APC UPS Battery Backup Rebuild

Fixing is my preferred option to buying new. Not only is it financially but environmentally more beneficial.

BDLL Followup

Thoughts about Lubuntu and Linux Mint choice to forbid Snaps.

openSUSE Corner

openSUSE + LibreOffice conference will be online. See the news article for details on on the Open Source Event Manager system, the online Summit and submitting for talks for it.

Tumbleweed Updates for snapshots 20200609 and 20200610, both trending stable scores.

Snapshot Reviewer Site

Computer History Retrospective

In the 5th episode of the 1st season of Computer Chronicles in the year 1983 was an episode about Robotics. Lots of interesting speculation about the commercial viability of robotic devices.

Even at this time, robotics in manufacturing, or machines in general were starting to do many of the more dangerous tasks that could easily be replaced by some sort of structured process where robots could excel.

The fear of robots taking away jobs as seen in the early 20th century but the speculation that robots would completely eliminate all jobs doesn’t seem to have come into fruition. I know that today we speculate that automation will replace us in every way. It has in some capacities but I do believe it opens up the world for more skilled occupations. Robots and computers are certainly very disruptive to society, but they also give us new things as well.

Here is the video in it’s video tape recorded glory from 1983.

Final Thoughts

We all have immutable characteristics, things about us we cannot control about us. That will never make you less of a person