Adventures in Linux Land

Posted: 8/7/2020 1:12:23 PM
united security

Joined: 8/7/2020

Scanner & Python & AudioGot my scanner working.  I first tried version 3 for Ubuntu 18.04(LTS) located here: but it didn't work for me.  Uninstalled that, did the following:Scanner (Epson Perfection 1660):- Go to:, search for "perfection 1660"- Get file: iscan-bundle-2.30.4.x64.deb.tar.gz- Extract to Download dir.- Console: navigate to ~Downloads/iscan-bundle-2.30.4.x64.deb/, s/b "" there.- Console: sudo ./ --without-network- This also installs a somewhat older version of GIMP!- Installer: uninstall old version of GIMP, install version 2.10.12 (latest stable).One of the reasons for my switch to Linux was to have Python 3 support (WinXP only goes as high as v2).  But invoking it on the command line pulls up Python 2:Make Python 3 the default, install Tkinter:- Console: update-alternatives --remove python /usr/bin/python2- Console: sudo update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/python python /usr/bin/python3 10- Then install Tkinter (if it isn't): sudo apt-get install python3-tkI had to enable audio loopback to monitor the D-Lev via my PC (GUI mixers are one thing SW types seem to really mess up):- Console: "alsamixer"Believe it or not, the above took me several hours.  There is no locally installed help for GIMP 2.10.12, and I spent maybe another hour looking for it only to discover it doesn't exist yet.  Ah, well, it's all free.  Ubuntu 18.04 LTS has been really stable so far.

very informative for everyone

Posted: 8/27/2020 4:28:05 PM

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

Office (MS, WPS, Libre)

Lots of minor issues after the ill-fated v20 update procedure on my main axe.  Cinnamon sometimes pegs a processor core, and I have to manually restart it (Windows + L) - this seems to be linked to VLC sometimes not opening and becoming a zombie process which won't shut down via the System Monitor unless you right click it (the kill button at the bottom doesn't work).  (Tip: If you have a frozen window you can do an ALT + F2, type "xkill", and then click on the window.)

WPS office needed reinstalling, so I got the latest version and let the deb installer go to town.  Now its complaining about fonts that are installed not being installed, and I'm about to give up on it as it isn't open source and who knows what its future is (or that of the documents I create in it).  It being Chinese SW, I think a lot of its UI awkwardness is due to things getting lost in translation.  And at this point I kinda hate MSWord, so clones of it receive a portion of that ire as a proximity effect.

I hadn't tried LibreOffice in a while, and was shocked to see that it opened a fairly complex Word document fine.  But using a word processor to do page layout has been a long term issue with me (and the place I volunteer to do this) so maybe the writing is on the wall and it's finally time to bite the bullet and learn Scribus.

On-line tutorials and videos are really handy things that can fairly painlessly introduce you to new SW.

[EDIT] Jebus Scribus is clunky!  LibreOffice Writer has come a really long way, I'm probably going to switch to that from now on.

Posted: 8/28/2020 3:03:21 PM

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

Nacho Libre!

The newsletter is 95% done and it was a relative snap!  The LibreOffice Writer (LOW) section breaks work much better (deleting them in Word 2003 is really tricky, everything pops) and picture placement and editing is very straightforward.  The beauty part: NO FREAKING RIBBON - yay!  Lord I hate that thing, taking up precious vertical real estate, utterly changing context when you don't want it to, etc.  The LOW menus seem well organized and comprehensive.

For the heck of it I opened up an Excel 2003 document with VB in LibreOffice Calc (LOC) and it just about worked, but would need some editing.  Hey, there's a real-time FFT in LOC!  Weee!

These now seem to be full-fledged SW office products, with open file formats.  I'm stoked!  Die MS, die.

Posted: 5/21/2021 1:42:17 PM

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012


A week or so ago external USB drives stopped auto-mounting.  I can manually mount them via the "Disks" utility, but it's a minor pain.  And the easily readable drive names in Nemo have been replaced by hugely long gobbledy-gook numbers.  For instance, my secondary HD went from "Crucial" to "a830996e-63c7-4105-b607-d9a54b3e3eea".  Tried to fix the non automount issue for days but no one else seemed to be having the trouble, so I gave up.

It seemed time to do a re-install of Linux Mint, which made me look around at the various alternatives / flavors / UI's for a day or so.  This is aided by the distrowatch website, and "live" ISO files that one can boot off of a USB stick.  Mint with the XFCE desktop looked nice and minimal, and I actually installed it and started working on getting it the way I like it, but ultimately the Thunar file browser just felt too simplistic.  Most of the other distributions had install bugs that I couldn't get past (my motherboard is weird) so in the end I installed Linux Mint Cinnamon 20.1.  But after putting everything back the cryptic drive names popped back, and USB drives are failing to auto-mount again.  I think it's probably something in an update that hates my hardware.

Going from Mint 20 to 20.1 someone changed the panel applet defaults, and it took me like 3 hours to figure out how to get things back to "normal". "Grouped window list" was the culprit, had to turn it off and seriously muck with others, I might as well be running Ubuntu with tweaks (which is what I'm kinda doing with Mint).  Why would anyone want the running program button to be on top of the task bar icon, where clicking it doesn't bring up a separate instance?  I often have two or three instances of Nemo open when copying / moving files, and there wasn't even a right click menu option to do this.

I'm beginning to see why folks distro hop so much, and why there are so many UIs.  The people in charge of the UIs seem to value shiny change over long-term stable and rational, but there's only so much a person can take in the way of nonsense.  It's not so much the grass is greener over there, but the grass right here is definitely turning brown.  It's too bad there isn't a simple OS/UI that gets most of the basics right and just stays the way it is - a proper blend of XP and Win7 could have totally killed (which I believe is what Mint is supposed to be).

And another thing: why do I have to install "New Tab Override" to get Firefox to open the page I want in a new tab?  It seems like such a basic and desirable thing, shouldn't this be in the preferences of Firefox itself?  And why does my cursor in the new tab default to the address bar rather than the search bar?  It's little stuff like this that drives me crazy.  Maybe I'm too picky.

[EDIT] Just fixed the drive auto-mount and label issues!  It seems it was related to a slew of ACPI errors I always see at boot.  So I disabled ACPI:

sudo xed /etc/default/grub
Edit: GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash acpi=off"
sudo update-grub
sudo update-initramfs -u

I still see a brief complaint about an IRQ or something, but it boots a lot faster now and auto-mount works again.  Was able to change the drive labels to human readable in "Disks" so that's good again.  Whew!

[EDIT2] The system won't power down now without me holding the power button for a bit.  It seems to suspend all activity when I tell it to power off via the OS, so I guess that's enough.  I don't power it down very often anyway.

Posted: 1/4/2024 11:32:54 PM

Joined: 1/10/2023

Getting that scanner up and running can be a real rollercoaster, right? Your detailed steps might be a lifesaver for someone else in the same boat.
Switching to Linux for Python 3 support makes total sense, and it's awesome that you've shared how to make Python 3 the default.
Dealing with audio can be a real head-scratcher sometimes, but you nailed it with alsamixer.
And yeah, GIMP can be a bit tricky without proper documentation, but you're right, it's all part of the open-source journey.
Also, I stumbled upon this place at where you can grab legit Windows keys if you ever need them.

Posted: 1/5/2024 1:07:01 AM

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

Yah, though old hardware / drivers can be an issue with any OS, it's a constantly moving target.  Linux seems generally better at supporting legacy stuff.

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