Boise Linux Group April 7th Meeting Notes

We had 10 in attendance including one new attendee. Clint had prepped two computers for the meeting, one with Linux Mint Debian Xfce edition which was just released, and the second with Ubuntu Natty Beta 1 which was released on March 31st, demonstrating the Unity 3D desktop. Starting off with Linux Mint Xfce, this is a distribution for older hardware with low resources such as ram. Clint's demo computer for this was a PIII m 730 MHz processor and 256 MB Ram. This machine was "designed for" Windows XP to run slowly (it works but be prepared to drink lots of coffee) but Lucid Puppy 5.2 (Ubuntu 10.04 base) ran well on it. Linux Mint Xcfe ran adequately on it but performance suffered when several apps were ran at the same time (as observed at the meeting) or if one of the more included intensive applications such as LibreOffice 3.3 was ran. Some additional reading after the meeting revealed in a Linux Mint blog post "Mint Xfce isn’t “trying” to be lightweight anymore. It’s snappier and uses less resources, while becoming more mainstream and offering more popular applications." The iso download for installation is almost a gigabyte in size and doesn't include the common lightweight programs normally expected such as a light weight browser or productivity apps like Abiword. He had some difficulty with updates on the demo computer wasn't smooth and he had to reinstall Apt with a new download of the Apt .deb file before he was able to get the computer successfully updated. He showed the information available on the Welcome Screen such as the User Guide in PDF form and the web documentation. Part of Linux Mint's Debian rolling release is to use the Debian testing repository which seems to work in providing the latest in Debian 6 Squeeze. So far, no issues. As expected with Linux Mint, it does come fully multimedia enabled (which Debian does not) for playing your favorite DVDs and Music. Before testing Linux Mint Xfce on the older laptop, Clint tested it a current laptop, a 2.4 P4 dual core 32 bit with 2 GB of Ram, and found it ran quite well, very fast and Clint would recommend it for 1 GHz or better systems with 512 MB of Ram. And speaking of Linux for older hardware, I just learned of Debian Lenny based MiniNo from Its minimal requirements: 64Mb RAM, 1.5 GB HD, 200Mhz CPU and runs opitmally with 128Mb RAM, 4GB HD, 600Mhz CPU! I haven't had a chance to test it other than boot the live version as I have lost both of my "low end" laptops in the last two weeks. I have booted it live and played with it live as well as viewed a video of it, and it looks really good. It is only a 428MB iso download and is available from the GALpon Wiki The second demo was Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Beta 1 release running the Unity desktop. I did not have nearly the issues with installing the Beta 1 release that I did have with the Alpha 3 release a month ago and it installed very well. I showed off the Unity desktop with its new features and how to use the new menu system in accessing installed programs or packages . Unity is very different from the traditional Gnome or KDE desktops and configures itself to provide the icons for your favorite programs. The Unity desktop does grow on you as use it. The Beta 1 release is somewhat buggy and the hope is that the developers can work out the bugs between now and the release date of April 28th. The Beta 2 release date is April 14th with final release on April 28th. I am not planning on upgrading my main laptop to 11.04 although I may try it on my new touchpad netbook. I will continue to run 10.04 LTS which I first installed at Release Candidate 1 and it has been very stable through all the updates including Release Candidate 2 and final release plus all the updates over the past year. Part of my decision is that even now, 10.10 still has bugs and with 11.04 having its bugs, why would I break something that isn't broken. I am not pleased with some of the decisions such as the move to LibreOffice which I have found to have its own issues that OOo doesn't have and Firefox 4 which is not compatible with many of the plugins developed for Firefox 3.x. Beta 2 is now released, much improved over Beta 1, Final Release is scheduled for April 28th. Here are a couple reviews on the beta's with screen shots: Natty Beta 1. Natty Beta 2. Moving on, one of our members had found a Linux Command book, a 522 page compendium of Linux Commands, that is a free PDF Book and can be downloaded at LinuxCommand.Org. A very useful reference for your desktop, either in ebook or for printing out. A short comment on configuring grub to boot your preferred operating system when turning on the computer. Maybe next meeting we will do a deep dive into configure Grub2. It is easy to set you default OS. You simply modify the /etc/default/grub file as root. Here is mine: GRUB_DEFAULT=4 #GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT=0 GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT_QUIET=true GRUB_TIMEOUT=10 GRUB_DISTRIBUTOR=`lsb_release -i -s 2> /dev/null || echo Debian` GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash noapic nolapic" After modifying, be sure to run the update-grub command so that it will update the grub config for next boot. I set my default to the 4th menu choice and also added noapic nolapic because I am running on old hardware. You can also find more information on simple grub configuration with the command line info -f grub -n 'Simple configuration' Closing out the meeting, we had a number of short conversations of interest on such things as Proxmox Virtual Server and gaming. We even took a look back at the old Commodore 64 now being reincarted with new internals as a PC. Clint reflected on his time programing and using the C64 in that it had a full development environment including a assembler, linker, and compiler system that the C64 had inherited from the Pet CBM, all for under $500 in the early 80's. No mention of the Amiga though. Specifications on the new C64 and its features can be found at Commodore USA. Noteworthy is that it being shipped with the Ubuntu 10.04 Installation Media. The meeting ended about 8:30 PM Our next meeting is scheduled for May 5th, same time and location in the Boise Public Library Computer Lab.