Episode 42 Show Notes

Distrohoppers Digest Episode 42 show Notes

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

Moss: I’ve had lots of fun with hardware lately. I got a keyboard cleaning brush and restored my Fellowes Microban keyboard. I have found my M700 Tiny i3 machine used for my TV streaming has a loose interior connection on the DisplayPort, and ordered a new i5 M700 Tiny as a temporary fix. I’m sending the old i3 machine to Joe of mintCast for repair, as neither my eyesight nor my hands are up to soldering. The support was laughably not professional, but they did replace my box and I’m using the new one now. There is a minor short in the headphone jack, but nothing important.

Dale: I observed my 49th birthday while I was home. That meant I needed to renew the registration on my car and the added bonus of renewing my Commercial Driver’s License. At least my license is good for another 4 years, though I found out Ohio will do 2-year registrations and 8-year licenses now. I didn’t do anything for my birthday as I had an unpleasant sinus infection later in the week.

I slept and napped on the couch which has a reclining feature, it was easier to breathe not laying down.

In between my napping, I attended the Linux Saloon YouTube stream on Saturday evening, since I was feeling a little better. I participated in their Arch Craft distro exploration. It was a nice minimalist Arch-based distro. I may consider doing a longer review for Distrohoppers.

After much consideration, I decided not to stay on Solus Budgie. I am currently considering Debian or Void, as it fits more into what I want to do with my desktop. Mainly DKMS support and the ZFS filesystem. I still have one desktop running Solus Plasma. I also decided to give the Openbox window manager another try, it has been close to 20 years since I used it for a long period of time. I was using Blackbox occasionally back then and Openbox was a fork of it. Eventually, it was rewritten and shares no code with Blackbox anymore.

I did a Git clone of Picom’s next branch from the Yshui Github repo Yshui Picom GitHub Repo. It appears to be the most popular/common fork of Compton from what I have heard. They are compositors for Xorg and responsible for transparency, and shadows among other visual effects in Window Managers. I compiled Picom to make sure I had the most recent, even though it was in the Debian repository. I also compiled a GUI utility to edit the configuration file for picom, unfortunately, I didn’t like how it removed the formatting I had when I was editing it with the Joe text editor, so I stopped using it. I learned the settings for Picom from a YouTube video, it was a great help. Eric Murphy How to use and configure Picom My next task was to find a panel replacement for Tint2, which is a common panel used in Openbox. It is a nice panel but I wanted something more configurable. Polybar was suggested to me by Telegram user Penguin Revolution, he also shared his configuration file, which was appreciated. I found a great YouTube video walking through its configuration of it, it blew my mind with the amount of configuration. LinuxCast How to install and customize Polybar Other than finding fonts, the only item left will be an app launcher, which will probably be Rofi. I thought of using a dock but I am not sure I will need it.

I thought I would put the 64 GB of DDR4 memory I was gifted in my main desktop instead of the 16 GB it already had. That led to a deep rabbit hole in XMP profiles. This was due to the fact that my desktop started kernel panicking and consistently crashing applications. From what I have found, these sticks don’t like running at 3600 MHz and are stable at 2666 MHz. I read that they should work at 3200 MHz but requires many rounds of testing different voltages and other overclocking settings. They aren’t specifically mentioned on the memory compatibility list though the 32 GB kit with the same memory model is listed, it has the exact same specs as the 64 GB kit. I decided to keep them at 2666 MHz, and so far all the kernel panics and application crashes have gone away.

The remainder of my free time was spent on the couch watching tv, conversing on various messaging platforms, and going through many tissue boxes.

Links to the Github repo and YouTube videos will be in the show notes.

Eric, anything you’d like to tell us about?

Eric: I have spent a good bit of this month learning to distrohop again. Yes, it is a skill. I hadn’t changed my laptop for almost a year, happily dual booting EndeavourOS and Ubuntu, both with GNOME. When I realized I was going to be on DHD I realized I needed to figure out which distros I wanted to test. Part of this was installing about a dozen different distros to get a better idea how they worked. I ended up destroying my partitions but fortunately, I had backups. It took me a few tries to get back to my former distrohopping self but I feel confident that I can now keep up with Moss and Dale!

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

Moss: I installed BigLinux on my desktop machine. I learned that the biggest thing which made Big stand out, the Big-Store, has been removed from the product and can’t get anyone to tell me why (in English). I also discovered that, since Big uses BTRFS by default, its bootloader will allow for other distros to be shown but will not allow it to be shown by other distros should they control GRUB. Because of these things, I am removing Big from my system, and hope for improvement.

OpenMandriva ROME has been upgraded to where all new packages intended for OM 5 will roll into it, even prior to the release of OM 5.

Dale: It has been over a year since Slackel had an update to the Openbox edition, version 7.6 includes Linux kernel 6.1.20 and the latest updates from the Slackware “Current” tree. It is available in 32-bit and 64-bit. Some of the new applications are Firefox version 111.0, LibreOffice, and Gimp 2.10.34. A link for more details is in the show notes. Slackel Openbox 7.6

There is big news from the Solus project. Ikey Doherty, original founder and former lead dev along with Joshua Strobl former Solus lead dev and Lead dev of the Budgie Desktop have returned to right the ship. There is too much to mention, so I will give the highlights. There is a new team that includes Ikey Doherty, Joshua Strobl, Joey Riches, Reilly Brogan, Algent Albrahimi, Thomas Staudinger (Staudey), Zach Bacon. They have created multiple groups to oversee the operation of the project. Their goal is to eliminate the bus factor that previously happened. They also will have people share the lead dev role to further eliminate the bus factor. Just in case that phrase is not known, the bus factor means the sole person running the project doesn’t get hit by a bus, thus ending the project. They are cloud hosting the server infrastructure so it can be remotely managed by any member of the dev team.

As far as Solus is concerned, it will have an updated ISO with a new LTS kernel, a new desktop environment, with many other updates. The future of Solus will include merging it with Serpent OS, a project that Ikey and Josh have been developing since leaving the Solus project in 2018 and 2022 respectively. Serpent OS, like Solus, was built from scratch independent of any other distro. The current Serpent OS build infrastructure will replace the one used to develop Solus, which has some similarities. A link to more details will be in the show notes. Solus: A New Voyage.

Void Linux has a new utility that will help update and select mirrors using their new Fastly CDN, Content Delivery Network, the app is called XMirror.

The Debian Installer team has released Release Candidate 1 aka RC1. This is leading up to the inclusion of the new non-free-firmware repository among other changes required to have non-free firmware included in the official installation ISO. A link to the blog post, which includes a link to download the Debian Bookworm RC1 ISOs, will be in the show notes. Debian 12 Bookworm RC1 blogpost and ISOs.

FreeBSD has released 13.2-RELEASE, the third release of version 13 stable. A few of the updates are, OpenSSH has been updated to version 9.2p1, OpenSSL has been updated to version 1.1.1t and the bhyve hypervisor now supports more than 16 vCPUs in a guest. A link to more information is in the show notes. FreeBSD 13.2-RELEASE

XeroLinux updated to Kernel 6.2.11 and the Nvideo 530 driver. He decided that Plasma will be the default and main focus of XeroLinux. The previous editions will remain as community ISOs. He has created a Gnome ISO for his supporters since there was a lot of interest in a Gnome-based XeroLinux. If you are not able to support him, he understands the state of the world economy. He is providing the ability to create the ISO on your own. The details will be in the download link from his website. Link in the show notes. XeroLinux

Voyager Linux released a new Gnome ISO based on Ubuntu 23.04 Lunar Lobster, it features Kernel 6.2 and Gnome 44. A link is in the show notes. Voyager 23.04

Ubuntu Budgie released version 23.04, it includes Kernel 6.2, Gnome 44, Mutter 12, Budgie 10.7.1, Enhanced hot corner capabilities with edge support, and Superb and intuitive tiling support using either/both mouse and keyboard. A link to the release notes is in the show notes.Ubuntu Budgie 23.04

Xubuntu also released 23.04 with Kernel 6.2 and Xfce 4.18. Xubuntu Minimal is included as an officially supported subproject. Pipewire (and wireplumber) are now included in Xubuntu.

PC Linux OS has updated its Kernels to versions 6.2.9, 6.1.22 LTS, and 5.15.105 LTS.

Eric: KaOS recently celebrated 10 years as a distro by releasing KaOS 2023.04. And to look back, there is an option added to play music during the installation phase. This was a common feature some 10-15 years ago but has never been available in KaOS, thus available this one time, ten years later. In addition to updating their regular install media, they have also provided a development snapshot which includes a preview of KDE Plasma 6. “Not only is there a new stable ISO released, but to look forward to the next ten years, there is also a Plasma 6 preview ISO available.” News post

Moss: And Blend OS has a new version 2, but a bug has been found. 2.1 will be out shortly. I’m still in regular contact with Rudra Saraswat, and he is really interested in making this immutable distro based on Arch but allowing the use of Ubuntu, Fedora, or whatever you like using.

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

Moss: I guess I could have put my BigLinux issues here, but it’s too late for that. Also my hardware failures, also too late. So I’m good for now.

Dale: I thought I had a failure to report but as previously mentioned it was due to my memory settings.

Eric: VanillaOS. I spent several days trying to get VanillaOS to suit my everyday needs and found that it was more challenging and time consuming than I was willing to take on. I have been busier than usual with paid work and don’t have unlimited time to devote to learning something new. I have an interest in immutable and atomic distributions because I see a lot of others proclaiming them to be the future of Linux and I’d like to understand if that’s true, especially for how I use a computer.

There were challenges with dual booting and a few other lesser things but it was mainly due to the way that immutable distros handle native packages. It’s something I will come back to but for now, I tried and failed to make it work for me.


Moss: – DISTRO NAME: Elementary OS 7

INTRO: Elementary OS has been compared to MacOS on a number of forums, but they have taken steps to distance themselves from this perception. Even so, the developers, led by Danielle Fore’, have made solid efforts to make everything look like a single distro, not just adding in variously-themed applications. This gives it a little bit of a walled-garden feel. We’ve been avoiding this distro for quite a while for exactly this reason, and they have a brand-new version out. I would like to begin by stating that this distro is beautiful and easy to use, has beautiful and consistent theming – more so than any other distro. I wanted to make a review of just that, but sadly I had other issues. Nothing I say here should be taken as a slam of elementary OS.

MY HARDWARE: For this review, I used my Lenovo ThinkPad T540p. This computer has a 4th-generation Intel Core i7-4710MQ, 16 Gb RAM, and a 512 Gb Silicon Power SSD, with both Intel HD Graphics 4600 and NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M graphics. I installed it using the entire disk, used it for a couple of weeks, and then installed it again.

INSTALLATION EASE AND ISSUES: The first time I installed this toward the end of March, it went smoothly and I didn’t have any issues. However I did not write my process down and had to go back and reinstall. This has been a minor nightmare. Apparently the distro has protections to keep it from being overwritten.

So here are the steps to install it (2nd time)

  • Live disk took a while to load
  • Select language
  • Keyboard layout
  • Try or install
  • Select a drive
  • Enable drive encryption (no)
  • Partitioning drive
  • Could not install
  • Partitioning error – I literally could not continue, so I rebooted.


  • Custom Install
  • Gparted delete partitions
  • Back
  • Erase disk and install
  • Select a drive
  • Don’t encrypt
  • Partitioning drive
  • Extracting files etc
  • Restart device
  • Remove disk & press Enter


I’m going to start with my second install, as there were more issues.

  • Reboot back to language selection
  • Name, username, to the password, confirm password, check device name
  • Finish setup
  • Login
  • Nice mountain-y background on the desktop, Welcome to elementary OS
  • Next
  • Choose your look, next
  • Night light next
  • Housekeeping
  • Automatically delete
    • Downloaded files
    • Old temporary files (checked)
    • Trashed files (checked)
  • Next
  • Connect online accounts. Skipped.
  • Get some apps. Browse app center. Did not have anything I wanted. Next.
  • Automated updates. Skipped. Next.
  • Ready to go. Get started
  • Welcome box clears and that’s all you get.

(First install) After installing, I ran updates. I found that they were using Gnome Web for the default browser, and did not have Firefox in the repo. The website states that they allow for Flatpaks to be installed, but I did not see an easy way built in to do that. I went to Flathub in the browser and downloaded the installation file. In Mint, what I do next is open a terminal and go to the Downloads directory, then type flatpak install <installation.file.name>. I tried that, and nothing happened. I discussed this with Dale, and he suggested I double-click on the installation file in the file manager, which in Mint would only get a display of the text of the file. But in Elementary, it did indeed install the program. I used this for a couple other programs (Telegram and Discord). I attempted to install my office package, not being a fan of LibreOffice, and found I could not. Not only is gDebi not installed and will not install, but there were other errors in installing the file using available tools. I posted those errors to one of our online groups but can’t seem to find them to post here. So yes, this is a walled garden, with some gaps in the wall if you have the correct format of file. (No, there is no flatpak for Softmaker Office.)

(Second install) I went directly to flathub for Firefox, Telegram, Discord flatpaks. I attempted to run updates before installing flatpaks, including adding nVidia 470 driver. The updates included a large lump called Operating System Updates with 255 components, no indication of what they are, just a very slow moving bar graph telling you they were installing. It was way too slow. took a long long long time. The machine has a 5th gen i7 and is Ethernet connected. After waiting 75 minutes, with the status bar stuck at about halfway, I hit Cancel and it immediately asked me to reboot. It then started a new status bar during bootup but it moved at a reasonable speed. Then it automatically rebooted again.

I went back to the update Manager and was told I had to repair some damage. The repair did not take long but there were still updates to do. After well over an hour and a half, it finally was done. I installed the flatpaks I had downloaded, was informed of 4 more updates, performed those (with a few long waits), and rebooted.

I had more updates to do, and this time they went smoothly. I had, for the third time, a recommendation to install the nVidia 470 driver, which I thought was already installed. I installed it, rebooted, and I think it’s there. I wonder why I even do this, as not being a gamer I will probably never leave the Intel side.

The desktop is Pantheon, developed by the Elementary team. It’s clear and easy to use. The default browser is Gnome Web. If you don’t like LibreOffice or WPS Office, tough. If you’re used to most Linux desktops, you may be bothered by the fact that the X to close a program or window is on the top left, just like MacOS and Unity. I am assured by DT that it really is the best place for it, but it’s not what I’m used to.

As stated, the default browser is Web, formerly known as Epiphany and still called that in some libraries. It is not really ready for prime time, regardless of how long Gnome has been working on it. I installed Firefox from Flathub. It was easy to remove Web’s icon from the taskbar and install Firefox’s, although I could not move it to the same location on the taskbar as Web’s icon had occupied.

In a lot of ways, the updating process is reminiscent of BigLinux’s, where you go to the Update Manager, download the updates, manually tell the computer to reboot, it installs the downloaded files at update and does another automatic reboot, and then has everything working when the desktop comes back online. I find this process drawn out and confusing, as most distros manage to update programs without even one reboot (or, rarely, just a log out and back in).

I know I installed Discord, but could not find it on the menus. I tried installing it again, and was told it was already there. My bad, I’m used to menus being arranged by type of program or by last app installed, but elementary uses alphabetical order. Just wasn’t looking for it in the Ds, I was looking around Telegram and Firefox.

EASE OF USE: If you can install it, or it is already installed, you can use it. The theming is consistent and beautiful, and everything runs smoothly. At the end of the day, however, it feels like a beginner’s distro, with everything planned out and chosen for you. I suppose that’s the principle of elementary, to be as consistent in appearance and function as Windows is thought to be.


12 GiB of space used on the SSD as reported by df -h

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

EASE OF FINDING HELP: There is a large and friendly community. I did not approach them. This is getting to sound consistent for me.

PLAYS NICE WITH OTHERS: After my experience with installing it over itself, and seeing how it uses the drive differently from other distros I’m familiar with, I didn’t even try to install something else. I know it can be run as a dual-boot with Windows, and wonder how easy it is to get that working.

STABILITY: This distro is every bit as stable as the Ubuntu 22.04 base.



Zorin OS


Ease of Installation             new user              5/10

experienced user 7/10

Hardware Issues                                             7/10

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

Ease of Use                                                     8/10

Plays Nice With Others                                    x/10

Stability                                                          10/10

Overall Rating                                               8/10

FINAL COMMENTS: This distro looks great and is easy to use – if you like their software selections, or can find flatpak packages for what you want. If you want something else, you’d better be a more skilled Linux user than I am. What they do right, they do better than any other distro. Try it, you may like it.

Eric: – DISTRO NAME: Fedora 37 KDE Plasma Spin

INTRO: This is a two-faceted hop for me, being a dedicated GNOME user and never having much luck with Fedora. Several years ago I found GNOME to be confusing and incomplete while KDE’s Plasma was the pinnacle of desktops everywhere. That got flipped around when I got this Dell laptop. There was something awful about how Plasma rendered fonts that made them very difficult to read. That sounds simple to correct but I spent an unbelievable amount of time trying to figure it out and eventually gave up trying once I tried GNOME and didn’t have that problem. The text was very clear and clean and GTK in general was just better. I was able to overcome all of the issues I had with GNOME through hidden configs and extensions, both of which added back functionality that I feel is missing from GNOME. Things like a system tray, window controls, app menu, and a dock, are essentially the things that Ubuntu adds back as well. A large percentage of the software I was using was GTK, and, at the time, GTK apps looked pretty awful on Plasma. They look perfectly fine now so congrats to the KDE team for making that happen. But I digress. This all led me to switch to and stick with GNOME. Until now.

I have tried Fedora several times over the years but could never quite get it working the way I wanted, even with a ton of effort. I’m a pragmatic user of technology, using free and open source when possible and other types when necessary. Fedora’s policy of exclusively providing free and open software made it feel like half of a desktop to me, one that I ended up having to finish myself. I tend to prefer distros that provide a finished package so to speak. Ones that make it easy to obtain and install drivers, and take the time to tweak a desktop environment. This all lets me hit the ground running. I appreciate that these devs put that kind of care and attention into what they produce, like it’s their ideal way of operating a computer.

Another reason I wanted to try Fedora’s KDE Plasma Spin is that Fedora’s main release, Fedora Workstation, includes the GNOME desktop. This leads most to characterize Fedora as being a GNOME-centric distribution, perhaps even GNOME-only. This does a disservice to the people who develop the spins, which are a collection of ISOs providing a number of alternative desktops for any given release of Fedora. As of right now, the list includes ten alternatives, KDE Plasma, XFCE, LXQT, Mate-Compiz, Cinnamon, LXDE, SOAS, i3, Budgie, and Sway. The last two were just added as part of Fedora 38, which was released just before taping this episode on April 18th.

MY HARDWARE: I am using my main computer, a Dell XPS 15 9570 laptop, which has an 8th Generation “Coffee Lake” Intel i7-8750H (6 cores, 12 threads) @ 4.1 GHz, 16 GB of DDR4-2666 RAM, Toshiba 256GB NVMe and Crucial 1 TB SSD drives, and hybrid NVIDIA graphics (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Mobile and Intel CoffeeLake-H GT2 [UHD Graphics 630]).

I have a number of partitions on the NVMe drive, including an EFI, swap, and two root partitions supporting the dual boot setup. The SSD is a data drive housing my files, which is shared between the two distros.

INSTALLATION EASE AND ISSUES: Anaconda isn’t my favorite installer. I take exception to the unusual “find the button” approach that they employ but I’ve gotten used to it which is why I guess it is still the way it is. I am using a dual boot setup which has sometimes been a problem with some distros that expect to be the only one installed.

Fortunately, I didn’t have any trouble in this case. There is an option to have the installer automatically partition the free space on the disk, which I chose to do. It created <list partitions here> and was smart enough to reuse the existing EFI partition for /boot/efi.

I chose to accept the default option of disabling the root account. I created my user and then the installer did its thing in around ten minutes.

POST-INSTALLATION HARDWARE FACTS & ISSUES: Upon rebooting, I was shown a grub menu that listed the Fedora entry but also EndeavourOS which is the other distro that’s installed. That means that os-prober and grub were able to detect and add the proper boot options. This doesn’t always work the way I hope it will.

After booting Fedora I logged in and was presented with a pretty stock Plasma desktop. There is no welcome screen or any other getting started process. Just the desktop, ready to go.

I had just under 1,000 packages to update, around 1.6 GB in total. I tried to use Discover to do so but it had other plans. I am aware that a good deal of work has gone into improving the Discover experience but I continue to have some of the same long-standing issues, mainly performance but also the unusual user interface. There is also a perplexing lack of settings available, which is peculiar for a KDE application. I believe they will continue to work on it and it will continue to improve over time.

After rebooting, I was presented with a welcome screen for KDE Plasma which was a slideshow-type introduction to Plasma. It provided an introduction to features such as System Settings, Vaults, Activities, KDE Connect, and KRunner. All of these are standout differentiating features of the Plasma desktop, many of which are largely ignored. Some have claimed a lack of calling attention to these features is to blame so it’s nice to see KDE providing this welcome screen as a way to address that concern.

Another interesting feature of the welcome tool is the ability to enable varying levels of telemetry data, including Disabled, Basic System Data, Basic System Data and Usage Statistics, Detailed system information and basic usage statistics, and finally Detailed system information and usage statistics. Many open-source projects have called attention to the fact that they have very little statistical data to draw from when deciding what features to focus on for example. There have been several notable instances of projects deciding to use an opt-out approach which many users dislike. KDE has taken the opt-in approach which I hope will garner enough goodwill that people will consider allowing them to have their data.

EASE OF USE: Fedora continues to ship without patent-encumbered software which makes for a less than ideal desktop OS experience. Most users, myself included, expect to have access to drivers, codecs, and software. I don’t disagree with their stance on this in principle but it has made using Fedora as my main desktop system more difficult than most other distros. It has gotten easier, especially on the main Workstation edition, which includes enabling third-party repositories as part of the first boot process. I still had to configure RPM Fusion myself in the KDE Spin. It’s not particularly difficult but still requires an extra step. I found that I often had to install software from outside of the Fedora repositories in order to accomplish some tasks. This could be a challenge for newer, less experienced users and a bit of a hassle for everyone else. But, and this is the important part, a good number of distros cater to the less experienced user while Fedora expects a certain level of proficiency and I’m ok with that.


4.5 GB of space used on the SSD

750 MB of memory used was reported by free –hm.

EASE OF FINDING HELP: I didn’t need to take advantage of the many ways that Fedora provides help but there is an impressive array nonetheless. The KDE Plasma Spin page lists several resources specific to the spin itself, including chat and email. They also link to KDE’s documentation website and Fedora’s main “Get Help” page. There is also start.fedoraproject.org which provides links to news, downloads, and help.

PLAYS NICE WITH OTHERS: The installer did a great job of using the empty space and reusing the correct EFI and swap partitions. The proper grub entries were created and dual booting worked as expected. Full marks in this category.

STABILITY: I did experience several lockups that required me to perform a hard reboot by holding down the power button. I wasn’t able to really track down the cause and it wasn’t ever consistent. It happened with VirtualBox, once with remote desktop software, and once for seemingly no reason. This isn’t unprecedented behavior but it isn’t common. Let’s say that it was conspicuous compared to most other distros. Other than those incidents, I didn’t have stability issues per se. I did find that it felt a tad slow overall when compared to something like Arch but on par with something like Ubuntu.





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                                                      7/10

Plays Nice With Others                                   10/10

Stability                                                             7/10

Overall Rating                                                 8/10

FINAL COMMENTS: I enjoyed my time with Fedora’s KDE Plasma Spin and continue to use it for the time being at least. I enjoyed rediscovering why I enjoyed using Plasma years ago and may have talked myself back into using it full-time. Some things are such an improvement over GNOME, at least as it pertains to how I use my computer. All of the things that I feel are missing from GNOME are in Plasma by default without the need to install extensions. And while KDE can sometimes overdo it with the seemingly endless number of configuration options available, it is nice to be able to have them available when you need them. Come to think of it, isn’t that their tagline? Simple by default, Powerful when needed. I suppose I agree with that.

In terms of Fedora, I had been using Workstation prior to this and therefore GNOME. While the desktop environment was different in this case, the underlying system, as you’d expect, felt exactly the same. GNOME did make it a bit easier to get things set up by providing a means of enabling third-party repositories but that wasn’t such an imposition. The minimal extra time to manually configure things isn’t a huge factor. I don’t dislike the time I’ve spent using Fedora but I am not convinced that I’ve seen enough benefits to make me want to keep using it instead of something like EndeavourOS, or even an Ubuntu derivative. If I don’t stay with it I will keep an eye on it. There have been huge improvements in the past five years or so and Fedora also tends to adopt newer technologies before others do, such as Pipewire.

Dale: – DISTRO NAME: Zinc 22.04.2

INTRO: Zinc is a distro from India, the developer is Tony George. He has been developing software for Linux and Windows since 2012. Tony is known best for creating Aptik, Timeshift, Ubuntu Kernel Update Utility, and Conky Manager. A link to his website will be in the show notes. TeejeeTech

On the 27th of May, 2022 he created Zinc. It is a distro based on Xubuntu 22.04. Here is a quote from his blog post announcing the release of Zinc.

“This distribution is for people who prefer traditional desktops. Snap and Flatpak packages are not included by default. They can be installed if needed. DEB version of Firefox is installed from Mozilla’s repositories.”

Zinc 22.04 features:

  • Based on Ubuntu LTS – Stable base with 5 years of security updates
  • Xfce desktop with a top panel and a dock on the left side
  • Dark themed to reduce eye strain
  • Latest HWE-edge kernel from Ubuntu – Currently at v5.15 for 22.04. Newer mainline kernels are not used to avoid compatibility issues with Nvidia, VirtualBox, and wireless drivers.
  • No Snaps or Flatpaks – Can be installed if needed
  • Latest DEB version of Firefox from Mozilla’s official repositories
  • Calamares Installer instead of Ubiquity
  • Drop-down terminal for running commands in the background – Mapped to F1 key
  • Better VirtualBox support – Auto-resize display to match the host resolution, and access shared folders from the Live system session
  • Live session option to load to RAM – You can write the ISO to a USB drive, boot from it using the “Load to RAM” option, and install the OS onto the same USB drive.

I will review 22.04.2, released on the 26th of February, 2023.

The updates include:

  • Linux kernel 5.19
  • Xfce 4.18
  • Nemo 5.6.3 from Linux Mint 21.1
  • LibreOffice
  • In-kernel NTFS3 driver will be used by default for mounting NTFS drives instead of the fuse-based ntfs-3g driver
  • Uses Cloudflare’s DNS servers for DNS name resolution

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 DDR3 RAM, and a 500 GB Samsung 860 EVO SSD.

INSTALLATION EASE AND ISSUES: It booted to a simple Grub boot menu that Ubuntu uses, which includes Boot Live System, Safe Mode, Load to RAM, and Check Live CD/DVD/USB for defects. Once in the live session, I clicked on the installation icon from the desktop. Zinc uses the Calamares installer and requires the laptop to be connected to the AC adapter and the Internet. It asks the same questions as other distros with the exception of using the user password for administration functions via sudo. There was no mention of it during the installation questions. I opted to use the replace a partition option during the partitioning. I overwrote the Pardus partition, so I am dual-booting Zinc with PCLinuxOS.

Upon completion of installation, a question of rebooting now was posed. I clicked the checkbox to reboot and clicked finish. A black screen asked me to remove the USB stick and press enter. It was a simple quick installation.

POST-INSTALLATION HARDWARE FACTS & ISSUES: Zinc is using the LightDM login manager and Upon logging in, I was presented with a wallpaper image similar to our moon set to a red hue. The other option is a blue/green background similar to the folds of a paper fan with evergreen trees.

There is an Xfce panel at the top and a DockX dock from DockBarX on the left side. They run the entire length and height of the screen. The top panel includes from left to the right, the Whisker Menu (configured to display a list of applications similar to Windows 10), a CPU graph widget (A mouse over shows CPU usage in a percentage, while clicking opens Htop, a terminal-based system monitor), Date/Time (Using European format day and month, while clicking shows a calendar), Wired Ethernet status widget, System tray icons, Caffeine (used to temporarily disable sleep on the computer), Indicator widget (Turns off display, kill hung applications, restart applications, update system with Apt, update system with Nala, a front end for Apt showing better formatting and color), System Monitor widget, WiFi status/configuration, Variety (An automatic wallpaper changer), Notifications, Battery status, Sound control/preferences, and lastly Action buttons widget (Provides, Lock screen, Logout, Switch user, Suspend, Shutdown, Restart).

In the DockX dock, there is Firefox 112, Thunar File Manager 4.18, Nemo 5.6.3, Terminator 2.1.1 (a terminal client), and gedit 41.0 (GUI text editor for the GNOME Desktop).

Here are a few applications available in Zinc. In accessories are MATE Calculator 1.26.0, Bulky 2.7 (A file renaming application), and Shutter .99.2 (A screenshot tool).

In Development is Geary 1.38 (An IDE using GTK+). For Graphics, there is GIMP 2.10, Inkscape 1.1 (Drawing/Design work), and Shotwell 0.30.14 – “Celle” (Photo manager).

In Internet Remmina 1.4.25 (Remote access screen and file share utility), Transmission 3.0 (Bit torrent client), and Uget 2.2.3 (Download Manager).

For Multimedia, there is VLC 3.0.16 and for Office, there is LibreOffice which includes Writer, Calc Spreadsheet, Impress Presentation, and Draw Drawing.

In the System, there is the Fish Shell 3.3.1, Gigolo 0.5.2 (Frontend to connect to local and remote filesystems), GPartEd 1.3.1, Gnome Disks 42, and Synaptic 0.90.2 (GUI Package manager for Apt). There were also the normal Xfce applications installed.

There was one odd issue with the Whisker menu, when I would press the super key aka Window logo key, the menu would open and immediately close. It happens so fast it makes the screen flash. I found that I needed to hold the key down for one second and it would stay open. Oddly it needed to press another second for it to close. I’ve never seen this behavior before with the Whisker menu, it was quite odd. Pressing the ESC key would also close the menu. Once opened it functioned as it should.

EASE OF USE: I got along pretty well with Zinc considering Xfce is one of my favorite Desktop Environments. I liked the addition of the DockX dock, I have heard of it but never had the chance to see it. It has many settings which makes it a good fit for the configurable nature of Xfce. A very good percentage of the features are not being used, there is a big potential for further customization.

The terminal using Terminator was a good experience. Tony opted to not open Neofetch or any other statics/settings app when the terminal is opened. I actually liked the configuration of the terminal, so much that I may use that on my other systems. It has the clock followed by my username@hostname followed by the current folder. Then below that is a greater-than-sign bracket, the open end is pointing to the left. I don’t need the clock but the other configurations I like. I found it didn’t get in the way of my activities in the terminal. Unlike Fish, I don’t like the predictive text input it uses, though if you are not a fast typer I can see its appeal.

If you are used to using the su command to do administration functions, you will need to enter the interactive shell of sudo to do that OR add a password to the root user. To use sudo’s interactive mode type sudo -i press enter, enter your password, then you are in the root shell. The best current security practice is to leave the root user disabled for interactive shell/login permission. Personally, I think it is a moot point since your user password can perform root administration via sudo. It all boils down to how good your password is in general.

The installation of Flatpak was like any other Ubuntu-based distro. The Flatpaks appeared in the menu so editing of the menu was not needed. I am not a fan of Snap so I didn’t try installing it, considering this is based on Xubuntu, I don’t see a problem with doing so.

There isn’t any update notification, so you will need to check on the updates. Synaptic worked very well just as Apt did. This was the first distro I have reviewed that had Nala installed. It has a nice colorful command output. I posted a screenshot to our Telegram group. It uses some of the same command options that APT uses with a few nice additions like list (list packages based on package name), and history (show transaction history). It is good for basic updating and package installation. To do more advanced functions, you will need to use APT.


12 GiB of space used on the SSD

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

EASE OF FINDING HELP: I didn’t see any obvious signs of support. There were comments on his blog announcing the release of the distro, though they were all compliments and congratulations. Given the Xubuntu base, any Ubuntu forum should be able to help.

PLAYS NICE WITH OTHERS: I had no issues dual-booting with PCLinuxOS.

STABILITY: I had no issues.



MX Linux


Ease of Installation             new user                8/10

experienced user 10/10

Hardware Issues                                             10/10

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

Ease of Use                                                      9/10

Plays Nice With Others                                   10/10

Stability                                                            10/10

Overall Rating                                                 8/10

FINAL COMMENTS: Overall, I enjoyed using Zinc. Other than the odd Whisker Menu problem, I had no other issues. I thought having both Thunar and Nemo installed was unnecessary. I personally don’t see the point of it. I noticed that there were other duplications, like the Xfce Screenshot utility and Shutter. Another is the two resource monitors in the Xfce panel.

There is no surprise why the clean boot memory usage is almost 900 MB, which is very heavy for Xfce. The time out on the Grub boot menu is way too long at 30 seconds, 10 seconds is more than enough time to make a selection, additionally, once you press the arrow keys, the boot is paused until you make a selection.

The only points I took off were the new user for partitioning, if it is not a wipe and install, it can be confusing even with Calamares. The other is the Ease of Use for the Whisker Menu problem.

If you want to use Xubuntu with a good selection of preinstalled apps but you don’t want Snap installed, then I would look at Zinc.


from 03/23 to 04/25

Proxmox 7.4 “VE”

Ubuntu 20.04.6 all flavours

LibreELEC 11.0.1

Regata 23.0.0

Slackel 7.6

OpenMandriva 23.03 “ROME”

Porteus Kiosk 5.5.0

Proxmox 7.3 “Mail Gateway”

Finnix 125

openmamba 20230329

Proxmox 2.4 “Backup Server”

Alpine 3.17.3

Linuxfx 11.3.1

Pisi 2.3.2

Gnoppix 23.4

Zevenet 5.13.2

MidnightBSD 3.0.0

Lite 6.4

Mabox 23.03

Archcraft 2023.04.02

Arch Linux 2023.04.01

Pearl 13

Live Raizo

ExTiX 23.4

Artix 20230401

EasyOS 5.2.1

MidnightBSD 3.0.1

FreeBSD 13.2

OpenBSD 7.3

4M Linux 42.0

TrueNAS 22.12.2

Tiny Core 14.0

BigLinux 2023-04-11

deepin 20.9

Archcraft 23.04.17

TUXEDO 2-20230417

IPFire 2.27-core174

Fedora 38

Voyager 22.04.2

Tails 5.12

PakOS 2023-04-16

SmartOS 20230420

KDE neon 20230420

Ubuntu 23.04 ALL FLAVOURS

Cinnamon and Edubuntu now official

KaOS 2023.04

Voyager 23.04

Zevenet 5.13.3

Manjaro 22.1.0

FuguIta 7.3

Bluestar 6.2.12

blendOS 2

CachyOS 230423


Nothing in the email box.


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

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

Eric: I can be reached on just about every social media and chat platform under my full name, Eric Adams. For example, I’m on Mastodon, Discord, Telegram, Matrix, Twitter, and so on.

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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