Episode 8 Show Notes


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

Moss – I once again tried to do my monthly review on Manjaro. I’d gladly do Endeavour OS but Tony has already done that, so I wanted to hear from the other side of the Arch-can-be-easy camp. Once again, I had the issue of upgrades downloading and then the system freezes, and when I rebooted (maybe a re-login would suffice) and started the updates again, it found the downloaded files and installed them. It also does this for any files I choose to install from the software center or AUR. So, no Manjaro this month. A few users in our Telegram group tried to replicate this issue and failed, although I’m pretty sure they were only using a VM, so I will try again for Episode 009 with a new download.

Our friend Tony Hughes blessed me with a Raspberry Pi 3B in a Pimoroni clear case, via Goerge Doscher of Tech + Coffee. I got around to plugging it in, using HDMI-1 on my TV while my Galago Pro 2 is plugged in (and was running at the time) on HDMI-3. The Pi looked lovely (using Raspbian on a card I was using on my Pi 2B+), and then I flipped the TV over to HDMI-3, and my Mint was about 20% overscanning my TV monitor, making it almost useless. I managed to lower the resolution and make it work, with admittedly larger icons and such. I later found that it also affected my Bodhi installation, but not my other installations; the only common thread is that Bodhi and Mint are based on 18.04 LTS Ubuntu, whereas the other distros I currently have are based on later versions of Ubuntu or Debian. I moved my laptop HDMI cable to HDMI-2 and everything worked again. The guys in our Telegram group encouraged me to try the experiment again but I chose to leave things as they lay.

Listener Dale Miracle gifted me with a bit of money and a new M570 Logitech trackball to take with me on my daily sojourns with the Kudu 3 while testing distros for this show. Thank you, Dale.

I have added another partition on the Galago Pro 2, and installed Sabayon on it. That makes 6 distros on this machine, one of which is Debian, 4 of which are Ubuntu/Mint, and one Gentoo, with a wide variety of desktops although both Mint and Sabayon are using MATE.

I still have the T430 for sale on eBay, and for some reason have been having trouble getting around to posting the IdeaPad 110 there.


This last month has been a round of family funerals so while I have been doing my hopping challenge for the month I’ve probably not been as conscientious of keeping notes as I could have been, that being said I am back at my linux roots with Ubuntu, but more of that later. 

As for other things I’ve been getting into my new hobby of collecting and restoring old Diecast model cars, particularly Matchbox models of the 1960’s and early 70’s. Although I have managed to pick up some earlier models from the 1950’s including the model that kicked it all off, the Coronation Coach that Lesney produced in 1953 and sold a million, which just after World War 2, was an astonishing thing, rationing didn’t fully end in Britain until the following year.

Over the last few weeks I have been ‘Investing’ in a number of these models, some of which need a restoration and some which are good enough to leave in their 50-60 year old play worn state. 

On a side note, while sorting some of my late father’s belongings 2-3 years ago, I found some petrol ration coupons that were never used, as rationing had ended before they were due to be cashed in. 

I was asked by a Friend to upgrade her daughters laptop to Windows 10 from W7 and install an SSD at the same time, AND Dual boot it with Linux Mint 19.2 Mate, and last week I was finally able to get around to doing it.

Considering it’s a few years since Microsoft supposedly stopped the free upgrade path from W7/8 I found I was still able to do it. After getting W10 upgraded and showing as activated, I swapped out the 500Gb Spinner for a 250Gb SSD, did a clean install of W10, which as It had previously been activated on that PC, was not a problem, I then did the Linux install. As you may figure the Linux side was flawless but the Windows 10 update broke Windows, luckily I was able to do a system restore to a point before the update and get it working again. I found out that the November update last week has been very problematic. So If you do need to run a Windows system (and I know many Linux users do, or support someone who does), steer clear of the update manager for a week or so until Microsoft have admitted there is a problem and fixed it.

When I was handing back the laptop I was speaking to Paula, and she doesn’t want to use the new subscription service for MS Office so was planning to keep a Win7 install, she doesn’t do anything complex with macros in office or excel but does need to send completed documents to other people and was worried about formatting going wrong. We had a discussion about converting documents to PDF format with LibreOffice and emailing these so she would be sure that they arrive exactly as she created them. She home teaches and has to send the children’s work to external validators, so this also saves in having to print them off, so she can scan them to PDF before emailing. So another case for open source software for the win.

I do like it when you can give people solutions to problems that were so simple to fix

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

Moss – I did a quickie review of Pearl Desktop 8 at Sourceforge.com. Pearl is getting a few downloads (“147 this week” 11/17). My review is the only review of PD8 to date, although I didn’t check earlier versions.

I have noticed the more I use Q4OS, Trinity Desktop just doesn’t work for a lot of things, mostly KDE apps I use, which makes it not effective for their intended purpose marketing to businesses. I think they need to redo their marketing and stop pushing the Win XP aspect of Trinity Desktop, this is as fine a Debian distro as any.  But I’m still using Q4OS with Plasma desktop; this makes it the only Plasma on my system, and also the only pure Debian on my system. I hear a lot of people complain about the Debian installer, but Q4OS has a simple installer, looks like Ubiquity. So if you want Debian Buster, and you like Plasma, then you simply should be using Q4OS. If you prefer XFCE, then your easy choice is MX Linux.

Tony – Nothing from me this week, as I said, it’s been a strange month and to be honest, keeping track of the Linux world has been the last thing on my mind.  

Tony – DISTRO NAME: Ubuntu 19.10


So for information this month’s installation was again 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.

This is the last test for the time being on this PC, I’ll be changing hardware for the next review.

As you would expect with Ubuntu the installer is very easy to navigate, on booting into the live image you get the option to try before you buy, or just jump straight into the installation. If you boot into the live environment you are presented with the Gnome 3 DE, with a Dock down the left hand side of the screen and 3 icons on the desktop. A folder marked Ubuntu which takes you to the file manager, the trash bin and an Icon to install. I jumped straight into the installer. On opening the installer you get the usual options to choose your language and set a keyboard layout, after this you have the first real decision to make, Normal or minimal installation, as I was using this machine for a month I wanted all the normal software so opted for the normal installation. I also chose to install the updates and third party software during the install, this installs any proprietary software for drivers and Audio and Video codecs you need for things tp work after the installation is completed.

The next screen gives the option to do a complete install, wiping the HDD/SSD, or install alongside of the current OS, I went for the nuke and boot option. You also get the option to use the ZFS, I chose to stick with the default ext4. Press continue and you get the warning about losing all data, and asking do you wish to continue. I said yes and this starts the process of setting up your location, user name, password and if you wish to login automatically or require the password, whatever you choose, this can be changed later if required.

While your doing this, the install is going ahead in the background so it was only a few minutes later and I was being prompted to reboot into the new system. I duly did this and was presented with the Gnome 3 DE in all its glory. Now listeners of this show will know I am not a fan of the Gnome 3/Unity style of DE so this is where the fun begins. 


After first boot Neofetch reports 780Mb of 8G Ram being used and Top is reporting about the same. Although in a Virtual PC memory usage was nearly 1Gb which is not what I was expecting, as my previous experience has been that this is normally lower than on real hardware. So I’m not sure what is going on there.  Gparted reports the the system at first install before adding any additional software uses just under 7Gb of Disc space. which makes using a smaller SSD an option if you are not going to use the PC for storing large files on the local drive.

As for hardware everything was working as I would expect so no issues there.


My first gripe with Gnome 3 is the Desktop layout which after 30 years of using PC’s with a taskbar/panel at the bottom of the screen and menu to the left side of that is not too my particular taste. Luckily for me there are solutions for this so using Gnome Tweak, Dash to Dock and Dash to panel and the ARK menu (Thank you Peter Jones, from the Telegram channel and the BDLL community). I was eventually able to get the desktop to look somewhat familiar to me. After that it is a breeze to use Ubuntu. I honestly do not understand the reason Gnome decided to move to this style of desktop when Gnome 3 was released. You can use all the modern tool sets and retain the traditional bottom panel and menu layout without reinventing everything and getting everyone to learn a new way to do everything, Cinnamon has proved that very well.


Anyway back to Ubuntu 19.10, everything works, there are a few things that Canonical no longer install on Ubuntu as part of the iso, synaptic, and GIMP being 2 that are used by me on a regular basis, but they are only an apt install away, as are all the other software tools I use regularly, so no issues in that department. Also if there was something not in the regular repos you have Snap and after installation Flatpak that you can fall back on to for other things, or getting the latest package of something not yet updated in the repos.


As I said earlier, memory at first boot is below 800Mb on the hardware tested and even with several applications in use at the same time I never came close to maxing out the 8Gb installed on this PC. 


Because Ubuntu or its derivatives are the predominant Linux in use around the globe there is no shortage of people or places to get help. As I said Peter Jones from the mintCast telegram channel helped me to get the DE to look and feel more like I am used to and was very patient with me in doing so, and if all else fails I can always call on Popey for a little advice as he is in several of the social media channels related to Ubuntu. Seriously the community around Ubuntu and Linux in general has dramatically improved over the 12 years that I have used Linux. Yes you still get the occasional rtfm from a few zealots, but on the whole most folk are very helpful and more importantly patient with me when I get frustrated that I can not get it to work.    


Ubuntu plays very well with other OS’s personally I’ve never had any issues with installing Ubuntu alongside any other OS or as a multi boot system. 


Rock solid, which given this is a point release in preparation for 20.04LTS so there will be a few things that are still being tested out, and a few bugs to iron out, I have had no issues while using 19.10 that are not cosmetic in relation to the DE. This bodes well for the LTS when it arrives in April next year.


Ease of Installation new user friendly install score 10/10

experienced Linux users 10/10

Hardware Issues 10/10

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

Ease of Use 8/10

Plays Nice With Others 10/10

Stability 10/10

Overall Rating 9/10


Linux Mint

All the Ubuntu spins (Xubuntu etc)

Pop OS (I’ve not tried it but hearing great things about it)


So apart from my personal issues with Gnome 3 and the initial layout of the DE, Ubuntu just works. I’ve probably said this many times but it’s worth saying again. If it hadn’t been for Ubuntu I would have probably not got into Linux when I did. What Mark (Shuttleworth) has given to the World in the form of Ubuntu Linux is in my humble opinion, one of the best things that has happened in the world of technology in the 21st Century so far. No Ubuntu and over 90% of today’s Linux distributions would probably disappear, and with that access to modern computing for a large part of the world who are unable to afford modern PC’s and the ‘Windows Tax’. Although I have moved to one of those derivative distributions, as I now use Linux Mint for my production PC’s, this would not have been possible without Ubuntu trail blazing a non geek Linux OS for us all to benefit from. 

Thanks Mark.  

(I can honestly say that I got quite emotional just writing that paragraph for the show notes)

Moss’s distro DISTRO NAME: Zorin OS 15, Core and Ultimate


I run my test distros on a System76 Kudu 3, with 16 Gb RAM and a 500 Gb hard drive, an i7 and Intel graphics chipset. 


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 (currently Mullvad), 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.

Installation was very Ubuntu-like with Ubiquity Installer. It took much less time that I’m used to, and even the updates (after purging LibreOffice) were snappy.

Then the fun started.


I got all my programs installed fine.  But my clickpad could not right-click; any click was treated as a left click. I used my trackball and right-click worked fine. I could not move programs to the taskbar, even though a few were already installed there. 

I tried to join the Zorin forum to get some questions answered, and was told that my Protonmail address was not valid for use in their forum.

I was informed by members of the Telegram group that a two-finger touchpad use was the equivalent of a right-click, and even later that I could change the settings to enable the right-click on the clickpad, and that what most distros call a Taskbar, they call “Favourites”, and a right-click plus a left-click will get the program there. Just ask a KDE user what happens when you add a program to “Favourites” and you will know why I am confused by this.

So I have a system which looks like Win7, runs like Ubuntu, and, using the latest Gnome desktop with theming, does not allow for things which run easily in other desktops.

I get a red bar warning me against installing something when I attempt to install my packages. It does continue on if I tell it to. That might be a bit disturbing to some, but it does remind one of what should happen in Windows when you install something.

I got an extremely helpful and positive response from Zorin, including a free download link to Zorin OS Ultimate.  For the record, Zorin did not ask anything of me for this free copy of Ultimate, and I’m sure you’ll be able to tell from my review they didn’t get anything they didn’t deserve. I am now testing both versions. They also fixed the bug which kept me from registering in the forum, so I have access. So far I have had nothing but friendly contacts in the forum.

Zorin’s marketing says “you already know how to use this”. I didn’t, and I’m a long-time Windows and (non-Gnome) Linux user. They make it look like different versions of Windows, but that doesn’t make it WORK like them. There are a TON of keyboard and touchpad shortcuts which come with Gnome and only Gnome. So just because it looks like Windows doesn’t mean it acts like it. I really don’t find that this system is working that much like Windows 7 or 10, any more than Linux Mint MATE or other Ubuntu derivatives.

Zorin Appearance locked up several times in Core, but I did not get the same thing happening in Ultimate, and I did not take the time to report it. There are 3 desktop choices in Core, 6 in Ultimate — I must have heard wrong on other shows, I thought that that were 6 in Ultimate which were NOT found in Core, which were in addition to 2 found in Core.

I have noticed that the Kudu3 is only getting 2-3 hours of running time, where is was getting 3.5-4 hours last month. I thought Ubuntu Gnome had worked on this issue already.

And I returned from a time of looking at my phone to see a little popup message stating that Automatic Suspend was about to commence due to inactivity… I thought I had turned off all such power-saving features. In the forum, other users have gotten the same message, and there is no fix just yet, but I haven’t seen it other than that one time.


Well, it’s actually easy to use. I really think my wife should be using it instead of Linux Mint, no good reason just a feeling. But as I’ve already said, it’s not as advertised, to be just like the Windows you already know [paraphrased].  I am surprised that I’m using this with so few issues, where it took me less than a week before I wanted to blow Pop!_OS away. I am a lot more comfortable with this than I have been with any other implementation of Gnome 3.


I get different readings every time I look at Stacer. In Ultimate. sometimes I’m only using 0.9 or 1.2 Gb of RAM, still not what anyone would call “light”, and when I looked just before typing this paragraph it was 4.7 Gb, with nothing open other than Firefox (4 tabs). Sometimes it’s good to have 16 Gb of RAM; if you only have 4 Gb you might find yourself swapping a lot. Zorin is using 16.9 Gb of hard disk.

Booting back into Core, with only Firefox (same 4 tabs) and Mullvad running, I have 2.0 Gb of RAM in use and 27.3 Gb of hard disk in use, but that includes Timeshift files for the Zorin Ultimate backups?  With FIrefox closed, it says 914.0 Mb RAM in use.

At any rate, if you have sufficient RAM and disk space, this is potentially a good system for you; if you don’t, it isn’t.


The forum is moderated, so it could be a week or two before you get to a trusted status and can just post directly to it. After that, the users respond fairly rapidly and in a friendly manner. The forum does not list the total number of users, but says the largest number on at one time was 299, and there are nearly 52,000 posts to date. This distro has been around nearly as long as Ubuntu itself, and should have decent support at all times.


Not tested. But it’s really just Ubuntu, so it should be fine.


The only problem I had in locking up was while setting Zorin Appearance in Core. I had no crashes. Again, it should be approximately as stable as Ubuntu.


Zorin has just recently come out with Zorin OS 15 Lite, featuring XFCE Desktop. It looks a little heavy at first use, but after getting it updated and rebooted it used just 505-520 Mb of RAM and around 8 Gb of disk space.  Their version of XFCE looks just like their Zorin Gnome or even a MATE desktop, but you’ll find it works just like the XFCE you expect. I find it is easier to log into at bootup, but it was strange to note that selecting XFCE Terminal just gets you a (rather involved) terminal setup screen; you have to select Terminal Emulation to run a Terminal.

Zorin also has an Education edition, with good programs for kids to learn things on. I did not try this system.




Elementary OS

anything with Gnome desktop


Ease of Installation new user 8/10

experienced user             9/10

Hardware Issues 8/10

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

Ease of Use                            8/10

Plays Nice With Others                     8/10

Stability                            9/10

Overall Rating        8/10


This is a really nice distro, probably the best version of a Gnome desktop I’ve seen. My original thought was, “YOU LIED TO ME!”, because, while it did look like Windows it didn’t work like Windows, which is what the marketing promised. Instead, it works just like Ubuntu Gnome themed to look more like MATE. While there is nothing wrong with that, it is also not compelling. I would select this distro over Ubuntu Gnome, but Ubuntu Gnome is not at the top of my list of what I’ve been recommending to new users.  I will state that the longer I worked on this review, the less strident the review got.

I have had close to zero actual problems with it. But after installing Lite, I found myself working in that more, despite the fact that I like XFCE barely more than Gnome – but just as with the way Zorin spun Gnome for Core and Ultimate, Zorin Lite is the nicest XFCE spin I’ve seen to date.

I am reminded that you need to pay $39 to get Ultimate, and that gets you a few more ways to arrange your desktop and a lot more already-installed software. If you would be using this software, then great. It’s all in the Software Center anyhow, so the only thing you won’t get with Core is the extra desktop themes. Zorin does a lot of work behind the scenes and feeds its updates, upgrades and fixes upstream to Ubuntu. So if you like supporting Linux, then acquiring a copy of Ultimate is a good way to show it. 


from our October 31 show to present

Endless 3.7.5

Container 2303.3.0

Tails 4.1

elementary 5.1

Sparky 2019.12

CAINE 11.0

Arch 2019.12.01

Archman 2019-12 “Xfce”

Ultimate 6.6 “Gamers MATE”

KDE neon 20191128

Proxmox 6.1 “Mail”

Kali 2019.4

LibreElec 9.2.0

Volumio 2.671

Devuan 2.1

Absolute 20191125

Bluestar 5.3.12


SmartOS 20191121

Container 2247.7.0 

Pardus 19.1 

Clonezilla 2.6.5-1 

Zorin 15 “Lite” 

Endless 3.7.4 

OSMC 2019.11-1 

IPFire 2.23-core138 

Debian-Edu 10.2.0 

Debian 10.2.0 

Oracle 8.1 

Archman 2019-11

Bluestar 5.3.11

PCLinuxOS 2019.11

Void 20191109

Clonezilla 2.6.4-12

Manjaro 18.1.2 “Awesome” 

batocera 5.24

NethServer 7.7

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1

Zentyal Server 6.1

KaOS 2019.10


Greetings from a Distrohopper listener

John Wallis <[email protected]>

Hello Tony, Hello Moss,

I enjoy listening to your podcast (and also to the Mintcast).  Your distrohopping adventures have inspired me to do virtual distrohopping.  I have the following installed under VirtualBox:

Fedora 31 (successfully upgraded from the command line from Fedora 30)

SparkyLinux 6

Parrot Linux

Solus Budgie 4.0 Fortitude

ZorinOS 15 (which makes me feel like a henchman of Christopher Walken)


Ubuntu Budgie 19.10

MX Linux

My Linux Mint build is 19.2 Cinnamon.

Kind regards,

John Wallis

Tony replied:

Hi John

Sorry for the late reply but life’s been life just recently.

Glad to hear that you enjoy the show and you are distro hopping via Virtualbox that’s how I got started. Just be warned it’s catching before you know you’ll be buying a second PC or dual booting to get the real metal experience 🙂

John Wallis replied:

Hi Tony,

Thank you for your reply.  While the idea of having an additional PC just for physical testing of Linux distros would be great, I would not be able to get a “business case” past my lovely wife, although she is a happy Linux Mint user with me doing the maintenance stuff for her!

I’m going to recreate my ZorinOS virtual machine as it had run out of space.  Do you have any advice/ suggestions on what to remove from the default installation to keep the size down?  At present LibreOffice is one of my candidates to remove before initial patching of the virtual system.

One thing that intrigues me – how did the Budgie desktop get its name?  My wife and I have budgies as pets, so the expression “Budgie desktop” is amusing to us!

Of the two Budgie desktops that I’ve tried out, I’m so impressed with Solus Budgie that it would be my distro of choice if I were ever to switching from having Linux Mint as my primary distro.

Kind regards,


Tony replied:

Hi John

I would remove anything that you don’t use, LibreOffice is a good one it takes quite a bit of space, but gimp, VLC, etc are probably not going to be used in a VM. I think it’s a case of going through the software list and just uninstall anything you can live without.

As for an additional laptop it’s coming up to present season what about asking Santa 😂


We are still hoping to produce a User-Only show, Distrohopper’s Digest User Edition. We have posted the criteria to be used in your review on the blog at https://distrohoppersdigest.blogspot.com. We did not get any submissions in November.

Please submit your review in .flac format if you can, but we can accept .mp3 if that’s the best you can do. Submitting a script of what was said will also help our listeners, but is not required. Please send your submission to [email protected].

Moss – My work here and at mintCast can be supported by joining my Sponsus https://sponsus.org/u/zaivala or by direct donation through Sponsus or PayPal ([email protected])! I am very grateful for all donations which have been or will be received. Please tell me if you would like your name used on the show, however you choose to donate.

Our next show will be recorded on or about January 8, 2020. Visit our website at https://distrohoppersdigest.blogspot.com and follow us on MeWe, Telegram, mintCast Discord and at our Telegram and MeWe mintCast groups. Please contact us at [email protected] if you have any comments or suggestions. 

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