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Topics - steve57

#1
Linux Support / Linux Jukebox Project
February 13, 2022, 12:01:31 PM
I have an idea for a little project. I have two full size (15") laptops which I use to do "proper stuff", and I also have a little netbook, which only gets used for playing music, nothing else. It's a relatively under powered little thing. 1.5Gb Celeron processor and only 1.7Gb (usable) RAM, and with it's 11" screen isn't much use to me for anything else. But being so small and lightweight it's convenient to move about from one room to another, connect to external powered speakers, and away we go.

The one thing that irritates me is how long it takes to boot anything up, and I'm thinking it's a case of "could do better". The way I see it there are two ways I could approach this. One is to use a minimal distro, add a music player and any other essentials, job done. Problem with that is a lot of minimal distros are labelled as "for experts", and I'm certainly not an expert. I've had a closer look at a couple and to be honest wouldn't know where to start.

The other option is to use a more common, average distro and make it more lightweight. That is, remove any unwanted software, and disable anything unnecessary in it's start up procedure. The issue with this is that I probably wouldn't know where to stop, and I end up with something that won't boot at all.

In a nutshell, I don't need office suite, video player, development tools, games or anything else, just a music player. I don't need bluetooth either, but I will still need internet connectivity, for the purpose of displaying song lyrics and occasionally searching for any missing album artwork, although this is rare as vast majority of my collection is all tagged correctly.

The other thing of course is the music player itself. My preferred music player is Strawberry, but it doesn't appear to be possible to install it in every distro. I suppose I could use Clementine, but it hasn't been updated in about 6 years, and the last time I used it a couple of functions didn't work. Another alternative is Gmusic Browser, but I don't think that's available for every distro either.

I'm open to any alternative suggestions, but bear in mind the music player needs to be capable of handling relatively large collections, approx 8,000 tracks in my case, and I know a lot can't. I also don't want anything that opens as a tiny little box, the screen's small enough to start with, so I want to fill it.

So, any ideas, suggestions, pointers, whatever, feel free.

Thanks
#2
General Discussion / Boot Times & Run Times
January 23, 2022, 01:07:49 PM
I've seen it stated on various forums how much faster a system will be once installed to a hard drive, rather than running in live mode from a USB stick. In fact I've even seen figures of 10x and 15x faster quoted. Sorry but I haven't yet seen any evidence to support this. I've tried a vast number of different distros over the last couple of years or so, and I haven't yet come across one that has been significantly quicker once installed. Please note I said "significantly". Ok, so there's been one or two that have perhaps booted 5 seconds faster, but certainly nothing to get excited about.

I've also noticed that, although there's probably the odd exception, most distros appear to boot up in roughly the same time, again perhaps 5 seconds difference here and there. Distros that are specifically classed as "lightweight" don't boot up any quicker than others. Where I do notice a difference is with different desktops, e.g. something with Gnome will take longer than an XFCE set up, as you would expect.

Interestingly the other occasion I see a difference is with 32 bit systems, where they are still available. Although all my machines are 64 bit, a 32 bit distro will boot quicker than it's equivalent 64 bit version, and use less RAM. So there are other reasons for running 32 bit, other than having a 32 bit machine.

But as for an installation being much faster than a USB stick? Nope, not seen it yet. Perhaps that only applies to those with the latest Ryzen processor and 64Gb of RAM. Well I'm not in that position and never likely to be.

I'm not looking for any solutions or fixes, I assume a lot of it is simply down to my 12 year old machines. It's just something I felt like rambling about on this cold, grey, dreary Sunday and wondered if anyone else has made any similar observations? Or is it just me?

Thanks
#3
Linux Support / Ads in Firefox vs Google Chrome
June 27, 2021, 01:42:33 PM
I have two laptops, one Windows 7 with Google Chrome and the DuckDuckGo extension. The other machine is Linux Mint with Firefox and also the DuckDuckGo extension. A few websites I visit quite regularly, and for a while I've thought that Firefox was showing more ads than Google Chrome. So yesterday I booted both up, sat them side by side, and did some direct comparisons, just to check it wasn't my imagination.

Now confirmed, definitely more ads showing in Firefox. So bearing in mind I'm not using any additional adblocker or anything like that in Chrome, my question is this. Is this just par for the course, or is there something in the Firefox settings I've missed? If so, could someone please point me in the right direction.

Thank you
#4
I'm having the same problem with 4 very different distros. I always follow the same procedure, download ISO, verify checksum, and create bootable USB. Give it a spin in live mode to check if any immediate issues arise, then assuming all is well install it. I always choose "erase disk", and don't interfere with anything else, just leave it to run it's course. Then remove the USB stick and boot it back up. Or try to, in fact I get "No bootable device" across the screen, and I've had this with all 4 distros. But, when I install 32 bit versions of exactly the same distros, they boot up fine and everything works perfectly.

So what's going wrong with 64 bit? I have never had any issues running any Linux distro (32 or 64) in live mode from USB sticks, so I doubt there's a problem there. Is something going haywire at the installation stage? Or could it be something to do with hardware/firmware?

The machine in question is a little Acer B113 netbook, 1.5Ghz processor and 2Gb RAM. All I use this for is experimenting and trying out different things. I have spent an awful lot of time searching the net for similar cases, and although I couldn't find any simple solution, I couldn't help notice that the issue of "No bootable device" appeared to crop up with Acer laptops/netbooks far more than any other brand. Coincidence?

Bearing in mind the low spec of this netbook I may well be better off sticking with 32 bit, but I would like to get to the bottom of it for 3 reasons:

1)  If a similar situation rears it's ugly head in the future on another machine I will have some idea where to start looking
2)  Some distros have already dropped 32 bit support, and I believe a lot more will be doing in the next year or 2 (a sore point with me, but I won't ramble about it just now)
3)  Last, but not least, I really don't like these issues to get the better of me

Any thoughts or suggestions anyone has will be much appreciated, and as I said previously, I only use it for playing around with, so happy to try out more or less anything. Better point out that although I've been using Linux for a year or 2 I still regard myself as a novice.

Thank you