Meet Homefree 202

This is my second Taurinus X200, a Respects Your Freedom certified, refurbished Thinkpad X200. Again, I have nothing but praise for the vendor, Libiquity. Again, I've made it my own with Trinity16. Again, changes in software are driving me more into GNU endorsed software. I now enjoy a 4TB hard drive with GNewSense, E16, Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE), and a clone of my prior home directory. Performance under GNewSense is better than expected, but Trisquel continues to impress and attract me.

As before, Libiquity delivered. The laptop came in excellent condition with a beautiful, Trisquel install, and an up to date version of Libreboot. It shipped in the promised time and arrived just before Christmas by US mail. It was just as clean and intact, but better packed than anything I have bought from IBM Certified Used. Again, I was impressed by Libiquity's Trisquel install, which is beautiful and has a slick OEM user set up. It boots very quickly and performs well. This time, I noticed and copied Libiquity's complete set of source and excellent documentation. I swapped drives with my previous X200 and the laptop itself went to work with me the day after it arrived. The X200 is my favorite Thinkpad.

The 4TB drive is something I've wanted to do for more than a year but it die not fit in an X61. I purchased the drive in a an external storage container last February and discovered it was too thick to fit in an X61. The X200 has it's SATA connector upside down from the X61, and this makes it so the drive height faces the keyboard rather than the case bottom. I had thought of grinding the case out to fit larger drives, but this was easier.


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What's better than one Taurinus?
Moving files from Homefree 200 to Homefree 202

Migration has taken longer than planned but GNewSense has been a step up in both freedom and performance. The second Taurinus was immediately useful by simple drive swap. I installed GNewSense to a 4TB drive hung off an older X61s because I was unable to make the live DVD boot off the X200 base station. Most of my time has been spent transferring more than 1TB of accumulated files from one laptop to the other. I moved larger directories, such as my photo album, scrapbook, and libraries, by hard drive then rsynced the rest. It took a couple of weeks.

The last step will be moving the 4TB GNewSense install into the new X200. I'll do this the first time the laptop freezes. Hopefully, that will be a few months from now.

In return for me efforts, I've gotten a system that's a little snappier and less quirky than Debian was.

Here are some screen shots of the migrated system. It mostly looks just like my Debian install, and that's what my Trinity16 project is all about.

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Intitial, cloned system. Looks just like it always did.

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New wallpaper from Christmas fog in North LouisianaSame on dual monitors

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Another foggy desk.

First Impressions of GNewSense

I've been using GNewSense for a media PC for several months but using it for work is a more intensive examination. I'm pleased that software like Aeskulap is available, but much of KDE is not. Konqueror, Dolphin, Konsole, task-kde-desktop are some of the missing packages. Many first rate KDE applications are ready, including Amarok, Akregator, Ksnapshot, KDEnlive, and some others I'm not thinking of, can be installed. Dolphin and Konqueror are big hit losses that will require me to copy out bookmarks and redo the work flow around Trinity versions or Gnome file managers. [That's not as hard as I thought it would be.]

I'm moving to GNewSense because I don't like several things that happened in Debian. SystemD was a real turn off, but I was willing to wait a while and try out Stretch. Then Chromium Browser failed completely for me. The last straw was Debian going back to Firefox [2, 3]which has embraced digital restrictions while the free software community has been developing LibreJS. In short, Debian is still carrying a lot of water for software owners with non free repositories and it is not surprising to find them backsliding. I want a distribution that's going in the right direction but with Debian's technical excellence and familiarity. GNewSense, with it's simple init system looked right.

In the time it took to migrate files to GNewSense, I used one of my Libreboot X60 and was impressed. It was snappy and did the browsing and scrapbook very well.

What I really want is GNewSense with the newer, user level software found in Trisquel, ideally with Debian's multiple architecture support. I tried to compile a newer version IceCat on my own without success. I'm going to see if I can get along as things are. If I can't I'll move to Trisquel.

Here are some specific and immediate replacements for the software I'm used to.

The first application to really get used to was IceWeasel. I've been using Netscape based browsers for more than 20 years, but mostly used Konqueror and then Chromium browser. Since Chromium broke for me, I've been using IceWeasel much more.

Still, I consider myself a novice with the browser. There are some things I never learned or forgot I learned, like spell checking.

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Finally getting used to Iceweasel.Spell check working.

To make IceWeasel's spell checker actually work, you have to choose a language. In Wheezy, and perhaps other versions of Debian, the default was not chosen to match other language choices. Wow, such a small barrier and not so deeply hidden, kept this necessary feature away from me until I finally Google searched it. The first answers only gave me half of the solution. Right clicking the box was something I had to keep searching for. This proves the rule, "when frustrated, right click."

IceWeasel, to it's credit, carried my passwords and bookmarks forward for me. My problem is that most of my bookmarks and passwords were on Konqueror and Chromium browser. I can still get to them, but it's going to take some time and might never be finished.

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Digikam's nice splash screen.

TDE's Digikam is something I once liked. It is light and works nicely with the desktop's notifications. Unfortunately, it does not let me customize how directories are auto created. It uses "ISO" dates, like "2017-01-01" where I want "2017_01_01-name". I will probably make a script to clean that up and give myself some more time with it.

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First run.TDE notification.

Pidgin, my favorite chat client, seems to work well. I got OTR working and saw that there's a "microblog" module that works with Quitter.

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For more, see notes and screenshots from my first day at work with GNewSense

created with llgal