Saturday, July 31, 2021

Linux Cinamon, KDE, XFCE Desktops and seven Linux Distributions

 



This post is about seven Linux Distributions, memory used when first booted, number of applications in the default menu, startup and shutdown, and Snap packages too. Also mentioned are a few snags you may enjoy when using KDE, or installing a second Ubuntu distribution. Contrary to popular thought, the memory used between several distributions with different Desktop configurations is relatively mild in the amount of memory used. The biggest differences is the number of menu entries in each of the distributions.

I write the memory used is relatively close because they all use less than one megabyte of memory. Unless you have an older computer, or are otherwise memory constrained, all of the Distributions I mention should not be a memory problem. Cinnamon I understand can be a memory hog, but in the Latest Mint, there is a memory check and reset if needed to limit the memory bleed. Also there is not clear indication what causes the memory bleed as of today. Things change quickly however, so what I write may be wrong or outdated.

I also included Snap packages, because they are either loved or hated by users. Loved because everything is configured and dependencies are included. Hated because Snap Packages can not be modified by the user. You get what the creator deemed proper, nothing more, nothing less.

In my situation, I tried an Ubuntu child which did not install Snap packages until a later upgrade. One of the packages was my web browser, which I sync across a few other devices. It looked horrible after sync, so I changed the settings. When I used my other devices the web browser looked horrible on them. Snap packages are not my cup of tea.

In that regard, everything Ubuntu or created from Ubuntu, with the exception of Linux Mint (as far as I am aware) will install snap packages at some point. If you are okay with Snap, Ubuntu is great. If Snap interferes with your settings and usage, you have been warned.

If you wish to add a second distribution on your computer, and your first Distribution is a flavor of Ubuntu or derived from Ubuntu, Grub is not going to be happy. All the Ubuntu derivatives I have tried are identified as “Ubuntu” in Grub. Grub, in my experience, will not create two Ubuntu entries. What I have experienced is one of the Ubuntu Installs loses it's Grub entry.

My main go to Linux is Debian Linux which I recently upgraded to Debian 11 Bullseye. I use the XFCE Desktop which makes a slight difference on memory used. Ditto for Endeavor OS. Linux Mint Distribution uses Cinnamon Desktop, KDE anything of course uses KDE Desktop.

KDE if you are not aware, is a little different in some important respects than the XFCE or Cinnamon Desktops. KDE is KDE centrist, and may not run some non KDE programs. XFCE and Cinnamon will run KDE applications. I have never experienced problems with KDE apps, or apps from other Desktops in XFCE or Cinnamon Desktop. Take that comment for what it is worth.

This may have changed since I last time I used KDE, but beware in general. If your data is stored in KDE applications, they may not export to a format you want. It does not seem like an issue at the beginning, but rears its ugly head down the road when you have a lot of information to export. It is important to me that any app I use does not hoard my data. By hoarding I mean there is no easy means to export my data from the application. KDE apps in the past did not export so the data could be used in other applications. If I wanted to change applications, I would end up doing unending CTRL + C and CTRL + V to copy my data into another format.

A great example of a well behaved application is ZIM Wiki. All the information I put into ZIM is of course displayed in Zim. However the information is stored in individual text files on the hard drive. If I ever want to replace Zim, I can delete it, and all my information is safe and readable.

In general, if you like to tinker with your Desktop and make many big and small changes, KDE is the go-to Desktop with Cinnamon second. XFCE is the most limited along with Mate, and can be boring to look at. On to what I started this post for:

 

Distribution

Memory usage at Boot up, Menu Entries, Startup and Shutdown,  Snap

 

Debian 11

522588 MB         ~ 43 Menu Entries            Fast                         Not by default


MX Linux 19.4

522588 MB         ~ 123 Menu Entries!        Fast                             Not by default


Endeavor OS 2021.04.1

525452 MB            ~ 47 Menu Entries       Fast                            Not by default


Feren OS, Kubuntu, KDE Neon

660236 MB        ~ 55 Menu Entries     Both Pauses                     Will add Snap


Kubuntu, Feren OS and NEON are based on Ubuntu Linux, so memory usage, menu entries, Startup and Shutdown and Includes Snap information should be about the same. Very nice desktop though!

I listed the menu entries, but my counting skills are not the sharpest, so I may be off a few numbers either way. MX Linux as noted has more menu entries than any other two Distributions combined. I am not privy to details, but I think this comes from the Anti X side of MX Linux. Anti X has so many menu entries, even a seasoned user could get lost in the menu. I am not sure why a distribution aimed at new users goes out of its way to stuff the menu with apps and options. I am more in line with elementary OS and Zorin Linux, less is better. I would rather add fifteen packages than remove thirty or more packages and/or menu entries.

A few points to remember are:

Memory usage is not really an issue for most semi new or new computers unless you are a graphics app heavy user. Even memory starved computers (64 bit) can run (almost) any distribution, though the user won’t be happy with the outcome. (At least a few distributions these days check available memory and will not install on low memory machines.) KDE is a tinkerers dream, and options seem endless. Cinnamon has enough desktop options to keep most users happy. XFCE is the most limited modifiable Desktop environment.

If you use KDE, ensure your KDE applications have a usable export options - to .txt or some such. Ubuntu based distributions are all similar, so expect the same results from different flavors. KDE also favors the use of Snap packages from what I (unofficially) read.

Finally, without modifying Grub Menu, Grub does not know what to do with two Ubuntu Distributions, one of them will lose its Grub entry. Ubuntu does have a Grub entry modify app and there are web


Thursday, July 22, 2021

Covenants, Brain Virus' and Racism

 

Covenant: A property covenant is an agreement between two or more parties regarding certain use of a piece of real property. The covenant will either benefit or burden the landowner. A covenant that burdens the landowner is also called a restrictive covenant.

In plain English, if you own a piece of property there is a document named a Covenant that tells you what you can and can not do with the property. Put up fences, trees, ponds, even how many related and not related people can live there, and lets not forget pets. Covenants dictate what type and how many pets a property can have on it.

For example, I live in a residential neighborhood that is thirty or more years old. My house is on a single lot. The covenant tells me, I can not modify the garage or driveway. I can have three, 4 legged pets (cats or dogs) and no poultry. Of course I can have one horse on the property as long as it is not a stallion.

In some of the older neighborhoods around town, the covenants are even more restrictive. For example in at least one section of the city, African American and Asian people are not allowed on the property unless they are Slaves. These covenants also have an exclusion with the property as, "White" only.

While no longer enforceable, but still all to present, this is a dirty little secret where I live. I am sure, this problem afflicts tens of thousands homes around the country. I live in a young state as far as States go, and the people of the past had to learn racism from somewhere. The problem is, even though these disgusting covenant entries are thankfully no longer enforceable, unfortunately, for reasons beyond my understanding, they are very difficult to impossible to remove.

I find it incongruous to almost incomprehensible that they remain and are very difficult to impossible get rid of. What brought this on was a very short discussion about, CriticalRace Theory and West Virginia protests.

The reason the discussion was so short was it took less than a minute for tempers to flare, mostly mine. The other half of the discussion believes (because cracker radio told them so) that it is laziness and lack of education that keeps Minority Peoples in the economic wasteland. It wasn't Jim Crow and equal opportunity.

I am not sure where I sit on the Critical Race Theory fence, but actual reading and a long life has led to a few observations. First, what we have been teaching ourselves for the past several hundred years about racism has not been productive. Let's try something new, it can't be worse.

"Brain Viruses", are a real phenomena effecting normal logical thinking by short circuiting the brain into a twisted preset belief system. It looks like Psychology Today at least agrees with me on the general idea. Slate.com takes the Brain Virus theory even further. In their article, "Why Are Conservatives More Susceptible to Believing Lies?"

The Slate article goes on to cite different reasons why Brain Virus exists. I think Conservatives are more susceptible to believe in lies (collective brain virus'), is conservatives live in a fear based world. In a fear based world, the pie is never big enough for everyone and therefore can not be shared with those deemed non worthy (not like them).

I need to add a sprinkling of religion as religion shares in the blame. The Methodist church is in a painful process of reconciling their dogma against the fact that many of the Methodist Founding Fathers were Slave Holders, and by default promoted Slavery.

Unfortunately, the Adult Version of our History, and that of much of the world has any amount of ugliness to it. Why we can not be adult enough to admit what our real history is, is beyond me. Why these documents named, Covenants, from an ignorant time, are allowed to still reflect thinking of the time they were created is beyond me. We can create legislature to modify Covenants if we only wish to.

Why there is this enormous amount of friction surrounding, Critical Race Theory may be explained by ignorance of recent history. Going back even one-hundred years it is apparent, not a lot has changed in a century. The current historic picture has been smudged to reflect how much we [haven't] changed our thinking.

Methodist's are not the only Religious People who should be having issues with their beliefs verses their actions. How many Christians sit in church and listen to or talk of treating each other with care and respect, saying hello and bumping fists with their pew neighbors, and once in the parking lot, forget the people on the poor side of town and the Homeless People they see daily to and from the drive from their bedroom community and work?

From a high level view we are one little planet surrounded dead space. Instead of arguing and coming to terms with, we need to start doing. Why are we letting outdated thinking run our our communities, our Church and our Covenants?


Friday, July 16, 2021

Stranger at the Door Danger Verses Reality

This year I joined an online neighborhood website. The kind of site that keeps you informed about what is going on in your neighborhood. Some of the information and posts by neighbors are very good, and some well...


One certain type of post bothers me a lot. These types of posts are all about the same in content and their ability to spread fear. A "neighbor" posts about a suspicious Car, Pickup Truck or Van idling or driving through the neighborhood two or more times.


Sometimes there are individuals who are going door to door to, "case" houses or run some sort of scam. They all end about the same way with the same vague description of a a white van, red car, black truck, one or two people walking and "looking" suspicious.


In short, these posts are high on fear and short on any real fact. No one has talked to these people, or asked if they need something. The Poster(s) are always sure they are here to break into their house an steal everything. A few days go by and another post of the same type appears.


The fact is, these people are living a Fear Based Life, and they fail to take common sense and common facts into consideration. People get lost driving or walking. Some people are selling Door to Door, and that is how they make their living. Others were given a false address. 

 

Anyone looking to break-in a home will probably not look the part. A very few people are looking for a house to break into, to steal whatever is worth stealing. Before you let yourself go down this road of paranoia, look at things from a high level.


Do you have insurance to replace your possessions? Do you have good relationships with your neighbors and do you look out for each other? Are strange people and vehicles around your house a part of your neighborhood? How many people do you personally know who have had trouble with someone who knocked on the door?


The answers to the above questions should be, yes, yes, no, and zero. If you do not have insurance, why not? Are your things not worth insuring? If you do not know your neighbors, why not? Effective neighborhood watches are the best deterrents to home crime. If you really know someone who knows someone who had trouble with someone at a front door, you are a rare individual.


Homes and apartments are robbed every day. But it will be a really rare event that your home or apartment is robbed. In the event someone knocks on your door and you do not recognize them through the peephole, saying, "Not interested, please leave" through the locked door, will usually suffice.


If you are not comfortable talking through the door, turn up your television or make some noise so the person at the door, knows someone is home, but they are not going to open the door. Many people tend to get quiet, but being quiet sounds the same as not being home. You do not want to be part of a home invasion because a stranger kicked in the door thinking you were not at home.


Take pictures of your possessions and send them to the cloud. Same with pictures of your receipts for your things. Do not keep cash or small valuables laying around. But most of all, do not allow yourself to fall into a fear based life.


As for Security Camera's, in most cases after a break-in, you will file a Police Report and file an Insurance Claim for stolen property. In the real world, and not the "Fear Based World", home break-ins and personal property theft are really low on the Police totem pole of importance. Police, Prosecutors and Criminals know these are revolving jail door crimes.


Life is full of risk. Every day you risk death by simply being alive. Celebrate being alive, and let the rest of life take care of itself. Let people living a fear based life, live their life without you.

 

I do or did know two people who's apartments had been broken into to commit robbery. One had a $5,000.00 bicycle he rode back an forth to work every day. He had moved into a new apartment where he didn't know anyone. After about a month, he had to leave town for a few days for business. Only one item was stolen from his apartment.


The second person I knew came home from work one day to find most of his possessions piled on a sheet in the center of his living room. There was a scrawled note on top of the pile of his things. "There is nothing here worth stealing" was written on the piece of paper.


Your house or apartment is only one of several around you. Everyone living around you has about the same possessions you do. Unless you are in habit of leaving an, "I'm not home" sign on your door, or you leave your door unlocked, your chances of having a break-in are about the same as all your neighbors chances of having a break-in. There is safety in numbers.



Monday, July 12, 2021

Solus 4.3 Fortitude Budgie on a USB Stick

 

This is a real quick blip about the newest Solus Linux. I downloaded and installed Solus 4.3 Fortitude Budgie to a USB. This is a just released version. I had installed and used Solus Linux in the past, but it always seemed a little rough around the edges to me, so it never lasted long on my hard drive. This version seems to be well polished and snappy running from a USB stick. It should scream installed on a hard drive.


This is not the default screen shot (first photo), or on the SolusLinux Homepage. I pulled this from the Background in the setting manager. I also changed the default dark settings, for me black is not a good fit for a desktop.

This is a shot of memory usage, using the "free" command from the command line. This is a big improvement over the previous version of Solus Linux Budgie, so this memory use drop is a big plus.

 This is a screenshot of the Software Center. Solus Linux Default is well stocked for my needs, but as you can see, there are enough separate categories of Software to meet almost anyone's needs.

I may install Solus Budgie at a later date. It is after midnight now, and not a good time to be playing with disks and Linux installs. In closing, if you have looked at Solus Linux before and were not impressed, you may wish to give Solus 4.3 Fortitude a go. It comes in Budgie, Gnome, Mate and Plasma, so there is a desktop for you in the mix.

Solus Linux in past versions was a well thought of, solid Linux Distribution, and I do not expect this version to be any different. Of course there may be a few minor glitches in the first weeks, but those are usually squashed rather quickly. In my short time running live, everything worked as planned.

I also checked out the Solus Linux Forum, and there have been some big changes there too since a year or so ago, when I used Solus Linux. The forums appear to be much friendlier and open to newer users. In the past, I found the Solus Forums rather blunt, verging on gruff. I think this time around Solus Linux will be a big hit, and all users will be happy they tried Solus Linux out and completed an Install.

If after further use from the live version, and free time at a reasonable daytime hour, and my opinions do not change, Solus 4.3 Fortitude Budgie may find a place on my hard drive. If or when it does, after some use, I will post a followup. In the moment though, I am excited by what I see.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Fear Mongering in America, News and Alt Right/Alt Left Rhetoric

 


Fear mongering is America Media's new idea of life as seen, read, and heard through most media outlets. The violence of your favorite action movies has moved off the screen into news, talk radio and media conversation. Just yesterday in conversation, I listened to blow by blow shootings in cities in five different states. Details about the senseless violence all ended with the idea that, "No place is safe any more".

As I was listening, it reminded me of the days of McCarthyism from my childhood. US Senator Joseph McCarthy whipped America into a frenzy of fear and distrust of strangers and your neighbors with visions of communism and socialism coming to a house near you. People were scared to talk with one another for their friend or neighbor may report them for something they did or did not say. People whispered to there spouses, and talked sports to friends and non family.

No one dared give a public opinion for fear their opinion would be reported and they would come under scrutiny, have their life and choices questioned, and perhaps face questioning or a a trial. The main targets of McCarthyism were the types of people who are in the media today, Celebrities, Government Employees, Academics, and the general public. Nothing said or done was off limits.

In the last years, the unfounded fear of violence has taken on a new persona, Black Lives Matter, and the far left and right "extremists" are harbingers of death and destruction. Generally anyone with a different opinion or possibly a gun is suspect. The media has found it easier to sit in the office and churn stories about national and local violence than going out to find real news to report on. After all, what has more effect, blood splattered walls, bodies in the street or a new program a local business is starting to bring the community together?

No one living anywhere, with a few exceptions has ever been really, "Safe". Disease, Infection, Natural Disaster, Insects and Animals, all have done their part to take a toll on otherwise healthy life. Choking, Cuts, Broken Bones, Bad Teeth, personal and vehicle Accidents, Plane Crashes, walking under ladders or construction sites, all can be lethal.

Car crashes, drunk drivers, road rage, and insanity have replaced causes of death that were common one-hundred years ago when there were no antibiotics, and any injury could be life threatening due to infections. If anyone wishes for a safe life, like they had, "In the Good old Days", they need to un-filter selective memories and remember the world as it really was.

Modern causes of death in recent decades past were continuous wars, World War Two, Korea, Vietnam, Middle East Wars, the list goes on and on. Where there was no a war being fought, many areas of the world suffered through starvation and genocide and still do. Life has never been safe. We live until we die. Make better choices and hopefully live longer. The keyword is, "Live". Whether you live in a prison of your own making or live life on the wild side, there is one equalizer, everyone of us will die of something. Grow a pair and get on with living!

Here are some links for further reading. I found the article, "Media Fear Tactics" especially interesting. There is a blip from each article below the link.

Fearmongering

"Fearmongering or scaremongering is a form of manipulation which causes fear by using exaggerated rumors of impending danger."

Are we living in the new Red Scare?

"My point is not simply to highlight the fact that America has done bad things in the past. Rather, I want to emphasize that media outlets are portraying China in a manner akin to the red scare"

Mass Media, Crime, and the Discourse of Fear

"As one vice president of several local stations pointed out, “covering crime is the easiest, fastest, cheapest, most efficient kind of news coverage for TV stations. News directors and station owners love crime.”"

Media Fear Tactics

"It would be interesting if the standards of Truth in Advertising were applied to television news as they sometimes are to television commercials. In that unlikely situation, TV news writers would be required to use phrases and words that convey accurate information – as opposed to the phrases and words they use today."



Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Cryptocurrencies Dirty Little Public Secret

Cryptocurrency, I thought encryption kept every amount and transaction hidden. That I understood was the original purpose of Cryptocurrency. Anything, especially illegal items could be purchased on the Dark Web and paid for with Cryptocurrency, which was supposedly untraceable to an individual. Instead, when looked at closer, it reads like somebody has been lying about Cryptocurrency from the start.

The first article from "androidguys" caught my attention, and within a few minutes I found out more than I ever wanted to know about, "Cryptocurrency". Below are the highlights of what I read. Blockchain it appears, is another word for, "Permanent Government Enabled Tracking Cookie":

 

How to pay your cryptocurrency taxes in 2021?

"In the US, cryptocurrencies are considered property. They are taxable just like any other property, including capital assets like bonds and shares."

 

How Does the IRS Track Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies?

 

"This fascinating question has a surprisingly simple answer: the IRS goes straight to the heart of the system by consulting with blockchain companies, notably [Chain analysis] Chainalysis. This allows the Service to stay “one step ahead” of money launderers, drug dealers, human traffickers, and yes, suspected tax evaders, too.


The “blockchain” is the tamper-resistant public ledger where financial transactions using cryptocurrency are recorded. Because “blocks” (records) in the blockchain are encrypted, with the information presenting as jumbled string of letters and numbers, many people assume that the wallet or account, while publicly viewable, effectively remains private."


Finally, if those articles were not enough of a wake up call, this article was published last month.


The Biden Administration Took a New Stance on Crypto.

"The report says cryptocurrency “poses a significant detection problem by facilitating illegal activity broadly including tax evasion.”"

 

Communication and Cryptocurrency are now on equal footing. They are monitored and tracked by Governments around the world, why we are told we should be terrified because one of the supersize Internet company's want to track us.

 

Says the Wolf to the Rabbit, "Oh, don't worry about me, Just look at that hungry Skunk watching you over there." It all stinks.



Musings July 2021

 

We don't want Homeless People around us. We don't want Prostitution. We don't want other vice. Yet we refuse to provide a legal way for the above mentioned people to make a living.


It may be Mark McGuire was the first Major League Baseball player to beat Roger Maris' home run record, but I doubt Mark McGuire was the first professional player on steroids. Mark McGuire had the unfortunate timing of having steroid testing catch up with doping.


When you buy produce that is, "Fresher than fresh", that means you are buying produce that should still be attached to the Mother plant.


When will we not think about where our neighborhood ends, and start thinking about other people as we race through their neighborhood?


When will we stop thinking, my city, state, country and start thinking, "Our World"?


Be still, and know that I am God Psalm 37:7. Stillness is the language God speaks; everything else is a bad translation. ― Eckhart Tolle


The Bible is a grade school primer for Christians. Instead of hiding behind the Bible, people need to grow through the Bible.


A restaurant owner here in town, compared our State Covid Policies to Hitler. When challenged on the media, he retracted his statement, saying he was angry and is "now sorry". Isn't that like robbing a bank, killing a few people and saying, "I'm sorry, I was angry", and expecting it to go away?


The most serious part of a relationship, is taking responsibility for your partners feelings, and emotions. If you can't do that, you are a child playing house.


Coyotes, Dogs, and Shady Strangers, oh my! Walking Staffs and Canes are very effective "legal" personal defense weapons that will help you feel safer and more in control. Sing shots are very good for keeping a distance, though may be illegal, not really sure, but I doubt anyone is going to press it if you are an adult and have one on your person.

Linux Cinamon, KDE, XFCE Desktops and seven Linux Distributions

  This post is about seven Linux Distributions , memory used when first booted, number of applications in the default menu, startup and shut...