Sunday, May 26, 2013

Conky Lua for KDE and Gnome 3 distros: Mageia, Sabayon, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Linux Mint, OpenSuSE, Chakra, Debian and Fedora

Conky-lua is a great and stylish conky that I got from Deviantart. I like its simplicity and appeal. However, conkies doesn't tend to work with modern Gnome 3, Unity and KDE desktops, as it is. Some subtle changes are required to make them work work with these modern desktops. I have made the modifications in the zipped files for
  • Debian KDE, GNOME
  • Linux Mint KDE, GNOME
  • Ubuntu Unity, KDE (Kubuntu), GNOME
  • Sabayon KDE, GNOME
  • Mageia KDE, GNOME
  • Chakra Linux KDE
  • Fedora KDE, GNOME
You can download the files from my rapidshare link.

From Mageia 3 KDE

Read more!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Hybryde Linux 13.04 Review: Use Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu and Ubuntu Gnome together without logging out!

Hybryde Linux is a new distro to me - I haven't used it earlier. Conceptually it appears similar to Ultimate Edition which combines all available apps and desktop environments to a fusion operating system, Hybryde Linux adds to it an element of seamlessly switching across desktops without requiring to log out. Definitely a novel concept for users who quickly get bored off using the same desktop on regular basis. Distrowatch introduces Hybryde Linux as:
Hybryde Linux is an Ubuntu-based distribution for the desktop. Its most unusual feature is an option to switch rapidly between multiple desktop environments and window manager without logging out - the list includes Enlightenment 17, GNOME 3 (GNOME Shell and GNOME 3 "Fallback" mode), KDE, LXDE, Openbox, Unity, Xfce and FVWM. This is achieved via a highly customisable Hy-menu, which also allows launching applications and configuring the system. All open applications are carried to any of the available desktops. The system offers an interesting way to work fluidly in a multi-desktop environment.
From Hybryde Fusion 13.04
Given the interesting background, I was naturally inclined to try it out. Switching between desktops without logging out do seem an appealing concept. Hybryde Linux has its latest release based on Ubuntu 13.04 and excerpts from the release notes are given below:
"After more than five months, we have a new concept: HY-D-V1 which is a new paradigm for the desktop. It works with web technologies. This new version, Hybryde 'Fusion', includes HY-D-V1 which has been created for artists and users who want to transform their desktop into an artistic tool and for those who want to play with graphic effects. That's because Linux users are not merely professionals and because computers are not reserved to business use alone."
Hybryde Linux, as of now, only comes as 32-bit pae kernel ISO which very well works on a 64 bit machine. I downloaded the 32-bit installation file (~1.8 GB) for testing. It is comparatively lighter than Ultimate Edition 3.5 (~3.5 GB ISO). Hybryde Linux is based on Ubuntu 13.04 and has the Ubuntu 3.8.0 Linux kernel. I used my Asus K54C with Core i3 2.2 Ghz processor and 2 GB RAM for the test. First I did a live boot and then installed it on my hard drive to use it for a couple of days, for all purposes.

Read more!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mageia 3 KDE Review: Simple, refined, elegant and fantastic!

To be honest, I have used quite a few KDE distros in last couple of years but never saw a resource efficient distro like Mageia 2. Under similar conditions, Mageia performed better than almost all the KDE distros I have used. Plus, with Mandriva Linux going commercial and PCLinuxOS becoming independent of Mandriva, Mageia and ROSA are perhaps the limited ways to know what's brewing in the Mandriva camp. Incidentally both the Mandriva derivatives present really beautiful KDE distros!
From Mageia 3 KDE

With such a background and rich legacy, it is not surprising that Mageia enjoys a huge fan following in the Linux world. For me, the release of Mageia 3 was one of the most anticipated releases of the first half in 2013, after Debian Wheezy and Ubuntu Raring Ringtail. The release announcement of Mageia 3 promises of absolutely the very latest version of Linux kernel and applications, another reason for me to test Mageia's to ascertain it's stability.

"All grown up and ready to go dancing - Mageia 3 is out. We still can't believe how much fun it is to make Mageia together, and we've been doing it for two and a half years. Major new features: updates to RPM (4.11) and urpmi, which has been given a good turnout and cleanup; Linux kernel 3.8; systemd 195; GRUB is the default boot loader; GRUB 2 is available; revamped package groupings for installation and rpmdrake; KDE 4.10.2, GNOME 3.6, Xfce 4.10; LibreOffice 4.0.3; Steam for Linux...."
I downloaded the 32-bit LiveDVD KDE (~1.4 GB in size) for this review. I used Imagewriter (Linux Mint one) to first create a live USB. I did a live boot followed by installation on my Asus K54C with 2.2 Ghz Core i3 processor and 2 GB RAM. Mageia 3 KDE version has KDE 4.10.2 with kernel 3.8 with Dolphin 2.2 as the file manager.

Read more!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Ubuntu 13.04 vs Kubuntu 13.04 vs Xubuntu 13.04 vs Lubuntu 13.04 vs Ubuntu 13.04 GNOME: A brief comparison

Every Linux novice goes through this phase - confusion to decide which Ubuntu to install when now you've got so many versions of Ubuntu coming out of the stable. The aim of this article is to facilitate taking decision by briefing about what distro has to offer and a comparison of their performance.

I take up here the latest Ubuntu release 13.04, codenamed "Raring Ringtail". Released in April 2013, it comes in five distinct desktop environments

Unity in Ubuntu 13.04
It started as a net-book OS environment and gradually gained favor from Canonical. The much criticized (and rightly so because of its initial instability) desktop environment is now gradually improving in terms of performance and stability. It is kind of a minimalistic desktop with a left hand side strip, accommodating the user's favorite applications, along with a heavy integration to social networks (like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc.) through its unique dash. It is still not as stable as I would like it to be but, I feel, Unity has the potential to challenge the operating system biggies like Windows and Mac OS X. It is intuitive and very easy to use but not as customizable as a KDE. Right now, its use is limited only to Ubuntu. Unity leverages the Gnome 3 ecosystem of applications with Files (forked from Nautilus) as the file manager. My review of Ubuntu 13.04.

From Ubuntu 13.04

Read more!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sabayon 13.04 KDE review: One of the most elegant distros in the Linux world

Let me begin this way, I am a great admirer of Sabayon for quite sometime. This Italian distro is based on Gentoo Linux and provides an enviable ensemble of pre-installed applications which just works out of the box. Those who are scared of Gentoo, Sabayon can be a good starting point. Apart from being based on one of the most popular Linux operating systems, one of the greatest USPs of Sabayon is it's aesthetics. It comes with a very professional dark blue theme with application interfaces tweaked to match it. I haven't seen many Linux distros doing it, to be honest.

From Sabayon 13.04 KDE
Sabayon, in every release, gives a ready to use Gentoo Linux based operating system with pre-installed applications and multimedia codecs. It has a rolling release cycle with around 3 releases every year. For example, in 2012, Sabayon 8, 9 and 10 were released in Feb, Jun & Sep 2012 respectively. The Apr'13 release is named differently as 13.04 rather than Sabayon 12 (Sabayon 11 was released in Feb'13). Anyway, apart from the change in nomenclature, rest of the things haven't changed much in Sabayon 13.04. In Fabio Erculiani's words
"Sabayon 13.04 is a modern and easy-to-use Linux distribution based on Gentoo, following an extreme yet reliable rolling-release model. This is a monthly release generated, tested and published by our build servers containing the latest and greatest collection of software available in the Entropy repositories. Linux kernel 3.8.8 with BFQ iosched and ZFS, GNOME 3.6.3, KDE 4.10.2, MATE 1.6, Xfce 4.10, LibreOffice 4.0, production-ready UEFI support and experimental systemd support are just some of the things you will find inside the box"
I tried out the KDE flavor of Sabayon 13.04 and will take you through my experience in this review. I downloaded the 32-bit ISO, about 2.3 GB in size and installed it in my Asus K54C with Core i3 2.2 Ghz processor and 2 GB RAM. Imagewriter (available in Linux Mint) works well with Sabayon to create a bootable USB.

Read more!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Debian "Wheezy" 7.0 KDE Review: Supremely stable and pure Debian delight!

Let me get it straight in the beginning, if you are a real distro hopper and always looking for the latest Linux world has to offer, Debian is not the perfect distro for you. You will get bored quite easily with Debian Wheezy! As indicated, Debian stable branch is for those who look for supreme stability and awesome performance. I had used Debian Squeeze for quite sometime in 2011 and was really happy with it's performance till I got bored and ventured to other distros offering "bleeding edge". However, the only caveat I noted in Debian Squeeze was a daunting installation process and I wasn't as seasoned to Linux those days as I am now.

From Debian 7.0 "Wheezy" KDE
In the new stable version 7.0 release note, dated 5th May 2013, in Distrowatch, Debian promises to give users an easier installation process. There are several incremental innovations mentioned, I'll pick up a selected few relevant for this review, namely:
"Multiarch support, one of the main release goals for Wheezy, will allow Debian users to install packages from multiple architectures on the same machine. This means that you can now, for the first time, install both 32- and 64-bit software on the same machine and have all the relevant dependencies correctly resolved, automatically.
The installation process has been greatly improved: Debian can now be installed using software speech, above all by visually impaired people who do not use a Braille device. Thanks to the combined efforts of a huge number of translators, the installation system is available in 73 languages, and more than a dozen of them are available for speech synthesis too.
In addition, for the first time, Debian supports installation and booting using UEFI for new 64-bit PCs (amd64), although there is no support for Secure Boot yet."
As I mentioned, I was eager to try out Debian Wheezy and I downloaded the 32-bit PAE kernel version of Debian 7 KDE. I downloaded Gnome, LXDE and XFCE versions as well which I'll cover in my subsequent reviews.

The KDE ISO is 630 MB and still fits into a CD. However, I prefer using a thumb drive and installed Debian on my favorite Asus K54C with 2.2 Ghz Core i3 processor and 2 GB RAM. Debian has a separate ISO for live boot and separate ISO for installation. I downloaded the installation one. I'll take you through my experience with Debian in the remaining part of the article with a comparison to leading KDE distros (all 32-bit, so no latest Chakra here).

Read more!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Ubuntu 13.04 "Raring Ringtail" GNOME Review: Upgradable to GNOME 3.8 and performs reasonably well!

Ubuntu GNOME (formerly Ubuntu GNOME Remix) is right now an official flavor of Ubuntu and their first official release came with Ubuntu 13.04 "Raring Ringtail". The unique USP about it is pure GNOME experience, devoid of Unity. Given it is the first official release with vanilla GNOME desktop and upgradable to GNOME 3.8, I was naturally inclined to try it out - to see whether it is more efficient than GNOME with Unity or not. The release announcement states briefly about the enhancements:
"The Ubuntu GNOME team is proud to announce our first release as an official Ubuntu derivative - Ubuntu GNOME 13.04. Ubuntu GNOME aims to bring a mostly pure GNOME desktop experience to Ubuntu. Keeping in coordination with the Ubuntu Desktop Team, we have decided to stay with GNOME 3.6 for the 13.04 release. What's new? Firefox has replaced GNOME Web (Epiphany) as the default browser; the Ubuntu Software Center and Update Manager have replaced GNOME Software; LibreOffice 4.0 is available by default instead of AbiWord and Gnumeric. For those excited about the latest version of GNOME, we do maintain the GNOME 3 PPA to catch an early look at GNOME 3.8."
From Ubuntu 13.04 Gnome
I downloaded the 1 GB 32-bit ISO for testing. The system used for testing is Asus K54C laptop with 2 GB RAM and 2.2 Ghz Core i3 processor. I'll take you through my experience while using it for last 5 days, as my main operating system.

Read more!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Kubuntu 13.04 "Raring Ringtail" Review: Stable, efficient and rock solid distro!

Kubuntu may not be the best KDE distro around but in my experience, a lot of new Linux users tend to start their KDE experience with Kubuntu. Possibly it is due to trickle down effect of the popularity of Ubuntu. But, never the less, Kubuntu receives a lot of attention among the Linux users. Kubuntu's latest release is 13.04 Raring Ringtail with KDE 4.10.2 and kernel 3.8.0-19 and as the release notes states, there are some incremental improvements over the last release (12.10).
"Welcome to Kubuntu 13.04, a brand new version with the latest KDE software to enjoy. Highlights: the current release of KDE's Plasma Workspaces and Applications 4.10 adds a new screen locker, Qt Quick notifications, colour correction in Gwenview and faster indexing in the semantic desktop; new version of the Muon Suite for application install and upgrades; version 2 of our Reconq web browser adds a bunch of new features, such as inline spell check, new incognito mode, pinning tabs, improved error page and simplified Rekonq pages; Homerun - a full screen alternative to the Kickoff application menu; a new screen management tool..."
From Kubuntu 13.04
In this review I'll take you through my experience with Kubuntu 13.04 for a couple of days and my assessment of whether to upgrade from Kubuntu Precise or Quantal. I downloaded the 32-bit ISO (~ 1 GB in size) and installed it on my Asus K54C laptop with 2.2 Ghz Core-i3 processor and 2 GB RAM. 

Read more!