My aperiodic report about usage of GNU/Linux

Well, here’s my aperiodic update on GNU/Linux distros.  (I haven’t installed BSD, maybe someday.)

I am now cleaning up an install of FUNTOO.  It’s a bit unnerving.  Works ok so far.  I have stumbled across a few Gordian knots of entangling dependencies and version incompatibility, enough to remind me why I bailed on Gentoo, not enough to stop.  Good way to install Gentoo, easy install, but there is damned little instruction on the finer points, and the slight incompatibilities with Gentoo.  Daniel Robbins was the originator of Gentoo, and Funtoo also uses Gentoo’s repos, and Gentoo bugzilla is good, and helps with most of this too.   Feels ok.    I installed Funtoo from a running Arch.  The instructions were good, except there are two sets that are not fully compatible.

I am starting to like KDE more, but there are some issues that are show stoppers, that will scare me away eventually.  For now, it’s not the clunking hulk of a molasses pit that it was in the past, and things just work, and are nice to work with (pretty).  STOPPERS: why does KDE have to reinvent every application with one of their own?  The UNIX philosophy was supposed to be everything works together, you bring in pieces from there and here.  KDE seems like WINDOZE, or APP-L, anything that’s nice is good enough to emulate in some sloppy way.  Also, KDE uses a different set of libraries that probably affects the compatibility of some programs (see emacs, below).

I have been using Ubuntu for a long while, as it just works, and everything fits together.  The new install failed on my two HP laptops, with zero KB or Mouse.  Will try again later.

Mint is not right in some way that I cannot quite get at.   Doesn’t feel right.

I futz around with desktops: I am using KDE, but started out with XFCE4 on Funtoo, and have tried installing the various flavors of Ubuntu, including Xbuntu.  Not nice, not as facile as the full on Unity Ubuntu, even as much as I DESPISE unity.  A pal says he is using Ubuntu/Unity, even though it is difficult for him, because he wants to learn it; he wants to get a Ubuntu phone eventually, or tablet.  List of desktops I’ve monkeyed around with, in no particular orderd:

  1. Gnome3
  2. Cinnamon
  3. Unity (stock Ubuntu)
  4. KDE4
  5. enlightenment 17 (recently better, always some incompatibility.  Love it though.)
  6. enlightenment 16 (derrier garde)
  7. lxde
  8. xfce4
  9. fluxbox

One important point has been that KDE4 and some other desktops on Ubuntu 13.04 beta didn’t play nicely with emacs.  I didn’t figure that one out.  Maybe a library issue?  XFCE4 seems pretty standardly vanilla in this way, and just works.   It ran fine on Unity.   If I thought about it, I could track down some particulars.   Seems ok today on Funtoo KDE4.  That’s nice.  Important to me.

I am stuck in the tarpit of Sansung Galaxy S, on T-Mobile.  The costs are killers.  T-Mobile finally replaced my handset, with four months left on contract.  I need a keyboard.   I want a better camera.  The phone is  impossible to hold without touching some button, randomly.  SLOW.  But the replacement is faster.  Small footprint.  Need an Sansung Galaxy S4, I fear, with a bluetooth keyboard.  Or, NOT.  Probably a flip phone, or just get used to this one.  Does T-Mobile charge extra to use this oldphone when it’s paid for, if I sign up for a new no-contract account?  (I will eventually move to Ting, requiring to purchase a phone at full price that is Sprint compatible.)

I have been using Arch off and on for the couple of months just prior to installing Funtoo.  Pretty cool, up to date catch-ups, and has alot of software.  I don’t quite get how it relates to Gentoo, it’s ancestor, so to speak.   There are some issues I had not gotten around; I don’t keep track: when I hit the wall of frustration, I just install some other OS.  Arch is good, it’s likeable, but not quite what I want.   Hard to install up until the most recent install disk, due to WIFI issues.

All these distros do something different with connecting to networks, esp. wifi.  Have been bogged down in this all for a while.

Probably leaving out something or another.

One thing: I have found it more than useful to have a /home partition, separate from the root (/) partition.  Thus, with these updates, I don’t fear trampling on my work.  Sometimes I keep a separate /usr/local partition for stuff I’ve compiled myself, like up to date gimp, or emacs, or a bunch of stuff for tide calendars, etc.   Then when I update, I have the source available on the new setup.  The probably with using the same /home partition, is that if I use the same username, the new install will try to use that directory again, so if my name is “user”, the home partition will be /home/user, in both linux setups.  For Ubuntu, in the dim past, that didn’t work, and Ubuntu even deleted the  old /home/user.  I don’t think it does any more, but I haven’t checked.

To counteract this, and have a handle on all my important data, I started keeping a back up of a subdir on /home/user, /home/user/Workbench.  So when I start a new distro, I just restore the Workbench partition to the new user directory.   I have gotten into the habit of using new usernames with each linux distro I install.

I have used git to keep the ~/Workbench partition up to date.  Well, anymore, I am less careful.  I just back it up.   I’ll get back to the git work flow.  I use the same User ID Number and Group ID Number (uid and gid) for my personal work-related user account in each distro, by assigning them manually.  Thus, the files are readable and writable by me in any configuration.   And git requires this.

For completeness, I’ve also installed Manjaro somewhat recently, and Bodhi.  And others.  And SystemRescueCD was useful at some point.

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About lngndvs

I am a teacher / biologist with eclectic interests.
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