Episode 9 Show Notes


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

Moss: So it’s a new year. Hope yours is good. As for holiday goodies, an old friend sent me a box full of brand new Lexar NS100 256Gb SSDs.My friend swears that he ordered a somewhat smaller number of them, but that’s his fight with Amazon, not mine. I went whole hog replacing the internal drives in my wife’s T430, my for-sale T430, my Kudu 3, and all the external drives except for my 2Tb spinning metal. I did not change the drives in the Galago Pro, which included a 256 Mb M.2 and a 1 Tb spinning metal drive.

As we were not really reviewing new distros this month, just for the halibut I installed KDE neon to get a good look at where it has come. It’s really nice. I then added a dual-boot with Linux Mint 19.3 Cinnamon, as I hadn’t looked at Cinnamon for a while. I then moved the Cinnamon install over to my other machine and dumped it all to install Calculate Linux. I was surprised at how much configuration is allowed in the installation of this Gentoo-based distro from Russian developers, and how simple the language is. No jumping to the thesaurus to find out what the heck they are talking about, but in the end you have a much more personal installation than is usually possible through Ubiquity or Calamares installers and yet more technical than what I found and could not fully understand in the Suse installer. It’s almost a real Gentoo experience, minus the compiling. I would now need to learn the Portage file management system, much more involved than anything  I’ve done to date. 

So then I tried to fix the couple issues by reinstalling Calculate. I felt I really had it this time — and then myself and/or the installer reset my BIOS settings and messed the whole computer up. I managed to get a copy of KDE neon installed on the machine, installed via DVD as the machine would no longer accept input from USB drives, but even that does not go to a desktop.  After a service call to System76, I learned how to reset my BIOS and started over. No Calculate this time. I have KDE neon and Feren OS installed, and on Sunday got Peppermint OS 10 Respin to load. I guess I have 10 distros loaded over 2 machines, with one overlap between the two, and another distro entirely on my wife’s machine.

I spent a bit of time on the 31st doing HPR’s New Year’s Eve podcast. Chatted a bit with Tony and Joe, and also met a couple of guys from the Urandom podcast.

As of Sunday, January 5, Episode 007 has 499 downloads. Almost there! Episode 004 seems to be stuck at 494.

Tony: First off a Happy New Year to all our listeners, I hope 2020 treats you well. Since the last show I have been really getting into the Matchbox car bug, probably spent a little too much money on buying things, but as they say you can’t take it with you so may as well enjoy it before it’s too late. I’ve sent a few of the models I’ve acquired over the last few weeks to a couple of the YouTubers I follow to restore, one of the guy’s Martin restores Corgi and Dinky models which I’m not into so I passed a few of the ones I had received in a mixed lot of FleaBay along to him. I’ll be looking out for the restoration videos in the next few months.   

I know I reviewed Ubuntu 19.10 last month but I have never used the Ubuntu Studio spin so I have installed this to my new test laptop, for reviewing over the next Month and sharing the results with you at the beginning of February. 

Christmas has come and gone and he brought me a 4 bay Icy Dock that slots into a 5.5” bay in a tower case, and allows the hot swapping of 2.5” HDD/SSD into the PC. This will save on having to dismantle the PC to add or upgrade drives in it, and means you can have a dedicated drive for each OS and swap them out as you wish.   

New Years Eve was spent playing with the growing collection of Matchbox cars. Going for a pleasant walk to the seafront with friends to watch the Sun Set, and like Moss I joined the New Year HPR marathon and had some very interesting chats with some community stalwarts, if you want to know who listen to the shows as they are released during the coming year. 

On Saturday I was having a conversation with a member of my LUG Les Pounder and he told me he had donated a Lenovo x61 laptop and several Raspberry Pi’s to a friend who has just started working in Egypt and is setting up to teach computing and computer Science to children with absolutely no resources. So I had another x61 lying around which got very little use and several RPi’s just sat there doing absolutely nothing. I also had a donated laptop that I had given an upgrade too with the express intention of passing it to charity, and another little Dell E6220 which I was willing to let go of. So on Monday after installing Raspbian x86 on them so all the laptops and Pi’s are on the same OS which will be less confusing for the students, I made up a box with the 3 Laptops and all the Pi’s, all 18 lbs of it, and trotted off to the local Post office and sent it to Drew so he has a few more workstations he can use in his computer lab. 

So If you the listener have any tech just sitting there not being used and with no plans to use it or pass it to family or friends, could I suggest you consider donating it to either a local charity set up to help those with less resources, bridge the digital divide, or consider one of the international charities that do the same in the developing countries around the world where the cost of even a used laptop might be 6 months income for the family. It doesn’t have to be a Laptop, old smart phones in some areas might actually be more practical as they can be charged using a small solar charger where the local electricity supply is either non existent, irregular or just not affordable for a large part of the local community.         

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

Moss: Over our first 8 episodes, I reviewed three flavors of Zorin OS 15, OpenMandriva Lx 4, Q4OS, Sabayon, FerenOS (at a time when FerenOSDev was working frantically to move the distro to KDE), Bodhi Linux 5, Linux Lite 4, and Solus OS 4, in addition to struggles with Manjaro and Mageia and a semi-review of Pearl Desktop 8, which I later did up in full (print-only) for Distrowatch.com.

Of these, I’m still running Pearl Desktop 8, Sabayon and Bodhi (now 5.1) on my main machine (out of 7 total installations), and have installed Zorin on my wife’s computer. I’ve also tried Endeavour, reviewed by Tony, and was only dismayed by a weird boot problem.

Eric over at DLN Xtend made a comment about Zorin that I truly loved, in his best Dr. McCoy voice: “It’s Gnome, Jim, but not as we know it.”  You can say the same about Feren OS — it’s extremely good, but is it really KDE? You have the Mint Program Manager and Updater, Timeshift, and Nemo File Manager, as well as lots of things which are distinct to Feren OS. As I stated in my past review of Feren OS, this is all being done by one young person, started in 2015; he’s talking about recruiting community help over the next year, but so far, it’s all just himself.

Tony: So my reviews have been LMDE 3, Fedora 30, PCLinuxOS, Debian Buster, EndeavourOS, OpenSUSE, MX19, and Ubuntu Gnome.

Endeavour has now released their Net installer iso, so you can now install and configure it as you go, just installing the DE and those applications that you want from the get go.

Fedora has since released Fedora 31 since my review, I have yet to take a look at this and will not do a full review of this. I will wait for the 32 release before revisiting Fedora unless Moss has a go.   

So this show is not our usual review more a chat about what we may be looking at during the year. First up, there will be a lot of releases based on the new Ubuntu 20.04LTS as all those distributions based on the Ubuntu LTS will start their upgrades. This will include Mint 20 at some time in the late spring/early summer. There was a point release of PeppermintOS just before the holiday and this is one of many we are yet to review so this may be on the cards for 2020.

Moss: GRUB menus — just plain Ubuntu, just like Linux Mint had before the latest update and Feren OS still has, is tiny and hard to read on a high res monitor or laptop screen.  I hear a lot of good people raving about Peppermint OS, but right now I’m being blown away by Feren. As for battery saving, Feren and neon are about the same on my Kudu and Peppermint is actually a bit worse (although I am running Slimbook Battery on my Feren installation).

On my Kudu, Feren OS runs like The Perfect Distro. So I installed it on my Galago Pro 2. Guess what? I have some little video issues there. I have noticed in Kmines and KMahjongg I get random blocks of video drop out; they stay there until I do something to fix it and then start over. It’s more random on Kmahjongg than it is on Kmines, the latter it seems to drop strips of blocks.

Moss – When we started Distrohoppers’ Digest, we were afraid nobody would listen to it. We were covering the nichiest of niche topics. We were tickled pink when our first episode hit 100 downloads (now 315). We started with just our listeners at mintCast and a few Telegram and Discord groups knowing about it, no advertising, no big name giving us a push. At this time, Archive.org says that our most-downloaded episode is Episode 007, with 499 downloads. Come on, people, make us really happy and tick it up one more? Episode 004 is also stalled at 494.

We would still like to hear listener reviews, if you would like to tell us about your favorite distribution and the hardware you run it on, particularly if it is one that we have not covered yet. 


from our December 4 show to present

Bluestar 5.4.8

Tails 4.2

Archman 2020-01

Trident Void beta (don’t usually do betas, but this project just moved from BSD to Linux)

Exe 20200103-beowulf

KaOS 2020.01

Q4OS 3.10

SmartOS 20200103

Robolinux 10.7

KDE neon 20200102

Arch 2020.01.01

Qubes 4.0.2

ArchBang 0101

Septor 2020

Zenwalk 15.0-191231

ExTiX 20.1

RancherOS 1.5.5   

BlackArch 2020.01.01

Calculate 20

KDE neon 20191226

EasyOS 2.2

Academix 2.4

Feren 2019.12

Parted Magic 2019_12_24

ArcoLinux 19.12.17

Alpine 3.11.2

EndeavourOS 2019.12.22

antiX 19.1

Linux Console 2019

Suse SLES 12 SP5

NuTyX 11.3

Emmabuntus D#2-1.06

Peppermint OS 10-20191210

Linux Mint 19.3

4MLinux 31.0

Minimal Linux Live 15-Dec-2019

Zorin OS 15.1

Robolinux 10.6

ArcoLinux 19.12.15

NomadBSD 1.3

Proxmox 6.1

Univention Corporate Server 4.4-3

Tails 4.1

elementary OS 5.1

CAINE 11.0

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