Slackel Openbox, a rant

It seems to be not so happy and sunny time for me. Happened to stumble into one more tearful installation.
First I decided that I do not rant... but I couldn't resist. I had expectations...
Reading that Slackware/Salix-based Openbox was released made me definitely excited. So much that I promptly downloaded 64bit iso, wrote it to USB and installed.
Installer was of Salix. Couple of things to repeat over. Read the text! Especially dangerous point is when partitioning defaults coolly for wiping your hdd clean.
Ah, yes, and your install-files are this time in /slackel folder.


Let's start with the only good thing - the file manager is Spacefm - the best that can be found. Though, it's not the last version, but the older one ready to take from Sourcery. As a hint - last versions' installer from Spacefm download-page works very well, no sweat - all deps happen to be preinstalled in Salix.
Spacefm is also used as desktop-provider.
There is only one icon on desktop - Slackel online. Which is a bit ...err... strange as mentioned page contains pityfully little info. No documentation, tutorials and such. Well, but one can learn a bit greek here and there.

There is a big stuffy Conky... a lot people love extensive Conkys. I don't. I like Conky as source of info, not as bloody fancy jukebox.

Panel at bottom is fbpanel, not tint2 which would seem to me more a flexible choice. At the same time, there are out-commented tint2 in, and a folder in .config.
Talking of leftover crap - there are more to find: libreoffice, pcmanfm ...
A bit more cleaning up, perhaps?

There is no proper compositor installed. And that's Compton, not oldish and less-configurable xcompmgr. Sure, it's not in repos... is it really a problem, now?

Menu on panel and rightclick one are complitely different ... In looks and in structure. This is not good and logical at all. I would say even it's wickedly evil - meant to drive users nuts.

Mime: All txt files default to Abiword... I'm sure the author is not using Abiword for editing confs. Why it's left like that for users?
Sure, changing mime files is not a rocket science, but still.

Logout in fbmenu goes stright out, reboot and shutdown do the same. No menu between for picking your options. Quite irritating the first time when you want to see how exit-menu is built - and you find two things - that it's not and then yourself looking at gdm...

Show-hide plugin in fbpanel has funny way of 'showing' - it starts from leftmost task. Means, your last active window will be on top only if it was created first.

Apps: I would remove/replace at least 50% of them. That means, system, settings and tools mostly stay - and those are heritage of Salix. And couple of other things. But not Midori, for gods sake. Or why should one use a media player with name like Whaaw! (exclamation mark is not mine)?... There are a lot well-established players which mostly even work. And so on.
Then we have obconf in settings, but obmenu in utilities (that's fbmenu)... in desktop menu they are in defferent menus too, but those menus have different names, for further thrill.

What a mess.
It's my first installed distro from which I can't find anything positive to learn or copy.
When one feels need to remaster, then maybe it should be not done in such a unthinking hurry?
End of rant. I am in hurry too - have to do some formatting.

PS! If one wants to try easy Slack with no worries - go for Salix. Or, if craving for tiny and strange and a bit broken, go for Puppy Slacko.
Slackel seems one pointless respin to me....


Mystery of PC-BSD

A funny story of unsuccess and bafflement...
So I wanted to try out a BSD. I picked, warily, the simplest of them - PC-BSD. Downloaded 9.1 UsbLive version, wrote the img with WinImageWriter and booted.
Boot was abysmally slow, riddled with cryptic error-messages. Then, after an eternity, it asked if it can expand files... 'and the answer is yes', emphatically.
Then it rebooted! And loaded again what seemed a new eternity... then display wizard appeared and inquired if the resolution is right. It wasn't. Several attempts to suggest the right one ended with approximately 1 minute console view and after that: 'not possible'. So I let it have a wrong one and proceeded to desktop. Which was kinda slow and laggy.
Then I discovered that 5,6 Giga image was obviously too limited in size to have a browser...
And the stupid thing didn't have install option at all! What-the-hell?!
I felt enraged enough to promptly reboot - and intrigued enough to download install-usb.

I downloaded just-appeared 9.2 Usbfull, wrote it to USB in Linux using dd, and booted.
After lengthy delay menu appeared, and after 5 seconds - before I managed to read menu-items, it booted to default. Fuck. Reboot. Hit space to halt countdown. Read menus. Fuck. Nothing of interest there. Go default.
After more lengthy delay isotope-wallpaper appeared. After some more delay language-selector appeared.
I clicked 'next' and could pick a desktop (default is kde) and some more general packages (like various developments, compiz, etc). No problems there, desktop and window-manager choices are quite extensive. I chose Xfce and Openbox.
'Next' - Disk choices.
Default was zfs to first hdd, all.
I clicked 'customize', then 'advanced'... Menu looked nothing like screenshot from 'Handbook'. Well...
I picked 'ada1s4' as install-partition, and - I couldn't pick ufs. There simply wasn't that option.
What? Where? Fuck? Cancel.
I then tried 'expert' install, typed 'sysinstall' to terminal, navigated back and forth, picked this and that, created root (ufs2) and swap. Commit. Error - can't write from usb blah-blah...
Deep breath. Count to hundred. Think.
OK, install zfs then, you bastard (and no bootloader - as 'Handbook' says if you are going to multiboot from already existing bootloader).
No problems with usb at all, now - the thing installed OK (it took awhile).
Trying to convince Grub2 that there IS bsd. Googling and searching. Trying this and that - and no success whatsoever, no boot.
Bloody fuck!
Downloaded older 9.1 usbfull. Install looked and was exactly the same - no ufs option. Cancel. &^%$ %$##^!
So, it boils down to if I want to experiment with installing zfs+bootloader (for getting valid boot code) - and very probably having to restore overwritten MBR.
I am not sure I want...
And I still can't understand WHY THERE IS NO UFS option available for me.
Edit: It came out that PC-BSD folks simply decided not to support ufs anymore. Ups! Taking to account that manuals there seem to be updated not especially slowly - then one might expect updated Handbook in a year, surely... Edit ends
Well, I think I leave BSD alone for a while. No use to risk with stroke.

Edit: Just for fun and giggles - I also dowloaded GhostBSD 3.1 Lxde amd64 (just after pc-bsd fiasco), wrote the img two times and results are:
a) In Linux, format with GParted, then dd, according to 'handbook'.
Boot messages: No bootloader, no kernel. End.
b) In Windows XP, format with HP usb writer, then winImgwriter, as adviced.
A lot of text (progress!), riddled with multitude of errors. X couldn't start because there were no 'screens' nor any 'devices' available. End.
That was that. Edit ends.


Puppy Slacko

What arouse my interest was - It's archaic looks (means Jwm), cluttered desktop (my desktops doesn't have a single icon), it's custom soft (package manager and pupcontrol), and it being slackware-based. I did 'full' install to my desktop machine. It was a mistake, and here comes why.

I wrote image with Unetbootin to USB and booted succesfully to live session. Boot was fast alright. I also liked orderly-looking colorful boot-text format :)
Puppy detected video, sound and net without any problems. Memory usage was approx 80Mb after installing Conky (means, very nicely tiny). Apps reacted fast.
'Desktop' looks indeed wonderfully horrible, as was expected from screenshots.
There are partitions' icons on desktop by default - 13 in my (desktop) case. Pure horror. When clicked/mounted, icon gets border and red cross at corner - which in Puppys' drive mounter app seems to indicate 'unmounted'. Something is not entirely right here.
There are whole bunch of icons in upper left corner - which make sense only when opening a menus is a difficult task.
Actions tend to be 'one-click springs it'.
Whole layout looks to be oriented to tablet-size touchscreen thingies.

Menus are seriously cluttered. Various kinds of settings seem to be all available in Pupcontrol... why to duplicate them in foot-long lists in menus?
Apps... Roxfiler is one of the quite useless file managers in my opinion (lacking devices and tabs), and urxvt-terminal doesn't impress also. Cutting it short - I would uninstall a lot of default apps.
Wanting to be positive, there is no whining about text editors (Geany and Leafpad).
There is that - I am using desktop machine, and Puppy is not a desktop distro.

Install to HDD failed. Installer couldn't find vmlinuz etc in it's root, nor could it show/find mounted iso. But when I gave it a second try, it claimed that Puppy already exists... do you want to upgrade. Well, why not. And the thing found it's files somewhere and installed like lighting. Mighty odd.
My Grub2 master bootloader marked Puppy as 'unknown linux'. Funny.

Pupcontrol is nice thing. Really everything together. IF it also works all the way - I do not know. I didn't bother to click through everything. But I liked its looks better than many other control centers.

Puppy package manager. A disappointment.
- The thing doesn't remember most of settings, nor the size of window (as some other apps too). And it's in Setup menu... ??
- it seemingly installed the same library from 3 different repos as 3 actual libraries.
- it didn't 'find' things.
- only thematic grouping of packages is... bad.
- when updating databases, 'any key'(no) does not work, only 'enter'(yes) works.
- most of those thousands of files one sees flashing by when updating, disappear somewhere - one does not see them in themes. Are they in cryptically named packages? Or not really available?
- There is no info about packages. You really don't know what the package is (one-liner is not real info), or where it got installed.
- window what appears when you click a package contains a lot useless text. Missing dependency list kinda disappears in it.
... and, never mind.

a) Puppy-vanilla is not for desktop computer.
b) ... and needs some polish.
c) it's fast and agile.
d) ... and surprisingly customizable. 


(Re)partitioning for desktops

Things to remember ... And I talk of MBR-based things, not LVM (but see 'monumental' guide here)  or whatever else.

We, desktop-using amateurs, do not do partitioning very often. So it seems to be every time a forgotten mysterious thing and errors are easy to come.
When I repartitioned my sdb, I found myself a bit lost couple of times. Following are some facts and philosophies of a Big rePartitioning. (And it's not a guide 'how big I should make my root and home and should I make separate var'. Do google for that.)

- There can be only four primary partitions per physical disk. After the last one is used, you can not create any new partitions! So, use them wisely... at least the last one should house your extended partition (which then contains logicals). Logicals have limit too, but it's a lot bigger - no practical worries here.
- It's not wise to partition your disk - in a extencive way - from installed distro. There are limitations - things you simply can't do. Use Live USB. Any distro with Gparted (probably the best partition manager) will do. Or, if you want to have all the best dedicated tools - Parted Magic Live USB is your choice.
- You don't need primaries for Linux - it can live nicely on extended/logical. But BSD, for example, requires primary for installation. So does Windows...
Logicals start with number 5... means, when you have only one big extended, then your first distro sits on sdx5. Then there is a swap and you add couple of distros, and/or put your homes onto separate parts... and very soon you end up with numbers in tens... and those beginning with 1 are listed before 5 too. Which looks silly.
- ext4 is complitely ok for everyday desktop Linux use. No need for btrfs, reiser, xfs et cetera - one day it can create a problem (having a bunch of mixed filesystems).
- When repartitioning - if you have spare OTHER disk, archive/copy everything onto it. And delete old partitions. It's dramatically more time-consuming to move partitions, than to delete / create new ones. The difference is tens of times.
- Make a plan. What goes first, what comes later, how big you want all those parts. Remaking them afterwards takes again a lot of time.

A week ago I rearranged all my ten-plus partitions:
- I put my two mainstay distros onto first two primaries,
- And made third primary for future BSD testing.
- Fourth contains extended/logicals with all my other Linux partitions:
Swap is first. 'Common' is second - for all distros to keep various user-files on. It kinda replaces separate homes. Configs stay in their proper places, and are only (partially) back-upped to Common.
And then come different distros I play with. Plus unallocated area for new logicals.

- PS! I also have ext4 partition on different HDD, for real backup, like whole distro backups with fsarchiver. I have this partitions' copy also on external HDD (yes, I have experienced hard disks stopping to work, all of sudden).
For how-to backup with fsarchiver, and how-to get distros work again in new homes, look here.

What I want to say with this short and general post, is: when all those wildly happened partitions turn really bothersome and unconvinient; make a plan according to your needs, think it over, and remake your partitions, hopefully in future-proof way.
And do not forget about backups! Well, after first-time manual reinstall (3-4 hours confing versus fsarchiver 10 minutes) - it tends to be easier to remember.


Netinstall Jessie to Sid, Openboxed

After dist-upgrade two weeks ago serious problems appeared in Vsido (Sid with experimental repos enabled) - CPU-usage went up, as did memory-usage. Some people couldn't even boot... - (upgraded) xorg and nvidia driver conflicted.
So I thought of flying a bit lower (without 'experimental') and netinstalled pure 'sid' from scratch. Well, and I had messed up my Vsido a bit, while playing around.

Do take a look to previous netinstall post here.
What follows here is mostly what I found to be 'different and strange or silly'.

Making Sid:
Rebooted after install and went stright for /etc/apt/sources.list.
Changed things to sid:
#sources to sid
deb sid main non-free contrib
deb-src sid main non-free contrib

# added debian multimedia
deb sid main non-free
Security (added by install) goes out - no such thing in Sid.

One can add some repos. But - you have to install also their keyrings:
aptosid, siduction (I did not try them), spacefm (no success, keyserver timed out)
- sudo apt-get install deb-multimedia-keyring
- apt-get install also to: aptosid-arhive-keyring, siduction-archive-keyring
- with spacefm it's a bit different, as root, do:
gpg --keyserver --recv-keys 0x01937621 0x107165A1
# when successful,
bash -c 'gpg --export -a 01937621 107165A1 | apt-key add -'

But as said, no success here - and I installed it from downloaded 'deb'.

When sources are ready:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Everything seemed to be fine - no errors, no things 'not upgraded'.

Making ze colorful picture:

Then I installed Openbox and other essentials:
Only thing I thought of doing differently was swapping xfce4-terminal to roxterm. But, xfce4-terminal wanted a lot less deps - so it stayed.
Lightdm install with --no-install-recommends gave 3 times less dependencies. A lot of gnome trash went away. Lightdms' version 1.6 is already this new fucked-up one - no hackable greeter.ui file, no session picker in center-menu.
As a side-note: If using Synaptic, also do not forget to remove 'check' from Preferences 'install reccommends by default' - saves you from a lot strange junk.

Installed smxi and when trying to install Nvidia drivers, got message that kernel 3.9.1 amd64 (installed by Debian Installer) has no headers and there isn't any in repo too. Doh! I decided not to think too deeply over it, and installed liquorix 3.8.13 kernel - and Nvidia installed without problems. Strange, though.
One more observation: If you want to clean up useless xorg drivers with smxi - you have to run xorg at least once before.

Rebooted for new kernel and, as usual, ran sgfxi in console to get that installed Nvidia working (it goes like that every first-time-installation).

Holy moment! Login to Openbox ... and do all usual stuff (again, look up the previous openbox posts).
Let's list here only some strange happenings, odd outcomes:
- When Debian had still first, native kernel, then booting text ran small. After change to Liquorix, text turned big (res 640). Changing resolution bigger in grubs' conf doesn't work... Me, baffled. 
Edit: Took whole menuentry from Sids' grub.cfg, made 41_sid file in master-Grub /etc/grub.d, copy/pasted menuentry - and Sids' console resolution turned to nice 1024x768. I guess that crucial lines here were (omitted by master-grub):
set gfxpayload=keep
insmod gzio

Irritatingly, I also got several penguin pictures displayed before initrd load... got rid of them by adding following kernel parameter: 'logo.nologo'. Edit ends

- Compton: As usual, missed a lot of deps. I installed everything, even asciidoc. But, 'make install' failed anyway - with some line in source error. Jeez... so I ended up copying the comptons' executable to /usr/bin as per usual.
- Showdesktop and exit scripts didn't work. Both are python, so I installed a bunch of python stuff - thinking that error is there. It wasn't - it was missing 'wmctrl'.
- I did adduser username sudo (which was complitely ok), and was a bit confused why it still didn't work. I forgot to install 'sudo', that's why ...
Moral here is - it pays of to make precise list of 'essential things to install' - and also to follow it.
- For some reason my boxes bios clock lately insist of being 3 hours incorrect... Here helps installing 'ntp' which then takes time from nets' server.
- Firefox doesn't save to ntfs partition... ups, file manager too. Need to install 'ntfs-3g' and 'fuse'. Last time when Openboxing Wheezy, I got them probably automagically when playing with smxi.
- And one more funny thing: I happened to stick mother-in-laws' Kindle to my Linux box - and bloody thing refused to accept 'umount' as eject. Well, you have to install 'eject'... then it ejects.

Everything seems to work now (knock the wood). Memory-usage is the same as with my Vsido install (unborked) - 160M. And no funny peakings with CPUs.