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Suggestions for Future Versions

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Suggestions for Future Versions

#1 Postby lhb1142 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:32 pm

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen:

I am not a "computer geek,' just an ordinary computer user who, having found MX Linux a year or so ago, has been using it on some of my computers (my wife and I have quite a few computers as these things tend to accumulate).

Unfortunately we cannot use it on all of our computers as two of them (our newest, fastest, and most capable) are equipped with UEFI and Secure Boot, both of which I cannot, for one reason or another, disable.

I have written before about this and I received a reply that the developers were examining the situation.

Has there been any progress along the line of making MX Linux compatible with UEFI and Secure Boot?

I assume that there is some monetary cost involved; have you considered a "crowd-funding" arrangement to see if the necessary funds could be raised? If the amount needed were not too much, I should certainly be able to make a small contribution.

Probably some of you would be able to easily install MX Linux on these computers (they are gaming computers, one as Asus and one an Aliewnware, both of which I got new for no charge [it's a long story]) but, try as I might (and I have tried many times), I have had no luck so on these computers I use the GeckoLinux OS (a fork of openSUSE). I like that OS a lot too but not as much as MX Linux.

I do hope that there will be some movement along the line of making MX Linux compatible with UEFI and Secure Boot. (After all, it won't be too long before today's computers, which all have UEFI and Secure Boot, will be "older models" as well!)

I have another suggestion. When MX Linux 16.1 was introduced, it was easy to upgrade the OS from MX-16 to MX-16.1. It was done automatically. But when MX-17 was introduced, it was said that this was not possible because the new repositories were based on the new Debian 9.

I suppose I can assume that when Debian 10 is introduced, the same thing will happen. Even though we can keep our /home intact, it is quite a chore for me to reinstall the entire system, adding the programs I use, and adjusting the desktop to my liking.

Now I may be naive (and as I mentioned, I am not a "computer geek'), but it seems to me that if a new version of Debian is introduced, it might be possible for the developers to find a way to install the new repositories based on the new Debian and then disable the old repositories. This would then turn MX Linux into a quasi-rolling-release type of OS and would be much more convenient for users.

I hope that this suggestion can be considered.

Finally, I have one last suggestion. Frankly I am not enamored with the MX Linux installer, especially the need (sometimes) to use GParted. Having used several different installation programs, I have found the Calamares installation program to be the best and most flexible one I have used. Adjusting and configuring partitions is far easier and more straightforward with Calamares than it is with the current MX Linux installer, GParted being very confusing to me and really quite inflexible. I truly hope that you will consider the use of the Calamares installer in any future MX-Linux operating system version. I think that this would be welcomed by many ordinary computer users such as myself.

All in all, I have found MX Linux to be the very best GNU/Linux operating system I have ever tried (and I have tried about a dozen distributions over the 10 years that my wife and I have been using Linux) and I think that if my suggestions were implemented, this would make MX Linux even better than it is today.

Thank you very much for reading this and for considering my opinions.


Lawrence H. Bulk

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Re: Suggestions for Future Versions

#2 Postby Jerry3904 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:48 pm

Thanks for the post, here are some first thoughts:

1. UEFI and Secure Boot: https://mxlinux.org/wiki/system/uefi
2. It's a lot more complicated, since we are Debian-based but add many other components. But we are already looking at possibilities.
3. I've never seen Calamares, but I agree that gparted is not totally clear. We like our installer, and would probably limit our search to a different partitioner if we went that route. I could see considering gnome-disk-utility, for instance.
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Re: Suggestions for Future Versions

#3 Postby Stevo » Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:05 pm

It was my understanding that Windows runs fine with Secure Boot disabled; at least that's how it works on my laptop. Could you explain why it can't be turned off on those machines?

Even if the cost was no object, I'm not sure how the community would feel about having to pay what basically is an extortion fee to Microsoft.

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Re: Suggestions for Future Versions

#4 Postby anticapitalista » Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:19 pm

Stevo wrote:Even if the cost was no object, I'm not sure how the community would feel about having to pay what basically is an extortion fee to Microsoft.

Reg. linux user #395339.

Philosophers have interpreted the world in many ways; the point is to change it.

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Re: Suggestions for Future Versions

#5 Postby Paul.. » Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:47 pm

Lawrence, thank you for your thoughtful note.

We can help you with any UEFI issues you might have. MX is fully compatible with UEFI and as Stevo said, Windows runs fine with Secure Boot turned off. If you would like to get into the details, we are standing by. You will get plenty of help.

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Re: Suggestions for Future Versions

#6 Postby lhb1142 » Thu Feb 15, 2018 11:43 am

Dear Jerry3904, Stevo, anticapitalista, and Paul,

Thank you all for your replies to me.

1) To Jerry3904: First let me explain that I have tried, at least a half-dozen times, to install MX Linux to the two gaming computers I mention below. The MX Linux installer is not flexible enough in my estimation. I suggest that you and other developers examine the Calamares installer. Trying, over the years, many different GNU/Linux distributions, I have used a number of installers. MX Linux's installer is perfectly fine - as long as I am installing to the whole disk of a computer which has only one hard drive. It works well too even on a computer with two hard drives, allowing the /home to be installed to the second drive. And there is the disk manager program which allows the /home partition to be placed somewhere else if I made an error in the installation. But using GParted, which, at least for me has been necessary when installing to a two-hard-drive computer with UEFI active and Secure Boot disabled, just doesn't work. Probably many people here might be able to install the system to my two gaming computers (an Asus RogStrix GL553V and an Alienware AW17R3) but I cannot do so satisfactorily. (I did get it installed on the Alienware but the installation was so "buggy" and operated so poorly that I had to remove it in favor of GeckoLinux, which does install with both UEFI and Secure Boot active. [As just one example, with MX Linux installed I had to be in Root to run Firefox!] Nothing I have tried allows MX Linux to be installed to that Asus and boot, nothing I have tried during installation and nothing I tried after). GParted does not allow "flags" (esp for example) to be affixed to partitions whereas Calamares does (and it is easy to do). Calamares is completely logical and allows full adjustments to the drives prior to initiating the actual installation. It is a sheer pleasure to use, especially for one who is not completely familiar with some of the more esoteric computer operations, such as me. I hope that you will look into it. I think that you'll be impressed.

2) To Srevo and anticapitalista: I appreciate the fact that you recognize that Secure Boot is, in effect, "ransom." I completely agree. But what is to happen, say four or five years from now, when the large majority of computers are then equipped with Secure Boot? I think that many of them will have a Secure Boot that cannot be defeated. At least on my Asus gaming computer there appears to be no way to turn it off completely. Yes I activated CSM and did everything else I could find to turn it off but I still could not install MX Linux; it appeared to be installed but it would not boot. I even turned off UEFI and went to Legacy but still no luck. If more and more computers come equipped with a Secure Boot which cannot be deactivated, MX Linux is going to have to make a choice if it wants to continue. At least that is my opinion. Obviously some GNU/Linux distributions (Ubuntu, Antergos, openSUSE and its fork GeckoLinux) have indeed paid the "ransom" and can be installed on any computer with absolutely no difficulty.

3) To Paul: I thank you for your offer. I have had a number of questions answered here on this forum (it is probably the best Linux forum to which I have subscribed) but this problem, which affects two (2) of our nine (9) computers that run a GNU/Linux system, appears to be too difficult for me to solve, even with help. Unless someone were physically present in my house and could see the computers in question, I think that solving the problem would be beyond my capability of describing it and/or understanding and applying the answers to my very imperfect questions. But I do appreciate the offer of help of which I have taken advantage previously. As I have GeckoLinux installed on both of those computers, they are fully usable. It is just that I would prefer to have MX Linux on them.

I again thank everyone who has written to me. I have posted here because I find this forum to be extremely helpful and the members to be very generous with their time and their advice. This forum is just another reason why MX Linux is my favorite distribution of all.

Lawrence H. Bulk

P.S. I should mention that we currently own eleven (11) computers (we recently gave away our twelfth one, a very old [2002] one which, incidentally, has MX Linux installed). Two have Microsoft Windows installed. One of them has Windows98 (which I use for a particular purpose) and the other one has Windows 10, which I use to update our Garmin GPSes, there being no reliable way to do this on a Linux computer. (I detest Windows 10!) The GNU/Linux computers are as follows: one has PCLinuxOS installed, one has Antergos installed, three have GeckoLinux installed, and four have MX Linux as as their operating system. Believe it or not, all of these computers are in current use!

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Re: Suggestions for Future Versions

#7 Postby dolphin_oracle » Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:10 pm

just to point out to folks reading this thread later...gparted does indeed allow flags, including esp. I can appreciate that the OP was frustrated with the apps use though.

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Re: Suggestions for Future Versions

#8 Postby dreamer » Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:49 pm

My 2 cents. Computers that come without OS pre-installed are usually more Linux friendly. There will always be computers without $ecure Boot, Chromebooks for example.

I think Gparted is the best tool. Gnome Disks, oh no, no Gnome...

MX installer is logical and provides options, the thing I found peculiar is that you "have to" format the root partition. Well, maybe this is a good idea so people don't install MX on a partition that already has another OS on it.

Calamares - last time I tried it - had no partition option for GRUB installation (only sda, sdb etc.). I didn't want to modify my existing GRUB so I never installed the OS - Maui Linux - because of the Calamares installer.

Buy hardware from brands that are supportive of Linux. Dell, HP, ASRock are often compatible with Linux. Then there are smaller brands like System 76, Compulab etc. Unfortunately research is required before buying Linux hardware.

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Re: Suggestions for Future Versions

#9 Postby klamaux » Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:26 pm

Hello Lawrence and everybody with problems to install MX on a system with another running linux.
I install mx without a grub or uefi.
Then i start my other Linux and make an sudo update-grub or update-grub2.
When I start the system new, then there is a new position in the os-starter with mx.
So easy!
Hope I could help.
Have much fun with MX ( my absolute favourite linux I ever had )
Thank you to all who made that possible!

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Re: Suggestions for Future Versions

#10 Postby azrielle » Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:22 pm

Please DON'T scrap MX's current installer for Calamares! Calamares is fine...when it works, and a royal PITA when it doesn't--and it most assuredly IS NOT a "sheer pleasure" to use! I cannot recall ANY distro that didn't use GParted. I don't understand how anyone with even a minimum amount of Linux experience--or even Windows (shrinking the HDD)--could not figure out how to use it. I was a complete Linux newbie 2 years ago, and I figured it out well enough to install Manjaro 15.12 Xfce! It ain't rocket science. Furthermore, MX does not promote itself to beginners; moreover, (correct me if I am wrong) MX developers aren't making a living off it, so why does the OP assume that MX MUST adopt Secure Boot in order to "continue"? Finally, I thought the Free Software Foundation had come up with a plan to get Microsoft generic Secure Boot support?
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