Saturday, December 21, 2013

what are the results of Hiface Dac and Micromega Mydac on Linux

In the former post I wrote about setting up  a dac for Arch(bang)linux.
But what are the results in terms of audiophile experience. How good is the end result?
My judgment is not an everyday users one but one of an audiophile that hates hard ware hokus pocus but has a very critical pair of ears and  a brain full of acoustical memories.
My ideal of audio reproduction is that you forget about your music set and that you hear your music as natural and acoustic as possible. According to this my preferred musical genres are: acoustical jazz and classical music.
What  I have in my head is the natural sound that you can ear in a concert hall with good acoustics (we have one in our town).  Or in a smaller room or venue.
I have a Magnepan 3.5/R loudspeaker set, a Gryphon Tabu as amp and my fav cd player is a Marantz c 17 Signature. Together with a room with good acoustics this  is a feast to go and sit and listen. I don't care for surround but acknowledge the advantages of well recorded high resolution sound files.

What for me makes the sound sound good:
- a natural division between lower, middle and high register sound;
- the clarity of the individual elements of the music: how do voice and piano mix for example;
-how natural is the sound stage; is it a nice continuous field or do the fall gaps or is the build  of it too thin or too gross; do the diverse elements play good together or are they fighting each other.

Also important in judging hard ware is how do lesser recordings sound.
Because although a good equipment is just no better than the sound recording and you should judge a stereo set with the best possible recordings to find out what it's capable off,  you also have to live with lesser sound recordings and it is important that you can listen to them without too much disappointment or irritation.

Playing digital files from my pc that runs Linux via my stereo set  has been so horrendous  that I avoided  doing it. But I wanted to listen to my digital files of course.
After setting up the Hiface Dac as mentioned in the previous post the sound was getting better, in fact so good that wanted to listen more and more.
But not in the league with what I hear on my Marantz.

The  plus of the Hiface that it presents quite a lot of detail, and is amazingly refined at times; the sound is clean without any rumblings or dominant highs or lows; the whole sound spectrum is well divided.  For more intimate settings, a jazz combo, chamber music this all suffices. What it lacked in the first sessions is body; the sound stage is too fragile, not robust enough.
Especially playing orchestras or more intricate settings like opera -which btw always is quite a challenge- it really falls short. ( I found out that my Nvidia video card had some degrading effect on performance and could correct this; see former post)
Playing an old Gerald Moore recording from 1950 with Irmgard Seefried was  a great and positive surprise.  This seems a big advantage of this dac that sounds seldom become harsh or irritating.

Thanks to Rob of the Hifiwinkel is also was able to test out Micromega Mydac.
This dac doesn't take extreme files like the Hiface dac that goes to 32 bits/384 khz - it goes to  24/bits @192 khz but is has electrical feeding of its own and not only an to 2.0 usb connection but also can be  connected via optical and coaxial connections.
I had problems getting it running because from the factory it is set on usb 1.1 and I didn't get it working before discovering this and setting it to 2.0. You don't get an usb cable with it and I choose a wrong one when  I started with it (with thickenings) and you should use one without.
I wanted to use the usb connection because alsa and jack seem to provide the best sound and via usb I'm totally  ignoring my own pc sound card.

Anyway the differences between Hifac e and Micromega are striking. The sound had in the first sessions more presence using the Micromega; it all sounds much more powerful but it has its disadvantages too. There is a overemphasis on the low region, the basses and there can be traces of muddiness in that region. Still it is amazing how far you can come with this Dac from 300 euro (while the hiface costs  225 euro).
Any way it is not so easy to choose between the hiface having the richness and purity of detail going for it and the Micromega the much stronger presence and power of its sound stage as its biggest asset. I still have a week to decide.

Update 1 : tonight I listened to the hiface dac after some time with the Micromega. The Hiface was very satisfying and especially in its subtlety and detail. Tonight I had no problems with the more powerful  passages as descried earlier; for example the Koechlin "piano concerto":  Ballade for piano and orchestra  with Rigutto and Myrat (EMI) was very satisfying and didn't lack detail or force...btw I had no real complaints about the Micromega either but I wonder if the Hiface maybe gives a bit more detail.. I find it difficult to judge...

Update 2; Tested three recordings that leave something to be desired. Not really bad ones, but could be done better in my not so humble opinion.
I started with the Micromega and dissatisfied changed to the Hiface that in comparison is becoming more and more the winner.
I have to add that this is  very much a subjective verdict and not an objective one. People that prefer heavy basses or more power will probably like the Micromega more than the Hiface.
I started to listen to two tracks from Anais Mitchells  album Boy from America: 'Tailor' and 'Shepherd'. I didn't like the tone balance in 'Tailor'  on the Micromega, in 'Shepherd' the two guitars sound fresh and crisp with wonderful detail, but there seems to be an error in the mix as the voice is so much in the distance that the text is hardly to be heard. No trace of this problem listening to it with the Hiface; the voice sounds intimate but the guitars don't stand out so much and are less intriguing.

I'm really struck by how much difference a dac makes and we are talking on both quite good ones; this isn't comparing apples with pears but just two different tasting apples variants.

 Another recording is the Dvorak piano concerto with Aimard/Harnoncourt and the RCO. The RCO are always much helped by the wonderful acoustics of the Concertgebouw but probably this live recording is made elsewhere. Anyway the acoustics are not helping, I found it so disappointing that this stopped me using the Micromega and change over to the Hiface where it all sounds  a lot better, more detail, nicer tone balance. The third recording is the  wonderful Lambert song " Vous me mepris chaque jour" performed by Suzie Leblanc, Le voix humaines and Stephen Stubbs) Album name: " Amour Cruel". As with lots of old music the acoustics are church like, while I think it should be more intimate, a tavern room or a smaller room in a castle or so. Any way the music on the Micromega drowns in the space, is much too indirect and distant.
In the Hiface this problem isn't solved but it is still sounding much better and more enjoyable

A third and last session  I did again starting with the Micromega; I didn't use the jack server  but played with Alsa. I played different Christmas music:
Carla Bley from her fine and beautiful recorded cd Carla's Chirstmas Carols; the Piano Jazz Christmas from NPR  album with different not all too satisfying sound recordings; Marc Andre Hamelin " In a state of jazz" which reveal a fine piano but disturbing reverb and the wonderful Christmas Cd van the Dutch Bach Society, Jos van Veldhoven directing, a in all fronts magnificent recorded compilation cd.  Closin with some songs from the Hyperion Mendelssohn CD "Songs and Duets, Vol. 1," a fairly good recording regarding the vocals, although the piano could have been better.
The clear winner on all different records was the hiface, which continues to amaze in what it can offer in fine details and nice natural sound stage.
When should you consider using a DAC? If you play lossless digital files and you are disappointed how they sound, you probably have good enough speakers and amp to make it worth it to upgrade using a dedicated dac.
I found the NPR piano  and the Hamelin recording so underperforming on the Micormega that I decided to change to another tune..
Using the jack server in the third round (second round: alsa + hiface) the Hamelin piano sound revealed some much fine detail , overtones, dynamics and one track  recording of the NPR (Cedar Walton -  It came  on One Clear Night) didn't seem so bad at all.

I recommend all Linux users to give the Jack server a try out in stead of using Alsa.
I like to keep things simple but starting up the Jack server really makes a big difference as far as the software side of digital audio concerns. This was quite contrary to my judgement before as I was convinced that Jack would only help or be of use except when making recordings. My preferred audio player is deadbeef with the jack plugin installed.
The real delight came when listening to the best recordings like that of Carla Bley or "Ave Maria"from B. Josepho (Dutch Bach Soc.) Hearing what the Hiface dac could do and what I could get out of Micromega my decision was final: It would be the Hiface Dac.

Any way the only thing I'm bothered about is that I didn't  try all this out some years ago!!
But then again the Hiface wasn't around then: it is only introduced last summer....

Thursday, December 19, 2013

setting up Archlinux for hiface Dac

Thanks to Rob of the Hifiwinkel Iwas able to test the hiface Dac
I was  not content about how I was able to play my digital files and how the music came through on  my high end hifi. Indeed the usb dac is plug and play and instantly recognized by the Linux Os. (On windows you have to install some drivers.)
Start alsamixer, for instance by typing that in the terminal and do f6 to change  your soundcard and choose M2Tech Usb Audio.

You will be able to play and use the sound card but will also have to set up audio player to recognize the right audio source.
After trying some I decided for using Deadbeef. And found here how to set it up :
 DeaDBeef:  (a) Click on the Edit menu, then Preferences.
                       (b) In the Preferences window under "Sound" : "Output plugin" = "ALSA"
                                                                          "Output device" = "M2 Tech USB Audio"              
                       (c) In the same Preferences window select: Plugins
                            In the left column select "Alsa Output Plugin" and then click the "Configure" button
                            In the configuration window make sure that ALSA resampling is unchecked and that you place a check in box to "Release device when stopped".
This made the sound already quite acceptable.
This post in the same thread opened the way to an even better sound:

Theres an option to achive even higher sound quality with alsa and jack. Jack in general is the linux alternative to ASIO (to achieve low latency it bypasses kernel mixing just like ASIO on windows) and its has nice server app. After installing JACK You just need to start sound server, set it like this:

(I've highlighted with red important ones)
This setup should output bit-perfect SD audio. (I cant do a null-test with my setup to check if it's 100% bit perfect but my ears feel fine with the reproduction quality :))
I recomend Audacious with JACK output plugin or using system wide sound capture to jack and then You can use whatever You like.
You can use JACK with ALSA system wide by creating .asoundrc in Your home directory containing:

# use this as default
pcm.!default {
type plug
slave { pcm "jack" }

ctl.mixer0 {
type hw
card 1

# pcm type jack
pcm.jack {
type jack
playback_ports {
0 system:playback_1
1 system:playback_2
capture_ports {
0 system:capture_1
1 system:capture_2

 I set asound.conf system wide in the etc folder.
And I made some changes to the set up of Jack  using qjackctl
Frame period is 256 and of course another sound card, see below.
 Here is first some help for installing jack:

#pacman -S jack qjackctl
Qjackctl is an essential gui for configurating and starting jack and also here you have to set the right sound card; so the hw:0 will become hw:1
Use to find out, what you have to choose:

ls /proc/asound/cards

Using Deadbeef which is a fine audio player install from AUR the  deadbeef-plugin-jack-git .
$yaourt -S deadbeef-plugin-jack-git

To allow Alsa programs to play while jack is running you must install the jack plugin for alsa with alsa-plugins.
To set up the usb sound card as the default:
Add in /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf:
# Assign USB Audio as default sound card
options snd_usb_audio index=-1
Delete these last TWO lines in the file:

# Keep snd-usb-audio from beeing loaded as first soundcard
options snd-usb-audio index=-2

Procedure of starting up jack:
First be sure the right sound card is chosen
Go to qjackctl and start jack (click start button) and get jack rolling by clicking the play button.
Configuring openbox for qjackctl
You may have to set up your desktop environment to automatically start up cjackctl, in openbox by adding something like this to /home/user/.config/openbox/autostart
(sleep 62s && qjackctl) &
or with a keyboard shortcut in /home/user/.config/openbox/rc/xml
There are more options like using jack2, see the Arch wiki for that

There are people saying that jack isn't needed for playback:
Since ALSA is said to be already very efficient and low latency, providing very good quality playback with no additional mixing when stated within it's .asoundrc file, unlike MS Windows, Jack probably isn't needed for most. 
Just try all the options and see what works best for you...

Want to dive into the world of Linux Audio on Archlinux; go here

If you have a nvidia card and a lot of xruns using jack (see messages), you should use nvidia-settings and set under Powermizer GPU to Maximum Performance.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Post into folder plugin for Spacefm

Just by coincidence I found out about the new  Paste Into plugin for spacefm.
Very useful when working in the two panel (File commander like) set up when you want to move a file or folder into a folder of the other panel. After you have cut the folder/file you click on the folder you want to past the file /folder into and choose paste into from the menu.

Howto install

  To add it there, right-click on a file and then right-click on any menu item such as Copy. Select New|Import|URL from the design menu and enter this link.

Howto use:
First, copy or cut one or more files or folders to the clipboard with the standard Copy or Cut commands. Then select (highlight) a single folder to paste into, and select the Paste Into command. Or, if a single folder is not selected, files will be pasted into the current folder

I would recommend to IG to make this very handy plugin a default feature of Spacefm!!

BTW on the same page you will also find  a burn tool for spacefm.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Archbang Site back

Archbang site is up again!!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Archbang site down

Hi Ab-ers,
For some unknown reason the site of AB is down. but also the forums and the wiki.
We haven't pulled the plug out of AB and hope to be back as soon as possible!!
We're trying to find a solution.

Update  23 nov.: Our  site seems to be hacked; there are strong indices in that direction; we are trying to find a solution.
Get back to this place to find updates on further developments...

In the mean time the updates and testing isos are available at: 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

netctl, another systemd disaster

I have been installing Arch from the its installation medium, not archbang because I needed an efi compatible version of Arch. It was no problem to install it although I find not very useful nor educational to go through some tedious and boring routine. Some Archers seem to think of themselves as very clever when they are able to come up with the right cli input ant the right moment. Which proves how smug they are. I find it as oppressing as ballroom dancing. Any way that is not the reason of my post. After I had set up my openbox environment and had updated etcetera and rebooted, my wired internet connection was gone. Still used to ntcfg  it took me some time to discover the 'advantages' of netctl with spontaneous device renaming and other 'features'   which I rather would call bugs.
This is where Linux is at its worst: nothing goes the way it should,; everything has to get configured and the documentation is spread around although the arch wiki still is the best place to start. Network configuration and the netctl topic have to learned by heart.
Most of the solutions come from there.

I will give the fault messages from journalctl -xn later.
Useful steps:
1. Use ip link to check your actual device name
Useful to get  a hunch about the device renaming by udev
2. If the command:   $ping -c 3
complains about unknown hosts
try this:  $ ping -c 3

3. If the dhcpd service starts before your network card module, manually add your network card to /etc/modules-load.d/*.conf. For example, if your Realtek card needs r8169 to be loaded, create:


Tip: To find out which modules are used by your network card, uselspci -k
All three subjects were relevant, I used some trial and error method for solving the device renaming:
#systemctl enable dhcpcd@enp0s3
#systemctl start dhcpcd@enp0s
and other names had to be used
Maybe I should have used this:
 Device names
For motherboards that have integrated NICs, it is important to have fixed device name. Many configuration problems are caused by interface name changing.
Udev is responsible for which device gets which name. Systemd v197 introduced Predictable Network Interface Names, which automatically assigns static names to network devices. Interfaces are now prefixed with en (ethernet), wl (WLAN), or ww (WWAN) followed by an automatically generated identifier, creating an entry such as enp0s25.
This behavior may be disabled by adding a symlink:
# ln -s /dev/null /etc/udev/rules.d/80-net-name-slot.rules
Users upgrading from an earlier systemd version will have a blank rules file created automatically. So if you want to use persistent device names, just delete the file.

Furthermore:  Configuration of netctl

netctl may be used to introspect and control the state of the systemd services for the network profile manager. Example configuration files are provided for the user to assist them in configuring their network connection. I had to use

To use this example profile, simply copy one of them from /etc/netctl/examples/ to /etc/netctl/ and configure it to your needs:

# cp /etc/netctl/examples/ethernet-dhcp /etc/netctl/

Once you have created your profile, make an attempt to establish a connection using the newly created profile by running:

# netctl start ethernet-dhcp
# netctl enable ethernet-dhcp

I find it really back to the eighties that you have to go into so much trouble to get a simple ethernet connection. It is a proof that Arch devs are out of control and at the mercy of some guy called, sorry forgot his name; no, it wasn't Harry Potter...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Some considerations when you install Linux with windows 8 preinstalled

Important is that you are aware how you are booting. On my new MEDION AKOYA P524 you have to boot via uefi; the only thing you can do is to disable Safe boot.  
Then you have to partition in Win8 as described before in our previous post. Then you load your live installer. On uefi booting machines you will need a uefi compatible or supporting liveCD or usb.
As far s I know these ones are available at the moment:
Arch installation medium
Bridge Linux (Arch-based)
Aptosid, Siduction
Debian - (special builds at … velopment/ ) Wheezy RC2 64 bits
Ubuntu 64-bit
RedHatEL 5.9 or later
Fedora 17 and later
OpenSUSE 12.2
I choose aptosid as I'm familiar and satisfied with it, it is a rolling release and blazing fast; it has a nice and thus simple  installer that makes installing on an efi booting machine as easy as can be. After you have installed and reboot you will not notice anything and boot straight into Windows 8.
You have to go to your uefi bios that you can access on my machine with del (American trends) In the bios you now can select which efi boot you boot. If your machine is by default used as a windows machine you can let Windows 8 be the default system; while booting you can get a bootloader choice menu by using F8 and  choose the debian efi bootloader. After you have one install you can load other linuxes via that first bootmenu , in my case the debian one. And you can leave the boot partition alone.
 The bad thing is that there are many different hardware set ups which make it impossible to give general advice.
Still you have to use efi supporting installation media, because other ones won't be shown /boot as is the case with the Akoya.

I have followed the path to disable Safe boot. But it is possible to keep the safe boot.
There are different methods for that.
The place to study about efi boot is this site by Rod Smith

Friday, May 17, 2013

how to disable secure boot when Windows 8 is installed

And you want to create a multiboot with another Linux installation.

Look here

Copied this, a part of the article from Ask Ubuntu to have it more easy to find:
many thanks to the original poster.

Create a new partition from within windows 8: 
Run compmgmt.msc as admin on Windows 8. (Open the Charms bar with Windows key + c and search powershell and rightclick on the program icon and execute as administrator.)
From there on, create a partition with enough size. Note that I mention creating this FROM Windows 8 because I have had cases where doing the partition from the LiveUSB rendered Windows 8 unbootable, even after doing a boot repair. So to remove that problem or have a greater chance of removing it (Or simply skipping the problem altogether) and making sure both systems work, partition your hard drive from within Windows 8 first.

Windows 8 shoould not be  shutdown in either Hibernation mode or any other mode that leaves it on a saved state. Shut Windows 8 in the normal way, with the shutdown option. This will prevent other problems related to this from appearing.

Check if secure boot is indeed enabled:

We first need to know with what type of motherboard options we are dealing with. Open a terminal (By going to the start menu and typing powershell for example) and run the terminal as an Administrator (Right Click the app that will show in the start menu and select Run as Administrator). Now type Confirm-SecureBootUEFI. This can give you 3 results:
True - Means your system has Secure boot and is Enabled
False - Means your system has Secure boot and is Disabled

Cmdlet not supported on this platform - Means your system does not support Secure boot and most likely you do not need this guide. You can install Ubuntu by simply inserting the LiveCD or LiveUSB and doing the installation procedure without any problems.

If you have it Enabled and have the necessary partitioning done then we can proceed with this guide. After booting into Windows 8 we go to the power off options and while holding the SHIFT key, click on Restart.

enter image description here

Or If this doesn't work for you:
On systems with Windows 8 pre-installed, you can access the UEFI (BIOS) setup screens from the Windows 8 boot menu:
  1. Press the Windows (Image: icon_Windows8_key.png) key + C, or swipe in from the right edge of the screen to open your Charms.
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Click Change PC Settings.
  4. In PC Settings, select General.
  5. Under Advanced startup, click Restart now. The system will restart and show the Windows 8 boot menu.
  6. In the boot menu, select Troubleshoot.
  7. In the Troubleshoot menu, select Advanced options.
  8. In the Advanced options menu, select UEFI Firmware Settings.
  9. Click Restart to restart the system and enter UEFI (BIOS).
Windows 8 will show you a totally different restart window:
enter image description here
When you get the menu above, select Troubleshoot

You will then get the following options:
enter image description here

Select UEFI Firmware Settings
The system will reboot and you will be allowed to go to the BIOS (If not press the appropriate key, some common are DEL,F2 or F10).
In this part I can't help much since each BIOS is different for each Motherboard model. There are 2 options you can take here, you can either look for an option to disable Secure Boot or an option to disable UEFI. In most cases you will be able to find both, it will show in the BIOS as an option called Secure Boot or Enable UEFI.

If you find this options, then disable Secure Boot, to be able to still stay in UEFI mode and also be able to Boot with Ubuntu. In most motherboards, this will be the only option you actually need to change and also will be the only option you see related to UEFI because they will not offer the possibility to disable UEFI.

In other motherboards that do offer the possibility to disable UEFI which would completely eliminate UEFI and Secure Boot on it and boot in the normal BIOS like way, if you find this is the way you want (To have a UEFI free computer and not face any of the problems related to this) then by all means do it. I for one have tested the Intel DZ68DB and did both case studies.
Remember to also select the Boot Order to make sure that it boots either your CDROM, DVDROM or USB Drive so you can boot from your Live Ubuntu image after rebooting.

Some points we should consider before continuing:
  1. If Windows 8 was installed with UEFI enabled, it is recommended to stay in UEFI, but you can actually disable it and after installing Ubuntu, GRUB will create the bootable part for Windows 8. But in the case where you disable UEFI and want to access Windows 8 afterwards (before installing Ubuntu), it will not work since the boot part for Windows 8 needs UEFI.
  2. If you only disable Secure Boot, there is no problem. You are only disabling the part that creates the most problem between Windows and Linux, which is the one that prevents Ubuntu from booting correctly. In either case, if you disable any of them and install Ubuntu, you will be able to boot to Windows 8 afterwards through the GRUB Boot Menu.
Now before saving, some motherboards offer a Boot Mode option. Verify that this option is not pointing to UEFI Boot but instead to CSM Boot (Compatibility Support Module) which provides support for Legacy BIOS like systems.
Other systems offer a UEFI Boot option you can enable or disable. Depending on the options I mentioned above you can set this to the one you want.
And lastly others offer a UEFI/Legacy Boot First option where you select which one you wish to use first. Obviously the option is self explanatory.
Now save the changes and reboot.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Update error gdk-pixbuf2

Solution reinstall gdk-pixbuf2

Error message:
failed for /usr/lib/gdk-pixbuf-2.0/2.10.0/loaders/ cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

List packages from AUR -Arch

pacman -Qm

Update only AUR packages:
$packer -Su --auronly

Only do this if you have just finished a full system update!!


Friday, April 26, 2013

reading configurations from ~/.fonts.conf is deprecated.

Getting warnings like:
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/50-user.conf", line 14: reading configurations from ~/.fonts.conf is deprecated.

Johns solution also worked for me:
I was able to resolve this issue by doing the following:

mkdir ~/.config/fontconfig 
mv ~/.fonts.conf ~/.config/fontconfig/ 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

BTsync file sharing or syncing without intermediates


See also:

Earlier this year BitTorrent started a closed Alpha test with a limited number of users, and today Sync is being released to the public for the first time.
“We’re really excited about opening up this Alpha. The feedback has been universally positive. Those in the closed Alpha have already synced more than 200TB since we started the program,” BitTorrent announces.
Over the past weeks many improvements have been made to the Sync application, prompted by user feedback. Among other things it is now possible to allow one-way synchronization and to exclude files or directories from being shared.
While Sync uses BitTorrent technology, people’s files are not accessible to outsiders. Only those who have the unique private key can access the shared folder.
“All the traffic is encrypted using a private key derived from the shared secret. Your files can be viewed and received only by the people with whom you share your private secret,” BitTorrent explains.
To increase security, the latest Sync version also has the option to let the secret key expire after a day so new devices can’t be added, even if outsiders have the private key.
BitTorrent stresses that Sync is still in Alpha development but tests carried out by TorrentFreak confirm that it works very well. It is an ideal tool for people who want to share large amounts of data between computers without going through third-party services.
The application is also surprisingly easy to configure. There’s no need to create an account and it only takes a few clicks to get going.

The Sync application is available for Windows, OSX, Linux and has the ability run on NAS devices through a web-interface. Readers who are interested in giving it a spin can head over to BitTorrent labs, where the Sync app can be downloaded:

User manual: manual

I log by  using the webbrowserto open the gui interface:

Instructions for using it in Linux:

See also:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Forward journald to var/log in systemd journal.conf file

You can edit /etc/systemd/journald.conf to forward all messages to syslog.
Just remove the # before

Suggestion from Oliver

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Did a new installation of Manjaro openbox-lite

Read this review and report of setting it up in full here 
Announcement here
Download here
During a live session it seemed  to take longer to load.
Installing went easy and not much difference with Archbang.A slightly different menu when giving root password and creating user and user password.
Setting up the locale is also a bit different.
A important difference is that you can install the bootloader grub 2 in the own manjaro partition and you can prevent grub 2 overwriting the mbr by pointing to its own partition; you will get an error but at least your mbr can be updated in the way you want and won't be overwritten, something that is not possible in Archbang. Something to learn from Manjaro.

Installed I don't perceive any differences in speed with AB; it is snappy and the theme set up is so nice I leave it for the time being..

What I like is that dmenu is shown at the bottom of the screen (dmenu -b).
dmenu at the bottom, slightly different:
changed it in .conf/openbox/rc.xml  command from dmenu_run -i -b to
dmenu_run -fn -misc-fixed-*-*-*-*-20-200-*-*-*-*-*-*  -i -b -nf 'white' -sb 'brown' -nb 'black'
to have a larger font and other colors.

Htop is installed.
I don't like tint at the top of your screen.. When you change tint rc and put it at the bottom you will notice that the 28 pixels for the tint bar remain uncovered.
This is defined in /home/user/.config/openbox/rc.xml, line 156.

Very few keybindings are configured for starting up applications, terminal, filemanager, oblogout, dmenu. There are not many applications installed but leafpad (W_e) and one for viewnior (W_i) could be added.
I also use them for many of my fav applications like a second filemanager (W-s spacefm, w-f thunar),  vlc W-v, smplayer w-m, cd cat w-k, firefox w-w and chromium w-c, qbittorrent w-q etc.
In many distro's dmenu is configured with keybinding  alt-f3; here it is W-m; changed that directly.
Few keybindings for manipulating windows.
Geany is installed which is very nice when you are changing rc.xml in the code as I usually do.
Thunar is the default file manager; lxterminal the default terminal.
you can run a fine fast server script that is an fast way to run rankmirrors.
Parcellite isn't autostarted by default but an entry is in the autostart file, so that is easy to change.


Firefox is not installed but you needn't install flashplugin after you install firefox.
arch-firefox-search-0.8.2-5 is not installed (just like I never got it into AB), while it is such a useful addition to using firefox.
The way to start using AUR could be made more easy; maybe with a menu link or so.
On the wiki page  yaourt is recommended by default, while I prefer packer.
So you wil have to install packer with yaourt or use the more complicated way:
You need fakeroot, git, jshon and base-devel
#pacman -S base-devel fakeroot git jshon
Download the PKGBUILD
and open terminal the folder where you put in and do
makepkg -sci PKGBUILD 
Move in terminal to where the package is build and do as root:
pacman -U packer-*.pkg.tar.xz
Used packer to install adeskbar which is my fav dock that I use in a very minmal set up (no tasklist).


I installed mplayer-vdpau-svn to see how the depedency problems work out in Manjaro.
This should be rather  risky, considering the very complicated build of mplayer. No problems at all!! Very good, Manjaro!!
Very little diappointments till now...

I edit the line in ~./.config.Trolltech.conf
to add the line
but it is already there (give qt applications a gtk look) ; amazing, really quite complete in fine tuning..

I'm not really satisfied with the font easy solution I use for this is to install fontmatrix and a new set of fonts for which I mostly use Avenir LTD.

Installed spacefm with udevil as mounter.
have to add
devmon  &
to autostart
All in all hardly any thing of importance to complain about. Great job, Carl!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Manjaro Doing a live session with 084 openbox edition  64 bits

Doing a live session with 084 openbox edition  64 bits:
When starting up pamac automatic updates the system  with -nice- this info message:
libgl will be replaced by mesa-libgl
gummiboot-efi will be replaced by gummiboot
qt will be replaced by qt4
lib32-libgl will be replaced by lib32-mesa-libgl
lib32-libglapi will be replaced by lib32-mesa
Want to check out some installed packages with dmenu; no dmenu?? openbox without dmenu is like a tv without remote control.
Try to install via pamac; nothing happens, no error feedback.
So I go to terminal and use pacman.
After I unlocked the database by deleting var/lib/pacman/db.lck (reminded via feedback by pacman):

sudo pacman -S dmenu
:: The following packages should be upgraded first :
:: Do you want to cancel the current operation
:: and upgrade these packages now? [Y/n] y
Midori is a real pain in the ass as it crashes every time I try to copy some text with selecting and a right click; also it is not possible for some reason to login here on the AB forums.
Want to try out pamac again; get error message pamac is already running, although I closed it.
with dmenu I find out pamac is pamac-check-updates pamac-manager pamac-tray and pamac- updates
Kill each one of them, still running. Try htop to see what is running, no htop, install htop, nothing running recognizable as related to  pamac; give up...
Conclusion: pamac is a catastrophe for me; just like midori (never had luck with it)
For me essential apps like dmenu and  htop are not installed.
Openbox keybindings for starting applications are
terminal, synapse, appfinder, thunar, pamac-updater and pamac-manager, oblogout
A keyboard short cut for synapse OK with me,
but for appfinder: what happens is that you go from the keyboard to a mouse  menu to start an app?? This is like first taking your remote, then walking to the TV to set another channel by hand. Openbox is for me window management and application control with the keyboard keys and the best app for this is dmenu (or is it difficult to learn? I don't think so).
Synapse can't find lxappearance, never has this problem with dmenu.
First impression manjaro openbox edition is that it is a very difficult OB edition for an ABer like me; sorry, was hoping to be able to be more positive.
I have to first understand how things are simplified before I am able to solve a problem. This was my problem with ubuntu too.
This says everything about me as user and can't be generalized of course.

To end with a more positive note: everything looks fantastic, nice wall and theme set up are all working together to create something that is really a pleasure to see; top-notch: nice theme greenbird with faenza green icon theme; window border shiki-nouveau-wisedust, very,very nice.
Also compton is used with nice effects although the shadow option could be used better..but that is a matter of taste.

Some thoughts Manjaro compared to Archbang

I'm quite fed up with distrohopping.
As I find AB good enough as an easy Arch install medium I didn't feel the urge to try Manjaro till now. But I will do it now for this post.
But first  I want to make clear, that there are some things I really like about the Manjaro project.
The central aspect is that I have thought many a times, that Arch in a way is really easy;
with some extra instruction it could be made useful for a much larger user group.
Of course you are thinking about some friends etc. that I wouldn't suggest AB because of its difficulty.
But after the very bumpy change to systemd and bin to usr  bin and  some other update calamities I gave up on the whole idea. Arch devs seem(ed?) to have lost control.
And I wouldn't like to expose friends to the general hostility towards noobs in the Arch community too.
Still I find it a really generous attempt of the people over at Manjaro to take on this task of making Arch more accessible and am impressed with what they have accomplished so far.
On the Archbang forums we had some discussion if it would be a good idea to open Arch more and I remember that ArchVortex really was against the idea.
I don't have a fixed opinion about it, I want to explore this more.
My own feelings are mixed especially about providing a gui for pacman as default, pamac.
I find the feedback given by pacman really one of the most essential benefits from Arch and here on the forums I always discourage people to use a gui for pacman.
Of course, everybody can use pacman in Manjaro, but the educational choice has been made to learn the default user to manage package management with pamac ( … _Beginners). This is on first sight the greatest problem I have with Manjaro.
For the rest I do find gui's useful in a lot of cases; I hardly do any file management from the terminal for instance, probably also because I'm lousy typist. Just to make clear I'm not the regular terminal geek.
Choice for stability
Holding packages for some time (a month) to lessen update problems and increase stability is also an important aspect of Manjaro.
I'm curious about the experiences with that and especially if it doesn't give problems when installing from AUR. PKGBUILD are often very soon updated after a change in package naming/update; dependency handling in the PKGBUILD can get impossible for a certain period of time; in recent example it the change to naming some dependencies qt4 in stead of qt after the release of qt5 in the Arch repos om March the 3 .
I don't worry so much about the security aspect of it. I trust that really essential updates like that for web browsers or flash will be used as soon as possible.
My own experience that with using the stable repos from Arch and a quiet update scheme you can avoid a lot of problems. I think to have as few update problems as possible a weekly update is wise in AB. People with a lot of update problems tend to update once or twice a day.
Another feature are the multiple kernels. Having installed kernel-lts has proven for me to have some great benefits. I'm amazed Manjaro isn't using the linux-lts  kernel as default.
to be continued
p.s I saw that today the qt5 update had already been passed to manjaro repo's.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

gnubiff alternative images

I like gnubiff but am not crazy about the tux image.
Created some alternative images: copy to usr/share/gnubiff
right click and save as: tux-awake.png and tux-sleep.png

If I inadvertently infringed on some copyrights let me know and I will remove the images directly.
To let gnubiff start up easily use the -n flag: gnubiff -n

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

If your gtk theme is distorted -Arch

Sometimes changing a default configuration of gtk themes goes wrong because an unlucky corrolation bteween gtk 2 and gtk 3 themes. The best solution is to delete or rename your gtk-3.0 and or gtk-2.0 folder in /home/user/.config and choose your new theme with lxappearance and then reboot. Also:
If you don't like the icon set AwOken (I prefer colour icons) you can change at the same time and the new settings .ini will have both changes.

Let QT apps look like gnome ones

found this solution:
    edit the .config/Trolltech.conf file by adding:

source: … plications

Simple solutions are the best ones...

Monday, March 4, 2013

New adeskbar install was a new adeskbar.install but it wasn't enough
to make a working adeskbar.
I downloaded  adeskbar , extracted the packages, edited changed python in the first line to python2, copied the adeskbar folder to usr/share/, copied default.conf to home/paul/.config/adeskbar/  and created a symlink:
ln -s /usr/share/adeskbar/ /usr/bin/adeskbar
Had to install all the many python deps:python-keybinder python2-pyinotify python-pyalsaaudio python-vte python-xlib pyhon-gio python2-wnck python-gmen. But it works now!!

Autologin while having systemd in Arch

I have researched diverse options to realize autologin after systemd came to Arch.
The simplest way is to have slim installed and edit /etc/slim.conf . Change
#auto_login         no
to: auto_login          yes
#default_user        live
default_user        username

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Packages from AUR need to be rebuild - Arch

Update warning from Arch:
qt4 replaces qt

A new qt4 package is in [extra]. This replaces the current qt package.
All packages depending on qt need to be rebuilt to depend on qt4. We have done this for all official packages, but you will need to rebuild packages installed from the AUR that depend on qt.

To know which package need to be rebuild you can use pkgtools
After installation (#pacman -S pkgtools) do
whoneeds qt
Then do
pacman -Qqm
to determine which packages are installed from AUR.
As the official packages are rebuild for you, you only have to rebuild the AUR packages.
For me it means I have to rebuild: cdcat fontmatrix  qbittorrent sir syncbackup.

This is an example why pacman is so fantastic:

:: Replace qt with extra/qt4? [Y/n] y
resolving dependencies...
looking for inter-conflicts...

error: failed to prepare transaction (could not satisfy dependencies)
:: cdcat: requires qt
:: fontmatrix: requires qt>=4.3.0
:: qbittorrent: requires qt
:: sir: requires qt
:: syncbackup: requires qt

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What defines the qualities of a certain distro

When I installed Salix it was a new distro for me and it was interesting to note what made a difference for me in the process of getting to know a new Linux branch.
First you have to make a distinction between the different Linux branches; installing a different flavor of Debian or Arch does make a difference but the differences between Arch, Debian, Gentoo, Fedora and Slackware are more profound.

I made a wish list before about what my ideal distro would be:
1. systemd free,
2. rolling release ( I don't want a regular re-installation);
3. binaries, no need to build everything like in gentoo,
4. good dependency handling,
5. a good package manager ( I hate synaptic but updating in aptosid should be done in init 3 and works great, although slower than pacman.
6. not the latest packages are needed but also not too slow updating of packages.

Aptosid or siduction are the only ones that fit the full bill, but I am open to experiences of others and heard from Archvortex  much good things about Slackware that I wanted to try it out. Although it doesn't have automatic dependency handling and much less binaries than deb and Arch. And it isn't a rolling release.

But there was one problem: Slack comes with Lilo and I hate Lilo from bad experiences in the past.   I like grub legacy the best but can settle for grub2. Anyway I found a solution for the grub/lilo problem. As you can read here. I like to prepare the partition before the installation process with gparted; again after a bad experience with some partition manager ruining my rather complicated partition table. I like best to install from a liveCD, so I get a preview what  the installation will look like and then to be able to partition form that liveCD (the extended partition has to be unmounted to do repartitioning). Even ArchBang doesn't have that option any more.
The version I installed first was Slackel, had problems booting the installation and retried with Salix. I had no clue if the problems were  caused by some hardware incompatibility or because I did something wrong in the boot process (this was before I had installed the bootloader). That is another reason why a liveCD is nice, because then that possible problem of incompatibility can be excluded.

So what is important for me during or preparing installation are: the availability of a liveCD 2. preferable with gparted on it 3. choice of bootloaders.
I choose the LDXE version as this is closest to the openbox set up I always want to realize. With the *Box window manager I'm home; completely satisfied and no reason to look any further. Salix doesn't have a liveCD version of this one.

The Salix 13.37 OS LDXE set up is nice. Maybe I should have gone for the fluxbox version, but I was curious to see what they have made of it. And with gslapt and sourcery they made it quite user-friendly regarding package management.
And here we come to the second element of what makes a distro interesting and good.
How  the system is configured. What I notice directly is that the video or the graphic card is not configured at its best; font rendering is mediocre, there is some lag in using some applications. The system is not so responsive as I 'm used to in aptosid and Archbang.
Also the way the sound card is configured gives some problems; I have to kill one program to get sound from another. The mixer (volti) doesn't work exactly as it should. And it is the same when installing all kinds of applications I face small problems.
The lack dependency handling gives a lot of problems. I'm only able to install fontmatrix after I install k3b. Viewnior is no problem to install but gthumb is. Google Chrome is only installed after quite some research and so on.
The best package manager (pacman) and package distribution system is at Arch's imho; with AUR and the official packages; the wonderful packer for building packages; the dependency handling in Arch is quite good. I have the impression much better than in Ubuntu where I faced a lot of problems, although that was when I started with Linux, so maybe I tried foolish things.. aptosid is also great in this respect.

So why I bother with Slackware?
Probably because of its conceptual clarity and the consequence they adhere to it.
The KISS principle, that was left by the Arch devs, is still a reality. The anti-fashionlike stability of the whole project attracts me too it, its anti-commercialism ( one of the reasons I lost interest in Ubuntu and was never attracted to RedHat, Mandriva or Fedora).
So they don't use systemd!!

What also is important in choosing a distro is its community and its products: forums and wiki. The Arch forums are very problematic as are the aptosid forums.  Forums should be open and non-conformistic in the sense of open to new and critical questions. Diversification, dissent and experiment are essential to a thriving community.
The Arch wiki is great, although not as up to date as it used to be. I'm not ready to give an opinion on the Slackware community and documentation and forums. Great point of Salix is its Startup Guide that is also available as a free PDF download.
To be continued, I hope..

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Installing packages in Salix

Gslapt is a nice addition to working in the terminal and sourcery is nice for working with Slackbuilds. The best program seems for those sbopkg as it gives you a lot of information about available packages and available uploads and more.
Sbopkg can be found at Download the latest version (sbopkg-version-noarch-1.tgz) to your Desktop. Open a terminal: and do as root: # installpkg sbopkg-version-noarch.
Dependency handling or better the lack of it is the big drawback of Slackware and stability seems less than in Debian or Arch.

Install Google Chrome slackware

First install the dependencies with gslapt or slapt-get -i
GConf ORBit2 google-chrome-pam-solibs
 Then go to the Google Chrome site:
Click the download button, and select either:
32 bit .deb (for Debian/Ubuntu)or 64 bit .deb (for Debian/Ubuntu)
Download the SlackBuild from here and execute it as root 
while being in the same folder as the just downloaded Chrome deb.
It will convert the deb to a txz in your tmp folder.If all goes well you get:
Slackware package /tmp/google-chrome-25.0.1364.97-x86_64-1.txz created.
Now do again as root: # upgradepkg --install-new google-chrome-25.0.1364.97-x86_64-1.txz
| Installing new package ./google-chrome-25.0.1364.97-x86_64-1.txz

Verifying package google-chrome-25.0.1364.97-x86_64-1.txz.
Installing package google-chrome-25.0.1364.97-x86_64-1.txz:
Executing install script for google-chrome-25.0.1364.97-x86_64-1.txz.
Package google-chrome-25.0.1364.97-x86_64-1.txz installed.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Installing Salix without Lilo but with Grub2

I wanted to try slcakware but without the dreaded Lilo with which I have bad experiences.
After preparing the installation partition with gparted (with a differentCD) I installed without installing the bootloader.
Rebooted with the install cdrom and this boot specification:
huge.s root=/dev/sda15 rdinit= ro
Note the space after the last = sign.
In this way I was able to boot into the new installation.
Installed grub2 after updating the repos:
slapt-get -u && slapt-get -i grub2
Then: #grub-install /dev/sda15
Then updated grub in my main Archbang system with grub-optimizer.
After that I updated the Slackbuilds repolist with slapt-src -u and
installed my fav filemanager Spacefm with: slapt-src -i spacefm.
I failed to build chromium, see in next post how I succeeded with Google Chrome.

Slow booting and error 'Started Trigger flushing.."

"Started Trigger flushing of journal to persistent storage"    is the error message.
The cause mysterious tll I found this suggestion
I checked my swap UUID in fstab with #blkid and indeed it was wrong.
So solution:
Find out what partition your swap is
$ blkid
And alter the uuid to for instance:

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Watching a movie and your screen turns black?

 Disable DPMS and prevent screen from blanking

Useful when watching movies or slideshows:

xset -dpms; xset s off


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Aptosid openbox font configuration

It is amazing what  some fonts can do for the looks of a window manager.
This is the fonts as found in obconfig, tab Appearance in my aptosid openbox install:
Active window title:    Avenir LT45  s14
Inactive window:        Title Cicle  Fina13
Menu header:             DejaVuSans ExtraLight 12
Menu Item:                  Liberation Sans 12
Active On-screen display:  DejaVuSans ExtraLight 12
Inactive On-screen display:  Sans 12
It should be added that this is shown on a 24 inch monitor, 1920x1200

Monday, January 28, 2013

Logout in openbox with keyboard keys

Sometimes I have my monitor shut down but leave my pc on for some downloading or transcoding or other job. It is nice to have a keyboard shortcut to do that, I use W+x and put this between the command bracket:

xterm -e "sudo shutdown -h +1"
Replace xterm if you are using another terminal. One minute is to give me the opportunity to have second thoughts and cancel with ctrl +t and
sudo shutdown -c.
In this post I give a solution for a better look of QT applications in an Openbx environment. Some things get easier
Adding in


QT applications start to look like good looking gtk applications.

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