VS

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 :

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 and  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.

Installing ownCloud server

So my brother gave me a gift the other day. Access to a dual-core Debian Virtual Machine server wth 4gb of RAM and 100gb HDD. While thinking how to take advantage of the 100% available machine with a static IP, an idea popped in my mind. I had read about ownCloud as a private storage space, and I wanted to give it a try. What better use for my server. These are (roughly) the steps I took.

After installation of the base system (Debian 7.8) was complete, my first steps was to turn the stable version to a pure testing release. I changed my sources to pure testing in the /etc/apt/sources.list with :

 deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian testing main contrib non-free
deb-src http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian testing main contrib non-free
deb http://security.debian.org/ testing/updates main contrib non-free
deb-src http://security.debian.org/ testing/updates main contrib non-free

Afterwards I upgraded my system, it needed 300mb of new software. Thankfully the connection was fast to download them.
Next step was creating a new user for my daily use (there was only root user available up until then) with the adduser command :

root@snf-629784:~# adduser tasos
Adding user `tasos’ …
Adding new group `tasos’ (1000) …
Adding new user `tasos’ (1000) with group `tasos’ …
Creating home directory `/home/tasos’ …
Copying files from `/etc/skel’ …
Enter new UNIX password:
Retype new UNIX password:
passwd: password updated successfully

And gave my new user, sudo capabilities with :

 usermod -a -G sudo

My system was ready, it was time to install ownCloud server. The best tutorial was found here

Specifically firstly I downloaded the Release Key of the server :

 cd /tmp
 wget http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/isv:ownCloud:community/Debian_7.0/Release.key
 apt-key add - < Release.key

And added the ownCloud repository :

echo 'deb http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/isv:/ownCloud:/community/Debian_7.0/ /' >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/owncloud.list

To let me finally install the server :

 apt-get update
 apt-get install owncloud

I hadn’t previously installed mysql, so I needed to install and setup a database

apt-get install mysql-server

After the installation is complete, I had to provide a password (twice for confirmation) for the root user of the mysql. In order to be able to configure it though some more commands are needed to be able to run mysql :

 mysql -u root -p

That granted me access to the mysql server to be able to create a database :

 CREATE DATABASE owncloud;

In order to assign privileges to a new MySQL user to handle database operations for ownCloud, which will be used when gaining access to the ownCloud server through the web interface :

 GRANT ALL ON owncloud.* to 'owncloud'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'password;

This was it. All other operations can be handled in the web interface (which will ask creating a user and pointing towards the database giving the user/password configuration stated previously, on your first login) accessed from the http://xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx/owncloud (or domain/owncloud).

Farewell #!

After reading Corenominal’s post for the discontinuing of CrunchBang Linux, a feeling of sadness overwhelmed me. I am still a Linux noob in terms of knowledge, but I know and have tried almost every distribution out there,   CrunchBang was my constant, the distribution I knew I would turn if I could not settle in any other.
I know it is just software but just hearing this kind of news I feel like something I thought that would always be there, will not be.
Farewell old “friend”, and I wish all the best to Mr. Newborough for one of the greatest distros of the last decade.