Episode 44 Show Notes

Distrohoppers Digest Episode 44 show Notes

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


It has been an off month for me. After working 7 days in May, my work year got over. I’ve been just trying to stay alive, had a few minor health issues. All the Linuxing I’ve done, other than my podcasts, will have to wait until the Updates section. Anyone wanting to check out the result of my last concert can check my Bandcamp Page; the songs are collected under the album, “Third Time’s the Charm”, referring to it being my 3rd time at this particular online festival.


I wanted to take a break from configuring Openbox on my T460. So I decided to install the Void Xfce ISO on my desktop. I moved what I was doing on my desktop to the T460. Because having a usable desktop computer was a good idea. After it was installed I started configuring it. I have been watching the Linux Cast Youtube channel for quite a while. Matt has quite a few videos on theming Xfce. After re-watching them and looking through the Xfce documentation to see what is new with 4.18. I was inspired to theme my installation. Several hours later I finished and was very happy with the results. I disabled Xfce’s compositing and used Picom instead. It allows more control over the compositing. Instead of using a panel for my open applications, I decided on using Plank. It is a simple dock with a cool wave animation like the dock on MacOS. Which is about the only thing I like about that OS. I shared a screenshot in our Telegram and Discord channels.

A friend was tired of using Arch-based distros and wanted to try something else. I suggested Pardus, she pushed back a little since it was Debian-based. I told her the features it had and she was intrigued. As of this writing, she has been using it for almost a month and really likes it. She needed help with her WiFi since it needed to be compiled and installed. She also wanted Redshift installed and configured. It changes the color temperature of the monitor to make it easier on your eyes. So I started a TeamViewer session and completed both tasks.

I continued with my Openbox project and read through the D-Bus section of the Gentoo documentation. I corrected the command syntax I was using in the .xinitrc file. Then I was able to get it working with Xorg and Openbox. Listener Bhikhu emailed me about this and it will be read in the feedback section. I set out to try duplicating my Xfce setup. The first attempt was to configure the Tint2 dock, though it wasn’t working for me. Then I re-watched some Polybar videos. It was going ok until I had issues getting more than one bar to open. After many attempts using the documentation, YouTube videos, and text-based tutorials I gave up.

It was fun reliving my early days in Linux. For now, I am going to put this back on the shelf. I have many other projects that I need to resume and some I need to start.

In non-computer-related activities. There was a new car wash called Modwash a couple minutes away from me. It is quite an interesting experience. They had varying shades of blue lights as you progress through the automated wash bay. I don’t know if they change the color of the lights. I will find out next time. They had vacuums, towels, and glass cleaner as part of the cost for the wash. That was good since I have been slacking off on getting my vacuum outside to clean my car. I haven’t done that since a year ago.

It was also good timing since I invited a friend and her 5-year-old son to dinner and ice cream. This was a different friend from the one I mentioned previously. I gave her a choice of nearby restaurants and she chose one of my favorites. Then we drove to a custard stand a few minutes away from my apartment. I used to go there as a child so it is nice as an adult to continue to patronize them. We all had a great evening, as we haven’t seen each other in a couple of months. We may make this a common occurrence when I am home since she has a more compatible work schedule now.


I spent a good bit of time this month managing mobile devices. My wife tends to keep her phones for a long time, I’d say much longer than most people do, so when it’s time to upgrade it’s usually a quantum leap forward. Not only is the hardware different, the version of Android is typically many versions newer as well. This means that she is learning to use new hardware along with a new version of the OS as well. This leads to a lot of requests for help from me, which I don’t mind at all but it does take time to get things just so.

For this big upgrade, I had purchased a Samsung Galaxy S20 5G as a replacement for her very old Samsung Galaxy S7 phone for Christmas. She had just gotten used to it when, sadly, the screen broke. It was going to cost as much to fix the screen than the phone was worth. We decided to just get a different phone, which meant I spent a good amount of time getting a new phone set up again. Fortunately, Samsung makes this mostly painless with their Smart Switch app, which allows you to transfer the contents of one phone to another, either wirelessly or via a USB cable. It isn’t perfect, however, and requires manual intervention to do things like set preferences like ringtones, as well as logging in to apps. The good news is that all is well and she is very happy with her new phone!

The other mobile device project was replacing my excruciatingly slow iPad with something more modern. I tend to get between three and five years out of a tablet, whether it be an iPad or Android device. My last attempt at replacing the iPad was a Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook 10.1” 2-in-1 Tablet with 4G RAM and 128 GB of storage. I had such high hopes for a convertible Chromebook but it was a DOG! I was hoping that it would fill a dual role as a general-use tablet for web browsing and media consumption, as well as a light productivity device. It was pretty bad at both because it was so slow. It’s really a shame because it showed a lot of promise. It’s the closest I have come to using Linux on a tablet because Chrome OS supports running Linux apps. Apparently it needs beefier hardware to do it though, and this machine just couldn’t handle it, let alone running Chrome OS smoothly.

I wasn’t in love with iPad OS and really didn’t want to pay the premium for Apple hardware so I wanted to go back to an Android tablet. Historically, Android tablets have used poor hardware that was several generations out of date, as well as having very little memory and generally poor performance. That has been true of almost all the ones I have owned, until now.

I just purchased a used Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+ which is an impressive piece of equipment. It features 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage, upgradeable to 1 TB via a MicroSD slot. The 12.4-inch screen is as good as any I’ve ever seen and is big enough for me to see things without squinting. The performance is outstanding for everything I have tried so far. I am going to try using it for productivity as much as general tablet things. Something that makes this much easier is Samsung’s DeX feature, which enables a traditional desktop-like experience with a taskbar and floating, resizable windows. I’ll admit it’s not perfect but it allows me to easily use both a browser and text editor together to do actual work. It’s of course much lighter and more portable than my laptop, and also has much better battery life. I’m looking forward to seeing just how much I can do with it.

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


Bodhi finally got out of beta and into RC status, so I installed it on my desktop (ThinkCentre M700 Tiny). It took 24 hours before sudo apt update actually updated the repos, before which I could not install Firefox or Flatpak from the repo. I eventually got it done, and it’s back to normal. Probably a couple of weeks before it goes Official, and then they start working on updating 32-bit 6.1 Beta to 7.0. This is a busy period for distro updates; EasyOS has been updating every week, and even Linux Mint is ready to release their latest version, 21.2 Victoria.

Linux Mint 21.2 is late coming out, it usually is here by now. I hope all is well; the Beta was released June 21st.

And just today, BlendOS v. 3 Stable came out. I haven’t looked at it yet.


I didn’t see much of anything worth mentioning. However, the Debian 12 release announcement is big news, so let’s move on to that. I will mention some of the highlights and notable mentions from the announcement. These are taken directly from the release announcement. The link to the full details will be in the show notes.

June 10th, 2023

After 1 year, 9 months, and 28 days of development, the Debian project is proud to present its new stable version 12 (code name “bookworm”). “bookworm” will be supported for the next 5 years thanks to the combined work of the Debian Security team and the Debian Long Term Support team.

Following the 2022 General Resolution about non-free firmware, we have introduced a new archive area making it possible to separate non-free firmware from the other non-free packages:


Most non-free firmware packages have been moved from non-free to non-free-firmware. This separation makes it possible to build a variety of official installation images.

Debian 12 “bookworm” ships with several desktop environments, such as:

Gnome 43,

KDE Plasma 5.27,

LXDE 11,

LXQt 1.2.0,

MATE 1.26,

Xfce 4.18

This release contains over 11,089 new packages for a total count of 64,419 packages, while over 6,296 packages have been removed as “obsolete”. 43,254 packages were updated in this release. The overall disk usage for “bookworm” is 365,016,420 kB (365 GB), and is made up of 1,341,564,204 lines of code.

Debian 12 “bookworm” includes numerous updated software packages (over 67% of all packages from the previous release) such as:

GNU Compiler Collection 12.2

LibreOffice 7.4

Linux kernel 6.1 series

LLVM/Clang toolchain 13.0.1, 14.0 (default), and 15.0.6

A total of nine architectures are officially supported for “bookworm”:

32-bit PC (i386) and 64-bit PC (amd64),

64-bit ARM (arm64),

ARM EABI (armel),

ARMv7 (EABI hard-float ABI, armhf),

little-endian MIPS (mipsel),

64-bit little-endian MIPS (mips64el),

64-bit little-endian PowerPC (ppc64el),

IBM System z (s390x)

32-bit PC (i386) no longer covers any i586 processor; the new minimum processor requirement is i686. If your machine is not compatible with this requirement, it is recommended that you stay with bullseye for the remainder of its support cycle.

Debian 12 “Bookworm” released


I’m slowly building my repertoire of distros that I’ve tested, but have not yet had occasion to revisit one of those few. Because of that, I don’t have anything to contribute to this month’s Updates.

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


My initial attempt at a review was the LXQt flavor of Debian 12 “Bookworm”. It didn’t get very far. I found myself stuck on a page which had the Debian 12 frame at the top, and the rest of the page was blank white except for the words “Configuring System”. When I rebooted, I tried the Mate ISO (I also have the Plasma ISO), and that worked just fine, albeit with a different installer. I also attempted to install the Nvidia driver, which failed, and then learned that it wouldn’t work on my older card, and could not get it to completely uninstall, causing fun initramfs errors and making it impossible to update. So I installed something else.


As I mentioned in my foibles, I tried configuring Polydock. It was fine when it was the only panel open at the top of the screen. I tried to open a second one at the bottom of the screen. It would open and the top one would vanish. I know the syntax in the config.ini file was correct because individually they opened with no problem. I watched YouTube videos from Arco Linux among others. I duplicated everything line by line from each of the videos. Oddly, I had different results each time. It ranged from none of them loading to only one either at the top of the screen or the bottom of the screen. I could see why Matt from the Linux Cast YouTube channel said he wasn’t going to show how to do that in his tutorial video. It is a very nice panel. I only briefly got into the configuration of the panel. I was trying to duplicate it from my Xfce config on my desktop. I can see why many people like Polydock. Unfortunately, it wasn’t working for what I wanted to do.


This month I tried adopting a new note app, Notesnook. We have been using Evernote since very shortly after it was released, sometime around 2005. My wife and I have 18 years worth of notes in their system, which makes it difficult to migrate to something else. I’d like to switch because we’ve had to pay $130 per year in order to be able to use more than a few devices. The app has gone through several monetization attempts, which has left it a bloated, convoluted mess with poor performance. I was hoping that Notesnook, while not free, would be a suitable replacement. While I really enjoy the UI and availability on multiple platforms, I unfortunately encountered a few problems that I couldn’t overcome.

One was a loss of data when importing data. I found that many tags and notebooks weren’t transferred properly and I am not going to manually clean up a poor data transfer. The issue was syncing, or lack thereof. I imported data on one computer and, though it had claimed to have synced everything, it was not showing up elsewhere. I tried numerous additional times to sync without it working. Syncing issues are a bad sign so I gave up at that point. The Evernote subscription has just renewed so I have another year to find a suitable replacement. I frequently go in search of note-taking apps to see what’s new so hopefully I can find a suitable alternative soon. If anyone listening has a suggestion, I’d like to hear it.


Dale:- DISTRO NAME: Debian 12 “Bookworm” Cinnamon

INTRO: This has been a release of Debian that is long overdue. It is quite fitting that they released it during their 30-year anniversary. The inclusion of non-free firmware and fairly current versions of the popular Desktop Environments makes this worthy of attention. A nice bonus is the 6.1 Kernel, which includes many updates for the recent generation of Intel and AMD CPUs.

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: Well let’s start off with a rant. I was quite disappointed with the redesigned download page. I think making the Net Install ISO the default choice was a bad choice with caveats. What is their target audience? When it comes to more advanced/experienced users, the Net Install ISO is a good choice. It is my default choice with the 4 GB DVD ISO being my second for offline installations. I can see why Debian chose the Net Install. It only downloads the files that are required based on installation selections. That is less of a demand on their bandwidth and servers. The Net Install ISO uses the same Debian Installer as the DVD ISO. I wouldn’t say it is a good choice for new users of previous distros of Linux or new to Linux. The Live ISOs use the Calamares installer, which is slightly smaller than the DVD ISO at around 3 GB. These are the ISOs that should have been featured in the download link. Listing them by Desktop Environment is no different than other distros download listings. This is where Debian’s philosophy interferes with practicality. In my opinion, if you are creating ISOs of Live sessions, then promote them. They are more labor-intensive than maintaining the DVD and Net Install ISOs. That is enough of my rant.

I am not going to go through the walk-through of the installation. If you are interested, you can listen to Episode 021 from April of 2021. Episode 021 is a review of Debian Sid, in which I explain the Debian Installer.

As with previous versions of Debian. If you don’t enter a password for the Root user, Sudo will automatically be enabled. If you enter a password for the Root user, you will need to use Su or enter the root password when prompted in the GUI to perform activities requiring Root access.

One issue I had was with the WiFi. On the first boot of the installation ISO, the WiFi was not detected. I also want to point out that I chose my Dell because it has always had a WiFi issue with Debian Stable. The exception is Debian 12. I rebooted after the first installation attempt. After that reboot, the installation detected the WiFi.

POST-INSTALLATION HARDWARE FACTS & ISSUES: Since the installation, the WiFi has functioned as it should. The default wallpaper is bluish-green with random triangle shapes and a white Debian swirl logo in the center. There are many others to pick from. The theme has a grey panel with the windows having more of a color similar to newly cured concrete. The accent colors are more on the darker side compared to the green used in Linux Mint Cinnamon.

I went to check for updates using Apt in the terminal and noticed the CDROM repo listing in the Apt sources.list file still exists. I haven’t used this option in over 20 years, I am not sure how many people use it. To disable it I opened Software & Updates GUI utility and unchecked it in ‘Other Software’ tab. Optionally I could have edited the /etc/apt/sources.list file and placed a # in front of the CDROM line. When using the GUI utility, it will prompt you for the root password or your password if Sudo is configured. This only happens if you are using the DVD ISO.

I saw that they have the Synaptic Package Manager version and GNOME Software version 43.4 installed. Along with GDebi for installing .deb packages. Since GNOME Software was installed, I installed gnome-software-plugin-flatpak to enable Flatpak support. Installing Flatpak was the usual install and then adding Flathub as a repository source. Snap is also not installed by default but is available.

Another slight disappointment was Firefox ESR 102.12. It is nice that it is the updated version of ESR. I just find it odd that the current version of Firefox has been available in Sid (Unstable branch) of Debian for quite a while. I used to enable that package with Apt Pinning before the Firefox Flatpak was available. I’ve never had any issues with Firefox ESR, though I have heard of people having compatibility issues. I just don’t see the point of using ESR if Firefox is in Sid. It can’t be too much against the DFSG to allow Firefox in Sid. DFSG is the Debian Free Software Guidelines. This brings up another omission in the Apt Source.list file. The Contrib and Non-Free repositories are not enabled by default because they don’t comply with DFSG. They can be easily enabled using the Software & Updates GUI utility or adding contrib and non-free to /etc/apt/sources.list file after the main entry. The packages in contrib require other packages that are not available in the Main Debian Repo. The packages in the non-free are as the name implies not license-free software. These are repos that other Debian/Ubuntu-based distros have enabled by default. Ubuntu has similar repos called Universe (Community Maintained) and Multiverse (Copyright and/or License encumbered).

There are quite a few other packages installed by default. I will name a few as there are a lot. GNOME Disks version 43, Shotwell version .30.17, “Celle” a Photo Manager, Pidgin version 2.14.12-1, a Multi-protocol instant messaging client, Thunderbird version 102.12 an email client, LibreOffice, and Totem AKA GNOME Video version 43.0-2. The Cinnamon Desktop is version 5.6.

One thing I noticed that isn’t available is the extra utilities and customizations that Linux Mint adds to Cinnamon. Though the Spices AKA applets are available. You don’t really notice the amount of work the Linux Mint team does until you use Cinnamon on another distro.

I saw that Pipewire and Pipewire-pulse are installed and configured by default. Xorg is being used since Cinnamon hasn’t moved to Wayland yet. Wayland is used for Plasma and GNOME on Debian 12.

They have LightDM configured to require entering both the username and password to log in.

EASE OF USE: It was nice to revisit the Cinnamon desktop. I haven’t used it since 2018 when I used Linux Mint Cinnamon as my daily driver. It is a very usable desktop. There are enough customizations to allow some personalization. Though not too much to make it overwhelming like Xfce or Plasma. I can easily adapt to a workflow that is not my preference.

One thing I noticed even when I was using GNOME on Debian 11 Bullseye, is that when you use GNOME Software Center to install updates. It will download the updates, then ask you to reboot, during that reboot it installs the updates, which then reboots the computer once more. That is very Windows-like and I don’t see the point of doing that. I can use Apt in the terminal to install the same updates without being required to reboot the computer.

There isn’t an update notification installed by default. Oddly as soon as I opened the GNOME Software Center, it showed I had updates available. To enable update notifications I installed the package called package-update-indicator. Upon reboot, there will be an icon in the tray. The preferences allow checking for updates every 8 hours, twice a day, daily, weekly, and never. I don’t know why this isn’t installed by default.


7.4 GB of space used on the SSD

1.2 GB of memory used was reported by free –hm.


I didn’t seek any help. There is no shortage of places to seek help. The Debian Forums and Linux Questions are some options.


I dual-booted with Pardus Linux which is still based on Debian Bullseye version 11. I have found Debian to be fairly compatible with other Debian-Based or Ubuntu-Based distros.


Debian wrote the book on stability. The fact that you can go months between updates without breaking the system is quite impressive. Upgrading from each version and even to the Testing Branch or the Development branch called Sid in my experience completed without an issue. The only times I have heard of Debian Stable breaking is when a package requires the initramfs to be regenerated. A good example would be the Nvidia binary drivers.


Spiral Linux Cinnamon

Linux Mint Cinnamon

Ubuntu Cinnamon

Fedora Cinnamon

EndeavourOS Cinnamon


Ease of Installation                          new user        5/10

experienced user       10/10

Hardware Issues                                                    9/10

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

Ease of Use                                                           8/10

Plays Nice With Others                                       10/10

Stability                                                               10/10

Overall Rating                                                     8/10

FINAL COMMENTS: Despite my disappointments this has been a great update to Debian. Debian is not targeting the new user or those familiar with Linux. I think after 30 years, Debian knows their place in the Linux Community. With that said, I believe, if this was installed for a new user, with the following changes of installing the update notification service, Flatpak and its integration with GNOME Software, and configuring LightDM to remember the username. This would be a good distro for a basic new user. Cinnamon has a very familiar desktop workflow similar to Windows. Even the updates requiring reboots will not be questioned, even though not necessary. Many will still complain about having old (sometimes called outdated) packages. Whenever I have questioned someone about their desire for the most up-to-date software. Most can’t tell what was changed in the new version, they can only say it is the newest.

If you are looking for a distro that doesn’t change and is mostly static with consistent security and bug fixes, then Debian Stable with Cinnamon should be at the top of your list.

Moss:- DISTRO NAME: Debian 12 “Bookworm” Mate

INTRO: This is almost the oldest existing distro in existence. I’ve had my issues with Debian in the past, but they made a few sane changes before releasing this version, and I thought I’d give it a go.

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: The biggest problem I had installing this distro was finding where and how to install it. They have so many options for installing, downloading, torrenting, etc., that it took me 10 minutes to find the download ISO.

I installed using my Ventoy stick. My first attempt was the LXQt desktop version, and it did not complete the install. I then attempted to install the Mate version, and everything went smooth as silk. I may need to revisit the LXQt install, and should also spend time with Plasma, but not this month.

Dale’s comment: That could have been a Ventoy issue and not an issue with the LXQt ISO>

Moss’ comment: The Mate installation worked fine on Ventoy. If it’s an issue with Ventoy, it’s because of LXQt using a different installer.>

Debian 12 Mate installs using the Calamares installer, not the Net Installer used by LXQt and non-live ISOs, and there are rarely any difficulties using this fine installer.

POST-INSTALLATION HARDWARE FACTS & ISSUES: After installation, I ran updates. I then installed flatpak, and went to flathub on my browser and got the installation files for Firefox, audacity, discord, Telegram, and PysolFC. I opened synaptic and removed Libreoffice and Firefox ESR. I installed my flatpaks, tracked down freeoffice, installed gDebi, and installed freeoffice. I used apt to install mscorefonts, Kmines, Kmahjongg, and Nethack-x11. I then signed into my accounts at Firefox, Telegram, and Discord. I moved the upper taskbar to the bottom and consolidated the two bars. And voila! I have a functioning Debian system. Note: Flatpak install files downloaded from Flathub do not automatically install, i.e., clicking on them in the File Manager (Caja) only results in the scripts being opened in a text editor. To get around this, I had to know to open Terminal, cd Downloads, and type flatpak install <installation file name>.

After watching Chris Barnatt show off Debian 12 Gnome, I learned that apparently the Nvidia driver is available, or at least an Nvidia driver is available, and I installed it. There was only one driver, listed without a number. My machine told me my card was not supported by that driver but I installed it anyhow because it was the only option. I looked for a search function, and learned that there is not one in Debian 12 Mate, but I found Nvidia Xserver settings under System > Administration. It appears that it installed the 575 driver whereas my card is good for up to the 470. As I don’t run games on this machine I may never learn whether I have a problem. Other friends told me that my card is not supported by the new driver, so I attempted to remove it and rebooted, hopefully to get the nouveau driver running again.

EASE OF USE: One feature in Debian that I haven’t seen as well implemented anywhere else is tasksel. If you want to use a different desktop environment, you open a terminal and type sudo tasksel, arrow down to what you want to add, tab to the ok button and hit enter. I just added Plasma 5.27 to my system in only the time it took to install the packages. Is this a new thing just in Debian or is it something that has been available and I just missed it?

However, after going through all that, it stuck at 99% on the bar and then reported “apt-get failed” and, upon logging out and back in, I do not appear to have Plasma. Also following this attempt, I started getting errors (See show notes for the error message):

Processing triggers for initramfs-tools (0.142) …

update-initramfs: Generating /boot/initrd.img-6.1.0-9-amd64

I: The initramfs will attempt to resume from /dev/sda2

I: (UUID=720337ef-2ec7-4356-b1b1-0625891f590a)

I: Set the RESUME variable to override this.

raspi-firmware: missing /boot/firmware, did you forget to mount it?

run-parts: /etc/initramfs/post-update.d//z50-raspi-firmware exited with return code 1

dpkg: error processing package initramfs-tools (–configure):

installed initramfs-tools package post-installation script subprocess returned

error exit status 1

Errors were encountered while processing:


E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1)

Finally, after getting zero help from the Debian forum, I reinstalled. No issues. I’m hoping that not everyone who tries to install Debian will have to do 3 installations to get it to work. I went through and added all my apps again. I have now been using it for a week since the latest install.

There is no updater installed in the Mate version. You can either know how to use Terminal or use Synaptic. The only place I could find to check repo selections was in Synaptic.


10.9 GiB of space used on the SSD

938 MiB of memory used was reported by free –hm. A bit high for Mate but there are 16 GiB on the system.

EASE OF FINDING HELP: Most help is through IRC, although they do have a pretty robust forum as well. But no matter what, you should be able to find some help. I say “should” because, although I tried, I didn’t get much when I asked.

PLAYS NICE WITH OTHERS: Not tested, but it should be fine with other Debian-based distros, of which there are many.

STABILITY: Debian is probably the most stable distro in the world. There may be a bug or two to be squashed, but expect it to be found and squashed quickly.


Ubuntu Mate

Mint Mate

Zorin OS

Makulu Shift


Ease of Installation                             new user    9/10

experienced user     10/10

Hardware Issues                                                   8/10

Ease of Finding Help (Community, Web)              8/10

Ease of Use                                                          8/10

Plays Nice With Others                                         9/10

Stability                                                               10/10

Overall Rating                                                   8.5/10

FINAL COMMENTS: While it took me some effort to get here, I believe this is the first time I have been truly comfortable with actual Debian. Some other Debian-based distros have felt pretty good to me, but even they were not this good. I do wish there were an E25 version, or, better, Moksha. Most of my down ratings were due to things that should have been covered but were not, such as the Nvidia driver; even so, the T540p is the only machine in the house with an Nvidia card, and I don’t put it to use often. With the addition of easy Flatpak use and the non-free libraries, I believe this is almost ready for new users. I will check back when Linux Mint Debian Edition gets an upgrade – adding the Mint tools to this would make it a killer distro.

Eric: – DISTRO NAME: Linux Mint 21.1 Cinnamon

INTRO: I have been a Linux Mint user since their very early days, I believe starting with version 2.2 “Bianca” back in early 2007. The promise then was a more complete out-of-the-box experience than that provided by Ubuntu, including browser plugins, media codecs, support for DVD playback, Java, and other components. That is still the case today, however I would add that they have also become known for providing one of the easiest, most complete Linux desktop experiences available. The installation process along with the post installation welcome screen make it very easy to configure important aspects of any new installation using a step-by-step approach. These include the theme and color scheme, system snapshots, driver manager, update manager, system settings, and software manager. It may not be necessary to install a driver or new software right away, but now the user has at least been made aware that these tools exist.

Because of this guided approach, Linux Mint has earned a reputation as being particularly well suited for new Linux users. While that is quite an achievement, some equate beginner-friendly with being less ideal for more experienced users, developers, system administrators, and so on. In my experience, Linux Mint provides a very stable base for any kind of computing task, from basic duties like web browsing and entertainment, to productivity tasks using office applications, and development and administrative tasks as well.

I haven’t always consistently used Linux Mint over the years, but there is almost always an installation of it somewhere on one of my systems. I decided to use it most recently after having used KDE Plasma and realizing it just isn’t for me. The developers have made great strides in the past few years and I have high hopes for Plasma 6, but there are still too many rough edges for me. The Cinnamon desktop environment sits comfortably between the minutiae of KDE Plasma and the simplicity of GNOME, providing just enough configurability while not being overly complicated. There are many basic quality of life aspects that make using a computer more straightforward for me.

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: Given that Mint is praised for being beginner-friendly, I do think it’s a miss that, when booting into the live session, it just loads the default desktop session. The only indication of what to do next is a desktop icon entitled, ‘Install Linux Mint’. I assume most people figure out that they should double-click the icon to proceed but it would be a nice touch if there was a note of some kind that nudged the user in that direction.

Mint uses the venerable Ubiquity installer which, after being the default for Ubuntu since 6.06 “Dapper Drake”, seems to be on the way out. Ubuntu 23.04 uses a new installer written in Flutter, and leverages Subiquity, Canonical’s CLI installer for Ubuntu Server, and Curtin technologies. The version included in 23.04 does almost everything the old one did while offering a more modern aesthetic, an improved partition manager, and a new slideshow while installing.

Honestly, It’s a little difficult for me to be completely objective when evaluating this installation process, simply because I have gone through it literally hundreds of times. It is so familiar that I find it trivial to complete. I would like to believe that it’s as easy for someone less familiar but I can’t be sure.

POST-INSTALLATION HARDWARE FACTS & ISSUES: I didn’t have any hardware issues nor did I need to manually install any drivers. This laptop has Nvidia hybrid graphics which can sometimes be a challenge, however Mint was able to install the proper driver automatically. I seem to remember in the past needing to use the Driver Manager to select the correct option but I believe this was true on Ubuntu as well. So, it’s probably something they fixed and Mint has inherited by using their base.

EASE OF USE: Linux Mint tends to be one of the easiest distros to set up and maintain. If you follow the steps in the Welcome screen, there’s not much else you need to do from an administration standpoint. That’s an oversimplification, but not by much. It offers one of the few truly usable software centers of any distribution or desktop environment. Many of them do a decent job of handling native packages and sometimes third party universal options like flatpak and snap but I often find them to be slow and buggy and generally prefer to use the command line. I still occasionally use the apt and flatpak command but I honestly don’t mind using the Mint software center. It makes me feel confident recommending Mint to a beginner who is likely only ever going to use the software center. I suppose one thing I can suggest as an improvement is to allow for filtering between native packages and Flatpaks like GNOME does.

Otherwise, the Update Manager is easy to use and I haven’t personally seen it break things. Backups work well, particularly with btrfs by way of snapshots. Things are typically very stable and predictable.

MEMORY AND DISK USE: I ran ‘while true; do free -hm; sleep 10; done’ command after booting to allow the system to settle and show me memory usage over time. It topped out at 685 MB used after a few minutes. I used ‘df -h /’ to show that a base installation used 11 GB of disk space.

EASE OF FINDING HELP: Linux Mint is a long-lived distro which has a massive community. There are quite a few ways of finding help or otherwise getting in touch. These include the community forums, a community portal website, Github, Facebook, Twitter, IRC Chat, Reddit, Discord, and local communities. They also have an excellent documentation hub which, for example, includes an installation guide available in 24 different languages and a variety of file formats.

PLAYS NICE WITH OTHERS: As mentioned above in the installation section, the installer recognizes additional instances of Linux and accommodates installing alongside them or to manually configure partitions.

STABILITY: Linux Mint is based on an LTS version of Ubuntu. Their Update Manager is solid and incorporates snapshot capability when used in conjunction with btrfs. I have not personally encountered any stability issues in my many years of using Mint that weren’t of my own doing by making a mistake.


Zorin OS

MX Linux


Ease of Installation                          new user   8/10

experienced user 10/10

Hardware Issues                                             10/10

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

Ease of Use                                                     10/10

Plays Nice With Others                                   10/10

Stability                                                           10/10

Overall Rating              9.5/10

FINAL COMMENTS: Desktop Linux is an ever-changing landscape of distributions and desktop environments. Some are short-lived or get absorbed by other projects. Others are a proof of concept and aren’t intended to persist. Linux Mint is one of the distributions that has withstood the test of time and has evolved into something of an institution. I like that it offers something for everyone. I appreciate that it has a large, dedicated community and is seemingly well funded. The fact that they share the donation information as part of their monthly blog posts is fascinating to me. They made $10,282 in donations in June 2023 for example. It’s encouraging to know that people are supporting the project with their time and money so that it remains healthy and vibrant. It bodes well for the future and I certainly hope that it carries on for many, many years to come.

I can’t be sure that I will continue to use it as my daily driver. But I can be reasonably sure that it will always be one of my favorites and that I will continue to recommend it to others.


from 06/02 to 07/05

Snal 1.27

Arch 2023.06.01

GhostBSD 23.06.01

OSMC 2023.06-1

openSUSE 15.5

ArchLabs 2023.06.07

Artix 20230605

Ultramarine 38

Zevenet 5.13.4

Debian 12

Debian Edu 12.0.0


Plamo 8.0

4MLinux 43.0

Voyager 12

IPFire 2.27-core175

risiOS 38

Crunchbangplusplus 12.0

Br OS 23.04.1

Regata 23.0.10

Alpine 3.18.2

SparkyLinux 7.0

Liya 7.1

Plamo 8.1

SysLinuxOS 12

PureOS 10.3

Clear 39400

Univention 5.0-4

Proxmox 8.0 “VE”

Athena 2023.06.23

Nobara 38

Bodhi 7.0.0-rc (favoritism)

openmamba 20230626

Absolute 20230625

NuTyX 23.06.1

Proxmox 3.0 “Backup Server”

Live Raizo

SmartOS 20230629

KDE neon 20230629

ArcoLinux 23.07.01

MakuluLinux 2023-06-30

EasyOS 5.4.5

GParted 1.5.0-3

Peppermint 2023-07-01

KaOS 2023.06

Arch 2023.07.01

Fatdog64 814

TUXEDO OS 2-20230704

Archman 20230705

Archcraft 2023.07.05

Bluestar 6.4.1

mAid 4.1


Londoner via our Telegram Channel wrote:


ABIF (Arch Base Installation Framework) is “A generic offline installer for Arch-based ISOs.”

This was in regards to me not knowing what the abbreviation of ABIF in my review of ArchCraft in Episode 43. A generic offline installer for Arch-Based ISOs.

Andrew Bennett via our Telegram Channel wrote: “(Ep 43) Arch’s grub is cut from the next version in progress and has features/functionality not yet present in static versions that other distros use. Thus if you have an Arch-based distro, its grub has to be the controlling grub and do the osprobe for other non-Arch versions.

If you recall the Aug 2022 grub issue Arch and Arch-based distros have, that was a pivot point due to a functionality change in the grub code.

Arch Grub bootloader incompatibilities

An email to Dale from Bhikhu.

Hi, there Miraculous Dale,

Excellent review as always. Detailed, informative, and thoughtful.

You mentioned your issues with Void Linux. Have you tried these things?

ln -s /etc/sv/acpid /var/service/

ln -s /etc/sv/dbus /var/service/

Make sure that the package ‘xinit’ is installed and create a file called

‘.Xinitrc’ in your ‘$HOME’ directory and give it permission to execute. You

can add a bunch of things to this file but for starting ‘openbox’ session make

sure you have the following line added in the ‘.Xinitrc’ file,

exec openbox-session

Reboot with hope in the heart 💓

If this doesn’t work, then you can try this workaround,

Disable ‘acpid’,

rm /var/service/acpid

Install ‘elogind’, ‘dbus-elogind’, ‘dbus-elogind-libs’ and ‘dbus-elogind-x11’

packages. Next enable ‘elogind’ service,

ln -s /etc/sv/elogind /var/service/

Reboot with fingers crossed 🤞

I’ll end with a distro suggestion. It’s not new, neither it’s shiny but it’s

stable and has some nifty gui configuration tools up its sleeve. It’s Mageia

and Mageia 9 Beta-2 was recently announced so it’s a perfect time to give it a


Mageia 9 Beta 2 announcement

Mageia Prerelease download link

Bye for now and keep distro hopping 😉


This email had several replies so I will just read my first reply to his message and the reply stating that the issue was resolved.

Hello Bhikhu,

I didn’t use acpid because of issues running it with elogind. I saw there is a way to disable elogind’s acpi detection. I opted to use elogind because it can function as a replacement for acpid.

I looked through your list of packages for dbus. I noticed that I didn’t install dbus-elogind-x11. Hmmmm, that could be the issue.

Since I already used the Xfce ISO on my desktop, I wiped what I had configured in the base ISO install. I needed my desktop in a usable state, so I went with what was already functioning.

I installed the Void Base ISO on my Thinkpad 460 to test this omission of the dbus-elogind-x11 package. I will see if this was indeed the issue. I will let you know what happens.

I haven’t looked at Mageia, it appears to be a fork of Mandriva Linux with its origins in Mandrake. I can add it to my list.

Moss: I have looked at Mageia rather frequently and revisit it every couple years. The last time I looked, it still appeared incomplete, and is exceeded by Rosa (if you can get through the installer) and OpenMandriva. Rosa actually is the base for both Mageia and OpenMandriva.


I looked through my notes from my previous base Void ISO installation. I didn’t install dbus-elogind-libs and dbus-elogind-x11. I installed those two additional packages and created my .xinitrc using exec dbus-run-session openbox-session.

It worked!!

Thanks for pointing out the two missing packages.

Now I am trying to figure out the difference between dbus-run-session and dbus-launch. I will need to look at this later. Here are the links if you are interested.

DBus Launch documentation

DBus Run Session documentation

When using dbus-launch, X never loads, it immediately exits. When using dbus-session, it works fine.



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 – I’m on Mastodon, Discord, Telegram, Matrix, Twitter, et cetera – under my full name, Eric Adams. You can also reach me at [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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