My Linux Adventure

Mondy Bristol

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I used to try so many different Linux distros, swapping, testing, configuring...in the end I just want something that works and have been running Mint for a couple of years now, even if it is based on Ubuntu. I still dual boot with Win 10 as well. For Steam I mostly run games that have been written to work with Linux, seems there's more and more now. And I've yet to see anyone that's got GTAV working properly.
I don't need to set up many PPA's, Have you tried flatpaks? Apps ought to be contained in their own environment.
Occasionally I'll stream play a specific Steam, Win only game over the network, that works pretty well for me.

Oh! just occured to me although I stick to the one distro I STILL swap between different DE's. XFCE, Windowmaker, Fluxbox, Mate etc. I still like to tinker with how things look, just don't have to re-install a whole distro and set things up from scratch.
 
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Jolene Benoir

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I used to try so many different Linux distros, swapping, testing, configuring...in the end I just want something that works and have been running Mint for a couple of years now, even if it is based on Ubuntu. I still dual boot with Win 10 as well. For Steam I mostly run games that have been written to work with Linux, seems there's more and more now. And I've yet to see anyone that's got GTAV working properly.
I don't need to set up many PPA's, Have you tried flatpaks? Apps ought to be contained in their own environment.
Occasionally I'll stream play a specific Steam, Win only game over the network, that works pretty well for me.

Oh! just occured to me although I stick to the one distro I STILL swap between different DE's. XFCE, Windowmaker, Fluxbox, Mate etc. I still like to tinker with how things look, just don't have to re-install a whole distro and set things up from scratch.
Thank you. I didn't even think of being able to stream Windows games over the network. That works with Windows games being streamed to a Linux device? That never even occurred to me as being possible. I could keep Windows on the desktop tower and stream it to the other device. I do plan on dual booting on the tower.

Yep, I think I should probably just settle on something and give it a more long-term chance at seeing how I like it, how it functions, etc.. I can easily see myself getting into the trap of distro-hopping. Settling on one would also help me to learn the basics in a better manner, I would think.

I have been playing around with a franken setup. I installed Ubuntu, then installed the Ubuntu-Mate desktop, then the Kubuntu-desktopk, followed by the Xubuntu-desktop. I do like that as well. XFCE didn't work too well with it, though. Something is off with the compositor, possibly because I also have Mate installed with it's multiple compositors. In XFCE I get a lot of screen tearing. I've not heard of Windowmaker or Fluxbox, so perhaps something worth looking into.

Yes, I have tried flatpaks. I am somewhat confused about them, in general as where I expect profile folders to be found normally, as in Kodi, it's in an entirely different place. I even added flatpaks to the software center (Ubuntu) but then since Snaps are already in there as well, I find 3 different packages for the same program. That's a little wonky. IIRC Mint comes with flatpak enabled automatically and in the store, but not snaps, correct?

Thank you for all tlhe info!
 
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Bartholomew Gallacher

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I've not heard of Windowmaker or Fluxbox, so perhaps something worth looking into.
Windowmaker and Fluxbox are no desktop environments, but traditional window managers. First there were window managers for X11, the DEs came later. Windowmaker mimics the look and feel of NextStep, while Fluxbox is more traditional and happy just drawing borders around your windows. If you want more, then it is up to you; all of those window managers are being configured using only text files and a text editor. Some have a dedicated configuration program, though.

Be aware though that there are even more minimal window managers around, like Ratpoison for example which is just a tiling window manager and draws no window frames whatsoever. A good list of window managers can be found here: Window Managers for X

BTW: DEs normally contain their own WM, for example mutter in GNOME3 or kwin in KDE. Some DEs, like KDE, support to be run with different WMs though, it's entirely possible to use KDE with e.g. Openbox.
 
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Mondy Bristol

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Fluxbox has come a long way since the days of text configuration files and has plenty of GUI tools for customising it to look how you want. But DE and DM preference is another subject, while FLuxbox is a manager there are desktop environments built from it in the same way Xubuntu is built from XFCE, so I use them somewhat interchangeably. Steam can be streamed to any device that supports it as long as it's enabled in the Windows Steam settings. It even has an android client in beta which works pretty well.
 
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Bartholomew Gallacher

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Well the beauty and curse of X11 at the same time is that you've got so much to choose from, there's something for almost every kind of taste.

By the way if you want a lightweight DE and consider XFCE as too heavy, maybe LXQt is going to fit the bill for you (though some might add that Qt can be quite heavy on its own). It is very minimalistic, but develops much faster than XFCE.
 
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Try something completely different like FreeBSD or TrueOS.

Also, give different window managers a try. Windowmaker gives you a nice retro NeXT look.

Or for the extreme thrillseeker, WM2 is the smallest tightest window manager available but you have to recompile it to change the settings.

The WM2 philosophy:
The briefest contemplation of the modern window manager makes five points immediately obvious:

1. Icons are crap. No existing window manager manages them at all well.
2. Configurability is crap. It takes up so much time and can never truly compensate for using the wrong design.
3. Long lists of useful applications on the root menu are crap. It doesn't matter how much care you take to add all the applications you think you want: you never actually get it right.
4. The click-to-focus versus focus-follows-pointer war is not really important. Most people can get used to either.
5. Appearance is important.
 
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Bartholomew Gallacher

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If not so shell savy, I'd clearly recommend TrueOS over FreeBSD, because TrueOS vs. FreeBSD is around the same like Ubuntu vs. Debian.

FreeBSD itself is a real descendant of the UNIX sources, while Linux is merely a clone - which both in the end doesn't matter much today. But if you want to enjoy true pure UNIX vibes, then FreeBSD is the way to go. Aside that it offers a native ZFS implementation as well, if you want to play around with the features of this next generation file system.

FreeBSD as a project has many important differences compared to Linux; and playing around a little with it doesn't hurt.
 
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Chalice Yao

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Personally, when it comes to window managers, I've always been a fan of OpenBox (Based on MWM, like FluxBox). It is simply a WM that supports exactly what I want: Wallpaper(s), application menus, virtual desktops, keyboard shortcuts to toss/maximize windows about between screens - and not much else in terms of bloat. All configurable through configuration files and some programs like obConf and menu generators to create them.
Despite the last news on the wiki being from 2010, the newest release is from 2015 - which is fine for a mature WM.
 

Jolene Benoir

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Fluxbox has come a long way since the days of text configuration files and has plenty of GUI tools for customising it to look how you want. But DE and DM preference is another subject, while FLuxbox is a manager there are desktop environments built from it in the same way Xubuntu is built from XFCE, so I use them somewhat interchangeably. Steam can be streamed to any device that supports it as long as it's enabled in the Windows Steam settings. It even has an android client in beta which works pretty well.
Thanks. I have often used streaming in Steam. I just didn't realize I could do it with a machine running a different OS. That's great news. I still have to figure out my network on Linux, though. I haven't even tried it yet, but also not sure how to make it see my Windows machine(s).

Well the beauty and curse of X11 at the same time is that you've got so much to choose from, there's something for almost every kind of taste.

By the way if you want a lightweight DE and consider XFCE as too heavy, maybe LXQt is going to fit the bill for you (though some might add that Qt can be quite heavy on its own). It is very minimalistic, but develops much faster than XFCE.
Actuallly, XFCE ran really, really well for me in terms of CPU and Ram. It was just that compositor problem. Some light reading showed me that it might be a common thing with it. I'm sure there's some kind of fix, I just haven't delved into it far enough.
 

Bartholomew Gallacher

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Ar you using an NVIDIA card with proprietary NVIDIA drivers? Those are quite commonly known in the past to have issues with the XFCE compositor, and others as well.
 
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Jolene Benoir

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Ar you using an NVIDIA card with proprietary NVIDIA drivers? Those are quite commonly known in the past to have issues with the XFCE compositor, and others as well.
I have AMD cards on all machines, using the open-source driver because I've read that it is actually superior to the AMD-Pro one. The problem could be because it was my Franken install with many different flavors of Ubuntu. I'll try it on its own and see if it still has the problem. This particular install also has the Padoka PPA for what is needed for Lutris as well as the DXVK and Vulkan packages.

lutris/lutris
 
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Argent Stonecutter

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FreeBSD itself is a real descendant of the UNIX sources
Technically, no. FreeBSD 2.0 was a fresh start with only verifiably non-AT&T sources from the BSD distro, to prevent any possibility of legal contamination.

That's one reason Apple used FreeBSD as the basis for Darwin, the OS underneath Mac OS and iOS, when they stripped their AT&T-derived code out of NeXTSTeP.
 

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Personally, when it comes to window managers, I've always been a fan of OpenBox (Based on MWM, like FluxBox). It is simply a WM that supports exactly what I want: Wallpaper(s), application menus, virtual desktops, keyboard shortcuts to toss/maximize windows about between screens - and not much else in terms of bloat. All configurable through configuration files and some programs like obConf and menu generators to create them.
Despite the last news on the wiki being from 2010, the newest release is from 2015 - which is fine for a mature WM.
When I first got into Linux in 2007, I really fell in love with Compiz. Wobbly windows, glassy transparency, and the spinning desktop cube were awesome! Somehow, for some reason, I drifted away from it, in favor of a more traditional, functional window system like what comes with Cinnamon.
 
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Katheryne Helendale

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XFCE didn't work too well with it, though. Something is off with the compositor, possibly because I also have Mate installed with it's multiple compositors. In XFCE I get a lot of screen tearing. I've not heard of Windowmaker or Fluxbox, so perhaps something worth looking into
Sometimes turning on vsync in your graphics or compositor settings fixes the tearing problem. I remember this being a big issue with AMD chipsets back in the day. Where to enable vsync may not be obvious or easy, though. I just looked around my settings on Mint and didn't find any such setting, so it's likely hidden in a config file somewhere. I think the nvidia driver has a tear-free option.
 
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It could be refresh rates are "off" for your monitor in xorg.conf (or you need to create a custom xorg.conf -- some distros don't have one by default)
Lots of mixed info on how to fix it out there in Google land (keywords "xorg.conf" "xfce" "tearing")

First just try turning off XFCE's compositing.

Another (possible) fix is to switch it to using Compton: How to switch to Compton for beautiful tear free compositing in XFCE
 
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Jolene Benoir

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When I first got into Linux in 2007, I really fell in love with Compiz. Wobbly windows, glassy transparency, and the spinning desktop cube were awesome! Somehow, for some reason, I drifted away from it, in favor of a more traditional, functional window system like what comes with Cinnamon.
I remember Compiz from my earlier forays. I see it is an option in Ubuntu Mate still, but haven't really played with it, but I do remember rotating cube desktops, wobbly windows and the like. KDE has some pretty cool effects like that.
 

Jolene Benoir

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It could be refresh rates are "off" for your monitor in xorg.conf (or you need to create a custom xorg.conf -- some distros don't have one by default)
Lots of mixed info on how to fix it out there in Google land (keywords "xorg.conf" "xfce" "tearing")

First just try turning off XFCE's compositing.

Another (possible) fix is to switch it to using Compton: How to switch to Compton for beautiful tear free compositing in XFCE
Thank you. That did the trick although I later learned that turning on vertical sync in the Window Manager/Compositor setting also did the trick for the most part, but not as well. Compton ran quite smoothly when I added the info to the config file and had it autostart.
 

Jolene Benoir

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Soo...now I'm trying Arco Linux, which is an Arch distribution. I've got it dual-booting with Windows on the desktop.

It's very nice looking and with loads of scripts and such that make it even nicer, like pre-made Conky scripts and so on. What's kind of unique and cool about it is that the makers have laid out a plan for you to learn.

They have different sets of downloads, for example, the one I have is for beginners. It contains 3 desktop environments in one (XFCE, OpenBox and I3). It has a bunch of aliases and scripts and other things that they load from their own repository. Their website is full of videos and guidelines to gradually teach you how to move to the next level, which in this case would be building your own iso, or something like Architect perhaps where you pick your desktop environment, packages, themes and whatnot. Then the final one, presumably after you have mastered any other number of things is building your own arch.

interestingly, I have the same screen tearing in the XFCE environment. The distro has compton built in on Openbox and a number of others, but not XFCE. I'm a bit leary of messing with it, as from what I understand they have their own conf file for it, and since my distro also has OpenBox, I don't want to mess it up.

If it is already installed on the distro, couldn't I just access it and not change their conf simply by adding it to autostart in XFCE? For now, I just did the vertical sync thing in the built-in compositor, which doesn't look as good as Compton, of course.
 
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Jolene Benoir

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I'm loving this Arco Linux. I'm using the OpenBox DE and it runs sweeeet. I'm not breaking a sweat with Vivaldi multiple tabs, music player, pamac and other things running lilke Variety (man I love that and wish it was available on Windows, too) with cpu at like 3-5% and ram at just a touch over 1GB AND it looks really nice too. I've noticed that it definitely, so far, hasn't held onto ram like certain other desktops. I'm also loving not having to go hunt down PPA's. Everything I want so far is in the repository, including a music player I think I can live with, Cantata (I believe that usually goes into KDE desktops). IIRC, when in Ubuntu flavors I couldn't access that in other desktop environments. In Arch, it's just there.

Alright, folks that have experience with Arch, when I went to install Steam through the regular repository, I had the option to install Steam-Native-Runtime. Curious what that even was, I went a-googling. Some claim that certain games run better with it, rather than what Steam downloads, which apparently can be old and based on Ubuntu libraries, whereas this is your own system libraries. Others say it breaks some games. Much of the information was a couple years old.

One of the first games I tested out on Linux Steam was Saints Row 2 (on a different distro, Ubuntu) , because it claimed native support. It didn't run nearly as well as it does for me on Windows. Now, that could be because it is a actually a known really bad port or Linux. I don't know. But, I got to thinking I could just test it out with this native runtime.

So..I am curious about this Steam-Native-Runtime. Anyone have any experience with that? Did it work well for you?

 
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