Tags: linux

Giving Debian Stretch a try

Tonight, I have mostly been taking Debian Stretch for a spin. Stretch is currently in full freeze and is due to be the next Debian Stable release, so I was interested to see what it has to offer in terms of providing a LEMP stack.

The biggest change (LEMP related) over previous Debian releases is probably the switch to MariaDB from MySQL. I wasn’t aware this switch had taken place, until I tried to install the ‘mysql-server’ package, which doesn’t exist under Stretch. Doh. So anyway, I did a quick search and discovered details of the change. After that, it only took a few minutes to figure out what I needed to do to get MariaDB installed and set-up. To be honest, with the limited testing that I’ve done, I’ve not noticed any difference, but I guess this is to be expected as MariaDB is described as a drop-in replacement for MySQL.

Other than that, Stretch looks like it’s going to be a solid LEMP platform, providing NGINX 1.10.3 and PHP 7.0. It should make for a good replacement for my current Ubuntu LTS servers, which I’m looking to move away from.

My Ubuntu 16.04 GNOME Setup [↗]

Another prominent Ubuntu Unity user detailing how he’s migrated to GNOME from Unity. It’s well written and thoughtful, with details of all the GNOME extensions used to emulate a Unity desktop. Using GNOME on my own systems, I was aware of most of the extensions, apart from Pixel Saver, which works pretty well on the small screen of my ThinkPad X220. Anyhow, reading this makes me feel kind of sad about the death of Unity, it really is a rather nice desktop environment and it will be missed.

What’s Next for Ubuntu Desktop? Mark Shuttleworth Shares His Plans [↗]

We’re helping the Ubuntu GNOME team, not creating something different or competitive with that effort. While I am passionate about the design ideas in Unity, and hope GNOME may be more open to them now, I think we should respect the GNOME design leadership by delivering GNOME the way GNOME wants it delivered.

Mark is saying all the right things and it’s good to read that he’s respectful of the GNOME team. I’m hoping the Ubuntu devs and release team are listening and taking notes.

Making GNOME Shell Feel Like Unity [↗]

I like the way the Ubuntu Unity desktop works. However, a while ago I switched over to Gnome Shell to see what it was like, and it seemed good so I stuck around. But I’ve added a few extensions to it so it feels a bit more like the parts of the Unity experience that I liked. In light of the news from Canonical that they’ll be shipping the Gnome desktop in the next LTS in 2018, and in light of much hand-wringing from people who like Unity as much as I do about how they don’t want to lose the desktop they prefer, I thought I’d write down what I did, so others can try it too.

I’m hoping that Ubuntu 18.04 LTS ships with a stock GNOME Shell experience, but this post has some good tips for Unity lovers.

High-Memory Instances and $5 Linodes [↗]

We’re also introducing the Linode 1GB, our lowest priced instance ever at only $5 per month. We believe this will add a great deal of utility to our service.

This is good news, although I’m surprised Linode didn’t do this long ago — DigitalOcean have been offering a $5 droplet for some time. I wonder how long it will be before DigitalOcean up their $5 droplet from 512MB to 1GB?

Anyhow, I’m thinking a $5 Linode will be ideal for lots of applications, including cheap development servers and possibly even a small/personal ownCloud instance.

A more powerful Plex media server using Raspberry Pi 3 [↗]

I’ve had a Raspberry Pi 3 sitting on my desk, doing nothing, for nearly a year. Last weekend, I figured it was about time I used it for something, so I followed this guide and within an hour, I’d turned my Pi into a fully working Plex Media Server.

Nifty.

Commandline Challenge [↗]

Are you up for the command line challenge? Solve the tasks … in a single line of bash.

A nifty way to have some fun whilst learning bash commands.

Got tearing with proprietary NVIDIA? Try this. [↗]

If you’re using a reasonably modern NVIDIA graphics card on your Linux box with the proprietary driver, there’s a fair chance you may encounter that nasty thing called ‘screen tearing’. There is a little setting worth trying in NVIDIA’s blob driver called ‘ForceCompositionPipeline’ that can severely reduce tearing to a minimum, perhaps even completely. Here’s how to do it.

I recently installed a new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 in my desktop. The card is awesome, but it’s not supported by the open source Nouveau drivers under Linux (Ubuntu 16.04), so I had to install NVIDIA’s propriety drivers. This was not a problem and it only took a few minutes before I had the card up and running, however, it wasn’t long before I discovered that it was exhibiting some video tearing issues. Grrr!

I’ve experienced video tearing under Linux before and it’s always been a pain in the arse to get sorted. So, I was pretty happy when I found something that actually worked, first time. The gist of the fix involves adding this line to the “Screen” section of your Xorg configuration file:

Option  "metamodes" "nvidia-auto-select +0+0 { ForceCompositionPipeline = On }"

Once I’d added the above line and rebooted, the screen tearing was completely gone. Nifty!

First impressions of KDE neon

Last Tuesday I decided to start my search for a new Linux distribution to take along to the next Lincoln LUG meeting. Now, I’ve never really liked KDE distros and I tend to steer clear of them, but I decided to embrace something different and I chose KDE neon, which I installed on my X220.

Again, I’ve never really liked KDE, so you can probably imagine (or possibly not) my surprise when I found myself still using it a few days later. And, not only was I still using it, but I was also really enjoying the experience.

In many ways, the KDE Plasma Desktop is the complete opposite of what I have come to expect from a modern Linux desktop environment; whilst GNOME, Unity and Pantheon are somewhat configurable, it seems that Plasma can be tweaked to the nth degree. I’m not used to this level of flexibility and it’s unfamiliar ground, but I’ve found the experience to provide a refreshing change — in some ways it has reminded me of why I started using desktop Linux in the first place.

Anyhow, it’s still early days and I’m still finding my way around, but I can see myself using KDE neon for a while to come. Also, it’ll be interesting to see what my fellow LUG members think of it, later in the month.

Look before you paste from a website to terminal [↗]

Most of the time when we see a code snippet online to do something, we often blindly copy paste it to the terminal. Even the tech savy ones just see it on the website before copy pasting. Here is why you shouldn’t do this.

I’m well past the point of copying and pasting random commands, that said, I’d imagine this could be somewhat scary for new Linux users.

On a semi-related note, I’m sure I noticed that the default terminal app in elementary OS alerts the user whenever they paste a “sudo” command. Seems like a sensible idea.

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