sábado, 10 de febrero de 2018

Seven Days with Elive 2.9.26 (Beta)

If there is a distro release that I have been waiting for, that is surely Elive 3.0.

I had Elive 2.9.8 Beta installed, so I used the same partition for this upgrade.  After downloading the image of this new beta (2.9.26) and copying it to a USB drive with ROSA image writer, I was ready to test it.  I wanted to see if this distro is OK for a rather non-technical Linux user like me, who has not used the Enlightenment DE regularly.  I also wanted to see its Japanese IME capabilities.

When I installed version 2.9.8, I encountered a frustrating problem: There is an issue with my graphic card. The distro booted correctly, but, when I installed it, the DE froze and complained about Enlightenment crashing because of a module problem.  However, one can circumvent this by booting the distro using the "graphics problems" option, so, after it is installed, Elive works perfectly.  Although the Elive installer bypassed that situation this time because it remembered my settings (awesome!), Megatotoro, who performed a clean install, was not that lucky and stumbled with the issue. 

This is Elive 2.9.8, a previous release
Once in the DE, one can see the beauty of this distro.  It is fast and very stable and the live wallpaper and menu both look classy.

I added iBus IME with Synaptic to try the Japanese capabilities of this beautiful distro.  The results are more than satisfying!

iBus Japanese IME with Anthy

As promised, the clock is sitting on the desktop and one can re-position and re-size it. Clicking on it displays the calendar, as usual.  I resized the clock and moved it to a different position.  Then , I resized the pager (yes, Elive gives you 12 virtual desktops by default) and changed some of the wallpapers.  Contrary to KDE's Plasma, which ditched multiple wallpapers to favor Activities, Enlightenment lets you have independent wallpapers.

A significant detail is that, in Elive, you will not find a launcher button on the lower left corner.  As a matter of fact, you will not find it anywhere: it simply pops up wherever you click on the screen.

I could add the Insync application to sync files with Google Drive in a snap.  Adding the printer, however, was a different story.

Even when I got the drivers for the Epson XP-231, getting the multifunction printer to work was not easy.  Elive has a graphical printer administrator, but, after dectecting the USB printer and selecting the driver, the tool does not continue when you press "next."  To solve this, I added the printer using CUPS (with Firefox).

So, the printer worked, but, as in Fedora 26, I haven't been able to get the scanner to work yet. That and the fact that the GRUB fails to see some of my distros: Mageia, OpenMandriva, and Fedora.  It sees PCLinuxOS, PiSi, and PicarOS Diego. I suppose that is a problem derived from having a hepta-boot laptop.  Still, I recovered my other distros with Super GRUB, a nice piece of advice that Thanatermesis, the developer of Elive, gave me.  (Yes, the support of this distro is immediate with a chat room where the developer himself kindly helps you).  Aside from those two problems, the distro is working as a final release, not a beta.

I guess that one can also speak about the installer and how helpful it is.  I mean, while it basically does everything and tells you about the process in great detail, a window with a Mario game for you to play for a while opens... That is something I have not seen in any other installer.  You cannot play for a long time, though, because the installation is quite fast. 

One has to learn certain tricks, like adding users to a group with Terminology, the colorful terminal, or where files are stored.  Understanding what .edj files are will surely be useful, too.  But that comes later... First, one needs to play with this distro to see and enjoy all the possibilities.
This string of buttons is hidden in the border. I am still learning what the buttons do.

All in all, this distro is a keeper.  I will keep supporting it to see the final release.

viernes, 2 de febrero de 2018

January 2018 is gone

January 2018 is gone.
It was a pretty hectic month for me... so much, in fact, that the 31 days passed and I could not post a single entry on this blog.

It is not that there were not interesting topics to write about.  I could have posted, for example, about the release of the Elive beta 2.9.22, which promised Korean and Japanese support. However, I could not even get the release.

Or I could have posted about LibreOffice, or Firefox Quantum, or the Microsoft-wants-Valve horror...

To be honest, January flew.  I was busy with a writing project on the first two weeks of the month.  Almost simultaneously, my daughter started her summer courses in preparation for her new school.

The weather got crazy and temperature dropped.  I got sick.

Then, during the third week, more courses.  And another writing project with a very close deadline popped up. I had a relapse on the last week.

Now, I am getting better and January is gone, so this is my first post of the year:

The beta 2.9. 26 of Elive is now available!

According to the release announcement, this new version includes:
  • Greatly improved designs for clock and battery, clock is shown by default, the battery includes intuitive colors useful for show the status
  • Improved initial configurations for hardware accelerated features with optimal autodetections and skipping in not supported ones like virtualmachines
  • Lock screen: greatly improved design and a small fix included for wrong passwords attempts
  • Massive rewrite of keyboard bindings greatly improved for a stable and productive system, all the media keys from special keyboards are assigned to the best launchers and features
  • Desktop application launchers improvements, fixes and new includes, a new application is included to restart to a new clean desktop configuration, improved ebook support
  • Persistence: improved speed disabling some disk usage
  • Public folder sharing fixed
 I am presently downloading it.

(Interesting... My last post of 2017 and the first post of 2018 are on Elive...)


domingo, 31 de diciembre de 2017

Elive 2.9.20 and Happy New Year!

2018 is about to start... It is only five minutes for a new year to begin.

I should have posted this entry before, but I wanted to post something nice to say farewell to 2017.

Elive will be my last post of the year.

Elive is a beautifully polished Debian + Enlightenment Linux distribution  The version Topaz 2.0 (released in 2010) blew my mind with its beauty and modest resource requirement.  Therefore, I have been waiting for this distro since I discovered it, back in 2010, when I began exploring Linux.

However, it has been a long wait.  Most distros have a rather predictable release cycle, but Elive 3.0 has been in the making for more than seven years.

I installed the 2.3.9 beta back in October, 2014 to my ZaReason Strata.  It worked nice despite the distro was far from finished.  However, when I upgraded it to a newer version (2.7.6, I think), Elive gave me an Enlightenment error that prevented the distro from entering the desktop, a situation that repeated with the next beta release, so I had to say good-bye to this beauty.

But I want Elive.

When the beta 2.9.20 came out on September 1st, I had a hunch.  That day is my daughter's birthday...

I downloaded it and, this time, Enlightenment did not crash.  Elive installed easily and kept all of my personal configurations, which simplified everything for me.

The live wallpaper, the animated menus, the bottom dock, its overall simplicity and resource frugality... there are many reasons why this is project caught my eye.

I know that many complain about having to pay for an installer module.  But this project really needs an economic push.  I have never seen a distro this functional and beautiful.

HAPPY 2018!!!

sábado, 30 de diciembre de 2017

December Distro Upgrades and Headaches

This month, I have been trying to fix certain weird issues that ocurred after upgrading Fedora 26 to 26.

The first problem was that, because of space, I had to do a fresh install, so my Mageia GRUB2 was replaced.

Luckily, the problem was not that hard to solve.  Getting my scanner to work was more complicated, but I solved it by getting the iscan bundle from Epson.


OpenMandriva is giving me headaches with some packages that have an invalid key signature or something... Because of that, LibreOffice is not working properly, I guess..

I reinstalled the distro several times and, when I try to update the packages via OMV control center, the first error message I get reads:
 "Sorry, the following packages cannot be selected:
- gdb-headless-8.0.1-2-omv2015.0.x86_64 (due to unsatisfied urpmi-debuginfo-install)"

I tried to avoid that package and then I get a more worrisome message saying that the package systembase-minimal has an invalid key ID signature.

I have also tried upgrading using the CLI with no luck.

Discover alerts me of 469 packages that must be upgraded.  I will try upgrading from Discover to see what happens this time.

Discover installed 177 packages, but stopped. Let's try again with the pending 269...

No luck.  We go back to 469 packages to install.

Backing up

Well, it's almost New Year Eve... and I am backing up all of my information to a portable HD.

Lots of pictures, documents, you name it, must be stored.

I hope I can finish before the new year starts!

lunes, 25 de diciembre de 2017


Nostalgia becomes common during December and, in particular, in the last days of the year.

Today I went for a run and decided to take my old ZTE Open FirefoxOS phone with me.  That was the very first cellphone I bought (back in May 2014) and, after Mozilla terminated FirefoxOS in 2016, I replaced it by an Android smartphone.

The ZTE Open is still operational, though.  True, one cannot use it as a smartphone, but it can make calls, send and receive messages, browse the Web, and play music and measure one's time while one jogs.  That's more than enough for me.

However, I cannot avoid feeling sad about the demise of FirefoxOS.  While most of the apps have Android versions by now, some of the games never made it to Android. For example, my three favorite games, or what I called "The Cat Trilogy", were doomed to extinction and cannot be found in the Android app ecosystem.

The first one is Martha & Maw-maw's Fishing Days, a simple game that I found quite amusing.

Unfortunately, that game disappeared with FirefoxOS.

The second one was called Spooky Cats.  This game can be installed to an Android phone if one has the APK and enables the unknown sources.

You play as a cute kitty that has to go underground to find a child and battles zombie cats along the way.

Colored Cats, by DS Effects, was a great time killer and it's too bad one cannot find it in Google Play.  One can still try to play it here, but it is not the same...

There were other games, like Disney Fix-it Felix, that I cannot find for Android.

Time carries on and changes things and we are left only with bittersweet memories.

At least I can still play those games while the phone works.

domingo, 24 de diciembre de 2017

Eelo, the Mandrake of the Mobile World?

Today, I visited the OpenMandriva site and found a piece of news that caught my eye.  It seems that Gaël Duval, the founder of Mandrake (later Mandriva) Linux, has started an ambitious Kickstarter project: eelo, a mobile platform that uses FLOSS and focuses on keeping user data on the hands of users.

In a way, eelo attempts to do in the mobile world what Mandrake wanted to do in the Linux world back then.

Duval explains in this way:
"I want eelo to be a non-profit project, a project 'in the public interest'. I think operating systems and web services should be a shared resource: as I explained a few years ago, they are infrastructures, like phone networks, rail tracks, roads.
Non-profit doesn’t mean nothing will be for sale. Probably some eelo smartphones will be for sale, and some premium services will be available for corporates. But profit won’t be the first focus of eelo.  Of course, eelo, as a community project, will welcome contributors."

It would be great that something like that could actually become a reality.  I really liked FirefoxOS, but we all know how difficult it is to enter the mobile realm.