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Open letter to the MX developers from an Ubuntu user

Help for Current Versions of MX
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Re: Open letter to the MX developers from an Ubuntu user


Post by bigbenaugust » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:03 pm

I've come here recently from numerous other Debian derivatives, and other distros... all the way back to the late 90's and 12 years in RHEL shops for work.

The installer is fine, better than the Refracta/Devuan installer, simpler than the Debian installer. The only thing it's missing is an option for LUKS/full disk encryption, so right now I am using homedir/swap encryption and calling it good enough for work purposes.

I like the XFCE build, and if I don't (I do have a netbook that lacks the cycles for a DE), I just install JWM instead. It's Debian under the hood, so you can do just about anything.

I also appreciate the effort to use sysVinit and push systemd into userland where it belongs, this was one of the reasons I tried MX.

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Re: Open letter to the MX developers from an Ubuntu user


Post by Paul.. » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:03 pm

asqwerth wrote:So maybe the best solution would just be to make the panel orientation functionality more visible upon booting up the live iso.
I really like that idea, too.

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Re: Open letter to the MX developers from an Ubuntu user


Post by bigbenaugust » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:33 pm

Oh, and I like the boot messages too.

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Re: Open letter to the MX developers from an Ubuntu user


Post by azrielle » Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:34 pm

I LOVE the vertical panel! 'Twas the first thing that attracted me to MX back in January 2016. I suppose the fact that my largest screen is 11.6" might have something to do with that. MX is simply superb on a small screen. I hope you don't change the default look. It is the one (visually obvious) thing that makes MX stand out from the crowd. I also believe the MX installer to be the easiest and most straightforward of any of the roughly 200 distros I have tried over the past 2 years (the worst I have used recently is Korora's, and presumably Fedora's).
Last edited by azrielle on Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:54 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Open letter to the MX developers from an Ubuntu user


Post by alpie » Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:36 pm

Thank you all!
Thank you all for your constructive and largely positively reactions! Good to see that MX has such a devoted development team and user base.
It seems my post hit an individual at the sore spot. I'm not an Ubuntu fanboy, if one did read carefully what I wrote about 16.04 and 17.10 that should be clear. I guess Ubuntu 14.04 just best fit my needs until now. Maybe I should have made a more clear distinction in what I consider an issue and what a suggestion.

Ubuntu and Windows are my reference OS's, so yes, I compared MX to those. Windows is the world's leading OS, OS X second and Ubuntu follows at a far distance as third I think, whether you like it or not. My message is not that MX should look and behave like Windows or any other OS. However, Microsoft, Apple and Canonical did spent countless hours with their large development teams in improving their OS, so to pick and implement some of the best of their ideas is no shame, that is simply wise.

I really can imagine you like and prefer the current MX installation tool with its highly customizable options. For me Gparted has no secrets, so for me it's not a problem to get MX properly installed. However I'm quite certain that less tech savvy users might have problems to get MX installed, or loose unintentional their main OS. For those people the installation Ubuntu offers, like Erase disk and install Ubuntu, Install Ubuntu alongside Windows, Replace Windows with Ubuntu, are options they understand. For technical users Ubuntu offers the option Something else with all the customizable options MX offers.
I found it very easy to try MX using a live USB stick, but it has a pretty high bar to install it. IMHO a lost opportunity.

About the domain field, I know the domain field was prefilled with something, but it confused me. And I don't like to continue with installing something I'm not sure of. As I assume MX' target audience are not business users, why ask for a domain? Again, I suggest to skip this field and put it in the manual how to change it if necessary.

Boot screen – Console output
Some technical people might love cryptic console messages instead of a nice boot logo, the majority of users don't. It even scares them off. Forum user clicktician remarked sarcastically that I'd never have known about the ACPI errors if the console output was not shown. That's only partially true. Ubuntu shows by default a nice boot logo. However if you want to see the console output then you press the Escape key. Easy peasy.

A thought from another perspective: I use SSD's everywhere, even in my older computers. A computer with a SSD boots in a few seconds. With this speed console output cannot be read, even if one would want to.

Updates require user input
I did not read a proper argument that satisfies the need for user input when updating MX when pressing on the notification in the status bar. It is OK to show a GUI with some details after pressing the icon on the status bar. But after that I expect an unattended installation of updates. There is no need for an ordinary user to see a terminal with console output and pressing Yes. This is not user friendly and even scares users off. Do you really want to see what is going to be updated? Then perform the update in the CLI.

Task bar
As English is not my native language I can't explain it better than forum user Qwertyblahblah did:
I too think the vertical panel is... hideous. It's not just me and a few others, so many new users reviewing MX have brought it up, probably a significant majority don't like it. It's not necessary to change because of course it's a one-click fix in Tweak, but MX should probably heed the feedback and move to horizontal by default going forward anyway. More of an issue as the OP said is new users not knowing it's in Tweak where the panel display can be changed.
The ACPI errors
Thanks to those forum users that came up with suggestions and links to threads with similar issues. I didn't had to time to look into it further. However take note that these issues appeared after I installed updates after installation. Live boot was OK, so was MX after the initial installation. Also I don't have these issues on any other OS I used/tried. See the image below (url) for a screen impression.

Someone stated the autokey-gtk issue was solved. Well it isn't, or I missed something. The issue is easy reproducible, see original post.
I mentioned that when I install autokey-qt instead of autokey-gtk it works. However autokey-qt installs a sh**load of qt libraries. Since Xfce is GTK based I'd like to use autokey-gtk.

Logout/shutdown/etc buttons
I realised my suggestion here for improvement was confusing. I'm not arguing for a bigger 'start button' as xali showed in an example, that looks ugly! My point is that the logout/shutdown/etc buttons in the 'start menu' are very small (and you have to know what the icons stand for), see image below (url).
Compared to Windows/Ubuntu these buttons are more 'within reach' and easy to find.

Terminal transparency
This in not a matter of right-click Jerry. I see the error message below (url) on two different computers.

Other issues and suggestions
Today I ran into some other issues. First issue is in user management. I created another user. If you fill in all user details in the first tab, and go to another tab and back, all details are gone!
Suggestion: It would be nice (and secure!) to be able to encrypt the home folder for another account too. This option is only given for the main account during setup but not for other accounts.
Suggestion: maybe show a password strength indicator?

After I created a second account to test something I ran into a samba issue. In the test account I initially was able to reach my NAS folder using the file manager (using location smb://nas/location). However, after the second logon I got the error message below (url) and since then I can't reach the NAS anymore from this account. This error is permanent, i.e. also after reboot. Note that I can reach the NAS from the other account and also from e.g. Ubuntu.

Again, thank you all for your help and suggestions. And sorry for the long post again!

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Re: Open letter to the MX developers from an Ubuntu user


Post by br1anstorm » Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:47 pm

I've just browsed through this thread. Some thoughtful and constructive comments, and some which are too technical for me to grasp. But as asqwerth and others have said, discussion and feedback can be useful. That said, I guess it's worth keeping Abraham Lincoln's quote in mind - you know, the one about how you can't please all of the people all of the time....

Personally, I'm still relatively new (3-4 years) to Linux, and have tried various distros. I like MX a lot. It is simple, straightforward, and fast. On a couple of the specifics already highlighted by others..... I find the explanatory texts at each stage of the install process strangely reassuring. And although I am accustomed to having a taskbar along the bottom of the screen, I have actually come to like the vertical-left-side location - on a wide-screen computer it steals less of the usable/useful space.

My other comment touches on something not raised by others: the MX manual is superb! Most Linux users are on a continuing journey of learning, discovering, and experimenting. I expect most, like me, don't want to learn only from mistakes. The manual is the best guide I have seen to every aspect of MX.

So well done to the development team: keep doing what you're doing - MX is a good distro which has managed to keep a distinctive identity without getting too complex.

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Re: Open letter to the MX developers from an Ubuntu user


Post by roadapathy » Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:28 pm

uncle mark wrote: And they're freakin' Purdue grads, too... sheesh.
YES! We're everywhere! So what do you think of MX so far? Have you tried Compiz? Holy Gawd, you need to try Compiz! I have mine start automatically with the GUI. I love the desktop effects. I have to tell you, no other distro seems to have gotten Compiz AND XFCE working together. I tried so many. Mint had these features but it was very buggy for me- and slow! MX Linux got it working, no bugs that I can detect, and it's fast! So enamoured that I made a video or two about it-


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Re: Open letter to the MX developers from an Ubuntu user


Post by dolphin_oracle » Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:52 am

Thread bookmarked for reference during next dev phase.
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FYI: mx "test" repo is not the same thing as debian testing repo.

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Re: Open letter to the MX developers from an Ubuntu user


Post by bigbenaugust » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:30 am

I did steal the Windows+L hotkey for locking the screen from BunsenLabs, though... :)

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Re: Open letter to the MX developers from an Ubuntu user


Post by asqwerth » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:50 am

I stole the bunsenlabs script for hotcorners, because brightside was slooooow.
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