Thursday, October 22

Anyone can play guitar

This is a bit of a tech post. Unless you're interested in very amateur Linux talk or curious about my computer adventures, you don't have to read on.

In my last post, I'd written about finally letting go of XP (still think it's the nicest Windows OS) and switching to LXLE, a lightweight distribution (distro) based on Lubuntu, running on the LXDE desktop environment. It is primarily for ageing PCs like mine, though it will function just as well on newer computers. This post consists of layman observations and some experiential info after having used it for almost a week.

First off, LXLE is easy to install and I strongly recommend creating a Live USB using UNetboot.in (which you'll have to download) and using that to install the OS. I mean, use a thumb drive rather than a CD/DVD to install. The steps are simple enough and your intelligence level would have to be dangerously close to that of the average Indian politician's for you to fuck it up.

Since I was getting rid of XP and not dual-booting, the override process was very simple. If you do choose to dual-boot, there are simple and excellent videos on YouTube on how to do this with Windows+Ubuntu. This would follow the same steps. Here are just 2 videos that show you how easy the installation process is:

1. https://youtu.be/9O6yU_yvlS4
2. https://youtu.be/3HANcetKsqc

I've used the 2nd link when dual-booting my other laptop and it went off without a hitch. When downloading/installing the OS, remember to choose to install the restricted extras which are the codecs for Flash, Java, Mp3s, etc. It makes life easier, though they can be installed later.

Okay, back to LXLE. The boot time is around 2 minutes, which is a little slow, but that may be because it's settling in. The reviews peg the boot time to under 1 minute, which is seriously quick, if you think about it. Like Ubuntu, LXLE shuts down fast (10 seconds).

The default desktop paradigm is XP, though you can choose between 4 others. I'm still trying to figure out how you can change between these. FYI, paradigm basically means where the start button/panel is located. In the Unity paradigm, it's a column on the left, and Gnome 2 has it at the top of the screen, etc. XP is familiar and there's nothing wrong with it.

LXLE comes with the Libre Office Suite, including Writer, Calc, Impress (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) amongst others. If like me, you tend to largely use Word, you shouldn't have any trouble with Writer. If you use PowerPoint, Adobe PS/AI and Excel heavily in your work, Libre Office will disappoint you. You are better off dual-booting or using Wine (Windows Program Loader) to install and use MS Office in LXLE.

Mozilla build of Seamonkey is the default browser and if you're used to Firefox, this is almost the same. In some design ways, Seamonkey is even nicer than Firefox. You are free to download Firefox or Chrome (Chromium) too. LXLE comes with the Lubuntu Software Centre where you can search for and install various packages/ software. You can also run online searches for Terminal commands to directly download and install software. However, if you're easily confused by large strings of commands or are more of a point-and-click person, use the software centre. And as you will read later, the software centre can't solve all your problems.

LXLE comes with default (and nifty, might I add) photo viewing and editing software (Shotwell is one), Video viewer (you can download VLC) and PDF viewer, so no sweat there. Audacity audio editor is also pre-installed.

My 2 favourite features of LXLE are the random wallpaper feature (featuring some seriously stunning photographs) and Guayadeque Music Player (which I've written about before - see a previous Ubuntu post). To me, they are the sensory highlights of LXLE.

Unlike in Ubuntu 15.04, the Terminal is called ROXTerm and can be opened using Alt+C or Ctrl+Alt+t. Why am I telling you this? Because the one spot of bother I ran into was using the Printer.

Installing a Printer on LXLE

I plugged in the printer (HP 915) using the USB, wanting to print something, only to find that the printer wasn't being recognised. This was odd because LXLE, Ubuntu, etc. are usually thoughtful about things like this. I did a bit of searching online and found that others had the same trouble as well. This being a Linux distro, there are kajillion forums and links on how to try and solve the issue. Whatever I tried, didn't work, leaving me more disappointed than frustrated. As luck would have it, I then stumbled upon an old 2011 link (updated in 2015) that gave a solution, which would have to be executed using the Terminal. It took a little while, needed a little bit of reading and finger-crossing but happily for me, it worked. If you're interested, here it is.

That's about it. So far, so good, with the printer installation being the only complicated bit I had to figure out. Perversely enough, I actually enjoy tinkering around with this kind of stuff, so it wasn't too much of a bother. It was also nice to share the solution on the LXLE forum and feel like I'd actually accomplished something. Happy Dussera indeed.

P.S: One bit of a piss-taker is that iTunes will not work, even if you use Wine. Since I have an iPhone as of now, it's a shitty situation, but there's not much to be done, unless those Apple fucktards release a Linux version of iTunes. Not holding my breath on that though. 

Song for the moment: Plump - Ali Khan

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