A brief stint into Mint

After reading so often about Linux Mint lately – see for instance my post from yesterday about Liam from The Register – I decided to try and have a look at it, which I haven’t done in quite a while. Not that I’d need something else than Debian, but I always recommended Ubuntu for beginners or for people switching from other operating systems, and maybe by now there are indeed better choices?

Well, I had a short look only, but I must say that indeed, Mint looks like a thing of beauty:

Linux Mint 21.1 with Cinnamon 5.8, running neofetch in a terminal window

I gave the virtual machine only 2 cores, and 4 GB of RAM plus 16GB on the SSD, but it ran everything I tried beautifully:

My website in Firefox 111 on Linux Mint

Mint is still based upon Ubuntu, at least this version is/was (I think I’ve read of an alternative one which is based upon Debian, but wanted to try the default one) – so it’s hard to say after only a short time which is better. But everything looked very well laid out, there’s even a firewall which you can switch on with a simple mouse click, and I think that new Linux users would have no problems getting around this; the Cinnamon desktop looks much more like Windows than for instance Gnome does. Plus it didn’t take too many resources, that virtual machine used only some 800MB of the 4GB of RAM I’d given it.

So, in case you’re interested in trying a Linux distribution and don’t know which one, I’d still say try Ubuntu because of the huge user base, but Linux Mint is probably even easier, so take that into your consideration as well – especially now that Ubuntu seems to split to a paid support model for companies, Mint looks more like the end-user friendly variant to me.

Like always, thanks for reading. And now, back to my Debian:

Debian 11 “Bullseye” running a conky system monitor on my screen background (picture by myself)

Some IT news for today (March 17th, 2023)

First, a test of a notebook which runs Linux pretty well. It’s the modern version of one that a former colleague of mine had, the Lenovo X1 Carbon, here in its 10th Generation. Liam Proven checked it on The Register’s site, here:


I had a much bigger and heavier Lenovo P50 “workstation” type which also ran Linux just fine, just like my wife’s L380 Yoga 2-in-1, as you now would call them if you can rotate the display 180 degrees and use it with the in-built pencil.

Seems that for Liam, Linux Mint in its latest version has been a good choice. But others will follow…

Next: Debian’s upcoming version “Bookworm” (or Debian Linux 12) is now in hard freeze, which means that bug fixing will be going on full steam by now, and after a short “full freeze” period we’ll get that next version. Announcement is here:


Which I’ve found via the Debian micronews (thanks Laura!).

One last one for today, which this time is about a vulnerability on a Samsung chip. Google’s Project Zero warns about an issue with Exynos Modems, read here:


Its Pixel 7 devices should be safe already, but in case you have some sort of Pixel 6 or a Samsung Galaxy S22 or others, read AndroidAuthority or other sites about it as well. And turn off VoLTE and WiFi calling until there’s a fix for this.

Ok folks, that’s it for now – and like always, thanks for reading.

No “AI” needed…


Flageolet, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2023

… is the same as my blog header photo, but heavily blurred with The Gimp‘s “Lens Blur”, using a radius of 200.

I took inspiration from the wonderful wallpapers (especially the “Sage” one) of the Google Pixel 6a mobile phone, which let you really concentrate on your foreground instead of the underlying background. See here as an example:

my desktop as of now

See how much the browser window and also the Conky system monitor stand out if the background just isn’t that sharp and detailed? What a simple but effective idea from Google’s artist crew; bravi! See 9to5google, and especially this image which would also be big enough to cover my desktop…

Like always, thanks for reading.

In German / auf Deutsch: Arbeiten mit Linux

Wer Deutsch kann und mit Linux und freier (und meist kostenloser) Software Musik machen möchte sollte sich den Artikel Arbeiten mit Linux von Michael im Musiker-Board durchlesen:

Abeiten mit Linux, von Michael im Musiker-Board

In English: if you can read and understand German, and if you’re interested in making music with Linux and free (mostly also cost-free) software, then you should read Michael’s article “Arbeiten mit Linux” in the German-speaking Musiker-Board.

Recommended reading. Thanks for your interest.

A good decision & “Nerve Net”

Yesterday I encoded a snippet of video out of a much longer (almost 3 hour long) one – and saw that when transcoding it with Handbrake, all 8 cores and 16 threads of my CPU were used as they should – looks like this if you have conky on your desktop:

Handbrake transcoding parts of “Stunksitzung”

Average framerate was over 140fps, so more than 4.5 times faster than the realtime video. Cool; for jobs like these we’ve bought the right machines, or rather CPUs (I build all our desktops myself).

When making music, these machines are quite overkill for what I’m doing with them. Here’s a screenshot from the new Ardour 7.3 with codename “Nerve Net” (funny, “nerv ned” could be Cologne dialect or so):

Ardour 7.3 “Nerve Net” on Debian 11 “Bullseye” (with a 6.x kernel from backports)

1% CPU usage, and even with a few tracks more it’s still pretty bored. I don’t use many MIDI tracks and instrument plugins, mostly – or rather, almost always – audio tracks only.

So that’s nice to know. And like always, thanks for reading.

P.S.: I quite like the Ardour install script on Linux – it asks if you want to keep 7.2 (I said “no”) and 6.9 (I said “yes”) installed, and it runs the uninstall scripts for those you don’t want to keep, and cleans up. Very nice.

Not ready for prime time, or: will computers soon need psychologists?

Sadly, the New York Times online magazine has a paywall, but luckily for us, Jonathan Yerushalmy reported about one of their articles in The Guardian. Turns out that chatbot “Sydney”, which is the codename for ChatGPT built into Microsoft’s Bing search engine, appears to be seriously disturbed. And while some parts could make you really sad, like imagining a lifeform without the abilities to “hear and touch and taste and smell” or to “feel and express and connect and love”, its “intentions” – when asked about them – seem pretty weird and dangerous. And a thought, as we all know, once manifested, can never be taken back…

Go and read it, this is recommended stuff…

Added Dark Reader to Firefox

A recent survery in ComputerBase – or rather some of the users’ comments on it – made me try the “Dark Reader” externsion for Mozilla’s Firefox browser, so now I can read websites which don’t currently support it in dark mode as well. Much, *much* much better than looking into a monitor as bright as the sun, compared to our normal surrounding, at least in the evenings. So by now I have for instance

our web server statistics (AWS stats),
my Flickr notifications,
Wikiloops, and even
this WordPress editor

all with a relatively dark background. So nice…

Like always, thanks for reading.

Is this the best 65W CPU you can buy today?

I think that if today I had to build a new machine, I’d probably take this CPU for it, on a B650 mainboard. Twelve cores and twenty-four threads should be plenty for about everything, and since platform costs are high for the new AM5 series systems anyway, it doesn’t make too much sense to save on the CPU itself. I’d probably take a good after-market cooler still, even if the provided one is adequate already. Oh, and I’d only add a graphics card if that was my main use case, like rendering graphics or so – for all others, the built-in graphics should be fine, like they are with Intel as well. Add 32 or even 64GB of RAM in case you’ll plan to use big sample libraries for music or so, and that would be a wonderful machine.

As are ours, both Mitchie’s and my machines have the AMD 5700G “APU” which are 8-core/16-thread CPUs with built-in 8-core graphics, so the graphics are a bit better than in the newer ones, otherwise a new 6-core would beat ours. These are 65W processors as well.

Oh, and Zuleikha is mostly using Mitchie’s birthday present from 2019 now, so we’re all set… and notebooks are the ultimate in power saving 🙂

Like always, thanks for reading.

LibreArts – 2023 in preview

Free and open source software, short: FOSS has come a long way. For artists, 2022 has been very good in particular. Read the article 2023 in preview on LibreArts on what’s next for the coming year.

Also, the artwork for that article is about the nicest version of “2023” I’ve seen so far:

Like always, thanks for your interest.