Category: Ubuntu


I was reading the only Xubuntu themed blog I have ever come across, Living With Xubuntu, and there was a link to a reddit thread about why people are switching from Ubuntu to Debain. The general theme from the thread was one that I’ve heard many times before: Ubuntu is bloated and Debian or Arch or Gentoo is lighter and better and you Ubuntu morons will see the light one day and switch to a real man’s distribution. And not once have I seen anyone mention that Ubuntu can be as light, if not lighter, than every distribution suggested. The trick is not to install the 700 mb GNOME Ubuntu turd that is their main edition, or even Xubuntu (which is a great distro/spin, but is a tad on the bloated side), but install the frickin UBUNTU MINIMAL CD . There’s a reason they call it the minimal cd, it’s only 12.7 mb. You want to avoid bloat, install a 13 mb system.

You want a lightweight functional Xfce system? Install the ubuntu minimall cd and then run “sudo apt-get install xfce4”. That’s it. You get an absolute bare bones Xfce desktop and all the goodness that comes with Ubuntu. Like drivers, tons of packages and a huge support system of forums and blogs. And if you want a GNOME free login manager to round it out, just run “sudo apt-get install lxdm”. And as a free bonus, you get LXDE as well! For all of 9 additional mbs! Not bloated! You get two bloat free desktops, on a system that actually frickin works out of the box.

Stay GNOME free by adding NetworkManager, Chromium, Pidgin, Parole, Aqualung, Mousepad, etc. It’s pretty easy to check and see if you’re “bloating” up your system: after you run “sudo apt-get install whatever” look at the list of dependent packages and the total size of the install. If there are a ton of packages that start with “gnome” or “libgnome” try to find another application. And there you go, a lightweight Ubuntu running a full featured Gtk desktop. This may become more common if the Xubuntu team blimps up their spin at the same rate the Unity team did with the main edition.

PDF-Shuffler

I came across a rare problem tonight: I need to merge slides from a Power Point slide presentation and a slide show I made in LaTeX Beamer. I hate the .ppt format, if I ever have to view a .ppt I install Impress, convert the file to a .pdf and uninstall Impress. But this time around I need to teach one lecture for a friend of mine, and she uses slides provided by the text book. About 50% of the slides are usable, but I need to make 20 or so slide of my own and add them. Since the text book slides have pictures and crap I don’t want to redo in Beamer, I needed to find a better way (insert David Cross electric scissors joke here).

PDF-Shuffler is an app I came across in the Ubuntu repos. It has a single python dependency and does a few things, but one thing very well: you can open as many .pdf’s as you want, it displays every slide from each .pdf in a grid, and you choose what order they go in. Any slide you don’t want, you simply delete. You can also resize and rotate slides. And that’s it. But since that’s all I needed it to do, that’s pretty sweet.

PDF-Shuffler

The first linux distribution I ever used was Ubuntu, and as it began to annoy me more and more with every release, my frustration finally boiled over and I ended up becoming a chronic distro-hopper. I moved to Xubuntu, then to Crunchbang, then to Debian+LXDE. What I discovered about myself is that I prefer distributions that don’t have a lot of default applications and dependencies. Ubuntu infuriated me with their integration of everything into evolution. I tried to remove the email client and I was told I would also be uninstalling the bulk of my desktop. That was the last straw. Next was Crunchbang, which is awesome, but but not updated as frequently as I liked. I was spoiled by Ubuntu’s 6 month release cycle, and as much as I liked Crunchbang, the old software began to wear on me. I then played around with a minimal Ubuntu+LXDE system, and while the installation was a simple, it didn’t feel like a distribution. That was the same issue that ended my usage of Debian+LXDE, it just never felt like anyone was in charge. That may sound odd, and it’s even a little odd to type, but whoever that Mario Behling guy is, he’s in charge of the project, and if something isn’t right, he’ll fix it, most likely.

Now there are other distributions that fit that description, Crunchbang and all the buntus comes to mind, but they both have their drawbacks. The new Crunchbang is built from Debian and I like the Ubuntu repositories more because of their inclusion of “non-free” packages. Linux nerds redefining the meaning of the word “free” drives me nuts. Free means I don’t have to pay for it. Free doesn’t mean I can sell it as my own as long as I credit the creator. Example: if some gives you a book at no cost, it’s free, even though you’re not allowed to copy it and sell it for profit. So the intel wireless driver I need during installation, but isn’t included because it’s not “free”, actually is free douchebags. But I digress. The other members of the buntu family are the reasons I have become such a huge fan of the LXDE desktop: they come with so much crap I don’t need and can’t easily remove that I just get angry. Lubuntu is truly lightweight, and flat out works. I’ve installed it on my media center, netbook, laptop and desktop, each one without a hitch. Yes, I know that sounds nutty, to install it on every computer I own, but it’s just that good. It’s both the best Ubuntu based distribution AND the best LXDE distribution.

I’m probably jinxing myself, but there is not one thing about Lubuntu I don’t like. Easy as hell to install? Check. LXDE desktop? With the latest components? Yep. Access to the Ubuntu repos? Uh hu. A minimal amount of applications in direct conflict with what appears to be the Ubuntu mission statement? You betcha. Fast as hell? So fast, it’s kind of odd. Why aren’t other distributions this fast? Hell, it even looks nice. The new Ubuntu and Xubuntu are ugly as hell. Lubuntu is a very pleasing blue. This is so weird for me; I used to strongly dislike Ubuntu. And now? I can’t shut up about are awesome one of it’s derivatives is. I attribute most of it to the use of LXDE, and what I can only assume is the amazing vision by that Behling fellow.

This guy gets it

Great post from K. Mandla about Ubuntu’s new default theme Link. I have noticed that a lot of Ubuntu and even Linux blogs are covering this as some sort of news story. Doesn’t Ubuntu come standard with like 10 themes? And doesn’t it also give you the ability to change your own wallpaper? What gripes my ass is that these same blogs should be spending their time talking about how increasingly unusable Ubuntu is becoming. I installed it a few weeks ago on my netbook, and to uninstall the default email client breaks the clock, and pretty much everything else, due to an insane amount of dependencies.

What I don’t get is why doesn’t Ubuntu follow more of a Debian distribution plan were you can select your desktop at install, and only the bare minimum applications are included? Since they roll in Synaptic anyways (which I love), it’s very easy for users to find and install new applications. They also include the Ubuntu software store, another means for users to add applications. Why does Ubuntu feel the need with their GNOME desktop to ram a bunch of applications down our throats? It makes sense for Microsoft to do so, but unless they plan on using a similar business model as they push further into the enterprise market, I just don’t see why they do it. The plus is, hopefully more Ubuntu users will switch to Debian.