Goodbye Apple, goodbye Microsoft… hello Linux

Not often I quote from a publication from Ireland, but this was quite an intriguing read. Someone who went from Windows to Mac to Linux (Mint)

Linux is everywhere – and will free your computer from corporate clutches

It was 2002, I was up against a deadline and a bullying software bubble popped up in Windows every few minutes. Unless I paid to upgrade my virus scanner – now! – terrible things would happen.

We’ve all had that right?

In a moment of clarity I realised that the virus scanner – and its developer’s aggressive business model – was more of a pest than any virus I’d encountered. Microsoft’s operating system was full of this kind of nonsense, so, ignoring snorts of derision from tech friends, I switched to the Apple universe.

It was a great choice: a system that just worked, designed by a team that clearly put a lot of thought into stability and usability. Eventually the iPhone came along, and I was sucked in farther, marvelling at the simple elegance of life on Planet Apple and giving little thought to the consequences.

Then the dream developed cracks. My MacBook is 10 years old and technically fine, particularly since I replaced my knackered old hard drive with a fast new solid-state drive. So why the hourly demands to update my Apple operating system, an insistence that reminded of the Windows virus scanner of old?

Apple is no different to Microsoft it seems.

I don’t want to upgrade. My machine isn’t up to it, and I’m just fine as I am. But, like Microsoft, Apple has ways of making you upgrade. Why? Because, as a listed company, it has quarterly sales targets to meet. And users of older MacBooks like me are fair game.

I looked at the price of a replacement MacBook but laughed at the idea of a midrange laptop giving me small change from €1,200. Two years after I de-Googled my life( I began my Apple prison break.

He eventually went for Linux Mint, which for a casual user is fine. I use Fedora and Ubuntu (and a really old version of Ubuntu since my workplace VPN doesn’t seem to work properly with anything above Ubuntu 14 – their way of forcing me onto either a Windows or Mac machine)



So, after finally fixing my environment, and manually having to use 3.17 kernel, I have a running environment, but Dungeon Defenders still hangs, and Dota 2 has graphic rendering issues — meaning I miss the opponents and they can creep up behind me, along with enemy grunts.

Guess I won’t be playing anything Steam-based for a while….


Tux, the Linux penguin

Official Ubuntu circle with wordmark. Replace ...

Deutsch: Logo von Fedora

I think I have figured out why my machine has been playing up.

In both cases, my machine was trying to run kernel 3.19, but after checking, I found that this kernel version has been marked EOL.

I installed Fedora 21, which came with kernel 3.17 and worked, but after updating, it stopped working, with kernel 3.19. Forcing it to run on 3.17 was okay, though.


Good: Fedora, with Linux 3.17.4-301.fc21.x86_64

Bad: Fedora, with Linux 3.19.7-200.fc21.x86_64

Latest kernel release is 4.0.4, so I need to wait for Fedora to update.

Interestingly, it could also explain why I was also having trouble with Ubuntu, as it also ran 3.19. When trying to reinstall Ubuntu from the latest install image, it hung, presumably because it was trying to use the 3.19 Kernel. In theory, I could use an older installer (e.g. Utopic Unicorn) instead.

So now, I’m running Fedora with a 3.19 main kernel (which fails) and 3.17 secondary kernel. I was going to file a bug on, but found out about 3.19 being EOL, which means no bug fixes will be released, so there is no point in filing the bug.

On the plus side, my machine seems SO much more zippier running Fedora. Although trying to run Dota 2 seems a bit quirky. Dust: An Elysian Tail worked pretty well, as did Second Life (I was able to crank Singularity Viewer up to Ultra without major speed loss).

I still need to reinstall BOINC and any other missing apps I might have, and get used to using yum, yumex and dnf instead of apt-get, aptitude and synaptic all over again, but apart from that, it should be all good.

Linux Containers

After much tinkering and cursing, I finally managed to get Linux Container running. I had originally wanted a Fedora container, but for some unknown reason, the container would not start. Instead, I tried a CentOS 6 container, and that started up successfully, so I am using that instead. It is actually good, because I can tinker with the CentOS container, experiment with different configurations, maybe practise setting it up as a proper (i.e. no GDM) server. This will help if I decide to go for a Red Hat-themed Linux certification.

Still bugging me why the Fedora 20 container won’t start, though.


I installed Fedora 20 and gave it a test drive. Whilst I was happy it seemed to run well, the graphics driver appeared to be flaky. Under Ubuntu Studio, I was getting a fps fullscreen using glxgears of around 60-65fps. Under Fedora, I was getting ~45 fps. I then tried Linux Mint Debian Edition, and that also had the same problem. So now, I’m back on Ubuntu Studio. But I might be vanilla Debian a go as well and see if that helps…

Fedora & Ubuntu

Ubuntu Studio

Deutsch: Logo von Fedora

Español: Logo Linux Mint

OpenSuSE Icons






I dug out my Wacom Bamboo Graphics Tablet and plugged it into my Ubuntu Studio installation, but frustratingly, I cannot seem to emulate a wheel scroll, which I need for my work in Blender. Sure I can use the keypad +/-, but that isn’t the way I’m supposed to work.

I might switch over to Fedora later this week and see if that is any better. Or maybe even put Linux Mint back on. I know that both have gone through new versions since I last used them. Fedora was at Schroedinger’s Cat / Version 19 and Linux Mint was at Maya / Version 13 last  time I used it.

Now may be a good time to start looking at other distributions. openSUSE seems appealing, but it has caused me problems with restoring from CloneZilla images in the past, especially cross-operating system.


Linux & Windows Dual Booting Guide

Linux & Windows Dual Booting Guide

I’ve just finished work on a dual-boot setup guide with Linux and Windows 7. It covers setting up Dual Boot with Windows installed first or second, and with Linux installed first and second, and covers Linux distros that default to using LVM, such as Fedora, and those which don’t default to using LVM, such as Debian.

Link here:


Had a very eventful weekend, and my entire Sunday was taking up trying to figure out a weird symptom on my linux installation.

In the weeks leading up to today, I used to get strange behaviour from my Fedora box. The behaviour resulting in an error being detected by the ABRT tool, regarding a null reference. Sunday, my laptop conked out and refused to startup. I tried reinstalling Fedora, Debian, Mint, openSUSE, and even OpenMandriva — none of them could complete the installation. They either failed with error part way through, or hung completely.

I decided to try installing Windows XP over everything. That failed with an IRQ LESS THAN OR EQUAL TO blue screen. Then I tried Windows 7. That installation succeeded, and I started running updates. Then it blue screened me again. This time MEMORY_MANAGEMENT was the message. Hmmm. So, could it be that one of my memory chips was dodgy? That would account for why it was intermittent. I have 2x 2GB chips in my laptop, so I took both out and rebooted. No splash screen. Good. That’s expected.

Put in one of the chips. Booted, BIOS showed 2GB. Good, that’s OK.

Took it out and put in the other 2GB. No splash screen. Looks like that’s the dodgy one. I dug out my 1GB from when I got my laptop originally, and put that back into the other slot, so I get a 3GB installation. Checked boot. Splash screen displayed. Good. So I then ran a BIOS memory check, and all 3GB passed.

So then I decided, maybe I should try doing a restore, in case the dodgy memory was the cause of my failure to restore previously. It worked fine, so now I’m back up with my previous setup. :D

Cause: Faulty 2GB memory

Ubuntu Saucy Salamander

I’ve been running with Ubuntu on my desktop for a long time, even after upgrading it to 4GB RAM (it’s a really old PC). Nonetheless, Lubuntu (which is Ubuntu with LXDE) prompted me to upgrade from Raring to Saucy. I did, and as with all Ubuntu upgrades, it took absolutely ages to complete. But after a reboot, I noticed the login screen is now identical to the LXDE login screen of my Fedora box (which is also using LXDE). This is good and bad — good in that it gives users a consistent login experience regardless of distribution, but bad in the sense that the identity of Ubuntu has been slightly lost.



I tried to install OpenSUSE on my laptop again today, and again it came up with the error about the boot partition. So perhaps I’ll have to tweak the boot partition size the next time I try this.

Instead, I installed Fedora 19, and that went fine – no issues with installing. Next I need to update it.

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