Sunday, 10 July 2016

More Ubuntu Woes, back to the Future with PCLinuxOS.

I'm going to admit that I actually like the Unity desktop, there, I feel better now. I've used Ubuntu 14.04 for a while but as it gets older and you add more and more ppas to keep the apps up to date it's become slower and less stable, the latest issue has been after a load of updates I rebooted into a 1024x768 screen, easily sorted by installing the AMD drivers.

I decided once more to try and install 16.04 or one of the Mint derivatives, each one gave me the same issue, just a blank screen when trying to install. I wasn't going to give up, during install I pressed the down arrow key when the initial screen appeared, select UK then F6 and selected the nomodeset option. I could now install Ubuntu 16.04. I rebooted and got my lovely 1024x768 resolution, the fix to get this sorted was to modify the grub file to give me a 1440x900 screen with slow software video drivers. I looked up the installation of the AMD drivers, followed the instrctions, rebooted and it died in the most spectacular fashion with lots of lovely dots and so on.

I've given up, this was what Windows 3.1 was like trying to get the right resolution, it shouldn't need this much messing around. I decided to abandon Ubuntu and booted up Fedora Mate, no bottom or top bar visible on Fedora 24 although it worked on 23, the only other distro I had on my pendrive was PCLinuxOS, the latest preview version, it's pretty much a beta. I booted this, everything was there, I installed it, everything worked, it had automatically installed the right drivers for me. Even the bluetooth settings worked, on Ubuntu 14.04 you had to manually change the device name by editing a file. The most impressive thing is that the num lock worked and was turned on when I powered up, I didn't have to do this manually every time I started up the machine.

There's a few little quirks, you need to go into the Configure Your Computer option and select the Setup a network interface option to set the hostname, this requires a reboot.

You also need to go into the software centre and run the localisation utility to change your language, by default it's US, another reboot is needed, there's no sudo but this makes the machine more secure.

Installing Virtual Box is a breeze, you click on the Virtual Box Manager link, it installs the non free version so USB works, no messing round, it just works. 

The other good thing is that it's a rolling release, no need to re-install, you download the updates and you have the latest version. 

I used to use PCLinuxOS when Mandriva became to buggy, it never really let me down and it hasn't again, it uses rpm files but synaptic to manage them, if you want to get into Linux, try it.