Today’s Article Is Just A Lubuntu (And Ubuntu) Membership Update

Today’s article is just going to be a short article about my Lubuntu (and by extension Ubuntu) membership status. It’s only a news/meta article and you can safely skip it. Or you can read on… I don’t mind… It’s just some news.

For starters, you can see when I first joined the Lubuntu team originally:

Meta: I’m Now An Official Lubuntu (And Ubuntu) Member!

What I do, more often than not, is do the live testing for the daily .iso. It’s tedious work, but I enjoy the challenge and have the time. You might want to read:

What it’s Like To Beta-test Linux, Specifically Lubuntu

Now, I do my testing with Lubuntu. I’m also an Ubuntu Member. This is because I have to be an Ubuntu Member to be a Lubuntu Member. If you’re an official member of some of the more recent flavors, that’s no longer true. You can be an official member without official Ubuntu membership.

Membership lasts a a year. My year was up and I submitted a renewal application. I was once again accepted as an official member. 

So, I’m an official Lubuntu (and Ubuntu) Member for another year. Yay!

I’d like to take a moment to invite others to join in helping out their favorite distro. You don’t have to dedicate all your time to it. You don’t  have to be a programmer. If you want, you can get involved – and make an appreciable difference.

So, thus ends this article. I need an easy day once in a while, and now you know my membership status has been renewed. Enjoy the easy day!

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How To: Change Ubuntu Into Lubuntu

Today’s article is going to teach you how to change Ubuntu into Lubuntu. Why? Because you can! Because you might want to try a different desktop environment, or because you’d like to have them both on one computer. It’s remarkably easy to change Ubuntu into Lubuntu – and, of course, would work with other official Ubuntu flavors with just slight modifications

As you know, Ubuntu is a distro. Lubuntu is also Ubuntu, but it is an official flavor of Ubuntu. They are not actually different distros. Lubuntu is Ubuntu, with different Ubuntu software installed to provide a different experience.

Ubuntu is Canonical’s flagship operating system. It ships with a suite of useful software and uses the GNOME desktop environment. If you say Ubuntu, that’s the distro you’re talking about. Lubuntu is a separate project under the same umbrella, based on Ubuntu. Lubuntu, once known for being lightweight, is now using the LXQt desktop environment where it once used LXDE. The latter dropped for the former for a whole host of reasons, including maintenance improvements. Comparatively speaking, it’s still fairly lightweight.

Full Disclosure: I’m an “Official Lubuntu Member” and, by extension, also an Official Ubuntu Member. I’m quite biased with regards to Lubuntu, but my biases are open and I still strive to be objective (or at least not objectionable!).

So, if you have Ubuntu installed and you’d like to experience Lubuntu, then this is the article for you, as it will teach you how to …

Change Ubuntu Into Lubuntu:

Like oh so many articles, if you want to change Ubuntu into Lubuntu, you’re going to want to start off with an open terminal. You can use your menu to open a terminal, or you can just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

Once you have your terminal open, you need to enter just one command, really. The command you’ll enter is:

That will run its course and then pause on a screen where you can read about your display manager. There are no real options on that page, so you can just press the enter button after reading it.

This won’t actually take all that long. When you’re done, you can logout and then login to Lubuntu or, more effectively, just reboot and you’ll boot into the Lubuntu environment. 

When you reach your new login menu, you can pick which desktop session you want to login with by using the dropdown menu in the upper left, with Lubuntu being the new default. Of course, you can login to the regular Ubuntu session still (as well as Ubuntu on Wayland). Most things will still work in when you’re logged into an Ubuntu session, except for blanking the screen. That fails because you’re no longer using GNOME-display-manager (GDM3). (You’re now using SDDM.)

That was it. That’s all you have to do. However, if you don’t like it and want to change it back, it’s slightly more complicated – but not terribly so – to reverse this change. To reverse it, you need to …

Change Lubuntu Into Ubuntu:

Once again, open your terminal. It’s not hard, as described in the 2nd section of this article. Heck, it’s described in almost every article.

You can start with just this command:

And that’ll get you almost all the way back to normal. You’ll still have the splash screen and boot logos that belong to Lubuntu. You could leave those and learn to accept them, or you can fully restore the original setup.

Assuming you want things back the way they were, we need to get your display manager reconfigured – restored to what it was. That’s a very easy command. It looks like:

You’ll get another one of those warning screens and, once again, there are no options. The only thing you can do is press the enter button. Fortunately, that’s exactly the button you want to press!

Finally, you need to change the boot screens. It’s a pretty easy command, but it is interactive. Just run this to get it started:

That will ask you which theme you want to use. In this case, you’ll pick 1 and press the enter key. Basically, you want the option that isn’t “Lubuntu” and this will fix the final visual issue.

When you next reboot, you’ll have the default Ubuntu logo and theme during the whole boot process (assuming everything went as expected). Your login theme will have been restored to Ubuntu’s default, as will have the Ubuntu splash screen while the system boots.

Of course, you could always opt to keep Lubuntu installed alongside Ubuntu, that is LXQt alongside Gnome, if you’d prefer. Then again, if you like your Lubuntu installation, maybe you’ll just want to use it. It’s easy enough to remove GNOME or to even just clean install Lubuntu.

Closure:

And there it is! It’s an article that teaches you how to change Ubuntu into Lubuntu. It’s not a very complicated affair and you can restore it easily enough, should you not like it. You can more or less do this with any other official flavor. Swapping back to just the old Ubuntu will potentially use different commands, but it’ll otherwise be quite similar.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Why I Use Linux

Today’s article will be short and simple, about why I use Linux. I’ve wanted to write it for a while, and it may end up being another one of those articles that gets updates over time. (Note: This article is from the defunct site, due to a death in the family.)

I tend to use Lubuntu and that’s my preferred desktop system – even after the change to LXQt. It’s visually simple and familiar. It’s light on resources, even though I have plenty.

I don’t use Linux because I hate Microsoft. You’ll never see me call them a derogatory name. I don’t have any major anger towards Microsoft or their products.

I don’t even care if the product I’m using is opensource. Being closed-source doesn’t bother me. I care that the application works and lets me do the things for which I installed it.

I am using a closed-source browser as I type this. Like Linux, it just works for me. It gets out of my way and lets me accomplish my computing goals.

That’s what I really like about Lubuntu. It just gets out of my way. Once it is configured, I don’t have to keep tinkering with it. I don’t have to continually pay attention to the operating system – it just keeps working and I just keep updating it.

I love the simplicity and efficacy of the terminal. When I boot my computer, a terminal emulator is one of the first things I open. I often have two or three of them open at once.

I never have any hardware issues that I can’t resolve. Sure, it may be a bit difficult to find your wireless driver – but once you do then you needn’t worry about it again. In the mean time, tether your phone and connect that way. Then again, I always have an adapter that works well enough for me to get the drivers for any built-in hardware.

I don’t see the process as any different than Windows. You have to put some effort in to make it work. But, once it’s installed, all of my updates are done at the same time and with just a single command. The concept of a package manager is fantastic and you get a wide variety to choose from.

I like both the sense of community and the actual community. If I really want to put the effort in, I can find the person what wrote the driver for my wireless adapter. I don’t suppose that’s really true with any other operating system. With Linux, I can find the person(s) who put my OS together – and, in fact, I do. I try talk with them at least once a week at the online team meeting. I recognize many of the names I see across the ‘net and I’ve known some of them for many years.

I suppose that I do like having access to the source code. I don’t tend to make (m)any changes, as my programming skills aren’t that great these days. Still, I do sometimes make a quick change, apply my own patch, and compile applications on my own.

I like that I have the freedom to have as much, or as little, operating system as I want. I can have a distro with everything installed or I can have a distro that barely has a terminal installed – and you’ve gotta compile that yourself. There are so many choices. There’s a Linux for everyone and, if you’re willing to learn, there are seemingly infinite combinations. I like being able to pick my desktop environment, favorite terminal emulator, favorite window manager, etc…

I like that it’s always changing. I legitimately like systemd, for example. I like learning Netplan. I like learning the new features. I like understanding what’s going on under the hood – or having access to people that can actually explain it. I also like that no matter how hard I try, I will never truly understand everything. There’s always something new to learn. There’s always something new to ‘geek out’ with.

I guess, with the above, you could say that I like the constant innovation. Sure, sometimes Linux is trying to ‘keep up’ with the other mainstream operating systems – and sometimes it goes out on the edge and the community does things you simply can’t find elsewhere.

Linux isn’t perfect. There are bugs aplenty and flaws we’d maybe not tolerate in an operating system we paid for. Sure, we overlook the warts and call it our own – but we really can call it our own. We can meaningfully contribute to a project, to a distro, to an organization, and to the community. There are so many ways that we can give back, and that is awesome.

Anyhow, I don’t want to make this too long. Feel free to write a sentence or two below, letting me know why you like Linux. If you’d like, instead of responding where you’d normally find me, respond here so that folks can see this in the future and see your contributions to the subject.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Meta: I’m Now An Official Lubuntu (And Ubuntu) Member!

It goes without saying that I’m a pretty big Lubuntu fan. The reason it goes without saying is because (as anyone that knows me knows) I have said it plenty of times already! This ‘award’, becoming an official Lubuntu Member, is recognition for past activity in the Linux (specifically in the Lubuntu/Ubuntu sphere) community.

My application was voted on and approved on the 14th of November, so just a few days before you saw this. I actually missed the email notification (just an automated message informing me that I’d been added to a group) and didn’t notice until the congratulations started pouring in. I’ve since received guidance from my mentor, thankfully.

If you don’t know what it means (and what responsibilities you have) to be an official Lubuntu Member, you can learn more about the Membership by clicking this link. There’s more to it and I’ve not yet gone through all the benefits, but I’m pretty happy to have been voted into a rather exclusive club.

Darned right! Not a whole lot of people on the planet can say they’ve been official Ubuntu Members! I guess there are ‘more than 500’ of us currently, which is still a tiny drop in the ocean that is Linux users and the general population at large!

So, yes… Yes, it does make me happy to be a member. The recognition is nice and it’s comfortable to say ‘my peers’ – even though they all pretty much know so much more than I do.

My Lubuntu History:

You should probably start by reading my article here:

What it’s Like To Beta-test Linux, Specifically Lubuntu

That’ll give you most of the information you might need.

Anyhow, Lubuntu has been around since its official recognition in 2011. I’ve been using it nearly as long, as I was really happy to have an Ubuntu official-flavor with LXDE – my preferred desktop at the time. I dare say that it’s still kinda my official favorite DE, but I really have grown to like LXQt. It grows on you in time and is maturing nicely.

About 14 months ago… You know, it’ll take a minute, but let’s get some numbers for posterity! 

Alright, it began officially in October of 2020, when I said the following:

I have some free time coming up. I can toss some hours at this, but not for this release. Do you want testing on bare metal, or is testing in a VM adequate? Is the #Lubuntu IRC the place to go?

Which is the official start of my testing – so to speak. I jumped in just a little while later that month, after 20.10 was released. That means 21.04 was my first full-cycle participation. We’re now testing 22.04 and watching the changes has been informative and interesting.

One of my continued goals has been to learn more while helping. And, man… Did I learn a lot. I’m still learning a lot, and I now have a much better understanding of how Linux works behind the scenes. My troubleshooting abilities have increased because of it. I highly encourage others to get involved. Jump in at the deep end. The immersion helps!

My Lubuntu Future:

After the first cycle, I was actually able to (and was heavily encouraged to do so) apply for official membership. I decided to not apply at that time and to give myself a additional cycle before applying. It seemed prudent to make sure that I was really going to keep helping. 

Sure, the membership is about past contributions but, to me, it implies a level of commitment to future contributions. I plan on keeping on doing what I’ve been doing for the duration. I plan on continuing my education and stepping up to help with the tasks I am able to complete.

Man… It does feel nice to say ‘my peers’, but so many of them know so much more about Linux than I do. I am not even a programmer, at least not a very good one – and time doesn’t seem to be improving that ’cause I don’t have time to learn more. So, I definitely have a bit of that Impostor Syndrome going on.

Just reading the #lubuntu_dev chat has been super informative. Fortunately, I can jump in at any time and ask questions. They’ll help me understand, and point me towards additional educational resources. Everyone I could hope for stood up to help me get my feet on the ground and become a better tester.

It probably doesn’t need saying, but the people in and around the Lubuntu project are pretty awesome. Without them, I’d not be here – of course. I’ve spent a goodly number of years in academia, and it’s comforting to be able to surround myself with the smart people that make up the Lubuntu project.

My contributions elsewhere probably won’t change. I’ve been able to, and fortunate enough to, manage my time – and I’ve been able to set aside blocks of time for different tasks. So, I suspect this means I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing for the foreseeable future.

This also bodes well for the site. If I’m doing what I have been doing, that includes keeping this site active, interesting, and regularly updated with new content. I might as well… If I still have stuff to write about, I might just as well keep writing.

Still, this isn’t set in stone. This site eats a ton of my time. I’m still only planning on a full year – but it seems likely that I’ll just keep pounding the keyboard while hoping an article pops out the other side. It has been a pretty good run so far.

Closure:

For the record: I sure as heck didn’t get here by myself. In fact, if it wasn’t for the many, many positive messages and prompting me to apply, I probably still wouldn’t have applied. I don’t think I’d have felt qualified, if it hadn’t been for the urging. 

The two members I’d like to thank the most for that aspect are Leok and guiverc. Of the two, I consider guiverc to be my mentor. I’m pretty sure there is an official title of “Mentor” in and among the official members. I don’t think guiverc really holds that title, but they have put up with my many questions and given me great guidance over the past year. 

So, I’d like to thank especially both Leok and guiverc, as well as all the other members who have encouraged me, educated me, or just plain tolerated me when I asked questions. I told ’em back at the start that I’d do my best to make sure their time spent helping me learn would not end up as wasted time, and I’d like to think I’ve demonstrated that and made true on my claim.

To the rest of the well-wishing folks, thanks! You too have likely given me reason to keep going with this, in one way or another. Just reading the site is helping to motivate me to continue learning and publishing. Also, please feel free to leave any congratulatory comments here on this site, avoiding leaving them across the various sites. 

As always, thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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What it’s Like To Beta-test Linux, Specifically Lubuntu

You may not think so, but everyone can meaningfully help their favorite distro. Someone has to beta-test Linux, and most everyone can do so. Here’s one way that you can help.

You don’t have to be a programmer, being able to code isn’t mandatory. It’s not even a requirement that you have spare hardware to test with. Going gung-ho and testing daily isn’t even a requirement. You just need to have some time that you’re willing to give back to the projects that have given you so much.

I don’t tend to do half-measures, so I’ve thrown myself into the task. The amount of learning I’ve done since starting is probably the most I’ve done since I was just a Linux beginner. If you like learning, then your ability to help knows no bounds.

Why I Beta-test Linux:

About a year ago, I learned why Ubuntu stopped offering 32 bit versions. It wasn’t because 32 bit was old, nor was it because the devs hate 32 bit systems. The reason they stopped supporting 32 bit systems was because there were too few people willing to test on 32 bit systems.

Now, I don’t actually use any 32 bit hardware. In fact, I haven’t used 32 bit hardware since pretty much the first day 64 bit hardware hit the market. I had empathy for those who had to move to a shrinking pool of distro choices. I also realized that it could happen again, for other hardware or software.

That’s when I realized that I could do my part. It is when I decided that I’d look into the process. After some investigation, I made it known publicly that I’d be testing. By making the claim that I’d do so, it forced my hand into actually following through. The claim was made to them as much for their sake as it was for mine.

I’ve done it ever since. It takes maybe an hour per day to do it, and to do it well. I test on at least two different pieces of hardware, file my reports, and go on about my day. Sometimes I get more involved and test other things, but my usual activities are just testing the daily build.

How I Beta-test Linux:

This will, of course, be different for you – unless you want to beta test Lubuntu. In which case, this is pretty much how you’d do it. Though your method may still be different. My testing is “just” the live instances of Lubuntu.

The live testing is actually the longer of the two types of tests. If you’re doing the installation tests, you basically just install and make sure it reboots, perhaps ensuring internet connectivity works out of the box. If nothing breaks, you’re done.

Every day, at about 13:30 my time, I start refreshing the testing tracker URL. (That link is time sensitive. It won’t be the same for the next cycle. It’s largely for illustration anyhow.) What I’m looking for is the date to change on the download. When that changes, I know there’s a new daily build for me to test.

You don’t actually have to do this every day. You can do it when you have time, or closer to the end of the release cycle. You set the time and schedule.

When the date changes and there’s a new daily build, I use the zsync option to save bandwidth. Using zsync means I’m only downloading the parts of the image that have changed. I not only do this on one computer, I do it on another computer. As mentioned above, I test twice.

While I’m there, I also download the new manifest. The manifest is a list of all the files that are in the image (.iso, of course) and I use it to ‘diff‘ against the previous manifest. This tells me what has changed and what needs more attention and testing.

It’s at this time that I start filing my reports. Those will vary and depend on what your distro of choice is using. Mine are generally pretty basic and short, unless I find something amiss. If there’s something amiss, then that requires proper testing and bug reporting. That happens with less frequency than you might imagine, but it’s essential that you follow conventions and properly report bugs in a manner that the developers can use.

Later, those reports get closed, using a process where I mark the test as ‘in progress’ while testing and then close them as passed or failed when I’m done. Each report contains a list of existing bugs and any newly found bugs.

The Actual Beta-testing Linux:

When the two files are downloaded and reports opened as in progress, I’m ready to actually begin. On one machine, I’ll start writing the daily .iso to a USB drive and on the other I’ll use it to start a fully prepared virtual machine.

The testing done on both is remarkably similar. I also undertake the live testing and, as I said near the top, that one takes the most time. You’ll see why…

As I’m testing the live instance, the first two things I check and change are the screen resolution and the keyboard layout. Those will be the first two changes people are likely to make in a live environment, and so they’re the first two things I change and check.

The next task is checking the existing bugs. For example, there’s a bug in the terminal where it won’t actually open with the presets (two horizontal or vertical terminals). Another is a wonderfully odd LibreOffice bug that appears to have existed for quite a while before I noticed it. I’ll explain the LibreOffice bug and show it to you.

To trigger the bug, open every LibreOffice application up in order. If they stop appearing in the task bar after you’ve opened Impress, then you’re likely going to be able to trigger the bug. After they’re all opened, select the “Vivid” template in Impress – and watch all of the LibreOffice applications crash one after the other.

Watch, full screen should work if needed:

This particular bug was discovered because of how I do the testing. Nobody seems to know what the cause is and it doesn’t appear in every distro – but it appears, or manifests itself in some way, in a variety of distros. (I’ve tested, of course!)

So, once I’m sure that the existing bugs are still there, I do the rest of my testing. This means I open the menu, start at the top, and open everything. I don’t open them all at once, I open them by segments. First, I open all the Accessories, then Internet, then Graphics and Video, etc. applications at once. I make sure they all open and that they all close.

When there is a change noted by the diff I mentioned earlier, I make sure to check that application even more. I also pick a half-dozen, maybe a dozen, other applications to test more thoroughly. For those, it isn’t just checking to see that they open and close, I check that they do things like open the appropriate files, their preferences work, and that the application does the job it was meant to do.

Most of the time, there’s nothing doing. It’s exactly the same as it was the day before. Those days are the easiest. You just file the reports and you’re done for the day. If there are new bugs, you have a bunch more work to do. 

In the case of a new bug, you need to file a proper bug report. More importantly, you need to make sure it’s a bug. To do this, you’ll test against everything you can think of. You’ll even test against other distros to see if the bug also exists in those distros. It is also worth installing the beta (preferably in a VM) to test to see if the bug is in both the installed and in the live instance. You want to narrow it down as much as you can, making it easier for the devs to fix.

The forms and paperwork you’ll be doing will vary. They won’t be just like the Lubuntu system, which is based on the Ubuntu system. You’ll need to connect with someone on the team, someone familiar with the process, to make sure you’re doing it right.

In my case, I call my connection my ‘mentor’, though that can sometimes be a formal term. They’ll need to be someone you get along with, because you’re going to interact with them fairly often as you learn the ropes. You’ll need to be patient, as they’re not always available and often have other tasks that they’re working on.

From my observations, you’ll really enjoy it. The people involved in these projects are all just humans. They want you to help. If you don’t want to beta-test, just let them know that you have some free time and let them know what skills you have in your toolbox. There’s always something you can do.

They may find a niche for you doing documentation, doing bug triage, answering support questions, keeping track of task-completion, or any number of things. Just contact the distro team, let them know you want to help, and they’ll find a use for you.

Closure:

You can make a meaningful difference. By taking part, you can make your favorite distro even better. It needn’t be a distro, it could just be a project you use and understand. The people writing ‘inxi’ can use your help, ‘Shutter’ too, or even ‘GIMP’ or ‘Blender’. Pick one and jump right in!

Seriously… Getting involved is easy! Even if it’s just you noticing and reporting a bug, you can meaningfully impact the software that you use every day. You can make a difference, and you can make it better.

The amount of time you donate is up to you. It needn’t be quite like the one to two hours I spend daily, it can be just a couple of hours a week. The choice is for you to make and it needs to fit your schedule.

As always, thanks for reading. Don’t forget that you can unblock ads, donate, write articles, and sign up for the newsletter. You already know that I appreciate the feedback. There will be a new article in just a couple of days.

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