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Last week 3 of my favorites distributions launched their updated versions, Elementary OS Freya, Linux Mint Debian Edition and Antergos (basically an updated ISO). As I am a “burned out” Geek, I can’t stop thinking of changing OS on my main machine (once more).

So breakdown of these 3 candidates :

Elementary : based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, with Pantheon as it’s Desktop Environment (homebrewn), sporting in-house created apps and with a certain design in mind. Elegant, sleek, and fast but has some stirred some controversy due to payment methods in download section.

Linux Mint Debian : based on Debian stable with bits of rolling release :

LMDE is however slightly faster than Linux Mint and it runs newer packages. Life on the LMDE side can be exciting. There are no point releases in LMDE 2, except for bug fixes and security fixes base packages stay the same, but Mint and desktop components are updated continuously

I have been using Cinnamon as the default Desktop Environment on all my current OSes, thus I am fairly familiar with it. Why choose it over its’ Ubuntu base? Debian’s semi-rolling release mostly, but sometimes I feel like Mint is kind of.. boring (some might say that boring is good when talking about production machines)

Antergos : based on Arch, meaning living with a truly rolling release distribution (with all it’s pros and cons), though I have yet to encounter a problem on my current setup. This time, I’m more inclined on using GNOME. One of the reasons I’m not fully into Antergos now, is AUR, the way to install apps maintained outside the official repositories (plus Steam not being officially supported).

P.S Installing Debian Testing GNOME may be a good choice. We will see though.

 

Synapse

I have been using Antergos Arch on my laptop for about 20 days now and I’m still going strong about using it. The system, codenamed Synapse, boots in about 25 seconds, including password input, to desktop ready state (Desktop environment, Conky and Plank).

Antergos Arch, I used the Cinnamon version for my laptop, did not need much change from my part to fit my needs, only the much needed settings changes, some software install/uninstall and partial iredesktop tweaking. It’s only shortcoming was the absence of a Bluetooth applet, which can be easily be bypassed using the Terminal commands for Bluetooth connections.

On the software side of things, my first changes were to uninstall just three applications : Chromium Browser, Xnoise and Totem video player. But I went on to install the following :

Firefox Browser
Thunderbird
VLC video player
Rhythmbox
Minitube
GIMP for image manipulation
Conky (from AUR)
Guake dropdown terminal
and Archey3 for some Terminal ASCII art

And that’s it, for the time being not much else is needed in terms of software (and I believe more would mean bloat).

Some other changes came in the form of applets, extensions, desklets and themes for Cinnamon. I installed Weather and Places applets with the Maximus extension. When it comes to theming Cinnamon, I manually installed a couple of dark GTK3 themes along with the following Cinnamon Spices, constantly changing between :

Dark Void
iOS (personally tweaked a bit)
Numix Frost (came preinstalled)
Loki

Thus coming to my latest desktop :

Leaving Google behind…

When I first decided to quit every aspect of my online life, one of the steps was to leave Google and all it’s products behind.

But… when I created this blog, I wanted to track the page hits and visits. One of the tools necessary was Google Analytics, so I linked my @bytesoup mail with Google, and afterwards started using Google Hangouts and Google Plus for the whole of my communication. Also Android needsĀ a Google account to use it on it’s full potential. So this “necessary” evil turned me back to my old habits.

As I have now found a way to check my blog through other means, I have left Google Hangouts and Google Plus behind and have been using Firefox both on my desktop and Android phone, the only thing tying me with Google is the Play Store. But I have decided to use an alternative solution, F-Droid. I believe leaving behind the easiness of some of Google’s products will need a getting used to process (which will be documented), but I think it is worth it. The only product I am going to miss is the personalised Google Maps.

On this process, I will also change my search engine to DuckDuckGo.

P.S Facebook stays installed mostly for communication reasons.

Site Tweaking

Minor tweaking no1 : I integrated some social sharing buttons in ByteSoup today, as you can see in the bottom of this post, so if anyone cares to share my rantings feel free to “Push the Button”.

Minor Tweaking no2 : Also automated posting in my various social accounts, currently Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for now.

Manually install GTK themes in Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a desktop environment both elegant (through the GTK 3+ engine) and usable (reminding a traditional desktop setup). One of the great features it holds, is the easiness when it comes to installing themes for the taskbar and menu, it can be achieved through the System Settings -> Themes tab.

My only “bug” was that, even if you had installed a dark theme (like Dark Void) the global ones (for Nemo, Rhythmbox, Banshee, Totem etc), are restricted to white andĀ  gray variants like MintX and adwaita. I wanted something like GNOME’s global dark theme.

My online search has directed me to installing GTK themes through PPAs, which incidentally work without hassle. But I don’t want to clutter my PPA list with sources for these kind of things, I like keeping things minimal even in that. So the only alternative was to install my downloaded dark themes manually.

The steps needed are below :

First of all, open Nemo as root and navigate to :

/usr/share/themes

and paste the extracted folders of your themes

Afterwards from the Terminal :

tasos@Synapse ~ $ cd /usr/share/themes/
tasos@Synapse ~ $ sudo chown -R tasos <name of theme>/

This is it. Now the new global theme can be found under System Settings -> Themes-> Window Borders and System Settings -> Themes -> Controls.

PS. There may be a small bug when showing the thumbnail when choosing your themes, which doesn’t affect the theme itself.