lunes, 31 de diciembre de 2018

Happy 2019!

2018 brought a lot of changes.  Some of them were surprising, some others produced grief.  It was a bumpy ride, I would say.

The new year is about to begin here and I want to collect some predictions in the Linux world for these coming 365 days.

From OMG!Ubuntu!

From Linux Journal

From Network World

Let's see how it goes.

Whatever it is...

Happy 2019!

sábado, 29 de diciembre de 2018

Melody's Escape, An Entertaining Game

Megatotoro gave me a nice gift today: it's a Steam game titled Melody's Escape.


This is a simple time-killer in which you have to control Melody as she runs and avoids obstacles, but those obstacles are created according to a given music track.


This is a simple idea that combines the coordination of those dancing games in which you have to step on a direction arrow while the tune is played, but it has two nice features.  The first one is that you can change the character and environment.  The second one is that you can play to your own favorite music!


Go, Yandere-chan!

Regular game, right Mordecai?

Alice Angel, from Bendy and the Ink Machine

Thanks, Megatotoro!

jueves, 27 de diciembre de 2018

On Planned Cellphone Obsolescence

R.I.P. Blu Studio M HD... Was your death intended?
About a month ago, my Blu Studio M HD cellphone started misbehaving; it fired up apps at random and turned off by itself.  Eventually, it was more difficult to start it again.  Today, it barely refused to come back after I turned it on seven times.  I checked how old the phone was.  Interestingly, it was almost two years old.


The suspicion was inevitable: is this a confirmation that cellphones are somehow built to fail when the two-year lifespan is reached?

I know that most experts agree on the fact that it is not that the electronic components of the phone are designed to fail, but it is the battery that dies and causes the problems. That might be true, for the problems with my phone started when I noticed that the battery ran out of juice a lot faster than usual.

However, there is a detail: I specifically bought this kind of cellphone because of its manually-replaceable battery, which, in theory, extends the lifespan of the device. Except that today it is practically impossible to find a spare battery.

The lack of spares suggests that the industry is actually not interested on "repairability."

Buying a replacement for my dying phone in December is not an easy task: I only want a fairly cheap phone that can run my jogging apps and where I can check my email.

But most phones come with more powerful processors and more memory, all of which makes phones over-qualified for my personal use and, above all, more expensive.

Predictably, the  new models cannot use the same batteries from previous models because the former require more power and, let us not forget, most phones today come with a non-removable battery.

Say what you may, but I do believe in cellphone planned obsolescence.

miércoles, 26 de diciembre de 2018

Well done, Elive!

Three days ago, DistroWatch announced that Elive had received an update.  Although it is not an alpha version, I wanted to save it for my alpha testing this coming weekend.

However, after trying Netflix on Elive to update my previous post, I decided to update the packages to see what happened.

The process finished without any issue, so I wondered if I had received the aesthetic improvements that the DistroWatch post talks about, in particular " wallpaper - dynamically changes depending of the hour of the day, looking more magical and nicer for your eyes, and it also includes a hidden surprise for Christmas."

And, sure enough, I was surprised!

When I closed Firefox, which takes all the screen, I saw this:
Night time live wallpaper! The stars twinkle and the galaxy fades in and out.
 I quickly switched to my other wallpapers to see if they had been removed or affected negatively in any way by the change.  As they were fine, I went back to the dynamic wallpaper and found the old morning version.  When I was asking myself if something had gone wrong, my eye caught an iconic figure moving from one side of the screen to the other:
Santa's sleigh cruising my screen!


























Those details really make me want to turn my computer on despite the fact that I am on vacations.  Truly, Elive is a great Linux distro, both concerning performance and eye candy.

Changes in 2018 (Part V): Netflix

Some years ago, I read how Netflix would not easily work on Linux and, since I rarely watch movies, I never gave the movie streaming platform a try.

However, last week, my wife asked me how difficult it would be to find a Netflix movie that she really wanted to watch.  I thought that the easiest way to get the movie was to start a Netflix trial either on the blu-ray or on the Playstation.
I remembered that the blu-ray required a wired connection and we did not have the internet cable, so it was out.  I opened the account on the PS4 system instead and then she could happily watch her film.

But I was curious.  Netflix said that, besides the PS4, it could stream to tablets, Android phones, and computers.  I wondered if that meant that they were also serving Linux users now.  I decided to run a test on PCLinuxOS and Firefox 64.0.  I entered the site and selected Coraline to watch.  It was a success; the creepy adventures of the girl against the Other-mother displayed on my Linux laptop without any problem.  I need to see if the site works on Mageia, OpenMandriva and Elive and Fedora, the other Linux distros I use the most.


Since last week, both my wife and daughter have been enjoying Netflix films and series.   I have also caught one or two old movies that I wanted to re-watch. 

UPDATES:

Netflix runs fine on Mageia 6.1 with Firefox 60.3.0esr
Running fine on Elive 3.0 with Firefox 52.8.0 (32-bit)
Netflix running flawlessly on Fedora 27 with Firefox Quantum 63.0.3

Also running on OpenMandriva with Firefox Quantum 63.0.3


lunes, 24 de diciembre de 2018

Changes in 2018 (Part IV): Apps for running, updates, and forced migration

I have been jogging regularly since December, 2014.  Those days, I used an app called Run-bike-hike on a Firefox OS phone to track my routes and times.
When I switched to Android, I started using a nice app called Runkeeper. 

This app helped me to stick to my goals and track my progress, so it became my trusty companion in the road.  However, it stopped working after an unfortunate update last October and and had to look for a quick replacement while developers rectified the issues.
 
I had tried Runtastic before deciding to stay with Runkeeper, so that one was a no-go for me.  I eventually found Sports Tracker, which offers many features for free and it became the substitute. 

Sports Tracker lacks some useful features, even in the paid version, like the ability to manually edit routes if the GPS reading is not accurate.  Nevertheless, it compensates with other features, such as the ghost run.  One wins some and loses some.

The Runkeeper support contacted me to help, but the problem with the app remains to be solved.  As the app is unusable on two different phones, I guess the problem is on the app's end, not mine.  I am guessing, though.
Funny... Now that I come to think of it, my migration from Windows to Linux was a lot easier than this change of apps.

sábado, 22 de diciembre de 2018

Changes in 2018 (Part III) Social Networking... Not-working

I am not a fan of social networks (understood as sites like Facebook.)  Back in time, way before Facebook became cool, both Megatotoro and I joined a social network called Tagged as a one-year experiment to explore the possibilities of such sites for education.  After the year, our conclusion was that those places offered more distractions than anything else and, consequently, were not functional tools for learning purposes.

We tried another social network afterwards, Hi5.  Then Facebook, which effectively marked our exit from those sites.

I do not really remember why, but I started using Google +, the underdog of social networks in 2015 and there was something to it that made me stay.  I cannot put my finger on the reason; it was maybe the kind of posts, or the kind of people, or the interface, or a combination.  Whatever the case, I enjoyed G+ and did not find this social network as personally unproductive.

Yes, privacy was an issue.  However, I never anticipated how big it was to become.

After a silenced breech, Google decided to shut G+ down on August 2019.  Now, after another incident, the date of death became closer: April 2019.

When I first heard of the shutting down, I explored other possibilities.  I tried MeWe and Pluspora.  As the former was simply way too Facebooky, I joined the latter, which has a geeky feel to it and where I found some of the people that I follow online.

And true, Pluspora is not G+.  Not for a mile.  Yet, it has nice points, as micko explains in full detail here.

I do not know if I am staying.  Maybe I quit those sites for good and keep blogging.  That is, unless Google also decides to get rid of Blogger...

viernes, 21 de diciembre de 2018

Changes in 2018 (Part II) Games in PS4 vs Steam

Some of the greatest changes that I have undergone in 2018 involve the use of the Playstation 4 as opposed to playing on Steam.

Steam, in my opinion, has done a great job to bring games to Linux.  However, sometimes game updates render some titles unplayable for a while (as in the case with Bendy and the Ink Machine.)  Even so, I like playing Steam games better than playing on the console.  Maybe it's just that I prefer the computer because some of the Steam games are also available on the PS4, but I find them more enjoyable on Steam.

Whatever the case, I had to use the PS4 more because I was writing an article for a research project on games like Among the Sleep, Fran Bow, Violett, and Beyond Two Souls.  Eimi, my daughter, seeing the games on the PS Store, found Minecraft, and asked me to buy it.  I really saw no point because I had already installed it to her phone and did not like the MS game, so I refused.  However, my wife bought it for my daughter as a reward for all her effort in school this year.

When my daughter started playing, I understood why this game became so successful.  Pretty soon, both my daughter and I were playing together building structures, mining ore and feeding cubic animals.  The mash-up packs were Eimi's delight, in particular the Chinese Mythology one.  We explored the land, forged tools and, when outnumbered by monsters in the city, fled and fortified ourselves against them inside of a gigantic Buddha statue.  We created a hideout inside the sculpture's belly and connected it with a secret observatory inside the Buddha's head.  I must admit that finding Romeo's secrets (my daughter's fantastic quest in the game) kept me busy and entertained for quite a while. Oh, and the music is pretty relaxing, by the way.
Our stronghold against monsters


Yes, I am a Linux user and I still avoid MS products.  However, I guess I have to thank MS for this game that has made me spend such a good time with my daughter.  That's only fair.

miércoles, 19 de diciembre de 2018

Changes in 2018 (Part I) Who needs Windows?

I have been away from this blog for quite a while, but it is time to come back and summarize some of the main changes that I have undergone. I guess that I will do it as a series of posts.

Who needs Windows?

Yes, in October, I succumbed to the temptation from the evil empire and installed Windows 10 to my daughter's laptop as a dual boot with Mageia.  Well, I actually did it because of two reasons: Windows-based school assignments and a Windows-only game that she wanted to play and that does not run well on WINE. 

In full honesty, I have to say that MS has simplified the install process a lot... to the point that Cortana even convinced me to activate the network.  However, a pair of funny things happened.  First, when Windows started nagging so that I activated the product (by buying a license), the Windows store gave me a message indicating, "we are pretty sure that we do not have the product that you are looking for."  So, the Windows 10 Store cannot find a license for Windows 10. 

The other thing that I saw in the store was the several fake apps that imitate the look of Firefox or Chrome, but are more like skins for Microsoft's Edge.   Mmm, one wonders if those contribute to the illusion of the usage of Edge.

Anyway, since I installed Windows 10, that laptop has been booted on Microsoft's OS only two days to complete a school assignment.

And the game?  It ran terribly, worse than in WINE, so I had to trade it for another game... Microsoft's very own Minecraft.  That will be the subject of another post.

lunes, 15 de octubre de 2018

Install, install, install! The dance of panic!

In 2011, I wrote about my bad day installing ZenWalk...  I described how a graceful dance can morph into a hectic aerobic string of contortion after contortion, an accurate metaphor to remember my weekend activities. 
Yes, I used this last weekend to fix some installation problems I had.

1. PCLinuxOS.  Three days after I fixed my Fedora broken screen locker, I updated PCLOS.  After finishing, unexpectedly, the system would not allow me to log in.  I am not sure what went wrong because I update my system regularly... Or maybe I forgot to update in a long time and my OS fell a victim of a false memory of mine?  Whatever the case, I downloaded the June 2018 iso and installed it without formatting my /home partition.  That took care of the problem.  I had to struggle a bit getting my Epson XP 231 scanner to work, though.  That was funny because PCLOS was the only distro that picked it upon install when I bought the all-in-one printer, but this time was different.  I  could not get screenshots with the PrtScr button.  I also discovered that it was because Spectacle had been removed in the installation, so I simply put it back and, presto!

2.  Mageia 6.1.  My Mageia 6 has been working great and, after updating to Mageia 6.1, everything when fine on my laptop.  My daughter's Mageia 6 desktop, however, has been a nightmare and I don know if I should blame the hardware, the UEFI maze, or a defective install media.  The thing is that, one good day, I discovered that the Mageia Control Center would not open and I could not install packages either via GUI or CLI.  The release of Mageia 6.1 was a great opportunity to reinstall and fix that once and for all.  The installation process went well, but the complication was after I dicovered that WINE was not allowing the Windows Steam client to download my daughter's current favorite game.  I reinstalled several times, changed the drivers, tinkered with the WINE configuration to no avail.  And this problem took me to my greatest installation failure: PicarOS Diego!

3.  PicarOS Diego.  My daughter's desktop dual-boots Mageia and PicarOS Diego, a great MiniNo GalpON respin for children.  Since the game she likes is neither running with WINE on Mageia 6.1 nor with Windows Vista, I tried to run it on WINE in PicarOS.  The packages were old, so I updated the system.  Big mistake!  In the end, I was left with an up-to-date  MiniNo that removed all the special tweaks for children and, to add insult to injury, the game would not run at all!


Oh, but the best part was that MiniNo removed the Mageia entry from the GRUB.  So I lost my access to Mageia as well.

Thankfully, in my dealings testing Elive betas, I learned about Super Grub2 Disk, a tool that becomes real handy in cases like that one. With it, I could get back to Mageia once that I had reinstalled PicarOS Diego.  So, in the end, all of my OSs are back to normal.

But I could not solve the issue of the game.

I guess I can let her use my laptop to play her game on Mageia or Fedora.

Or I can use the Windows 10 iso that I downloaded to upgrade Windows Vista on her laptop and see what happens.

sábado, 13 de octubre de 2018

Summary of Seven Days

This is a quick post to list the latest events.

1.  Mageia 6.1 was released six days ago (Oct 6).  I was sick and busy and, because of that, I missed the announcement.  I do not need to install it on my computers, but I will download it to install it on my daughter's machine and fix the problem with the MCC.

2.  Google+ is being killed (Oct 9).  That marks the end of my 3-year experiment with this social network.  Wow, excluding Blogger, that was the only social network in which I have been active for more than a year... I tried Tagged, Hi5, Facebook (before it became so popular here), and YouTube. Right now, I have been looking for a replacement and tried MeWe and Pluspora... MeWe is too Facebooky for my taste.  Pluspora feels like a merge between Facebook and Twitter with limitations and a really geeky flavor.  I guess I will continue my test drive in Pluspora for a while.

3.  Microsoft and the patents (Oct 10).  Megatotoro shared this article with me.   I was confused.  Either Microsoft is changing its position or it is a masked move that, in reality, does not help Linux at all.  Which one will be, I wonder?

4.  My Fedora acted weird (Oct 11).  As I was attempting to update Fedora, some WINE-related packages were not found because the repos were absent.  I updated without them and the screen locker got broken.  I had encountered that before in OpenMandriva, so I switced to a virtual terminal with Ctrl+Alt+F2, logged in with my user and password, and then executed loginctl unlock-session 5.  Then I switched back to the running session with  Ctrl+Alt+F1.

5.  The Forest on Steam via WINE ate up my home space (Oct 12).
I was playing this Windows game on Fedora using the Windows Steam client via WINE.  It works fine, but then the system told me that I was running low on space.  I checked with Dolphin and I had only 340Mb free!  After a while, this number went down to 467Kb.  When I finished the game, I rebooted and my free space came back.

sábado, 6 de octubre de 2018

When Windows 10 Becomes Windows ME...

Wow!  A recent Windows 10 update is deleting personal files from the Documents folder!

That's new.

Wait, not exactly.  That has happened before with Windows ME around 17 years ago.  In fact, this OS behavior was so famous that it was depicted in the OS-tan meme collection.
Yes... I still miss you, Windows ME.


jueves, 13 de septiembre de 2018

The Blue Bird Effect: Scanning with an Epson XP 231 multifunction printer on Elive 3

Mamerto Menapace, an Argentinian monk, wrote a story entitled "El Pajaro Azul" ("The Blue Bird").  In this story, a prince gradually falls very sick and no doctor can determine the source of his disease. A hermit is brought from his mountain as the last hope, and this wise man tells everyone that the prince is dying of nostalgia.  To get cured, the prince must start a journey looking for a rare blue bird.

So, the sick prince travels all around the earth, in an futile attempt to find the blue bird and become well again.  However, no person has seen the bird and, defeated, he returns home as an old man only to discover that, among all the other birds that he had in his palace, there was a particularly blue one.     

Well, that same thing just happened to me with my Epson XP-231 multifunction printer and Elive 3.0, the new OS on my laptop.

Elive has been running magnificently; I could not be feeling happier.  Nevertheless, the real test of the OS is to get my printer/scanner to work.

The first part, printing, was not that difficult.  Even thought Elive comes with a convenient utility to add a new printer (the same one I have seen in Mageia 6) in Applications/preferences/print settings, the process of adding the printer gets stuck.  But this problem can be circumvented by opening the browser and typing http://localhost:631/ to go to CUPS.  From there, one can add the printer (once that the iscan bundle with the drivers is installed).

Scanning was, on the other hand, a nightmare.  I read lots of forums and tried many solutions to no avail.  Defeated, I ran another search and found a blog post with a procedure that looked promising.  I tried this last solution and, sure enough, it worked like a charm.

The great irony here was that it was Megatotoro, my own brother, who had posted here the procedure that I needed!  I looked all over the internet and the solution was closer than I had imagined, a complete blue bird effect.

In Elive, one has to basically use SciTE as root to open the files dll.conf (to add the line example-backend), epson.conf, and epson2.conf (to add the values that one gets with the comand sane-find-scanner in Terminology).  In my case, I had to uncomment, in both files, the line usb 0x01aa 0x0001 and modify it to read:

usb 0x04b8 0x1102

That was it.

Now I can both print and scan on Elive 3.0



lunes, 10 de septiembre de 2018

One last job for my ZTE Open phone

My first cellphone was a ZTE Open that I bought on 2014.  It ran Firefox OS, which Mozilla discontinued in December 2015.  This meant that cetain apps ceased to work and the phone lost functionality.

I was happy with Firefox OS, but I had to replace it with an Android phone.  My ZTE Open became a museum piece that I turned on occassionally, mainly to play with my daughter some games that still work.

Last week, though, I took the 4-year old phone to an event to serve as an audio player.  I noticed then that the battery has started to swell.

Tomorrow, I will take it to class to play audio again.  I do not know how much time my ZTE Open has left, but it has been a champion.

Good things come to an end...


Elive 3.0 is out! And it is FREE!!

After a long period of development, Elive 3.0 has been finally released today.

Wow, I still remember the first day I saw Elive Topaz 2.0.  Never had I seen a distro most beautiful and efficient.  However, back then, the live CD asked for payment to download an installation module, which put me (and many other Linux users, I learned later) off.

Of course, those days, I was still discovering the world of Linux and Free/Open Source Software, so I had many inaccurate ideas about distros.  I did not know much about KDE or Gnome, let alone mention Enlightenment.  I struggled with GRUB.  I still did not understand the functionality of multiple work spaces and, obviously, I assumed that "free software" was meant to be free of cost.

Gradually, I became more supportive toward the idea of paying for Linux-related work that I loved and that, understandably, was something that I could not do myself due to my technical limitations.  I began paying for Mandriva Powerpacks, for example.  And I donated money, too.

I decided that I wanted to give Elive a chance.  "But I will support version 3," I said to myself.  That was 8 years ago.

Since then, the Linux landscape has changed a lot and those changes have also modified my perspective.  Mandriva, the distro that took me out of Windows, is gone.  Mageia came along, but seems to be stuck at release 6.  I started using PCLinuxOS and OpenMandriva.  I learned how to use GRUB2, made peace with KDE Plasma, and I installed unfinished versions to my main computer.  The unthinkable!

The latter is what happened to Elive.  I have been using beta versions... and I did not mind donating to the project.

Now, I am downloading the long-awaited release of this new version of Elive, which will replace my beta install, and my dream of having Elive 3.0 will become a reality.

  

miércoles, 15 de agosto de 2018

Elive 3.0 to be released in a month

For those of us who have been following this stunningly beautiful distro, the 8-year waiting seems to be finally coming to an end.

The revamped site of Elive has a countdown indicating that version 3.0 will be released in 25 days.

I can barely wait...

domingo, 12 de agosto de 2018

The House of Elive Linux Revamped!

I visited the www.elivecd.org, the  page that houses Elive.  This is one Linux distro that caught my eye in 2009 and that I have been following ever since.

The site is being redecorated and renovated, which is a great change to reflect the polished nature of the distro that Thanatermesis (Samuel Flores Baggen) crafts there.


And it is no hyperbole.  Thanatermesis takes the polishing of Elive to a level of artistic detail.  Never in my live have I seen a Linux distro more elegant and resource-efficient than Elive.  No wonder release 2.0 was called Topaz. 

But version 3.0 is definitely going to be better in all senses.  I know because I am presently running a beta and it feels so much like a final release that I have no idea what the real Elive 3.0 will improve. My beta is 2.9.26... Not even 2.9.99, which is the last beta available.

Will Elive 3.0 become my birthday gift?  I hope so.  I am taking the revamping of the site as a signal.

sábado, 11 de agosto de 2018

Something Happened to My OpenMandriva Lx OS

Yesterday I booted my laptop with OpenMandriva Lx and went to look for a book.  When I returned to the machine, a kernel panic was waiting for me on the screen.

Apparently, something went very wrong with the updates that I performed last week, but I did not notice.

This has happened before, though.  As the laptop boots seven OSs (OpenMandriva, Mageia, PCLinuxOS, Pisi, Elive, Fedora, and PicarOS), when I install a system that changes the OMV-controlled GRUB2, OpenMandriva gets a panic.

I do not have the expertise to rectify things other than by performing a re-install.  So, I reinstalled OpenMandriva, updated it (the process did not last more than an hour or so) and, sure enough, the OS was bootable again.

I added my favorite programs in a snap and checked that Steam was working. So was InSync.  Everything was OK.

Then, I remembered the all-in one Epson XP-231 printer.

I located the driver and installed it.  After that, as the printing functions are not normally the problem, but the scanner, I went to set up the latter.  As usual, it was not detected, so I added one from the list and that helped the OS find the scanner and configure it properly.  I tested it and it worked.

As I said before, getting the scanner to work has always been the headache, not printing.  However, this time, the printer would spit illegible code instead of the simple line I typed in LO Writer.

Nothing I tried worked.

Suddenly, I remembered how I managed to get the XP-231 to work in Fedora and Elive... The CUPS approach!

I opened CUPS and added the printer from there.  I chose the driver, checked the settings, and asked it to print a test page.

This time, I saw Tux come out from the printer, smiling on the page.

 ********************
If I had remembered before, I could have saved some time.  But, truly, since nothing had failed in so long, I have already started to forget what to do if one of my OSs misbehaves.

I am getting rusty.

Maybe it is time for me to start experimenting with BSD, Haiku, or something.

jueves, 2 de agosto de 2018

An Assistant on KDE Plasma?

Today, I learned that KDE and Mycroft collaborated to create a Mycroft AI assistant plasmoid.

Of course, this is not a final product yet and the easiest installation seems to be for Fedora.

Mozilla is also working on an assistant.  


I really like the fox concept.  It reminds me of old Scribble, from MS Office 97.



Unfortunately, both Mozilla's and Mycroft's seem to be for connected devices.


domingo, 29 de julio de 2018

The Nostalgia of Old Games

I have never been much of a gamer.  However, I admit that, back as a Windows user, I got hooked on several titles, such as "Doom," "Heretic," and "Tomb Rider-- The Last Revelation".

My favorite games, though, were SNES ROMs that my brother, Megatotoro, taught me how to play with ZSNES.  Among them, I  recall "Super Puyo Puyo," "The Violinist of Hameln," "The 7th Saga," and "Bahamut Lagoon".

Today I found the old ROMs and, using WINE, I played them for a short while.

Wow, so many memories rushed to me!

The epic battles of Captain Kokoro (Byuu) and his faithful dragon Me (Salmando)!
A game that made me laugh and think a lot

This game had some of that sadness found in "This War of Mine"

I do not have the time to play them all again, but it was a nice visit to the past.

sábado, 28 de julio de 2018

System Updates, Functionality and Popularity

As I have some free time, I decided to update all of the OSs on my laptop.

I started with PCLinuxOS.  The update was painless and everything is working perfectly.  Well, I noticed that my KDE History is never refreshed and that the Favorite tab displays nothing.  Aside from that, all is well.

Then I went for Fedora.  Nothing special to report there; all seems normal.

After that, I updated Mageia.  Again, no problem, either.

OpenMandriva was next.  This distro sometimes gives me problems if I try to update packages using Discover or the Control Center, so I ran urpmi --auto-update.  OpenMandriva did not show any weird behavior and the process completed flawlessly.

It was time to update Elive.  As this is a relatively old beta (Elive releases many betas), I was a bit worried.  The OS greeted me with an announcement that read something like this:  "There are new features available.  Do you want to install them?"  I agreed and then the OS played some music and performed an installation that, after a short while, was finished.  I noticed that, as the installer warned me, my wallpapers were gone, but there were applets for the clock and the wifi.  The OS looks as beautiful as ever.

Interestingly, and despite all the beauty and functionality that all of the distros I use provide, they are sliding down in popularity in Distrowatch.org:

Fedora is right now #8
PCLOS is # 21
Mageia went down to #35
OpenMandriva and Elive are not even included in the list of the 100 distros.

The list also shows that, apparently, Ubuntu never recovered its position as #1 after Mint took it.  However, Mint is now #2 and Manjaro has been #1 for some time now.  Oh, and MXLinux, the successor of the long-gone Mepis, is gaining traction: it has the 6th position.

Everything changes...

martes, 1 de mayo de 2018

The 8th Anniversary

Today is this blog's 8th anniversary.
I still remember the first day I touched a Linux computer (my Asus Eee PC 900 with Xandros!) and, from that point, my journey of learning that was recorded in the entries of this blog.
The world has changed a lot since then:
Megatotoro and I are not the only Linux users in the university where we work any longer. 
LibreOffice is the official productivity software there. 
We have met other Linux users in public events. 
Android is a huge thing.  Windows phone is gone...
And there are many games to play on Linux!
My perception has changed, too.  I used to wait anxiously for each of the two Mandriva yearly releases because they would fix problems and, in so doing, my computer became more stable and reliable. Then I tested more distros, liked some, started waiting for Elive 3.0.   Mepis, Pardus, and even Mandriva disappeared from my HDs, replaced by Mageia, Openmandriva, PCLinuxOS, PicarOS, Elive (a beta!), Pisi, and Fedora.  The distros are so good that even betas outperform the final releases of the old times.
And the release cycles of the non-rolling distros have become more distant from each other.  Only Fedora keeps the pattern and I find that the new releases are coming too soon.  For example, Fedora 28 was just released today and I was not even ready!
Sometimes, I feel I do not have much to record here anymore. Oh, but I am still waiting for Elive 3.0!
I would like to express my appreciation to everyone who takes a moment from his or her busy life to read my entries.  Really, thank you very much!

sábado, 28 de abril de 2018

Bendy and the Ink Machine, [Fixed] (Thanks to the Ninja Pizza Girl)

The game Bendy and the Ink Machine (BATIM) has been a headache for players who use Linux and Steam.


Following the release of chapter 3, an update broke the game.  However, there was a fix on the Steam forum.  One had to add this line to the properties of the game for it to run again:

-screen-fullscreen 0

But then, for Halloween 2017, the developers released a patch for a fun crossover with Hello Neighbor and, when they released the rollback to normal, the game was broken again and, this time, the trick to fix it was useless.

So, BATIM remained unplayable unless you installed the Windows Steam client and ran it with Wine.  Then, the game was playable, but the performance was not the same and there were some other problems, too.

I visited today the BATIM forum on Steam and discovered that the community is anxious because the release of chapter 4 was delayed to April 30.

Of course, I was not really excited, but I read a forum post with a new fix:  one has to copy four files from another game made with the Unity engine.

 libCSteamworks.so and "libsteam_api.so"--->/BATIM_Data/plugins/X86 and
libCSteamworks.so and "libsteam_api.so"--->/BATIM_Data/plugins/X86_64

I remembered that I had a game called Ninja Pizza Girl, so I looked for the files and copied them to the corresponding folders.  Sure enough, that fixed BATIM at last!

After playing for a while, I played the Ninja Pizza Girl... I didn't know that the game was about bullying among teenagers, inspired on the life of the daughter of the developers, who has Asperger's syndrome.  Wow!

In this game, Gemma, a 16 year old girl, must deliver pizza orders in a dystopian city.  As she jumps, climbs, runs, ducks, and slides to get to the client's house on time, she has to face the most nightmarish adversaries that a teenage girl can have: other teenagers!

I personally loved the fatherly advice given after each delivery.

miércoles, 18 de abril de 2018

Elive 3.0 is ALMOST here!

Elive's latest beta, 2.9.90, was released a couple of weeks ago. 
According to the description, this is the last beta before the official release of version 3.0.

I have been waiting for Elive for quite a long time.
My first contact with it was through a live CD of version 2.0 Topaz in 2010, when I had recently migrated to Linux.  I was truly impressed by the beauty and polish of the distro.  I never installed it, though.  I was put off by the fact that it was the only distro that could not be installed unless one paid for an installing module.  Back then, I assumed that free software had to be "gratis".

After paying for several Mandriva Powerpacks, I decided that I wanted to give Elive a chance.  The project, however, had entered a slow-development phase. 

Years went by and by before I installed Elive for the first time, which finally happened in 2014, with beta 2.3.9.

It was great until I installed beta 2.7.6 in 2016.  Then, I got an Enlightenment problem that prevented me from having a functional desktop, so I stopped using Elive until version 2.9.20 came along and fixed the problem.

Then, in 2018, I installed beta 2.9.26.

Later, I downloaded beta 2.9.42 and stored it but, when I finally decided it was time to install it, I visited the Elive page and discovered that 2.9.90 was here already.

So, I guess I will save my money to support the release of version 3.0.  It has been a 4-year wait, but I think it will be worth it.



miércoles, 14 de marzo de 2018

Still no luck

They were supposed to come fix the internet problem today.
Of course, that did not happen.

In the meantime, Elive has reaches beta 2.9.40 (I'm using 2.9.26), I need to upload material for online classes and I have to help my daughter with her own online platform at schoool.

This does not look good...

lunes, 12 de marzo de 2018

Third Week without an Internet Connection

They are repairing all the structural problems in the roof and walls of the building where I live.  That is certainly great, but they had to remove all cables up there, which means I have been without a connection for more than 18 days.

Of course, hot-spot from the phone helps to check one thing or the other, but I need to start working...

Still, I could be far worse.

Bear and grin, bear and grin.

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...)