Episode 32 Show Notes


…wherein we discuss what we did this month…

Moss – Dale came through town recently and we spent a bit of time hanging together. A grand time, and some food, was had by all.

I have reconfigured both of my laptops, and am preparing them for next month’s show by installing lots and lots of Ubuntu.

Dale – A few days after recording the previous episode, I celebrated my 48th birthday. Much of my time was spent visiting a friend for dinner along with a few Skype and Zoom calls with non-local friends. Due to some rapidly changing weather at home, my sinuses were not happy. So when I wasn’t visiting friends in person or online, I was in bed in low lighting watching tv and messaging on my phone. I didn’t do many computer-related activities other than my social activities. I will have a lot more to report next episode. This week that I’ve been home has been more computer hobby-related compared to the last time.

As far as work,Mother Nature hasn’t been fun this spring, I must say this has been the windiest spring in recent memory. I went from Ohio to Southern California along the Mexican border, then to Kentucky, following that I went to Texas. I spent a day there and eventually left for Tennessee. Due to the receiving customers’ request, I had to deliver a day later than intended. Well, that is the short version. As Moss previously mentioned, I was able to visit with Moss and his wife. From there I drove to California in the Los Angeles area, my next load was just south of there going to Texas. Once in Texas, I did some other in-state deliveries, which is quite time-consuming given the size of the state. Finally, from there I drove to Ohio to deliver and go home. All of that was about 12,200 miles.

Tony – I was asked to rescue a nice little 4th generation i5 laptop as Windows 10 was taking a long time to do anything. After a discussion with the owner about what he used the laptop for, he decided that he would like to try Linux and upgrade from the spinning HDD to an SSD and upgrade the RAM from 4 to 8Gb. So I installed Linux Mint Mate on the machine after the hardware upgrades, with his OK I also purchased a USB3 2.5” caddy for the spinning HDD so he had additional external storage and he could revert to Windows if he was not happy. The latter was not needed, I told him to give me a call if he was having any issues with the laptop, and when I saw him a couple of weeks later he said all is well and he is very happy. So instead of spending several hundred pounds for a new Laptop, for £70 he got an SSD, a RAM upgrade and an external caddy for the HDD, and a reliable and now fairly rapid laptop (30s boot time as opposed to 3+ minutes)

I’ve done a little modeling but for the last 17 days it has been the Snooker world Championship and so I’ve been spending a lot of time on the sofa glued to the TV. The final was over Sunday and Monday, and it was an exciting match. So now it’s back to normal for a while, I’ll be spending some time with Linux lol.

So Josh what’s been happening to you?

Josh – I have been regretting my decision to build my servers around snap applications. Sure, they are easy to get going, and sure, they are easy to maintain, but what happens when you want to switch to another container-based system? I will tell you what happens, nothing good. I spent maybe 2 or 3 hours searching the web for a solution to this but found nothing. The closest thing I have found is a project started by Alan Pope that will turn your Snap applications into Flatpaks. The issue with it is that it’s in early alpha and I don’t wanna chance anything myself. So at this point, I am forced to manually migrate my data aka meaning setting up my services and then adding the raw data to it. In the case of Plex, I have to go and mark all my shows and movies I have already watched by hand. This experience has ruined snaps for me altogether. I thought at first they were really great, and they are if you plan on using them from now till the end of time, but if you ever want to migrate, good luck.

With that out of the way, I can get to the good news. I received a tower PC from Dale that I have turned into my proxmox server. I am now basing my server infrastructure around proxmox and LXC otherwise known as Linux Containers. Why I chose this is twofold. One, because proxmox supports LXC very well, and two, LXC is basically a stripped-down VM that shares a kernel with the host system. Basically, LXC is a customized chroot environment that keeps it contained in its container. The main advantage to LXC is much lower resource usage than a VM. I am running my Plex LXC on 512Mb of RAM and it typically only uses 185Mb of that unless it’s transcoding. I will be working on my Nextcloud soon, but that will be another story. Nextcloud needs a LAMP stack to host the data and web interface – LAMP stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. Traditionally, LXC was not designed to run multiple applications inside of it, but I am going to give this a shot to get Nextcloud running. Let’s face it, at this point anything is better than a snap package.

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

Moss – I just learned there is a new version of LXQt, v. 1.1, and am trying to find a distro using it so I can check it out. All the Ubuntus have updated, including the two major respins, Unity and Cinnamon. I also found a new version of Linux Lite, a nearly-forgotten distro which does everything simply.

Dale – In our Telegram group listener Bhikhu shared a blog post on ‘How to boot Arch Linux or Manjaro from Grub2 from another distribution’. I will have the link to it in the update portion of the show notes.
How to boot Arch Linux or Manjaro from Grub2 of other distribution

XeroLinux’s dev announced that he is only going to support the KDE Plasma edition starting in May. He wrote that he didn’t have the time to properly support it and give it the time it deserved.

The Solus project updated their Glibc library requiring about 1,000 rebuilds to use this update.

Slackel released version 7.5 of their Openbox edition. It offers kernel 5.15.12 and updates from Slackware’s ‘Current’ branch. They removed wicd and replaced it with Network Manager for connecting to networks.

Josh – Fedora 36 beta is almost ready. The team had to push the release back to May 3rd. Deepin 20.5 has been released with kernel 5.15.24 and a slew of other improvements.

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

Moss: I have been trying to get the latest version of SolydK to install and run. The latest version, 12, seems to be packaged without a wifi module. I have installed version 10 and run scripts to update it to 11, which forgets to change the address of the repos, and spent far too much time on this. I’ve been in and out of the distro’s forum. They are friendly and helpful, but I’m not close yet.

I have also been trying to get to know LMDE 5 “Elsie”, but it seems to believe that I have a RAID6 setup on my laptop and quite often boots to a (initramfs) prompt. I have reinstalled it several times, and run fsck a couple times, but it keeps coming up the same.

On a self-inflicted note, I managed to completely dick up my Ubuntu Mate 20.04 on my Raspberry Pi 4, and had to completely reinstall it, which was a tragedy as some of the things I use are no longer available. I was trying to uninstall Bluetooth, as I have no use for it on there, and managed to wipe several libraries used by Kodi, which reported as “uninstallable”.

I have also finally broken ArcoLinux. I broke it by using regular updates. Apparently, I’m not supposed to use Pamac.

Dale: My Debian Testing install on my desktop had an odd conundrum. There was a huge update to the Gnome core packages along with Xorg. I was notified that to install the updates, Apt needed to remove my Nvidia Binary driver. I was using the Nvidia 510 series binary from their site. Since I had an image of my installation, I proceeded with the upgrade. Upon that reboot is when things went odd. I was expecting to fall back to Nouveau but I was still using the Nvidia binary. Except 90% of the Nvidia control panel was missing. I wasn’t feeling well and didn’t feel like doing anything to correct it, luckily everything appeared to work fine. I did reinstall Testing while home the past week, though I will leave the interesting details about that for the next episode.

Josh: I mentioned my snap failure already. On another note, Windows has been giving me issues, not surprisingly. Every time I update my Intel drivers in my laptop, Windows update wants to automatically downgrade me to what it thinks is best. I have gone as far as to make group policies and also registry edits to prevent this, but nothing has worked. Windows has a mind of its own, albeit not a very smart mind. Another issue I have been having is on my HP Stream laptop. My trackpad will just randomly stop working all of a sudden. I have tried many distros and all of them do the same thing except CentOS Stream 9. I have no idea what exactly in CentOS fixed this but it has. I literally just tried this as a kinda joke to fix the issue but alas it did work!



DISTRO NAME: LMDE 5 “Elsie” Cinnamon Edition

INTRO: LMDE is a project from Linux Mint that uses Debian as a base instead of Ubuntu. This is a contingency plan in case they ever need to rebase Linux Mint on Debian for whatever reason. Their goal is to be able to maintain the user experience despite the underlying base. It also allows them to guarantee the compatibility of their packages outside of Ubuntu. The name is an abbreviation of Linux Mint Debian Edition.

Here is a brief but not complete history. An Alpha of LMDE was released on January 1st, 2008 using Debian Testing. The first official release was on September 7th, 2010. LMDE was Linux Mint’s rolling-release distribution. It used Gnome as did Linux Mint, this was before Cinnamon was created. On April 4th of 2011, the XFCE edition was released for both Mint and LMDE. Later that year on November 26th, MGSE replaced Gnome. MGSE was an acronym for Mint Gnome Shell Extensions. It used Gnome but provided an improved user interface. In the same month, MATE (a fork of Gnome 2) was added. MGSE was renamed Cinnamon once it reached version 2 in November of 2013 and was its own desktop environment without the dependency of Gnome. On April 10th of 2015, version 2 of LMDE (Betsy) was rebased on Debian Stable version 8 (Jessie). LMDE 3 (Cindy) was based on Debian 9 Stretch and was released on August 31, 2018. It was decided by Linux Mint that LMDE 3 would only offer Cinnamon. Going forward, LMDE would be their backup plan if anything happened to Ubuntu for whatever reason. They would follow the release cadence of Debian and offer no point releases of LMDE. Any security fixes are applied to their Debian base along with continuous updates of the Mint packages. LMDE 4 (Debbie) was based on Debian 10 Buster, released on March 20th, 2020. The current version of LMDE 5 (Elsie) is based on Debian 11 (Bullseye), released on March 20th, 2022.


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.


The installation is similar to Linux Mint. The same questions of language, keyboard, time and date, and user creation are the same. You have the option to encrypt your home folder. I choose not to for this review. The disk partitioning allows for Automated (erase the disk and install LMDE), the use of LVM (Logical Volume Management, a process of combining all your storage into one single volume), or Manual partitioning. I chose manual because I wanted to dual boot with Debian Testing. It was fairly easy to select the partition I wanted to use. Gparted opened and selected sda4 where Gecko Linux was installed and formatted it with Ext4. I exited Gparted and then right-clicked on sda4. From there I chose to assign it to the root partition. I didn’t need to do anything with the swap partition because Linux distros can share swap space. On the following screen, I choose to install Grub to /dev/sda since Gecko was previously using Grub to boot it and Debian Testing. The next screen showed my installation choices, from there I clicked install. Once the installation was finished, I was asked if I wanted to restart my computer. There was no prompt to remove the USB stick.


No issues were found.


The experience of using LMDE is very similar to Linux Mint. The main difference is the packages are sourced from Debian instead of Ubuntu. Given that they are using Debian 11 Bullseye, some packages may be a version or so older. I know that can be a point of contention among Linux users. Some insist on having the most current packages. Since these packages have security fixes applied, the only thing they are missing is new features. I have always wondered if the people that complain about Debian packages being old or outdated have ever compared the features between the current and existing Debian packages. Are they really needing those features or are they just finding something to complain about?

One quirky thing I noticed was during the setting of the local mirrors for the Software Manager. After the speed check and selecting the mirrors, the Software Center asked me a second time if I wanted to switch to a local mirror. I clicked no but I looked at the settings to see if my previous choices were saved and they were. I noticed that each time I would have updates, I was asked if I wanted to switch to a local mirror. I once again verified that my previous choices were saved and they still were.

If you are a Timeshift user or want to become one, Timeshift is available. I didn’t try it but I have used it in the past. I could have if I remembered to use BTRFS instead of Ext4 during installation.

A couple of nice things as a Debian user using LMDE is you have Firefox 99 pre-installed. In vanilla Debian, you have Firefox ESR 91 by default. As a side note, you can install Firefox 99 in Debian using the Sid repos but requires adding them to your Apt sources list and creating rules preventing Apt from using the Sid repos by default.

Flatpak is enabled by default and is available via the Software Manager. The Software Manager is the same as Linux Mint functionality-wise. The use of Flatpaks somewhat eliminates the problem with older Debian packages, if new versions are desired. I like how the Flatpaks are marked with which hub they are from like Flathub for example. The Cinnamon Spices which are Applets you can add to your Cinnamon desktop are also updated via the Software Manager. In previous versions, this was handled separately.

Just like in Debian and Linux Mint, Snap is not installed.

Currently, LMDE is using Kernel 5.10.0-14 and Cinnamon version 5.2.7. The theming of Cinnamon is very nice. The dark mode is very consistent among the applications. I installed VLC via Flathub and the dark mode theme was used as if it was a native package.


22 GB of space used on the SSD

646 MB of memory used was reported by free -h and 677 MB by free –mega. Thanks to Aris, a member of our Telegram group, for pointing out the difference.


I did not need to seek out any help. They do use the same forums as Linux Mint does. Along with Reddit, Discord, and Telegram. I have been a member of the Telegram group for many years and Discord for the past couple of years. Though I haven’t seen many questions about LMDE.


I was able to dual boot with Debian Testing without any problems. After the LMDE install, it defaulted to booting LMDE. I rebooted and chose Debian Testing and it booted fine as well.


Considering LMDE is using Debian Stable as a base, you are not going to have any problems. In my previous experience running Linux Mint Cinnamon on my desktop, I found it to be very reliable.


Linux Mint Cinnamon


Ease of Installation      new user                 6/10

    experienced user    10/10

Hardware Issues                                         10/10

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

Ease of Use                                                 10/10

Plays Nice With Others                                10/10

Stability                                                         10/10

Overall Rating                                             8/10


The caveat for the Ease of Installation rating is based on doing the automatic install vs the manual install. For a new user using the automatic installation, they shouldn’t have a problem. There could be some issues if they were to try the manual installation. It is not very intuitive because it just opens Gparted and it is up to them to make the changes. I think some better on-screen documentation would be helpful. A little instruction goes a long way. I am sure once they are shown what is needed, it would be a much better experience.

Based on my prior experience using Linux Mint 18 a few years ago on my desktop. I didn’t find much of a difference using LMDE. If it were not for the fact that I have been really enjoying Gnome 42 on Debian Testing, LMDE would probably be my second choice of a distro for my daily use.

If you are a Debian fan but you like the way Linux Mint functions, I would have no problems recommending LMDE.



INTRO: I am going to preamble this with a warning. This is not a Linux distro, it is based on Solaris and is very different from Linux.

That being said, this is a fascinating OS. Smart OS is a type 1 hypervisor platform for virtual machines. Type 1 meaning it’s a bare-metal hypervisor that gives its VMs all the performance of a bare-metal machine. Smart OS is a mogpog of technologies. It starts off by using zones, which are similar to BSD jails or Linux Containers. Zones basically give all the benefits of a VM without the overhead of running an entire OS within a zone. It also implements something called LX – basically Linux Emulation – so that Linux applications do not have to be recompiled for Smart OS. It uses a ported version of KVM and QEMU so it can talk directly with the hardware using intel VMX support. Finally, it also uses BSD Bhyve hypervisor to host Windows or Linux full VM images.

There is no GUI for this, it is all command-line based but has amazingly good tooling for VM management.

MY HARDWARE: Acer Predator Helios 300 with i7-11800h CPU, 16gb 3200mhz RAM, Nvidia 3060 mobile GPU, and a Samsung pro 840 SSD.

INSTALLATION EASE AND ISSUES: You don’t actually install Smart OS. The OS runs fully in RAM, and when you go through the initial “installer” you are actually just configuring the system. Once Smart OS is configured, when you need to upgrade you simply download the upgraded Smart OS image, and when the system is rebooted it reads the config file you defined on the initial boot and restores everything as it was before.

The “installation” process is actually really simple. You boot from your flashed USB, and then you’re presented with a grub-like screen that gives you a few options. You can just pick “boot Smart OS”. You are then presented with a fully text installer. It basically tells you what to do, you just need to enter what you want such as if you want a static IP or use DHCP, and your gateway IP to get access to the internet from your router.

Smart OS uses ZFS as its filesystem and you are prompted to make a ZFS filesystem on the initial setup. The first thing you gotta do is define a zpool, which you have the options of stripe, mirror, raidz1, raidz2, and raidz3. You can also select default and it will just select whatever is the default.

After configuring the storage, it asks you if you want any 3rd party tools. I always just say yes because I’d rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

Finally, it prompts you for a root password, and then you’re done. It quickly goes over the config you have set and asks you to confirm if it’s correct.

POST-INSTALLATION HARDWARE FACTS & ISSUES: SmartOS uses Zones which is inspired by FreeBSD Jails. Zones are virtualized instances of SmartOS that behave like an isolated system. Zones share a common kernel with the system but are totally process isolated from one another. To me, zones seem exactly like LXC (Linux Containers). SmartOS has what it calls a Global Zone that is a parent to all other zones. The global zone is not persistent and needs to be loaded new at every boot unless a configuration file is defined in a specific directory to be read and applied at boot time.

So for my first try at installing this OS I tried installing it on my one HP laptop and that was a total failure. It would load but then it would have a ton of errors that seemed to be hardware related so I assumed it was driver issues. I then installed it on my laptop I stated above in the hardware section and that seemed to work normally.

Once installed I could begin creating zones. The first thing you must do to create a zone is download a zone image. Basically, the image is the backend for the zone. SmartOS gives you many options from SmartOS images to Linux images. Once I downloaded the image (I downloaded a smartOS image and a Debian 11 image) you must create a json file that tells SmartOS how to set up the zone such as IP addresses and hostnames. When I tried to create the Debian 11 zone it kept failing even though I had the correct configuration set. I still do not know why this happened. I then tried the SmartOS image and that one was created just fine. I don’t know if I have to do some extra setup for a Linux zone or what but Linux was just not working.

I can now login to my new SmartOS zone by using the command ‘zlogin’ and then the UUID of your installed image. If you forget what your UUID is for a zone (as I did many times) you can use the command ‘vmadm list’ and it will list your created zones. I had a basic install so nothing short of SmartOS is installed on this zone so you have to add packages. To do this you use the command ‘pkgsrc’ also known as the NetBSD package manager. When I said this OS was a hodgepodge of things I was not lying.

This is where I hit my first snag. For the life of me, I could not get networking to work inside of my zones. I read all the documentation and re-wrote the json file at least 50 times using vi I might add but nothing could get my zones to work properly. Unfortunately, this is where I stopped because without an internet connection I was lost as to what to do with this zone since no software is installed by default.

EASE OF USE: This is a very advanced OS and only true sysadmins will want to use this for any kind of server infrastructure. The installation is not that hard but the use of this OS requires a specific amount of knowledge to operate efficiently. That being said I believe this OS is great for moderate to advanced users if willing to learn something new.

I couldn’t get the networking to function but that was probably my fault in not knowing networking to its full potential.

MEMORY AND DISK USE: This section is not applicable to SmartOS because it does not actually get installed onto the disk.

EASE OF FINDING HELP: The documentation is really good for SmartOS but some things are lacking. Such as the networking sections being brief and not many good examples were given.

PLAYS NICE WITH OTHERS: Probably not unless you consider VMs to be others. This OS was designed to be used on a system in ram only so other OSs are not welcome.

STABILITY: I booted and installed several versions of this OS and everything seemed to be super stable every time I booted it. Updates don’t come very fast for this OS so it sticks on one version for a while.





Ease of Installation          new user                   6/10                                         experienced user      9/10

Hardware Issues                                               6/10

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

Ease of Use                                                      5/10

Plays Nice With Others                                     1/10

Stability                                                              10/10

Overall Rating                                                 6.5/10

FINAL COMMENTS: SmartOS I know has potential and seems to be very good as a type 1 hypervisor. I just didn’t have enough time with it to really learn all its ins and outs. I know if I used this day in and day out for many months or years it would come 2nd nature to me. I really have a soft spot for hypervisor OSs because I have used hypervisors so much in the past and they are so useful. I would love to do more reviews on hypervisor OSs like this in the future.

Solaris is based on Sun OS which is a direct descendant of the original Unix from the 1970s.


from 03/24 – 05/01

4MLinux 39.0

Parrot 5.0

Porteus Kiosk 5.4.0

Finnix 124

GParted 1.4.0-1

deepin 20.5

Nitrux 20220402

Mabox 22.04

Elive 3.8.27

Alpine 3.15.4

Q4OS 4.8

CloudReady 9.4.36


Tails 4.29

RaspiOS 2022-04-04

SystemRescue 9.02

MX Linux 21.1

EndeavourOS 22.1

Kodachi 8.16

RebornOS 2022.04.10

Archcraft 2022.04.07

Turnkey 17.0

KDE neon 20220414

SparkyLinux 2022.04

EasyNAS 1.0.2

PCLinuxOS 2022.04

Manjaro 21.2.6

EasyOS 3.4.6

Archman 2022.04

SysLinuxOS 11.3

AV Linux MX-21.1

Kodachi 8.20

OpenBSD 7.1

SmartOS 20220421

Ubuntu MATE 22.04

Xubuntu 22.04

Ubuntu Studio 22.04

Ubuntu Budgie 22.04

Ubuntu Kylin 22.04

Lubuntu 22.04

Kubuntu 22.04

Ubuntu 22.04

Snal 1.17

openmamba 20220423

PCLinuxOS 2022.04.20

NuTyX 22.04.6

Garuda 220424

Pop!_OS 22.04

OpenMediaVault 6.0.24

Bluestar 5.17.4

IPFire 2.27-core167

OpenMediaVault 6.0.24

Voyager Live 22.04

Kodachi 8.21

ArcoLinux 2022.05.02

RDS 18.2

KaOS 2022.04

Zephix 5

FuguIta 7.1

Plamo 7.4

Raspberry Slideshow 15.1

ExTiX 22.5

Arch 2022.05.01

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