My laptop has a Legacy BIOS and HDD.
  1. In 8/2018 I installed Linux Mint 19.0 Cinnamon.
  2. In 4/2020 I changed to Ubuntu GNOME 20.04.
  3. In 9/2020 I changed to Ubuntu MATE 20.04.
  4. In 11/2020 I changed to Kubuntu 20.10.
In 2/2021 I changed to a laptop with UEFI and SSD.
  1. Installed Kubuntu 20.10 again.
  2. In 4/2021 I changed to Fedora 34 KDE.
  3. In 10/2021 I changed to Manjaro 21 Xfce.
  4. In 2/2022 I changed to Endeavour 2021.12 LXQt.
  5. In 3/2022 I changed to openSUSE Tumbleweed KDE.
  6. In 7/2022 I changed to Pop!_OS 22.04 LTS.
  7. In 9/2022 I changed to Solus 4.3 Budgie.
  8. In 10/2022 I changed to UbuntuDDE Remix (Deepin).
  9. In 10/2022 I installed Nitrux, but it quickly failed.
  10. In 10/2022 I changed to MX Linux (Xfce).
  11. In 2/2023 I changed to Ubuntu Unity 22.10. Soon, an update killed it.
  12. In 2/2023 I changed to Zorin OS 16 Core.
  13. In 3/2023 I installed PCLinuxOS 2023-02, but it quickly failed.
  14. In 3/2023 I changed to Fedora 37 Kinoite.
  15. In 4/2023 I changed to Nobara 37.
  16. In 6/2023 I installed QubesOS 4.1.2, but quickly decided it's not for me.
  17. In 6/2023 I changed to ParrotOS Home 5.3.
  18. In 8/2023 I changed to Garuda Dr460nized KDE.

TL;DR: Maybe my favorite so far is Fedora KDE using X. Reliable yet lots of updates, close to devs.

How I distro-hop

I install on bare metal, using pretty much the installer's default settings.

  1. Put ISO images for 2 or 3 new distros on a USB stick, with Ventoy. Some installs fail, so good to have a plan B distro to try next.

  2. Review any unusual install steps for the new distro(s).

  3. Do two sets of backups to external hard disks. Backups - Linux Software Do a quick check of each backup to make sure the files really are okay.

  4. Do any hardware changes (such as change SSD block size) or software tests (such as restore from snapshot) that I want to try but that might destroy the OS.

  5. Boot from USB stick into live session.

  6. Test to see that backup disk can be read from this distro.

  7. Disconnect backup disk.

  8. Start the install.

  9. I usually do the default installation (automatic partitioning), with disk encryption, then use the system with default theme and layout. I prefer no swap, and Btrfs or some filesystem I haven't tried before.

  10. I always have one user named "user1" (UID 1000) and name the machine "laptop1".

  11. I use the default apps except that I always use Firefox, KeePassXC, Thunderbird, VSCodium, Akregator. Maybe I'm starting to zero in on simple image editor (Pix, Gwenview), file manager (Nemo, Dolphin ?).

    I use Flatpak for my standard major apps: often Flatpak version is newer than repo version, never have to worry about going backwards in versions, and immutable systems are going with Flatpak. Thunderbird beta is not available in Flatpak, but going backwards in version is not an issue there since I install from Thunderbird site, not distro's repo. I also use Flatpak for Ungoogled-chromium, Tor Browser Launcher, Zoom.

  12. After installing, I kind of alternate between the steps in LaptopInstall.txt and those in Installing Linux - After Installing. It's a bit of a haphazard process, I don't follow the steps rigorously. And I restore saved configs of major apps from backup, I don't go through and apply all the settings of say Firefox manually. So it's a mixture. [I probably could use Ansible or Nix to do this, but I like the hands-on nature of this process.]

oSoWoSo / DistroHopper (install distros in VMs)

Things you may miss by distro-hopping: gaining a sense of how well a distro handles updates, how often something goes wrong.

An alternative to distro-hopping: pick one major base distro, stay on it, and "hop" among DEs and window managers. Moe throwing Barney out of the bar

8/2018, my experience installing Mint 19.0

  1. Using Dell Inspiron N5010 laptop running Windows 10, with wired Ethernet, legacy BIOS, 3 GB RAM, 320 GB disk.

  2. Decided to wipe Windows completely and install only Linux Mint Tara Cinnamon 64-bit.

  3. Decided to allocate 35 GB to OS partition, use a swap file, and give rest of disk to /home.

  4. Decided to encrypt all partitions where it's supported (OS and /home, I think).

  5. Did backups to two external disk drives. Careful to back up things I don't usually include in the backups, such as my Dropbox files and browser bookmarks and downloaded files in temp folders.

  6. Can't find anywhere that shows what version of firmware is installed on the laptop. Obtained EXE for version A11. Ran the EXE, it says I have A10 and it will install A11. Started the installation, mouse stopped working, dialog shows progress. Then a Windows dialog saying "battery is low, plug into AC" popped up right across everything, covering the progress dialog, mostly. But I'm already plugged into AC power. Firmware installation finished, was able to close the battery dialog, clicked Restart, machine restarted okay through new firmware, into Windows.

  7. Took one last look for anything not backed up, then shut down Windows. Plugged in Linux Mint USB, powered on, hit F12 a bunch of times to get Boot Options, gave boot password, booted into Linux Mint USB.

  8. Double-clicked "Install Linux Mint" icon. Installer came up. Chose keyboard type.

  9. Next Window asked if I want to install custom/proprietary drivers for my hardware. Clicked "Yes", and it took almost 10 minutes.

  10. Somewhere in here, I had to set computer name, user name, password.

  11. Next Window asked about partitioning. At first I selected the three settings for "automatic, encrypt everything, use LVM". But after clicking "Continue", I realized that wouldn't give me /home and root in separate partitions. So backed up, clicked "Customize", and wrestled with partitioning. Not clear: I see some "mapper" partitions and then some "/dev/sdN" partitions, and most of the buttons/controls don't work on most of them. Probably should have read the install instructions, if there are any. Finally managed to create the partitions I want as "/dev/sdN" partitions: 1 GB for /boot, 36 GB for /, rest (about 280 GB) for /home. But then I got some dialogs popping up saying "restart now before continuing the install", so I restarted.

  12. Back into installer, this time "install custom/proprietary drivers for my hardware" went very quickly, into custom partitioning again. The mapper partitions have disappeared, but had to set "/dev/sdN" partitions again: 1 GB ext4 for /boot, 36 GB ext4 for /, rest (about 280 GB) ext4 for /home. Set check-box to format each of them. Clicked "Continue", got a dialog showing the partitions, and I checked "encrypt /home". clicked "Continue", install started. Took 10-15 minutes, I think. Restart at end.

  13. Removed USB drive, and system booted up into Linux Mint from hard disk. Success ! Disk partition sizes in File Explorer look right. I suspect only /home is encrypted, and LVM is not being used.

4/2020, installed Ubuntu GNOME 20.04

  1. I have been running Mint 19.3, but want to change to Ubuntu 20.04. Laptop is a cheapo Dell Inspiron circa 2011, legacy BIOS, hard disk.

  2. Did loads of backups, everything I could think of. Still missed a few items, such as global settings in VS Code. I want to install all apps fresh, not copy my old home directory across.

  3. Booted FreeDOS and updated BIOS, no problems.

  4. Booted and installed Windows 10 to test my bluetooth hardware (which didn't work under Mint). It doesn't work under Win10 either, so the problem must be hardware. And installing Win10 is really nasty, Microsoft tries to get you to create or link to all kinds of cloud accounts.

  5. Booted USB stick with Ubuntu 20.04 image on it, no problems. Ran installer.

  6. Install choices seem to be "install Ubuntu alongside Windows" or "have Ubuntu use the whole disk, wipe out Windows". I want the latter, simple. I want one partition for everything (no swap partition, no /home partition).

  7. Kept getting "want to unmount /dev/sdb [the USB stick I booted from] ?". Neither yes nor no would make it stop asking.

  8. No choice or indication, under Advanced or anywhere else, of swap-partition vs swap-file vs no-swap.

  9. Under Advanced, choice to use LVM and encrypt whole disk, but no choice to just encrypt each home directory.

  10. Tried to install with LVM and encryption, got "An error occurred while confguring encrypted volumes. The configuration has been aborted".

  11. Went back and forth several times, tried "advanced partitioning tool", tried install, got "you haven't defined a boot partition".

  12. Got some partitioning to start, then a message "Error informing the kernel about modifications to partition /dev/sda5 - device or resource busy. This means you shouldn't mount it or use it in any way before rebooting". But no quit or restart button. I kept going, bad idea.

  13. Soon something (probably partitioner) crashed. Installer said "want to report the problem ?", and then started this standard UbuntuOne bug-reporting web page that required email and logging in etc. Who's going to have access to that info in the middle of installing ?

  14. Tried to shut down the system and it hung after failing to unmount a few things. Powered off.

  15. Booted again, and this time the installer is seeing an Ubuntu system already on the hard disk, and giving more choices (4 choices instead of the original 2 choices). Selecting "overwrite that Ubuntu system" worked.

  16. Running the new system from hard disk:
    "swapon --show" and "inxi -P" both say "swap /dev/dm-2 partition, size 976M, used 0B".
    There is no /swapfile.
    "lsblk -f" says /dev/sda6 is type "crypto_LUKS" and two levels inside that there is a "vgubuntu-swap_1" which has fstype "swap".

12/2020, installed Kubuntu 20.10

Installer UI a bit weird around setting LUKS password; empty boxes with no labels.

Installer created a UEFI ESP partition even though I have legacy BIOS.

No way in Discover store to disable Snaps or enable flatpaks (but you can do it through CLI). No way to say "show only FOSS".

VS Code only available as snap.

Network Manager connector for OpenVPN not found; "sudo apt install network-manager-openvpn network-manager-strongswan".

Some commands (df, docker) that didn't require sudo on MATE 20.04 require sudo on Kubuntu 20.10.

Dolphin file-manager doesn't handle LUKS containers.
In Dolphin: Settings / Configure Dolphin / Services.
Creating Dolphin Service Menus
I created a new "Service Menu" to do it: lukscontainerfile.

Add new application: right-click on Launch button in lower-left corner of desktop, select Edit Applications.

Auto-rotate backgrounds: right-click on desktop, select Configure Desktop / Wallpaper / Wallpaper Type == Slide Show.

KRunner: search field that appears at top of screen.

Surprisingly, no clear setting for 24-hour clock. Had to set date/time format to UK-English to get it.

Got a new laptop 1 Feb 2021. Installed Kubuntu on it again.

4/2021, installed Fedora 34 KDE

Fedora Discussion

This was a big move, across distro-families (from Kubuntu), and also from X to Wayland, from ext4 to Btrfs on system disk, PulseAudio to PipeWire, and jumped from kernel 5.8 to 5.11.

Note: SSD configured to use 512-byte LBA size.

Installer a bit weird in disk partitioning area: had to "reclaim" space from current disk, at least under "automatic" there was no indication of what filesystem type would be installed, nothing about swap, strange item "enable adding more space" ?

On cold boot, OS finds no mouse or touchpad. On restart, it finds them. Eventually someone gave me a simple way to recover from this condition: "sudo rmmod i2c_hid && sudo modprobe i2c_hid". Added some info to an existing bug report that seemed related to it. Next time it happens, after recovering, try "sudo journalctl --since=today | grep i2c" to get more info. Actual error is "HID over i2c has not been provided an Int IRQ". Seems to be fixed with 5.11.9 kernel, I think (I might have the number wrong).

550 MB system update available after booting. Applied it. Didn't fix mouse/touchpad issue.

Enabled RPM Fusion repo.

Heard later: for latest Flatpaks, use Flathub. Fedora's Flatpak repo lags by a couple of versions, and doesn't have proprietary software.

By default, single-click opens file or folder. System Settings / Workspace Behavior / General Behavior to change that.

Date/time format is set by country, not format, and couldn't find Britain/England in the list. Format example shows a time less than noon, so I can't confirm it's using a 24-hour clock.

Default text editor is KWrite; Kubuntu used Kate.

Dolphin doesn't understand LUKS container files; added the service I wrote.

One Btrfs partition, zstd:1 compression, two sub-volumes root and home. Added noatime directives to both of them in /etc/fstab. Later added compression for my Btrfs removable drives and container files.

KWrite refuses to run if you've sudo'd.

Discover is having major problems: starts up and says "unable to load applications; check internet connection" (but connection works in Firefox); unable to remove "Flatpak - testing" repo; Installed button just shows a few libraries/packages, not all the apps. Can't remove or install any apps. Problems are due to settings of Flatpak repos. Filed bug report.

Snap command is not installed at all. "flatpak list" shows no Flatpaks installed. Fine with me; I want to stay native on this distro.

Shutdown very slow; something in it (maybe sddm shutdown ?) is hanging for 60 seconds. [Problem went away when I stopped using Wayland.]

Can't find VS Code in native repos. Added it via a private repo. Same for Brave browser, and for ungoogled-chromium browser.

Can't find Zoom in native repos. Had to download an RPM and install it.

In KeePassXC, auto-type doesn't work, I'm sure because of Wayland. Paste into KP fails sometimes too. There have been open bug reports for years, in KP and in Wayland. https://community.kde.org/Plasma/Wayland_Showstoppers

It's using firewall-config, which is much more complicated than gufw that I'm used to. Scan from smartphone found no open ports.

I see it has 8 GB of zram for swap.

SFTP seems different from the one on the last couple of Ubuntu* distros I've used.

Updates (all updates as far as I can tell) behave in a Windows-like way: you have to reboot, updates are applied as system starts, then system will restart again.

After a few days, switched from Wayland to X11, and KeePassXC works well now.

Touchpad-middle-button was driving me crazy, pasting when I didn't want to. Used xinput to disable it.

After two weeks, noticed that "sestatus" says SELinux is enabled / enforcing / targeted. Interesting.

Lots of apps and games installed that show up in the GUI app search/launcher, but not in Discover's Installed list, or in the package manager (under any reasonable name). For example KPatience, Elisa.

[9/2022: News that Fedora is disabling (in Mesa) VA-API (hardware decoding support for open-source video drivers) because of patent issues. "This will affect all AMD users especially. No more video hardware decoding in Firefox for H264 and H265. VP8 and VP9 codec are not affected, so YouTube will still use GPU for playing video in Firefox. For those using proprietary drivers, like those that Nvidia and Intel offer, you will still be able to use hardware accelerated decoding."]

10/2021, installed Manjaro 21 Xfce stable

Had been planning to install Cinnamon DE, but at last minute realized it is a community spin, not a directly supported DE, and may have some build issues that cause occasional breakage. So did Xfce instead.

Note: SSD configured to use 512-byte LBA size.

Installer very nice, easily selected Btrfs and LUKS encryption and no swap.

Btrfs was mounted with autodefrag flag; I removed that. No discard flag; I enabled weekly TRIM service.

LUKS encryption by installer is LUKS 1, not 2.

By default, AUR, Snaps, and Flatpaks were turned off. I turned on AUR.

For installs via CLI, I used pamac package manager. From someone on reddit: "... use pamac as a lot of the extra stuff [relative to Arch] is automated that way."

Apparently some things are not available as binaries in the repos: ungoogled-chromium, Tor browser. Building browsers from source is very painful. Turned on Flatpaks as a software source, but then I don't see Flatpak images appear in the GUI "Add Software" app. Installed those apps through Flatpak CLI. Zoom and Skype also Flatpaks, I think they're never available as native packages.

OpenSnitch package in AUR installs the GUI but not the daemon. Building OpenSnitch through pamac fails.

VS Code's name on disk has changed from Code to Code-OSS or various spellings of that. Icon has changed too. This is a special "Open Source build" in the Manjaro repo.

The display-brightness settings in Power Management and my laptop's function keys seem to be fighting each other. Plug into AC power, brightness goes to 10% or something. "xfce4-power-manager" errors in ~/.xsession-errors, "Backlight" errors in journalctl.

Default simple-image-editor Viewnior was horrible for editing; switched to Pix.

Key-combination to lock the screen is Ctrl-Alt-Del !

After using Timeshift to make a backup to removable drive, pamac can no longer install things, timeshift-autosnap fails. So I removed Timeshift. Another workaround: "sudo SKIP_AUTOSNAP=1 pacman ...". Not sure if it works for pamac.

No printer manager app installed. I installed printer-manager, and it can see USB-connected printer, but not Wi-Fi printer. Maybe I should have done "sudo gpasswd -a USERNAME sys" and then "sudo pamac install manjaro-printer". But second command said "nothing to do". Same with "pamac install hplip". Did "sudo pacman -S system-config-printer". Later was able to scan from Wi-Fi printer/scanner.

Desktop wallpaper rotation doesn't work; selecting folder of images is wonky.

Battery seems to discharge more quickly than before, but at 100% says 13-16 hours left. TLP service is running.

Updates seem to notify/happen in several ways; confusing. Kernel, fonts, remainder notify/update in three separate ways.

Local Unix mail is not installed/used.

A couple of times, system booted and the cursor was frozen and touchpad didn't work. Re-occurrence of the AMD HID / i2c_hid bug. Reloading i2c_hid module fixed it.

Some small dialog-type windows don't paint sometimes until you move them. Maybe Firefox/About or Thunderbird/smallnotify dialog. I think these apps don't use GTK or Qt frameworks, they use lower-level operations. This didn't happen in other distros.

System seems to see my earphones as a microphone, too. Can't use them on Zoom calls, the microphone volume keeps going to near-zero. This may be a laptop hardware issue, may have happened somewhat on previous distros too.

Start menu: no way to specify "start application maximized".

Firefox can't find youtube-dl app, even though it is installed.

Check-box I'd say maybe 4/5 of things I tried to install from AUR failed to build; I think 1 succeeded. https://aur.archlinux.org/ Community repos give 404s sometimes.

After a big update 12/2021, system booted and the cursor was frozen and touchpad didn't work. Re-occurrence of the AMD HID / i2c_hid bug. Reloading i2c_hid module fixed it. Then got a message "you're running an unsupported kernel, please remove it". But system works. And then I found that the one it is complaining about is installed, but a newer kernel is installed and running.

2/2022, installed EndeavourOS 2021.12 LXQt

(Live session didn't have "nvme" command and I couldn't install it.) While running old distro, changed SSD from using 512-byte logical blocks to 4KB logical blocks. OS died almost immediately. But new install worked fine. Sequential-read performance ("hdparm -t") improved about 30%. Should have done better before/after performance tests, including write tests.

Check-box But: Now getting SSD SMART error log new entries at rate of about 1/second ! System seems to be running fine. Just error log is going crazy.

In installer, most standard DEs are under "Installer"; only tiling window managers and such are under "Community Installer".

Installer supports no-swap, Btrfs, LUKS (but it's LUKS 1). Has separate check-boxes to install software for printing (CUPS) and HP printers.

Kernel used is just about VERY latest, 5.16. LXQt is 1.0.

LXQt app launcher how to add a new app to menu ? Was able to drag app's file to system tray / quicklaunch, so can launch it from there. But can't add to main app/start menu. Had to create $HOME/.local/share/applications/Thunderbird.desktop file.

GUI software center app is useless, no way to show installed apps. I'm using the yay package manager. Apparently you can use pacman options on yay, in addition to options documented in the yay man page.

Simple image editor LXImage-Qt is too basic; built Pix from AUR instead.

Double-clicking on a ".sh" file and clicking on "Execute in Terminal" brings up an odd terminal in which paste (ctrl-shift-v) doesn't work. In File Manager / Edit / Preferences / Advanced, pick a different terminal emulator. Default was "xterm"; "qterminal" works.

Note: Preferences / LXQt Settings / Keyboard and Mouse / Mouse and Touchpad: Device pull-down has separate items for Mouse and Touchpad, look at both.

Check-box When scrolling in Firefox (97), I see a horizontal-line ripple in the display. Don't know if this is an OS or app issue. I have AMD integrated Renoir graphics; kernel is 5.16. Don't remember seeing this with FF 96 in Manjaro with kernel 5.13 (I think) on same hardware.

Screensaver comes on even if a video is running in Firefox or a Zoom call is active.

Volume control in system tray is tiny (but arrow keys work) and primitive; use "pavucontrol" instead.

Can't get HP printer to work across Wi-Fi. Got another HP printer to work through USB by using HP Device Manager app.

No warning when running on battery and battery gets low. Just goes to zero and bang, the system shuts down. Went to Power settings and set up a warning at 10%.

No calculator installed. Added speedcrunch.

No software center for finding apps ? Ran Welcome app, click on Add more apps, sends you to a web site to search.

Had the touchpad-freeze thing happen; reload i2c_hid module fixes it.

Check-box Sometimes in Network Manager applet in System Tray, all devices and connections disappear, can't do anything. On CLI, do "killall nm-applet; nohup nm-applet &" or "sudo systemctl restart NetworkManager.service"

Tried to build Quickemu from AUR, yay failed to find a couple of files.

3/2022, installed openSUSE Tumbleweed KDE

Before nuking Endeavour, I tried a Btrfs defragment. It ran very quickly and didn't change the overall data-size numbers, which maybe is normal, I don't know.

Note: SSD configured to use 4KB LBA size.

[Now on openSUSE:] I have full-disk encryption with LVM and LUKS. I have to type disk password twice each time I boot; all other distros I've tried only do it once. Relevant: openSUSE Wiki's "SDB:Encrypted root file system". Looking closer at output of "lsblk", it appears /boot/grub is inside the encrypted partition on this distro (it wasn't on the others), and only /boot/efi is outside the encrypted partition.

LUKS version is 1. I think I read somewhere that GRUB2 doesn't understand LUKS 2 ?

Can select between X and Wayland at login time.

Confusing to have two GUI software managers: Discover and YaST. And some things are not available through either of them, only through zypper.

Flatpak installed but no repos added for it. Added Flathub.

Added Packman repo.

VS Code not in any of the repos; had to install "Code - OSS" from Flatpak. But can't find the extension I wrote; is "Code - OSS" not using the standard Marketplace ?

KeePassXC updated to 2.7 on Endeavour a few days ago, but openSUSE still has 2.6.6. Seems to work with database from 2.7, so far.

Keep getting "KDE Wallet Service" popping up and offering to save keys for me. I thought I disabled KWallet. I see /usr/bin/kwalletd5 being run by dbus.service. The pop-up seems to come from "PolicyKit1 KDE Agent". I get it any time I open network manager configuration of a VPN connection, where there is a stored password. Finally let it create a wallet with no password, and pop-ups went away.

Trim service is set up for SSD, but there was no "discard" in /etc/cryptsetup; I added it. DISC-GRAN and DISC-MAX values for nvme0n1p2 are non-zero, but those values for LVM/LUKS volume and root volume are zero, so I think trim won't work. In previous distros, in /boot/grub2/grub.cfg I added ":allow-discards" to the cryptdevice argument on the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT to make this work, but openSUSE doesn't have same. Discard settings in /etc/lvm/lvm.conf look good.

'Tumbleweed is a rolling distro, thus each update is kind of a distro upgrade. So, always use "sudo zypper dup" when using Tumbleweed.' Don't use YaST to do updates.

YaST may be nice for some things, but it looks like yet another set of ways to do software management (in addition to Discover and zypper) and yet another set of ways to configure settings (in addition to KDE, dconf-editor, multiple others). And there seem to be duplicate/similar apps in the repos, such as "Firewall" and "YaST - Firewall" ? Confusing.

Wanted to install gufw, but not available in repos. OpenSnitch not available either. Tried installing OpenSnitch RPM from OpenSnitch site, but Discover gave "internal errors" and "not enough items to process". Zypper was able to install successfully from same RPM.

Problem I had on Endeavour, where SSD SMART error log was getting new entries at rate of about 1/second, has gone away. Now I'm getting about 1/hour.

Btrfs snapshots accumulate quickly if you're doing a lot of package management. "sudo btrfs subvolume list -s /" The btrfs command to delete a snapshot only deletes one at a time. What happens if you let hundreds or thousands of snapshots pile up without pruning them ? YaST / Filesystem Snapshots gives more info about them, and at least in there you can delete two at a time. Also can see them via "sudo snapper list", and delete a range of them via "sudo snapper delete START-END". ("Snapper is already set up by default to do size-based and number-based cleanups; see /etc/snapper/configs/root")

Tried to play a video in VLC, and it said no codec available. Tried to install vlc-codecs, and zypper warned of dependency-hell, gave several options, I cancelled. Installed mpv through zypper and tried to view same video, just got a flash of a black window and then it was gone. Removed it and installed mpv from flatpak, it worked fine on same video.

Check-box Zypper gives confusing dependency-hell-type choices each time the VLC codecs are updated. Someone on reddit mentions a similar issue related to gcc. Later someone knowledgeable led me through steps to fix it, but I don't know what the fix was, and he couldn't explain how the problem occurred. Later a similar general issue with TLP/Power-Profiles-Daemon.

Tried Wayland. Most things work okay; still problems with connection from password manager to browser. But in "systemctl status" under display-manager.service I see /usr/bin/Xorg.bin running.

PipeWire and WirePlumber are running. But all I see is video devices (webcams), no audio devices. Someone knowledgeable said "That means PulseAudio is managing the audio devices and not PipeWire. There is nothing wrong with this in and of itself. ... PipeWire and a session manager is needed for wayland screen sharing, but they didn't want to replace PulseAudio, that's probably the reason."

When I plug in my earbuds, system thinks they include a microphone (but they don't).

Tried to find and install a simple systray widget or app to show CPU and GPU temperatures, and failed. Some don't show any sensors; some the UI seems to be broken. Psensor not available in repos. But then installed "ksysguard5" and sensors appeared. Have to run "ksysguard" app at system startup, then in widget do "reload sources".

USB-connected printers work, but can't see Wi-Fi printer. And printer configuration is a bit of a mess, with an HP utility in the middle of it somehow.

Not 100% sure, but I think the "horizontal-line ripple when scrolling in Firefox" that I saw in Endeavour is gone.

Touchpad is too sensitive, I keep getting extra taps and unintended scrolls. Can't find a setting to fix it. Someone told me to install "xf86-input-synaptics", and now I have a lot more touchpad settings to play with. But still not fully satisfactory.

Some strange network activity. For example, why is Network Manager trying to connect to news.opensuse.org and doc.openuse.org ?

Check-box Had a hard power-down / crash. Just finished typing into a web page field, was moving cursor, whole laptop just powered off, bang. Booted, and nothing useful in system journal. No ~/.xsession-errors file. Nothing useful in /var/log/Xorg* files. Was down to maybe 30% battery, but in fact system was on AC power and charging. [Forgot to check, but months later other users say their Tumbleweed systems are using Synaptics touchpad driver.]

Had another hard power-down / crash, a couple of weeks after the first one. Was touching or tapping on the touchpad and whole laptop just powered off, bang. Was on battery, not AC power, but had maybe 75% charge on battery.

Check-box About a day later, laptop didn't wake up from lid-closed sleep (didn't give login screen). No key-sequences did anything. Closing and opening lid did nothing. Had to hard power-off. Same happened again a week or two later.

Realized that AppArmor is enabled.

Had another hard power-down / crash, maybe a month after the second one. Was touching or tapping on the touchpad and whole laptop just powered off, bang. Was on battery, not AC power, but had maybe 50% charge on battery. I rebooted immediately and launched all the apps again, which usually spikes the temperatures to 65C or so, and this time briefly I saw a couple of temperature sensors at 71C.

Heard later: there is another repo/manager called opi ?

openSUSE Documentation

Before hopping to another distro, tried to boot to an older snapshot. I think root got mounted to old snapshot, but /home didn't ? Didn't have the patience to explore it.

7/2022, several failed installs

Tried to install Mocaccino (Gentoo-family). No main-line releases available for download, just betas ? Beta 6 is latest. Default username and password is mocaccino. Installed but then boot failed, showed error messages about bad overlay filesystems. I get the sense that this distro is in major transition, maybe this install is some kind of platform.

Installed Redcore (Gentoo-family). System booted. Discover software doesn't work (says no internet), Portage looks too complicated or source-only. Ran "sisyphus upgrade" and it took 90 minutes. Rebooted. Tried to install Firefox, packages broken or mismatched. Installed KeePassXC, but then when run it says wrong version of Qt or something. Gave up.

Tried to install Slackware. Installer can't find software source (ISO file on USB stick), probably because I'm using Ventoy ? [Later saw some old forum post saying Slackware fails to install from Ventoy. Probably should have put another copy of the ISO on a second USB stick. Turns out my Ventoy is old: 1.0.42 instead of latest 1.0.79.]

Tried to install Absolute Linux (Slackware-family). Same "can't find software source" problem, underneath the GUI installer.

Tried to install Void Linux. Tricky to get mount-points set right in installer, even without trying to use LUKS/LVM. Booted to a text login prompt, can get to CLI, but then no way to start GUI. Startx, xinit, xorg all not found. Tried as normal user and as root user. Manual says something like "maybe you need to install Xorg" but then gives no instructions for doing so.
[I probably should have followed an article such as Bobby Borisov's "How to Install Void Linux"]
Also see Void Handbook
Animesh Sahu's "Unmasking the hidden gems of Void Linux"

7/2022, installed Pop!_OS 22.04 LTS

Note: SSD configured to use 4KB LBA size.

Default install gives ext4 filesystem. I made the mistake of putting a Btrfs "compress" option in the root line in /etc/fstab, and system booted to black-screen. Was able to log in to a console, but then root was mounted read-only. Had to boot from USB to fix it.

There is a /recovery partition. You can update it via Settings / OS Upgrade & Recovery. I'm not sure how to use it, maybe boot into it from GRUB ?

There is a 32 GB swap partition, must be automatic.

No home partition; /home is just a dir in /.

The non-main partition sizes are too big IMO: 4 GB for boot ESP, 32 GB for recovery, 32 GB for swap.

Encryption is LUKS2.

Snap not installed; Flatpak installed but no images installed.

COSMIC DE ? Apt says package pop-cosmic is already installed, but "echo $XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP" says GNOME. COSMIC has to be enabled in GNOME Extensions. In Launcher, search for Extensions, run it. But all the buttons are turned on, it says I'm using COSMIC already. From someone on reddit: "COSMIC is GNOME with a modified shell, additional settings apps, and a Dash-to-Dock converter. ... It's going to be a full DE. But it isn't yet."

Search in Launcher for Startup Applications to see how to add one.

Repos don't contain: opensnitch, exiftools. Will use exiv2 instead of exiftools. Tried installing opensnitch from deb's on GitHub, but UI doesn't show up when launched, system journal shows "gnome-shell: Unhandled promise rejection."

No firewall installed, but service ufw is running. Installed gufw.

SSD error log isn't increasing at all (rapid increase was a problem I had on previous distros).

Check-box There is no "always use VPN with this network interface" feature; have to remember to turn on VPN each time system is booted or waked from hibernation.

In system journal, I see that security modules Yama, landlock, AppArmor are in use. They must be compiled-in, I don't see them in output of lsmod.

Text was too small on my 1920/1080 display, changed to 125% scaling. But that broke the Interactive Brokerage TWS app.

Default image-viewer app has no editing features; installed KDE's gwenview.

Version of rclone is very old; no support for uploading to Mega.nz. Installed latest from rclone.org.

To see temperatures, installed indicator-sensors.

Battery life not good. TLP and power-profiles-daemon not installed. Someone said "TLP isn't compatible with their scheduler system76-power". [Later heard there is a "pop-os-power".]

Various "hide" modes of the Dock don't work: get into state where I can't get the Dock to re-appear.

Setting system fonts is done through gnome-tweaks, not the Fonts app. But it doesn't affect what is shown in fc-match on CLI; confused.

After a while, realized it's using systemd-boot, not GRUB. But I don't see LUKS/LVM in /boot/efi/loader/entries/Pop_OS-current.conf , it must be done some other way.

Default "Document Scanner" application is very slow when connecting to scanner to do first scan; takes a couple of minutes.

8/2022, two failed installs

Tried to install Elementary OS, and then Solus 4.3 Budgie, and both failed.

Elementary installer seemed to not like my existing partitions, so I deleted them. Ctrl+c supposed to stop filesystem-checking during boot, but it doesn't. Install failed saying ESP partition had to be at least 256 MB. Created a 1 GB partition manually and it still failed. Partition sizes not right; 1GB shows as 134 MB, 244 GB shows as 32 GB.

Solus installer seemed to install, but then system booted straight to BIOS every time. Some quirks during installer: it "automatically found" completely the wrong location, forces user password of at least 6 chars.

It dawned on me that both installers were choking on the 4KB LBA size of my SSD. Tried to install nvme-cli on Solus live session, and it failed. Installed nvme-cli on Elementary live session and changed LBA size. And that fixed it (at least for Solus installer).

Found https://github.com/elementary/installer/issues/620
Filed https://dev.getsol.us/T10373 (got email; no DKIM in bug-reporting system's DNS)

9/2022, installed Solus 4.3 Budgie

Note: SSD configured to use 512-byte LBA size.

Installed, booted from SSD, starting installing some software. Made the mistake of walking away for a while, came back to a black screen and unresponsive system, still powered on. Had to power down, then it wouldn't boot into GUI.

Installed again, immediately did just the "security updates" it said were waiting, rebooted, all okay. Started installing software, rebooting occasionally. Software Center's status line is buggy, keeps saying things like "downloading 55 of 31" or "downloading 120 of 0".

No native VS Code, only Code-OSS (and it has annoying habit of showing open-file dialog in background, covered by main window).

Firefox and KeePassXC are latest versions. Installed gufw.

Flatpak installed already, but no repos configured ("flatpak remotes"). Do "sudo flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo".

Snap installed already.

Filesystem is ext4; no /home partition.
There is a swap partition (3.7 GB; I have 16 GB RAM).
Using LUKS 2 encryption (of / and swap), but there is no /etc/crypttab.

Installer forced user password of at least 6 chars.
Used chpasswd to change password to 4-char. But I think that didn't change password on the "keyring"; when I run a chromium* browser, it makes me log in to keyring with old password.

Installer "automatically found" completely the wrong location; I'm in Spain, it picked Los Angeles.

Terminal has semi-transparent background. In terminal, select three-dots icon, Preferences, Unnamed profile, Colors, un-check "Transparent background".

Check-box Display settings don't support fractional scaling, only 100% or 200%.

Root account's password field in /etc/shadow is empty, but in /etc/passwd it has "x". Does that mean I should be able to login as root, or not ? Do both have to have the field empty ? I can't login to the account. Maybe it's being blocked in polkit or somewhere else. /usr/share/lightdm/users.conf says "Minimum UID required to be shown in greeter" is 500.

There's no /opt directory.

System starts up and shuts down very fast. I wonder how it's decrypting the LUKS volume faster than other distros did it. It's using LUKS 2 and aes-xts as most other distros did.

Odd: there's no boot partition, and directory /boot is empty, and there's no /EFI or /boot/EFI. "sudo bootctl is-installed" can't find ESP. GParted says /dev/nvme0n1p1 is ESP and boot and FAT32, but "sudo bootctl is-installed --esp-path=/dev/nvme0n1p1" fails. GParted wasn't able to read the partition contents until I installed "mtools". Then I mounted /dev/nvme0n1p1 to /mnt/EFI and "sudo bootctl is-installed --esp-path=/mnt/EFI" worked and indicated that systemd-boot is being used. Kernel options are in /mnt/EFI/loader/entries/* files. In dmesg, kernel command line refers to a "initrd=\EFI\..." path (note backslashes instead of forward slashes). https://github.com/kyrios123/solus-efi-guide

There are system features / apps I've never heard of: Onboard (an on-screen keyboard), Raven (slide-in panel from right edge of display, for notifications and applets).

No "disable touchpad while typing" feature ?
Run "dconf-editor", search for "Touchpad", click on the "/org/gnome/desktop/peripherals/touchpad/" item. Enable the "disable-while-typing" option. I also disabled "tap-and-drag".

No way to install OpenSnitch, short of compiling from source.

profile-sync-daemon not available.

tidy and codespell not available.

Update-checking frequency was set to every hour, much too often IMO.

Software Center doesn't know about Flatpaks.

Akregator's "Enclosure / Save link as", which I use to save MP3 files from RSS feeds, downloads the file and then fails with "Could not rename partial file /home/user1/Videos/FILENAME.mp3. Please check permissions.". Tried "chmod a+w" on that dir, no change. Tried saving to Downloads dir, no change. "wget" of that link works. Akregator is a native app, not Flatpak or Snap. Filed https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=458669 and https://dev.getsol.us/T10375 Installing xdg-desktop-portal-kde fixes it ? No.

System is not using PAM ? Only a tiny stub in /etc/pam.d, nothing in /usr/lib/pam.d. Is using policykit.

Cron not installed.

Check-box Can't use HP Deskjet 3634 printer/scanner via USB; Printer Settings sees it only if connected via Wi-Fi (same for 3762 printer). Scanning apps don't see 3634 via either USB or Wi-Fi; can't scan. Tried Skanlite and Simple Scanner apps. Then installed VueScan, and that found 3634 via USB but not via Wi-Fi. But that app imposes a watermark unless you pay for it.

Had an episode where the touchpad did something funny and I couldn't move the cursor for a while. "/" key might have been stuck a bit too. Still could use keyboard to navigate among and in windows. Eventually tapped "/" key hard, and about then the condition cleared up.

When I plug in headphones, laptop's microphone still works. Wasn't true on some other distros.

Some touchpad-related flickering of the display ?

I've using Software Center to do all updating.

9/2022, failed to install Salix 15 xfce

Note: SSD configured to use 512-byte LBA size.

Tried for a couple of hours, and it fought me. None of the documentation or articles exactly matched what I was seeing in the installer.

No "autoinstall" option in the main menu, in contrast to what is shown in many articles. Just one "install" menu item.

Took a while to figure out that the root partition had to be type 8300 - Linux Filesystem, not one of the Linux Root types (8303 or 8304). But even after setting the right type, the installer kept saying "can't find partition for root". I kept quitting out of setup, getting back in, tried rebooting a few times. Then somehow it started working, I don't know why.

My USB stick had Ventoy on it, and so the installer couldn't find the ISO. Finally had to do something like "mount /dev/mapper/ventoy /theusb" and then tell installer to read from directory "/theusb" and leave the next field empty, something like that.

Installer asked me locale stuff, installed lots of packages, had me create a user. Never asked about LUKS or network.

Then it said reboot, so I rebooted and removed USB stick. System stuck in a black screen for several minutes, then started showing "timeout script" invocations. Seemed to be trying to do cryptsetup operations, although the installer never had me set that up. Failed into maintenance mode, with several unhelpful suggestions. I looked at /etc/fstab, root is just a plain xfs filesystem, no LUKS anywhere, no /etc/crypttab file.

Tried again, complete install, same result, gave up.


9/2022, installed elementary OS 6.1 with Pantheon DE

Note: SSD configured to use 512-byte LBA size.

Installed correctly first shot, no problems. Lots of updates available. Root using LVM and LUKS and ext4. 3.8 GB swap inside encrypted volume.

Flatpak installed but not connected to Flathub repo (and someone tells me elementary is a "Flatpak first" distro !). Did "flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo".

Firefox and KeePassXC and Akregator not available in App Center, and I don't want Flatpak versions. Did "sudo apt install synaptic -y" and used Synaptic Package Manager to install them.

VS Code not available in App Center, and I don't want Flatpak version. Installed by adding VS Code's repo.

Some Flatpak apps (e.g. Ungoogled Chromium) in App Center have no install button or instructions, just a description.

Check-box File explorer uses single-click to open folders, no way to change to double-click. No way to change icon-size in list view, either. No way to right-click on a file to do anything, including "run as program", but then I found "Touchpad Settings / long-press seocndary click". Works in File-explorer, but in Firefox you get both a left-click and a right-click. [Later, lead dev said right-click should have worked.]
[Later, someone said EOS 7 has an option to use double-click for open.]
[Later, someone said use gsettings to change to double-click.]

Want to install "Elementary Tweaks", but all the repos give a "no Release file" error. Had to remove bad repos from /etc/apt/sources.list.d Found that "Elementary Tweaks" has been replaced by "Pantheon Tweaks". Finally this worked: "sudo add-apt-repository ppa:philip.scott/pantheon-tweaks", "sudo apt update", "sudo apt install pantheon-tweaks", and then see System Settings / Personal / Tweaks. But nothing in it about clicking.

Display settings does not support fractional scaling, just 100% 200% 300%.

Apps use ctrl-Q instead of Alt-F4 to close ? Some places (such as System Settings and App Center) support Alt+F4.

Check-box Apps don't have About menu items that tell you versions and true/CLI names. Many don't have a Settings or Preferences menu at all.

Check-box Text editor "code" suddenly told me someone else was altering the file I was editing, but that was wrong. Happens repeatedly. Alarming. Lost a little data once. This is my main editor.

Can't figure out how to invoke "code" editor from CLI to edit a config file; installed mousepad.

No smartd service available to be enabled. fstrim service is enabled.

Some firewall installed but not enabled; might be ufw. Installed gufw.

Unable to fix the "clicking" problems. Gave up on Elementary OS, after half a day.

elementary OS

10/2022, installed UbuntuDDE Remix (Deepin) 22.04

Note: SSD configured to use 512-byte LBA size.

Flatpak not installed; Snap installed but empty.

VS Code not available in App Center, and I don't want Flatpak version. Installed by adding VS Code's repo.

LVM, LUKS and ext4. /etc/fstab had discard option on root fs; I removed it. "lsblk --discard" shows zero values on the LUKS volume. Want to rebuild command-line in /etc/default/grub to add ":allow-discards" and "rd.luks.options=discard", but don't know how to do it. Added "discard" to /etc/crypttab.

No smartd service available. Fstrim timer is enabled.

Thunderbird was installed; removed it because I want to Install the beta version.

Ufw was installed; added gufw and enabled it.

Swap is up to 7.5 GB of zram; I have 16 GB of RAM.

Network Settings won't import a .ovpn file, only a .conf file.

Defined a VPN and set it to Auto Connect, but there's no indication that it is or isn't working. https://browserleaks.com/ip shows that it is not working. No error messages, no status indicator. "VPN Status" slide-button is misnamed and nothing happens when I change it back and forth.

In system journal I see "err: The VPN service 'org.freedesktop.NetworkManager.openvpn' was not installed.". Installed package "network-manager-openvpn", and now when I turn VPN off and then back on, I get an error message "Failed to activate VPN connection, reason unknown", and in system journal I see "You must define CA file". Messed around with VPN settings, couldn't get it to connect. Finally renamed my old saved .ovpn file to .conf and was able to import it, gave username and password, connection worked, https://browserleaks.com/ip shows that it is working. There's a transient notification when it connects, but still no icon-indication in desktop UI that VPN is on.

AppArmor is enabled.

Check-box Scrollbars are hidden in some windows or dialogs, and sometimes it's hard to make them appear. Apparently you have to grab text and drag it to start scrolling, then at some later time the scrollbar will appear and you can grab the slider in there.

A lot of NetBIOS and Samba listeners running ("sudo ss -lptu"; nmbd and smbd processes). I used systemctl to stop and then disable services nmbd and smbd. Odd that I couldn't find any GUI settings related to these.

Check-box No setting to make File Manager always show every folder in same view. Just one of several very irritating things about the app (dde-file-manager).

Some confusing icons on the login screen: an X11 icon, and a Plasma icon.

Was able to install profile-sync-daemon and activate it.

Installed torbrowser-launcher. First run gave "signature verification failure". Ran it again and it got past that point, but hung in "Installing". Tried a third time, and a fourth time, and it didn't start at all. Reinstalled the launcher package. Found a re-install button in the launcher and clicked that; hung again in "Installing". Tried more later, can't get it to work.

Later, tried Tor Browser Launcher from Flatpak, but that failed too, some missing desktop file. Finally got it to work by running ~/.var/app/com.github.micahflee.torbrowser-launcher/data/torbrowser/tbb/x86_64/tor-browser_en-US/Browser/start-tor-browser from CLI.

Akgregator's "Save Link As" works again. But: it doesn't remember "last folder saved to".

Control Center / Help does nothing.

Connecting to smartphone via MTP doesn't work, but connecting (less conveniently) via PTP does work. Later, MTP worke, intermittently. I think this may be a problem with my phone, many/all distros do this.

Firefox updated itself internally and automatically, I restarted it, and it hung. Rebooted, and it says damaged profile. Maybe profile-sync-daemon has interfered, turned it off. Restored profile from backup, still no go. Eventually figured out I have both native and Snap versions of Firefox installed; nuked both and installed native. Restored profile, all works. Turned on PSD, still works. Tor still won't install. Later had same Firefox update issue, had to disable PSD. Only Snap of Firefox is installed.

Later, an "apt upgrade" said it had to downgrade Firefox. Did it, and ended up with native 106 and Snap 105 both installed. Removed the Snap.

[Using OpenVPN:] Disconnect Ethernet cable, enable Wi-Fi, use Wi-Fi, disable Wi-Fi, plug Ethernet in again, link doesn't come up. "ip addr" says "no carrier". Doing "sudo systemctl restart NetworkManager.service" fixes it.

Screen-saver / locker interrupts Zoom call (using Zoom Flatpak app).

Occasionally screen flickers to black, and back to normal. While using keyboard, I think. Maybe touchpad too.

Check-box System journal is flooded with "dde-system-daemon[NNNN]: libinput error: client bug: Invalid event type LIBINPUT_EVENT_POINTER_MOTION" entries. "sudo du -sh /var/log". Sudo edit /etc/systemd/journald.conf to set "SystemMaxUse=200M".

Switched to use Wireguard protocol to VPN. Internet access stops sometimes. Went back to OpenVPN.

The usual struggle to get two HP Deskjet printers to work, either through USB or Wi-Fi. The magic turned out to be "sudo systemctl restart cups-browsed".

Every time I shut down, I get a warning that unattended upgrades are running, I should cancel them or something. I just ignore it. Warning persists even after I turned off unattended upgrades in /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/*.

Was playing a video (using default player app "Movie", I think) when suddenly the graphics stack went into a crash-loop. Should have memorized the message shown as the desktop tried to restart itself, but it was flitting by quickly and I was panicked. Was able to shut down the applications gracefully (mostly) and then click on the shutdown icon in the system tray. System powered off, and I was able to boot okay. Tried to reproduce later, and can't.

No screenshot utility installed ?

UbuntuDDE Remix (Deepin)
UbuntuDDE / bugs
linuxdeepin / issues
I'm not sure where to file bug reports. I've heard the distro is a one-person effort, and its repo has only 6 issues filed. The Deepin repo is mostly in Chinese or something.

10/2022, installed Nitrux 2.4.1

Note: SSD configured to use 512-byte LBA size.

Install worked fine.

Desktop GUI not very good: common apps not on dock, first you have to click on the Nitrux icon at the left end, then you get a list of common apps. But they have odd names, such as the terminal is named "Station".

Check-box GUI apps have no min/max/close icons in the window frames.

Check-box Did "sudo pkcon refresh", worked.
Did "sudo pkcon update", fatal errors at 39%.
Errors "libelogind-compat: Conflicts: libsystemd0" (I thought this distro didn't use systemd) and "shim-signed: Depends: grub-efi-amd64-signed but not going to be installed, grub-efi-arm64-signed but not installable", (I'm not using Secure Boot).
Tried a couple of things, couldn't fix the errors. Gave up.
[Later saw a bug report with response saying I should have done "sudo pkcon repair" and then "sudo pkcon update" again. Apparently problem occurs because they pull Debian packages that do systemd stuff.]

Nitrux (Debian-family; NX Desktop derived from KDE; MauiKit applications; non-systemd).
nitrux-bug-tracker / issues
Bobby Borisov's "Nitrux Linux 2.6: A New Approach to Package Management"

10/2022, installed MX Linux 21.2.1 AHS (Xfce)

Note: SSD configured to use 512-byte LBA size.

Install worked okay. I think the start was a little confusing: first you choose some settings that apply to live session, before you even get to the installer. And you have to pick "persistence" options which combine "where to install" and "separate partitions for root and home" and other choices.

Based on Debian 11. Xfce DE. Kernel 5.18, which is fairly recent. No systemd (which means can't use OpenSnitch and profile-sync-daemon). [Apparently there is an entry in GRUB (select Advanced) which would boot using systemd.]

Display settings hidden under "MX Tweaks / Display". Set "xrandr Scaling" to 1.5x.

Have dpkg and apt package managers. Flatpak installed; Snap is not.

Installed VSCodium from deb on its web site.

ext4 filesystem. 8 GB swap partition (encrypted).

Thunar file manager doesn't have a "run in terminal" menu item to run a script file.

Terminal does something funny when I do ctrl+shift+C to copy text, the key-combo must be overloaded. But it stopped happening after a while.

Unplug Ethernet cable, get notification that network went down. Plug it in again, no notification, no connectivity. Enabling Wi-Fi does work. VPN works. Had to turn networking off/on to get Ethernet to work again. But at other times, it re-connects just fine.

Just restoring .mozilla from previous backup didn't work; had to hack profiles.ini a bit to get Firefox to use the profile I want.

System has "antiX Advert Blocker", which does domain-blocking by modifying /etc/hosts. I didn't enable it.

I enabled Samba during install, just to see what would happen. But I also see a lot of RPC listeners. Why ? Settings / MX Tools / Samba Config. Disable Samba, and the RPC listeners don't go away.

"sudo apt install inxi" gave "error: paste subprocess was killed by signal (Broken pipe)".

Installed native Qt Creator from repos, got version 4.14.1.
Removed it, installed from Flatpak, got 8.0.1.

Some icons (such as network icon) on left-side panel disappear; only way to find them is to hover over them and get a tool-tip. They still work, they just are invisible.

Check-box Sometimes Thunar doesn't show updated file time-stamps correctly. F5 doesn't work, maybe waiting 10 seconds and then F5 does work. Since I upload to my web site based on modified time-stamps, this is a big issue for me. [Thunar also doesn't have "run file in terminal". And sort order in Search is weird ? And "undo" doesn't undo moving a file from one drive to another, or undo putting a file in the Trash.]

Check-box Copying to external HDD that is using LUKS and Btrfs is incredibly slow, maybe 20x or 50x the time as on other distros. Maybe because lsmod shows that btrfs is a module, not built into kernel, on this system ?

OpenSnitch installed but didn't run correctly. Couldn't see where to put rules, or where new rules were being created, UI thought the daemon wasn't running (probably because no systemd).

Printing works, may have to select "fit to page" option.

Portmaster installed but didn't run correctly. Can't get past "core service not running" (probably because no systemd).

Check-box Had a hard power-down / crash, of the type last seen several months ago while running openSUSE. Was moving cursor I think, whole laptop just powered off, bang. Booted okay. No ~/.xsession-errors file. /var/log/syslog contains binary garbage at the time of the crash. /var/log/Xorg.0.log.old ends with "synaptics: XXXXXX Touchpad: touchpad found" but timestamp is unclear. Was down to about 75% battery at the time. "grep -i 'Using input driver' /var/log/Xorg.0.log" shows touchpad is using Synaptics driver. Removed Synaptics driver, now on libinput.

After a suspend-and-resume, display scaling setting had been reset to 1x. Had to change it back to a better value.

A month or more later, had another hard power-down / crash, while using keyboard and maybe touchpad. Was using down-arrow key to scroll in Firefox, display stopped scrolling, clicked on page to make sure I was still in a scrollable area, laptop powered off in an instant.

MX Linux (Debian-family; Xfce; use "Advanced Hardware Support" release).
MX Linux Forum

2/2023, installed Ubuntu Unity 22.10

Note: SSD configured to use 512-byte LBA size.

Ubuntu Unity

Installation was smooth. 2 GB encrypted swap partition (my laptop has 16 GB RAM). Boot partition of 1.7 GB. Ext4 filesystem. Kernel 5.19, which is fairly recent. Has systemd. X11. Secure Boot is disabled. /home is not a separate partition.

Default theme is yaru-dark. I changed it to Yaru, and now most icons in the upper-right system tray are unreadable.

Flatpak is installed but no remotes or apps added. Flatseal not installed.

Snap is installed; Firefox is installed as a snap.

File manager is Nemo. Alt+E and then Preferences to get to settings. Alt+V for View settings.

Firefox Snap is too old (106) to accept my backed-up profile (from native 110). Firefox Flatpak doesn't find my saved profile. Managed to fix that. Used Flatseal to let me set home page to a local file. Inside Firefox, can't set it to be system default browser. Was able to set it in System Settings - System - Details - Default Applications.

No english-danish locale, which I like to use to get dates in European format. Did "sudo locale-gen en_DK" and then "sudo update-locale". But then found it would affect currencies etc, which I don't want. Was able to set clock to 24-hour, which is the main thing.

If you auto-hide the Launcher, it's very hard to get it to re-appear.

Check-box Installed Flatpak of VSCodium, and the "portals" file-dialog stuff is nasty, opens as a separate app that is hidden (same with Firefox and Tor Browser; FF is a Flatpak, TB is not). Have to Alt+Tab away from the app and then Alt+Tab back to it, to make the dialog appear.

Somehow every time I insert a removable drive, VSCodium gets launched instead of File Manager (or nothing). Maybe try "udevadm info DEVICENAME" after drive is attached ?

Installed Tor Browser Launcher, but downloading the browser itself fails with 404. Others see this too, on Ubuntu 22.04. Switched from native to Flatpak, and it worked.

Removed Synaptics touchpad driver; it's caused problems for me in the past.

Btrfs shows up in "lsmod", so I guess it's not compiled into the kernel. Seems to work fine with my external hard disks.

Installed package indicator-sensors (Hardware Sensors Indicator).

Struggled to get saved VPN configs to work, tried many times, then they worked, I don't know why. Maybe a reboot affected it ?

Default image-editor is "Eye of MATE", which I don't like. Replaced it with Flatpak of Gwenview.

VLC doesn't show video while playing some videos; must be a CODEC issue ?

To do: try opensnitch, install npm, figure out what parts of FF Flatpak data need to be backed up.

Check-box After about 5 days, a fairly small routine update made the system unusable. GUI login takes me to a blank, non-functional desktop. In journal, I see compiz crashing, maybe because it can't connect to something over D-bus. Tried various things suggested by people online. Tried downgrading the packages that were upgraded, and that made things worse, even Ctrl+Alt+F1 stopped working. Gave up. [Someone on reddit reported same thing happened on their machine at same time.]

2/2023, installed Zorin OS 16 Core

Note: SSD configured to use 512-byte LBA size.

Zorin OS
Zorin Forum

Chose the "ZFS - experimental" option. No LVM/LUKS. 2 GB swap. Cryptsetup not installed at all. X11. No secure boot. Swap not encrypted.

My first time using ZFS.
ZFS sector size is 4 KB.

Check-box Disk is not encrypted. "zpool get feature@encryption rpool" says encryption is enabled; how can that be, when I'm not asked for a password while booting ? [I'm told that means "feature enabled", not "actually used by the filesystem". "man zfs" says "Creating an encrypted dataset requires specifying the encryption and keyformat properties at creation time". "sudo zfs list -o encryption /" says "off".]

"zpool get feature@lz4_compress rpool" says compression feature is enabled. "sudo zfs list -o compression /" says "lz4".

Snapshots get created during "apt" operations, but not during Flatpak operations (I think).

"lsmod" shows that zfs is a loadable module.

"systemctl status zsys-gc.timer zsys-gc.service" shows a service that cleans up snapshots.

"zfs list" shows a lot of mounts. Mount for / has "relatime", and "sudo zfs list -o atime /" says "on". On other distros, I've used "noatime" on all my filesystems. Did "sudo zfs set atime=off rpool" and "sudo zfs set relatime=off rpool". That changed things at the filesystem level, but did not change the settings at the mount level.

"Census" is opt-out in installer.

There is a motd timer.

Unattended updates were enabled in /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/20auto-upgrades

Snap and Flatpak are installed. No snaps installed. In Flatpak, only themes are installed, and Flathub and Zorin remotes are defined.

Has fractional scaling; I set it to 150%.

Has 24-hour time setting, independent of locale.

Software+Updates app: have to authenticate again for every single app you remove; tedious. Turned off automatic updates.

Still using Flatpaks, so still have issue with "portal" file-dialogs opening in background as separate app.

Check-box In Network Manager, no way to say "always use VPN" on network connections.

Notified that there is an update for VSCodium, but then when I say "update", I get some error message about a missing service.

Couldn't print, to either of my HP printers, over network or over USB. Tried for half an hour, gave up. Hours later, printing to one of them over USB worked.

Check-box Can't figure out how to change default app for various types of files. Under System Settings / Applications, the "Unset" buttons seem to do nothing, but if you go to another app and come back, the list has changed. But I still can't get system to open JPGs with something other than Image Viewer. Can't uninstall Image Viewer through Software+Updates, either.

System seems to be missing some connector that is needed to mount a LUKS-encrypted external hard disk drive. I plug in the drive, click on it in file explorer, get prompted for passphrase, then get an error dialog. Then I can do a "mount" command to finish mounting the drive successfully.

File-save dialog in Firefox Flatpak doesn't remember last folder saved-to, and has no "recent" capability. Apparently a "portals" thing.
Disappointed with Portals security model
Seems to be a permissions problem; fixed through Flatseal.

Much of the time, there's an extra mouse-cursor image, frozen on the screen, in the lower-right. Don't know what it came from, doesn't seem to hurt anything.

3/2023, installed PCLinuxOS 2023-02

PCLinuxOS with Trinity DE (based on Mandrake/Mandriva).

Note: SSD configured to use 512-byte LBA size.

Installer a bit strange, asked only for keyboard, partitioning, bootloader settings.

System booted but it's stuck with display at 1024x768 / 76 Hz (should be 1920x1080 / 60 Hz). Can't fix it. Also Synaptics package manager app won't take any input, it's frozen. Gave up. [Heard later: "edit xorg.conf to allow for more resolutions".]

3/2023, installed Fedora 37 Kinoite

Fedora Kinoite
Fedora Immutable

Note: SSD configured to use 512-byte LBA size.

Login defaults to Wayland; I changed to X11. Got error dialog something like "xdg-desktop not writable" first time I logged in.

8 GB ZRAM swap (my laptop has 16 GB RAM). Boot partition of 1 GB. LUKS 2. Btrfs filesystem. Kernel 6.0.7, which is very recent. Has systemd. X11. Secure Boot is disabled.

Able to edit /etc/fstab as usual, then follow instructions in it to update.

Only /sysroot and /usr are mounted read-only; / and home and various parts of /var are mounted read-write.

Firefox native is installed, removed it (want to use Flatpak):
"rpm-ostree override remove firefox-langpacks"
"rpm-ostree override remove firefox"

Flathub not set as a remote; added it. Also added RPMFusion (free and non-free). Fedora has its own remote. I try to use Flathub first, Fedora next, Fusion last.

"rpm-ostree update --preview"
"rpm-ostree upgrade"

System Settings - Default Applications says Firefox is default browser, but clicking on a link opens ungoogled-chromium. Both are Flatpaks. "Make Default Browser" in Firefox does nothing. Later, after at least one reboot, System Settings - Default Applications started showing both Firefox and UC in the list, and I was able to select Firefox, and it worked.

Had to install ImageMagick from RPM on web site, not in any repos. Did same with rclone since I want newest version.

Firewalld is running, but I want gufw. Don't know how to get it.

"rpm-ostree install" just queues a package to be installed; you have to reboot for it to be installed. That's a bit of a pain.

SELinux is "enforcing".

Doing "ss -tulp", I see kdeconnectd listening for xmsg protocol; how can I turn that off ? Did "rpm-ostree override remove kde-connect kdeconnectd kde-connect-libs".

Also see something listening for hostmon protocol, which is Link Local Multicast Name Resolution (LLMNR) protocol, Microsoft local multicast name-resolution. Maybe because of Samba ?
"grep LLMNR /etc/systemd/resolved.conf"
Changed to "LLMNR=no".

Still see something listening on UDP port 323, but it's listening on localhost. rpki-rtr (Resource PKI to Router) is TCP/323, but not UDP. Probably chronyd. https://forums.docker.com/t/chronyd-listening-on-udp-323/14987/1 https://chrony.tuxfamily.org/faq.html

No video-player app installed by default ? A little strange.

Don't know how to query for packages in repo(s) used by rpm-ostree. And just blindly trying to guess package names, and doing "rpm-ostree install" on them, is painful because rpm-ostree is so slow. Later installed dnf on host os (which I think you're not supposed to do), just so I could search. Someone said do "toolbox run dnf search PATTERN" instead.

As far as I can tell, using "journalctl -u fstrim.service", only /boot (ext4) and /boot/efi (vfat) are being trimmed. Everything else (which is Btrfs) is not being trimmed.

System didn't wake up properly from sleep: everything going extremely slowly, except that the mouse-cursor moves normally. 20 seconds to do any operation in an app, or switch between apps. System journal shows "[drm] Fence fallback timer expired on ring gfx_low" about 2-3 times per second, and sometimes "[drm] Fence fallback timer expired on ring sdma0". Rebooted, and system is okay. Kernel is 6.2.7-200.fc37.x86_64.

Happened again maybe 4 days later: wake up from sleep while on battery went very slowly, lots of "Fence fallback timer expired" messages in journal. And happened again another 3-4 days later, on kernel 6.2.8-200.fc37.x86_64.

Command "convert" (part of imagemagick) is installed, but can't find codec to handle JPEG files. Can't install imagemagick package; not found by rpm-ostree. Forgot that I had installed it from web site.

There's very little visibility when updating. "flatpak upgrade" doesn't show what version numbers you're going from/to. "rpm-ostree upgrade" doesn't show ANYTHING about what packages will be upgraded (since they're bundled inside one huge atomic update).

Check-box Package management on this system is bewildering. Tried to install ffmpeg via rpm-ostree, got dependency conflicts. Tried to install ffmpeg via dnf inside a Fedora 37 toolbox, got "no match". Can't find it in Flatpak. Not sure how to enable RPMFusion repos (https://rpmfusion.org/Howto/OSTree). Not sure if/how should enable COPR repo, and if that would help. https://ffmpeg.org/ sends you to https://rpmfusion.org/ , but instructions there don't say how they apply on this distro. [From someone on reddit: "Copr repos are user repos like the AUR or personal ppas for Ubuntu. ... But codecs and all are on rpmfusion."] "rpm-ostree status" shows what you have layered onto the OS.

I'm starting to think the rule is "never do any rpm-ostree operation except 'upgrade'". And don't use a normal terminal; launch terminal and immediately do "toolbox enter".

4/2023, failed installs

Tried to install Kaos 2023.02. No mouse or touchpad found; can't get install to proceed using only keyboard.

Tried to install EndlessOS 5.0 2023-02-27. Installer could not find partition with files, maybe because I'm using Ventoy ? Or maybe because I chose the "Basic" image ?

4/2023, installed Nobara 37 KDE

Nobara KDE (Fedora-based with tweaks).

Note: SSD configured to use 512-byte LBA size.

Login defaults to Wayland; I changed to X11.

I said "no swap", but got 8 GB ZRAM swap (my laptop has 16 GB RAM). Boot partition of 1 GB. LUKS 2. Btrfs filesystem, although I thought installer said it would be ext4. Kernel 6.2.8, which is very recent. Has systemd. X11. Secure Boot is disabled.

Asked about installing non-free CODECs, said yes, it took a while.

Set the Display's "global scale" to 125%, but it screwed up text in Konsole, changed it back. Changed all system fonts size from 10 to 12, but it didn't affect VSCodium and Konsole. Changed font size settings inside each of them individually.

Got "kioslave5 crashed". Not sure if it was related to launching Akgregator or to removing a USB drive. Got another such crash after login. More later, at random times. Happens EVERY time I launch Akregator (which is a Flatpak).

I prefer a light theme: changed from "Nobara" to "Breeze".

Want to add a shell script to AutoStart, but it keeps ending up as "run with Kate" even if I select "Run in Terminal". Added it to ~/.xprofile instead.

Looking through the Welcome Center app, I clicked to visit a page (I assume a web page), and got a "fail - want to report ?" message, clicked Report, got a "reporting failed" message. Closed that, back to dialog that says "Sorry, welcome Center quit unexpectedly", but in fact Welcome Center app still was running.

Check-box Same problem as I had in Kinoite: System didn't wake up properly from sleep: everything going extremely slowly, except that the mouse-cursor moves normally. System journal shows "[drm] Fence fallback timer expired ..." messages. Rebooted, and system is okay. Kernel is 6.2.8. Happened again later, on kernel 6.2.10-200.fsync.fc37.x86_64. Later happened again worse: was able to log in and kill one application, then whole system froze and I had to hard-reset. Again on 6.2.11: slowdown, was able to close all apps eventually, then had to hard-reset. Happened several more times on kernel 6.2.14. Also on kernel 6.3.4, and on 6.3.5.

Later had another sleep or display-manager problem: told the system to sleep, screen went black, I immediately thought of one more thing I wanted to do, pressed Enter to wake system again. It sort of half-woke-up, then wedged. Showed password prompt, then didn't, then stuck. I went away for a while, came back, system totally stuck. Hard-powered-off.

Change time-zone in settings, clock in taskbar doesn't change.

Check-box System froze solid while moving cursor in Firefox, cursor doesn't move, no key-combo works, had to power-off. So many errors in system journal, over a period of several minutes, that I can't tell what went wrong first.

6/2023, installed QubesOS 4.1.2

Wikipedia's "Qubes OS"

Note: SSD configured to use 512-byte LBA size.

Installation was smooth. It said disk was full (partitions from previous distro) but gave a button to "reclaim all space" and that worked. It complained about a too-short user password, but then accepted it.

I de-selected Debian and Whonix, just using Fedora.

Update gave some "failed to execute WindowIconUpdater" errors. Fedora update took a while. Fans spun up.

Kernel is 5.15, fairly old.

In Personal qube, / is only 9.6 GB, seems too small. Was unable to increase that size/limit. I think you have to increase it in the template qube before generating the Personal qube from the template.

In dom0 qube, Flatpak not installed.

Took some work to get an encrypted USB disk attached and decrypted with access from Personal qube's file manager.

Flatpak search pretty slow.

Flatpak apps I install don't show up anywhere, not in the menus.

Copy/paste shortcuts don't work in terminal, have to use the menu items.

Got tired of the inconveniences, decided Qubes is not for me.

6/2023, several failed installs

Note: SSD configured to use 512-byte LBA size.

Tried to install Clear Linux 2.7.6. Installer enforces ridiculous rules on password complexity; took a while to find a password it would accept. Installer can't find any media to install onto, can't find my SSD. GParted in the installer can partition the SSD, so it's not a hardware problem. Tried manually partitioning, tried every combination I could see, tried some kernel params from an answer on the internet, nothing worked. Clear Linux OS

Tried to install Puppy - Ubuntu Focal 64. Installer says it doesn't support installing onto UEFI systems ! article

Tried to install IMG file of EasyOS Kirkstone 64. Docs say you should DD this file onto the disk, but I tried just seeing if Ventoy knew what to do. It did boot me into a live session successfully, but then seemed to be trying to install onto the USB stick. EasyOS

6/2023, installed ParrotOS Home 5.3

Parrot OS

Note: SSD configured to use 512-byte LBA size.

Chose no-swap. Installation smooth.

Boot partition of 300M. LUKS 1. Btrfs filesystem. Kernel 6.1.0, which is pretty recent. Systemd. X11. Mate desktop.

Removed Firefox ESR native; I want to use current Flatpak.
VSCodium is installed native by default, and I kept that.
Removed Tor browser launcher native; I want to use Flatpak.

For some reason, KeePassXC title bar says it's running as superuser. Later Akregator said that too. Tor Browser too. Makes system tray icons pretty useless for switching among apps; many show up as just "icon (as superuser)".

"grep -i 'Using input driver' /var/log/Xorg.0.log" says using Synaptics touchpad driver, which gave me system freezes on Mint in 2019. Guess I'll keep using it here, see what happens.

I'm seeing day-names in Spanish in several places (e.g. Caja file manager), because I'm in Spain time-zone and located in Spain, even though I set system language to English. "localectl" shows all the LC_* variables set to Spanish values. There doesn't seem to be any locale stuff in the Settings, no widget for it. Did CLI commands to change settings. May have to reboot to have them take effect ?

Terminal seems to be getting its PROMPT value from .zshrc, although the shell being run is bash.

Codium is doing that thing where the file-open dialog opens in the background, not the foreground. Surprising because it's a native install; usually I see that with Flatpaks.

System seems to have dark-mode built-in in various places, despite selecting a light-mode theme. System bar, Akregator, others.

No time-service was running; I enabled systemd-timesyncd.service.

I seem to be fighting power-management and display-brightness. After 30-60 seconds of idle, screen dims. Don't see how to fix it.

Check-box Printing didn't work out of the box. Had to enable and start CUPS service, and install hplib. Even then it took a while for Wi-Fi printer to appear, and not sure it's appearing in all apps. USB printer no problem, at least in Pluma. Later, couldn't get scanner to work over Wi-Fi, had to use USB.

For some reason, Akregator is not stripping attachment names; I have to give each attachment I save a name manually. Also doesn't go to first article in feed when you go to the feed. Version 5.23.2.

Check-box Had a hard power-down / crash. I think I was moving cursor across a web page, whole laptop just powered off, bang. Booted, and nothing useful in system journal. ~/.xsession-errors file has nothing related. System was on AC power and battery at 100%. In past, maybe this has been related to Synaptics touchpad driver. Can't remove Synaptics touchpad driver package; apparently the entire MATE desktop depends on it. Later managed to change X to use libinput.

Garuda Dr460nized KDE

Garuda Linux
Garuda Linux forum
TechHut's "Quick look at 'Dr460nized' Raptor Eagle" (video)

Note: SSD configured to use 512-byte LBA size.

Installation smooth.

Boot partition of 300M. LUKS 1. Swap is zram. Btrfs filesystem. Kernel 6.4.10, which is extremely recent. Systemd. X11, no choice of Wayland. KDE desktop.

Check-box Shell is fish, which I don't like. Used chsh to change to bash, but it didn't work. /etc/passwd entry was changed, but Konsole still shows running fish. Easiest workaround is to just launch bash on top of fish. But no history facility. Use "bash -l". But history is not saved across sessions ?

Default is single-click to open; changed to double-click.

Turned off baloo file-indexing.

Check-box Man pages don't display properly in terminal, there are extra formatting chars such as "1m" everywhere.

Flatpak not installed, but easy to install.

Check-box Often apps launch into the background, and often open-file dialogs and progress dialogs open in the background. Annoying.

Something wrong with Firefox (116, Flatpak), it keeps saying "bad profile", and I have to rename backup profile to fix it.

Check-box Laptop slept for a while, then I came back to find it in a weird state, keyboard has caps-lock flashing and a touchpad light on that never is on, screen is black. System is stuck; had to hard-reset. Happened again a day later: sleeping in black screen, hit a key to wake it up, caps-lock started flashing, system is stuck, had to hard-reset. Nothing useful in system journal. Kernel is 6.4.10-zen1-1-zen. Happened a third time, it's about once a day: black screen, flashing caps-lock, had to hard-reset. Happened a 4th time. Happened a 5th time on same day: was in black screen, hit Enter, caps-lock started flashing, system is stuck. Tried turning off "Settings / System Settings / Power Management / Energy Saving / Suspend Session". System got stuck again. And again (after closing lid; maybe I shouldn't do that). Happened a couple more times. Didn't happen for a week or so, then happened a couple more times. Updated to kernel 6.5.2. Happened again. And again. Updated to kernel 6.5.3.

Played an MP4 with Dragon Player, and it didn't play properly, sort of a skipping-most-frames effect but the audio is okay. Playing same file with VLC worked fine.

Added Wi-Fi printer, got a dialog asking to change firewall to allow incoming IPP and mDNS, did that, printer worked.

Updates (through Discover, at least) give some alarming errors, such as "grep: stray \" or "you just did a partial upgrade".


CachyOS (arch-based, uses XFS filesystem) https://cachyos.org/
Mocaccino (Gentoo-family).
Redcore (Gentoo-family). article
Bodhi with Moksha DE. (But 6.0 uses kernel that is too old for me.)
Absolute Linux (Slackware-family). Try without Ventoy.
Salix (based on Slackware).
Bedrock Linux.
Clear Linux OS
Puppy Linux (article).
Subgraph OS (kernel 4.9 ?).
EasyOS (uses tech from Puppy Linux).
Endless OS.
OpenBSD (has all the main apps I use except VS Code).
FreeBSD (has all the main apps I use; https://github.com/tagattie/FreeBSD-VSCode https://vez.mrsk.me/freebsd-defaults.html).
Server in cloud: /r/linuxupskillchallenge.

[Some other things I could "tour": apps in each category, themes, docks, more.]

Then: Distros with many installation steps or building from source