MxLinux X2Go down

     Presently “x2go” is not working on mxlinux for regular users, it is only working for the root super-user account.  I am still troubleshooting and it will probably take a few days as I’ve run out of ideas and am consulting the authors.

 

Glhack – A Graphical Nethack

     Those of you who remember the old terminal game nethack may wish to give glhack a try.  It’s nethack with a full color graphical display rather than the old terminal interface.

     To use it you’ll need to have x2go installed on your machine.  X2go can be obtained for free for Windows, MacOS, and Linux platforms from https://wiki.x2go.org/doku.php

     It gives you a graphical desktop access to our shell servers (except for the ancient ‘eskimo.com’ SunOS machine, that machine does not have enough memory to support a full graphical environment).  It provides a full graphical desktop with mouse and keyboard and sound, also remote printing and the ability to mount your directory here locally on your machine or some portion of your local file system here.  There is also the ability to use USB devices remotely but I have not mastered that one yet.

     Anyway, if you have not yet installed x2go on your machine, please consider doing so, it’s a secure way to connect with full graphics, sound, keyboard, and mouse, and even remote printing, to any of our Linux shell servers.

     Glhack and many other graphical games are available on mxlinux.eskimo.com, our newest addition to our shell servers.  It is located in /usr/games, so if /usr/games is not in your path then you will need to invoke it as /usr/games/glhack.

Treasure Trove of 1987 Code

     I ran across a treasure trove of 1987 code while in search of an ancient interactive fiction text adventure called “world”.  I found world but with many other games and applications of the era.

     To say the least it does not compile out of the box owing to changes in gcc over time, many arguments it uses are not recognized by gcc though most of the C code itself compiles when you get the arguments right, which given the code is 31 years old, is surprising.

     Anyway, wondered if anyone else wanted to help port this to a modern environment?  I am working on it on mxlinux.  If so I will create a group and add us all to it.  If someone is familiar with git, maybe we can setup a git repository.

MxLinux Worth A Look

     After a few days of experience with MxLinux, I am very impressed.  I may end up replacing Ubuntu on the physical hosts with MxLinux owing to it’s fast reliable boot.

     Ubuntu uses systemd for booting.  Systemd is fast because it launches each program as soon as it’s prerequisites have registered that they are up and running, thus it launches everything as fast as possible and takes maximum advantage of parallel resources like multiple processor cores and multiple disk controllers that are common in modern machines.  This is good in principal but systemd is buggy and often gets “stuck” during boot resulting in the machine hanging.

     System-V is an older init that launched scripts alphabetically and so to control launch sequence each script was numbered.  This limited the opportunities for parallel launching and make boot up relatively slow.

     MxLinux uses System-V init with a program ordering program and a Systemd shim allowing applications that expect systemd to work with it and ordering the launching of software.  It has the speed of systemd without the bugs.

     Further, MxLinux kicks out releases monthly so when you install you always install from an ISO less than a month old resulting in minimal updates being required.  MxLinux also keeps VERY current on critical software like kernels, more so even than Ubuntu which up to this point was the best in that category.

     MxLinux is also light!  Before considering the weight of the desktop, a default install of MxLinux uses 200MB less RAM than Ubuntu.  And the default Desktop, XFCE is also impressively light and the most complete implementation I’ve seen.

     Further, it ships with a multitude of Desktops, I have installed only those that are known to work with X2Go, but so far I have installed and tested KDE, Gnome, LXDE, XFCE, Mate, OpenBox, and IceWM and every one of them has worked perfectly out of the box.

     The one and only bug I’ve personally run into is that if you setup the networking with the Live CD/DVD/USB Thumb drive, then install, it screws up the Network Mask.  This is easily fixed by resetting the network connections after install so is a trivial problem.

     If you’ve got an aging laptop, this is an excellent distribution because it is so light weight.  It also has a very good set of drivers included so things tend to work right off without any twiddling necessary.  On the other hand, if you have a really heavy duty server it’s also good because the start up is so quick and reliable that it minimizes downtime.

     One downside, the virtio disk drivers are not included in the stock kernels, so if installing this on a virtual guest, the disk I/O is slightly sub-optimal.  In practice, I’ve found the QEMU emulation of real SATA devices is so efficient that it is not noticeable and in any event it can be corrected by building your own kernel with virtual machine drivers included.

     Because this distro is based on the current stable Debian release, you can use Debian repositories with it, usually without conflict.  To make KDE install properly, I had to lock the version of libgstreamer-plugins-bad because the newest version conflicted with some components of KDE.  I am told if I had used the MX Package Installer that would have been handled automagically but I am a Synaptic fan and that is what I used to install everything and so far this has been the one and only glitch (and easily managed at that).  They’ve basically taken Debian and fixed all it’s flaws, it’s slow boot, it’s lack of up to date things that are critical, and fixed the boot process to one that is ideal compromise between systemd and system-V init.