Episode 27 Show Notes


…wherein we discuss what we did this month…

Moss – I have had a rough month with distros. I’ll let Dale talk about his vacation, but it was great having him around for a few days and we got a lot done. All my computers are working, and all have fresh heat paste.

Most of this should go under Beautiful Failures, but they weren’t quite. I had two distros I had hoped to review this month: Cutefish OS,and Reborn OS. Both installed, both looked nice, neither of them worked. With Cutefish, it’s supposedly still in beta, based on Debian 11. The desktop had limited options, but they all looked pretty good. However, adjusting your screen brightness and rebooting/shutting off your computer was on a single widget — and with either one, you had to wait over two minutes for nothing to happen, then be prompted for your password, and then have the password box not accept input. The only thing to do is do a hard reset.

Reborn is Arch. I know you think I’m anti-Arch, but I’m not really… This installed easily, with a very complete and easy to use installer. I was going to give a blow-by-blow of this in my review… but when I went to do updates or even use the Internet, I was told there was no connection, even though it clearly showed a connection to my wifi. I found a notification which told me that it couldn’t find the Ethernet connection; when I dismissed that, suddenly it would use my wifi for the purposes of my browser. But when I went to run updates, it got all the way to the progress bar of the first program to be installed… and sat there. I waited a long time, rebooted, and tried it again, with the same result.

In both cases, the forum could not be reached, so I have not reported my issues to the devs. Both could be fine distros when they get their issues fixed. I have posted my partial reviews of these two distros and one other on It’s MOSS dot com if anyone wants to read them.

Dale – During the first part of my week I was preparing for my vacation the following week to visit Moss and his wife Suzanne.  I searched and compared hotels and travel booking sites with help from Moss since he knew the area better than I did.

A friend asked me to look at his Seagate Firecuda 2TB drive on his desktop computer.  He said it would randomly disappear from Windows 10 File Explorer.  This was a hybrid drive that contained an SSD for caching and the spinning platters of a traditional hard drive.  I booted his computer with a Debian 11 Cinnamon Live USB stick.  I tried to open Gnome Disks to run the smart test on the drive.  Well after 5 minutes of waiting for it to read the partition information, I canceled it and ran the command line version.  The short test reported it was ok, then I proceeded to run the long test.  It also reported that the drive was ok.  I went to Seagate’s website and found they had a drive utility called Seatools.  I downloaded that and created a bootable USB stick.  I tried it and it wouldn’t see the drive and during another reboot, it would find the drive and report it as ok.  I told him to call Seagate and get an RMA to return the drive as he mentioned it was about a year old.  He wasn’t happy because he had well over a terabyte of games from Steam installed on it.

I left the following Sunday morning to drive the 8 hours to Tennessee.  I arrived at the hotel with no trouble though, I did need to stop to stretch my legs a bit.  It was the first long trip I had taken by car in several years.  Although my car is nice and comfortable, the legroom doesn’t compare to my employer’s semi-truck.  My hotel was about 20 minutes from Moss’s residence.  The roads in the area were quite curvy and hilly in places and were fun to drive on.

After I arrived home, my last bit of computer fun was installing my new 512 GB Seagate Barracuda Q5 NVMe drive.  I chose Seagate due to a discussion I had in the mintCast Telegram group.  It was determined that no one in the group had ever tried Seagate’s solid-state drives.  Since I currently use their spinning drives and have done so in the past, I decided to try one of their NVMe drives.

I copied my current Pop!_OS installation using Gnome Disks.  Josh Hawk had mentioned to me that he had used the image creation feature to copy his SSD to his NVMe drive.  Creating the image took about 45 minutes for 500GB and another 45 to restore the image.  The image was saved to my 4TB Toshiba 7200 rpm spinning drive which is why it took that long.  Once finished I unplugged my SSD and booted the computer.  Everything worked as if nothing had changed.  I want to thank Josh for his awesome tip.  In case you want to try this yourself.  You have the option of imaging partitions or the entire drive.  To create partitions, the option is in the same menu for other Gnome Disk’s functions, though to create a whole disk image you must use the hamburger menu in the top right of the application.  I have no idea why Gnome put it up there.

I want to correct a mention in the last episode.  I had mentioned that Bhikhu suggested Xero Linux when it was Nishant.

Tony –   This month has been fairly relaxed as I have had a short holiday down in Birmingham, we did record an episode of mintCast while I was away and I had some issues with my USB sound card and this resulted in my audio not being very good. All because I forgot to take a spare USB sound card with me. I’ve been having more and more issues with my main PC Tower and I am leaning towards getting my first new PC for over 18 years. I have considered Entroware as they are a Linux vendor here in the UK, but the model of Tower I would like is not currently in stock and I’m not sure when they will be getting it back in. This leaves me the option to wait or go with another PC builder with the issue of not knowing if the hardware is fully Linux compatible.  

My SUSE Tumbleweed and my Endeavor laptops are going strong and they seem to do updates just fine despite my often neglecting them for several weeks at a time, although just recently I’ve been a little better at keeping them updated. Both of these distros could easily become my daily driver if it weren’t for Mint. 

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

Moss – I noticed while checking on Rudra Saraswat’s various Ubuntu-based distro updates that he is now a Linux Foundation Certified Developer and is also listed as an Ubuntu Team Member. Not bad for a 6th grader in New Delhi. There are even more astonishing things to learn about this fine young man, have a look for yourself. He already has a Ubuntu Wiki page and Ubuntu Unity has a Wikipedia page.

I would also like to state that I am slightly bothered by the fact that more and more distros seem to suppress the Grub menu upon rebooting, causing an “automatic” reboot into the default distro. Of course, they would like their distro to be default, but if you multi-boot, I recommend using the BIOS menu to boot into a more permissive distro and running Grub Customizer to make that distro default, or you may be stuck forever booting into the last distro you installed.

Dale – I haven’t been keeping up with Garuda, they are expanding their offerings quite a bit.  If you haven’t looked at their site in the past 6 months or so check it out.  

Ghost BSD updated to version 1.26.0 of the Mate Desktop and they also patched some vulnerable versions of Webkit and Curl.  They also resolved some VirtualBox boot issues.

Redcore Linux released 2102 codename Polaris.  The release focuses on polishing and bug fixes.  Though they did manage to update over 1300 packages since their previous release, along with a rebuild of their repository.

The Xero Linux project announced major changes.  He released another ISO on October 31st. This was released after the one I mentioned in my review from the last episode.  It contains many bug fixes. Going forward he is slowing his pace on releases, opting to follow other distros with the saying of, it will be released when it is done.  No schedule and no ETAs.  I am glad he got a handle on the bugs, as I did enjoy using the ISO previous to the buggy one.  So if you were put off by that ISO, now is your chance to give it a try.

He also found an interesting utility for KDE Plasma called Konsave.  It will allow you to easily export your configs.  I will put the link in the show notes.  It will provide more details and a YouTube video explaining how it works.

Konsave -Save KDE Customizations


Tony: – Nothing from me update wise.

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

Moss: I got OpenMandriva Lx 4.2 installed on both drives of my T540p, and went about trying to upgrade one of them to Rolling Lx 4.5. I followed the instructions. I really did. I talked to the guys in the OM forum, who are always friendly and helpful, especially lead dev Ben Bullard. I wound up with a drive so messed up I couldn’t even reinstall OM 4.2 on it. I tried a few other distros, could not write GRUB, but when I tried Feren OS it worked. So that’s what I’m reviewing this episode. But all this was a headache or three.

Dale: I didn’t have any failures the past month.

Tony: My beautiful failure this time is hardware related, I have an 11 year old i7 box that I was keeping as a backup PC which will not boot from USB. Well I dragged it out this week due to the hardware issues I was having with my main box, I thought I might be able to use it while waiting on a new PC but alas not. It will boot from the DVD Rom so I burned a DVD of Mint 20.2 and half way through the install it failed, possibly because the disk was corrupt or more likely the DVD unit in the PC needs it’s laser lens cleaning and I don’t own a cleaning disk. I will have another go and burn another disk to see if this resolves the issue but as it requires a bit of work to get it set up I’m not sure when.

This Months Distributions


INTRO:Storm OS is an Arch Linux-based distro originally named Hackman Linux developed by Matthew Moore.  He left the project and it was continued by Ben Fitzpatrick with contributions by silent robot, seeker, rayzer1981, and TJ Wolf.  They offer a KDE Plasma edition 5.23.5 (subject to change) and an Xfce 4.16 edition.  The Xfce edition has an interesting twist of using Compiz .9.14.1-4 for window compositing.  It allows for desktop animations in GTK desktops similar to what you would see in Qt-based KDE Plasma like Wobbly Windows and Magic Lamp.  There are too many others to mention.

The Storm OS team intends to offer an easy-to-use distro from general use to gaming.  

There was a new ISO that was released during my review, so I will add some notes when something has changed from the previous ISO.


The laptop I used is my Lenovo ThinkPad T460.  It has an 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.


I chose the Xfce edition for this review.  The installation uses Calamares and is themed with the Storm OS logo.  The typical request to connect to the internet was requested so I connected to my WiFi.  I set the location and my keyboard language.  Partitioning was the usual (Install alongside, replace a partition, erase disk, and manual); I chose erase disk. In the user section, I created my user account.  There was an option to require a strong password if checked. The others were automatic login and to use the same password for the administrator account.

Just like in Xero Linux, Storm OS allows the installation of packages during install.  The list is much shorter and offers simpler choices in comparison.  I saw that I could install Wine-staging, Steam and the native runtime, Team Viewer, and Telegram, along with other apps like VLC and MPV.

After making my selections I was shown a summary of choices and clicked install.  Once complete I clicked finish and rebooted the laptop.

I did another install since another ISO was released while I was reviewing the previous one.  The install with the new ISO is fairly similar.  You have the option of installing the Linux Zen Kernel, Linux LTS, and Nvidia LTS.  There is an Nvidia driver category that includes the dkms driver, Nvidia Utils, Optimus manager, and the QT version.


Upon reboot, I saw a simple Grub menu with blue highlights.  The count down timer was set to 30 seconds which is fine but I prefer 10 to 15 seconds.  One of my favorite features is that the installation retains the WiFi configuration after installation.  I didn’t notice any issues during the first sign-on.

The new ISO has a new Grub theme using the Storm OS logo to the right and the menu options on the left of it.  The boot countdown timer is also set to 10 seconds now.


I will say that I am happy to be in an Xfce distro using Compiz.  It brought back many memories of using it in the past.  The desktop was an Adwaita Bluesky-Dark theme but the wallpaper was not set.  After some searching, I found the wallpaper images in /usr/share/backgrounds/stormos.  That is a general place distros will place their wallpaper files.  I selected one and posted a screenshot to the Distrohoppers’ Telegram Group.  I must say they do look very nice.  They follow a Science Fiction theme along with some nice stormy cloud images.  I was quite happy with them.

By default, the Wobbly Windows effect was enabled.  I opened the Compiz Configuration Manager to enable the Magic Lamp (minimize and maximize) effect.  You can’t have Wobbly Windows without the Magic Lamp in my opinion.  I just think it is a nice combination.  

It appears that Ben Fitzpatrick liked my suggestion of using the Magic Lamp animation.  It is now on by default, thanks, Ben.

The settings manager for Compiz is in the tray.  It is a very handy utility.  You can select your window decorator (theming), the default is Emerald, but you can change it to GTK.  Additionally, you can select your Window Manager with the default being Compiz, your other choices are Xfwm or Metacity. There is also a link to open Emerald Theme Manager.

I noticed that when I installed Element, a Matrix chat client, that the Gnome Keyring was prompting me for my user password before letting Element finish loading.  It was no bother to me and once I entered my password Element opened and functioned normally.  I did contact Ben Fitzpatrick about this and he is aware of it.  This may be removed in a future ISO release.

Another nice enabled feature is the hot corner in the upper left to switch workspaces.  I use a similar hot corner in Pop!_OS in my lower left to show my activities.  In case you are not familiar with hot corners, when you move your mouse to a corner of the screen a predefined action happens.  If you haven’t used them before, it may take some adjustment.

Package management is done via Pamac.  It provides a command-line and a GUI utility.  Pamac GUI allows you to enable Third Party repos like the AUR, Flatpak, and Snap.  You can also configure automatic checking of updates and their frequency.  Additionally, you can enable automatic downloading of updates and how many it can do, referred to as Parallel downloads.  The Yay AUR helper utility is also available, it helps you install packages from the AUR.

Given the Arch base of Storm OS, you can enjoy the latest or most recent versions of many applications and kernel versions.  They are using the Arch kernel which is 5.14.15 but it will be updated quite often and the terminal is using bash 5.1.8 with Ext4 as the filesystem.

This is a very responsive desktop experience.  I think the animations are fun and don’t get in the way of using the desktop.  I like that the super key is set to open the application menu.  Some of the default applications are (again these are subject to change between ISO releases):

Electron, Lutris, Steam (Native), Steam (Runtime), Flameshot, Firefox, Signal, Team Viewer, Zoom, MPV, VLC.  For an office package, they are using AbiWord.


Memory usage reported by the free command was 587 MB with 12 GB used on the SSD.


There is an email address listed on their website along with a chat option located at the bottom right.


I installed Debian Cinnamon and tried to install Storm OS alongside, but Storm OS is the only OS that will boot.  As Moss mentioned Storm OS seems to make it the default OS.


I have had no crashes or failed updates.  Like I do with all of my Arch-based reviews, I wait a week or so between updates.  During the 4 weeks I used Storm OS, all the updates were installed without a problem.  This past update I did was after 2 weeks.  This is pretty good for an Arch-based distro in my opinion.


Endeavour OSGaruda


Ease of Installation      new user                    8/10 

                                    experienced user       10/10 

Hardware Issues                                            10/10

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

Ease of Use                                                   10/10

Plays Nice With Others                                   5/10

Stability                                                           10/10

Overall Rating                                               8/10


This has been one of the best Arch-based distro experiences I have had.  If you are wanting an easy-to-install out-of-the-box Arch-based distro that requires no tweaking other than choosing a wallpaper, that has all the gaming support packages installed, then Storm OS should be at the top of your list.

I chatted with Joshua Hawk from the Crowbar Kernel Panic podcast.  It is focused on Linux gaming.  He is intending on trying out the gaming performance of Storm OS.  So look them up and subscribe.  Since I am not a gamer, I wanted Storm OS to get a proper gaming review.  Bo and Josh are the best ones to do it.

Moss: DISTRO NAME: Feren OS 2021.10

INTRO: I’ve used this distro many times before. It almost feels like Mint with Plasma, although earlier editions used a themed Cinnamon, and usually feels like a friendly spot to be. I was a bit worried when I saw that this is a transitional version, with Feren OS 2022 being the next step complete with an all new program manager, as one transitional version I’ve reviewed on this show turned out to have some major issues, later resolved in the following major version. I had no real issues.


I’m running on my new T540p, with an i7-4710MQ @ 3.500GHz, both Intel and Nvidia graphics, 16 Gb RAM, with a 256 Gb Samsung SSD and a 512 Gb Silicon Power SSD. 

INSTALLATION EASE AND ISSUES:  Not only did everything install properly, it did so despite all my earlier failures with other distros earlier this month, so I was very happy. All your usual software is available through APT, the software store, or Synaptic. If you like Vivaldi, it comes as the default browser, but there is also a tool for choosing and installing any browser you like. I wish they had the same tool for Office packages, like Manjaro does, and should probably mention it to him.

POST-INSTALLATION HARDWARE FACTS & ISSUES: I got everything installed, removed LibreOffice and set Vivaldi aside, installed Firefox and my other things. The layout is pretty close to everything I want, so I didn’t change themes or anything; even the wallpaper is much nicer than usual, so I didn’t change it. The kernel is 5.11.0-38, Firefox is 93.0.

EASE OF USE: As already stated, it just feels like Mint with Plasma. While Plasma is not my favorite desktop, it is definitely one worth keeping an eye on. Everything I wanted to get done, it just got done, just as if I’d been using the distro for years. I know I’ve been trying Feren on and off for years, but I don’t even feel this comfortable in Bodhi and don’t feel any more comfortable in Mint. The only negatives I can find are that I could not find a way to set the system clock to the 24-hour setting, and boot times, both up and down, are much longer than any other distro I’m currently using. Also, the icon to shut down or reboot is so tiny you could easily miss it, a fact I’ve mentioned in my previous reviews of Feren.

MEMORY AND DISK USE: Memory usage was 759 Mb, higher than some other Plasma distros but much lower than it has previously been in Feren. Disk space used is 13.6 Gb. I see no reason this could not be used on any 64-bit machine.

EASE OF FINDING HELP: The lead dev has a Discord channel as well as his Weebly forum. Lots of help is available. Also, this is Plasma on Ubuntu core, so it should be very easy to find help.



STABILITY: I had some worries but they seem for naught. I thought about waiting until the next version since this is stated to be a transitional version, but I have not experienced any issues. If I keep it installed, Feren will upgrade to the next version automatically.



MX Linux Plasma

KDE neon



Ease of Installation                  new user                   9/10

          experienced user           10/10

Hardware Issues                                                      10/10

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

Ease of Use                                                           10/10

Plays Nice With Others                                           10/10

Stability                                                                   10/10

Overall Rating                                                       9.5/10

FINAL COMMENTS: There have been times when I thought Feren OS might be that perfect distro for just about everybody. If you like working with Plasma, it just might be now. If I say any more about it, I would just sound like a fanboi. Thank you, Dominic, for such a nice distro.


from 09/29 – 11/02

Linux Kodachi 8.12 

Nitrux 2021.09.30

GhostBSD 21.09.29

Thinstation 6.2.12

SystemRescue 8.05

Arch Linux 2021.10.01

IPFire 2.27 Core 160

Feren OS 2021.10

Redo Rescue 4.0.0

KaOS 2021.10

OpenBSD 7.0

Devuan GNU+Linux 4.0.0

Ubuntu – all official flavors 21.10

Ubuntu Unity Remix 21.10

Ubuntu Ed Remix 21.10

Ubuntu Web 21.10

GhostBSD 21.10.16

Porteus Kiosk 5.3.0

Regata 21.0.15

Redcore 2102


Volumio 2.916

MX 21

NuTyX 21.10.0

Absolute 20211024

EasyOS 3.1

Trisquel 9.0.1

KDE neon 20211028

Elive 3.8.24

Nitrux 2021.10.29

ExTiX 21.11

antiX 21

FuguIta 7.0*

Fedora 35.

Voyager 21.10

Arch Linux 2021.11.01

LibreELEC 10.0.1


Our next episode will probably be recorded around December 8th, mostly depending on Dale’s schedule. For chatting with us further, you may choose to join our 23 users in Telegram, our 51 members on MeWe, or the 11 users in our growing channel in Discord.

Dale: I’m @Dale_CDL on Telegram, Matrix, and Discord #9433. My email is [email protected]

Tony: You can hear me nearly every week on mintCast, and contact me at [email protected], http://hackerpublicradio.org/correspondents.php?hostid=338, Twitter @TonyH1212, [email protected]

Moss: And you can hear me every week on Full Circle Weekly News, email at [email protected], my Telegram, Discord, Twitter and Mastodon contact info is in the show notes, [I’m Moss Bliss on Telegram, @MossHippoLinux #3616 on Discord, @bardictriad on Twitter, @[email protected] on Mastodon,] and you can find me, Dale and Dylan, at ItsMOSS dot com

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