New Mate Desktop Environment (1.18) Update

Hey Guys,

— As of March 22, 2017, the new Mate 1.18 release has been sent out to the Manjaro repositories —

Over the past week there have been talks of a new release of the Mate Desktop Environment. Currently Manjaro is on 1.16.1 stable release and the  dev teams are working to get the new 1.18 release added to the repositories. Ubuntu Mate picked up the new desktop environment release since it came out. Below are two videos that Len at Don’t Call Me Lenny put together on the new Mate 1.18.

For information on the release, go to the URL below. The biggest change that came out of this one is that it is completely GTK3 only!!

https://mate-desktop.org/blog/2017-03-13-mate-1-18-released/

 

You can download the latest and greatest from the URL below:

http://pub.mate-desktop.org/releases/1.18/

 

For the latest Manjaro Mate build, click the link below:

https://sourceforge.net/projects/manjarotest/files/mate/17.0/

 

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From the Manjaro Mate Team:

Hi community ,
MATE 1.18 is in our unstable repo . Check it :wink:

to perform the update before do this :

sudo pacman -Rdd mate-panel-gtk3
sudo rm /usr/share/glib-2.0/schemas/org.mate*.xml

Test ISO can be found at the URL below:

https://sourceforge.net/projects/manjarotest/files/mate/17.0/

 

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Just an update

Manjaro released their OS with Mate 1.18 on March 25, 2017. There are several changes that came out. You can see these from the forum site listed below. I would recommend doing a full install as there are many packages that are not showing in the live media. This is to keep the iso small for download. But there are a lot which can be added during the install process.

https://forum.manjaro.org/t/manjaro-mate-17-0/20380

 

From the Manjaro Mate Team:

This Isos ship with MATE 1.18 series , full ported on GTK3 .

No other relevant improvement after last our mate test iso only one note , you can select the extra pkgs to install during installation .

Enjoy
Downloads85

Stefano Capitani
Manjaro Team

 

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In order to see what all had changed on the Mate side, the following URL will explain everything that was done. The biggest change was the removal of GTK2 and the strict usage of GTK3.

https://mate-desktop.org/blog/2017-03-13-mate-1-18-released/

Another Look at the Latest Manjaro Cinnamon

Hey Guys,

In my last post on Manjaro I mentioned how I may not be able to use the Manjaro Cinnamon on my laptop which is an Acer E1-510P-2671. Well this is partially true but I have to be careful on what I use within it. If I use the regular Cinnamon that includes the hardware compositor, I start having issues with screen rendering and video rendering. There are issues with the Intel video drivers that I am using for the Intel HD series mobile video cards. The screen recorders do not render properly while using hardware rendering and I am seeing slow performance with some of the compositors toys. If I don’t use the toys or the screen recorders then this will work just fine. Now on my desktop, I am using an Nvidia card with Cinnamon and have no problems like this at all. I can work with screen recording with no rendering issues.

All in all, the Cinnamon Desktop Environment works on my laptop from within Manjaro. On my desktop, it is awesome and all applications that I have installed on my laptop work on my desktop. But I still think another test is in order to make sure that Manjaro is not the problem. I think I will try a live version of Mint Cinnamon to see if that has a different effect on the laptop and as well as screen recording software performance. This doesn’t mean that I am switching. I am just testing to see of there is a difference or not. I have grown very fond of XFCE and Mate and those are what are keeping me on Manjaro. :0)

Well, I am not seeing simple screen recorder in the repository under Mint. There were some other packages that I wanted to use as well that I believe are not under Mint at least natively. There is an app called vokoscreen which is similar that I have tried under Manajaro so I will give this a try. Ok, I have found out something interesting. While running a live version of Mint Cinnamon, the vokoscreen recorder, worked just fine. I am not sure what the difference is between Manjaro and Mint when it comes to drivers, but when I went back to Manjaro and tested vokoscreen I ran into the original rendering problems as before. This makes no since.

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As shown below, both operating systems are showing the same hardware in lspci and the system info panel.

Manjaro – Intel Corporation Atom Processor Z36xxx/Z27xxx Series Graphics & Display

Mint – Intel Corporation Atom Processor Z36xxx/Z27xxx Series Graphics & Display

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Currently Installed Package

—===—===—

Mint Intel Packages:

intel-microcode

intel-gpu-tools

xserver-xorg-video-intel

iucode-tool

libmpx0

libcilkrts5

—===—===—

Manjaro Intel Packages (Community):

intel-opencl

intel-ucode

xf86-video-intel

ipw2100-fw

ipw2200-fw

lib32-mesa

mesa

—===—===—

Manjaro Intel Packages (AUR):

intel-opencl

 

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So what does this mean for my usage of Manjaro right now? I am still a die-hard arch user now, but I’m not 100% sure about my laptop because if there is a driver issue in Cinnamon then there may be a driver issue in the other desktop environments as well. As far as my desktop, I will keep it as is and run Manjaro on it since it runs Nvidia drivers. There are actually three Arch based released which have Cinnamon natively installed, the first being Manjaro, the second being Antergos, and the third being Apricity. Manjaro is a full up Arch operating which Antergos seems to be an Arch installer and Apricity is a full up Arch distro as well.

Just an update on Apricity, it appears that it has the same issue which tells me that this could be an Arch related issue and not just Manjaro is general. Apricity is an Arch distro which uses the ICE application to allow users to create launchers for common internet web sites. It is a cool package and has its place if you are looking to create a way to launch sites faster without all of the overhead. In most Arch releases, I am seeing the flickering in the screen preview of the screen recorder applications, and none of the menus are showing in the recordings. This is disappointing as I really like Manjaro and I really like the Cinnamon desktop for its smooth rendering and nice themes.

SSH Keys

One thing that I want to post on is how unsecure our communication can be. Yes, SSH tends to be somewhat secure but it needs help. FTP is horribly unsecure which is why SFTP is the preferred method for file transfer. FTP is open communications while SFTP uses the SSH protocol to send files from one location to another. In order to make sure that your connections are secure while either working on a Linux servers or workstation or file sharing, etc., you need to make sure that your connection is secure. This can be done a number of ways but the preferred method is to use RSA keys which are easy to create.

So, what are RSA keys you ask? Great question..Let’s see what the experts at Name Cheap have to say on this subject.

“An RSA key is a private key based on RSA algorithm. The private Key is used for authentication and a symmetric key exchange during establishment of an SSL/TLS session. It is a part of the public key infrastructure that is generally used in case of SSL certificates.” Beasically RSA keys use a public and private key pair to authenticate a set of communications between two devices. The private key should never be shared with anyone and the public key needs to be added to what is called an authorized_key file on each device.

You can login to a remote Linux server without entering a password in 3 simple steps using ssh-keygen and ssh-copy-id shown below. The ssh-keygen command creates the public and private keys where the ssh-copy-id copies the local-host’s public key to the remote-host’s authorized_keys file. ssh-copy-id also assigns proper permission to the remote-host’s home, ~/.ssh, and ~/.ssh/authorized_keys. You can also manually copy the public keys from device to another if you are more comfortable with that method.

Below, I will show how to use ssh-keygen command as well as the ssh-copy-id.

First things needed in a secure communications path is to generate a public and private key pair using the ssh-keygen command string on the local device. And don’t worry, for this demo, I will generate a new pair and I have already regenerated them.

Make sure that you are logged into the the server you need to create the keys on
Enter the following to create an RSA key pair. You can either use the –t switch with rsa or just type ssh-keygen by itself.

ssh-keygen –t rsa

In the following example, I have generated a new rsa key

[kf4bzt@tim-pc ~]$ ssh-keygen -t rsa

Generating public/private rsa key pair.
Enter file in which to save the key (/home/kf4bzt/.ssh/id_rsa):
Enter passphrase (empty for no passphrase):
Enter same passphrase again:
Your identification has been saved in /home/kf4bzt/.ssh/id_rsa.
Your public key has been saved in /home/kf4bzt/.ssh/id_rsa.pub.
The key fingerprint is:
SHA256:EVm/DIwjQJngLKZmkdm6p3SO5aPge300pNBcV7+QkV4 kf4bzt@tim-pc
The key’s randomart image is:
+—[RSA 2048]—-+
| .ooo .ooo. |
| o+ o. ..= o+E |
|.=o.o o = +oo. |
|o.o. o o o +… |
|.+ . o S o. |
|o . . o |
|.o +. . . |
|+ Oo . . |
| *+o. . |
+—-[SHA256]—–+

Now that we have the RSA key pair generated and ready to use, let’s make sure that the public key is on the remote device.

—===—===—===—

[kf4bzt@tim-pc ~]$ ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub -p 2223 192.168.1.87

/usr/bin/ssh-copy-id: INFO: Source of key(s) to be installed: “/home/kf4bzt/.ssh/id_rsa.pub”
The authenticity of host ‘[192.168.1.87]:2223 ([192.168.1.87]:2223)’ can’t be established.
ECDSA key fingerprint is SHA256:8n59vxFvO+/FPqqcsEEc3oRrXDvzvftjSmRQJaTTD3Q.
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)? yes
/usr/bin/ssh-copy-id: INFO: attempting to log in with the new key(s), to filter out any that are already installed
/usr/bin/ssh-copy-id: INFO: 1 key(s) remain to be installed — if you are prompted now it is to install the new keys
kf4bzt@192.168.1.87’s password:

Number of key(s) added: 1

Note: ssh-copy-id appends the keys to the remote-host’s .ssh/authorized_key.

—===—===—===—

Now try logging into the machine, with: “ssh -p ‘2223’ ‘192.168.1.87’”
and check to make sure that only the key(s) you wanted were added.

[kf4bzt@tim-pc ~]$ ssh -p 2223 192.168.1.87

Welcome to Ubuntu Zesty Zapus (development branch) (GNU/Linux 4.10.0-11-generic i686)

* Documentation: https://help.ubuntu.com
* Management: https://landscape.canonical.com
* Support: https://ubuntu.com/advantage

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS end-of-life is April 25, 2017 — Upgrade your Precise systems!
$ sudo do-release-upgrade -m server

0 packages can be updated.
0 updates are security updates.

Last login: Fri Mar 17 13:29:22 2017 from 209.33.142.3

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Keep in mind the first time you log into the device using RSA keys, you will be prompted for your user password. This is because the SSH connection is pulling the fingerprint to make sure that it and the key pair match. After that, you should have gotten logged in via SSH with no password prompt. If you are still getting password prompts, check the permissions of the authorized_keys file to make sure that they are set to 0600 and nothing else. This file needs to be locked down.

 

 

First Take on Manjaro Linux

Hey Guys,
You know, like most linux users, I have found that I do quite a bit of distribution hopping. I look to see what is different and what has changed and find it interesting to see what is out there outside of Windows. The distro that you use is dependent on what you are more familiar with. I have used Debian / Ubuntu releases, Redhat / CentOS releases and Arch releases. All of them have a place somewhere, but I find that I like Arch for my personal usage. As I am a big fan of the whole open source, bleeding edge concept, this works for me. I felt like I want to have the latest and greatest when it came to the Linux applications and tools that I use. Most Linux operating system don’t go along with the bleeding edge concept and that is fine.

While distro hopping, I came across an OS several months back called Manjaro. I looked at it for some time, try different desktop environments from Gnome, Cinnamon, KDE, Mate, XFCE and even LXDE and LXQT and have finally settled on two that I find work best for me. The two that I finally settled on are Mate and XFCE. These two desktop environments work quite well and are customizable for your needs. The Manjaro operating system “just works”. I haven’t had much issue with Manjaro with the exception of an occasional wifi issue but I can’t honestly say that the problem is with the drivers just yet. I am still looking into the issue that I found as it caused a major slow down in internet access. The installation process for Manjaro is very easy as they use the installer called Calamaros. This has made life so much easier in installing an Arch release. Just following along the install process and in no time at all, you will be up and running as well.

When it comes to package management, I feel that Manjaro and or Arch in general have better repositories than other distros out there. I feel that some distros need to keep their repositories trim because they are used in enterprise environments and you don’t want to introduce anything that may compromise customer servers. Since Manjaro is listed as a rolling release and has bleeding edge packages, in my opinion, this makes my experience better. I have compiled a list of applications that I use that I thought I would share to see what you all think and if you have suggestions on applications to try, let me know.

First, before looking at any applications, you need to choose the right desktop environment that works for you. I am a big fan of Cinnamon but had to move more toward XFCE and Mate due to the compositor that Cinnamon uses had caused some anomalies in the screen recording software which makes my laptop very unhappy. If I go to Cinnamon (Software Rendering) it seems to work just fine but a little slower because it uses software and not hardware graphic rendering. I read that you can’t turn the compositor off because that is what Cinnamon is based on and by turning off the compositor, you break your desktop environment. So just choose what you feel comfortable with and make sure that you don’t have any unexpected issue crop up before locking the system down.

The same software packages that you install can run on any of the desktop environment that you choose. Here are some of the software packages that I have found that I wanted to share. These are in the Arch repository or in AUR. I want to give a shout out to Len from the youtube channel (Don’t Call Me Lenny) for some of the suggestions below. I have enjoyed his reviews and he has given some valuable information which has turned me more toward the Manjaro and the desktop environments that I have chosen. Thanks Len for your help and I hope your health gets better!!

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Make sure that your system is kept up 2 date with the following two commands.

Sync the package databases:
sudo pacman -Syy

To update the system and packages:
sudo pacman -Su

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Just go to this URLs and choose the Manjaro release with the desktop environment that you like. The first one is for the Manjaro supports release and the second one are community created releases.

Manjaro OS Release 17
Manjaro Community Releases

Besides Manjaro, there are a few other Arch distros as well which are as equally good.

Antergos – https://antergos.com/try-it/

Antergos Builds – https://build.antergos.com/repo/browse/release

OBRevenge – http://obrevenge.weebly.com/

Apricity – https://apricityos.com/

Bluestar – http://bluestarlinux.sourceforge.net/

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* – Installed Packages
Development:

 

Atom editor
Netbeans
* pyCharm
iPython
idle
Python3
QGit
electron
* Zerynth – A python Internet of Things (IoT) design suite

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BitTorrent:

 

* Transmissions

—===—===—===—

Office / Text Editing:

 

* Libre Office
* leafpad – text editor
* wmail – GMail Client

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Screen Recording and Streaming:

 

OBS Studio – screen recording and streaming
* simplescreenrecorder – screen recording
* guvcview – Webcam capture
EasyScreenCast – Gnome Extension
Kaption

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3D Printing Applications:

 

Repetier Host
Cura Engine
Slic3r

For the Prusa based 3D printers you can download a newer slic3r from this URL – https://github.com/prusa3d/Slic3r/releases

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Remote Communications:

 

UltraVNC
Remmina
* skype – There is new release that introduces video conferencing now
* pidgin – IM App (Tested with the FB extension and works great)
* Hexchat – IRC Chat Application
slack
zoom

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Browsing:

 

* Chromium
Google Chrome
Firefox

—===—===—===—

Terminal Emulation:

 

terminator – Multiple window SSH terminal
terminix
terminology – Enlightenment terminal

—===—===—===—

Note Taking:

 

evernote
leanote – Open Source equivilant to Evernote (A lot of Chinese characters and I’m not sure how to convert to english as of yet)
simplenote
If you want to migrate to simplenote from evernote use this, https://github.com/claytron/ever2simple
Here is a great URL for migrating from Evernote since they raised their prices again. LifeHacker How To Migrate From Evernote

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Google Related:

 

Google Drive
Grive
Giggle

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Audio and Video Related:

 

Audacity
* Kdenlive – Video Editor
* mpv-full
* VLC
* WinFF – compression application and frontend for audio and video.
* ffmpeg-full-nvenc – backend compression application and all codecs (1.2 Gig)
* Handbrake – Video Encoder App
Pithos – Pandora app

—===—===—===—

Downloading and File Sharing:

 

* youtube-dl
* 4kvideodownloader
* 4kstogram – Instagram image downloader
* uGet
ramme – instagram app
* flashgot – Firefox Extension
* aria2 – to be used and selected in uGet
* Nitroshare- multiple platform file sharing. Can use TLS for secure transfer
syncthing

For more on Nitroshare, click on Robs youtube page here.

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Virtualization:

 

virtualbox
* Gnome Boxes – much faster virtualization software

—===—===—===—

Docks / Task bars:

 

Plank
* Docky

—===—===—===—

System Backups and Data Protection:

 

BleachBit
SystemBack
* Timeshift – A backup app with similar capabilies as Mac TimeMachine and Windows System Restore
* Back in Time

—===—===—===—

Random Linux:

 

fdupes – duplicate file finder
*angryip – network IP scanner
screenfetch
fslint – file duplication finder
* etcher – burn ISO to USB Drive
* gufw – graphical ufw firewall interface

fdupes -rSm (your folder location)

-r = recursive includes files in subdirectories
-S = shows size of duplicate files

-m = summarizes dupes information

For more information on etcher, visit Robs youtube site here.

Fonts:

 

Infinality Fonts

—===—===—===—

Anti-Virus:

 

ClamAV – CLI ClamAV

Clamtk – Graphical ClamAV

 

 

Sophos – CLI only it looks like

 

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Mate / XFCE Add-Ons:

 

* Synapse – Use Alt-Space to bring up a search bar on the screen for easy app searches
* ClipIt – GTK+ Clipboard Manager
* Redshift – Eyestrain Relief app
* Caffeine – App to disable screensaver temporarily if running apps that you need to keep a close eye on
* psensor – App to monitor hardware temps

—===—===—===—

Themes:

Graphite Zero

 

Also, if you are running XFCE, make sure that this is installed. It should be, but worth a check.
sudo pacman -S xfce4-goodies

Hello All!!

While working in IT, I have come across different topics of interest which make my job easier to understand so that I can give my customers a much better customer service experience. I have spun up this WordPress instance on Google Cloud to consolidate this information and present it to everyone. I plan on not making this site exclusive to IT administration but different topics of interest.

The topics could include but not limited to:

  • Operating System Topics
  • Linux Administration Topics
  • Arduino Topics
  • Raspberry Pi Topics
  • 3D Printing Topics