Archive for the ‘ Linux ’ Category

Mepis and KDE

Two days ago I decided that I would give KDE another shot. I have been using Linux now for a couple of years but have never really liked KDE. It’s not so much because of the functionality but because of the way it looks. I like to have a somewhat decent looking desktop. That just never seems to happen in KDE. I have seen a few decent looking screenshots of people running KDE but for the most part all the looks I like are found in Gnome and the GTK apps.

So to give KDE a fair shot again I have decided to use it exclusively for a week. I have shutdown my Arch Linux computer that I run a combination of Gnome and Openbox on and will only use my computer that I have Mepis installed on which defaults to KDE. I installed Mepis 6.5 RC1 over my previous install of 6.0. I should have waited a day as RC2 was released yesterday. I have upgraded to it though so I suppose that is not a problem.

So far KDE isn’t so bad. As well as only using KDE I am also mainly using KDE applications. Konqueror for file management and browsing, konsole for the terminal emulator, kmail for my emails, and Akregator for my RSS feeds. The KDE apps integrate better into the overall look than the GTK counterparts I think when using KDE. Konqueror has crashed twice so far and kmail once and I am not particularly sure why in any of the cases. I am also posting this now from within firefox because I continually got a script error when trying to come to this page and it would not let me continue.

Other than those minor things though everything is going alright. Then default look of Mepis has definitely improved but is still not what I want. So now I will start to customize it a bit to see if I can grow to like it.

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Sticking with Arch

As I figured I would I decided to stick with Arch Linux. It seems like the best choice for me. I installed the base which is just the basic items required to get things working. Then that allows me to install only the things that I want so I don’t have a lot of unnecessary programs installed that would just take up space.

There are a few minor problems that I need to get taken care of but nothing major. The computer is functioning fine. I have a nice clean desktop running GNOME. The only thing I really need to get fixed is with Banshee, my favorite program to use to manage my music. For some reason it won’t work at all, it won’t even open. Right now I am using MPD with Sonata. It works great but I find Banshee to be laid out better. Also I don’t think there is a way to sync my ipod using MPD/Sonata so I really would like Banshee to be working for that.

I tried Pardus and Mepis also before deciding on Arch. I really liked Pardus but it just wouldn’t update. When ever I used the package manager to update all my programs it would just stop half way through and I have no idea why as my internet connection was fine. Also there aren’t nearly as many packages available through the repositories with Pardus as there are with a lot of other distros. I am sure that this will change as the distro matures and the popularity of it grows. I will definitely be checking it out in the future.

Mepis was nice also when it worked. For some reason though it would lock up every couple of minutes and the only thing I could do to fix it was to hold the power button in and restart that way. Mepis seems to run great on one of the other computers I have here though. It is currently running 6.0. That computer is basically only used as a sort of file server and for storage. I will most likely be updating it to the latest version of Mepis when it is released. The current target date is Feb. 25 so I am looking forward to that.

Installed Arch Linux

I have been using Linux now for the better part of two years. My first install was actually back in 2003 with Red Hat 8 and Mandrake 9. After a very brief stay in Linux though I went back to windows. About two years ago I decided to give Linux another shot as I really wasn’t happy with all the things I had been reading about windows. This time around I installed Mepis. This is the distro that got me hooked. It was simple to install and the vast majority of software written for Linux could be easily downloaded and installed. Whenever I see the question asked “Which distro should I use?” Mepis is generally the one I recommend

After awhile with Mepis though, I decided to see what else was out there in terms of ‘distros’. I have since installed many distros, Debian, Vector, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Mandriva, DSL, Freespire, Linspire, Arch, Frugalware, and several others I know I am forgetting. The distro I have been spending most of my time on for the past few months is Ubuntu. Before that I had spent awhile using Frugalware, and before that Arch. Ubuntu worked great for me. For some reason though I got the urge to try out other distros again and so begins my newest foray into distro hopping. The distros I have decided to try out this time around are Arch Linux, PCLinuxOS, Pardus, Yoper, and Mepis.

So I installed Arch Linux today. This is the hardest distro out of the group that I will be installing. The install is actually quite easy and straight forward. It is the post install setup that can and was slightly tricky. Having used Arch before though I new what it was going to be like. So on another computer I have here I made sure I had the install guide as well as the wiki open so I could reference at any point I needed to. I decided to go with the base install. Immediately following the install and rebooting you are left in the command line. So the first thing I did was setup Xorg using hwd, a hardware detection program. After that I installed then GNOME desktop environment. The installation of each package is made very easy by the excellent package manager ‘pacman’. After installing the nvidia driver for my graphics card I can now boot into the GUI.

The things I loved about Arch before I still love now. Everything is quick and responsive, there is not really any waiting for things to open. My favorite thing about Arch though is how easy it is to set it up exactly how you want it. Starting out with the base install, you only have the basic things to get the distro running. After that I can install only the things I need. I don’t have five different programs installed doing the same thing, I install only the one I want for the job.

A couple of complaints about Arch. Some of the problems now occurred the last time I installed it as well. The time is completely off. This happened last time as well. Most distros recognize what time it is and display it properly. I believe by looking at the time set in the BIOS. This is just a minor problem though and is easy enough to fix. My second problem, I have no sound. Most likely this will just take the installation of a couple of programs. I believe I started a thread on a forum about this the last time I installed so referencing that will hopefully have my sound functioning very soon.

My third problem and probably my biggest one because I really don’t know where to start to try and fix it is with fonts on web pages. The fonts look terrible. The system fonts look fine but the fonts on web pages look blocky. I really don’t even know the word to use but hopefully I can get this fixed. My final complaint is with Firefox. It has been renamed to ‘Bon Echo’. This annoys me. When I look at the title bar, or down to my task bar, I want to see the name Firefox, not Bon Echo.

Overall though a great distro. I just had few complaints, most of which are minor. I have a feeling once I get done testing distros Arch will be the one I stick with. Who knows though, one of the others could be the distro I am looking for. This should not be used as a technical review of Arch. This is just my personal experiances with it after one day of use.