Monday, July 15, 2013

After 15 days of hell, I found the less predictable place.

About 3 weeks ago, my long time faithful laptop died on me.
It was my mobile workstation, packed with an extremely stable, fast and efficient UbuntuStudio64 10.10 running the only good gnome (gnome2).
After the announced death by motherboard failure, it was time to buy a new laptop, and as this last one, it would have to last for years, so it would have to be state of the art...and since I'm not rich, it would definitively not be HP, APPLE, DELL or any other over inflated price-tag laptops.
So after a lot of consideration (a looooot, believe me, as I still find it UGLY, HEAVY, BIG and KIDish...and i honestly only forget those feelings while I amaze at the brutal power and speed) a ASUS RepublicOfGamers G750Jx with 4rth gen Corei7 4700HQ, 32Gb ram, a boot SSD 265Gb Liteon SATA3, a storage 7200rpm 750Gb Hitachi Sata3, a Geforce GTX 770m with 3Gb and a couple of other tweaks, was on the way.

When I got the machine, I was NOT TOO amazed to find it installed with Windows8... an excellent example of how to build a kernel and then how NOT to make it usable, by spoiling everything with the "I wannabe a pad" Graphical User Interface.

Working with heavy virtualization machines, 3D and some programming, this would not do, so Linux was the ONLY way...and then...I found true hell.

Cleaning up windows and EFI was a simple 5 minutes BIOS reconfiguration followed by a Gparted tool cleanup from a live-CD...easy.

When I started installing Linux, I found the problems. First I tried the faithful UbuntuStudio64 10.10...but no network interfaces where found, leaving me with days trying to update packages by hand using another laptop and a SD success. Definitively I needed some sort of networking connection so ubuntu would install every needed package.

So I tried UbuntuStudio64 12.04... it had been working in my workstation for long without problems and excellent performance...but again no network interfaces where found...this was getting annoying.

So next in line was the 13.04...under development, but at least everything seemed to work. The seemed to is a key word here... the system was stable, but XFCE kept crashing without reason or logic. And is got so frequent that I found my self doing simple copy-paste tasks without moving the mouse, and having to close any applications that might pop-up some message in-between...I've had it, I had to find a solution or start thinking on selling this piece of crap and buying an older, more reliable system.

The next in test was Debian7.1...and I got a little hope when one of my older USB WI-FI's worked and Debian requested to join a network...but then security would not implement as it's WPA2 and that needs an updated library on the installation CD! Back to 0.

Ok.. Lets try Ubuntu12.04 and then try to clean the "I wannabe a pad like Windows8" crappy Gnome3 on unity...somehow...but this time, install hanged constantly! No luck here.

Next would be the even more desperate Ubuntu13.04...and the same install problems happened.

By now I was in hell. I was already starting to look for second-hand laptops online in an effort to end this time consuming madness...when I remembered that there was another debian based distro that could work...
...I didn't think of it in the first place because, thought it's good, it has an overall green looks that just leave-me sick...and that's why I never ever thought of MintLinux.

After downloading MintLinux Olive 64 MATE, I found heaven. Everything worked (apart from the standard need to ban nouveau package at the grub loader, in order to be able to install nvidia drivers). I even tried VMWare Workstation it worked immediately without tweaks and recompiling! and the 3d!!! The 3d inside virtual machines is working blazing fast, stable and like I've never EVER seen on VMWare Workstation on Linux.

So this is a BIG lesson. People, bare with the ugly green look of MINT during installation and initial configuration (as you'll probably get rid of it immediately after first boot, like I did), and then you'll be on Linux Workstation heaven.
MintLinux allows you to choose 3 different "flavors": XFCE (not recommended as the very fast and interesting XFCE was actually very unstable in this latest build...and that was my UbuntuStudio64 13.04 problem), Cinnamon (a KDE spawn... I never liked KDE) and .... the wonderful, glorious, gnome2 spwan and because of it, savior of all MATE... and that, my friends if by far the BEST DEBIAN BASED LINUX since UbuntuStudio64 10.10.

I finally found heaven...and it's ugly green, but nothing that some gray paint can't handle.