Episode 11 Show Notes


…wherein we discuss what did and didn’t work for us this month…

Moss – I installed OpenMandriva 4.1 on my Kudu along with Feren OS and Ubuntu Budgie 19.10, and MX 19.1 on my Galago Pro to join the myriad of co-residents on that machine. I was pleased by the work MX did on their Grub menu; it isn’t “beautiful”, but it is well thought out and easy to read. As I had extra time this episode, I then attempted to replace MX 19.1 with Solus 4.1, but could not get it past the partition screen. So I now added OpenMandriva 4.1 and Zorin OS Ultimate 15.2. The Zorin Grub menu is also clear and easy to read, another one in dark mode.  Then I tried to update Ubuntu Budgie to 20.04 early, and found the Grub menu totally raw and had other very minor issues. 

And because we had an extra week, I then replaced Ubuntu Budgie 20.04 with Endeavour OS and did updates, then replaced Zorin OS Ultimate with Zorin OS Lite and got my Grub menu back… only to discover that Endeavour OS no longer boots. I have been given some ideas to try from members of our Telegram group but have not had time to try them yet.

Further, I’ve reworked my USB Box and have reprinted the list of what I have featured, and now have Endless OS featured on a 16 Gb stick, not that I’m ready to sacrifice an entire hard disk to it…unless that’s what I want to look at next month.

I got gifted a new WAVLINK 2-port external hard drive “toaster” with additional USB and SD card slots, and an Anker 9-port USB data hub, by listener Dale Miracle. All my USB ports, internal and external, are now USB 3, and I hope that eliminates some issues I’ve been having. Also, listener “George from Tulsa” sent me a $50 Amazon Grocery Gift Card. THANK YOU!!!!!

Tony, you were all set to review Ubuntu Studio last month and I thought you were going to move it to this month; you changed your mind?

Tony – Last time I changed to Peppermint for the reasons we talked about on the show. I thought as we will be coming up to the 20.04 LTS release soon I would give Ubuntu Studio a spin when it gets its update to 20.04 sometime this year. So I went hunting for something a little out of my comfort zone and found ALT Linux, so more of that later. 

As things have turned out this month has been a bit of a strange one as I was away for nearly 2 weeks of it and I have also been in a lot of pain with tooth problems, resulting with a root canal treatment. I also had a friend pass away at the beginning of the month so Linux has not exactly been the top of my agenda this last month. I will also be away for much of the next 4 weeks so depending on things I am not fully able to control I may not be able to record the next episode until the 3rd week in April.   

UPDATES (Where we discuss what we have learned about distros we’ve already reviewed)

Moss – OpenMandriva LX 4 has an update, to 4.1. I have it on both my machines right now, and it’s as beautiful as ever, but I still don’t know what I’m doing with dnfdragora.

Tony – Nothing from me this month.

Tony – DISTRO NAME: ALT Linux 9 (Laertes) note – this is originally a Mandrake fork but now totally independent.


So this months distro was run on the new test laptop my Dell E7440 the specs are as follows:

CPU – Intel Core i7 (4th Gen) 4600U / 2.1 GHz

RAM – 16Gb DDR3 at 1600Mhz

SSD – 2.5” 128Gb 

Installation was a fairly smooth process no drama as I was doing a nuke and boot, completely wiping out the previous OS and installing ALT Linux. The installer is a fairly intuitive process and you get guided through setting up your language, Keyboard layout, although I could only set the keyboard to US at install and had to change it after the reboot into the installed system. I did not get around to trying to dual boot so can not comment on how well that might go. During the install you also get the option to install some additional packages or not install others, this is handy if you say don’t use LibreOffice or you use one of the packages that would not normally be installed by default. I Checked the Install everything option so I could check things out but as a result it does eat up a big chunk of your drive space, my install was around the 15.5G mark when a mint install would be about 8Gig. Included were things like FreeCAD, a Gant project management program, Darktable and much more. Although no video editing software although Audacity was installed out of the box, which it isn’t in Mint.


So after the system finished the install which only took about 10 minutes on this hardware, you are prompted to reboot into the installation. On rebooting the system I got presented with a MATE DE which for me is great as this is my prefered DE as the regular listeners probably already know. Other DE’s are available, the main ones being Cinnamon, XFCE and KDE5 and the MATE one I installed. One thing I have noticed is when you boot the system unless you are interacting with the keyboard or mouse in some way the system hangs just before it reaches a desktop, and remains idle until you touch the trackpad or use the mouse to reactivate things, as soon as you do this you see the cursor appear and a few seconds later you are given a desktop. Otherwise all the hardware works and I was able to connect to my WiFi and access the internet to complete the required updates that you are prompted to download.   


This is an RPM based distro so at first thought if you are a DEB based system user you may think you are going to have to learn a whole new set of commands to use the terminal. Wrong, ALT uses the APT package management system so many of the commands you are used to on Debian and systems based on it such as Ubuntu or Mint will work here, although you have to use the apt-get command as just using ‘apt’ is not recognised as a valid input. Although for those users not wanting to use the terminal you can use the Software centre or synaptic as an alternative. Just to note that by default the user is not set up on the sudo list so you have to switch user to be able to do anything in the terminal needing elevated privileges, I couldn’t find a GUI for users and groups and didn’t get around to working out how to change this in the terminal which is probably an easy fix, as using ‘su’ was just as easy anyway.


There are loads of software available for ALT in the repos and if like me you do a complete install, already on the system, but I wasn’t able to find the ‘tlp’ battery management terminal application I use, or the ‘get-iplayer’ application installed as snapd is not able to be installed, but it is possible to use Flatpak applications after Flatpak has been activated. 


Well this is a total memory hog, NOT, at first boot a look at the system usage in neofetch (which I installed) shows around 500-510Mb of RAM usage at the desktop before you start to do things. This is a lightweight distro although once Firefox is running with a couple of tabs open this jumps to 1.6Gb which for me with 16Gb of RAM is not an issue but if you are a little short of RAM could be an issue.  


As I said at the start of the show I’ve not exactly had a lot of time to devote to Linux stuff over the last few weeks so I have not had much chance to check out what support there is out in internet land for this OS but the Wiki is a little light on information in my opinion.


As stated previously I did not test this option.


During my use of ALT Linux it has been very stable I have had no issues with crashes or freezes and all the updates have worked well with no issues following any of them, so it seems a stable system. Obviously 4 weeks or so using a system will not test all situations but so far so good.


Ease of Installationnew user friendly install scores     9/10

experienced Linux users              9/10

Hardware Issues                                                              7/10

Ease of Finding Help (Community, Web)                         7/10

Ease of Use                                                                     8/10

Plays Nice With Others                                                 Not tested

Stability                                                                            9/10

Overall Rating                            8/10


As this is an RPM based distro with the APT package management system I am trying to think of something that meets the bill, any suggestions Moss?

I would suggest other Russian distros based on Mandrake, such as Rosa, there is something out there with dnf-to-apt but I can’t remember it.


I know I didn’t do this months distro the full test it deserves but from what I did do I feel that this is a system worthy of further investigation. The one concern that some will have is that this is a Russian based development team, but as all the software is GPL compliant and open to examination by the community, I’m sure if there were anything nefarious going on after all this time that this OS has been in development someone would have noticed. Personally if it wasn’t for the fact one or two utilities I use were not able to be installed I may consider this a possible daily driver, despite the glitch with the boot process. 

Moss – DISTRO NAME: Ubuntu Budgie 19.10

Opening Disclaimer: While this is not my favorite distro, I did spend a few weeks trying to find time to help on their project, although I exited the project for lack of time. I don’t think any of this has colored my review, and I’m sure you will find it consistent with my other reviews.


I run my test distros on a System76 Kudu 3, with 16 Gb RAM and a 256 Gb SSD, with an i7 and Intel graphics chipset. 


I have often used Ubuntu Budgie as a Grub Fixer Distro. It installs easily and quickly, with a minimum of extra stuff, so when my Grub gets messed up I can have my machine up and running in no time. Grub Customizer is in the repo, allowing me to set the boot order easily. All this is to say that I have installed Ubuntu Budgie on several occasions, and it always goes just as expected. It uses Ubiquity installer, not my absolute favorite, but a few uses of Ubiquity and it stops being a mystery.  I hope they get the Grub menu in 20.04 to look as good as 19.10, but so far that is not the case.


The main thing to think about following installation is what Budgie gives you and what it does not. You have a neat dock, a top taskbar, and the taskbar includes Caffeine, which shuts the screensaver/locker off for so long as you want it to. If you want something in the dock which is not currently there, drag it down from the menu; if you want to remove something, drag it off the dock. Easy as pi to 5 places. 

I did try using Ubuntu Budgie for a recent show of mintCast, and did have some issues with Mumble, but my recording was fine and the show turned out good. I have not gone to the trouble of finding what was causing the problem, it was acting like I was out of memory or CPU. Restarting Mumble worked to fix the issue, although I had to restart it twice during 3 hours of recording.


Budgie is different from most desktops, but the simplicity of it makes it easy to figure out. While I would not recommend this as a first distro coming from Windows, it would be near the top of my list for someone who has just gotten comfortable with another Windows-like Linux who might want to see what all the talk is about regarding alternate desktops. There are a few things in Budgie which might be perceived as papercuts in other distros, but once you get used to them you see the logic behind it. This desktop was designed by Ikey Doherty and was literally the first part of Solus OS.

The Terminal is called Tilix, and it’s a very useful little terminal with some features that are quite special. The original dev called an end to the project a few months ago, but I understand that some new devs have picked it up and Canonical now hosts the repos for it. 

On another note, I’ve mentioned before that I only play a few of the really simple games (KMines, KMahjongg, etc.) For some reason, it takes between one and two minutes for this system to load KDE games, and it’s not really clear that they are loading while it is taking this time. It does get there, and it performs well enough after loading, but the wait time is noticeable.


With Firefox closed, Stacer shows 892 Mb RAM use, 11.4 total disk space used; I’ve seen it as low as 805 Mb RAM. With Firefox open and 3 tabs, it’s bouncing between 1.9 and 2.0 Gb RAM use. All in all, that’s pretty light, although not quite into the realm of other light DEs such as Moksha, XFCE, KDE or LXQt. Considering the fact that Budgie uses quite a bit of the Gnome 3 stack, they certainly pared memory usage down from what it could be.


It’s Ubuntu. Every single aspect of this distro has tons of user support and forum support and YouTube videos. The desktop itself is helped by having lots of Solus users out there. You should have no trouble getting help on anything which may bother you, and you also should have not much reason to be looking for help.


As stated, I use this distro to fix previous Grub disasters. This distro is a major tool in my box.


As you’ve heard us say many times on this show, if it’s Ubuntu, it’s stable. The team works very hard to keep it that way.


Solus OS

other ‘buntus

Manjaro with Budgie


Ease of Installationnew user                           8/10

experienced user             9/10

Hardware Issues                                                 10/10

Ease of Finding Help (Community, Web)            10/10

Ease of Use                                                         9/10

Plays Nice With Others                                       10/10

Stability                                                               10/10

Overall Rating        9/10


This is a fun distro. It is not my main driver, but I nearly always have it on at least one machine. When Linux Mint gives me issues, which it has once or twice, I tend to go here next.


from our February 5 show to present


Exe 20200311

SparkyLinux 4.12

Manjaro 19.0.2

Endless 3.7.8

LibreELEC 9.2.1

DragonFly 5.6.3

Zevenet 5.10.1-1

Ultimate 6.6 “Lite”

Clonezilla 2.6.5-21

4M Linux 32.0

Nomad BSD 1.3.1

Fury BSD 12.1

SparkyLinux 2020.03

Obarun 2020.03.01

KDE neon 20200305

Zorin 15.2


Pardus 19.2

Kali 2020.1a

Volumio 2.714

DragonFly 5.8.0

Netrunner 20.01 “Core”

Container 2345.3.0

Porteus Kiosk 5.0.0

Arch 2020.03.01

GhostBSD 20.02

SystemRescueCd 6.0.7

Nitrux 2020.02.28

KaOS 2020.02

RDS 13.2

KDE neon 20200227


MakuluLinux 2020 “LinDoz”

Absolute 20200223

OpenMediaVault 5.3.4

IPFire 2.25-core141

Netrunner 20.01

Live Raizo

PCLinuxOS 2020.02

EasyOS 2.2.11

MX Linux 19.1

NetBSD 9.0

Project Trident 20.02

Ubuntu 18.04.4

Tails 4.3

SparkyLinux 2020.02

Tiny Core Linux 11.0

Raspbian 2020-02-05

elementary OS 5.1.2


Tim Keirnan <[email protected]>

Hi guys,

I wanted to thank you for the Distrohoppers’ Digest podcast. As a person interested in Linux for the past ten years, I thought it was a great idea that wasn’t polished enough to make me switch. In 2019 when I tried it again, it was. I’m still deciding which distribution to make my daily driver as I leave Apple and their ever-crappier hardware and OS behind forever, and your show is very helpful for that decision.

I also am buying a new laptop at some point this year and wanted to ask Moss how he likes his System76 models? I like it when you talk about the hardware you use to test things on because as you know, Linux compatibility is not usually promoted from Apple or the Windows machine makers.

Best regards,


Moss replied:

We are glad you are enjoying the show. I’m sure you know by now that we are both in agreement with you — a few years back, Linux wasn’t ready for desktop use, and now it is. We hope we can show you a few distros to try.

As for System76, I think they are great machines, maybe a bit pricey unless you’re going to use them for gaming. I like the Kudu 3 more than the Galago Pro 2, but some of that is form factor and some of that is due to the fact that the Galago Pro took quite a bit more of a beating before it found its way to me. It also depends on how large a machine you like; 14″ is too small for me, 17″ is perfect.

cogoman <[email protected]>

I know this one is asking a lot of y’all, but I would like y’all to test

out Mandrake 7.0 or Mandrake 8.0.

If I remember correctly, I was running a 133 MHz Pentium

semi-compatible processor when I first tried Mandrake 7.0, and it had an

office suite available, and seemed to run pretty snappy on a low clock

rate machine.

You may have to hunt down real old hardware (borrow perhaps) to find

something the drivers can handle. When you do, I think it will be

snappier than even a light modern distro on an Atom multi-core system. 

Back in the day you had to write most things in compiled C for it to fit

in the 128MEG ram space you had. Along with the small compiled footprint

came greater optimization than something running in a python

interpreter.  I seem to remember a table showing that nowadays python

runs more than half of the software we use.

I will understand if this one is too hard to accomplish.

Moss responds: 

I know I’d have to go a long way to get all that stuff. Even so, I wonder what it would accomplish, as nobody would want to run out and buy 32-bit hardware just to follow our example and use 32-bit software. It would be fun to revisit that, which is where I started in Linux. Tony, do you have any of this old hardware sitting around? 


Moss – My work here and at mintCast can be supported by joining my Sponsus https://sponsus.org/u/zaivala or by direct donation through Sponsus or PayPal ([email protected])! I am very grateful for all donations which have been or will be received. Please tell me if you would like your name used on the show, however you choose to donate. 

Our next show will be recorded on or about April 15 or later, 2020. Visit our website at https://distrohoppersdigest.blogspot.com and follow us on MeWe, Telegram, mintCast Discord and at our Telegram and MeWe groups. Please contact us at [email protected] if you have any comments or suggestions.

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