Episode 47 Show Notes

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


I’ve had issues getting work, or having to take time off. My glasses broke and I had to get a new exam and ordered new glasses. I got my flu shot and my new covid shot. The covid shot made me pretty sick with lots of lower abdominal pain for a few days, but I got better. I’ve been pulling back from doing a lot of things I’d like to do, including missing a couple of mintCast episodes. I hope I’m back in better shape now.

A phone upgrade to Android 14 made my Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) start glitching out frequently. I moved my SIM card back into my old Google Pixel 3a XL for a few days, and then moved it back. The glitches are much less frequent.

I installed LMDE on my test machine, and a week later installed it on my desktop, replacing KDE neon. Everything went smoothly. I replaced Cinnamon with MATE on my desktop.

And then the machine itself died. I booted up, did some stuff in Mint, did updates, booted to Bodhi, did updates, and then rebooted to go look at LMDE…and the machine refused to boot. The only things coming on are the light on the power button and the fan. I’ve been trying various things, many suggested by Dale, to fix it, but early on decided I should go on eBay and purchase another one. I couldn’t find a good price on an i7 machine but found an i5 complete with SSD and 16 Gigs of RAM, for just under $120. It is what I am using now, and I’m happy with it.


I finally got around to building two computer desks. This has been on my to-do list since moving in over a year ago. My cable management has been on hold due to wanting to attach a power strip and other items to the underside of my desks. The existing desks use composite wood which is not great for putting screws into.

I bought two benchtops at Menards. They are Red Oak, around 1.5 inches/4 cm thick, 24 inches/61 cm wide, and 5 feet/1.5 meters long. For the legs, my previous plan was to buy them from Pipe Decor but they had some e-commerce issues. I used plan b which was IKEA single table legs. That was my choice until I saw they had table frames. They are using sawhorse-style legs with a center support beam. I was pretty happy with their quality and ease of construction.

Instead of ordering them, I drove 1.5 hours to the IKEA on the North Side of Columbus, Ohio. I’ve always wanted to visit one. It is like they combined Home Depot with a Furniture store.

I moved my newest of the old computer desks into my bedroom. I also needed to move my cable modem and router to the other side of my office. I bought 50 or so feet of RG6 coax from Home Depot. I already had the F-type connectors and compression tool to attach them. I like being able to make custom-length cables. I am looking forward to getting home to continue with this project.

Since mintCast is always asking for show ideas. I asked the team if they were interested in hearing my second GUI history article. This was before I decided to make the new desks and wanted to keep my commitment to them.

I intended to work on the show prep on Saturday afternoon. That didn’t happen due to a friend needing urgent help. So I did what I could in the time permitted in the afternoon before the recording of Episode 421. It was fun and went mostly well. I did have a cut’n’paste mistake in the show notes which took me by surprise. I was able to recover somewhat since I had recently re-read the article in preparation for writing the third article. I was a little disappointed and wanted to do better.

In computer-related news. I’ve wanted to try a Tiling Window Manager again since I already have a heavy keyboard-centric workflow. I had a good experience with i3 while reviewing Regolith in Episode 36 on 09/22. I had this idea of replacing Xfwm4 in Xfce with i3. I saw that I wasn’t the only person to think of this combination which I wasn’t surprised in the least. Matt from The Linux Cast YouTube Channel has a detailed tutorial. He used Arch but it can be adapted for use on other distros.

I installed Debian 12 on my Dell Inspiron 13 to see how I would get along. This experiment will go well with my review of Garuda Sway.

I decided to use my Ryzen 9 3900x desktop with my ultra-wide monitor for gaming. It will be moved to my other desk in the office. In its place will be a Lenovo ThinkCentre Tiny that Moss found for me on eBay. I mentioned to him that I was looking for one and he was quite thoughtful to send me the link. It was a very good deal. After doing some reading, I found it is comparable to my System76 Pangolin’s Ryzen 5 4500U CPU. It is my daily driver while away at work when I am not using one of my review laptops. I have no performance issues using it, so the Tiny will be a good fit for use at home.

The Tiny is Model M715q which has an AMD Ryzen 5 PRO 2400GE 3.20GHz CPU with 16GB RAM, 2 Display-Ports, 1 HDMI, three USB 3 and three USB 2 ports, Wireless and Wired networking. It didn’t come with a drive so I will use a 250 GB Crucial MX500 SSD that I had lying around. If I need more storage the Tiny has a M.2 slot available. To finish the setup off, I will use a spare 27” monitor with the Tiny.


I had an interesting experience this month. My Pixel 5a phone died suddenly and catastrophically. I have never had a smartphone completely fail the way this one did, so that was certainly a surprise. It left me without a phone for the first time in as long as I can remember. I found myself reaching for it often and coming up empty-handed. It’s almost hard to believe how many things I do on my phone and how I have come to rely on it so heavily. Here are some things I had to put off doing until I got a new phone.

  • Paying bills. Using banking apps has become much easier for me than using their ancient, awful websites.
  • Listening to podcasts, for the most part. I did listen to a few on my computer but I almost always use my phone.
  • Communicating via phone calls and SMS messages. Yes, this is obvious but I had several people get upset with me because I wasn’t either answering phone calls and texts.

My big takeaway from this experience is that I can, in fact, survive without a smartphone. It does make life much less convenient and alienates me from people that I communicate with via phone and SMS which, in the US, is still a large number of people. Maybe someday we will collectively move to something that isn’t dependent on a physical device, but until then I suppose I will stay tethered.

The flip side of having a phone die is an excuse to get a new one. I used to look forward to getting a new phone every two years, back in the days of carrier subsidized devices. Since then, I have found that I keep a phone longer, possibly by a year but sometimes more. Phones also don’t seem to change nearly as much now as they used to so getting a new one is not quite the event it once was. I do need a case and also want to try wireless changing again. I had tried it years ago and it was loud and slow and it left me thoroughly unimpressed. The new 15 W standard is supposed to be much better, so here’s hoping.

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


Linux Mint Debian Edition 6 “Faye” has been released. We have discussed some about having us all review it next episode, could be fun.

There have been some updates in Bodhi 7, and the AppPack is out now, with the 32-bit to follow next.


SpiralLinux 12.231001 has been updated to Debian 12 Bookworm. In addition to Linux kernel 6.1 LTS, they also have Linux kernel 6.4 added from Debian Backports. Another new feature is a low-latency PipeWire configuration for JACK-compatible live audio applications. The libinput library is replacing Synaptics for mouse and touchpad control and configuration. Snapper for Snapshot management has changed its default to not utilize more than 40% of available disk space using the automatic Btrfs snapshots.

An update 12.2 for Debian Bookworm is available. It has updates to a couple dozen packages and the Debian Installer.

There is also the 11.8 update to the old stable Debian 11 Bullseye. It follows the same updates as 12.2.

Ubuntu Budgie released 23.10 Mantic Minotaur with 9 months of support. Version 10.8 of Budgie, with the Gnome 45 updates, Linux Kernel 6.4, and A brand new ISO utilizing their very own budgie-desktop-installer

Xubuntu 23.10 was released with the same updates including Xfce 4.18 and MATE 1.26.


I have nothing new other than to say that Linux Mint continues to perform flawlessly as my daily driver on the Dell XPS laptop. I’m not sure what’s going to eventually replace it. It will have to be something special.

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


I have not had any problems having to do with distros or software.


I haven’t had any failures.


I suppose I could claim that my phone dying is a failure but I really can’t take much credit for it. I was merely using the browser to search for a recipe and it unceremoniously shut off never to turn on again, at least so far. I try to power it on every other day or so, hoping that it might just flicker to life. Something tells me that it’s a fool’s errand, however.

My actual beautiful failure that turned out not to be a failure in the end was with Clonezilla. I had backed up some partitions prior to installing another distro, thinking that I might want to go back to the previous setup. It turns out I was right so I attempted to restore the partitions to the same disk and partitions that the backup was based on. Note the use of the word ‘attempted’ because what I got instead of a restored partition was an error that the destination was too small. I knew for certain that this wasn’t the case. But the best part was that the error message provided both the size needed to restore the partition as well as the size of the destination partition. They were the same number. I tried several methods of restoring to no avail. I ended up booting into a live session and resizing the partition, adding like 2 GB of extra space I believe. At that point, the restoration appeared to be successful and it was, except for the EFI partition, which didn’t actually contain the correct files. I suppose the backup itself wasn’t valid, but whatever the case, it left me needing to fix booting. I was able to use a live session again to chroot into the distro’s root directory and then reinstall grub. After that, it was fine.

So, in the end, not a failure but definitely a hassle. I try to use open source software whenever possible and, while I have had success using Clonezilla with full disk backups, it seems to have serious problems with partition backups. Unfortunately, this isn’t my first difficulty of this type with Clonezilla. I used to use Acronis True Image, which is a proprietary solution. I believe the next time I need to make a backup of a partition that I will be using it instead.

Let’s move on to the reviews.


Eric: DISTRO NAME: Manjaro 23 “Uranos” Cinnamon Edition

INTRO: It’s been a while since I have used an Arch-based distro so, in the interest of being a well-rounded reviewer, I thought I would give Manjaro a try. I was an avid Manjaro GNOME user for the better part of a year not all that long ago and generally had a positive experience with it. I eventually found some creative way to break it that required more effort to fix than I was willing to undertake so it got replaced.

Manjaro offers KDE Plasma, GNOME, and XFCE versions as official editions and also has a number of community editions based on a variety of desktop environments and window managers, Cinnamon being one of them. They all have a bit of unique twist on theming and which software they include by default, and so can seem substantially different from each other.

One of the very noticeable aspects of any Manjaro edition is the amount of effort that goes into customizing the look and feel. Like it or not, the maintainers meticulously theme each version using Manjaro’s predominant teal color. If you like teal, then you are in luck. If not, they do at least provide a good amount of additional themes as well, including my preferred Mint themes from the Linux Mint project.

Looks aside, the maintainers also include a good deal of software. The ISO file for this edition is 3.4 GB with a good bit of that being additional software beyond the base DE.

MY HARDWARE: I used both my laptop and desktop computers for this review. The Dell XPS 15 9570 laptop 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]). The desktop has an AMD Ryzen 5 5600 (6 cores, 12 threads), 16 GB of RAM, 2 TB of storage spread over four different drives, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 with 6 GB of VRAM.

INSTALLATION EASE AND ISSUES: Manjaro uses the Calamares installer, which has matured into one of, if not the most, usable installers in the desktop Linux space. It hasn’t always been that way but I can’t remember the last time I had a bad experience with it. I did need to perform a custom installation on the laptop as I was replacing an existing installation and had to set the correct partitions for the installer. This is all very straightforward in Calamares, although that is coming from someone who does this frequently so that statement may not hold true for everyone. Otherwise, it’s the usual fare of verifying that the location and language options are correct.

There aren’t any real surprises here, other than one fairly unique aspect, which is the inclusion of a screen asking which office suite you’d like to use. These include the default option of ‘none’ as well as the obvious choice of LibreOffice but then one that’s less well known, FreeOffice. I can’t be sure but I think this may be how I discovered FreeOffice in the first place, but regardless it has been my preferred office suite for many years. I like the fact that it closely matches a slightly older and more usable version of Microsoft Office. I often use TextMaker and PlanMaker, their word processor and spreadsheet applications. Being able to install it as part of the overall installation process is a nice touch for me.

The installation is reasonably quick and asks for a reboot at the end so you can start using the newly installed system.

POST-INSTALLATION HARDWARE FACTS & ISSUES: One of the things I appreciate about Manjaro as compared to most other Arch-based distros is the fact that they provide a fully configured system. Vanilla Arch and many of the ‘installation’ distros provide a simple base installation that then requires a good bit of additional configuration to be what I consider a complete desktop. These include things like installing Bluetooth and printing support to name a few. Many people enjoy this bare-bones approach that allows them to be very deliberate about which software exists on their system and how it is configured. I can respect that and have done so in the past, but now find it to be unnecessary and tedious. Having Manjaro do these things for me is a better option.

I enjoy using Arch tools like pacman along with the AUR and yay. They are just great package managers with features that I appreciate. Even though there is such an apparent abundance of software available on Arch, ironically, I tend to have more issues getting the software I want on Arch than on something Ubuntu based. It is one of the main reasons that I stopped using Arch. I know many of you might be thinking I’m completely wrong because the AUR fills the software gap. In my experience, unless the package is very popular and used by a lot of people, software in the AUR can be less than ideal. In many cases, things are out of date or have multiple packages for the same thing, which is confusing. I know people are volunteering to maintain a package, but if they don’t provide timely updates, then it is unreliable. I don’t mean to disparage anyone who diligently maintains something in the AUR, as there is a sizable contingent of people doing so. I am merely conveying my experience with some software located there.

Using Manjaro cuts down on the usual deluge of updates you normally see with vanilla Arch. I appreciate the curated approach that Manjaro takes by way of their repository approach. You tend to get a trickle of important updates and then large Stable updates, which can be a gigabyte or more, comprising hundreds of packages.

The three Manjaro repositories are:

  • Unstable: contains the most up-to-date Arch Linux packages. Unstable is synced several times a day with Arch package releases.
  • Testing: contains packages from the unstable repositories after they have been tested by users.
  • Stable: contains only packages that are deemed stable by the development team, which can mean a delay of a few weeks before getting major upgrades.

It is possible to use any of these repositories if you don’t want to wait for things to hit stable. I have done this before and found that Testing was usually fairly solid but not guaranteed to work, obviously. Unstable is basically like using vanilla Arch with the inclusion of the Manjaro-specific packages. I’d like the system to be as stable as possible so I stick with the Stable repo.

I also set the theme to one of the Mint-Y Dark color variants, and needed to install the Mint-Y icon set from Linux Mint’s GitHub repo to complete the look. While Cinnamon works just fine with many GTK themes, I find that the one purpose-built by the Mint team works best for me. It just doesn’t look right to me with alternate theming.

EASE OF USE: Pamac is used in many editions of Manjaro as the GUI package manager, which is true of the Cinnamon edition as well. In theory, it is nice to have a GUI package manager rather than using the command line version which is pacman. In practice however, for me at least, I find it to be somewhat lacking. To be fair, I find this to be true of just about every software manager available on any distro or DE today. It’s great that they exist and that many people use them without incident, but that’s not been my experience.

Adding support for the AUR, Flatpak and Snap are possible but require extra steps that may not be straightforward for less experienced users. I really feel like these things should already be configured but perhaps they have a good reason for not doing so.

My preferred approach is using the command line equivalent, in this case pacman and yay. Pacman is certainly idiosyncratic, with flags that aren’t exactly intuitive. It can feel a little more like art than science when using it but, for all its oddities, it is still my favorite package manager. The multithreading option alone is impressive, allowing for multiple simultaneous downloads, which translates to some of the fastest updates I have ever seen.

Yay, which apparently is an acronym for ‘Yet Another Yogurt’ according to their GitHub page, is an AUR helper meaning that it lets you access data from the AUR directly rather than needing to download the PKGBUILD file manually and then running makepkg. This saves time and is especially useful for managing updates. I would never advocate blindly installing software from the AUR so it’s still a good idea to review the PKGBUILD when using something like yay.

Outside of package management, Manjaro includes a number of custom tools to make using it easier than vanilla Arch. The Manjaro Settings Manager contains Manjaro Hardware Detection (MHWD), Language, Kernel, Keyboard, Time and Date and User Accounts. The hardware detection in particular is very helpful in getting the proper drivers installed to support your hardware. In my case, I needed the Nvidia driver on my desktop and the hybrid equivalent on my laptop.

In general, I would classify Manjaro as a mid-level distro in terms of expectation of the user to be proficient at administering their system. It is easy enough to install and use on a day-to-day basis but I often find myself needing to use the terminal to manage the system which isn’t necessarily a hardship nor is it exactly user-friendly. I could make the argument that no operating system is one hundred percent user-friendly but I think you get the point.


  • 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 started at 1 GB and leveled out at 940 MB used after a minute or so.
  • I used ‘df -h /’ to show that a base installation used 8.7 GB of disk space.

EASE OF FINDING HELP: The Manjaro project is over a decade old and has attracted a large following. They have one of the most active and helpful forums I have yet seen with any Linux distribution. For an old school guy like me who prefers forums to mode modern ephemeral options like Discord, Telegram, Matrix, and so on, this is a wonderful thing. Yes, those newer systems have a history that can be searched, but that user experience compared to a forum is, well, incomparable for me. But enough of me standing on the lawn yelling at the neighborhood kids. The point is that Manjaro has a large and mostly helpful user base available on the forum and apparently on Facebook and X as well, although I’ll have to take their word for it.

PLAYS NICE WITH OTHERS: Manjaro had no problem detecting and accommodating my other Linux instance and adding it to the Grub menu. What I find even more interesting is that the boot menu is configured to remember the last selected option so you can technically have the Manjaro entry selected in your UEFI BIOS settings yet still boot into a different distro. That’s playing very nice with others!

STABILITY: Here’s where things took a turn for the worse. I experienced an unacceptable number of lockups on both my desktop and laptop. These necessitated a hard reset of the computer, something I can’t remember needing to do for quite a while. It’s not that Linux never crashes, it’s more that usually it’s not a fully locked up system. I can typically use a different TTY and recover from there. I wasn’t able to find a consistent rhyme or reason as to the cause of these lockups and sadly, they were happening at the worst times. I mentioned earlier finding out the hard way that Audacity’s recovery feature works, and that was due to having been recording for over an hour for a podcast and then having the machine lock up and needing to reset. Upon opening Audacity again, it prompted me to recover the recording, which turned out to be fully intact. It’s great that it works, but certainly not the way I wanted to obtain that information. My sense was that it has to do with hardware issues, although I never have this issue with other distributions so I don’t know what to think. The bottom line is I felt as though I wasn’t able to trust the system so I didn’t want to use it.

SIMILAR DISTROS TO CHECK OUT: There’s not really anything exactly like Manjaro but I suppose ArcoLinux is close. If the goal is to install Arch in a more user-friendly way, then I think something like EndeavourOS is a good choice. BIG Linux is also good.


Ease of Installation                             new user 8/10 (clean install)

experienced user   10/10 (custom install)

Hardware Support                                            10/10

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

Ease of Use                                                       7/10

Plays Nice With Others                                    10/10

Stability                                                              5/10

Overall Rating                                                  8/10

FINAL COMMENTS: As I mentioned above, I had been a Manjaro user for a good while. Before that, I had used vanilla Arch as well. There is definitely an appeal to having access to the latest and greatest in software but I found that appeal waning after a while. New software sometimes means changes that you weren’t expecting that creates problems where otherwise there might not have been any. I also found myself experiencing update fatigue, if there is such a thing. I would perform an update and literally minutes later have more updates.

Manjaro alleviates this to a large degree while still allowing for very new software and access to the AUR. They have a large and mostly helpful community. I even had several instances where I interacted with Phillip Müller, who founded Manjaro and is active in the forum. They put a ton of effort into providing a fully configured desktop experience that encompasses just about every notable desktop environment and window manager available.

It is unfortunate that I had issues this time that forced me to move on to something else but I can guarantee it won’t be the last time I use Manjaro. It is absolutely one of the more notable distros and especially one that I can recommend to anyone wanting to try Arch Linux without doing it the Arch way.

Moss: DISTRO NAME: Bodhi 7.0.0 64-bit

INTRO: Most of you have figured out this is my favorite distro. I donate to the team monthly. I will be struggling to remain objective, but I’ll do my best. This is the closest thing to a major distro featuring Enlightenment window manager at present, and has been so since its beginnings. Moksha Desktop is a fork from Enlightenment E17, still the most stable version of E to date, and it also features backports from later versions of E. This is not a desktop which mimics Windoze, and that by itself is the main reason to not send new users of Linux to it… unless you think they are up for something new and different, not just a Windoze replacement. But if you can get used to it, you will find it is much easier to use, with less mouse movement and fewer keystrokes.

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 installer is Ubiquity, with a couple nice flourishes added. Nothing to see here. There are some really nice screens, especially if you like green. The ISO comes in 3 flavors, depending on how recent your hardware is, including the base 5.15 from Ubuntu 22.04, a 6.2 kernel from Ubuntu HWE, and the special System76 6,4 kernel for those of you who simply must have the latest stuff for your gaming. It does not include any apps except for Bodhi-Chromium. There will be an AppPack version later with all the “expected” software inclusions, such as LibreOffice, but for now, you need to install your faves using apt, Synaptic, or the Bodhi Manager, which is written in http and is featured in Bodhi-Chromium.

POST-INSTALLATION HARDWARE FACTS & ISSUES: It boots up so nicely. I’m a huge fan of green, and their use of metallics and very subtle GIFs speaks to me. However, if you have a laptop, Moksha still does not offer a feature to disable your touchpad, and if you have a keypad, there is no feature to set the numlock. There is numlockx in the repos for the latter, and you have to add a PPA named atareo to get touchpad-indicator and do the former.

EASE OF USE: To me, there is nothing easier than using Bodhi. You never have to go fishing for the menu bar – a simple click (yes, left-click) anywhere on unused desktop space will bring it up. You can also designate certain apps as Favorites, in which case a right-click will bring that menu up. I have found one program I use to have a bug, which is PySolFC, and the bug is also found in Linux Lite 4.x: the app opens top left, and I prefer it in the center. Moving it there is quite likely to trigger full-screen mode, and once that has been triggered, the game freezes on your first card selection, even if you’ve returned it to the smaller screen. If you don’t trigger full screen mode, the game works fine.

To get the full effects of Bodhi, you probably would like to visit all the terrific themes the team has developed. But to do that, you have to open Terminology and type

sudo apt install bodhi-theme-pack

The Bodhi AppPack ISO is in RC status, which would include all themes and a nice selection of software. Some would call it bloat, but I’ve found it to save a lot of time.

I also installed Grub Customizer, ubuntu-restricted-extras, and my games, plus installed Flatpak and from there added Telegram, Discord, and PySolFC. I grabbed Audacity from the repo, 2.4.2. Since my T540p is, indeed, a laptop, I added touchpad-indicator and fiddled with numlockx a bit.

There is another way to disable the touchpad, which requires opening Terminology and adding this command to ~/.e/e/applications/startup/startupcommands

synclient TouchpadOff=1


13.8 GB of space used on the SSD

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


I’vebeen using Bodhi for so long I don’t need much help, but the Discord channel and the Bodhi Forums are both good places to get help. They were temporarily hosting the forum on LinuxQuestions.org but got their own space about 3 years ago. Of course, LinuxQuestions is always a good site, and it is being underutilized, in my opinion.


I am currently booting to Mint and LMDE in addition to Bodhi on my studio machine, so yes, definitely will play nice with Debian and Ubuntu distros.


I have not had questions of stability since version 5. This is not only based on LTS Ubuntu but they take over a year after the LTS is out to get Bodhi ready, so they take the time to iron out the bugs first.

GAMING EASE (Optional):

I have not tried gaming on Bodhi myself. But 2/3rds of the developer team are gamers, and do their gaming on Bodhi, so it must be pretty good. That probably explains why they have a version using the System76 6.4 Linux kernel as well.




Ease of Installation                            new user 8/10

experienced user 10/10

Hardware Issues                                               9/10

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

Ease of Use                                                     10/10

Plays Nice With Others                                    10/10

Stability                                                            10/10

Works with Games (optional)                         10/10*

Overall Rating                                               9.5/10

*with S76 kernel installed

FINAL COMMENTS: This is, has been, and will likely continue to be my favorite distro. The only thing keeping me from using it full time is that I can’t find all the controls in E when something goes wrong. I’m certain they are there, but things are confusing to find when you’re looking for them. I know it sounded like there were real issues, but there really aren’t. Meanwhile, Mint continues to just work. What I usually do is get my work done in Mint and go play in Bodhi. My hat is off to those who can just use Bodhi, but my skills are weak as yet.

Dale: DISTRO NAME: Garuda Sway

INTRO: This was a request from listener Bhikhu. I reviewed Garuda Cinnamon in Episode 19 on 01/21. Given how the time passed, it is a good opportunity to revisit it. Garuda is an Arch-based distro with many editions. It is known for having a lot of eye candy and is easy to install using Calamares. I’ve been curious how X11-based Window Managers would be adapted to run on Wayland.

Sway is a Tiling Wayland Compositor and functions like the i3 tiling Window Manager used on X11. Sway can use an existing i3 configuration to be a drop-in replacement.

If you are not familiar with Tiling Window Managers. Instead of having windows that can overlap by using the mouse to resize and move them. Tiling window Managers use keyboard shortcuts to move and resize the windows. By default the first one is full screen, the second is half of the screen, the third uses a third, and the fourth uses a fourth of the screen. The window sizes can be manually adjusted. This is where workspaces aka virtual desktops are very useful. Depending on the size of your display, opening multiple windows can result in very small windows. Moving windows to other workspaces can retain a usable size.

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

INSTALLATION EASE AND ISSUES: The installer as I mentioned is Calamares. It was the same install as other distros using Calamares. I installed it using the whole drive. Nothing special to mention during the installation.

POST-INSTALLATION HARDWARE FACTS & ISSUES: Like with other distros, the mouse speed is way too fast for my liking. Unfortunately, the ability to modify the mouse settings via the GUI wasn’t available. In order to change the settings, you need to edit the file named input located under the home folder in .config/sway/config.d/. The configuration options are available from the Wayland documentation on the Freedesktop.org website.

The .config/sway/config.d folder is where the other Wayland configuration files are located.

The welcome screen filled the entire display with many applications and links. I will name the applications since it is on the shortlist. Garuda Assistant, Garuda Gamer, Garuda Settings Manager, Garuda Network Assistant, Garuda Boot Options, System Cleaner, BTRFS Assistant, Partition Manager, and Add/Remove Software. The links at the bottom were to their social media, website, Gitlab, and links to websites, search, and Bitwarden, among many others.

There was a bar towards the bottom of the Welcome Screen. It was labeled “Garuda Setup Assistant”. It opened with a single click of the mouse. Then it performed a system update. Following that, it opened a window with many tabs. There are too many to list all the available actions. They include installing a printer, scanner, and Samba support. Additional software such as Pen Testing, Software Centers, Office related apps, Browsers, Communication, File Transfer, Audio/Video, and many others. There were also options for different kernels and wallpaper. Each item had a check box for easy one-click selection. Clicking OK in the bottom right corner of the window would install the selected choices.

A few of the default applications are Alacritty, BleachBit, Celluloid, Gnome Disks, FireDragon (more on this later), OBS Studio, and Thunar.

EASE OF USE: The GRUB screen was customized with the Garuda logo at the top of the screen with a black background. It has the usual boot options, with the addition of BTRFS snapshots, UEFI Firmware settings, and Shutdown/Reboot options.

The display manager was themed. An analog clock was in the upper left corner. The background image was a starry night with Santa and his reindeer in flight.

The wallpaper was the Sway logo. Additional wallpapers are available in the repository.

There was an update notification about a week after installation. I was surprised there wasn’t any earlier than that. However, the update consistency increased after that. The GUI package manager is called Pamac, the command line application uses the same name. Incidentally, Pamac’s command line application has much better common sense command switches like update, install, and remove. This is compared to Pacman’s -Syu.

I attempted to install the updates but kept getting an error with the Kvantum update. Pamac suggested I remove it and try again. That led to an error reporting it would break a few dependencies and wouldn’t continue. I ended up clicking the blue square on the right side of the Kvantum listing. That set the package to be ignored during the update. Once set to ignore, a window and a pop-up appeared. The window reported the installation was successful and a reboot was recommended. The pop-up read “Partial upgrade detected. You performed a ‘partial upgrade’. Please fully update your system to prevent system instability.” Which is kind of ironic because it told me to do the partial update.

I tried to update Kvantum again without rebooting or exiting Pamac. The Transaction Summary window appeared. It read, To remove kvantum 1.0.10-1 (conflicts with kvantum-qt5), To install kvantum-git 1.0.10.r21.gabc43948-1. The installation was successful. After rebooting the laptop, Kvantum opened with no issues.

Flatpak and Snap are not installed or supported. The Garuda devs claim that everything is available either in the Chaotic-AUR or the Arch-AUR. They do have a link in their Wiki to the Arch Wiki on how to install and configure Flatpak. In their words “If you absolutely need to.” You can also go to Flathub https://flathub.org/setup/Arch for instructions. If you do install Flatpak, you will need to use their workaround for the Fish shell due to a compatibility issue or use Bash instead.

How to install Flatpak on Garuda

One nice thing about Flatpak on Arch-based distros is that Flathub is configured by default.

Now as far as their claim that everything is in the AUR. I would say that is a safe choice for the most popular applications. Where you can run into some problems is trying to install some lesser-known/used applications. As you can tell from my experience with updating the packages, Arch-based distros can easily be a house of cards.

My other complaint about packages in Arch-based distros is that there are too many choices for the same package. I tried to install LibreOffice. I searched for it in Pamac and found page after page after page of packages with the LibreOffice name. None of them were the package to install it. I had to open the Garuda Setup Assistant again and install it from there.

Garuda is using Waybar for the status bar at the top of the screen. This is what is listed from left to right: Nwg-drawer (application menu), current workspace number, current focused application/window, clickable system update, screen brightness, keyboard language, CPU utilization, memory usage, battery usage, connected WiFi AP name, network activity, volume percentage, clickable network settings, a module like Caffeine, date/time, and power menu. I mention these because this is configurable, so one Sway desktop will look different from another.

There is one thing that some distros like Garuda do that I don’t like. That is forking a web browser and branding it as their own. Now, I am all for customizing a distro. I don’t mind theming a browser. The issue I have is with FireDragon, which is Garuda’s own branded web browser. It is a fork of LibreWolf, which is a fork of Firefox. It is one thing to fork a browser to customize it for your distro, but it is another thing to create a fork of a fork.

With the bullseye of finding exploits firmly in web browsers, it is a huge task to keep up to date with fixing these exploits. I don’t think being 3rd in line for updates is a great idea. They have one of two choices. Roll their own patches or wait for Mozilla to patch Firefox, then wait for LibreWolf to patch their code, then finally be able to pull from them to update their code. I am not sure I want to trust their patches and I don’t want to wait for them to be able to patch theirs from LibreWolf. So with that said, I didn’t use FireDragon and instead installed Firefox. Maybe I am just a bit overly concerned about this.

Since I prefer using Bash in the terminal, I tried using the configuration option to switch to Bash from Fish. After many attempts, Bash was never set as the default shell. I prefer Bash because scripts use it. I also don’t like the predictive text feature of other shells. Their vision of what the terminal should look like is a bit cluttered for me. They at least had appropriate colors for the text that were easily seen. I call it cluttered because I don’t need Neofetch output every time I open the terminal. If they want this visible to the user, just put Neofetch in the menu with a name like system report.

I also prefer Joe’s Own Editor instead of Vim, Nano, Pico, etc. It was only available in the AUR. I searched for Joe and selected it for installation. The first attempt to download the tar.gz file failed. I tried to install it a second time and it was downloaded. From there the automated script ran to compile it. After a few minutes, I was notified that it was finished.

I noticed a few issues downloading updates and I know it was not my Internet connection. I wasn’t having any issues streaming video or otherwise when this occurred. This happened in different locations in the US. So I think their repos have congestion or other issues occasionally.

When it comes to usability, a tiling interface is great if you fancy the keyboard shortcut workflow. Once I started remembering the commands, I found myself quite at home in Sway. The ability to make a window float with a quick keystroke or make a tiled window full-screen is a definite plus in my opinion. It took some time but I got used to pressing Super D to bring up the application launcher. Pressing the Super key to do that is a hard habit but it was broken after a couple of weeks. As with i3, you can modify the keybindings if some are not to your liking. Switching workspaces was natural to me because I used the same Super and a number on my DEs already. Super Shift and a number will move a window to that numbered workspace. Super Q was an easy one to remember because Pop!_OS uses that in their Cosmic Shell. Super Tab had a different behavior compared to Pop!_OS. On Pop!_OS, it would cycle through all open applications just like Alt-Tab would do. In Sway it would switch applications on that specific workspace. There may be an option to change that but as of this writing, I haven’t looked into that.


4.3, 3.72, and 6.02 GB of space used on the SSD du -h / and btrfs filesystem show

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

EASE OF FINDING HELP: I did look through their Wiki. There isn’t a lot about Sway except for a listing of the keyboard shortcuts and other mentions. They have detailed installation instructions for PCs and Macs. Their official support is via their Web-Based forum. They have a Telegram group which by their description is for socializing only.

PLAYS NICE WITH OTHERS: Given my track record with dual-booting Arch-based distros and the fact that Garuda doesn’t recommend dual-booting. I didn’t try.

STABILITY: I didn’t have any problems.

GAMING EASE (Optional): I didn’t try any games.


Fedora Sway Spin

Ubuntu Sway Remix





The last 4 have Sway available for installation via their repos.


Ease of Installation                            new user 9/10

Experienced user 10/10

Hardware Issues                                             10/10

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

Ease of Use                                                      7/10

Plays Nice With Others                                     x/10

Stability                                                           10/10

Overall Rating                                              8.5/10

FINAL COMMENTS: Given the fact that this is meant to be the only OS on the computer, I gave a higher rating for installation for new users. I took a few points off for Ease of Finding Help because there wasn’t much Sway-specific help. You could use the i3 help sections as it uses similar config files and commands. I also took some points off for the Ease of Use. Finding applications in Pamac was less than satisfactory. The insistence on using the AUR is a bit misguided. I think offering Flatpak but giving a disclaimer that they are supported by the maintainer would have been nice.

There is one thing I do want to mention about Wayland in general. One of the issues is with screen sharing. Since each window is independent of each other, sharing a screen or any other data with an application like OBS or Zoom for example is problematic. This is part of the improved security over Xorg. However, that security comes at a price. I am not familiar with OBS so I don’t know if it works on Sway under Garuda. Others in the Linux Saloon Telegram channel have been testing Sway on Wayland. I believe some were using EndeavourOS and were having issues. I also didn’t have a chance to test Zoom.

So if you want to do video production on Wayland. I would suggest using Plasma or Gnome, as they seem to have better support at this time.

Sway is not for a new user who fears the command line or using the keyboard in general. If you are feeling adventurous and want to try a new keyboard-centric workflow, maybe a tiling window manager is in your future and why not use a Wayland-based one since it will be the future of computing.

NEW RELEASES THIS MONTH: – from 9/13 – 10/19

SparkyLinux 7.1

Univention 5.0-5

Peropesis 2.2

Tails 5.17.1

SystemRescue 10.02

CachyOS 20230917

Manjaro 23.0.2

EasyNAS 1.1.2

Linuxfx 11.4.2

SmartOS 20230921

openmamba 20230922

KaOS 2023.09

Regata 23.0.17

Plop 23.4

Porteus 5.01

Zephix 7

Mint 6 “LMDE”

ArcoLinux 23.10.01

Gnoppix 23.10

Alpine 3.18.4

NuTyX 23.09.0

Rhino 2023.3

XeroLinux 2023.10

NuTyX 23.09.0

Pisi 2.3.4

Tails 5.18

Clear 40040

EasyOS 5.5.4

FuguIta 7.3-202310041

Miracle 9.2

BSDRP 1.992

BigLinux 2023-10-06

Fatdog64 901

Debian 12.2.0

Debian Edu 12.2.0

Debian 11.8.0

Manjaro 23.0.3

SpiralLinux 12.231008

Slax 12.2.0

Slax 15.0.4

Bluestar 6.5.6

RaspiOS 2023-10-10

SparkyLinux 2023.10

Archcraft 2023.10.12

KDE neon 20231012

IPFire 2.27-core180

Ubuntu 23.10 – all official flavours

TUXEDO OS 2-20231013

Ubuntu Budgie 23.10

EasyOS 5.5.5

Voyager 23.10

Q4OS 5.3

WM Live 0.96.0-0

Slackel 7.7

Arch 2023.10.14

MX Linux 23.1

OpenBSD 7.4

NomadBSD 132R-20231013

Ubuntu 23.10.1

Ubuntu Budgie 23.10.1

Bicom Systems PBXware 7.0.0

Br OS 23.10

SmartOS 20231019


from Bhikhu <[email protected]>

September 19, 2023

I feel like I’m repeating myself, but yours is hands down the best Linux review medium out there, period.

Dale, there is a script that makes the task of installing/updating UniFi application easy,


Moss, Xfce’s Whisker menu has an option that displays generic application names like ‘Internet Browser’ instead of Firefox. This can easily be disabled by going into Whisker Menu’s settings and unchecking ‘Show generic application names’ under ‘General’ tab,


I’d also like to praise Moss’s ability to pronounce even the foreign words accurately. I’m jealous!

I’d second Eric’s apprehension about the stability of Rhino Linux, due to its base being on the unsupported and sparsely tested Development branch of Ubuntu.

And finally, I’d end this email with my personal take on Lubuntu/LXQt. It’s a wonderful project, but it needs to ditch unmaintained Openbox in favor of either Xfwm or KWin. One thing that not many are aware of is that you can easily switch to another ‘Window Manager’ via ‘LXQt Session Settings’ → ‘Basic Settings’ → ‘Window Manager’,


You can use any WM, but my personal recommendations would be either Xfwm or KWin. These two are well-maintained, constantly updated and don’t require external compositors like picom.

P.S. Dale, give ‘LanguageTool’ a go. It’s a nice open source alternative to Grammarly.



Before we leave Feedback, we are curious to know what everyone is using as their daily driver and/or spare computer. What are your favorite distros? You can email each of us or use the [email protected] address for the team. We are working on a new email address.


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: You can hear more of me on mintCast, Linux OTC, Linux Saloon, and LinuxLUGCast. I also have a YouTube channel @ericadamsyt. I can be reached on most social media and chat platforms under my full name, Eric Adams, such as Mastodon, Discord (eric_adams), Telegram, and Matrix. You can also reach me by email at [email protected].

Moss: And you can hear me every week on Full Circle Weekly News. 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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