Episode 12 Show Notes


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


I’m having an interesting time with Grub and EFI boot. I’m trying to figure this out, with a ton of help from our wonderful listeners, and will probably be reporting on this in Episode 333 of mintCast if I can get enough information to do a decent job. I’ve had a number of issues with Endeavour and gave it up as a bad idea for now. I also attempted to run MaBox 20.02 on my Galago Pro 2, but it found marvelous ways to trash my whole system. I don’t even remember the details, I’d have to check back to Episode 321 of mintCast to refresh my memory. I also did an installation of Ubuntu Mate 16.04, and attempted to update it to 18.04 using the upgrade path, to have it freeze midway through and need to be completely reinstalled. I repeated that, and had the same issue repeat. I either got a bad burn on the ISO or my machine has something subtly wrong with it. I ran all the tools I know I have on the hard drive to check if that might be an issue and came up empty. So I installed Manjaro on that on the evening of April 4th, and it worked — first time I’ve gotten Manjaro to work on the Galago Pro.


So as everyone knows by now (well apart from one person that crowded me at the supermarket check out) the world has gone to hell in a handbasket. Only leaving the house to shop for us and a couple of friends who are self isolating due to age and or Health issues, and my daily walk for exercise, this has left a lot of time for cooking and baking bread.

I’m also continuing to play with my small diecast models. At the moment I am pulling models apart to strip the paint, in preparation for eventually doing some repainting outside when the weather gets better, as the paint fumes are very strong even with using my extractor fan on my small paint booth this does not take all the smell and fumes away. In the last couple of days I have managed to do a couple of models outside as it has been very good weather and I posted a couple of pictures in the mintCast Discord off topic, topic.

I’ve also taken part in the last 3 weeks Big Daddy Linux Live (BDLL) events, for the last 2, Joe and Leo from mintCast also joined in as the distro review/test was LMDE4 which I had already decided to review for this month before they chose to also cover it, you can never have too much of a good thing I say. We also did this as the innards on mintCast last Sunday to prove the point.

Tuesday to cap everything we had a 2 hour power cut from 11am-1pm as a local substation suffered a power surge, the electricity supply company worked hard, and got many of us back on the grid quickly. But it took most of the day to fully fix the issue so that it hopefully does not happen again. It was at this point I realised that my decision to save a few pounds on my monthly mobile data (as I was not going to be needing it as not going out) was a little short sighted so I will go back to my 6Gb/month plan so I have emergency internet connection if needed if this happens again.   

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


I was just tinkering around with OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 on my Kudu, and I discovered that “sudo dnf update” not only scans for updates but installs them and does autoremove cleanup, in one swell foop. In fact, just about any command I’d use in Deb/Ubuntu/Mint with “apt” appears to work better in OM, I just have to remember to type “dnf” instead of “apt”. I think that’s cool. On the other hand, I tried to install Mullvad via the RPM package used for Fedora and found a few dependencies missing, and haven’t yet had the time to try to resolve those dependencies.




So this months distro was mainly 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

Although during the course of the test and review I installed LMDE4 on several other laptops which I will discuss during the review.

So the installation process is fairly straightforward and the installer quite good for both experienced and new users alike, you get taken through the usual process of picking a drive and it recognises if another OS is present and asks if you wish to use the whole drive or nuke and reinstall. I chose to nuke and went through the usual process of setting up username and password. I then left it to complete the installation and on being prompted rebooted the system after the install was completed. This was when the fun started, on restart the laptop reported that there was no bootable drive present, I thought something had gone wrong during the install so did it all again, after the third attempt I booted up a Mint 19.3 live disk and installed this, it recognised that LMDE4 was present on the drive so I wasn’t sure was going on so did a dual boot of 19.3 alongside of LMDE and lo and behold on reboot Grub could now see both Mint 19.3 and LMDE4 in the Grub menu although using Grub Customiser did not work in altering the order they appear in the menu. On BDLL someone said that the install did not flag the drive as a boot drive properly and they had fixed this by using a live disk and flagging the drive correctly. After a reboot the install worked, so this might of been the issue with my laptops, yes laptops plural as I repeated this issue on another Dell E6540 I have, although installation to a Lenovo x200 tablet and a x230i both worked without this issue, so if you are installing LMDE4 onto a Dell PC and come across this issue, you may want to check if the drive has been flagged as the boot drive correctly before throwing it at the wall. 


Once I was able to boot into the installation I found no issues with my hardware, trackpad, WiFi worked fine and audio and video/webcam were all recognised so no issues to report and in the 4 weeks I have been using it nothing has surfaced as an issue. 


This is where the mingling of Debian and Mint work best, at first boot I was presented with the welcome menu with an option for the first things you may wish to do such as set up snapshots, install proprietary drivers, run the update manager and set up the firewall. There is also a link to the software manager for you to go and install your favorite applications before you do anything else. While the Cinnamon DE is good I am a Mate user and the first thing I did was install and set it up to boot into a Mate DE by default and set up the Mate DE the way I like it without any problems.

Installing software is a case of using the Software manager, synaptic or the terminal in the same way as the main Mint 19.3 although when I was using the software manager it kept crashing when using the search function to search for Flatpak applications, if I just scrolled through what was there no issue but type in the search box and at the the third letter of the application name it crashed, this was replicated on the Lenovo x200 tablet so not isolated to this particular laptop. Searching for general packages was not a problem this only occured when in the Flatpak area of the software manager. As the Software manager is aimed at less technical minded users this could be something that may put off a basic user. I tested this in 19.3 to see if it was an issue in the main Mint release and I can confirm it is NOT. Although not installed by default you can also install snapd and use snaps to install packages so all bases are covered as far as software is concerned, although I am sure that Moss will remind me that as it is Debian based it is not quite as simple to install ppa’s as it is on Ubuntu based systems. Alan Pope pointed out on BDLL the other week that ppa’s are mainly Ubuntu based and as a result use the unstable Debian branch for package development, thus packages are probably optimised for the current Ubuntu release and could destabilize your Debian system if installed, this is why insulation of ppa’s is discouraged in Debian and thus LMDE4.        


I was able to install all my usual software and have used LMDE4 on both the Dell E7440 and the other night I took part in a Zoom conference call on the Lenovo X200 Tablet, all this without a hitch computer wise although I think Zoom is having some issues keeping large meetings stable as I was crashed out of BDLL a couple of times on Saturday despite having a wired 100Mbit connection. Also as this is Debian stable all the apt software is several versions behind, but using Flatpak and snaps can overcome this if you need some of the latest and greatest software.  


Mate 740Mb Ram Cinnamon 815Mb Ram on the Dell e7440 and 730Mb on the X200 tablet, I haven’t installed Mate on the Lenovo so not sure what that is but if the Dell is anything to go by it will be a little less, although they are getting a lot closer than they once were, memory management in Cinnamon has come on a lot since it was first developed and for a modern systeme where 100Mb of Ram is neither here nor there most folk won’t notice a major difference. On older hardware such as the X200 tablet that has a Max of 4Gb of Ram these differences can be an issue. 


With the mix of both the Mint and Debian forums there is loads of support for LMDE4 and I would not envisage any major issue in this area.


I did not do a dual boot on install this time but my first review in episode 1 was LMDE3 and that had no issues with other OS’s being alongside it at install, so I would not expect any issues.


As everyone said on BDLL the last 2 weeks it’s Debian, enough said, solid as the proverbial Rock.


Ease of Installationnew user friendly install scores     6/10

experienced Linux users              8/10

Hardware Issues                                                             9/10

Ease of Finding Help (Community, Web)                        8/10

Ease of Use                                                                     9/10

Plays Nice With Others                                                    8/10

Stability                                                                            10/10

Overall Rating                                                                  9/10


Any Debian Buster based system that does a little tweaking to make it a little kinder for new users.

Netrunner is the only one I could find on Distrowatch but there must be more.


I would go back and look at MX or Q4OS.


Despite the issues I had installing it initially I love LMDE4, it is a stable reliable system and If I was running a business and needed a mission critical system this could be the one, some of the minor issues such as the installer not flagging the drive are an admin issue and I’m sure that would be resolved, as for the software manager in most work environments this would be disabled and only the IT admins would be installing new software when needed. In most cases they would be deploying a custom image set up for the work use scenario so the day to day user would have all the software needed for their role pre installed anyway. As a regular Linux user wanting a little more up to date software and if I was a gamer and needing the latest video drivers, I would probably recommend sticking with Mint 19.3 or 20 when it arrives later in the summer. But if Ubuntu ever went away and Mint had to fall back to LMDE as the main release I wouldn’t have an issue with doing that, and possibly running something a little more cutting edge as a dual boot for those times when having access to all the latest software that could not be installed via Flatpak or Snap (if that were still around), was needed.         

Moss – Manjaro 20.02


I ran Manjaro XFCE on a System76 Kudu 3, with 16 Gb RAM and a 256 Gb SSD, with an i7 CPU and Intel graphics chipset. 


Installation was smooth and quick, although I thought I was installing an LXQt version but wound up with XFCE. Nonetheless, the Calamares installer went as smoothly as it usually does, without a bug or hitch. Updates were few: this distro is kept very up to date, as most Arch-based distros are.

I also installed this on April 4th on my Galago Pro 2, and have had no issues. Again, I’ve tried several times before with issues, and am amazed. My review, however, will be based on the installation on my Kudu, as I’ve had more time with it.


I didn’t have any issues at all at first, which is itself odd as I’ve often reported on my issues getting Manjaro installed on my machines. Later, when I installed Linux Mint 19.3 over the KDE neon installation, the boot sector seemed to vanish. I tried asking for help but did not get anything usable, so I reinstalled Manjaro and everything went back to normal. I have not finished reconfiguring the software installed, but it’s all installed. I got 3 of my 5 usual games installed, but could not find Nethack or PysolFC for some reason. I checked the AUR to no avail. Considering Arch fiends claim you can find anything, that was a bit off-putting.


I’ve had very few issues. One did crop up, though, when  attempted to use it for a Zoom meeting.  Instead of getting a web-based room, it wanted me to install their app, only available for Manjaro as a tar.gz file, which I rarely have succeeded at installing no matter what the distro. I had to use a different distro for that. I’m sure some of our listeners could have helped me with that, but I only had a few hours to set it up. I find pacman harder to use in the Terminal than either apt or dnf, mostly due to the tick-based commands (-S etc.). As a positive, the HPLIP printer program found and could write to my printer immediately, without installing the Brother driver. Could it be that HPLIP includes non-HP printers now, to make itself a more useful app?. On the negative side, I was not able to connect to my VPN, which only provides .deb and .rpm packages. If there is a workaround, I don’t know what it is.

Updates are somewhat similar to using dnf in OpenMandriva, however, you need to know the syntax and it’s not really that easy to remember: sudo pacman -Syu. This does not do autoremove, and it takes a moderately long time as it seems everything is being built, similar to Sabayon. Don’t do updates when you need to rush out the door soon.


Htop reports 660Mb RAM use with nothing open; 1.9 Gb with Firefox open with 3 tabs and Htop running in a separate workspace. Stacer reported 2.5 Gb RAM in use with Firefox open in 5 tabs (one of which was used to download Stacer); 9.2 total Gb of disk space was used.


I went to the Manjaro forum for help with the Zoom issue, and got several very quick responses. They didn’t help in time, but easily could have if I’d had more time, and they were very empathic and friendly. Word is, that’s what you can expect from this group — quick, friendly responses.


After installation, it co-existed quite nicely with KDE neon and OpenMandriva 4.1. When I replaced KDE neon with Linux Mint, a distro with which I have historically had almost no problems, I had to reinstall Manjaro; the installation was there, but it would boot to a black screen and go no further. So is that Mint not playing nice with Manjaro, or Manjaro not playing nice with Mint? I have no idea. However, upon reinstallation, it once again has no issues residing on a shared platform.


As with all Arch distros, keep it updated or you’ll be sorry. I did have an update to Firefox result in Firefox being deleted, not updated. There have been no other stability issues in the month I’ve been playing with it. 


Endeavour OS



Ease of Installationnew user                           10/10

experienced user             10/10

Hardware Issues                                                 9/10

Ease of Finding Help (Community, Web)            9/10

Ease of Use                                                        8/10

Plays Nice With Others                                       9/10

Stability                                                               8/10

Overall Rating                                                     9/10


This has been a fine experience, the first really good experience I’ve ever had in an Arch distro. I think you will find it the same. I see no reason why someone who committed to this distro could not use it as a daily driver. And, as of this writing, you can buy a custom Infinitybook computer from Tuxedo Computers with Manjaro pre-loaded and with a Manjaro key for the Superkey. 15.6” screen, great battery life, and pretty decent specs, with the latest Intel or AMD processor, for about $1.200. If you have it, it’s probably worth it. (not sponsored)


from March 11 to April 8

Septor 2020.2

AVLinux 2020.4.10

Tails 4.5

EasyOS 2.2.16

SparkyLinux 5.11

OSMC 2020.03-1

BEE free 2020

ExTix 20.4

NetBSD 8.2

Rescatux 8.73

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.8

Makulu Linux 2020 “Flash”

OpenMediaVault 5.3.0

antiX 19.2

pfSense 2.4.5

Bodhi Linux 5.1.0

Univention Corporate Server 4.4-4

Parrot 4.8

Linux Mint Debian Edition 4 “Debbie”

Fury BSD 12.1

Emmabuntus DE3-1.01

AryaLinux 2.4

NuTyX 11.4

Tails 4.4


MikeF left a comment on our blog:

Can’t remember who keeps complaining about recovering non-bootable Linux systems. I always have on USB sticks these small bootable images:

– Super Grub2, lets you select a bootable partition multiple ways. After you’ve booted Linux, run grub-install and grub-mkconfig from the command line, see man page for details.

– GParted Live, just a minimal system with gparted. You don’t have to wait for a porky installer image to boot up. The smart way to repartition disk drives.

I don’t use it very often but after many years grub-customizer *finally* made it into the Debian 9 and Ubuntu 19.04 repos. 

Moss replies: That’s probably me. But I have yet to figure out how to use the USB stick to actually repair the Grub. I have, however, figured out how to do it from Terminal, which will be part of the Linux Innards section of mintCast Podcast Episode 333 if all goes as planned.

I’ve used SuperGrub2 to boot things when all else failed. I have a livestick of GPartEd. 

Grub Customizer was added to the Debian repos with 10 Buster; I’m glad to hear they backported it to 9 now; Ubuntu does not have it in 18.04 or earlier, but all versions from 18.10 on included it. It’s an easy add in Ubuntu and its daughter distros via a PPA.

And thanks for listening and responding!

Tim Keirnan – response to an email conversation with Moss which continued after the last show. 

Thank you again for the time you took to reply personally. I keep looking at the Galago Pro because of what appears to be hardy MacBook-like construction and the CoreBoot, so we’ll see.

Best wishes to you guys on all issues Linux and health, and don’t worry if the next episode needs to come out a bit late. We appreciate what you can publish whenever you can publish it.




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])! During this month I got my first Sponsus, many thanks to esskaybeenz for joining up. I also received a donation of $25 through PayPal from listener Chris Burgess. I am very grateful for all donations which have been or will be received.

We would like to thank Hacker Public Radio for our use of their Mumble room those times when mintCast’s Mumble is not working. Our next show will be recorded on or about May 15, 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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