Hello from the GeckoLinux creator

GeckoLinux

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Hi everyone, thanks for the very friendly welcome I received over on this thread. So I took their suggestions to introduce myself. Or at least to introduce my username. ;-) I keep a very low online profile just out of general privacy and security concerns. I despise social media and dislike Reddit (although I am active on the latter), and I strongly prefer traditional forums like this one.

I'm the creator/maintainer of GeckoLinux, which is an alternate distribution method of openSUSE with some low-level default configuration changes. Over on the GeckoLinux website there is a brief paragraph about me at least as far as it relates to the project:

I've used Linux on the desktop since approximately 2001. I have used many versions of openSUSE since the project's inception, and I used SuSE Linux before that. I've always appreciated openSUSE's flexibility and highly innovative infrastructure, but the profusion of "paper cuts" in the default configuration always made me think twice before recommending it to others. This projects sets out to change that.

I use GeckoLinux on all my personal systems; I used to be a fan of Lenovo Thinkpads and still use one as my daily driver, but I'm rather disenchanted with most of the Thinkpad line and am trying to figure out what my goto brand/series will be from here on out. I use GeckoLinux for all sorts of "real" work in several fields. It meets my needs very well, and I hope it does for others as well. I have successfully switched quite a few new Linux users to it, some of which tried and failed with other distros.

Again, thanks and best wishes to the friendly folks here!
 


wizardfromoz

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G'day @GeckoLinux - it's good to have you here :)

Wizard
 

f33dm3bits

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Great to have you here @GeckoLinux! :) I recently tried OpenSuse while looking for an alternative after the CentOS8/Stream announcement but I really didn't like OpenSuse much compared to deb or rpm based distributions which I have more experience with. It's the installer I mostly didn't like because I had to search where some stuff normally is what I am used to when it comes to installer, after it was installed it was like any other distribution and package managers are easier to get used to. My last laptop was Lennovo Legion which worked great on GNU/Linux, I currently have a custom Desktop which I selected the parts myself and then had put together by the store I ordered it. I would have a look it System76 systems if I were you ;)
 
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GeckoLinux

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@wizardfromoz Hey there, thanks a lot! And my complements to you, you're a truly classy moderator. I maintain and moderate a large forum myself (outside of the field of Linux), so I know a good moderator when I see one. Takes real skill and requires a big heart sometimes to maintain order and foment peace while at the same time not being authoritarian or rude while doing so. Looks like you've struck an excellent balance here!

@f33dm3bits Hi there, thanks very much! Yes, I agree that openSUSE takes quite a bit more effort to install and also to configure "normal" desktop functionality and configure some more sane defaults after installation. That's basically where GeckoLinux comes in. But after that, whether it's a GeckoLinux install or a manually configured openSUSE install, it'll treat you well and be a great daily workhorse for just getting stuff done without having to think too much about the OS. Regarding System76, they do have some interesting offerings. But I'm slightly eccentric in my laptop preferences, for my daily driver I need a 15" laptop, but I hate the numberpad that skews everything including the trackpad toward the left side. Also I think System76 is a bit pricey, although I would still buy one if they offered a 15 incher with no numberpad. I recently ordered a Star Labs 13" laptop for portable work, and I think they offer a lot for the price. But unfortunately that's their largest laptop for now and it won't replace my daily driver Thinkpad T530. The KDE Slimbook 15 looks very interesting, although again it's pretty pricey.
 

f33dm3bits

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@f33dm3bits Hi there, thanks very much! Yes, I agree that openSUSE takes quite a bit more effort to install and also to configure "normal" desktop functionality and configure some more sane defaults after installation.
I tested Opensuse out as an alternative to to replace my homeserver and VPSes. I ended up going with another RHEL clone because it cost me the least amount of effort and time, for my desktop type systems I have been running Arch for a bit over a year now and wouldn't want anything else for those systems since I am quite happy with how they run and having bleeding edge software.

My previous laptop was a Lenovo Legion, I replaced it with a Desktop a few months ago now that I work from home with Covid going on. Why have you become disenchanted with Thinkpad and what exactly are you looking for since from my experience it mostly doesn't matter much these days what hardware you buy when you run GNU/Linux.
 
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GeckoLinux

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@f33dm3bits I think I've been spoiled by my Thinkpad T530. I bought it refurbished directly from Lenovo at a great price. The keyboard is spectacular (centered, no numpad), it has dedicated volume and mute buttons that don't interfere with the function keys, the screen is absolutely superb, and it's 100% Linux compatible. From there my Thinkpad experience went downhill. I picked up a Thinkpad T440s for portable work, but it turned out to be the worst laptop I've ever owned, terribly slow, very poor screen from the start, and worst of all it developed a rogue lighting problem where one of the backlights would never turn off, and recently the screen backlighting almost completely failed. Around the same time, the hard disk bit the dust. I've owned a good number of machines, and this is the only one that has ever had hardware failure, and especially not two major components. I also have a Thinkpad T570 as a backup. It arrived dead-out-of-the-box with a bad fan possibly due to motherboard problems, so it wouldn't boot most of the time. Lenovo was very good about fixing it, but even so it's a very unimpressive laptop with a numpad, no dedicated volume/mute keys, and the screen can't even hold a candle to my much older T530. It also has a hardware quirk with the audio card where basically it initializes it in a weird way and the resulting audio is extremely quiet and tinny. Amazingly an openSUSE kernel dev was extremely responsive and added a workaround to the mainline kernel for me! (Try getting that level of support in Windows!) So I'm pretty bummed overall about the Thinkpad lineup, because I'm one of those people whose tastes never change, and I like to stick to the same brands and products for the long term. I'm sure I can find a 15" laptop that meets my requirements somewhere, but I doubt I'll be able to stick with a single brand/line for consistency.
 

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Hello @GeckoLinux ! Interesting thread. Years ago I ran OpenSuse for a while and rather liked it. Then just wandered off into distro-hopper land :) Recently tried it again in a VM with less than stellar results. I think I will give GeckoLinux a spin.

Coincidentally I read Dedoimedo's review of OpenSuse Leap just the other day - interesting. I found @f33dm3bits comment about the installer especially interesting in light of Dedoimedo's comments on the same.

Welcome to the forums!
 

KGIII

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Speaking of openSUSE, I miss their online .iso builder. SUSE Studio? Something like that? I used to play with that fairly regularly.
 
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GeckoLinux

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Hello @GeckoLinux ! Interesting thread. Years ago I ran OpenSuse for a while and rather liked it. Then just wandered off into distro-hopper land :) Recently tried it again in a VM with less than stellar results. I think I will give GeckoLinux a spin.

Coincidentally I read Dedoimedo's review of OpenSuse Leap just the other day - interesting. I found @f33dm3bits comment about the installer especially interesting in light of Dedoimedo's comments on the same.

Welcome to the forums!

Hi, thanks very much! Let me know how it works if you give it a shot. And yes, I read Dedoimedo's openSUSE review, that was pretty dismal. Even for me being well aware of the idiosyncrasies of openSUSE it seems like he had an abnormally rough experience with it.

Speaking of openSUSE, I miss their online .iso builder. SUSE Studio? Something like that? I used to play with that fairly regularly.

Yes, SUSE Studio. Truly amazing product. It was so ahead of its time. Online GUI package manager with dependency resolution, ISO theme customization, generation of ISOs and disk images, and then live in-browser testing of the final result via VNC, with the option to merge changed files in the testdrive back into the image recipe. GeckoLinux wouldn't exist without it, that's how I got started, and large portions of its config originally came from SUSE Studio.
 

KGIII

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GeckoLinux wouldn't exist without it, that's how I got started, and large portions of its config originally came from SUSE Studio.

Indeed! I fancied myself a distro-builder, even though I was really just customizing it for my own use and to toss a couple of DVDs to friends who'd never actually install it. I used openSUSE just for that and then one day it was gone. I always had openSUSE on at least one bare metal machine.

These days, I still have Tumbleweed on one computer, but that's it. I've got your Gecko installed in a VM. Maybe it'll make it to bare metal. I need to switch over two computers after the turn of the new year. I might as well do a couple more.

It'd be nice to see something like that again. Building my own distro online was a very educational experience.

I don't suppose you know why they got rid of it? The replacement is darned near useless, as near as I can tell.
 
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GeckoLinux

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It'd be nice to see something like that again. Building my own distro online was a very educational experience.

I don't suppose you know why they got rid of it? The replacement is darned near useless, as near as I can tell.

Yep, I also learned so much with SUSE Studio, and it was so fast and easy for experimenting. I agree that the replacement is sorely lacking. Worst of all, the replacement doesn't allow for adding external repos that aren't in OBS, so it's a no-go for GeckoLinux, which is built with some Packman packages. I think SUSE Studio just got to be too much maintenance for them, it was constantly breaking and builds would fail, there were some major bugs too, adding certain packages would permanently ruin the entire appliance and require starting over from scratch. And I think the final nail in the coffin was the demise of Flash, which was used for the live VNC testdrive feature. But oh well, now that I figured out how to use Kiwi directly I can more easily make changes across all 19 editions that I maintain (multi-file find/replace is the best invention ever), and the resulting ISO images are basically identical in all the fundamental low-level aspects to the official openSUSE live CDs, which is a good thing in my opinion.
 

Lord Boltar

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I'm the creator/maintainer of GeckoLinux, which is an alternate distribution method of openSUSE with some low-level default configuration changes. Over on the GeckoLinux website there is a brief paragraph about me at least as far as it relates to the project:

Me - I'm the creator/maintainer of Expirion Linux , which I recently updated on 22 Dec 20. Expirion is Buntu based. Also made an USB version that has built in persistence, available on SourceForge. Always a pleasure to meet another developer - Cheers
 
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GeckoLinux

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@Lord Boltar Hi there, nice to meet you! Best wishes for you and your distro. GeckoLinux also has USB persistence (thanks to the Kiwi tool that is used to create it). But as a side effect of that have you had any issues with users trying certain Windows USB creation tools like Rufus that create unbootable USB sticks? It appears that some of those tools don't create a valid partition scheme to work with the persistence partition, which makes it unbootable.
 

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@Lord Boltar Hi there, nice to meet you! Best wishes for you and your distro. GeckoLinux also has USB persistence (thanks to the Kiwi tool that is used to create it). But as a side effect of that have you had any issues with users trying certain Windows USB creation tools like Rufus that create unbootable USB sticks? It appears that some of those tools don't create a valid partition scheme to work with the persistence partition, which makes it unbootable.
No not with Rufus but you do have to set it up correctly, you have to select FreeDOS under boot selection, Partition Scheme is MBR and Target System is BIOS or UEFI-CSM and you have to be connected to the Internet because Rufus may need to go grab a file - syslinux, ldlinux.sys and ldlinux.bss which are boot loader files - in order to write correctly.
For persistence I use MKUSB on Linux
 
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GeckoLinux

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@Lord Boltar Ah, interesting. I simply added a note to the documentation to not use Rufus, basically on Windows Etcher seems to be the best option right now.
 

wizardfromoz

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OK you pair of eggheads (and I mean that in the nicest possible way :))

Some of this material is better placed in Forum, where all may benefit.

One of you could always start a Thread "Developers Tete-a-Tete", and you can ping each other with eg

"@Lord Boltar may have some ideas on this" or "@GeckoLinux might have some thoughts on this"?

Now if I could just work out where it is best placed. :rolleyes::rolleyes:

Need more coffee

Chris
 

Lord Boltar

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OK you pair of eggheads (and I mean that in the nicest possible way :))

Some of this material is better placed in Forum, where all may benefit.

One of you could always start a Thread "Developers Tete-a-Tete", and you can ping each other with eg

"@Lord Boltar may have some ideas on this" or "@GeckoLinux might have some thoughts on this"?

Now if I could just work out where it is best placed. :rolleyes::rolleyes:

Need more coffee

Chris
Could make another section called "Geeks and Eggheads" - LOL
 

wizardfromoz

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Don't think I hadn't thought about it, might have a powwow with @Rob about it over new year.

Stay safe ;)

Wiz
 

wizardfromoz

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And my complements to you, you're a truly classy moderator.

More arse than class, but ta (Aussie for thanks, pron. "tar") for the kind words.

Where Brian @Condobloke and I came from 3 years ago last April was like Stalag 13 without the humour of Klink, Schultz, Hogan et al

I was ultimately shown the door virtually while I was sleeping after nearly 3 years, 2,800 posts and making many friends, so the idea of being a Mod was anathema to me.

We came here and it was like a breath of fresh air. After a year and a bit of making a nuisance of myself, Rob offered me a Mod job, at the suggestion of a friend of mine. I thought about it for a day, took the job to help "the firm", and been making it up as I go along ever since. ;)

Chris
 
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