Episode 43 Show Notes

Distrohoppers Digest Episode 43 show Notes

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

Moss: I managed to get all kinds of days of work this past month, my best month this school year. Of course, that is to be followed by 2 months of nothing, as the school term is over. I’ve been keeping quite busy between that and all my podcasts. I also tried using EasyOS. It was easy… but getting applications which were not already provided turned out to be quite difficult. I also mailed two computers and a dock to Dale. Also, Bill Houser took pity on me over my troubles with the EBXYA sound box and bought me a Focusrite Scarlett Solo, which I’m using now.

I also wanted to mention that my next online concert will be Sunday, the 11th of June, at 7 pm Eastern Time, on Festival of the Living Rooms. This will be a semi-public Zoom meeting, with information to be found at the Festival page on Facebook or in the Filkhaven Discord channel. There will be dozens of great singers and songwriters featured over a 3-day weekend, and they saved the best … well, me anyway… for nearly last.

Dale: I was a guest host on mintCast episode 411. The innards section was on my Origins of the Graphical User Interface article. It was great fun spending some time with the mintCast crew. Leading up to that Sunday, I read through my article to create some talking points for the mintCast show script. I also did some more research for the podcast, it was details I found while researching for my third article.

I wanted to re-configure my network since I was running out of available ports on one side of my office. So I drove up to Microcenter to buy a USW-Lite-8-POE, it is the second generation of the 8 port Switch 8 60 Watt that I already have in use. It is the same specs-wise as the first-generation switch, eight Gigabit ports with 4 unpowered and 4 optionally powered. I am going to use the 5 port Flex that I have outgrown on my main computer desk. It is powered by POE, so I will not need to plug in another AC adapter.

A friend hopped to Void Linux and has been telling me about it. I reviewed it in Episode 18 in December 2020. In addition to liking the experience, I thought it would be fun to explore Void together. We have already shared some experiences and helped each other. We both tried the base ISO, which is just the bare minimum to boot the OS. It is very similar to the state Arch is in after installation. I’ve dove into Void more than I did in my previous review since my previous review centered around their Xfce ISO. Since I needed to build from the ground up, it took longer than I intended, which is part of the fun. Well, until things don’t work as I intended. More on this in my Beautiful Failures.

My non-computer-related activities were errands that I didn’t feel like doing the last time I was home. That was due to the sinus/allergy issues I had. I found out that I can have my US Mail held at the Post Office for up to 30 days. Then you need to wait a few days and reapply. I knew of this before but I thought it was only for a couple of weeks. This is an excellent option for me. My secured mailbox at my apartment complex is a decent size, but not enough depending on how much unsolicited and misaddressed mail I get.

I found a somewhat nearby business that could replace a riveted button in my jeans. That made me very happy since these jeans were not cheap.

While looking around the Duluth Trading Company store, I saw they had milk crates for sale. I have been looking for these to use on my company truck. Now I don’t have bottles of antifreeze, oil, and washer solvent rolling around my storage compartment.

I received the two computers and the dock from Moss. As of this writing, I haven’t done anything with them. Finishing the podcast script was my priority before starting any other projects. I was impressed with the amount and manner of the packing. I think Moss has a future in packing computers for shipment. I have added the Lenovo T560 and its dock, along with an M700 ThinkCentre i3-6100T to my collection.

I spent the remainder of my time watching TV and trying not to fall asleep while doing it.

Eric: I had been meaning to replace the keyboard in my Dell XPS laptop because certain keys have not been working well. I had to press hard to get certain ones to activate. It made typing a bit of a game where often the letter wouldn’t activate, or if it did, it would input multiple copies. Entering passwords was a very hit or miss affair. I purchased a replacement keyboard months ago with the intention of replacing it right away, however I ended up waiting after realizing the extent to which I had to disassemble the machine. I have had a few instances in the past where tearing down a laptop to that extent didn’t go well. This is the machine I use for work so I was hesitant. It finally got to the point where typing became a real problem and I couldn’t put it off anymore. It ended up being fairly straightforward and everything went back together. One of the fans is making a bit of noise now but I think I can fix it. Along with the keyboard, I decided that if I was able to successfully replace the keyboard, I would also upgrade the memory. I do a good bit with virtual machines and often came close to running out of memory, even with 16 GB. I ordered a 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) kit from Crucial and installed it as well. I am hoping that with this fix and upgrade, I can now get at least a few more years out of this computer.

Speaking of laptops, another thing I have been working on is restoring another laptop, first for a family member and now for my daughter. It is a Dell Inspiron 5759 with an Intel Skylake 6th generation i7-6500U Dual core with four threads, 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR3 @ 1600 MHz, and a 1 TB 5400 RPM SATA III drive. It was running Windows 10 which would no longer boot. I offered to try repairing Windows for the family member but they would rather buy a new computer and just want their data recovered from the disk, which is easy enough.

That left me with essentially a perfectly good laptop, although that slow, spinning rust drive was really dragging down performance so I wanted to replace it with an SSD. This system doesn’t need a high-end drive and I’ve always had good luck with Crucial components so I went with a Crucial MX500 1TB 3D NAND SATA 2.5 Inch SSD. They claim sequential reads/writes up to 560/510MB/s respectively which is a huge upgrade over the stock drive.

I decided to make this a learning opportunity for my daughter so I had her remove the old drive and install the new one. Fortunately, Dell generally makes their laptops easy to work on so it was just a matter of removing a few screws to access the disk. There are then four screws to remove the drive, four more to remove the bracket from the drive, and then disconnect the SATA cable. Perform the same steps in reverse and, hey presto, you’re done! She seemed to enjoy being able to do something for herself related to computers, especially seeing as I normally handle anything to do with computers, gadgets, and mechanical things around the house.

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

Moss: Bodhi 7 is now out in beta. Bodhi 6 32-bit is still stuck in beta, but they are moving what they’ve made to Bodhi 7 32-bit after the 64-bit gets to official status.

Dale: The Solus project is moving closer to the release of 4.4, a much-needed refresh to their current 4.x ISO.

  • Refreshed appstream metadata/screenshots for the software center
  • The firewalld stack has been overhauled thanks to Evan
  • Hardware enablement for light sensors/accelerators
  • Updated to Kernel 6.3.4
  • Secure boot support Solus Enabling Secure Boot on an Existing Install
  • NVIDIA 390 driver has been deprecated as it was EOL beginning of 2023.
    Users of 390 will be automatically switched to the Nouveau driver.

Void Linux has now dropped the long-deprecated pipewire-media-session session manager from its pipewire package, bringing it in line with the upstream default configuration

Void Linux Pipewire session manager switch, Pipewire and PulseAudio system service removal

The Debian project is getting closer to the Debian 12 Bookworm release date of the 10th of June 2023. The 24th of May was the beginning of the hard freeze, where only critical bugs are fixed. Any other updates to packages require an unblock request and a very good reason for it.

Unless there are any major changes, here are some of the updates in Bookworm. Plasma 5.27, GNOME 43.3, Cinnamon 5.6, and Xfce 4.18, with Kernel 6.1. This will be the first official release of Non-Free Firmware on the ISO.

Debian 12 Bookworm RC 4

XeroLinux updates have been slowed down due to many issues in his country. Many hours per day without power, prices to keep what power they have on have increased. If you are able to donate, a link will be in the show notes to his Ko-Fi page.

Help support XeroLinux

Pardus Linux has many visual and functional improvements. It has been my favorite Debian-based distro. Pardus 21.5 Changelog

Eric: The only distro that I have reviewed so far is version 37 of the KDE Spin of Fedora. I made an honest effort of trying to find any release notes and had no luck. I saw a few posts from others also looking for them and having equally poor luck in doing so. I’m not sure if anyone associated with Fedora Spins listens to this podcast but I humbly request that they consider publishing release notes or, failing that, a change list dumped from their tracking software.

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

Moss: I tried once again to have a positive review of blend OS. Version 2 is out and has many improvements. I tried the Plasma edition and everything was quite nice … except for disappearing menus. Every time I clicked on a menu, the submenu went blank. This made it difficult to open things, or to move them to the taskbar. After a week, I decided to try the Gnome version, which Rudra told me was completely stable. It might be. But I could not manage to get the extra repos to set up. I installed Plasma again and couldn’t even get to a desktop. Rudra tells me a new ISO should be out, probably before this show.

I then tried a few more things, settling on Feren OS. It installed beautifully, looked great, updated great, and then my trackball’s right button was found to be not working. The failure, it turns out, was in my trackball. Hence, Feren is not a failure and will be my review this month.

Dale: My failure, so far anyway, is with the base iso of Void Linux. The main issue was getting Dbus to connect to the session that Xorg creates upon executing. I kept getting “failed to connect” or “session not found”, etc. I chose the base install because I wanted to have more control over which packages are installed. In some cases, you can’t help but install some because of dependency requirements. Everything was going well up until I was trying to add Dbus to my Openbox/Xorg combination. While away at work, I did find some information on Dbus in the Gentoo documentation and their forums. I left them open in Firefox on my phone, along with about 40 other tabs. The reason I have so many tabs is when I stop for lunch or other idle times, I will search for something and leave the tab open. This is why I like tab synching. For example, I can have my tablet open and open that same tab on my phone or one of my laptops. During my week off work, I hope I can use the information from Gentoo to get Dbus working. If not, I will continue with the Void Xfce ISO installation on my desktop. It already had Dbus working, I just swapped Xfwm4 for Openbox. My friend gave up on the base ISO due to similar issues, it was just easier for him to use what was already configured by the Void maintainers. He suggested the same for me and I was going down that path. I was intrigued when I found the information from Gentoo, so I am going to give it one last try. My other fear is finding something else that isn’t working, requiring a lot of configuration or research.

Eric: I stuck with Kubuntu most of the month and didn’t have any failures of note. I say most of the month because I wasn’t able to resist trying Cinnamon again which meant Mint so now I’m happily on Linux Mint 21.1.


Moss: – DISTRO NAME: Feren OS

INTRO: Feren is a quite usable distro forked from Mint some years back, then rebased on Ubuntu Core, using a Plasma desktop. The distro uses some very sane settings on the desktop, with a few quirks, and throws in nearly all of the Mint tools. This is the closest thing you can find to Plasma on Mint. I’ve reviewed this a couple times previously, often in the middle of the dev working on something new. I think it’s ready now.

MY HARDWARE: 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.

INSTALLATION EASE AND ISSUES: 00:32 started up. Unreadable screen; within two minutes that cleared, and in another minute the desktop was displayed. I removed my partitions, and at 00:37 I started installing. Three minutes later, it was done and I rebooted. After reboot is where you put in your user name and password and set your time zone, etc., followed by another reboot (00:43). I was then met with a desktop with a welcome app and it offered to give me a brief tour of the system. I attempted to install restricted codecs, but found that my wifi login was not transferred during installation. I logged in to my network, tried again. The installation of restricted codecs finished at 00:46, and I finished the slideshow after that. I was then prompted to update the update program, which clearly was Mint Update. I started updates at 00:48, also set my power settings and turned my touchpad off, and finished updates at 00:59, whereupon I once again rebooted.

This time I booted to a blank screen with a blinking cursor. I rebooted again. At 01:02 I had a working system.

Feren comes default with Vivaldi Browser, but it also includes a very nice Browser Picker program. I selected Firefox, and after that was installed, I uninstalled Vivaldi from the same app. I then opened Synaptic to clear LibreOffice, and downloaded and installed SoftMaker FreeOffice. I then went to Flathub and downloaded the installation files for Discord, Telegram, PysolFC, and Audacity, installed those, and opened a Terminal to install Kmines, Kmahjongg and Nethack-x11. I was done at 01:21, with the only things left to do being to log into Firefox, Discord, and Telegram.

Not bad, 49 minutes to a complete system with my preferred defaults.

POST-INSTALLATION HARDWARE FACTS & ISSUES: As I said earlier, I thought there was a problem using my right mouse button, and then I found the issue was indeed with my trackball. Other than that, the choice of Vivaldi as the default browser is curious, but the Browser Picker app makes it easy to install your browser of choice and remove any other browser. I heard some time back the dev was working on an office picker based on this, but it isn’t in the latest version.

EASE OF USE: If you like Plasma and you like Mint, you will very likely feel right at home in Feren. It’s a very smooth system and everything works better than you might expect, especially with Mint Update replacing Discover.


24 GB of space used on the SSD (several Flatpaks)

732 MB of memory used was reported by free –h.

EASE OF FINDING HELP: The dev maintains a lively Discord channel and can be reached any number of other ways. I did not need to look for help with anything, everything felt like it was exactly the way I wanted it.

PLAYS NICE WITH OTHERS: Feren coexists peacefully with any systemd distro. It is based on Ubuntu Core so it should be happy with any Debian distro. I’ve run it before with OpenMandriva or Manjaro on the machine.

STABILITY: It should be just as stable as Ubuntu. The Feren dev changes things when he finds something which does not quite meet his standards, but the current version has been stable for over a year.


Linux Mint

Zorin OS


KDE neon


Ease of Installation              new user                 9/10

  experienced user 10/10

Hardware Issues                                               10/10

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

Ease of Use                                                       10/10

Plays Nice With Others                                        9/10

Stability                                                               10/10

Overall Rating                                                    9.5/10

FINAL COMMENTS: One of these days, I’m going to proclaim that Feren OS is the perfect distribution, especially for people who like Plasma and Mint or are just coming over from another OS. It looks and feels familiar. It has some gorgeous theming and included wallpapers. And it works pretty well. As I said above, there were a couple of glitchy moments, but they were easily gotten through without the need for much patience.

Dale: – DISTRO NAME: ArchCraft

INTRO: ArchCraft is an Arch-based distro from India, it was created and maintained by Aditya Shakya. I couldn’t find an officially stated release date. The earliest I could find on their Sourceforge page was July 2020. The description of the distro is “Yet another minimal Linux distribution, based on Arch Linux.”

The official ISO uses the Openbox Window Manager with two Flavors ISOs using Xfce and LXDE. There are additional window managers available in the Openbox ISO such as Bspwm, DWM, i3wm, Xmonad, Herbstluftwm, Berry, and Fluxbox. They offer additional premium ISOs using Wayland, Wayfire, and other customized ISOs available from Ko-Fi. Additionally, they offer a paid service to create a custom Linux Distro.

MY HARDWARE: The laptop I used is my Dell Inspiron 13-7353. It has an Intel Dual Core i5-6200U 2.8 GHz CPU, a 13″ display using Intel HD Graphics 520, 8 GB of RAM, and a 128 GB Samsung CM871 SSD.

INSTALLATION EASE AND ISSUES: The Grub menu of the installation ISO has the following options. Boot, Boot open source, Boot Nvidia, Boot Nomodeset, UEFI Shell, Firmware Settings, System shutdown, and System restart. I’m assuming the open-source option is referring to the in-kernel tree graphics drivers like Nouveau.

Once in the live session, I was greeted with a Hello application. It had links to Get Started, Launch Calamares, and Launch ABIF. ABIF is their command line/terminal-based Ncurses installer. I don’t know what the initials stand for.

ABIF is a long detailed installation. If you select it, this is what you will encounter.

I selected English as my language. The following screen showed a menu of 5 steps, 1 Prepare Installation, 2 Install Base, 3 Configure Base, 4 Review Configuration Files, and 5 Done. Instructions above the menu stated that the steps must be completed in order.

The first step was already selected so I pressed enter. It showed 8 more menu steps. 1 Set Virtual Console, 2 Set Desktop Keyboard Layout, 3 List Devices (optional), 4 Partition Disk, 5 LUKS Encryption (optional), 6 Logical Volume Management (optional), 7 Mount Partitions, 8 Back.

Step 1 had various consoles listed of which I had no clue what some of them were. I saw an EN listed before ES, which I assume is English and Español. I scrolled to the end and saw the US and for no reason I selected it. It automatically returned me to the menu with step 2 already selected. Pressing enter displayed a list of two-letter combinations. I didn’t see an EN option so I chose US once again.

Step 3 (List Devices) shows the drives available.

Continuing to step 4 which was partitioning the drive. There were options to securely wipe the device, Automatic Partitioning, gParted, Cfdisk, and parted. I selected Cfdisk because it is an easy-to-use Ncurses menu-based partitioner.

I resized sda2 which is the root partition of Debian Stable, I did a somewhat equal split of 58 GB. That created sda4, as sda3 was the swap partition previously created by Debian. FYI, you can use the same swap partition between distros. I wrote the changes and then selected quit to return to the list of steps.

Upon returning to the installation steps, a warning message informed me that I needed to select the correct drive by device name. There are no descriptions of what is on each device. After acknowledging that, I chose the filesystem I wanted to use and selected Ext4. It verified that I wanted Ext4 and after accepting it, it formatted the partition.

The following list of options is the fstab options. I only chose the discard to enable trim. I was again asked to confirm my selection. In the following screen, I selected the swap partition, the partition the previous Debian installation created. The other options were none and a swapfile.

Following that was the UEFI partition selection, which wasn’t hard since it was the smallest one. A warning message informed me that the partition was already formatted, which I already knew since Debian created it. I opted to not format it. My next task was to select the mount point for UEFI. The choice of /boot and /boot/efi was given. I opted for /boot/efi since most non-Arch distros use that. Considering I am dual booting with Debian and it uses /boot/efi. Once completed, I was asked if I wanted to mount any other partitions. I selected done and was brought back to the main menu list. Back was already chosen so I pressed enter. The next step was to install the base. Once that was done, I proceeded with the Run Mkinitcpio step which creates the initramfs. Following that step, I continued to install the bootloader. The choice was Grub or systemd-boot, I chose Grub. It asked if I wanted to make it the default. I chose not to since I am already using the one Debian installed.

Next on to the Configure Base steps. I pressed enter on Generate FSTAB. The options were to use Device Name, Device Label, Device UUID, and UEFI Part UUID. I chose Device UUID. The following steps were setting the hostname, locale, timezone, root password, and adding a user.

I was given the option to review the configuration files that were generated. Finally, I was brought back to the main menu and selected “done”. I was asked if I wanted to exit the installer and press enter. Then I rebooted the laptop.

It rebooted to a grub prompt, which is no big surprise as Arch usually doesn’t like dual-booting in my experience. I entered the Dell UEFI and added Arch’s EFI boot stub to the boot menu. Then placed it ahead of Debian in the boot order. Upon reboot, I was able to log in to ArchCraft with no signs of Debian in the Grub Menu.

I went through the terminal-based installation again, this time choosing to have ArchCraft control Grub. Again, it was the only boot option listed in Grub. I booted to a live USB to attempt to install Grub in Debian. I kept getting ‘/dev/sda is an invalid block device’. I have no idea what the ArchCraft bootloader did to cause that. It is getting to the point where I will need to dig into why Arch doesn’t dual-boot even though Grub and OS-Prober are being used.

To test the dual boot, I installed Pardus Linux, a Debian-based distro. I was going to put Debian Stable back on but I kinda prefer Pardus because it looks very good out-of-the-box.

I rebooted using the ArchCraft ISO and selected the Calamares installer method, which is much quicker and easier. The power must be attached to the laptop but the WiFi doesn’t need to be connected.

The normal questions of Location and keyboard language were posed. The next screen was labeled Desktop. The options were Openbox, Bspwm, or both. Openbox is a floating/stacking window manager and Bspwm is a tiling window manager. I chose Openbox.

Next was the partitioning, I selected the Install Alongside option. Following that was the setting of the hostname and user account creation. The ‘Use the same password for the administrator account’ is already checked. Continuing, I was shown a summary of my choices. I clicked install to begin the installation. It is a slower-than-normal installation due to copying and uncompressing the installation image. Once completed, an All Done window was shown. A check box to restart now was available. There was no prompt to remove the USB stick.

Upon reboot, ArchCraft was in control of the Grub menu with Pardus Linux as an additional boot option.


The wallpaper is of snow-capped mountains in black & white. There are other scenery selections along with some unique shapes and colors. There is a top status bar which is Polybar, a favorite among window manager users. From left to right, there is Rofi, a window switcher/application launcher, an applet to select one of four desktops, and a resource meter displaying CPU/memory/disk usage. Clicking on the memory usage opens htop, a command line resources utility using the Ncurses framework. When clicking on the clock, it expands to show the date using the standard US convention of Month Day, and Year. The Music Player Daemon or MPD is to the right of the clock. The volume control slider with a single click to mute and unmute. Display brightness. Connection manager applet showing current network connection. The battery status for when using a laptop. The last item is the power menu applet for logout/shutdown/restart etc.

At the bottom of the screen is a dock using Plank. It is populated with Alacritty, a terminal emulator, Firefox version 113, Thunar File Manager version 4.18.6, Geany 1.38, a text editor, Xfce terminal emulator 4.18, Settings Manager from Xfce, and lastly, Help and Tips. It is the Hello application for ArchCraft. It provides details about Openbox, Bspwm, and Tips. Community links, and the Premium editions. There is a list of the preconfigured keybindings used in Openbox.

As far as installed applications, ArchCraft is minimal. They are using Nitrogen to manage the wallpaper, it is another favorite among window manager users. In addition to Alacritty, there is also the Xfce Terminal. Vim and Nano are the two terminal-based text editors available. For terminal-based file management, you have Ranger, if you are familiar with the old Norton Commander or Midnight Commander (A Linux clone), it is very similar. Avahi (for network services), Gparted, graphical partitioning utility and Kvantum theme Manager are among the few applications installed. Openbox configuration manager is installed if you don’t like to edit the configuration in a text editor.

Pacman is used for package management, so get used to typing pacman -Syuu as there isn’t a GUI package manager. Parallel downloads are enabled which makes downloading much faster.

Access to the AUR (Arch User Repository) is available via Yay. Flatpak and Snap are not installed by default. Installing Flatpak will be a bit unclear to some people. There are 6 options all beginning with xdg-desktop. The reason for that is that Flatpak was originally called xdg-app. The six options are portal-gnome, portal-gtk, portal-hyperland, portal-kde, portal-lxqt, and portal-wrl. I selected the GTK option since Openbox aligns more with that than KDE. One thing about installing Flatpak with ArchCraft, Flathub is already enabled. After installing a package, you will need to log out and log back in for the application to appear in Rofi.

Snap wasn’t found when searching with Pacman, so you will need to use Yay to install it. I installed it which took quite a while. After rebooting I found it couldn’t contact the server. I don’t know if it wasn’t configured or if it was another issue. I am not a fan of Snap so I didn’t go any further. With access to the Aur and Flatpak, I think your application needs are being met. Though I would stick with Flatpak. The Aur is just one update away from breaking, yes I know many people don’t have a problem. When there is a problem, can you fix it? That is my main concern with it.


Given my bias toward Openbox, I got along with ArchCraft’s implementation quite well. It is functional using some common keybinding, which can be edited if you prefer others. I did find their power management applet a little quirky. I would click on the icon from the panel and it would open. I then would click on one of the options, usually power off. Instead of powering off, it would disappear. I found that I had to click on the icon from the panel and then use the arrow keys to select power off followed by the enter key. Doing my updates in the terminal is a normal activity for me. Believe it or not, I am actually getting used to Pacman. The -Syuu is still a bit obscure to me. Though with my current use of Void Linux which uses Xbps, it uses similar switches. Where xbps-install -Su is used to update the system while xbps-query -Rs is used to search for packages. So who am I to complain about Pacman’s -Syuu to update the system? LoL

The act of tapping the super key to open Rofi to launch applications is all I really need. If an application is not found, open the terminal and type the name followed by &. The & detaches/forks the application from that specific terminal window, allowing it to be closed while keeping the application running.

One workflow that I no longer use anymore is navigating a menu. If you are into that workflow, you can use Openbox’s right-click menu. On an empty part of the wallpaper, right-click and you will be presented with a menu tree of applications. You can even shut down, reboot, log out, etc using this menu. Which, oddly enough, I forgot about when I was having issues with the aforementioned power management applet.

Back when I was using this workflow, I found it very cool that I could open the menu anywhere on the screen. This was compared to the current version of Windows back then, I think I was using Windows 98 or maybe Windows 2000 Workstation. The Start Menu was a fixed menu on the bottom left side of the panel, well pretty much where it is today on Windows 11 except in the middle now. Maybe if I start using Openbox’s right-click menu again, I might get back into the habit.


7 GB of space used on the SSD

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


They have a Wiki and the following platforms: Reddit, Discord, Telegram, and Matrix Spaces. Their Wiki is pretty useful. There are some fixes for potential post-installation issues. If you choose to use one of the window managers, there is a list of all the configured keybindings. I noticed they use some of the same keybindings that I commonly use.

PLAYS NICE WITH OTHERS: Yes, if you use the install alongside option in Calamares. Using the command line Ncurses installer, your luck may vary.


I haven’t had any issues. I waited a couple of weeks between updates with no issues. Though I did not use any AUR packages except for installing Snap, which didn’t work.


Mabox (Manjaro Based)

Arco (Arch Based)

Bunsenlabs Linux (Debian based)

CrunchBang ++ (Debian based)


Slackel Openbox


Ease of Installation             new user                8/10 using terminal install               1/10

experienced user 10/10 using terminal install               8/10

Hardware Issues                                                                                                     10/10

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

Ease of Use                                                                                                              9/10

Plays Nice With Others                                 8/10                   0/10 using terminal install

Stability                                                                                                                    10/10

Overall Rating                                                                                                         8/10


Well, I will try not to repeat what I said in the Ease of Use too much. Overall this has been a good Arch experience. Openbox is quite a configurable window manager. The way it is configured in ArchCraft offers a little bit to everyone’s workflow. If you don’t mind using the terminal for package management, I think you will not find much of a difference using this compared to the commonly used Desktop Environments of today.

Longer-term use of the distro would be needed to see how closely they follow upstream Arch. I noticed it had quite a few updates each week. I don’t think there was a day when I didn’t have updates. The important point is that it was reliable in the few weeks I have used it.

Eric: – DISTRO NAME: This month, I focused on Kubuntu 23.04.

INTRO: I had been a Kubuntu user for many years prior to switching to GNOME several years ago. It was my dependable daily driver, the one that didn’t change much between releases and was really focused on providing a clean, stock KDE Plasma desktop experience. Also, even though Kubuntu is a fixed release distro, they have provided up-to-date versions of Plasma over the years by way of a backports PPA. This is a fairly unique situation, to have the stability of a fixed release combined with new releases of software being made available. I haven’t paid much attention to it since switching to GNOME so I was curious to see what has changed.

MY HARDWARE: I am using my main system, a Dell XPS 15 9570 laptop, which has an 8th Generation “Coffee Lake” Intel i7-8750H (6 cores, 12 threads) @ 4.1 GHz, 32 GB of DDR4-2666 RAM, Toshiba 256 GB 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]).

INSTALLATION EASE AND ISSUES: Kubuntu’s version of the Ubiquity installer is very familiar at this point, so there aren’t any surprises. Even though I chose the Normal Installation option, I like that they still offer the minimal version. That’s a handy feature if you don’t have a lot of disk space or just want to start with a clean slate. Selecting the correct partitions wasn’t difficult. I overwrote a Fedora partition for root and reused the EFI partition. It formatted the new root partition as ext4, which seems to be becoming less common these days in favor of btrfs, at least that’s what it seems like after having looked at a number of distros recently. It took around 10 minutes to finish installing and then asked me to either restart or continue testing. I selected restart and everything booted normally, including having had recognized that another distro was present and adding it to the grub boot menu.

POST-INSTALLATION HARDWARE FACTS & ISSUES: Because Kubuntu is essentially just Ubuntu with Plasma and Ubuntu runs so well on my laptop, I didn’t have any hardware issues. One of the reasons I appreciate Ubuntu and its derivatives, at least for the hardware I have used for the last five years or so, is that it just works. I enjoy Arch and other distros but it usually takes some work to get everything set up. Ubuntu, and by extension Kubuntu, just work as-is. This used to be particularly true of Nvidia hybrid graphics. I had nothing but problems with other distros but it always just worked with Ubuntu. I’ve noticed that it seems to be less of an issue as time goes on, which I think speaks to the overall quality of the Nvidia drivers on Linux.

According to Discover, there were 76 updates totaling nearly 470 MB in size. I ran these and then set about installing software. Some of it was available in the Ubuntu repositories but I use a lot of flatpaks so I needed to configure this first since it isn’t configured by default. Then I spent an hour or so installing software and configuring the system, after which I was satisfied to have a more or less complete working system. There were no errors or difficulties with any of this and I used a combination of Discover and the apt and flatpak commands to install everything. Discover, despite many years of refinement, still feels clunky to me so I tend not to use it, unless I am perhaps searching for something. One advantage that a software manager has over command line tools is being able to search multiple sources simultaneously, such as Ubuntu’s repos and Flathub.

EASE OF USE: I find Kubuntu very easy to use. If you choose the standard installation, there is a modest but effective collection of software available by default. It is easy to find just about anything you need between the standard repos, snaps, and optionally, flatpak. Canonical did just make a decision to not enable flatpak by default. It adds an extra step but it’s not terribly difficult to do. KDE Plasma provides copious configuration settings, so most people will be able to customize the desktop to their heart’s content.

MEMORY AND DISK USE: 885 MB on boot and 12 GB disk space consumed

EASE OF FINDING HELP: Kubuntu provides a combination of Ubuntu-specific resources as well as a community-driven web forum, IRC channel, mailing list, and a number of social media services. I haven’t personally used any of these options but it seems like they have all the bases covered.

PLAYS NICE WITH OTHERS: I had no issues installing Kubuntu alongside another distro using GRUB with EFI.

STABILITY: In the many years I spent as a Kubuntu user, I don’t ever remember stability issues. Ubuntu’s updates are usually very well tested and flawless.

SIMILAR DISTROS TO CHECK OUT: Another Ubuntu-based distro using KDE Plasma is their own KDE Neon. Rolling release options are Arch, Manjaro, and openSUSE Tumbleweed.


Ease of Installation             new user                    8/10

experienced user     10/10

Hardware Issues                                                 10/10

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

Ease of Use                                                         10/10

Plays Nice With Others                                       10/10

Stability                                                               10/10

Overall Rating                                                   9.5/10

FINAL COMMENTS: I feel like Kubuntu is often overlooked as one of the more solid options for running a KDE Plasma system. It has all the benefits of the Ubuntu base and ecosystem, with the advantage of running an alternative desktop to Ubuntu’s main release. Much like Ubuntu, there are few surprises between releases, which might ultimately contribute to its apparent lack of popularity. I’m aware that it’s not the most scientific measure of actual popularity but it is only number twenty-seven on Distrowatch’s twelve-month page hit ranking. I would expect a distribution of this caliber and quality to be higher, but maybe that’s not really important. Kubuntu’s strength isn’t in being one of the flashiest, but rather in being one that has stood the test of time. It was first released in 2005 with the 5.04 series and has continued ever since, quietly providing a stable platform, I suspect mostly for busy people who need to get things done. They continue this tradition eighteen years later with the 23.04 release. I have been using it off and on for about fifteen of those eighteen years and I continue to be grateful to see each successive release and to know that, no matter what, I can count on Kubuntu.


from 04/26 to 06/02

Gnoppix 23.5

Peropesis 2.1

Clonezilla 3.1.0-22

ArcoLinux 23.05.04

Mabox 23.04

Photon 5.0

Debian 11.7.0

Debian-Edu 11.7.0

EasyNAS 1.1.1

Archcraft 2023.05.01

Garuda 230501

Artix 20230501

FuguIta 7.3

Endian Firewall 3.3.23

Parrot 5.3

Q4OS 4.12

RasPiOS 2023-05-03

Br OS 23.04

Arch 2023.05.03

Refracta 11.2

OSMC 2023.05-1

Pardus 21.5

Robolinux 12.11

Manjaro 22.1.1

Alpine 3.18.0

Venom 20230509

ExTiX 23.5

RHEL 9.2

AlmaLinux 9.2

EuroLinux 9.2

KDE neon 20230511

EasyOS 5.3

NuTyX 23.05.0

XeroLinux 2023.05

Bodhi 7.0.0-beta (favoritism)

Tails 5.13

Rocky 9.2

Archman 20230517

EuroLinux 8.8

AlmaLinux 8.8

Manjaro 22.1.2

Rocky 8.8

Springdale 9.2

Springdale 8.8

Linuxfx 11.3.2

Regata 23.0.5

Endless 5.0.4

Oracle 9.2

Oracle 8.8

RebornOS 2023.05.16

SystemRescue 10.01

openmamba 20230529

CachyOS 230529

TUXEDO 2-20230530

TrueNAS 13.0-U5

ArcoLinux 23.06.02

Armbian 23.5.1

NixOS 23.05

SmartOS 20230601

KDE neon 20230601

Bluestar 6.3.5

Athena 2023.06.03


Bhikhu wrote Dale via Telegram.

Bhikhu: I have an install of Xubuntu minimal and its RAM usage is under 500MBs and I haven’t experienced the whisker menu delay you mentioned in the podcast so it must be a Zinc specific issue. BTW excellent review as always. I’m almost tired of repeating my praises episode after episode.

Dale: I tried Xfce 4.18 on Void and it didn’t have the whisker menu delay either.

Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed the review. I appreciate the praise.

Bhikhu: Your sincerity and hard work behind these reviews deserve praise.


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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