Episode 060 – He’s Back!

Posted by Tony on December 2, 2012 in Show-mp3, Show-ogg |



MP3 format (for Freedom Haters!)
OGG format (for Freedom Lovers!)
Total Running Time: 1:32:07

Un-edited Live session – http://youtu.be/LTBbojisxW8

Contact Us:

show (at) smlr.us or the Contact us page


Kernel News: Mat
Distro Talk: Tony
Mary Distro Review
Tech News:
Convention Sceen
Listener Feedback
Outtro Music


Tony Bemus, Mat Enders, and Mary Tomich
Intro Sound bite by Mike Tanner

Kernel News: Mat


Distro Talk: Tony



  • 11-25 – UberStudent 2.0.4 0 – Ubuntu-based live distribution with software for learning and teaching at the higher education and advanced secondary levels
  • 11-25 – Linux Lite 1.0.2 – Ubuntu-based, beginner-friendly Linux distribution with Xfce as the preferred desktop environment
  • 11-26 – Salix OS 14.0 “Xfce” – Slackware-based distribution featuring the Xfce 4.10 desktop environment
  • 11-27 – Clonezilla Live 2.0.1-5 – a new stable build of the project’s live CD with specialist open-source software for disk backup and cloning tasks
  • 11-29 – Tails 0.15 – Debian-based live system with the goal of providing complete Internet anonymity for the user
  • 11-30 – Rocks Cluster Distribution 6.1 – CentOS-based open-source toolkit for real and virtual clusters
  • 11-30 – OS4 13.1 “OpenDesktop” – desktop Linux distribution based on Ubuntu

Distro of the Week: Tony

  1. Debian – 1290
  2. Ubuntu – 1609
  3. Mageia – 2168
  4. Fedora – 2208
  5. Mint – 4022

Mary Distro Review



After last week’s disappointing experience with Kwort Linux, I decided to go to the other side of the distro bell curve and try something with ultimate, uber, or some other similar superlative in its name. My search lead me to UberStudent. OK, I didn’t have to search too much—it was on Distrowatch last week.

ÜBER is defined as 1) being a superlative example of its kind or class : super-2) to an extreme or excessive degree : super-.

Let’s see if UberStudent would be a superlative example of how a specialist Linux distro should be or extreme example of how one shouldn’t be.

The Vitals:

Name: Uber Student 2.0 Aristotle
Maintainer: Stephen Ewen is the lead developer.
Distro Latest Birthday: 2.0.4 on November 25, 2012
Derivative: Ubuntu 12.04
Kernel: 3.5.0-18
Review Desktop: XFCE (but you can also use Mate)

Live Environment:
I downloaded the 3+GB version and burnt it to DVD. UberStudent boots to the live environment in a big way. Nice ethereal music sounds as the booting finishes. If you’ve used Trisquel Linux, you’ll know the sound.

Correct drivers for my two important functions, graphics and wireless were automatically loaded.

Graphics: (nouveau)
Wireless:  (iwl4965)

The Big Three

Default Browser: Chrome and Firefox (with Cheat sheets for both—keyboard shortcuts, etc). The default search engine in Chrome is DuckDuckGo.
Office Suite: LibreOffice, although it is scattered across several subcategories in “Education.” It took me a while to find it. (again more cheat sheets)
Mail Client: Thunderbird. During configuration, it offered to set up a new email address at hover.com or gandi.net—or I could use my own.
Default File Manager: Thunar.

The Install Process:

The install process is standard Ubuntu, so nothing out of the ordinary. I selected a single partition to install both root file system and home. As the files are copied, the UberStudent slideshow will cycle, distracting you from the time it takes to install 3.5 GB worth of OS and software. I opted for XFCE desktop.

And because I was multitasking like I usually do, I accidentally allowed UberStudent to overwrote my grub menu. Oops, I’ll need to fix that.

Installed Environment:

UberStudent boots to a polished desktop, just like its Ubuntu/XFCE counterpart. The desktop is not cluttered—actually contains only three desktop icons: Computer, UberStudent Help, and UberStudent Donate page.

The XFCE panels are at the top and bottom to corral windows, tasks and icon tray. One look and you’d think you were running a Gnome 2 desktop. So if you’re pining for a stable system with that retro look and a ton of software, UberStudent might be for you.

For this review, I decided to focus on the distro’s purpose distro and whether the experience lives up to the hype. I headed off to the Education menu category.

As expected there was a plethora of student apps listed there. Some are stand-alone apps while others were web based, opening to a web page in the process.

Calibre – Bookshelf for ebooks. Also allows converting between formats.
Chegg – Textbook rentals, although link did not work in UberStudent.
Kindle ( Kindle cloud reader (no kindle required and Kindle eBook Buyer which, of course, takes you to Amazon.com)
Open Library (openlibrary.org) One web page for every book ever published. To access some of the books in this vast library, you must have a GoodReads account—and even then you may still have to physically retrieve a copy depending on the title. However, many out-of-copyright books are available for reading on line. Those that are not, show where they can be purchased or borrowed from a local library.
Project Gutenberg – Vast collection of electronic eBooks. Search for your topic or title and if it’s available, select the format for delivery. HTML, Kindle, ePub, etc.
Flatworld Knowledge – eTextbooks (www.flatworldknowledge.com) Some of them appear to be free to read on line. Did not appear to have a lot of content

Google PublicData Explorer – takes publicly available data and graphically reorganizes it
Libreoffice – Base and Calc

Gnote – a two-pane note-taking app. Very basic but very usable when bells and whistles are not needed.
Xournal – a piece of notebook paper complete with the lines, just like high school. Exports notes to PDF or printer.
KeepNote – A three-pane, note-taking app that let’s you create a tree-hierarchy to keep notes and folders

Personal Finances
Student Stuff > Mostly textbook rental sites, but also had CheapAir
Grisbi – personal finance manager
iFreeBudget( uses apache license) Another finance tool
Mint Personal Finance Manager – wanted me to sign up for a new account. Looks to be cloud-based financial manager.

Wiimap – allows you to configure/map a Wiimote for presentations.
Impressive – PDF and image viewer optimized for presentations. You create slides with the presentation software of your choice, export them to PDF. Mouse buttons or keys control slides. Has some cool eye candy: Spotlight, highlight boxes, zoom, scripting, supports PDF links inside the doc. (http://impressive.sourceforge.net)
Curtain – a completely useless program. A set of curtains that partially opens with each mouse click.
PDF Stuff– Several PDF presentation tools (PDF Cube, PDF Presenter)
Libreoffice Impress – Presentation builder
Slide Rocket – Web-based slide presentation tool. Account needed.

Python Whiteboard – Turns your system into a digital whiteboard. Bluetooth needed. Shows it in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOZ8giiWYSc

Research and Writing (some overlapping in this category)
Firefox – the browser
Grammar.ccc – Grammar checking web site. Come on, we all need a little help sometimes.
Googledocs – Create and share documents, spreadsheets, presentations.
GWOffice – Google Web Office. Brings Google Drive to your desktop. I was not sure of the difference between Google Web Office and Google Docs. I signed in to GWOffice and clicked create a document, then was requested to sign in again to the Docs page. Somewhat confusing.
Zotero – Research organizing and citing tool.
Mendeley – a reference manager and academic social network for organizing research, collaborating with others online, and finding research.
Owl – Purdue University’s writing assistance tool.
Gummi – a simple Latex editor. Very slick.
LyX – Document formatting app. An easier version of LaTeX.

Topic-focused menu of sites and resources. Two specific topics were Computer Science and Math and Science. A third category “Other” contained non-tech topics, and repeated a few from other categories. Some favorites: World Digital Library (http://www.wdl.org), Smithonian Digital Collections, etc

Study Aids – Very helpful items in this menu list
Anki – A flash-card tool to aid in memorizing terms, concepts, etc.
FreeMind – Mind-mapping app
Golden Dict – a Dictionary lookup program.
In the Multimedia menu, there was a listed option to install codecs so I clicked it. A terminal window opened and, after supplying my password, it added repositories and installed the codecs. After the process completed, the “install Codecs option was automatically removed from the menu.

Time and Tasks – several time-management tools including…
Osmo – a nice calendaring tool. Enter tasks and notes by date. Tabs to list all tasks, notes, contacts.
Nitro – another task manager
Remember the Milk – Web app for managing tasks. Account needed.
Soshiku – Web app for managing tasks and assignments. Account needed.

Utilities – Miscellaneous but still very useful tools for students
LectureTools – increases lecture participation by harnessing the potential of laptops and phones.
Schedule Generator – enter your classes and generate a semester/quarterly schedule of classes.

=========Some Non-educational Programs==========
PosteRazor – A utility for creating and printing posters. It takes a raster image and breaks it up. The resulting image is a multi-page PDF file.
Guake terminal. The Gnome version of Yakuake but without the settings. Compared to Yakuake, Guake is not even close.
A Widget Factory – a theming utility for gtk2.
Get Dropbox – a script that ran updating packages then automatically installing Nautilus and other Dropbox dependencies.
DJL Game Manager – as the name implies, it is a utility to manage games. Tabs across the top and on the left. I downloaded Chicken Invaders game and attempted to launch it. Error – libX11.so.6. I guess students should be studying…
xKill – Kills any program, and kills it dead, with a simple mouse click.
HW Lister – A GTK front end for lshw.

I performed two system updates during my testing period and both worked exactly as expected.

There were a few annoyances:
1.There seemed no way to close the DJL Game Manager in the system tray. I had to kill it from the command line.
2. The previously mentioned double log-in needed in GWOffice and GoogleDocs.

Rating: Overall I found UberStudent a well done distro for students and others interested in learning. It has tools galore and anyone who decides to use UberStudent should have no trouble finding the right tool for the task. At time I felt a bit overwhelmed but that can be solved by removing the applications and menu entries you don’t plan to use.


Tech News:


nonreplaceable CPUs may be the future of desktops


15 Weird/Surprising devices and Systems that run on Linux

Switching to Linux saves Munich over €11 million
The city has now migrated over 80 percent of its 15,500 desktops to LiMux, it’s own distribution of Linux.

KDE Korner

Kde Tea Time
KDE Tea Time video Podcast was released. The November 27 topic (#9)- week’s topic was the KDE release schedule which contained some interesting insight into KDE’s release schedule and how developers’ reaction to them


The History of KDE
One minute video of the history of KDE. Don’t blink or you will miss it!


One the Way to Dolphin 2.2
Choice is back: re in-line v. dialog file renaming task
Also resizing icons – can now set but it is not dynamic


rekonq 2 alpha Has Been Released to the Wild


KDE 4.10 To Change Windows Grouping
Instead of an arrow and a number indicating how many windows are grouped, users indicated they didn’t need the number.




Is it Alive?

Is it Alive continues its slumber but expects to return next week!


Listener Feedback:

show (at) smlr.us or 313-626-9140
Time: 1:21:15
jack – bit rates and firewalls

Outtro Music

Les petits poissons roses INSTRUMENTAL VERSION by Löhstana David

This content is published under the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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