Good, Bad 'n Ugly.

Questions about SolydXK: forum, project, distribution, etc..
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Good, Bad 'n Ugly.

Postby dv8tion242 » 08 Sep 2013 15:09

Before you read this and assume this is slagging off Linux, it's not. I depend on being able to turn on a device, be it Windows or Linux and work. My needs may not fit the need of what a distro is, but i will always try and be fair, if not always kind. :evil: I may not always get the facts right as familiarity takes more than a few days (although it shouldn't), nor will my thoughts be in order as things may be moved around to fit the need as well as just being wrong. If I get something wrong, by all means tell me, I'm OK with that.. Better to find out mistakes than wander around with questionable ideas. :D

So here we go.

Have had SolydX installed on my laptop for it must be a week or so now. While XFCE is, well, XFCE there are really are no major differences between various distros using XFCE. Sure some might have better eye-candy but basically they are the same experience.
Such as OS4/OpenLinux which makes setting up Bluetooth more of a hassle than it's worth. Or having the mouse(well touch-pad) lag which makes editing a bit pointless. [ edit: Found the cause. but not the reason or solution. Using the arrow keys puts a 'pause' on the touchpad.. Why? Powersaving?]
This laptop I'm using is a bit old in the grand scheme of "new hardware" and the SSD has seen better days but has been stable.. That said, this is the first distro to actually cause file corruption and cause the document to not load properly. This may just be due to the SSD having issues, but reinstalling Scribus 'fixed' the loading but not the display of he corrupted file-names. Strange, maybe not a SolydX issue but worth mentioning.
Not sure where this came from but if the laptop is restarted, I get a prompt to start the default or new (sorry I don't remember the name) display/desktop. If a 'new', the one seems be incapable of accessing the swap file. Double-clicking on my name name, it makes no difference. It will also complain about shutting down and go back to the login screen..

Almost certainly due to the drive having issues. Just thought I'd see if anyone has had anything before spending any money on a old laptop.


Having the drivers easily accessible is good with the DDM
Not seeing or knowing what icons do, or a help screen depending on internet connection, not so much.
This is something which is pretty lame in all Linux distros I've seen over the years So not really a Solyd issue as much. More of a perception thing in that "ehh They'll figure it out".
They're so many distro which need applications to need to be built for THAT distro and so it just (for me at least) becomes a "Why bother?".
Ubuntu for all the flash and dash is more or less the Apple version of Linux. I value 'nix for the interoperability. Or I used to. Projects which at least give the impression of working between borders is of more value to me than folks making brick walls., Scribus, which may be a giant pain in the backside, works on Linux, Windows, BSD and who-knows-what-else.

(I do get the idea of open source. I really do.. I also get the idea of working together and making a better cohesive products). Having a plethora of different package managers cannot be good for advertising either. "Look at Linux, we have 6 different ways of installing a single application, and guess what? None of them will work together! And for you Admins, you'll need to learn different commands!" Not the best sales pitch ever. )

Sabyon is absolutely slick. Really nice. Folks are too fanboy-ish and the OS is too unstable (no matter what people say about it being hardware problems) for anything more than playing around with. Their app/update tool is really nice but I forget the name of it. Mageia has their control centre, which makes setting up pretty much anything really easy. Setting up sources and or new apps is awkward at best. Ubuntu is easy and has a similar look, but frankly being tied to Amazon as well as the need to opt-out on 'security creeps me out a bit and having the same look gets tiresome'. BSD derivatives? BSD? PC-BSD (at least 9.1) has the best opening experience. Simply a quick clip of what it is and see.
There's more, but this is already getting too long.

So we really come to SolydXK. A similar look between XFCE and KDE. This is good. Being able to glance at a system and fix a problem between different computers in the same way is a good thing. Case in point; It'd been a long time since I've seen Windows Vista (not exactly missed it either) but when asked to fix someone's computer it became going to RTFM because things have changed so much. Having differing command line things drives me up the proverbial wall.
I like KDE, but PCs needing something more than a clapped out AGP video card for just the desktop to move smoothly? I find it somewhat disheartening when Win7 (yes with the video options on) from almost 5 years ago, runs smoother than even 'light' distros.

Maybe I'm old and crochety but I remember seeing how fast 'nix was on 486 machines compared to Win 3.x.
Stability? Is Solyd ready for a life of being left in the closet? I've a little nas4free box and haven't given it a second thought for the better part of a month. Last machine I could do that with was Win Server 2003..
So my eye is starting to swing in the direction of PC-BSD. The main problem there is selection of application, and installation, which is again, hardly easy-peasy. Stable, but giant PITA to make it how I need.
Being built on Debian, while not being 'Stable' has shown very few problems (gotta love blue tooth manager problems - OS4- on every booth) which may just be hardware related . I (and most actual users) depend on things doing what they say on the tin.

So the actual problems with Solyd:
Questionable selection of Backup app - "LuckyBackup" Bit odd to use, no encryption - Maybe I'm lame, but DejaDup is easy over different distros, works happily over various mediums and can be encrypted.
Very dull graphic experience - SolydXK doesn't need a 60's hippy colour scheme, but needs something a bit lighter? Get users to crack out their cameras - competition?
Using the SolydX menu (especially with a touchpad) is difficult - Is it possible to make the Enviro's look closer? Not behave exactly the same, but closer? I think it's Zorin, which makes the desktop look damn near other ones w/out rebooting or logging out.. How they do it? No idea.
There doesn't seem to be much of a push beyond the existing feeds for using SolydXK But maybe I don't see.

What does Solyd have going for it then?
A solid base.
Apparently has people who give a rat's backside about the project.
A concise idea of what needs to be done w/out going overboard.
People who answer questions instead of ctrl-v' "look it up on Google".

Is SolydXK worth using? Sure thing. Does it need more exposure with users trying it out? Sure. It also needs a bit more TLC before going into the big bad world. 8-)

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Re: Good, Bad 'n Ugly.

Postby jsalpha2 » 09 Sep 2013 13:07

dv8tion242 (like your picture)

I'm old and crotchety too! I just installed SolydX on an old Thinkpad R50 with a 5400 RPM hard-drive. Haven't got any SSDs yet. It is a little slow, but better than the XP that was on it before. I use a wireless mouse, never liked touch-pads.
It sounds like you have several problems. A fresh install might be the best option. On the swap file issue, if you open Gparted and check the swap partition you should be able to click Swapon. This has fixed problems for me before.
If the hard drive is failing nothing will help except new hardware. The make,model and other specs would be needed to decide if you want to put more money into an old laptop.

I also tested Sabayon, I want to have a working knowledge of most popular distros. You are correct that they may be a bit over enthusiastic. I am keeping an eye on them.

What does Solyd have going for it then?
A solid base? Absolutely. Debian is the Pappy or Grand Pappy of a lot of distros.
Good people? Perhaps the best feature of Solyd. It's what keeps me here.
If you do choose to move on, I'd try Manjaro Xfce. It is my second favorite right now, and works on older hardware.

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Re: Good, Bad 'n Ugly.

Postby dv8tion242 » 10 Sep 2013 15:13


Re-installed Solyd, but with KDE in place of XFCE. Doing that makes for a slightly slower experience but a more predictable one.
1) I can use the mouse/Touchpad (on a T61 Thinkpad). Why there's a few second delay after using the arrow keys, seems to be XFCE's problem. Regardless, I have no time for that in his day and age.
2) The swapfile, for whatever reason had become corrupted - strange in that it this is the only OS and while putting on a few miles, the laptop isn't used much
3) The welcome menu, while looking nice, also sucks up a clean 200-300MB all by itself. Just sitting, there's ~1GB of RAM used, before any applications are used.. 64GB versions use more, but that seems a little strange.
4) The UI is well, KDE. Netrunner looks nice, but I'm trying to avoid Canonical like the black plague.
5) The installer is not 'simple'.. Simple compared to Slackware perhaps, but setting partitions with the right size, formatting to ext2-4 or various other formats? Not so easy for someone new to 'nix, unless some serious RTFM takes place.

If I was in a place to do so, I'd be inclined to drop SolydX/XFCE, and focus on tweaking KDE for three versions. A light(er) experience, a medium weight version, and one with all the bells and whistles enabled. The selection made at installation time. OpenSUSE sort of does this. Before installing, the user would be provided with a clear recommended system capability for each of the three options. Having one DE but three looks should provide a consistent application experience. (Do I get extra points for sounding like a PR rep ;) )

If one distro really doesn't 'feel' different from half a dozen others, what's the reason to go use that one? A friendly community can help but won't bring in as much as something no other distro does (yet). For all the evils Ubuntu may conjure up, it doesn't behave or look like anything else (perhaps, other than OSX) and is truly easy to use.
I've seen the line of "Why do people not use something that's free?". Well, because in a lot of cases it's annoying and there is no (reliable) compatibility between files.

So this is where Back Office comes in. For Back Office to go down the path I read, it and KDE Desktop need to 'talk' to one another with very little work from people who (if I read the web page correctly) likely won't have the technical skills. Setting up a NAS is reasonably easily, but most (non linux/bsd) people won't have the time or inclination for getting machines talking to one another so will just go buy something that will. Back office is a really good idea but still not sure about having all the applications installed.

Too many 'reviews' show distros which are already tweaked; with things like Conky. Backdrops are changed. Instead of reviewing the OS as it comes OOTB. Case in point; The gives 1st place to OpenSUSE which on first boot doesn't show more than their (admittedly cool and fading in) lizard. 2nd place goes to Netrunner which does show eye candy. Solyd doesn't show the Death Star, nor does it give that as an option. Yes I am that picky.

Might be worth setting up a video which shows few machines which are across the house, office or world. Describing the capabilities in text vs really show off what can be done for people who are not really up to network admin level makes a big difference. Better still get someone who needs it and isn't technically savvy?

Some people are probably thinking " if there are so many things wrong, why not move on when there are so many other options?"
Probably because there ARE so many.. Too many are nothing more than half-baked attempts and poorly chosen layups. In the real world, I have yet to hear the words "I want unstable systems and software that crashes". I liked testing software, it was good fun. At home however, stability and compatibility rule. I don't use Google Docs not because of Google is about is secure as playing with rattle snakes which are especially hungry, but (if you want to edit online) because Goog requires docs to be converted to a format which may or may not (in my experience don't) export correctly.

I know this is all tl:dr but I see potential in Solyd which I haven't seen in a lot of others. Just a few days ago, my VirtualBox list had 13-14 distros.. Down to two. Slackware is one, only because it's fast, and I just like saying "I'm running Slack." The other is OpenSUSE because I like it but there is too much clutter for it to be a full time OS.. If it's possible to get Back Office and Desktop talking (simply & safely) that would be freaking awesome.

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Re: Good, Bad 'n Ugly.

Postby NGIB » 10 Sep 2013 15:51

I agree with a lot of what you say. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that what keeps Linux "down" in general is the fact that distros all focus on being able to run on every computer ever made. I've been hopping around this past year searching for a distro that has what I need and I have yet to find one that does it. There are strong points in every distro but no single package seems to be able to put it all together.

If a distro were to come out and say "We're only going to support 64bit hardware but we're going to do it better than anybody else." - I wonder how good it could be? How much time is spent making sure the distro runs on the 15 year old Pentium that could be used to polish it for modern hardware? Also, how many problems are introduced by patching in support for ancient hardware?

Every day I look at Distrowatch to see if this 64bit only system is available - not yet.

One last point, if you decide to focus only on KDE - I'm history as I detest KDE and always have...

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Re: Good, Bad 'n Ugly.

Postby dv8tion242 » 10 Sep 2013 16:33

I'm not sure about the hardware aspect. I think most of what it is is simple perception. Not everyone has the spare cash for a new machine every couple years, which is about what expectation seems to be for keeping up to scratch.
My machines are thus:
~2008 AMD dual core 6000+ which cracks along at 3Ghz per core but because DDR2 memory is more expensive than DDR3 is hardly worth upgrading.
2008 Triple-core (460) with 12GB of DDR3 and a reasonably nice video nvidia (640 and 2GB of RAM iirc) for playing videos, but even this lags.
2009 Intel Atom 330 with an nvidia ION chip ( which is what I use as the NAS)
2008 Intel 7500 dual core at 2.4Ghz per core, and 965 video chip.

None of the above can handle a full-on Linux distro (say PearOS) unless some niceties are turned off or a 'light' version is used. On the other hand they can all deal with Win7 with all the Aero bells and whistles turned on. Should they? Probably, but Linux has IMO taken over Windows in one annoying area: Being Bloatware.
If someone criticises Linux on almost any distro forum, someone will always (these days) say, you need new/better/blessed by the hand of Linux, hardware. Instead of making that distro lighter and or more flexible. Linux now (in the plethora of distros I've tried) takes longer to get from a cold-boot to desktop, than Win7 ever did. Unless I go for something like a command-line based kiosk.
I think there is potential here, and if NGIB wants to install another DE, that should be allowed, but as a distro it should not be the main focus of that project. I'm not wild about KDE either. What KDE delivers, is a better OOTB experience than XFCE can. If a user wants to tweak their system in some subtle way, that's fair game. I am just proposing that this particular project be focused on a simple, direct, and usable in a way that none of the distros currently can match because they are wound up in eye-candy, latest features, and wanting to be different for no reason.


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Re: Good, Bad 'n Ugly.

Postby RalphB » 15 Sep 2013 01:42

Well to be honest I am familiar with the dance myself, going from distro A to distro B and it can get tedious.
Its all a matter of finding the distro that you are comforable with the most.
Me personally I stick with either Ubuntu or Debian based distros due to familiarity and overall comfort zone.
The dance can get complicated but as long as you can learn your bases it becomes a lot easier.

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Re: Good, Bad 'n Ugly.

Postby vtpoet » 30 Nov 2013 18:13

I'm late to this discussion, but just wanted to add the following observation:

I've been using XFCE/Xubuntu for the last two years. I've also dabbled in LMDE. Curiously, with the latest release of KDE, I've noticed that KDE is actually *more* responsive than XFCE (though it isn't as light). I've also noticed, like dv8tion, that even XFCE isn't as responsive as Windows 7 on the same system (dual booting). However, I would no longer say that's true for KDE (much to my astonishment). KDE runs just as smoothly as Win7 on the same system, and faster than XFCE (also on the same system).

I credit the window managers. My direct experience is that XFWM4 is not as responsive (even in a lighter weight system) as KWIN. There is considerable tear out in XFWM4, for example (and under certain uses), that I don't notice in KWIN. With XFCE, I used to have to install the FLGRX drivers if I wanted to watch a video without tear out (Radeon Drivers). In KDE, I can watch the same video with OPENGL drivers, and it's only very occasionally less smooth than Win7 running on top of Proprietary drivers. We watched Avatar last night, on KDE, and there was only one instance of tear out. The same video was unwatchable on XFWM4 with OPENGL drivers.

Though XFCE is light, my experience is that the distro suffers from its use of XFWM4.

As an experiment, I installed KWIN in Xubuntu. The result was smoother than XFWM4, but not as smooth as KWIN running in KDE (on the same system).

It's possible that once KDE switches to Wayland (unless Shuttleworth convinces them to use MIR -- unlikely) KDE's performance will exceed Win7 or Win8 for that matter, but time will tell.

I never used to like KDE. It felt slow, buggy and bloated, but the last updates have shown some real and measurable progress. So, I guess I say that my experiences somewhat differ from dv8tion's -- especially as regards KDE. Win7 will always for now have the advantage of proprietary drivers and a more up to date WM. But even with those advantages (as Phoronix has demonstrated with real numbers) Linux competes and in some cases exceeds.
Linux Reap what you tweak.

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Re: Good, Bad 'n Ugly.

Postby Omega » 08 Dec 2013 08:32

With Ubuntu, you either get the LTS version and be outdated, or you get the regular version and be reinstalling your OS every couple months.

SolydXK is the only Debian (testing branch) based option that gives you a stable and frequent rolling release update model. It's unique in this aspect, and this is the point that separates it from the rest and makes it worthy to be its own Distro.

The other Debian Distros are either based on Ubuntu which not all packages are not 100% compatible with Debian, or it's based on Debian (stable branch) with a non-rolling model (I'm thinking of MEPIS, Knoppix,Kwheezy, CrunchBang, etc).

LMDE does not sync with Debian Testing as frequently, and I feel that the Mint team is spreading itself too thin supporting two different base distros. SolydXK is essentially a fork of LMDE and rectifies its weaknesses.

I agree that partitioning your hard drive wasn't automated like Ubuntu, but it wasn't THAT HARD with gparted either. It's as simple as making a swap and setting the rest as the root and setting it to boot (which is pretty much Ubuntu's default).

I'm sure an automated option will eventually be implemented, but in the mean time a quick 5 minute Youtube video on how to install SolydXK will suffice. This is still 1000000% easier than setting up pure Debian Testing setup.

The only other Distro that is just as promising is Manjaro, but I prefer the solid Debian base over Arch.

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