Plain text apps

I’ve been gradually reviewing and revising the packages I use to complete particular tasks and the way the underlying data (my data) is being stored. Where possible I prefer to have my data stored on systems I own in something like plain text format, and retrievable or at least accessible through a number of means. The types of tasks I have in mind, the primary package I use to access this data and some backup packages are listed below:

Another Distro and WM Update

My most recent Linux distribution and Window Manager change was back in December when I landed on Debian Testing running OpenBox for my Window Manager. I ran in to a couple of Debian update issues recently which required me to roll back to a prior kernel. Whilst I resolved that issue, I decided to look at some alternative distros and reconsider my use of WM. I ran openSUSE Tumbleweed for a month-or-so.

Installing Debian with Openbox II

Three years ago I posted about installing Debian and Openbox. Well. I’ve done it again. Only a month ago I had declared I was fully slack but here I am writing on a machine running Fedora 36 writing about my Debian 11 installation. I ran into a couple of issues with Slackware. Some apps were very slow to open. I thought I had it figured out, but apparently not. I also couldn’t get Wine to run correctly so opted for a couple of other tried-and-true distros.

Fully Slack

After last week writing about my trying Slackware for the first time and how it may become my daily driver if/when my Arch installation breaks, I can report that Arch broke and I now have Slackware 15 installed on my primary notebook. I’m not sure what the problem with my Arch installation was. I’d had some difficulties with our router and had made some adjustmants to DHCP and DNS on the router and Arch install, and so my internet would disconnect after about 10 minutes of uptime.

Becoming a Slacker

For the past fortnight I’ve been using Slackware 15 on a secondary notebook. Slackware is the oldest Linux distribution still in active development–having been released in July 1993 by Patrick Volkerding. Patrick is still in charge of the project and has the title of ‘Benevolent Dictator for Life’1 I’d obviously heard of Slackware over the years as I’ve tried alternative distros such as Fedora, Arch, Debian (and its children, Ubuntu and Mint), Void and openSUSE, but I had never tried Slackware until a fortnight ago so thought it was well overdue.

Linux distro and WM update

I most recently wrote about my Linux distro of choice and window managers a little over a year ago. At that time I was running the i3 window manager on an Arch distro. That is still my setup of choice, but in the interim I did use both dwm and Qtile for quite a while (probably 9 months in dwm and two months using Qtile). dwm did take some fiddling with patches to install a systray, but it eventually came together.

Arch with i3

For some reason every six or twelve months I tend to switch Linux distros. Some of that history can be read here, here, here, here, here and here. My mid-2021 switch has been from Fedora 32 running Gnome 3 to Arch running i3. What precipitated this flip? A couple of things: a new release of the Gnome Desktop Environment had been released and Fedora seemed a little slow (to me) in making it available in their stable branch.

Fedora and Xfce

Twelve months ago to the day I posted about the steps I’d undertaken to install the Debian linux distro and set up Openbox as the Window Manager. Twelve months on and I’m ready to post about install Fedora and running Xfce as the Desktop Environment. The primary reasons for Fedora are: It is an independent distro, it has a sizeable community, and packages are updated within a reasonable timeframe. And the primary reasons for the Xfce Desktop Environment are: Small footprint so it’s fast to load, has a ‘desktop’ where I can store files and display Conky monitors, and autostart programs and keyboard shortcuts are easy to configure.

Linux Spiral

Back in mid-2017 I wrote about the different Linux distributions I’ve used over the years. At that time I was using Ubuntu 16.04 running the Gnome desktop. Not long after that I switched over to Fedora running release 25 - also with the Gnome desktop. I can’t recall why I switched because it’s a bit like swapping one SUV for another (they all look the same to me). Perhaps I thought Fedora was a more ‘pure’ form of Linux than that provided by Ubuntu?

Installing Debian with Openbox

Over recent weeks I’ve been fiddling to install Debian running Openbox on a few computers. The reason is that I have three notebooks including a 32-bit machine that is probably 10+ years old, a 64-bit machine that would be around the same and even my everyday machine is closing in on 7 years. I had been running Manjaro on these machines but Manjaro dropped official support for 32 bit machines a number of months ago.


I’ve been spending a little time recently looking at different Windows Managers (WM) for my linux-based notebook running the Manjaro distribution. My usual approach had been to run some form of standard Desktop Environment (DE) such at Cinnamon, Gnome 2 or 3, XFCE or LXDE. But for some reason I was drawn to check out some different windows managers. To my non-geek mind, a desktop environment provides the whole package in terms of screen functionality and access whereas a window manager looks after the administration and placement of windows or apps on a screen.

Vim, with vigour

Around a month ago I decided that it would be a good idea to begin to learn and use Vim as my primary text editor. Prior to that I had used Notepad++ on Windows-based machines and either Mousepad or Leafpad on my Linux-based machines. Vim (pronounced, not surprisingly to rhyme with “him”) is an updated, improved version of a program called Vi (pronounced, somewhat surprisingly as “vee-eye”). Vim stands for Vi-improved.

Time for a change …

… of Linux distro. I wrote about my history of Linux Distros here. At the time I indicated I was using Ubuntu 16.04 with the Gnome 3 desktop. That was true (and technically is at the moment), but it won’t be for long. I find frequent issues with my current setup. Nautilus (the file manager) simply refuses to start when I first fire up the machine three times out of four.

Linux distros

Over the years I’ve tried many different distributions (distros) of Linux, running a variety of Desktop Environments. I bought my first desktop computer back in 1995. It was extortionately expensive for what you got. Around $3,000 if I recall correctly. It came with Win 3.1 (soon upgraded to Win 95), 8MB of memory (yep, you read that right), a 540MB hard drive (yep, again), a 3 1/2 inch floppy drive and not much else.