Episode 45 Show Notes

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


I’ve been fiddling with a new scooter, something they are always out of when you go to Voldemart so I bought my own. I also got a new “smart guitar”, an Enya Music NEXG, and am getting to know it. I bought a powered digital TV antenna, and so far only have 3 stations I can get – one Christian station, a Christian station in Spanish, and Lifetime. I had a lot of paperwork to get turned in for various programs, and managed to get it all done, although I didn’t get one of them done soon enough and am still waiting to hear back.


I spent a good part of a day working on some clutter remaining from when I moved here a year ago. Some of my stuff found new homes at the neighbors and GoodWill. I used my motivation to continue working on the contents of my 3 closets the next morning. Disappointedly, that only lasted 90 minutes with little to show for the effort. I then sat on the couch watching TV for the remainder of the day and felt better about my failed attempt.

I didn’t do much with my computers other than record episode 44. The friend I helped remotely last month was given a new-to-her laptop. She surprisingly installed Pardus Linux on it. She enjoyed using it and asked if I could set up Redshift on it. She had some issues with TeamViewer and suggested we use AnyDesk. I haven’t used AnyDesk so I agreed since I wanted to try it. It was so much better than TeamViewer. The way AnyDesk would capture the mouse and keyboard was almost too seamless. There were many times I tried using my laptop and I was still controlling hers. I am really grateful for companies that allow free personal use licenses of their software.

My Rode Podmic microphone for some reason stopped working the day before recording episode 44. I took it to Guitar Center for them to look at. I bought it there 3 years ago. They determined the element failed. It was not available for sale in the store anymore and was only available on their website. I looked at what they had in the store. They had some used Shure SM7B microphones that were 25% off. They looked brand new and were still in the retail packaging. Including everything as if they were new. Moss helped me with the audio levels before we recorded. I am very happy with it. I considered buying one 3 years ago but wasn’t sure considering the price. I was just getting into podcasting and video conferencing. Since then, I figured it was a worthy upgrade.

I went to my retired friend’s house for a 4th of July cookout. It started with an agreed-upon repair of one of his toilets. We replaced the most stubborn supply line valve we have ever seen, including replacing the flush valve in the recovery tank. What was more American than fixing an American Standard brand toilet with Korky brand replacement parts that were made in the USA? LoL, we couldn’t verify if the toilet was American or Mexican-made, since we didn’t need to remove it from the sanitary drain.

A friend I went to high school with was celebrating her birthday that week. Since I needed to leave for work on the 11th. I treated her to dinner on the 10th. She wanted to go to Applebees for dinner. We finished dinner off with a visit to the custard stand I mentioned in a previous episode. It was a few minutes away from the Applebees. I haven’t seen her in almost 2 years. All we have had was texts and phone calls.

The rest of my week off was spent watching TV while holding my couch down. I was quite successful because the couch never moved.


I spent time getting an old laptop from my in-laws ready to send to a different relative. I enjoy being able to repurpose older but still perfectly usable machines. This one is a Dell Inspiron 17R model N7110. It has a second gen core i5-2410M CPU @ 2.30GHz with 4 GB or RAM and a 256 GB Samsung EVO 940 SSD. It originally had a conventional spinning disk hard drive but I had upgraded it to the SSD many years ago when my in-laws were unhappy with the performance. Upgrading to an SSD almost always results in a significant increase in performance, and that was the case with this machine as well.

It is running Windows 10 which is what the intended recipient prefers to use. I tried discussing the fact that it would probably run better with Linux but I can understand them wanting to use something they are familiar with. It’s also enough of a win for me to be keeping this laptop out of the landfill that I’m not worried about whether it’s running Linux.

When I first booted it, it was very slow, which I can’t say is surprising considering the age of the machine as well as it was running Windows 10. The processor was completely pegged, and only having 4 GB of RAM wasn’t helping. I decided to clean the fans and thermal system to see if that might help. It turns out that the thermal paste had stopped providing an effective thermal bridge so I cleaned the components and applied some new paste. I also added another 4 GB of RAM while I had the back cover off. I was surprised to find that once the thermals were improved and more memory was added, it was running Windows nicely, or as nicely as you could expect from a machine like this.

Some other notable aspects of this laptop are the materials used, the display panel, and the keyboard. The body is constructed of that certain type of mirror finished black plastic that shows every fingerprint. Why they ever thought it was a good idea is beyond me however a lot of consumer electronics were using that same type of plastic at the time so I guess it was just an unfortunate trend. I can’t say that the display is terrible but it’s definitely one of those last-generation IPS panels with washed out color and poor viewing angles. It lacks the crisp detail of even the most basic modern panels. And at only 1600 x 900 pixels, I don’t think I would want to use it on a daily basis. The one standout feature is the keyboard, which has quite a bit of key travel and a nice, progressive feel when pressing a key. Laptops are generally too thin nowadays to include this type of keyboard, or perhaps the laptops I have used in the last decade have been too thin. In any case, it’s a pleasure to type on a keyboard like that.

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


Everyone should know of the Mint 21.2 Victoria release by now. The upgrade path went smoothly on 4 of my machines, with a 5th yet to go, except for a hiccup which was not caused by anything in Mint. Apparently, SoftMaker has still not updated their PPA language and are using a deprecated command. I’m still waiting for the release of Bodhi 7 Official, but it is in RC status at present. And blendOS 3 will not be appearing under Beautiful Failures this episode.


Debian released update 12.1 on the 22nd of July. Many package updates along with security fixes.

Debian 12.1 Released

Debian announced they officially support the RISC-V Architecture. Currently, only Sid (Unstable branch) and the Experimental branch supports the RISC-V64 architecture. If development goes as planned, it will be available in Debian Stable when Debian 13 “Trixie” is released. It is due out sometime in June 2025.

Debian now supports RISC-V in Sid

David Harder of the Solus team released a blog post titled “State of Solus – August 2023”. This is a follow-up to the blog post that Joshua Strobl released this past spring titled “A New Voyage”. Since then they have grown to a team of 16 volunteers. They have been working on cross-training people so that they can cover the duties of the other members when required. They have established roles and responsibilities for these roles.

At the beginning of July, they released Solus 4.4, which is a much-needed refresh of their ISO.

State of Solus – August 2023


I have two instances of Linux Mint Cinnamon that were at 21.1 which I have successfully upgraded to 21.2. I appreciate the new features, in particular the new Gestures control panel that allows for mapping touchpad gestures to a variety of built-in actions, as well as the ability to add custom ones. Other nice features to have are a refreshed UI for Software Manager, which now also includes flatpak in the Featured Apps section, as well as the new folder icons. Mint’s software manager is one of the most usable in my opinion and the icons are bright and beautiful, which is part of why I enjoy using Cinnamon. Even if I am using Cinnamon on a different distro, I will still install the Mint themes and icons because it’s not the same without them.

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


Amazingly, I have had no failures this month.


I didn’t have any failures except for my lack of motivation to organize stuff in my closets.


I usually have my fair share of failures but I didn’t do enough extracurricular activities this month to make any. I promise I will make at least one notable one soon!


Moss:- DISTRO NAME: blend OS v. 3 Plasma

INTRO: I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. And it’s almost ready now. Rudra Saraswat tells me there is 10 times the interest in this project as there is in all his other projects – including UnityX and Ubuntu Unity – and apparently he has a fairly large team working on this project with him.

I suppose the first thing to do is define, What is an immutable distro? I got the following statement from ItsFOSS.com:

“An immutable distro ensures that the operating system’s core remains unchanged. The root file system for an immutable distro remains read-only, making it possible to stay the same across multiple instances. Of course, you can change things if you would like to. But, the ability remains disabled by default.

“How is it useful?

“Traditionally, immutable distributions existed to allow for easier testing and container-based software development. Furthermore, immutability provides you with better security and reliable updates for your operating system.”

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: Everything installed, easily and without much thought. I’m pretty sure it was the Calamares installer.

POST-INSTALLATION HARDWARE FACTS & ISSUES: After installation, I rebooted and had to set up my user account. I got a few repos authorized, including Aurora Store and FDroid. Repos available include Arch, AlmaLinux 9, Crystal Linux, Debian Bookworm, Fedora 38, Kali Linux (rolling), Neurodebian Bookworm, Rocky Linux, Ubuntu 22.04, Ubuntu 23.04, plus the ability to run NixOS with a single/multi-user installation.

I looked for updates in Discover, and some installed. However, the system updates will all be done in the background, and you should never need to run those. I attempted to install some Flatpaks; two worked, two did not. I left it alone for a few days, came back to it, and the other Flatpaks installed without a problem, and I have a working system.

If you don’t like the desktop in use, open a terminal and type: sudo system track . blend OS currently has support for GNOME, KDE Plasma, Cinnamon, XFCE, Deepin, MATE and LXQt desktops, and more are being explored and worked on.

And finally, two new command line utilities have been introduced; one is ‘system’, and the other is ‘user’. ‘system’ will allow you to install packages, and even switch tracks. Whereas, ‘user’ will enable you to create/manage containers and their associations.

blend OS also runs VSCode, Android Studio, and many other IDEs, so you can get your programming licks in (if you have them).

The system comes with OnlyOffice installed. I left it in. There are a lot of programming tools not often found in user systems.

EASE OF USE: You boot blend OS, and then you run it. For the most part, it’s every bit the same as working with any other distro. You want the Internet, you open a browser; you want an office package, you run that. Everything is in containers, it is nearly impossible to crash your system or find it infected. When you open a process, you get a little dialog box which informs you it was loaded as a background process. This is nice to know, especially for security conscious users, many of whom may choose to use this system. When there are updates, the entire system is updated all at once (atomically, they call it). Because of this, I would probably not recommend using blend on an underwhelming system, as all this containerization will use resources and storage, but you probably won’t notice it. It’s running almost as quickly as Bodhi 7. But would I install it on a chromebook or IdeaPad without having enough RAM and disk? Probably not. I also note that there is a trick to using one package manager or another, it’s not just a simple task of opening a terminal and typing “sudo apt install x”. I know it’s there in the documentation, but never thought about this enough to explore.


38.5 GiB of space used on the SSD

1.4 GiB of memory used was reported by free –hm. (another time, 1.3)

Wow, those numbers are a bit steep. I would guess you would want a decent PC to run it on, but my machine is from 2014. These are not Chromebook numbers, however, nor would I trust an old IdeaPad or EeePC with them.

EASE OF FINDING HELP: There are Telegram, Discord, Reddit, who knows what other groups. Rudra stated that he is getting 10 times the help and attention for blend OS than for everything else he is doing. Which explains why we are already on Version 3, and most of the problems I had with the previous two versions have disappeared. I was, however, met with sarcasm more than help a few times (not from Rudra), so I hope their community gets friendlier.

PLAYS NICE WITH OTHERS: I did not test it for this, but I would assume it does not get along well in a multiboot system. But since you can install and run programs from the repos of so many other distros, I don’t think it’s an issue.

STABILITY: If Rudra and his team have done their job, and it appears they have, it just might be every bit as stable as Fedora Silverblue, and it’s a lot easier to use.

GAMING: You know I’m not a gamer. But the young people putting this distro together are, and they have put a lot of effort into making sure the system will run everything which can run in Linux or on Steam, and they have been crowing about it with little to be heard from naysayers.


There is nothing like blend OS. There are a few other distros with immutable kernels, but none with such a wide crossover of systems and apps. But just in case you’re interested in what other immutable distros there are, here is a list:


Fedora Silverblue

Flatcar Container Linux



openSUSE MicroOS

Vanilla OS


Talos Linux

Endless OS


Ease of Installation new user                         9/10

                               experienced user            9/10

Hardware Issues                                           9/10

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

Ease of Use                                                  8/10

Plays Nice With Others                                 x/10

Gaming                                                         8/10

Stability                                                       10/10

Overall Rating                                          8.5/10

FINAL COMMENTS: This easily could be the distro of the future. I know there are many who are resistant to immutable distros, but this feels so flexible it’s hard to even notice the straitjacket. You are left with a secure, almost crashproof distro with every piece of candy you ever wanted on your system – or you can forgo the sweets and just enjoy the stability. If it played nicely on a multiboot system, I would keep it on one of my computers; I’m just not ready to ditch Mint or Bodhi for it yet.

Eric:- DISTRO NAME: Pop!_OS 22.04

INTRO: I have tried Pop!_OS (read as ‘pop exclamation underscore OS’) a few times since its initial release in 2017. At one point, I did use it as my main distro for a few months but it’s not one that I have stayed with long-term. There have been a tremendous number of competing options vying for my attention. At the end of the day, and at least for now, Pop!_OS is yet another Ubuntu-based distro with a handful of changes and additions. Granted, these changes make all the difference and are the secret to the success that Pop!_OS has seen, however, they weren’t impactful enough to me to win out over the competition.

Please note that I will henceforth be referring to this distro as simply “Pop” or “Pop OS” because I find the actual name to be a little silly and difficult to type or say aloud. System76 claims that “we think computing should be fun and that the Pop name and energy it portrays matches our desire for our users to enjoy their time using the OS we create for them.” Fair enough and maybe I’m just a grump for not liking it. To each their own, I suppose. Also, feel free to turn my review into a drinking game and consume your favorite beverage each time I say the word “Pop”. All but the most exceptional of imbibers will likely not be able to finish. You have been warned!

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]).


  • Pop offers two versions of the installation ISO, one for NVIDIA graphics and another for non-NVIDIA graphics. The NVIDIA version is 3.2 GB in size while the other is 2.6 GB.
  • While booting, the usual scrolling text is made slightly more entertaining by being made HUGE. It’s a Pop trademark and must be due to them offering some very high resolution panels or perhaps feedback from users with monitors that fit that description. It’s not anything important but just something I find curious and unique to Pop.
  • Pop uses a customized version of the elementary OS installer
  • The steps to install are similar to most other installers, which includes selecting your language and location, keyboard layout, disk partitioning
  • Choosing the Custom option provides a simple point and click interface. You click the existing partition and select ‘Use partition’. From there, you are able to select the mount point, select whether you would also like to format the partition and, if so, which file system to use.
  • It would be helpful to see the partition labels and other information, like many other installers do. In this case, you have to know which partitions are being used by which distros.
  • If you need to make larger changes, there is a button labeled ‘Modify Partitions…’ which opens GParted, the GNOME Partition Editor. I’m reasonably confident that most people are familiar with this application or at least what a partition editor does so I’m not going to cover how you’d use it. Once you’ve made changes and close GParted, the new layout is reflected in the installer, allowing you to select which partitions to use and continue installing.
  • I like that the ‘Erase and Install’ button isn’t clickable until you’ve selected at least a boot loader location and root partition. There is a small question mark button at the bottom that opens a help window explaining how to use this screen. That’s a nice touch.
  • After you’ve clicked ‘Erase and Install’ the installer begins the installation routine in the background and you are asked to enter your Full Name and User Name and to choose a password. Then a progress bar is displayed while a slideshow flips though slides describing the features of Pop.
  • Finally, you are asked to reboot to begin using the newly installed system.


  • If you chose to encrypt your disk, you will be presented with a very nicely themed screen asking for your encryption password to continue booting. This is in stark contrast to most implementations of this feature, which have no type of theming and simply show a small prompt at the bottom of the initial boot screen. There have been times when I miss the fact that the system is sitting and waiting for my password because it wasn’t easy to see. This approach is much nicer in my opinion.
  • When logging in for the first time, a notification is displayed at the top of the screen if there are any updates available. Clicking the notification unfortunately doesn’t seem to do anything so it’s up to the user to know to open Pop!_Shop and switch to the Installed tab to see what’s available. I performed the installation using the most recent ISO and the was shown 9 updates available, or 441.1 MB worth of files to download.
  • There is also a welcome screen that takes you through choosing the most frequently changed system options or required settings.
    • It begins by asking you to select a style for the dock. This is an excellent example of bubbling up a configuration option that is available in the settings panel so that a user can make a definitive and straightforward choice rather than needing to hunt for a setting.
    • Continuing with the Welcome screen, the options available for the dock are:
      • No Dock
      • Dock extends to edges (default option)
      • Dock doesn’t extend to edges
    • In addition to the small icons shown below each option which depict the appearance of the dock that each choice provides, selecting an option is immediately reflected on the screen so you know exactly what each does. It couldn’t be any easier to understand and is an exceptional example of outstanding user interface/user experience design.
    • The default option of having the dock extend to the edges is interesting and, I am going to assume, a little polarizing. It extends to the edges horizontally as you would expect, however visually there is a lot of empty space on either side of the icon, which are centered by default. You can change the position of the icons to the left or right as well, which makes more sense visually. Maybe it’s all those years of using a conventional Redmond desktop design but it looks odd to me. Although, the default layout for Windows 11 is very similar, with the icons centered on the taskbar, so perhaps this is just the new way of things. Who am I to stand in the way of progress, especially when I am provided with the ability to change it back. I actually chose to not extend the dock, have it appear on the left side of the screen, and to also autohide when not in use. Take that, System76 design team!
    • The next option allows you to configure the appearance of the Top Bar such as which buttons appear and where the clock is located.
    • The next screen introduces and explains how to use another of my favorite features, the launcher. This is similar to Plasma’s Krunner feature or, the one I normally use called Ulauncher. These are often referred to as ‘rofi’ style launchers, named after one of the more well known examples of this type of utility. They allow you to start typing the name of an application and then pressing Enter to launch it. They typically also allow you to do other things like access system settings and even rebooting the system and performing simple math problems.
    • The next screen introduces four finger touchpad gestures to Workspace and windows overviews.
    • Next, you can choose between light and dark themes, with dark being the default option.
    • After that, you can decide to enable Location Services, which are disabled by default.
    • On the next screen, you pick your time zone by either clicking a location on the map or by entering text into the search field.
    • Continuing on, you are now able to enable and configure any of your Online Accounts that you would like to have integrated with GNOME’s helper applications like the calendar and email client. You can decide to skip this screen if you don’t wish to configure any accounts.
    • You may not be aware, but this is an easy way of accessing Google Drive. By adding a Google account, you have the option of adding a shortcut to Drive in the Files application. Clicking the shortcut displays the contents of your Google Drive folder, allowing you to edit in place, copy, move, and just about any other file operation available. I find this very handy and having it integrated is an excellent user experience for an otherwise tedious process.
    • The final screen lets you know that you’re done and encourages you to enjoy using your new desktop.

EASE OF USE: Pop includes the Pop!_Shop software store, which is based on elementary’s AppCenter. It provides access to software located in the Pop_OS! ‘proprietary’ and ‘release’ repos as well as Ubuntu Jammy’s ‘jammy’, ‘jammy-security’, ‘ jammy-updates’, and ‘jammy-backports’ repos. In addition, access to flatpaks hosted at flathub.org is already configured. This provides users with quite a lot of software, as well as compatibility with deb files made for Ubuntu, which almost any company making software for Linux has available. If a user were to download a deb file from somewhere, there is a utility named ‘Eddy’ which assists in installing the file. If there is more than one source available for any given package, a drop down list is available to switch between them in case you would prefer the native deb package over a flatpak. It appears as though Flatpaks are the default option.

Pop uses the GNOME desktop environment and, as does almost every distro that uses GNOME, modifies it a good bit to suit their purposes. Most of those distros preinstall and configure third party extensions to change GNOME’s behavior in some way. System76 took this further by creating a set of their own extensions. These include the Cosmic Dock, Cosmic Workspaces, Cosmic X11 Gestures, Pop Shell, and System76 Power, all of which add some intriguing features which differentiate Pop from other GNOME-based distros. Cosmic Dock enables a dock somewhat similar to Dash to Panel or Dash to Dock but brings its own unique features. It is customizable in several ways, including size and position, which icons to show such as Trash and mounted volumes, and behavior when clicking icons. They also provide a variety of ways to customize the desktop such as mapping the Superkey to several different options, enabling hot corners, what to show on the top bar, enabling window controls, setting the background image, switching between light and dark modes, and configuring the behavior of workspaces. For those of you familiar with GNOME and tools like Tweaks and extensions like Dash to Dock, you can think of this as combining many of those configuration options into a single area and, perhaps much more importantly, including them within GNOME Settings rather than a secondary location. This makes it all feel very professional, well-thought-out, and beautifully executed. It’s not difficult to see the amount of care and attention System76 has put into their particular take on what a GNOME-based desktop can be.


  • I ran the ‘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 leveled out at 1.1 GB used after a minute or so. It’s not the most frugal system, but that’s not a surprise being that it’s GNOME running a fair few extensions. System76’s documentation lists the memory requirements as 4 GB minimum and 8 GB recommended. I’m sure it will work with 4 GB but I assume it will be making liberal use of swap in that case.
  • I used ‘df -h /’ to show that a base installation used 9.2 GB of disk space. That’s surprisingly low compared to most distros I have tested. It’s reflected in the lack of software included in the installation. Besides the usual GNOME system utilities and things like Calendar, Calculator, and Weather, there is only the Libreoffice suite installed. I personally appreciate this lightweight approach but I can see how this might make getting things done a bit more difficult because it may require installing some additional software first.

EASE OF FINDING HELP: System76 provides an extensive and detailed knowledge base, Pop!_Chat, using Mattermost, which is an open source alternative to Slack. It also provides a Github repository for reporting bugs and issues, and a number of System76-specific social media accounts, including the artist formerly known as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I assume you’d be able to ask a question using any of these methods. I have heard good things about their Support team, although I don’t know how much emphasis they place on helping any given Pop user versus a paying hardware customer. I think Pop is popular (ha!) enough that you’d be able to find an answer to your question without too much difficulty. I didn’t need to contact anyone so I don’t have firsthand experience.

PLAYS NICE WITH OTHERS: I wasn’t able to get Pop to automatically recognize other installed distros so the immediate answer is that no, it doesn’t play nice with others. However, there are ways to manually add additional boot options. Pop uses systemd-boot which is something that I haven’t spent much time with. I have used it a few times with distros that include it by default but I hadn’t spent any time configuring it myself. This review gave me an opportunity to do so. I won’t go into exhaustive detail, but here are the steps I took to do so.

I already have Linux Mint 21.2 Cinnamon installed and put Pop in a separate partition on the same drive. The installer creates a file inside the /boot/efi/loader/entries directory, in this case named Pop_OS-current.conf. The file contains a few configuration options such as the title that is shown in the boot menu and a pointer to the bootloader file, in this case the vmlinuz.efi file. I thought a good place to start would be making a copy of this file as a starting point for adding my own file for Linux Mint. I renamed it to Linux_Mint.conf and edited it to change the title as well as the pointer to the correct EFI file. I also needed to change the loader.conf file to show the entry for Linux Mint as well as the boot menu itself since Pop normally just boots without showing one. To make this happen I added the options ‘show_other_entries=true’ and ‘timeout=10’. I rebooted and the menu was displayed and I was able to choose which distro to boot. I noticed that Linux Mint was at the top of the list where I would have expected it to show underneath since it’s not the main distro for this bootloader as is customary. Once I logged back in, I made one more change to loader.conf which was to add the line ‘sort-key=title descending’ which does what you’d expect.

One of the main talking points about why someone might want to use systemd-boot over GRUB is that it is easier to configure and manage and I now understand why. While I wish that Pop would have automatically added the entry for another distro, it wasn’t difficult to do and I was able to adjust things according to my needs. This gave me an opportunity to try something new and to learn about something I know I should understand better than I had. It points out one of my favorite things about distro hopping which is the likelihood of learning something new.

STABILITY: Pop is based on Ubuntu LTS releases so presumably it will be stable. I did not encounter any issues due to System76’s software nor the underlying system while testing.

SIMILAR DISTROS TO CHECK OUT: Ubuntu and Zorin OS, both of which use custom extensions to provide their own opinion of how GNOME should function.


Ease of Installation new user                         10/10 (clean install)

                               experienced user              8/10 (custom install)

Hardware Issues 10/10

Ease of Finding Help (Community, Web)        7/10

Ease of Use                                                  10/10

Plays Nice With Others                                   5/10

Stability                                                         10/10

Overall Rating                                              7/10

FINAL COMMENTS: In case you think this review has been too long, and I’m sure there are at least some of you who do, I assure you that I could have kept going. I didn’t even touch on Pop Shell, a hybrid tiling system which bridges the gap between tiling window managers like i3 and traditional floating window desktops like GNOME, enabling you to use the best aspects of both. I will have to leave those and other discoveries for you to find. After all, my goal is to entice you to try a distro, not try it for you.

So instead, I leave you with this. As with every other Linux distribution, Pop!_OS is imperfect. It is, however, one of the least imperfect ones I can think of. They have taken the same basic ingredients of an Ubuntu LTS base and the GNOME desktop environment used by many other distros, and have elevated it above the typical result. They bring an unmatched level of customization and attention to detail that is evident throughout. Not only do they make some fundamental changes to the way stock GNOME works, they took the time to integrate those changes in such a way that makes it seem as if they were always intended to be there. The System76 team obviously includes people with a strong grasp on user interface and experience design and it shows in everything they have done with Pop!_OS.

They have taken the experience of creating Pop!_OS and are currently working on their own custom desktop environment called COSMIC. They haven’t committed to a release date because they are giving it the time it needs to be ready. It is rare for a company or its developers to have such a luxury. Most software is released before its ready and then developed in public, with the users acting as the QA team. I am hoping that this means that COSMIC will be something special and will succeed where others like Ubuntu’s Unity desktop have failed.

I often hear people complain that there are too many Linux distributions and that the people developing them should just focus on the major distributions. My evidence to the contrary is Pop!_OS.

Dale: – DISTRO NAME: peppermintOS

INTRO: The initial release was 13 years ago in May of 2010. It was based on Lubuntu LTS until the 11th release. It was initially called peppermint. The name has an interesting history. The developers liked the utilities and the Linux Mint distro. They thought they could spice it up a little and thus peppermint was created.

It was designed as a hybrid desktop focusing on local and web applications. Openbox was used as the window manager for versions 1 through 3 and was replaced with LXDE for versions 4 through 10. It used components from Xfce in addition to LXDE. They used the Site Specific Browsers or SSBs feature of the Chromium browser. Where you can use a web-based website or service as a desktop application. They created an application called ICE which was released a couple of months after the initial version of Peppermint. It was created to allow you to use Chromium, Chrome, Firefox, and Vivaldi for your ICE-enabled website/services. ICE made it much easier to set up SSBs. Another benefit of ICE was the ability to integrate into the menu system of the desktop, something Chromium’s built-in “Create Application Shortcuts” couldn’t do.

There was a 3-year gap between version 10 and 11. This was due to the passing of Peppermint CEO Mark Greaves on January 14, 2020.

On the 2nd of February, 2022, the 11th version of peppermint was available.

There were many changes in this release. Renaming it to peppermintOS. It was rebased on Debian Stable. Another change was the renaming of ICE to Kumo. On the 2nd of October 2022, Peppermint added a Devuan edition, which is Debian with systemd removed.

They have ISOs for 32 and 64-bit of the Debian and Devuan editions. There is also a 64-bit ARM ISO. As of this episode, they are using the Debian 12 Bookworm release as a base.

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 checksum file I downloaded had formatting errors. So I had to compare the checksum values to the file manually. I’m guessing that the maintainers are either cutting and pasting them or manually editing the file. If they just pipe their chosen shasum’s output to a file, there wouldn’t be any formatting issues. This is just an annoyance to me.

The ISO boots to a live session of Xfce showing a welcome screen. It has options to select packages and Web Browsers, along with Peppermint Hub, and links to the documentation. There are also links to their Matrix, Mastodon, Sourceforge, and Codeberg sites. With the latter being a code repository for peppermintOS.

The wallpaper was a view out of a window with a blur effect in the background and some hanging potted plants in the foreground. There are 3 other sceneries to pick from. My favorite was a scene of a waterfall similar to the American and Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.

I was able to find where the image was taken using an online image search. The falls are called Goðafoss. Located in a small town in Northern Iceland called Fosshóll. The falls are fed by the Skjálfandafljóti River. There are many falls in the path of the river.

The theme was a nice dark theme with red accents and red icons in the Thunar File Manager. I liked the circular icons in the panel and the rounded corners of the open applications in the panel.

The link to install was on the desktop which was the Calamares installer. Once in Calamares, I was told that I wasn’t connected to the Internet and the power wasn’t connected to the laptop. I connected to my phone’s Hotspot but left it unplugged since I had 85% battery left. I opted to replace a partition, installing over the previous Debian 12 installation.

It was a very simple install, even for Calamares. I was asked about location, keyboard, and partitioning. I clicked install to begin the installation. The installation took about 11 minutes once I clicked on install.

The All Done window appeared with the Restart Now check box selected. By clicking done, rebooted the laptop.


They are using the Whisker menu at the bottom of the screen. Thunar, Xfce Terminal, Peppermint Hub (more on this later), and in the overflow (up arrow menu) there is Synaptic Package Manager, Text Editor, Advanced Network Configuration, Power Manager, and Run program. The System Tray has the usual icons with the addition of the Peppermint Update. There were no icons on the desktop.

I clicked on the Peppermint Update which opened a terminal window. Which prompted me for my password. Once entered it ran Nala, a graphical replacement for Apt. I was shown the list of updates and asked if I wanted to proceed with the update. After pressing y, it started downloading and installing the updates. I noticed it finished with a few errors installing the kernel package, which prevented the installation. I tried running it again from the terminal manually and it had the same error. I then typed sudo apt update and saw that their multimedia repository changed its version value from 12.0 to 12.1. Running apt-get update automatically updates this change. So I ran sudo apt upgrade, and it reported 3 not fully installed or remove packages. I type y to continue and it proceeded with generating the initramfs. While generating kernel 6.1.0-10-amd64, a very obscure error appeared.

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

run-parts: /etc/kernel/postinst.d/initramfs-tools exited with return code 1

dpkg: error processing package linux-image-6.1.0-10-amd64 (–configure):

installed linux-image-6.1.0-10-amd64 package post-installation script subprocess returned error exit status 1

dpkg: dependency problems prevent configuration of linux-image-amd64:

linux-image-amd64 depends on linux-image-6.1.0-10-amd64 (= 6.1.38-1); however:

Package linux-image-6.1.0-10-amd64 is not configured yet.

Errors were encountered while processing:




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

To answer the question of did I forget to mount it? No, I didn’t. Why would I need Raspberry Pi firmware on an x86 laptop? Why are you complaining about missing Raspberry Pi firmware on an x86-based computer? My third question was, why did you install it, to begin with? I didn’t experience this when I was reviewing Debian 12 Cinnamon, however, Moss had a similar if not the same error while reviewing Debian 12 Mate.

I knew I needed to remove the raspi-firmware package. I was curious and searched for part of the error message and found a link to Stackexchange’s unix forums. In addition to Moss, another person using Debian 12 had this error. Though I didn’t find any mentions of peppermintOS in the other search results.

This was quite a stubborn problem. I tried sudo apt purge raspi-firmware and sudo apt remove raspi-firmware. Neither one completed successfully and it continued to give me the same error. I tried sudo dpkg -P raspi-firmware and it was successful. Then I typed sudo dpkg -r raspi-firmware and it was also successful. Running sudo apt upgrade was finally able to finish without any problems. Running it a second time showed 0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove, and 0 not upgraded. I rebooted the laptop and signed back in.

I took a look at the /etc/apt/sources.list file. They have the contrib, non-free, and non-free-firmware enabled. Along with the updates, proposed-updates, and bookworm-backports.

I left the terminal and browsed around the desktop. The install is pretty much the default set of Xfce applications. They added Plank (Simple Dock), Simple Scan (scanning application), Mousepad (text editor), and Menulibre (menu editor). I noticed that a Web Browser and Office application wasn’t installed by default.

I previously mentioned the Peppermint Hub. This is an application for easily accessing the system settings and installing popular packages and stores. The settings include network, printers, disk utility (GNOME Disks), hBlock (like Ublock origin but system-wide), System info (a modified version of Neofetch without the ASCII logo displayed), xDaily (utility for deleting caches and other maintenance activities), Pulse Audio, User/Groups, and Xfce settings.

On the other side of the hub are web links to App Image Hub, Gnome Store, Snap Store, Flatpak Flathub, and suggested packages. Last but not least is Synaptic.

Inside the Suggested Packages is a list of applications such as Atril Document Viewer, Parole Media Player, gufw (GNU Firewall), Snapd, Flatpak, Gnome Software, and Timeshift. The available Web Browsers were Firefox ESR, Konqueror, Gnome Web, Tor, QuteBrowser, Chromium, and Falkon.

I clicked on the Flatpak and Gnome Software icons. They opened a terminal window running Nala to install them. Flatpak still needed Flathub enabled and Gnome Software needed the Flatpak plugin installed. It would have been nice to have that installed but the devs have their reasons. One nice touch is the icon to install them is grayed out showing that you have already installed them. I also used the Suggested Packages to install Firefox ESR version 102.14. An Office package wasn’t listed in the Suggested Packages.

I used Flatpak to install Signal Messenger and Telegram. I needed to log out and log in to access them from the application menu.

While looking at the Gnome Software settings, they have automatic install enabled by default along with the notification. I saw a notification that applications were installed, though only after opening Gnome Software. I never saw any notification that updates were available.

Just like in Debian 12, updates were installed after a reboot similar to Microsoft Windows. Turning the automatic install off will then notify you when there are updates available.

I tried the Kumo application using Google Docs to test it. I am not sure what I am missing. I opened Kumo and entered the name for the application menu entry followed by the URL of Google Docs. It never showed up anywhere except for in Kumo, which worked fine. It opened Google Docs in an application-looking window and worked as it should. The issue I had is that Kumo didn’t look like the screenshots from the Peppermint website. The screenshot showed many more options like where the shortcut should be placed in the Application menu. Maybe they had a version regression and didn’t update the screenshot. I have installed all the updates so I am under the assumption that I have the current version. Due to work and health reasons, I didn’t get a chance to ask in their forums about this.

I noticed that Pardus was still the default in Grub when I turned on the laptop. So I ran sudo update-grub in the terminal of peppermintOS. I saw that they disabled os-prober despite this being enabled by default in Debian. I opened a terminal and used nano, which was installed by default, to edit the /etc/default/grub which is the Grub configuration file. I added the line GRUB_DISABLE_OS_PROBER=false to enable os-prober. I ran sudo update-grub from the terminal and it detected Pardus installed on /dev/sda2. I rebooted the laptop but Pardus was still in control of Grub. This was a good head-scratcher and I just left it like that.


I had no problems with day-to-day use. The automatic update is not something I am a big fan of. I would turn that off and do everything from the terminal as I usually do. Anyone preferring the GUI would be fine with the update notifications or auto-update. Though I do find it odd that you only get the update notification if you open Gnome Software. However, you would see updates installed if you were watching the bootup process. It is very similar to how I remember Windows installing updates.


4.5 GB of space used on the SSD

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


I didn’t seek out any help. They do have a forum on SourceForge, Mastodon, and Matrix. Any other forum that supports Debian would be sufficient.


Well, yes it does, however having os-prober disabled doesn’t help. Not being able to take control of Grub is another issue. I don’t know what was changed since this didn’t happen in Vanilla Debian 12.


Considering the Debian base, I didn’t have any problems and didn’t expect any.


Debian Xfce

MX Linux Xfce (though doesn’t use systemd and uses shims for applications that require it.)

Linux Mint Xfce

Spiral Linux Xfce

Pardus Linux


Ease of Installation             new user                10/10

                                           experienced user   10/10

Hardware Issues                                              10/10

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

Ease of Use                                                       8/10

Plays Nice With Others                                     8/10

Stability                                                           10/10

Overall Rating                                                 9/10


Overall this is a well-thought-out distribution. The sparse selection of default packages is good for those that like to spend time installing their commonly used applications. Instead of spending an equal amount or more removing applications. There are a few rough edges when it comes to dual-booting. I think the update notification needs some work for the automatic updates. The default is reasonable considering a fair percentage of people don’t install updates. A notification as such wouldn’t even be noticed, to be honest.

I think the lack of a Browser and an Office suite is a bit of a miss. I can understand freedom of choice and do recognize the ability to install a Browser via the Peppermint Hub. I think an option for an Office suite would have been a good addition. I think PeppermintOS is a worthy option among the Debian spins.


from 07/06 to 08/09

RDS 19.0

Q4OS 5.2

Solus 4.4

blendOS 3 “bhatura”

CachyOS 230709

Artix 20230710

Void 20230628

RSS 16.0

KaOS 2023.07

MakuluLinux 2023-07-11

Tails 5.15.1

Pisi 2.3.3

IPfire 2.27-core176

Mint 21.2 (all 3 flavors)

XeroLinux 2023.07

SparkyLinux 2023.07

Bluestar 6.4.3


LibreELEC 11.0.3

Regata 23.0.13

Neptune 8.0

Debian 12.1.0

NST 38-13644

OpenMediaVault 6.5.0

Sparky 7.0.1

SmartOS 20230727

KDE neon 20230727

Zorin OS 16.3

4MLinux 43.0

Mabox 23.07

OSMC 2023.07-1

PCLinuxOS 2023.07

NuTyX 23.07.0

MX Linux 23

OPNsense 23.7

Gnoppix 23.8

Arch 2023.08.01

Snal 1.29


Canaima 7.2

SmartOS 20230804

CachyOS 230806

Tails 5.16

openmamba 20230802

Alpine 3.18.3

EasyOS 5.4.10

Rhino 2023.1

Murena 1.13 (also known as /e/OS for smartphones)


from Bhikhu <[email protected]>

Excellent episode as always guys. Really enjoyed it.

Dale mentioned about updates being installed during reboot-shutdown events. This happens because ‘unattended upgrades’ are enabled by default and they usually get applied during the reboot-shutdown. You can easily disable this. To do so, run ‘software-properties-gtk’ via terminal and go to the ‘Updates’ tab and make sure that the options ‘When there are security updates’ and ‘When there are other updates’ are not set to “Download and install automatically”. Instead, set them to “Display immediately”. This will prevent the unattended upgrades that usually get applied during reboot or shutdown events.

You guys rightly complained about the perplexing download page of Debian. Well, I have created a simple solution for that. A public gist that provides direct links to various Debian stable install media download pages. Here is the link,


You guys also talked about ‘sources.list’ file, I’ve also created a few gists that provide complete ‘sources.list’ files for Debian stable, testing, Sid and current Ubuntu LTS. Links to them,





And, finally here is a link to a little script that correctly installs ‘flatpak’ with software center and desktop integration. It works on Ubuntu and Debian and it’s called ‘flatjak’. Link to its repo,


Hope you guys will find this feedback useful. Bye for now.


Moss: Thanks for another wonderful bit of feedback, Bhikhu. I’ll let Dale and Eric do most of the responding, as they seem to know what they’re talking about.

Dale: That is some valuable information to know. I think this depends on the version of Gnome Software being used. I looked on PeppermintOS and I didn’t see those options.

The links you created are very helpful, especially for finding the Debian ISO files. The sources.list links are equally as helpful. Some of the repos are not commonly known, such as backports. The flatjak script was well thought out, great work!


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, and so on. I can be emailed 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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