Preinstalled vs Flatpak

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Software ManagerI’m fully in love with Linux Mint.  But I’m the curious sort who insists on having the most up-to-date software.  When I used Windows.  I would check for updates mostly on a weekly basis using my software page (back when it was Windows software on it).

With Linux, the Update Manager takes care of that for me.  Well, I thought it would.  After time I noticed I wasn’t getting updates for many things that should have.  Until I realized the majority of the software included in the Software Manager is out-of-date.  With no updates for many things like Thunderbird, LibreOffice and much more.  Still getting used to how things are done in Linux-Land, I started noticing that Flatpaks are seemingly always up-to-date.

This disappointed me a little.  But more research shows that it would seem Flatpak, like it or not, is the future.  I refer to Nick for the rest 😉

Just thinking perhaps Linux Mint could start putting Flatpaks on by default and/or switch the default installed apps with the Flatpak versions.  🤔

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I Game on Linux! Shirts are here!

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I Game on Linux! Shirts

I Game on Linux! Shirts

At long last the new shirts are up and finally have a logo of our own!  Introducing Chill-Lin Louie!  More designs are coming soon!  Early bird discount until the end of November.

Use code: EARLYBIRD

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System76 Gazelle My Review

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System76 Gazelle My ReviewWhen I started this journey I call My Linux Life, I did a ton of research and everyone said I would get the best performance out of Linux if I went with AMD CPU and GPU.  As they are fully open source supported and perform better than Intel and Nvidia.  Which is what I built my desktop rig with.  The performance from my desktop is absolutely amazing and I have very little issues gaming!

So I had to raise an eyebrow when my only options for this laptop was Intel and Nvidia.  But System76 clearly know what they are doing over what I know.  I may have been in the tech business over 20 years, but I’m no engineer or developer.  When it comes to Linux, I’m only a novice.  I’m getting a lot of education and the learning experience so far has been nothing short of a blast! 😁

So I ordered my Gazelle 17″ shortly after I sold my Acer Nitro 5 to my boss.  As I said before, I spent about $500 more than I normally would spend on a mid-range laptop.  Now that I’ve had a month to play with it.  The i7-12700H seems to be well worth the extra scratch.

My Config:

  • Linux Mint Cinnamon 21
  • 4.7 GHz i7-12700H (up to 4.7 GHz – 24 MB Cache – 14 Cores – 20 Threads)
  • 16 GB Dual Channel DDR4 at 3200 MHz (2 x 8GB)
  • 1 TB PCIe Gen3 Up to Seq Read: 2400 MB/s, Seq Write: 1950 MB/s
  • 4 GB RTX 3050 Ti w/ 2560 CUDA Cores
  • 17.3″ Matte Full HD 1080p (144 Hz)
  • Multicolor backlit keyboard with numpad
  • WiFi 6 + Bluetooth 5

The Boxing

You can watch videos of others opening their System76 laptop.  I won’t bore you with all that.  The packaging is clever and reusable.  Top notch!

The Color

Unfortunately my first experience on boot up with a screen very green in hue.  This struck me with a bad feeling.  I should’ve screen-capped it with the Pop! OS, but I didn’t think of that until after I realized I’d never take to the desktop environment and moved to Linux Mint as my choice.  (More on that later.)

But the screen was green!  Like overly green.

Overly Green Hue

Thanks to Cinnamon Spices (Brightness and Gamma Applet) tool to adjust the colors to get them as close to the ones my desktop has.  Maybe a bit red now, but I keep tinkering until i’m happy.

Almost Matched Hue

The OS

Windows Start Menu ClutterOK, I’ve been using computers since Windows 3.1.  When Windows 95 came out I really got comfortable with the layout.  Though I always hated how new software would just throw a folder and icons that were not neatly organized.  All Programs would get out of control or people would decimate the desktop with icons because the start menu looked over stuffed with nonsense.  About the time Windows 98 came along, I figured how to organize and remove useless short cuts and folders from the All Programs menu.  I wish I had a screenshot of it, but I removed all shortcuts except the ones to launch the specific programs organized in logical folders.  Icons I removed were such as the uninstall or website shortcuts or ones to open settings.  It was organized neatly like this:

  • CD Burn
  • Desktop (mostly desktop utilities)
  • Games
  • Graphics
  • Internet
  • Maintenance
  • Multimedia
  • Productivity
  • Security Tools
  • Webmaster
  • Windows Accessories

And using that same layout for nearly 20 years after.  Including Windows 8, 8.1 and 10 using Classic Shell or now known as Open Shell.

So when I looked for a Linux Distro, I fell in love with Cinnamon.

Cinnamon Menu

I mean look at this menu!  It’s like it was made just for me!  And yes, those are the games I’m playing 😁

Yes I know you can install Cinnamon on Pop! OS.  But even they warn you it could be problematic.  Plus it looked oddly clunky when I tried it.  I’m sorry System76, I just feel more comfortable with Linux Mint.

The Sound

If the color wasn’t bad enough, the sound is even worse.  My iPhone 14 has better speakers than this thing does.  I’ve heard vintage AM car radios with better quality.  They really cheaped out on the speakers.  Unlike the color, you can’t really fix this.  Short of throwing money at some Bluetooth speakers or headphones.

The Performance

Thankfully it’s not all bad news.  The performance for everyday laptop work and gaming is very very good!  Like almost as good as my desktop good!  I don’t have benchmarks or fancy info, but I have the laptop setup exactly as my desktop is.  I can play all my games just fine.

The lighted keyboard is very nice, I’m slightly disappointed I can’t control it dynamically with software, but still nice.  Feels good and works fantastically.

The Battery Life

I know it’s a gaming laptop, so battery life isn’t great.  You can watch a movie under 2.5 hours long or casually surf the net.  I wouldn’t game on battery.  The only laptop I’ve ever owned that I could game with on battery is my Macbook Pro I had in 2010.  I played World of Warcraft for 8 hours straight!  On battery!!

To test this laptop, I turned the keyboard lighting off, set the display brightness to 50% and let YouTube music videos run with auto-play turned on.  While I gamed on my desktop 😉

Battery Life

Overall Thoughts

I do like this laptop, despite it’s shortcomings.  Though I suppose I could press the issue on the color being so far off, but hopefully that won’t pose a problem.  I mostly don’t press the issue as everything else works and I don’t want to pay shipping for this issue.  It does everything I need to do and if I want music or movies, it’s Bluetooth speakers or my headset.

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Finding a Digital Artist

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Penguin DrawingI never knew finding a digital artist or an artist in general would be such a pain.  I am using an image of a penguin I didn’t draw because I don’t have the talent to draw.  But I figured if I found someone who could draw and offer them a couple hundred dollars; that would be good.  So far the affordable artists I’ve found have yet to produce anything or even bring up the conversation we had about the art.  The one who offered to do it with any kind of enthusiasm dodged the question of cost completely until I mentioned my previous deals.  They came back with “my prices would be very much higher”.  I thanked them for their time.  I just want 3 to 5 custom images of a green penguin.  No 3D, no in-depth colors.  Just 2D pictures similar to the one I recolored green for my current use.

I want to start making t-shirts to sell as I see my sites gaining traction on search engines.  I didn’t realize it was so pricey to have something that I’ve seen others doodle in a matter of minutes.

It only takes me minutes, possibly an hour or two; and I can manipulate images all day long no problem.  My talent for drawing is horrible.  I did start making a new image on my own.  Just as I thought I might pull it off, the program crashed.  I guess I need to spend more time learning GIMP.  The tool I used has big ambitions to become like my old favorite, but clearly has fallen short with it’s inability to save layered images, have user made plugins or apparently work without crashing.  I hope they improve these items.

Still that leaves me without a site mascot.  Any digital artists out there I can afford?  Email me please.  Or hit me on one of my social links.

DiscordSteamRumble

I tried the internet, but without a strong social presence, I am falling short.

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System76 Gazelle 17 Inch

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System76 Gazelle 17 Inch

I’m so into my new Linux Life that I sold my old Acer Nitro 5 laptop.  I could never get the fans to run without Nitro Sense.  Plus the video switching from the Intel graphics to Nvidia in Linux was clunky mostly.  So I did some research and settled on System76.

I tried Pop! OS before and didn’t have much fun with it.  Not a Gnome fan.  Even though they have customized it to be their own, I still didn’t take to it well.  But I’m gonna give it another try and give my thoughts here on the machine and software.

My laptops are generally backup computers and travel options, more than they are front-line gaming machines for me.  But still I find myself bored in remote locations and feel the need to game.  Thus I generally have always bought mid-range gaming laptops.  This one is about $500 more than I normally would spend.  Hopefully the i7-12700H is worth the extra scratch.

My Config:

  • Pop!_OS 22.04 LTS with full disk-encryption
  • 4.7 GHz i7-12700H (up to 4.7 GHz – 24 MB Cache – 14 Cores – 20 Threads)
  • 16 GB Dual Channel DDR4 at 3200 MHz (2 x 8GB)
  • 1 TB PCIe Gen3 Up to Seq Read: 2400 MB/s, Seq Write: 1950 MB/s
  • 4 GB RTX 3050 Ti w/ 2560 CUDA Cores
  • 17.3″ Matte Full HD 1080p (144 Hz)
  • Multicolor backlit keyboard with numpad
  • WiFi 6 + Bluetooth 5

I will also report on things you haven’t seen on most reviews.  Since those have been done over and over by many other people and YouTuber’s.  I have yet to hear about battery life and how it performs.  Or if it will run on my favorite distro, Linux Mint.  Or if I’ll fall in love with Pop! OS this time.

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