Episode 7 Show Notes

Distrohoppers’ Digest Episode 007


…wherein we discuss what did and didn’t work for us this month…


I have been extremely blessed with two new machines, both System76 models, a Galago Pro 2 and a Kudu 3. I now have better machines than I’ve ever owned, and look forward to using the Kudu in reviews starting next month. Both these machines came from listener Jackie Moore in Nashville, who has been supportive of me since I began being a co-hosting mintCast. I have managed to get Linux Mint 19.2, Ubuntu Budgie 19.10, Pearl Desktop 8, Q4OS, and Bodhi 5.0.0 (just yesterday, still have a tweak or two to do) on the Galago Pro, plenty of room but I think I’ll leave it there. The Kudu is being used as my Distrohopping machine from midway through October into the future, as we suggested back when I was hoping to get a new machine.

I had an interesting excursion through Grubland on the Galago Pro 2 this month, when I attempted to add Unity Desktop to the Ubuntu MATE install. This resulted in some very wacky behavior, and I decided it was time to install Ubuntu Budgie 19.10 instead. The result of this was, my boot menu looked good but gave an error that I needed to load the kernel first. Because of my prior experiences in Grub, I knew to hit the <Esc> key, which brought me to a grub> prompt… and I typed exit. Amazingly, this brought me to an old saved Grub menu from the earlier Ubuntu MATE 19.04 installation. It took a while and some fumbling around, but finally I tried booting to the Ubuntu MATE 19.04 selection on the alternate Grub menu just mentioned, and, after much thought, it managed to load Ubuntu Budgie 19.10 instead. I then installed Grub Customizer from the repo, saved it, and the newly generated Grub menu worked on reboot.

Also, my wife and I both have been having problems where PIA locks us out of a website we’re trying to load, and we have to change nodes. This has been going on for the entire 2 months we’ve had the service. We have decided to go back to Mullvad, which is still a bit cheaper on month-to-month billing, when the current month runs out November 2.


Well the last month has had it’s ups and downs, the major up was being able to attend the Friday night and all day Saturday of OggCamp, I got to meet so many people from the Linux community including Oliver who guest hosted on mintCast a few months ago, and is a big supporter of our shows. The down note was that due to several family bereavements I had to miss the Sunday as I needed to travel home to go up to Glasgow for 2 funerals the following Monday and Tuesday. I seem to be at that point in life where the times I meet up with family is at a funeral rather than a wedding. As they say, “That’s Life”.

On a more pleasant note, I’ve developed a new passion for watching YouTube videos of people refurbishing old diecast model cars and the like. There are some fantastic videos out there, but one of my goto channels is Marty’s Matchbox Makeovers’ he isn’t the most followed channel only having just over a 103,000 followers but he is true to the spirit of the old Matchbox toys of my childhood. As a result of this I’ve been buying some of the old models on ebay, and recently sent him a couple for a possible restoration video.

Currently recovering i’m from a heavy cold and my back decided to pop over the weekend, resulting in difficulty walking and lots of pain. Hoping to get through the show without coughing too much making the edit a ‘further’ pain.

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

Pearl Desktop 8 had lost its server and website, but it has been replaced. I may have been somewhat instrumental in that, but my friendly web host avers it was not his hosting.

Fedora 31 was released the day before this is being recorded. One of us will probably downloaded it and have a look in a VM.

Bodhi 5.0.0 has had a couple updates. Remember my problem getting the ARandR settings for my external monitor use to load at boot? Now there is a button in ARandR, “Save to Bodhi Startup”. And with my new installation of Bodhi on the Galago Pro 2, I have learned that the updater program, Eepdater, seems to have all — or at least a lot more — of its bugs worked out, and functions well on my system, putting it ahead of KDE’s Discover (last I used it).

One listener to the show has installed Solus with SoftMaker Office, Mullvad, and MFC-J491DW printer support. Perhaps soon I will try Solus again.

Tony’s Distro this Month


MX Linux 19 Beta 2.1, MX Linux 19


So for information this months installation was done as a sole install on my Toshiba Portege Z30 the specification is as follows, this is the same machine I used for last month’s EndeavourOS review:

Intel® Core™ i5-4210U CPU 2cores and 4 threads @ 1.70GHz to 2.7GHz 128Gb M2 SSD and 8Gb DDR3 Ram.

Also during the test period the Beta moved to full release and is now installed alongside the the beta on the same machine, giving me the opportunity to report on dual booting friendliness. Another point to note is that MX is also available as a 32Bit system so although I tested the 64Bit iso if you have older 32Bit PC’s around this is one distro that still supports that hardware.

So installation is fairly straightforward if using the whole drive, after starting the installation process you get the option to set your keyboard to your local variant, the next screen gives you the option to use the partition manager or use the whole disc. if you wish to do a dual boot and have not already set up a partition for this then you will need to use the partition manager option to create a partition to install MX along side the existing OS. If you choose this option you open GPartEd and would need knowledge of using this disc partitioning utility to enable a dual boot, by shrinking the current partition, and using the freed space to create a partition for the MX19 install. If you have not already backed up the data on the existing OS this could be a risky operation. Also new or those fairly new users to Linux may not be familiar with manual partitioning so I wonder why the maintainers have not moved to a more new user friendly way of repartitioning the drive.

Warning, any repartitioning of a drive to create free space can result in data loss, so if wanting to dual boot with another OS backup all your data on the current install before embarking on the install.

After setting up your install drive you move on to choosing where to put the bootloader, if you are unfamiliar with this just go with the default options. The following screens are setting up the network ID name for the PC, location and user name and password, while setting the user name etc there is an option to retain any changes you made in the live session. This is handy if using WiFi and you have made changes to the desktop layout to suit you, as when ticked you will have these saved to the install when you reboot. After this your done, it will take a minute or so to install the boot loader then you see the finished message and you can restart and boot into your new installation of MX.


On reboot of the OS after install, you should be presented with a Welcome menu which has a number of options one of which is to tweak settings including your panel, you can also access the tools menu from the welcome menu and this has lots of tools for configuring the system including a Grub customiser which is called Boot Options. While most of these tools are available in other distros, this just makes them very easy to access out of the box, so a great choice on the MX maintainers to include this. Note if you switch off the ‘show this at start up’, just type welcome in the search on the menu and you will find it. One other thing you can do is add any audio and video codecs not included by default for licensing or other reasons, they are just a click away.

As for hardware during the 5 weeks or so running MX on this PC everything just worked, although as you know I have no fancy graphics or other hardware that may be problematic on this or other Linux distributions, my only problem during the whole month was with a bug in the Beta, which when in the non-systemd boot, on starting a reboot resulted in the system jumping to the login screen and hanging for a few seconds before starting the reboot cycle. When I was in the systemd boot option (yes you can decide to be systemd free or not at boot) this bug did not occur. This was reported and a response recognising this as an issue was received. While they would like to fix it they were honest enough to admit they weren’t sure how, so as it was not a critical bug it’s on the todo list. Well they did figure it out as this is no longer an issue with this laptop on the full release iso.


Well it’s Debian under the hood, so as a long term user of Debian based systems it was a very easy OS to use. All the Command line tools are as you would expect are APT based and you get Synaptic out of the box. So if you are used to a Debian based system you won’t have any issues with MX19.


I didn’t have any when booted into the systemd option but if using the non systemd boot you will not be able to install snapd and run snap packages. Other than that I was able to run all my software that I use on a regular basis, if installing from the Debian repositories then as this release is based on Debian Buster, all your software will be the version available for Buster, however if you do need the latest version of a package for new features, then you can probably find it as a snap or flatpak package.


On first boot the system is using about 650Mb of my 8Gb of RAM, so I’m happy that this. Also a clean install only used about 5Gb of an 8Gb virtual HDD and 450Mb of 4Gb Ram in Virtualbox, so this is an OS that is definitely old hardware friendly.


As the only problem I came across was a bug, which as I’ve already stated I reported, I didn’t use the community. But from the comments of other users and knowing that they aim to be very user focused I don’t think you will have any issues if you ask for help on the forums.


Setting up a dual boot was easy for an experienced user but I would worry that this might put off an inexperienced person wishing to start using Linux with MX19, I would love to see one of the slider style repartitioning tools as with Mint to create the space for the dual boot on the drive, rather than using the GPartEd GUI to do this.


It’s Debian, what can I say, other than it’s as solid as Mount Everest.


Ease of Installationnew user friendly install scores 6/10

experienced Linux users          10/10

Hardware Issues                                                          10/10

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

Ease of Use                                                                  10/10

Plays Nice With Others                                                8/10

Stability                                                                         10/10

Overall Rating                                                               9/10


Linux Mint Debian Edition 3


Debian Buster



I found a list of 57 distros based on Debian ‘57 best Debian Based distros of 2019’ Check it out.


Apart from my niggle with the installer and it’s handling of dual booting, this is a fantastic spin on Debian Buster. Also you get the option to run systemd or not, so this solves an issue of having it available if wanted and those that still have an issue with systemd can choose not to run it.

This is definitely a keep in the tool bag distro for me, great job by the maintainers and all who are involved in the project. Keep up the great work.

So unless Moss has any further comments on MX19, let’s speed on over to him, and let him tell us about our other distro review this month, OpenMandriva Lx 4.

Moss’s Distro this Month

DISTRO NAME: OpenMandriva Lx 4


I ran OpenMandriva Lx 4 on my Lenovo IdeaPad 110-15acl-80TJ with 4 Gb RAM and a 500 Gb hard drive.


For me, an installation includes the full installation and all updates. If I can manage it, I then replace LibreOffice (if provided) with SoftMaker Office, install my preferred VPN (PIA), and set up Grub Customizer (if available) or other Grub management, and then install my printer (Brother MFC-J491DW), a simple matter on .deb and .rpm distros, not so much on others. I usually try to install Stacer so that I can get good stats and a few extra controls.

OpenMandriva is a second-level derivative from Mandriva, being developed from Rosa. It is a community edition, as opposed to the developer edition Mageia or the professional Rosa, and has the desktop user firmly in mind. As such, it has more in common with PCLinuxOS, which left the Mandriva project before the original went away.

I’ve spoken before about my issues with Lx 4. I now have the machines I need to be doing a single installation, so I wanted to try OM4 first. I did a normal installation, and it went well… until I rebooted, and there was no boot sector. I burned a disk of Super Grub2 and booted from that, which then allowed me to use OpenMandriva fine. I tried using SuperGrub2 to write a new Grub, but couldn’t find the right tool to do that. I approached the OpenMandriva Forum, got a few ideas and tried them, still nothing. So I threw in the towel and loaded Linux Mint 19.2 as a dual-boot, and it found OM4 and I could boot to it. I then acquired Grub Customizer and moved OM4 to the first boot.


10/5/19 – At 11:56 I started to attempt a full install of OpenMandriva LX 4. I first tried to install without seeing the there was not a Wi-Fi connection. I made the Wi-Fi connection, and it took several minutes looking for some file.

I stopped the install, rebooted, set the Wi-Fi, started the install. It found the file. I told it to overwrite everything. Everything else was in place. I got the error that it failed to create a partition.

At 12:11 I got my GPartEd disk out, rebooted to it, set the partitions: 4096 linux-swap, remainder Ext4. Finished 12:23.

Started OM4 again. Did manual partition, selected sda2 (swap is sda1). Completed at 12:35. Rebooted.

But it didn’t boot; the boot manager can’t find the Grub. So I downloaded SuperGrub2, burned it to a CD, booted to that and loaded OM4. I can’t see how to write Grub from the disk, but at least I can boot.

Finally, after a few days and trying a few suggestions from forum users to get a GRUB written, I installed Linux Mint 19.2 as dual boot. That fixed everything. The boot found both distros at reboot, and I installed Grub Customizer and got the boot sequence set to boot to OM4 by first preference.

On the Kudu3, I had installed Linux Mint and told OM4 to overwrite it for a single-boot experience. It got to the part of writing the changes to the disk, and, exactly like it did on the IdeaPad before I ran GPartEd, said it could not create the partition. It did not wipe the Linux Mint partition at this point, so I still had that running. After trying several things with the help of friends, I once again gave up and installed it as a dual-boot, leaving Linux Mint on the machine. It worked fine. I have boot, in the beautiful OM4 boot screen. The odd part about the installer not wanting to install as a single-boot system is that the IdeaPad is set up for Legacy Boot, but the Kudu3 is set up UEFI.

I have most things installed. The printer install process went well but no test print. This is an issue I had in the past with OM 3, and there is a fix I know exists. I have not been able to install Telegram or Discord. Installing PIA went as planned, but it can’t seem to connect to any of its nodes. I also tried setting up the Firewall, but none of the options looked like any other firewall I’ve seen so it could be very easy to mess up if I haven’t already.


OM4 is as nice as a distro can be. However, if you’re a Debian/Ubuntu user, you will need to learn how to use dnf in terminal or the installer dnfdragora. (Fedora users should already know how to do this.) The syntax is quite different from apt/aptitude, but it’s learnable. After that, it should be a piece of cake. Any difficulties I have experienced are a combination of my own ignorance and the fact that I have not taken the time to go to the forum and ask questions. Further, Snapd and Flatpak are not supported; I still managed to get Telegram Desktop installed properly with the help of a few listeners (cryptodan, Peter Jones, Gabe R, and Leo Chavez), and finally got Discord installed.


On the Kudu 3, Stacer reports 622 Mb RAM usage and 8.2 Gb of disk space used. Who says Plasma is a heavy desktop? (Discussion)


The OpenMandriva Forum has 9 active Admins, 10 Moderators, and a total forum membership of 354. Unlike many other forums, this number seems to only include current members, so you should be able to get quick answers for your issues. If you find yourself really liking OpenMandriva, you should get involved in the community — more busy hands can only make this great distro better..


OpenMandriva is one of the best distros out there, but is best used as a single installation or no more than dual. Over the past two months I’ve already talked too much about my issues trying to install this in a multiboot situation, some of which is why I have my new computers. On the positive side, the boot menu is one of the loveliest out there, and if OM4 was your last boot, you’ll be quite happy.


No stability issues have been noted. This is the latest version of one of the earliest distros, forked from Red Hat before Fedora was even a thing, so there should be no stability issues.





Other distros which may be nearly as beautifully designed include Pearl Desktop 8 and Deepin.


Ease of Installationnew user                     4/10

experienced user      7/10

Hardware Issues                                         9/10

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

Ease of Use                                                 9/10

Plays Nice With Others                              5/10

Stability                                                        9/10

Overall Rating                                             7/10


As I’ve said many times, Mandrake was the first Linux distro I ever was successful at running, so it’s always good to revisit later versions and see where it is going. OpenMandriva only suffers from lack of users, but those users are committed and very active so it should continue to have a great development path. For whatever reason, I had fewer issues with 3.03, but once you get 4 running, it is by far a better experience. I will continue to revisit this over time and hope to install it again in the future.


from our September 26 to October 31

Fedora 31

Arco 19.11.3

ALT 9.0

BSDRP 1.95

GhostBSD 19.10

Voyager 19.10

ArchBang 2510

SmartOS 20191024

Clonezilla 2.6.6-10

KDE neon 20191024

ExTiX 19.10

Primtux 5

Septor 2019.6

MX 19

Archman 2019-10

Tails 4.0

Alpine 3.10.3

4MLinux 30.1

Pop!_OS 19.10

Volumio 2.657

PCLinuxOS 2019.10

Ubuntu Kylin 19.10

Ubuntu Budgie 19.10

AntiX 19

Lubuntu 19.10

Kubuntu 19.10

Ubuntu MATE 19.10

Xubuntu 19.10

Ubuntu Studio 19.10

Ubuntu 19.10

OpenBSD 6.6

NuTyX 11.2

Zevenet 5.10.1 “Community”

NixOS 19.09

SparkyLinux 5.9

SolydXK 10

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