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Experience with the Linux Desktop

Just a quick and short update on my experience with the Linux Desktop. Generally positive, but I’m used to things crashing more frequently than Windows. This goes against the narrative of “linux is more stable”. Well, the operating system might be, but the apps are not.

I’ve tried a number of different operating systems: Kubuntu (20.04, 21.10, 22.04), Neon, Fedora, Manjaro. They each have their pros and cons. Essentially, I keep at least two installations “fresh” in the sense that I can boot them and they work, so that if I run into trouble with one installation, I can switch to another for a period.

My current favourite is Kubuntu 22.04. With Firefox browser (Opera as backup).

I use zfs to store separate boot/root datasets for each operating system. And I have a boot-menu grub2 configuration installed under UEFI to allow me to choose at boot time. This has its own zfs dataset.

I also have a persistent subset of my home directories that move with me between operating systems. I cannot just carry my entire home directory, because some applications (e.g. firefox) are temperamental about having an old (or newer than expected) configuration file.

I have a lower-powered mini-PC in my recording shed (fanless). I did run this with both Manjaro and Fedora root on zfs. But I switched to LVM to manage the multiple OSs, and it runs much better. I think 8GB is just too little to run zfs in. I’ve given up the snapshoting capabilities of zfs (which I don’t really need on this machine) for speed.

Christmas letter 2015

You can see the pdf version here:  2015 Stephens Christmas Letter.

Dear friend,

It is that time of year again.  The turkey is getting worried (or, if you are one of our friends from across the pond, the turkey is past worrying).  Christmas present suggestions fill the airwaves. Everybody is making preparations.  I’m wondering just what I can get Tina when she says she wants nothing.  I guess she is wondering the exact same thing.  We’re looking forward to having Eleanor’s family up for Christmas lunch.  Adrian, as, supervisor of the cooking, will try not to poison them.  He’s never actually killed anybody yet.

Adrian is still gainfully employed at Intel and as chair of IEEE 802.11, and is flying around the world (about 12 foreign trips a year) helping others create fine standards.  Tina likes to accompany him.  And as we meeting once a year in Hawaii, that’s a great opportunity for us to take a holiday.   So we did the usual and enjoyed ourselves snorkelling and eating out on Big Island this year.

We thank God for continued relatively good health and the opportunity to see the world (or certain bits of it).

Our Children are all getting hitched in various ways this coming year.  Ruth is moving up to Scotland to be with her boyfriend Rory.  We will be sad to see her move away (Tina likes her girls’ nights out), but we are pleased for them both and hope that Ruth will be happy. Rory is a fine fellow – for a Scot. Sarah and her fiancé Derek will be getting married, as will David and his fiancée Eleanor. So next year will be busy.

Tina’s Aunt Elsie had a fall and is currently in hospital with a broken elbow.

Adrian’s parents are still growing older gracefully.  He will be seeing them shortly with a hamper of goodies, and will be cooking them an early Christmas lunch too.

Our church called a new minister, and we look forward to his ministry in the Church.  Tina as treasurer has been particularly busy.
We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy and peaceful 2016.

With hugs, kisses, manly thumps on the back, etc… as (in)appropriate to our relationship.

Adrian & Tina Stephens