Episode 25 Show Notes


…wherein we discuss what we did this month…

Moss – Life has been turmoil since last show. School has started up again, but all my summer appointments are not over with yet, so I’m turning down a lot of assignments. I’ve been falling behind on my other work, but I think I’ve caught up with the articles on itsmoss dot com and most other things are falling into place. I haven’t missed a week on Full Circle Weekly News. Some things are getting easier but I’m just stressing more, which doesn’t help.  I did get the money to buy a T540, which might show up later this week. I’ve been having an interesting issue with the Zia800 which causes it to not boot unless I have a USB stick in one of the USB2 slots, but it’s working with that workaround. All the things I thought I knew about GRUB, and all the things I’ve been able to look up or have been referred to me, have so far failed to fix the issue. A reinstall of something is in my future. I used the experience to reduce my partitions on the Zia800 as well as used Rescuezilla to make a complete copy of my SSD. I still need to learn how to make a copy of a single partition as an ISO, but I’ll take the success I’ve had for now.

Dale – I have been continuing my hermit lifestyle while at home.  So in computer related news, I finally got around to installing the drivers and software for my Razer Cynosa V2 RGB membrane keyboard.  I bought it in December of 2020 and it has been cycling through the colors since then.  Now it just shows a static red color, which is fine for now.  I will be writing a review of it for https://itsmoss.com/ in the future.

I started my next article for It’s MOSS on The Origin of the Graphical User Interface.  I already did a brief history of Window managers and Desktop Environments for the mintCast podcast a few years ago.  So I was curious about how far back this went.  I am shocked how far this notion of interacting with graphical images goes.  If you are curious like I was, then check out my articles here. 

Since Slackware released version 15 beta, I installed it on my Lenovo T430.  I installed it on August 1st and had trouble getting the system to update.  I uncommented a mirror site to use in the slackpkg config file, only to find out it would return a 404 (not found) error message.  I tried at least half of the available sites from multiple countries.  I tried again on August 9th uncommenting each mirror one by one and I still get 404 not found.
 Other than a 5.13 kernel and other updated packages, it appears to look and function the same.

When I arrived home Saturday afternoon, I drove over to Guitar Center to pick up my new audio gear.  After getting some suggestions in the mintCast Telegram group the past month or so, I decided on a Rode Podmic and a Focusrite Scarlett Solo USB Audio Interface.  In test recordings using Audacity, it appears better to my ears at least.

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

Moss –  I haven’t heard much about distros I’ve reviewed, other than KDE neon, which updates every week. There is a new version of elementary OS out, but we’ve never reviewed that. Dale?

Dale – Debian 11 had a huge update with too many to name.  The high points are, a 5.10 LTS kernel, 11,294 new packages for a total of 59,551 packages and 42,821 packages have been updated.  They also have updated Desktop Environments. GNOME 3.38, KDE Plasma 5.20, LXDE 11, LXQt 0.16, Mate 1.24 and Xfce 4.16.  Libreoffice is upgraded to version 7.

Solus released 4.3 last month.  I didn’t mention it because of the Pop!_OS Cosmic discussion we had last episode.  They had a large update as well.  The highpoints are kernel 5.13.1, Firefox 89.0.2, LibreOffice, Thunderbird 78.11.0.  They updated their Desktop Environments, Budgie is 10.5.3, GNOME 40.2 and Plasma 5.22.2.

BEAUTIFUL FAILURES – What we tried, and failed, to install or run this month

Moss: My failures are all machine-related, and as that has already been discussed, we can move on to Dale.

Dale: Other than installing the Slackware 15 beta, I haven’t tried anything.  In fairness I can’t call the problems I had with it failures due to it being in beta.


DISTRO NAME:  Netrunner 21.01 – XOXO

INTRO:As the name implies, I should be all huggy and kissy for this review.  Maybe or maybe not, we shall see.  I think the XOXO is actually due to their February release, since Valentine’s Day is observed during the month.
 While searching for distros to review,I found this one quite interesting due to who maintains it.
 Netrunner is based on Debian 10 (Buster) featuring the KDE Plasma Desktop and is 64bit only.  It was first released on March 18th of 2010 and offers Desktop, Core, Pinebook and Odroid editions.  Core is similar to Desktop but has minimal applications installed.  The Pinebook edition is an arm64 IMG specific to it and the Odroid is an armhf IMG specific for the C1 and C1+.

Netrunner is maintained by Blue Systems, a German IT company that employs many of the KDE developers.  They have previously maintained the Kubuntu Linux Distro and are actively maintaining/contributing to the Maui Linux, Opendesktop.org and Calamares projects.  They also sponsored the now discontinued KDE edition of Linux Mint, with the last 19 being the last supported version.


The laptop I used is my Lenovo ThinkPad T460.  It has a Intel Dual Core i5-6200U 2.8 GHz CPU, 14″ display using Intel HD Graphics 520, 16 GB of RAM and a 500 GB SSD.


Blue Systems is using the Calamares installer for Netrunner.  It is very similar in appearance to other distros that use Calamares.  That is despite the fact that Calamares is the most configurable installer available.  I don’t know why developers don’t take advantage of that.  

As with other distro’s, if you connect to the internet in the live USB, updates will be applied during installation.  The regular questions of location, language and partitioning are shown.  In the user creation screen, the Log in automatically without asking for a password is not checked by default.

The only issue during install that I had was with the WiFi.  This is due to the fact they are using an old version of Plasma.  The System Tray icon for wireless networking has a tendency of not finding all the available access points and it would close the entry box while typing in the passphrase.  This has been resolved in more recent versions of Plasma.  After my second attempt at entering my passphrase, I noticed it had already created a connection entry in the network manager.  So, I just entered my passphrase into it and manually connected via the System Tray icon.

Once the install was done, the Restart Now check box was already checked.  I clicked done and the laptop automatically rebooted.


No hardware issues were found on the first boot after installation.  The WiFi passphrase was not retained from the installation, so I had to type it in again.  At least this time, the entry box stayed open long enough for me to type the passphrase.


Netrunner, though based on Debian Buster, is not using the 4.19 kernel.  Instead they are using their own kernel 5.9 which was later upgraded to 5.10.  They are using the 5.14.5 version of Plasma, 18.08.0 for KDE Apps, 5.54.0 for Framework and 5.11.3 for QT which is 3 years old.  Granted they are using Debian Buster as a base since it was the current Stable release.  That was the version that Buster had available.  I was actually shocked by this considering that Blue System employs many of the KDE Developers.  I would have thought they would at least use 5.18 which is the LTS for Plasma.  That version corrects many issues with the Discover app and WiFi applet in the System Tray.

Now with all that said, the only big issue I initially had was with the crash prone Discover app.  It is the GUI updating program used in Plasma.  I resolved that problem by using Apper which is another GUI updating application compatible with the PackageKit management service that KDE uses.

The default apps (like Audio settings, WiFi, clock, calendar) in the System Tray are pretty much the default among other KDE based distros.  Notable additions are the Yakuake Drop Down Terminal.  I personally don’t care for it but I know many people like it.  The other addition is an applet for Spectacle which is a Screen Shot application.  You can click and instantly get a full screen screenshot of your desktop.  I am not sure how often people want to do that but it is very quick and easy in Netrunner.  So quick and easy that you may find yourself taking many unwanted screenshots of your desktop.  Of course this can be removed from the System Tray along many other customizations that Plasma offers.

The versions of packages vary considering they use the Debian Buster repos.  For example Firefox is the Extended Service Release (ESR) version 78.7 and LibreOffice is 6.1.5-2.  The most recent version of LibreOffice is 7.1.5.  Though keep in mind and in my opinion that the newest versions aren’t always the best.  The versions available in the Debian Stable repos are rock solid, so if you need to get work done it will not let you down.  If you do need more recent versions, you can install and configure Flatpak or Snap.

An interesting development occurred after the release of Debian 11 codename Bullseye this past Saturday.  It replaces Debian 10 codename Buster as the current Stable branch of Debian.  I turned on my T460 Tuesday to refer to it as I finished writing this review.  I checked for updates using Apper and installed the updates.  I checked again just in case some updates were held back due to depending on other updates being installed.  I saw it had an error, so I opened up the terminal windows and typed sudo apt update.  I always use Apt instead of Apt-get when there are updating errors.  Apt has some ability to automatically fix issues with yes and no questions.  I was notified that the release name was updated and asked if I wanted to accept the change.  I accepted the change and ran the command again.  I was thinking it was the same message I had from my two Debian Buster computers notifying me that Buster was now old-Stable.  Considering Netrunner was using Buster it made sense, so I just ran the update again.

Though this time I had errors that one of the security repos was missing the release file.  It is a file on the mirror site that lists details specific to that repo.  I thought that was odd and looked at the /etc/apt/sources.list file.  I compared their sources.list to the one on one of my Debian Buster computers.  I noticed that Blue Systems used the word stable instead of buster and that the security repo line on my Debian Buster had a different path.  So I changed the Netrunner sources.list entry to match my Debian Buster.  The line was deb http://security.debian.org/debian-security buster/updates main contrib non-free.  Netrunners was the same except it didn’t have the /debian-security path.

The other entries in Netrunners sources.list file used the release name of stable instead of buster.

I thought to myself, that is odd.  Debian moved Debian 11 from Testing to Stable.  So Netrunner is going to pull from the Stable repos.  I am going to do a apt upgrade and see what happens.

By this time I was hungry so I just typed sudo apt update to update repo lists and everything updated without error.  I then typed sudo apt upgrade -y (to remove the need to type y after apt finds all the updates and presents the list so it can proceed) because I didn’t want to wait for it.

I came back a while later after eating dinner.  I rebooted the laptop not knowing if it was going to boot up again.  It booted and I signed in to verify the versions of things.  I checked the kernel and saw it was updated to 5.10.  Then I checked the Plasma version and it was 5.20.5.  The lsb_release -a shows it as Debian 11 instead of Netrunner.

I don’t know if this is what the Netrunner devs intended but this is what they have now.  I upgraded the Netrunner on my T430 that I used to test the dual booting and it successfully updated to Debian 11.  Keep in mind I didn’t do a dist-upgrade, all I did was a regular upgrade.  It is pretty impressive that there weren’t any package conflicts.  I went back and tried a dist-upgrade and no updates were available.

Now here is the interesting part.  I read in the Netrunner Forums some people asking if they could do a dist-upgrade on Netrunner so they could use the Testing repos to get a newer version of Plasma.   Since Debian was using 5.20.5 in their Testing branch.  This was before Debian 11 was moved from Testing to Stable.  The response every time was, yes you can but it is not supported.  When I looked at Netrunners source.list files they had commented out the Testing repos (by using the # symbol).  So all you need to do is uncomment them and comment the Stable repos.  They even have a Tutorial from 2016 explaining how to do this, though I don’t know if it is still accurate given it is 5 years old.

I didn’t see any comments in the forums about this, which makes me wonder.  With two laptops successfully upgraded to Debian 11, I can’t be the only person to notice this.  Granted I did need to know what file to edit with the correct information.


On reboot Free -h reports 625 MB in use and 7.9 GB of space on the SSD.  I had to install Htop via sudo apt install htop and it reported 636 MB.  


Blue Systems offers a support forum for Netrunner.  I did look through the messages but did not seek out any help.  They also have a nice installation guide available from their website listed under the Support menu.

I also want to point out that if you search for Netrunner.  I suggest including the word Linux in your search phrase as there is a card game called Netrunner.


I installed Netrunner on my T430 where I installed the Slackware 15 Beta.  Both Netrunner and Slackware were able to boot with no problem.  As a side note, Slackware is still using Lilo.  Actually in this case it was using Elilo which is the UEFI version.  Grub listed Elilo as a distro oddly enough.  I tried to use ELilo after installing Netrunner but it no longer works.  Lilo is an acronym meaning Linux Loader, it is what was used to load the Linux Kernel before Grub was created.


I would not question the stability of the Debian Buster base of Netrunner.  However, you still have Plasma’s papercut issues that have been fixed in current versions. This is mostly Discover having some obscure app crashes that the crash reporter never has enough information to submit a report with.


Debian using Plasma

MX Linux using Plasma

KDE Neon using a Ubuntu base


Ease of Installation new user                              8/10

experienced user 10/10

Hardware Issues                                                 8/10

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

Ease of Use                                                         8/10

Plays Nice With Others                                       10/10

Stability                                                                9/10

Overall Rating                                                    9/10


Despite the papercuts this is a usable distro overall.  I guess it would come down to how much those papercuts would bother you.  It would be easier for some people to install compared to the Graphical Debian installer which is good but not as flashy as Calamares.
 Netrunner with a Debian 11 base is a great choice winner for those who like ease of use that Calamares provides.  Plasma 5.20.5 and a rock stable Debian 11 is a good combination.  I will be keeping an eye on this to find out if this was an unintended upgrade or undocumented feature.


DISTRO NAME: Bodhi 6 (64-bit)

INTRO: I’ve been dodging this review long enough. Most listeners know that I truly love this distro, and tried and failed to use it for versions 3 and 4 and then succeeded with version 5. Disclaimer: The development team considers me a team member by now, and I donate to this distro. There is no distro more beautiful, nor that works more differently. This distro will either make your workflow wonderful or disrupt it, no two ways about it. And while it looks like it would be terrific for new users, there are some pitfalls, many of them caused by exactly the things that make it wonderful. So let’s get to it. This review is only of the 64-bit version, based on Ubuntu core; they are about to release the beta of the 32-bit version, based on Debian 11.  The team is divided up into sections, with two devs on the entire distro, one on Moksha itself, one on theming, and the rest of us doing docs, communications, and testing.

MY HARDWARE: I’m running this both on my System76 Kudu 3 (i7, Intel graphics, 16 Gb RAM and lots of SSD) and my HP Zia800 (dual quad-core Xeons, Nvidia graphics, 24 Gb RAM, 512 Gb SSD and 1 Tb HD). Other than having to adjust for my touchpad and battery on the Kudu, it runs about the same.


I have always just used the Standard version (aka Minimal), but after watching a couple videos and seeing what they include in the AppPack version, I have installed that on my Kudu. The installer is Ubiquity, the standard Ubuntu installer, so there are no surprises. The reason they don’t use Calamares is simply because it runs in Qt, which would make the packages significantly larger. 

If you install Standard and want to use a printer, you will first need to sudo apt install bodhi-printer before you actually install the printer driver; you don’t need that instruction or many others if you install the full AppPack version. Because this distro is so light, you will probably find settings you’re used to finding easily in places you’ve never guessed they’d be, or even not find them at all. I’ve had to install touchpad-indicator to get my touchpad to turn off, and I’m still not sure I’ve found a solution to boot with the numlock set to “on”.

But when you get it loaded, you are greeted with a briefly-animated GIF background, completely lovely if you like green. You can open the menus at any time, anywhere on the screen with a click — and not a right-click. You have enough to get started if you use Standard, or more than you need if you use AppPack, and will find that your memory usage is still under 300 Mb — and it’s not difficult to get it lighter than that. This is the lightest distro you can find with a full desktop experience.

If you don’t want to use your standard screen resolution, you’ll need to find the setting. It’s under Applications – Settings – Monitor Settings. You will need to select it, apply it, and click the “Moksha” setting to save it. You can use “Save As”, but you will need to know how to set the file you create as the go-to file at boot.

The settings are unlike anything you’ve seen unless you have prior experience with Enlightenment. Moksha is a fork of E17, although it has been updated with features found in later versions of Enlightenment and a lot of work has been done to make it more stable, plus it has been further lightened by removing the compositor aspects of E.

The bottom line is, if Moksha works for you, you will never want to use anything else unless you absolutely have to, but if it doesn’t, you’ll think it’s the strangest thing ever and won’t wait to switch away from it.


After it’s installed, anything you need should be available. The package manager is loaded through Bodhi-Chromium, or you can use Synaptic or just use apt in the Terminal. Even the Terminal, named Terminology, is special, and it would take a half hour to tell you all the neat things. But the packages are just Ubuntu 20.04, and will be until after 22.04 comes out (resulting in Bodhi 7), so everything you can find for Ubuntu, you can load in Bodhi, and terminal commands are the usual apt commands. Snap has been disabled but you can re-enable it if you choose. Flatpak is preferred but is not installed.


Very few distros look or work anything like Bodhi. If something works the way you want it to in Bodhi, you will never be quite as happy using it anywhere else. If it isn’t standard in Bodhi, you will need to look for help. I’m still looking for help on a few things, but this is my favorite distro, although I still go to Mint Mate when I absolutely need to get things done.


It doesn’t take much to get the memory usage at boot close to 100 Mb, and even default should be under 300 Mb. This is a light, light distro. On my Kudu, which has more apps installed than the installation on my Zia800, Stacer reports that I’m using 11.8 Gb of disk space.


There is a forum at LinuxQuestions-dot-org, which used to be the main forum but has been replaced by a new one on a user’s site. There is a very active Discord group, featuring the entire dev group, where you can get nearly instant help for anything you want or request new features. There is a Telegram group, which I started myself. This is a good group, extremely friendly and helpful and quite multinational. I spend a lot of time every day in the Discord group.


This is Ubuntu underneath. That makes it stable and easy to get along with.




Ease of Installation                     new user                8/10

                experienced user  10/10

Hardware Issues                                                        9/10

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

Ease of Use                                                               6 or 9/10

Plays Nice With Others                                             10/10

Stability                                                                     10x/10

Overall Rating                                                          9/10


I say it a lot: This is my favorite distro. It’s not what I go to when I need to get work done, but that’s because I still don’t know everything about how to make it work, and when you need to get work done you need to know you can do it as easily as possible. I’m on the distro team because I love it, not the other way around. It’s different, and in just the right way for my use, but your mileage may vary.


from 07/14 – 08/15

Live Raizo

Kodachi 7.8

IPFire 2.25-core158

Kaisen 1.7

Garuda 210720

NuTyX 21.07.3

GParted 1.3.1-1

Haiku R1 Beta 3

Grml 2021.07

Artix 20210726

siduction 21.2.0

OPNsense 21.7

Absolute 20210730

Freespire 7.7

4MLinux 37.0

Lakka 3.3

PCLinuxOS 2021.08

Nitrux 2021.08.02

NST 34-12783

OSMC 2021.08-1

elementary OS 6.0

Tails 4.21

Septor 2021.4

EasyNAS 1.0.1

Snal 1.7

KDE neon 20210812

Mabox 21.08

ArcoLinux 21.09.8

FuguIta 6.9-202108131

Debian 11.0.0

Bluestar 5.13.10

Debian Edu 11.0.0

Slackware 15.0-rc1

deepin 20.2.3

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