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Linux on the Desktop: Part Two (xn--gckvb8fzb.com)
99 points by jago_ 71 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 73 comments



When you switch to Linux (desktop), you should seek something that Windows cannot offer.

I'm my case, it was possibility of having desktop where change for the sake of change is completely absent. My desktop is fully up to date, yet it hasn't changed visually since 2006. Every control and menu item is where it was 15 years ago, colors are the same, fonts are the same. I'm not using OS, I'm using apps. The best thing good OS can do for me, is not to get in my way when I run apps. I'm using jwm set up to resemble early gnome.


> The best thing good OS can do for me, is not to get in my way when I run apps

This has always been my complaint about Windows.

I've long considered the OS as a tool to launch my apps ONLY!. That's it!

Of course, under the surface there are a few more things that it needs to perform like not corrupting my data, being secure and protecting me from attacks and so on but it's purpose is a toolbox.

Carpenters don't use their toolbox to build furniture. They use the tools in it. That's what the the OS is to me: a toolbox that holds my tools.

When it starts giving me shit for not using a Microsoft account or trying to "help me with that thing" that pisses me off.

However, the worst thing is when shit moves around, menus change etc.

Perhaps it's time to give Linux a go again!


Good idea, give it a try. I'd recommend Kubuntu or Mint with Cinnamon. I switched to KDE for KDE Connects' amazing smartphone (Android) integration, which i recommend srrongly to try. Switched to openSUSE Tumbleweed myself, best KDE implemention IMHO, rolling release and the software selection is great, whats missing from the repos can be installed via opi, a client for [0]. It is not that newbie friendly though, since SUSEs' focus is on the enterprise ie safety over ease of use.

[0] https://openbuildservice.org/


As it happens, I have a USB stick with Fedora 34 on it. I tried it a few months back after Ubuntu and POP OS and found it to be great with one issue: Nvidia graphics! Too much fannying about to get them to work.

If i just used the built-in Intel graphics it was perfect. Every app worked (I'm a .NET dev), everything was fast and stable... it was great.

The issue with the graphics was to do with having an HDMI and DP connection at the same time and caused a crash in 46x version of drivers. 47x wasn't out at the time but it is now... perhaps it's time!


No problems whatsoever with Ubuntu based distros (like Mint) with Nvidia whatsoever. If you want to install the newest Mesa from a PPA, one of them has instructions for Mint. I'd recommend openSUSE over Fedora, less Gnome focused, more pragmatic than laboratory to push the boundaries and rolling release in case of Tumbleweed. Instructions for Nvidia drivers are here [0]. Just saw a guide to Setting up MicroOS as a desktop OS (their equivalent to Fedora Silverblue, immutable OS). Might try that one on the machine i still have to migrate from a Cinnamon/KDE-FrankenMint to Tumbleweed.

[0] https://opensuse.github.io/openSUSE-docs-revamped-temp/insta...


> opi

Phones home to domain `guoyunhe.me`. Not cool! I only noticed because the host is down.

Plain zypper already works for installing from OBS. Click "expert download" link on a package search result page, or click "download package" on an OBS project page. Example: <https://software.opensuse.org/download?project=openSUSE%3AFa...>


Indeed it does: https://github.com/openSUSE/opi/blob/5fc82de009fb3e792550607...

I'm not sure what this proxy is for though.


Since it is not reachable, it is good for crashing opi. Hm.


Thanks you very much, good to know.


there is gsconnect on Gnome as well.


The tiny changes in the DE are minimal compared to the massive changes under the hood. I can learn a new Gnome DE layout in a few days. But in the same period as Gnome has evolved we have gotten systemd, pulse, pipewire, new file systems and a lot more. The list is literally too long to list here. And each of those changes bring with them a new UI/UX.

So keeping the desktop static is not as important as keeping the desktop stable, imho. Which is why I just use vanilla Gnome. (with some dconf edits to improve speed and stability)


Same reasons, except that's why I use XFCE.


For me, Linux have two killer features:

1. Native docker support which runs on the same kernel, shares the same RAM. It's better than Docker in VM.

2. Sane virtualization story. Windows has Hyper-V, VirtualBox has its own stuff, they conflict, if they don't conflict, VirtualBox runs slow as molasses, Android installs some intel hax to work in Windows. WSL provides its own virtual machine, docker provides its own virtual machine. It's a mess! With Linux it's pretty simple: everyone just uses KVM which just works. I run my Windows VM with simple bash script. Perfect!

Also I can't really claim it, but I still think that Linux works better under heavy load with slow CPU. I have very slow mobile 2-core Intel i3. I can run docker containers, Windows VM, IntelliJ Idea, Android Studio, Android Emulator, Factorio. All at once! I just need enough RAM, that is. Of course I can get occasional lag if something taxes my little CPU. But it's very usable. Unless I run Chrome. Chrome is bad.

With Windows, I can run less applications at once. I guess that with powerful CPU that's not really an issue, so I kind of handicapped myself with slow CPU, but whatever.


Hyper-V is interesting because it actually causes Windows itself to run on top of the hypervisor. I'm surprised that VirtualBox works at all in that environment.

I think the idea is that Hyper-V was supposed to be what everything uses on Windows, but clearly they didn't make it enticing enough for any virtualization software to switch over. Besides the crappy Hyper-V manager, the only other thing I know of that uses it is WSL2. Too bad Microsoft doesn't care enough to improve the situation.


This _can_ be true, but GNOME (for example) have drastically changed their UI paradigm in that time window.

It's quite nice as a power user, I use terminals and.. overall terminals and tiling window managers barely change.

But the pace of change can be jarring, and sometimes controversial:

GNOME2->3

init->systemd

alsa->pulse->pipewire

ifconfig->ip

NetworkManager->iwctl

A lot of the ergonomics _do_ change with Linux if you're not paying attention.

And this isn't to mention the default desktop manager changing between major versions of popular distros like ubuntu.


>GNOME2->3

I assume MATE is still supported. Yes, it requires user action to change the DE, but end result may be worth it.

>init->systemd

OpenRC supported on Gentoo.

>alsa->pulse->pipewire

Pulseaudio is optional. Pipewire might be worthwhile to hear out.

>ifconfig->ip

ifconfig still works for me.

>NetworkManager->iwctl

No idea, never used any of those.


to be fair, there's also MATE to get the old gnome experience untainted, so even for gnome users this is possible. I personally prefer cinnamon, set up with the classic windows XP taskbar, plus maybe one at the top too


iwctl is only for wireless networks, no?

In my understanding, the systemd-networkd is more like a successor of NetworkManager.


Yes, iwd/iwctl is the (wannabe) successor of wpa_supplicant. But systemd-networkd cannot really do WLAN. It can replace NetworkManager in a data center and an office machine. But not conveniently on a laptop. I guess the same might be true for VPN (the rare cases I need one I do it ad-hoc from command line, so no real experience in that area).


Well, my Windows applications from 2000 can still run on Windows 10, without being recompiled, regardless of the UI changes.


Some, not all.

And Wine/Proton is (i would say) more compatible with old Windows-Apps then Windows itself, not even talking about dosbox/dosbox-x.


Ironically what this means is that Linux Desktop has better compatibility with Windows binaries than it does with its own binaries from the near past. The Windows APIs are stable enough to make that possible.


So what is the value of Linux when it needs to play OS/2 Windows compatibility flag?

It did plenty of good to OS/2 native applications.

And some is still more than I could say for something compiled in Red Hat Linux (!Enterprise) or Mandrake, to put it in perspective regarding 2000.


> So what is the value of Linux when it needs to play OS/2 Windows compatibility flag?

What's the value of Windows if it has worse compatibility to is former incarnations?

>And some is still more than I could say for something compiled in Red Hat Linux (!Enterprise) or Mandrake, to put it in perspective regarding 2000

It could be always worse and better, let's talk about z/OS


Except it doesn't, not to the extent of how bad Linux does it.

I really would like to see IBM marketing materials about the Year of z/OS Desktop.


You twist thing as you go, for backward compatibility no one can match z/OS. As for the desktop...let's wait for linux or bsd to do that (or not)....or iOS/Android (worst outcome of them all).


Funny, my primary work is UI and front-end, I was Apple user for 20 years and now I am in Linux Desktop land without any problem what so ever.

Finally after long years of fiddling with chaos of markdown files I invested the time and switched to Emacs and org-mode. Affinity Designer is running fine under VM, Figma-linux is delight to work with, KDE with middle gray color palette ( as all professional software must be, not dark-themed /check the pinnacle of professional UI design - Soundtrack Pro for reference/) and ARCH.

Gnome is to childish for my taste, Sway is to minimal. Running old version of Plasma without KUserFeedback and for the first time in many years feeling in full control of my desktop. I got tired from configuring Little Snitch and recent Apple move towards scanning macOS was the tipping point.

Sadly there is no replacement for Capture One, RawTherapee is very good, but lacks some essential tools. For this case I will build a monster air-gaped Hackintosh and call it a day.


I'm really interested what you mean by middle-gray color palette. Do you use one of the downloadable color schemes or do you fine-tune it yourself?

Usually i find the default/light options too bright and the dark options too dark.


Basic info : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_gray Apple Soundtrack Pro manual for visual reference: https://usermanual.wiki/Apple/SoundtrackPro30.691501040/view

I fine tune it my self, there is a room for interpretation over basic middle gray as lightness value, you can colorize it with subtle bluish, greenish or warm colors.

Soundtrack Pro example is well balanced implementation. When they released it I thought that this will be the default pro UI theme in MacOS.

But iPhone came around and Apple left all Pro Software and Audience behind.


Thanks, gave me the inspiration to tweak KDEs breeze theme. Might make switching color schemes at sunrise and -set a thing of the past.


Thanks, seems indeed very balanced. I´d prefer a warmer touch like going a bit in the direction of solarized light. Maybe i should try and tweek it.


I have started KDE color transfer of Soundtrack Pro. It is low contrast and takes some time to adjust but I find it useful for long hours of work. I prefer most of the contrast to stay in active working area/canvas etc. It is WIP and needs some polish but is a start. May be I will do more neutral version, Soundtrack is more towards blue/violet gamma. https://we.tl/t-v5SjRKTjRM Combine this with Inter or SF Display and you will have clean and professional interface.


You can preview Soundtrack Pro color scheme with stylish icon pack Nordic Darker. https://ibb.co/ZgkBtGW The idea behind this solution is to keep you eyes focused on textual representation of the interface and active work area. Soundtrack Pro is more complete because of the depth derived from skeumorphic elements.


That does look pleasing. Hopefully you'll make a theme on the kde store one day!


Thanks. I plan to stay in KDE land for the foreseeable future and when I have a spare time I will release a more refined combination/theme.

The idea of middle gray as a starting point for UI is well established but not popular nowadays in the world of high contrast and saturated color palettes.

For the moment the combination is to apply Breeze Dark default workspace theme, Nordic-Darker icon pack, SF Pro Display Medium and this color theme.

https://ibb.co/nPmHYfg


I like Darktable more than rawtherapee. And its GPU accelerated which RT is not.


Fascinating as the desktop computer and running Linux on it are, I find the blog's domain name (in Japanese, is it Katakana?) and HN's rendering of the URL even more riveting.


The name as displayed on HN is the "real" domain name, it's a format called Punycode, used to allow Unicode domain names despite DNS only allowing a subset of ASCII characters.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internationalized_domain_name

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punycode


Firefox users can set "network.IDN_show_punycode" to "true" in about:config (or your user.js preferences), which will help you identify phishing attacks using lookalike domain names.

I believe Chrome users can do this as well, however it requires an extension.


If anyone wants to convert those back, just a warning - don't do it blindly since there's a large number of confusable characters. At the very least, there's a table of the confusable characters available (https://util.unicode.org/UnicodeJsps/confusables.jsp) so you can bail out early.


To piggyback on this comment: anyone know how this domain is pronouced, and what the story behind it is (if any)?


My Japanese is rusty, but it should display as: マリウス "ma" "ri" "u" "su", which looks to be a foreign name (katakana), "Marius." That matches the username on this user's github email address, also at the same domain, which means their email address should be pronounced, "Marius at Marius dot com"

Well done, Marius. Well done.


The literal translation is “mariusu” - I would guess this is the Latin-derived name Marius written in katakana (katakana are generally used for words of foreign origin).


I really don’t understand the appeal of this “gamer“ aesthetic.

Colorful LEDs, huge liquid coolers… definitively not for me.


There are 'solutions' to this

[1] https://www.bequiet.com/en/cpucooler/3351

or the smaller

[2] https://www.bequiet.com/en/cpucooler/1074

if one doesn't need up to 250W CPU cooling performance. This 'top-blow/blow down' stuff has other benefits, though, since more airstream is reaching the VRMs and the RAM. (usually, sometimes not, as it depends on layout of the board)

edit: I know there are many, many otheres, comparable, maybe better, or even more cheap. I've chosen this because I'm just a happy customer with their PSU and cooler stuff which is something I'm unwilling to scrooge on. Also I can reach them in person by bicycle, bus, whatever, if need arises.

Anyways, there are silent and powerful aircoolers available, which not only cool the CPU, but also other important parts in compact builds.

Furthermore it seems that watercooling makes real sense only with room for 3 fans of => 120mm on the radiator, everything below seems to be a waste/physical nonsense.


It's not a waste from an aesthetic perspective. Some people treat their builds like a functional art piece and don't want that giant hunk of metal in the middle of their case. A water cooled setup moves the bulk of the cooler to the edge of the case.


For some that may be the case, for others not. For me it would probably a distraction. Taste varies :-)

What I would understand were if it had some function, like varying the colors and slowly pulsing, or brightness according to temperature and various loads, split into where it's making sense.

I don't know, something measured via eBPF piped into https://openrgb.org/ ?

Does this exist? Am I so out of the loop that I'm unaware of it? The only thing I've seen so far was changing color according to fan speed. Otherwise only decoupled cycling of color-patterns.

Anyway, I prefer black/grey/silver and otherwise featureless monoliths for now ;->

edit: something like that seems to exist https://gitlab.com/OpenRGBDevelopers/OpenRGBHardwareSyncPlug...

OTOH hardware support seems to be wonky, because all proprietary, has to be reverse engineered, may sometimes brick your device, or isn't exposed at all under Linux (AMD-GPU).

Well... thanks, but NO.

(What about security btw.?)


Well there are other dimensions to it's appeal. I bought a gamer box with a similar spec to the one in the article, 'cuz it was the HW I wanted, at a good price.


Babysitting is where the money's at.


?


Insanely clean build. I’m going to build a system around this case as well.

Nice to see Gentoo getting some love. Curious why a custom 5.12 kernel though.


Custom may be due to ZFS. No idea why 5.12.


I've just started maining LInux on the desktop (Mint, specifically) and am enjoying it.

Bluetooth drops out from my headphones once in a while, I can't find decent open software to control the fans in the machine, and getting sound passthrough to work from an audi o input had to be done via the commandline, but apart from that it's been an ok experience.

I'll note that I'd previously given the latest Ubuntu a go, but the UI/WM is a complete and utter mess. Mint is much cleaner.


I switched one linux to pipewire and it was seemless. Worked with airpods right off the bat.


My next build will be completely noiseless, in a passively cooled enclosure like this (TDP: 105W CPU + 65W GPU possible): https://www.fabiensanglard.net/the_beautiful_machine/index.h...


With those specs, I am almost scared of asking - how much did it cost?


Prices are from NewEgg (except case)

       Xtia Xproto-N                                $118
       ASUS ROG Strix X570-I                        $268
       Ryzen 9 5950X                                $750
    2x Samsung 980 Pro 1TB                       2x $180
       Team T-Force XTREEM ARGB 64GB (2 x 32GB)     $290
       Corsair SF 600W                              $130
       LIAN LI GALAHAD AIO 240                      $117
    2x Cooler Master MasterFan MF120 HALO        2x $ 17
       AMD Radeon Pro WX 2100                       $200
Total: $2267.

Intel Mac Mini with cheap CPU, 64 GB RAM and 2 TB SSD is $2699.


You won't get the ryzen. However, you could go a lot cheaper on a smaller build with an IntelNUC


I've been planning how to take my pinebook pro and swapping the sbc with a nuc motherboard. With some 3d printed parts it'd only add a couple of inches but lots of room for lipo's. Though I'd prefer an hidpi screen.


Less than 2k probably.


These builds always look really cool, but I wonder how long it takes before the dust starts to settle in, how do you even clean something like this?


I'd hit it with a datavac.


I was looking at mITX boards, but microATX just seems better overall. Cheaper, better VRMs (can even overclock), 4 RAM slots, more onboard drive slots, extra PCIe slots (more SSDs, ports, or a fiber link to your NAS or Wifi, but that's easier with a LAN-to-OpenWRT router).

I didn't know a mITX board could handle a Ryzen 9 though.


The size of the board has little to no bearing on the quality of the VRMs. VRMs are VRMs. There's nothing that prohibits an mITX board from having the same VRMs as an mATX board or even a Full ATX board: The reserved CPU area still applies to all board sizes. The extra width is mostly beyond the memory slots or below the first PCIe 16X slot. That has no bearing on what's used for the CPU itself.

I would also wager the vast majority of people who have a PC only use one SATA or NVMe socket/slot and only have a GPU as an add-in. This makes, for the most part, an mATX board mostly as used as an mITX board in terms of features.

My first generation AM4 mITX board that I built with a Ryzen 7 1700X can handle the 3000 series Ryzen 9 CPUs just fine.

https://www.asrock.com/mb/AMD/Fatal1ty%20AB350%20Gaming-ITXa...

Even the Ryzen 9 3950X.

I recently did a rebuild and got another mITX AM4 board.

https://www.gigabyte.com/Motherboard/B550I-AORUS-PRO-AX-rev-...

It handles all Ryzen 3000, 4000 and 5000 CPUs. Including the 16 core Ryzen 9 5950X.

Size =/= Quality of Board.


I like the idea behind this, and the small footprint, but I think I'd rather have a proper enclosure to protect it from dust or at least minimise internal dust. And I'd rather not have the LED lights.


First time I haven’t jumped for the ‘Reader View’ for a while. Nice job on the site. I need to give my Dan A4 build some attention after reading this.


It must be nice to live in a place where you don't get enough dust to cover your parts in a day.


What an amazing domain name.


NEVER click on a link that looks like that


That's not a great rule. What's different between `xn--gckvb8fzb.com` and `bobs-blog.com`? And why would a person hosting malicious payload use the first domain name?

If anything the `xn--....` is a indicating a non-malicious name, since anyone spoofing another service would go for a generic name or something slightly similar to "google", "microsoft", "paypal", etc.

(Unless you saw "マリウス" in the link - but that's a similar story - non-english character sets are completely valid and popular. They're not indicating malicious pages.)


At one time it was a concern that malicious actors would spoof urls with unicode confusables. Chrome (and others, but unsure of the exact list) implemented restrictions on displaying unicode characters to try to prevent this: https://chromium.googlesource.com/chromium/src/+/main/docs/i...


This has happened with phishing emails - we recently had one at my workplace. Chrome's spoofing protection really helped us out with that one as even if you didn't notice it in the mail, the big blaring xn-- was enough for most people to realise it was phishing.


never heard of punycode?




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