This is a follow-up to my initial review of the ExeGNU/Linux operating system I recently installed on my Lenovo laptop.
These are a couple of minor issues I’ve experienced since the install and how I’ve handled them. I’m hoping that, if you decide to give Exe a try for yourself and happen to share these experiences, this will help you easily solve them.
1 – Laptop’s Touch Pad Missing Functions
The first issue I discovered after installing Exe was that my laptop’s touch pad was missing a couple of functions. The first was that it did not register taps as mouse-clicks. I had to use the touch pad’s buttons for clicking. Also, scrolling with the right-edge of the touch pad didn’t work. I had to do scrolling using two fingers, instead.
I haven’t had to deal with an issue like this in a long time; not since the early days of Linux desktop environments.
To remedy this, all I had to do was launch Konsole to get to the command line and type the commands:
In order to make these settings permanent, I created a bash script file containing these two commands, made it executable, and stored it in my ~/.trinity/Autostart folder.
2 – Cannot Mount CD-ROM
The second issue I discovered was that I could not mount or read from the CD-ROM drive. When I loaded a CD, the drive would spin up, but when Konquerer tried to display the contents, it gave the error: “Cannot mount /media/cdrom. File or Folder does not exist.”
This was another issue I haven’t had to deal with for a long time. Turns out that I was missing a CDROM folder within the MEDIA directory. Fixing the issue was really simple. Again, this was fixed at the command line with:
sudo mkdir /media/cdrom
Once I did that, the system could then mount the CD-ROM and Konqueror could read from it.
Everything else with the OS has been performing wonderfully. Overall, it certainly seems like the old Lenovo T61 is functioning with with a little bit more “zip” than what I’m used to.
What I really find amazing is how stable the KOffice suite is. I’ve been using it to create a few more documents and spreadsheets and I’ve had no difficulties. I can’t say the same for other distros on which I tried to use KOffice in the past.
I’m very pleased with Exe so far. This distro reminds me a lot of an old Linux distribution that I really took a shine to; Underground Desktop. It was a Linux distribution, created back in 2005 and was built on ArchLinux.
Much like Exe, Underground Desktop took the very powerful, but somewhat complicated (at the time) ArchLinux and made it easier to install and set-up. It was something that made ArchLinux very accessible to the “average” computer user. It was also very lean, providing just enough the regular computer user would need. Everything after that was up to the user’s discretion to decide what had to be installed.
I thought Underground Desktop was so good, I wrote a 34 page how-to book for it, bundled it with the ISO burned to a bootable CD and sold it on my website for the cost of the printed book and CD. Unfortunately, the Underground Desktop project only lasted a year and a half before the developer packed it in. Such a shame. Like Exe, it also used KDE 3.5 (which has now become Trinity) as it’s default desktop environment.
I sold maybe twenty books/CD bundles before it was all over. Anyone who’s curious enough about it can still find my old website, and the PDF of the manual I wrote, on the pages of the Internet Archive, Wayback Machine.
Those were the days!
I’m really glad you’ve given EXE a try! I had a go of Q4OS on your recommendation, and I really liked it. I would probably have installed it, apart from I believe they’re dropping 32-bit support soon.
As a result, my main distro at home is Devuan with XFCE; however I was actually planning to add the official TDE repositories to a minimal Devuan, in order to arrive at a TDE-powered distro (basically, EXE by any other name). The Trinity website has official instructions for De*an systems, and an official deb repository, so I figured it’d be a pretty solid system and always up-to-date.
With regards to your touchpad issues, I have the same on any laptops I use. It’s due to the use of libinput instead of the old “Synaptics” driver. You can add an extra line to enable “tapping” in the libinput config, which allows you to tap to click. Regarding edge-scrolling, I far prefer this too, but in libinput it’s a bug marked as “won’t fix”. The reason is that because libinput tries to be too clever, and do too many things, it gets confused implementing edge-scrolling on touchpads that allow multi-touch. It therefore will only allow edge-scrolling on those very ancient touchpads that don’t allow multi-touch. There is no way I’m aware of to enable it on more modern touchpads, (even though multi-touch, edge-scrolling and all the advanced features work flawlessly with the old Synaptics driver). As a result I have edge-scrolling on my netbook, but not on my full-size laptop.
I’m not overly anti-systemd, but there are a few aspects of it that worry me slightly. I still use systemd based distributions, although I am finding Devuan and Gentoo both easier to manage, faster and more stable, and lighter on resources than the lot of them.
One worry I have is the sheer requirements creep. Lennart Poettering’s original announcement of the project on his blog, clearly states that it’s supposed to be little more than a simple init system that speeds-up boot times and has better control over processes, however it’s now a “suite of tools for building an OS” and has all the complexity of such a thing. I’ve only ever seen such a level of requirements creep with the British Rail flying saucer (it started off as a design for a raisable station platform, but by the time the patent was filed in December 1970, it had become a design for a nuclear-powered craft for interplanetary travel). Systemd is also supposed to be modular, with around 70 separate binaries, but due to various dependencies, by now it’s probably modular in name only.
I also don’t like some of LP’s responses to other devs and critics in various places online. It comes across (most-probably unintentionally) as uncaring, dismissive and arrogant at times – although to his credit it’s probably often either justified or due to cultural/language differences. However, seeing as many *nix users come here to get away from the Windows world of devs with hidden-agendas that are contrary to user interests, anything that gives that perception will naturally make people a bit uneasy.
As for whether systemd delivers… In its original primary mission, as stated at its inception, it doesn’t (at least for me anyway). Head-to-head, a stock Devuan XFCE Beowulf boots-up and shuts-down far quicker than a stock Debian XFCE Buster. I never checked disk space, but it definitely occupies a little less RAM at idle too. To be honest, that’s the primary reason I’m using Devuan. I have ancient hardware. I can’t afford to waste any of those 800MHz of CPU-cycles or 2048MB of RAM. If systemd made a system more efficient, I’d be embracing it.
Systemd does do some things right. For instance, if you’re a complete newbie, the learning-curve to be able to easily configure a basic system is much gentler. I’d imagine it also makes software-developers’ work a little easier in certain cases. It’s just a pity that it needs a bit of good PR or an image makeover. And maybe, just like other such useful tools as fire or water, it should be kept under control, lest it cause all manner of havoc and damage, eating-up everything it comes across!
Sorry for such the late response, James. Actually, I had written out a response back when you originally posted your comment, but apparently I didn’t save it or something. Anyway, to boil it down, my reply was: Thanks for the tip regarding the mouse pad solution. As well, thank you for your insight on systemd. I really don’t know a lot about it, so your explanation has helped me understand it a lot better.