Episode 37 Show Notes

MONTHLY FOIBLES …wherein we discuss what we did this month…

Moss: I spent a lot of time trying different distros to see what I could review this month. I got some good ideas which should wait until next month. I’ve had 2 days of subbing in the past month. And we’re planning our trip to Chambanacon after Thanksgiving.  I have also had some interesting travails concerning Firefox on Mint 21, but I’ll talk about those a bit later in the show.

I’ve had some issues with Mint losing its panel aka taskbar. There are easy fixes but they don’t appear to be permanent. I had this on only one machine, so I have installed Mint 20.3 Cinnamon on it instead of my usual Mate, but then started having it on another machine. I noticed that I had never had this issue until the more recent kernel upgrades of 5.4.0, so I tried 5.15.0. Nothing to report at present.

Dale: I finished making all the ethernet cables for my network. That included my patch panel in my network rack. I use a blank panel and place individual keystone modules in it, along with keystone filler modules to cover the unused slots. I like the look and flexibility of a blank panel so that I am not limited to just Ethernet modules. Now that I have everything connected, I can move on to cable management and other organization.

One of the items I gave to a friend when I moved was my Dahua 4-camera HDCVI DVR system. HDCVI is HD Composite Video Interface that uses coax, similar to what is used for cable or satellite TV. He called me Wednesday asking if we could install the cameras. I had all the items needed to install them except for the compression BNC connectors. I couldn’t find mine so I bought some. The short version of the events is that the connectors were junk and bent when being compressed. So we postponed things until we could get usable connectors. I found my bag of compression BNC connectors at home that evening. It rained overnight so we couldn’t safely get on the roof for the other two. We at least got two of the cameras working so he was happy. That kept us busy Thursday and Friday using his available free time.

He had mentioned that the computer he uses for his streaming radio station had been locking up and had random application crashes. I came back Saturday to look at it. The idle CPU temperature was 63ºC which is way too high. I removed the old paste and applied some new paste, the idle temperature dropped to 36ºC which is about average for air cooling. There was a tense moment when trying to remove the heatsink from the CPU. The computer was on 24 hours 7 days a week for 2 years, so it had plenty of time to bake in the paste. I twisted the heatsink to break it loose from the CPU, I thought it was loose enough and pulled up. It unintentionally pulled the CPU from the socket without it being released. Luckily none of the pins were bent and the socket didn’t appear damaged. We also updated the UEFI since it was on the original version. The release notes on the newer versions corrected some issues he was having.

His birthday was on the following Tuesday and since I had to leave for work on Tuesday we observed it on Saturday. He uses Spectrum Mobile and has been wanting a new 5G phone. Since I canceled my Spectrum Mobile service, I didn’t need my Spectrum-branded Motorola Stylus 5G any longer, so I gave it to him. He was very happy since it was a bigger screen and faster.

He texted me Tuesday that the computer crashed again. Since it is a critical computer, he replaced the Motherboard, CPU, and memory. He will give me the other Motherboard, CPU, and memory to test.

Josh: My friend got a new (to him) computer, and a few months after he got the PC it started acting up. He finally got fed up with it and sent it to me to look at. When I got the PC it would boot up to login fine but I couldn’t get much farther than that so I decided to pull the drives out and give them a look. Two of the drives wouldn’t mount and the other was really slow. One drive was a WD Green, a notoriously bad drive with a history of issues. One drive was a Seagate Barracuda, a really great drive that I always highly recommend. The last drive was a PNY SSD. I know nothing really about PNY so I don’t have an opinion on that. 

The WD Green was totally shot. I couldn’t even mount the drive. I didn’t really dig too far on that one because the last drive he sent me that was a WD Green, wouldn’t mount or anything as well. The Seagate Barracuda drive mounted fine. It just took a while to mount and that drive passed all the tests that I gave it including the smart test which said it was still good and there weren’t that many errors and the speed seemed about right. The PNY drive, on the other hand, took a while to mount but I did finally get it to mount and I got all the data off of that before I reinstalled Windows on it again. 

I have no idea what was wrong with the PNY drive I’m still looking into that to see if it’s any good but I couldn’t even get the smart test to work to say if it was good or bad, I just barely got it mounted just enough to get the data off of it that I needed to. Apparently, that was a new drive my friend said that the guy who he bought the computer off of bought. My friend told me that if I could get the drive working that I could just keep the drive so that seems to be a good compromise for me because if it’s brand new I feel like I can probably get it working maybe it just needs to be reformatted or something. 

So, after telling my friend that he effectively had only one drive left and it was a hard drive, not an SSD, he asked me what SSD drives that are good that he could buy. I told him about the Silicon Power drives and he bought three of them: two 2-terabyte drives and one 512 gigabyte drive. So, I installed Windows on the 512 GB drive and installed Steam and all of his games. I have them downloaded now, but I need to start each one of them at least once because he doesn’t have Internet at his house, so as long as the games are started once you can play them offline.  

Other than my friend’s computer, I really don’t have much else going on because I haven’t had a chance to really do much. My next goal is to get all of my smart devices set up like my light bulbs and my smart switches. I’m possibly going to try Mycroft to try to do voice commands instead of using Amazon or Google products, but I have come to the conclusion that if I do end up using some sort of Amazon or Google product I’m probably going to stick with Google because both my wife and my phone are both Android so they’re both effectively able to use voice commands to control our lights and other things that we have connected.  [Moss: Alexa has an app for Android which works pretty well.]

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

Moss: Ubuntu 22.10, the Kinetic Kudu, is out in all official flavours, including Unity as a new official flavour. 

I was disappointed to learn that the Distrotest website has gone away. It was a good site, where you could install any distro to their cloud and see how it installs and runs. They had been trying to sell their domain, but apparently just closed it down. It will be missed.

Dale: There is some great news from the Debian Project. They voted on whether to include the non-free firmware on the official ISOs or not. There were 6 options and the winner was number 5, which was to make changes to the Social Contract to allow non-free firmware in the official release of Debian where proprietary firmware blobs were needed to make your computer run. That required a 3 to 1 vote to pass. The non-free media will replace the existing media that doesn’t include non-free firmware.

I will include a link in the show notes that explains this in much more detail and another to the Social Contract. The Social Contract is a document that explains what software and licenses are allowed in the official Debian ISOs among other guidance. I am hoping this will be in place for the release of Debian 12 in 2023.

General Resolution: non-free firmware

Debian Social Contract

In other Debian news, they released 10.13 which is the final point release update to Oldstable. Debian 10 users are urged to upgrade to Debian 11. Debian’s Security and Release Teams will not provide any future updates. Link in the show notes.

Debian 10 Release Notes

Speaking of Debian 11 Stable, version 11.5 has been released. Existing installations can update in place to version 11.5. A link in the show notes.

Debian 11 Release Notes

The Debian project announced the code name for Debian 14, it will be called Forky. Debian 13 which was previously named will be called Trixie. Forky was a Spork and Trixie was a Triceratops from the Pixar series of movies called Toy Story.

In other distros, Spiral Linux 11.220925 was updated to Debian Stable 11.5, a link will be provided.

Spiral Linux SpiralLinux 11.220925 Release Notes  

The Solus project is in the process of updating to Gnome 43.

Redcore Linux, the Gentoo-based distro, has a new ISO codename, Rastaban. The most notable improvement is they enabled synching every 6  hours with the Gentoo repos. This will allow them to release more current updates, instead of the manual ones that took them up to a week to release. A link is in the show notes.

Redcore Hardened 2201 Rastaban Release Notes

Xero Linux has a new ISO for its rolling release. Updated kernel 5.19.9 and KDE Plasma version 5.25.5. Another notable update is the ability to do an in-place update. Previously you needed to do a fresh install. If you watch the DistroTube YouTube channel, the dev, DarkXero, attends DT’s monthly Patron chat. He occasionally speaks about Xero Linux during the video. A link to the release notes will be in the show notes.

XeroLinux Release notes

StormOS, an Arch-based distro I reviewed in Episode 27 Distrohoppers’ Digest Episode 27, released a Debian-based edition using Bullseye. Moss will be reviewing this in Episode 038 if the creek don’t rise. A link to their website is in the show notes. StormOS

Last but not least, Gecko Linux released Static 154.220822 based on openSUSE Leap 15.4 and Rolling 999.220820 based on openSUSE Tumbleweed. A link will be in the show notes.

Gecko Linux Release Notes

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

Moss: Mint 21 has a way of losing contact with the Mesa drivers while using Firefox; I don’t know whether it has this issue with anything else. The fix is to purge the repo version and install the flatpak. Another possibility is to revert to Mint 20.3, which I have done on 3 of my machines. Thanks to Whosy on the mintCast Telegram group for finding the fix. I’ve also run into the issue of closing the app causing the whole panel to disappear; the answer is simple:

  • (for Mate)
    • Open Terminal – ctrl-alt-t
    • gsettings reset-recursively org.mate.panel
  • (for Cinnamon)
    • Open Terminal – ctrl-alt-t
    • gsettings reset-recursively org.cinnamon 

Regardless of the simplicity of the fix, it has been happening more and more on my machines and the fix does not appear to be permanent, so as I’ve never had this previously I’m thinking it may be caused by the more recent updates of the 5.4.0 kernel. As I stated above, I have tried a different kernel on one of the two machines I’ve had this issue on.

Josh: My beautiful failure is actually work related. My coworker and I have been trying to set up a file server for us for miscellaneous things that we need that aren’t included in the file server that work provides. I was trying to use a VM to see if I can get the file server up and running on my work desktop but every single time I tried it I could access the VM but my coworker couldn’t, even though we were on the same network. I tried bringing in my own router and setting that up between us two and he still could not connect. I don’t have any clue why but I tried VirtualBox and I tried Hyper-V and both did not work. So then I looked at the decommission rack, which is just computers that need to have their hard drives wiped and then put to salvage. I grabbed one of them, took out the hard drive, replaced that with an SSD and NVME drive, and then I tried to install TrueNAS SCALE. For some reason it was going really slowly. It took maybe between 5 and 10 minutes just to boot, so I decided that there had to be something wrong. I decided to change out the drive that I was installing to, and once I did that, all was well. It sounds like this was a pretty fast endeavor, but it took me maybe two days to figure out all this crap and I’m still not sure it works. I haven’t had a chance to test it. I literally just got it installed and that was the last thing I got to do. So I guess this was a failure slash success, but a lot of failures to get to that success lol. 



DISTRO NAME: KDE neon User Edition

INTRO: This distro has been around for quite some time, and is often considered “not a distro”, as it is packaged with LTS Ubuntu base, the latest Plasma desktop and tools, and not much else. We haven’t looked at it for a couple years. 

Why is neon called a non-distro? Because it does not come packaged with apps such as office, graphics, or sound apps, just the Ubuntu base, Plasma desktop and Plasma tools. Still, you can use apt, synaptic, or Discover to add all those things easily from the Ubuntu repos. Neon installs with the LTS base, which is still on 20.04. This could be a good thing, as they are still finding issues in 22.04, but with a 5.15 kernel, and you get the absolutely up-to-the-minute Plasma, now at 5.25. 

MY HARDWARE: I installed on sdb2 of my Lenovo ThinkPad T540p, with a 6th gen i7-4700MQ at 2.4 GHz, with Intel and Nvidia GeForce GT730M graphics and 16 Gb of DDR3 RAM. sdb2 is a partition of a 512 Gb Silicon Power SSD.

INSTALLATION EASE AND ISSUES: The installer is Ubuntu, everyone knows it by now, nothing special or different. If you’ve ever installed Ubuntu or Mint, or anything based on Ubuntu not using Calamares, you’ve used this installer.

POST-INSTALLATION HARDWARE FACTS & ISSUES: I am happy to report that my wifi login was saved by the installer. It also did not mess with my Grub, and I could easily change control back to other distros installed on the machine; I would note that most official Ubuntu flavors will write a 32-bit UEFI instead of a 64-bit GRUB. The downloaded ISO was dated from Jan 2022, and there were 738 packages to update after installation. After downloading the updates, I was prompted to reboot; it installed the updates and rebooted again – with a different, much more eyeball-piercing wallpaper, so the first order of business was to change it back.

I’ve had several more updates. It just feels funny having to reboot twice to complete installation, but it seems to work. Some updates will install without requiring a reboot. If you do get an update which asks for a reboot, you should complete the reboot, not just turn the machine off, as it does a fair bit of installation on the next boot and often needs a second reboot to complete the task. There is a nice little checkbox at the bottom of Discover to set your system to automatically reboot when the update is completed. Sometimes upon reboot you will get seemingly hundreds of announcements that your system is waiting for a start process to complete, which is also telling you the status of the update. This feels way too much like Windows taking your system over, but you do get to choose when to run the updates.

Even after all the updates, neon is still using the 20.04 Ubuntu base. 

More funny business: When I boot, I often have to hit the selection button on my JellyComb trackball before the trackball gets recognized, and when I open Firefox for the first time, some number of tabs (it could be one or two or all of them) report they cannot find the server. I have to click the Reload button for each such page to get them to load.

I will also point out that, since neon uses the absolute latest Plasma, and that is frequently updated, you will have a lot more of these updates than you would normally be used to.

EASE OF USE: If you love fresh Plasma, you will love using this distro; if you can live with more stability but fewer updates, you might want to choose Kubuntu.


15 GB of space used on the SSD

660 MiB of memory used was reported by free –h. I thought it would be smaller, as many Plasma installations have been under 500 MiB.

EASE OF FINDING HELP: There is always help for Ubuntu, and the same can be said for Plasma. The various Ubuntu forums are always available if nothing else, but you probably have lots of friends already using this whom you can hit up for help.

PLAYS NICE WITH OTHERS: I have had no problems caused by this distro while using it, and it is one of 5 distros on this machine.

STABILITY: You may have some issues with Plasma, which is the risk of using the shiny new version at all times, and Ubuntu is Ubuntu. No stability issues should arise.



Feren OS


Debian with Plasma


Ease of Installation new user                            9/10 

experienced user                                            10/10

Hardware Issues                                             10/10

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

Ease of Use                                                       8/10

Plays Nice With Others                                    10/10

Stability                                                            10/10

Overall Rating                                                  9/10

FINAL COMMENTS: This is a fine distro once you get used to the constant updates and the tiny risk of something brand new not working right. It doesn’t come with any apps which are not specifically Plasma or Plasma Toolkit, not even other KDE apps, so bloat is not an issue. For more stability, you might choose to use Kubuntu LTS. For a more complete Plasma system with sane choices (except for Vivaldi browser), try Feren OS. Kubuntu and most other Plasma-using distros will not have the latest Plasma but could have a more up to date kernel and base packages.


DISTRO NAME: Pardus 21.3 Dolunay

INTRO: This distro was a request by listener Bhikhu which you will hear more from in our Feedback section. 

Pardus is a Debian-based distro featuring Xfce or the Gnome Desktop. The name comes from the Genus of the Leopard. 

Pardus was created by the Turkish National Research Institute of Electronics and Cryptology, a division of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey, in 2003. The first version was released in 2005 and was based on Gentoo Linux. Around 2013 it was rebased on Debian. There was a corporate edition and a community edition available. The community edition appears dormant, as the last version was released in 2018. Currently the National Academic Network and Knowledge Center maintain the distro. It is used by many government offices and military facilities in Turkey. It is available in Turkish and English.

MY HARDWARE: The laptop I used is my Lenovo ThinkPad T460.  It has an Intel Dual Core i5-6200U 2.8 GHz CPU, a 14″ display using Intel HD Graphics 520, 16 GB of RAM, and a 500 GB Samsung 860 EVO SSD.

INSTALLATION EASE AND ISSUES: I downloaded both the Xfce and Gnome ISOs. They are installed in a dual boot. The checksums provided were MD5SUMs but the file was formatted wrong and the MD5SUM application couldn’t read the file. I manually calculated the checksum by typing md5sum and the name of the ISO file, then I visually compared the checksum to the one list in the MD5SUM file. This was all done via the terminal. Both Live USB ISOs defaulted in Turkish, which required me to change the keyboard layout and language to US English. I found that out when I tried to type uname -a and found the hyphen wasn’t where it was on my US English keyboard. uname -a is a command that displays the hostname, kernel version, and the CPU architecture in use. When the -a flag is used it means all information is displayed.

The boot screen appeared with the name Pardus at the top of the screen with a language choice between Turkish and English. The following choices of Pardus Live, Pardus Live (Safe Mode), and Install and Install with Graphical User Interface.

I installed the Xfce edition first, and I chose the ‘Install’ option. It uses the Ncurses Debian Installer. The installation was very easy compared to a normal Debian installation. I entered the hostname, followed by my name and user name. I selected US English for my language and keyboard setting. I chose to install using the entire disk overwriting my previous Debian and Regolith installations. After a few minutes, the installation was finished.

A reminder was given to remove the USB stick before the computer reboots, then I pressed Enter to continue. A post-installation process ran for a minute or so and the laptop rebooted.

I installed the Gnome edition using ‘the graphical installation option,’ which was a themed Debian installer. I completed the same steps I did with the Ncurses installer, with the exception of disk partitioning. I selected the manual option and chose the 500 GB Ext4 partition and resized it to 250 GB. I wrote the changes to the disk and continued with the installation. I formatted the new partition as ext4. The installation began to install the files and completed asking me if I wanted to use UTC. I chose to use UTC since that is the default method Linux uses, if you are dual booting with Windows, choosing “no” would be best because Windows uses local time by default. I chose to continue and the post-installation process commenced. After a few minutes, the installation was complete and I rebooted.


Upon reboot into the Xfce edition, I signed in and was presented with a notification to connect to WiFi. Then the Welcome screen appeared. I clicked on next and it presented me with a graphical list of wallpapers to choose from, there was a default one already selected. From there I clicked next and was asked if I wanted a Light theme or the Dark theme, I chose the Dark theme of course. The next screen was a surprise, I was able to change my Display Scaling, Panel Pixel size, and Desktop icon size. The following screen was the keyboard settings. It showed my previous choice of English and allowed me to add additional languages. There was a note showing I could press Super and Space to switch between the languages and an option to turn on a language indicator in the panel. The last screen showed a list of keyboard shortcuts, links to documentation, a community forum, and their home page. There is also support information with a phone number, link to Github, and Discord.

I did have a slight issue entering my WiFi passphrase into the WiFi widget. Their choice of red characters on a dark background was very hard for me to see. I needed to increase the brightness of my screen in order to see it. Despite turning up the brightness I still had typos. I ended up using Xfce’s network manager and configured the WiFi there. It had a much easier color scheme of white text on a dark background. 

I noticed it booted very slowly due to the error messages 

  • ‘Gave up waiting for suspend/resume device.’ 
  • ‘A start job is running for /dev/disk-by-id’ and the UUID of the partition. 

After a 40-second to 1-minute 30-second countdown, it will finish booting. Using the up arrow key I toggled between the boot splash screen and the kernel out screen. So I took a picture of the screen with my phone and looked up that UUID once logged in. I used lsblk -f which lists all of the block devices, which are the partitions/drives on the computer. The -f switch shows file system details, like the UUID of that device. I looked at my /etc/fstab file which is responsible for mounting partitions at boot time. I then realized that I forgot to add a swap partition during the installation. I opened a second terminal window and copied the UUID of the swap partition and pasted it into the editor on the other terminal window, replacing the wrong UUID with the correct one. I saved the fstab and made the same edit to the /etc/initramfs-tools/conf.d /resume file. Which is the file used when you suspend or hibernate your laptop. I updated the initramfs by typing sudo update-initramfs -u. After that I rebooted, and it booted up quickly as it should. Here is a tip for everyone, you can use the same swap partition for multiple Linux distros. It is one reason why using swap partitions is better than a swap file, in my opinion.

When I booted into the Gnome edition for the first time, I was presented with the same Welcome screen. I chose a different wallpaper since there was quite a nice selection. The only display option I had was Display Scaling. The last screen showed keyboard shortcuts, links, and support information that was in the Xfce edition.

One thing I was very impressed with is the Grub boot entries. After I installed the Xfce edition, the boot entry was named Pardus GNU/Linux. After I installed the Gnome edition, it named that boot entry Pardus GNU/Linux 21 and noted where it was installed, in my case it was /dev/sda2. 

The Xfce edition is using version 4.16 and the Gnome edition is using version 3.38. Both of them are using the 5.10 kernel. The packages are the same among the two with the exception of packages that are specific to each desktop, like the Thunar file manager in Xfce and Gnome files in Gnome, even though they are interchangeable.

Pardus has its own themed About window for each desktop: it contains the same information, but it is just presented in a better-formatted order. In their About window you have the ability to export system details which is useful for submitting for help. It will gather all the details, prompt you for your password and place the compressed .tgz file on your desktop.

They are using a customized Gnome Software Center as their GUI package installer. Their GUI updater appears to be using a common GTK framework which matches their Software Center. There is a GUI Deb package viewer/installer in the same theme as their other package management software. In addition to their Software Center, they have another package installation tool called Packages. I used it when I couldn’t find Joe, my favorite terminal text editor when searching for it in the Software Center. I had a similar experience on Pop!_OS using their Pop!_Shop Software Center. They also have the Synaptic Package Manager.

Since this is intended for office/productivity work, I looked to see what was installed. They have a document scanner, document viewer, drawing application, and GNU Image Manipulation Program aka Gimp. Others include Evolution, an email client, at version 3.38.3-1pardus1, which implies they custom compiled that. Firefox is the Extended Support Release aka ESR at version 102.3. LibreOffice is their chosen office package, it is the Debian Package version of 7.0.4-2, which is fairly recent. There is a USB writer and Formatter that appears to be custom-made. The Formatter can use FAT32, ext4, NTFS, and exFAT. If you are requiring Java, they have an installer.

They have a very nice Power Manage application that includes screen brightness control. The last I will mention is Totem aka Gnome Videos, at version 3.38.0-2, and VLC version

The only differences I found with the Xfce edition were the included Xfce apps like Mousepad and Ristretto which are a notepad and image viewer. Pardus uses its own Apt repositories.

One thing that is absent is Flatpak and Snap. Neither one is installed and I didn’t see any ability to add it to the Pardus Software Center. That however doesn’t seem to be an issue. After looking through the Pardus Software Center, I was able to find apps in other distros that are only available via Snap or Flatpak. I was surprised to see that Zoom, Skype, Signal, and Discord were available.


In the Gnome edition, they are using GDM as the display manager. I was happy to see that my language and keyboard setting was retained from my installation choices. The language issue during the Live Session must have been an oversight. In fairness, this is a Turkish-developed and Turkish-used distro. I am not familiar with Turkey, so I don’t know if the UK or US English is used.

The Dark Theme is called Pardus-dark, which is very nice. It is a little darker than other dark themes I have seen. I took a look at the installed extensions and one I noticed in the top panel really caught my attention. Pardus created an Apt Update Indicator. It looks similar to the shield icon Linux Mint uses for its updates. The design is very well thought out. When I click on it, I can see that everything is up to date with the last date and time it was checked. I can check for updates with a simple click of the mouse. When there are updates available, the shield will show the number of updates available. There are various settings for displaying the packages, notifications, and indicator. One interesting setting in the Advanced settings is the Update method. From there you can select to launch Gnome Software, Ubuntu’s Update Manager, Gnome Package Updater, and custom.

I tried installing Flatpak to see if there was any integration available for their Software Center. I didn’t find any. Since they have packaged the apps you would usually need to use Flatpak for, that is not an issue.

Overall it is a very enjoyable experience if you like the Gnome Desktop. I felt like it was very user-focused with all the management via the GUI. Notifications appeared in the system tray. The only exception to that was Signal. The default behavior is to exit when closed. Since it is an Electron app, it has command switches that are not widely known, including one which minimizes it to the system tray. That command switch is –use-tray-icon. What I have done on my laptop and desktop, along with my installation of Pardus is create a .desktop file in my home folder under the .local/share/applications folder. The file is named signal-desktop.desktop. I will include a copy of that in the show notes in the Ease of Use section of my review. The %u in the command passes the username to the application. Now when I search for Signal, I select the one that has a generic icon and not the Signal-branded one. I am not faulting Pardus for this because just about all distros do this; I actually fault the Signal Devs for this. There are a couple of closed Github suggestions to add a minimize to tray option in the Signal app. Unfortunately, the Devs think creating the .desktop file with the minimize to tray option is the solution.

If you have an Electron app that doesn’t minimize in the tray, try this solution: just replace flatpak name after the run command.

[Desktop Entry]


Comment=Private messaging from your desktop

Exec=”/usr/bin/flatpak” run org.signal.Signal –use-tray-icon %u





When I booted to the Xfce edition, I saw they are using the LightDM display manager. The login screen was of the wallpaper I am using on the desktop. I think that adds a bit of polish to the installation and looks very professional. I wish they would have done that with the Gnome Edition, as GDM supports a login screen image. Though many distros never take advantage of that, They have the Trash, Home, and SSD drive icons on the desktop. I noticed there is one panel located at the bottom of the screen. The usual icons are listed like Wifi, sound, clock, etc. The theme is the same as in Gnome. 

Overall it is the same experience I had with Gnome with some exceptions. I never had any update notifications. I had to open the Pardus Updater and check for updates. It prompted me for my password and presented me with a list as it did in Gnome. The update process after that was the same.

The notifications of my applications were what I expect from Xfce. They minimize in the system tray and show updates when available. For Signal, I was able to edit the /usr/share/applications/signal-desktop.desktop file and add the use tray icon command switch. For reasons I don’t understand, sometimes that doesn’t work and you need to create a separate one in the home folder I described previously.



7.5 GB of space used on the SSD

637 MiB of memory used was reported by free –hm.


7 GB of space used on the SSD

580 MiB of memory used was reported by free –hm.


I did not seek out any help. I did however scroll through their forum, it appears active. You may need to use a translator even though I selected English. That is because some of the menu items and some of the forum posts are in Turkish. They also list Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Discord, and YouTube. I will look into leaving my suggestions in their Github since I have an account.


Yes, it plays very nicely with others. I wish others worked the way it does.


It is Debian Stable, it is as stable as you can get. As for their applications, I didn’t have any issues with them.



Spiral Linux


Ease of Installation             new user                    7/10 

                                           experienced user      10/10

Hardware Issues                                                 10/10

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

Ease of Use                                                          8/10

Plays Nice With Others                                       10/10

Stability                                                                 0/10

Overall Rating                                                  8/10 for Xfce; 9/10 Gnome


I wasn’t sure what to expect after my language issue using the Live ISO. Overall I was very pleased with both editions. I think the Xfce Edition needs a bit more work to be at the level of the Gnome Edition. With that, I will say that if they add the login screen image to match the chosen desktop wallpaper, it will be a very professional first impression like it was on the Xfce Edition. The only issue I have, with newer hardware, is the kernel is only at 5.10; a newer kernel would be better. Since this is based on Debian Stable, once Debian Testing 12 is released, they may update the kernel, if they don’t already custom compile their kernel and add newer features.

When Bhikhu told me that, in his opinion, he found Pardus to be the best out-of-the-box Debian distro, I was very curious. However, I must say that I agree. The developers of Pardus have really done a great job and should be proud of their distro.



INTRO: TrueNAS SCALE is a NAS / server distro. It is developed alongside TrueNAS Core, formerly known as FreeNAS. TrueNAS core is the BSD version that has been around a lot longer. It is very good for a NAS server but lacking in applications availability, so it is mostly used as a NAS and that’s about it. TrueNAS SCALE, on the other hand, is a Linux based distro actually based on Debian 11. The advantages to this are you have all of the NAS capabilities but also have a plethora of containers to choose from. TrueNAS SCALE primarily uses docker for its container distribution. You can also use virtual machines to host whole operating systems if you would rather do that and it just uses KVM to run the virtual machines. 

MY HARDWARE: I installed on my custom built computer with a Gigabyte motherboard, Intel i5 3570k CPU, 16GB DDR3 Ram, 128gb mSATA boot drive, Two 128GB SSD Mirrored, Two Seagate and One HGST 2TB HDDs In Raid-Z 1, and Four WD Red 1TB HDDs in Raid-Z 1.

INSTALLATION EASE AND ISSUES: The installation of TrueNAS SCALE is very simple. You create your boot drive, boot from the USB, and you’re dropped into a pretty easy text-based installer. It’s Ncurses so it actually looks decent. It basically allows you to select the drive you want to install on and then create a password and that’s about it. Then you just reboot the system, pull the USB and wait for the system to reboot. 


On first boot, if your monitor is plugged into the machine you’re installing TrueNAS SCALE on, then it will eventually boot up to a screen that shows you the IP address that the web interface is running on, and then some very basic options, like setting static IP, rebooting, and shutting down the TrueNAS SCALE server. 

The next step is to use the IP address that TrueNAS SCALE is displaying and type that into a web browser that is on the same network as your server. You will be brought to a web user interface for TrueNAS SCALE. The first screen you will see is just your dashboard where it gives you general stats on your system like CPU usage, network usage, ram usage, and some basic information such as if you need updates. You can configure the dashboard however you like and reorder the windows, first CPU usage or ram or whatever you would like in any order you would like. You will also see there are some options in the top right-hand corner such as for your user and shutting down and rebooting the server there’s also a handy task manager that will show you any running tasks that are being executed. 

There are several other options on the left hand side that will bring you to a different page in the interface. The next one down after the dashboard is your storage 

Inside the storage tab you can create pools of discs using the web interface with ZFS on the back end you can import pools if you have any that need to be imported you can take snapshots of those pools and you can see the individual discs and what pools they are associated with. Those are all options in the top right-hand corner. After you create your pools, you can then start creating datasets which are like file systems within file systems to separate out your data. Now I know that sounds like it’s a little redundant but the nice thing about ZFS is every time you create a data set it is like you’re creating a new file system with its own hierarchy and performance. You can also delegate the performance per data set so not one data set will eat all the bandwidth. You can also set per data set permissions so that not everyone has access to every data set and you can also nest datasets inside of one another and give each one of them different permissions as well. It’s actually pretty nice.

The next tab on the left-hand side is the shares tab that basically lets you do all sorts of shares such as SMB or samba NFS shares you can share even iSCSI blocks. Here you can also set up all of your shares’ preferences and enable and disable them and each individual share shows up in this area so you can manage them all from one window. 

The next tab down is the data protection tab. This tab is actually really cool because this lets you set up periodic scrub tasks. A scrub is basically just the way ZFS checks all of your data to make sure it’s correct. It has snapshot tasks which snapshots are just the state of the file system when you take the snapshot so you can roll back to that state at any time; replication tasks, which basically lets you replicate any ZFS file system pool or anything else directly to another ZFS pool. Basically this means that, if you have a ZFS data set named storage and you replicate it to another server on your network, that server will now have the data set named storage on it just as it was on the first server. This is a great way to back up your system. In this tab, you’re even able to do rsync tasks and perform smart tests. 

The next tab down is the networking tab. This basically lets you do static routes for different configurations and you can set up new interfaces such as if you add a NIC card to the server and it needs to be configured. This also gives you basic information on your system like its host name if you’re using a proxy server and your DNS server that you’re using as well. You can also set up an openVPN client to access your server from anywhere, but, on a side note, what I use is Tailscale. I just download the Tailscale Docker container and then I can access my server from anywhere as long as I’m on the Tailscale network. 

The next tab down is the credentials tab. In this tab you can set up local users groups certificates and even two factor authentication. This is a very important tab because this is how you are able to get your shares to work properly because you need to have a user on the server and a group that the share is associated with so that you can have passwords and whatnot for your shares. You can also set up Active Directory in this tab as well. I don’t use that at home but if you’re in a work environment that definitely will help things. 

The next tab down is your virtualization tab. This is where you can create your virtual machines, if you would like to use them instead of Docker containers. This is nice especially if you need to test out something remotely; you can just quick-install another operating system and it would be like you’re actually on the network with another computer. This part is pretty self-explanatory; it’s basically just like using VirtualBox or anything like that, it’s all within the TrueNAS SCALEs interface. 

When you first open the apps tab it will make you choose a pool to store your apps. I chose to store my apps on my SSD because it’s a lot faster to deploy them on an SSD than it is on a hard drive. This process does not take long and deploying the apps should not take that long, but adding TrueCharts takes a while; it can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to actually add all of the options. Once you add the repository, it just has to pull down all of the containers and verify them and all that. One thing to definitely keep in mind is that the official apps are actually pretty limited on options because they are basically ready to go out-of-the-box. So if you need to do any or want to do any configuration of your applications to fine tune them you’ll need to use the TrueCharts version: Plex, for example, has an official version and a TrueCharts version.  

There is one last really cool feature that you can use inside of the apps tab, and that’s the fact that you can actually import any Docker container on Docker Hub. It’s not supported at all, so you’ll have to make sure you keep it up to date and manage it yourself, but otherwise you can totally do that if the repo is missing an application that you need. 

Currently, I run Plex, Home Assistant, Tailscale, Unify and True Command on my TrueNAS server. All of these run really well and I haven’t had any issues so far. I’ve also done several updates on the applications and they seem to have gone smoothly. One of the nice things is you can create a snapshot of your container before you update it, and then roll back if it doesn’t work. There’s also an automatic rollback feature but I don’t trust anything automatic so I always make a manual snapshot just in case. 

The last two tabs are not that exciting but they’re very important. The first is the reporting tab, which gives you time-based information on CPU usage, CPU temperature, RAM usage, and disk storage usage. You can get a time based usage timeline for them in that tab, which is very useful especially when you’re trying to troubleshoot why an application is using a lot of RAM or CPU or even network. Then the final tab is the system settings tab. That’s the tab where you can update your system if you would like to get general information on your system, get more advanced options, see your boot drives and see how healthy they are. Look at all of your services such as SMB or NFS or many other services such as SSH and the like. This is also where you can get into the shell of your system which you can do a lot with the shell but you are somewhat limited unless you add things that aren’t supported into the system; for example, apt is not installed even though this is a Debian based system. 

There are two caveats to using TrueNAS SCALE. Number one: when you install TrueNAS SCALE, you don’t get to use the storage on the disk you install it on. That is solely reserved for the system. Number two: using ZFS can get expensive because of the way you have to expand your storage when you create a pool. You cannot just simply add a drive to that pool without risking destroying the entire pool. The only way you can currently add a drive to a pool is to add it as a single vdev, and the problem with that is that if one of your vdevs in your pool goes bad, you lose the entire pool. So if you have multiple disks in one vdev you can lose multiple disks before your pool goes bad. It costs a lot to replace all of your drives. Let’s say you have three 2-terabyte drives and you want to upgrade your storage to 4-terabyte drives. You have to buy three 4 TB drives to actually recreate your pool. You don’t just recreate your pool and get rid of your old one. You can just add the new pool to the system, but you’re still going to end up buying that many drives. Sorry if that got confusing but ZFS is a very low level topic that is somewhat confusing to learn at first. 

EASE OF USE: Once you log into the web GUI, this distro is very easy to use for a more advanced user, but may get overwhelming to a new user. Even so, compared to using all of this on the command line, this system is much much easier.


2.69 GB of space used on the SSD

Memory usage for TrueNAS SCALE is different from a desktop distro. It uses a feature of ZFS to load files into RAM for quick access. This feature can add up to a ton of RAM usage but that is a good thing for ZFS.

EASE OF FINDING HELP: There is a ton of documentation on their forums for not only TrueNAS SCALE but also trueNAS CORE, which a lot of TrueNAS CORE’s documentation translates over to SCALE’s documentation.

They also have a very vibrant Reddit community that I have used many times to get answers to problems and not once have they failed me yet.

PLAYS NICE WITH OTHERS: TrueNAS SCALE is a server distro so it’s really not meant to play nice with others, but it does use grub as the bootloader so it may work fine with other distros.

STABILITY: This is so far one of the most rock solid server distros I have used and the best part is if anything does go wrong, there is an easy rollback solution built into the system. That on top of all of the backup solutions via ZFS, there is basically no way this can explode on you. Not to mention, even if your main root drive goes bad, you can just reinstall a new root drive. Install TrueNAS SCALE and all you have to do is point it to the drive you were using for your configuration and data and it re-sets up your system as you had it.

GAMING EASE:  You would think this is not applicable to this scenario, but there is an easy GPU passthrough option so, in theory, you could install a VM on this distro and pass the GPU through to it and basically have a gaming system that is remote. All you have to do is log in and you can game over your lan or internet connection.




Rockstor OS


Ease of Installation    new user                      7/10 

  experienced user       10/10

Hardware Issues                                          10/10

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

Ease of Use                                                   8/10

Plays Nice With Others                                 5/10

Stability                                                        10/10

Works with Games                                         3/10

Overall Rating                                              7.8/10

FINAL COMMENTS: TrueNAS SCALE is a perfect solution for anyone needing any kind of quick setup-and-use server solution or NAS. The distro is extremely easy to set up and to install applications, and a lot of these are complex Docker images that are simply a few checkboxes away from being installed. As I stated above, there are some pitfalls to this distro but not enough to get me to turn away from it. At this point. I think I’ll be using this as my primary server distro for a long time to come.


from 9/22 to 10/27

ExTiX 22.9

Mabox 22.09

Debian Edu 11.5.0

SysLinuxOS 2022-09-24

RasPiOS 2022-09-22

CRUX 3.7

OSGeoLive 15.0

SpiralLinux 11.220925


Nitrux 20221001

Arch 2022.10.01

Fatdog64 813

SparkyLinux 2022.10

Redcore 2201

KDE neon 20221006

Snal Linux 1.22

KaOS 2022.10

Robolinux 12.08

MakuluLinux 2022-10-05

openmamba 20221012

Kodachi 8.26

Bluestar 6.0.1

ArchLabs 2022.10.15

Pisi 2.3.1

Void 20221001


EasyOS 4.4.2

antiX 22

LibreELEC 10.0.3

SmartOS 20221020

IPFire 2.27-core171

OpenBSD 7.2

Ubuntu 22.10 – all flavours including Unity

ArcoLinux 22.11.02

SystemRescue 9.05

Peropesis 1.8

4MLinux 40.1

Tails 5.6

Regata 22.0.6

Voyager 22.10


From our Telegram channel:

  • Londoner – Re your review of Spiral Linux on DHD #35. To check disk space on btrfs, rather than use df you can use sudo btrfs filesystem usage /. Note: If you have subvolumes such as / & /home on the same partition, using /home in the above command will give the same result.

Refer LearnLinuxTV video at 23m56s.

Learn Linux TV – Modernizing Linux Storage with BTRFS

Kernel.org Wiki for BTRFS

Arch Linux Wiki Section 4.2 of the BTRFS entry

  • Dale – Thanks, I tried a couple of commands that gave different results. Personally, I think it should be compatible with df and du. I will watch that video. I’ve seen his videos before, he does good work.

The links will be in the show notes.

  • Londoner – Re DHD ep036 Beautiful Failures: There have been multiple posts on the Mint forums in recent months regarding slow downloads of Firefox. It is a comparatively large download (last one was 68MB) and it seems the default package server sometimes gets overloaded. Usually switching to a local mirror in Software Sources results in a much faster download.
  • Moss – I’m aware of that. This has happened on and off since Mint started packaging its own Firefox package, with 20.3. But I thought they would have fixed the issue by now.

Moving on to emails:

  • Bhikhu – Hi there Dale,

I know you are a fan of Debian so, here is a great yet little known Debian based distro for your consideration. In my view, it has to be one of the best out-of-the-box Debian based distro out there. It’s Pardus, would love your thoughts and views on this distro after you have a test run of it.

Take care, Bye!


  • Dale – Thank you for the suggestion. I will check it out and most likely review it in a future episode.
  • Bhikhu – Absolutely looking forward to that episode 🙂

BTW You guys mused about Grub reporting/labeling “Ubuntu” instead of “Xubuntu” or “Kubuntu” in one of the recent episodes. I think Grub/os-prober gets the information from parsing the output of the following command,

> lsb_release -i -s 2> /dev/null

The above command gets the relevant information from the ‘/etc/lsb-release’ file. This file is a plain text file where the information relevant to the distro such as name, release number, code name, and description can be set. Grub/os-prober can also be set to get this information by parsing ‘/etc/os-release’ file. This file can hold even more information like links to the homepage, Bugzilla, and support forum of the distro besides the name, version number, code name, description, etc. Distro maintainer can also set the name to be reported by Grub/os-prober in ‘/etc/default/grub’ by declaring GRUB_DISTRIBUTOR=”My Super Distro” variable if s/he wishes. Now, why Xubuntu and/or other official derivatives of Ubuntu are not setting their own distro name in one of these files is up to them! Maybe something to do with Canonical’s terms/conditions?!? Definitely maybe 😉

I hope you and other hosts/listeners might find the above information useful!

Say hello to Moss, Tony, and Josh 🙂

Wishing Tony a speedy recovery 🙂


  • Dale – Very good information, thank you very much for sharing it. Yes, I will share your emails during the next episode. It will be good information for everyone. I never looked up how os-prober functions.

Thanks again!



Moss: For chatting with us further, you may choose to join our Telegram group or our Discord channel.

Josh: I’m @joshontech on most social networks or email me at [email protected], Also you can find me on the CrowbarKernelPanic podcast.

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

Moss: And you can hear me every week on Full Circle Weekly News and mintCast. My email is [email protected], and I’m on Mastodon as @[email protected], plus you can find me, Dale and Dylan, at Its MOSS dot com

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