29 Jul 2014

An unusual comparison of Desktop Environments

I created and published a series of videos few months ago, that show how to set up multiple keyboard layouts in different Desktop Environments.
Just to refresh your memory, here they are:

Statistics of the views is quite interesting. Here are just naked amounts:

22 Jul 2014

Zorin OS 9 - a step forward for Windows migrants

Linux notes from DarkDuck has closely followed the development of Zorin OS for a long time now. The first review was for Zorin OS 4, and since then it seems like I haven't missed any new release. I also interviewed Artyom Zorin, the leader of the distribution.

Even though I don't do reviews en masse now, I felt I had to write a review of Zorin OS 9, which was released in July 2014, just few days ago.

I downloaded the version Zorin OS 9 32-bit Core. It is about 1.3 GB in size, which means you either need a DVD or a USB stick with >1GB capacity to get this ISO working.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get Live USB with this distribution. I tried different methods: dd command, Unetbootin, and even USB image writer from Linux Mint 17 toolkit. None of them created a workable Live USB stick.

Then I reverted to a Live DVD option.

So, DVD with Zorin OS 9 Core is in the DVD-ROM of my laptop Dell Vostro 1500. Reboot. Choose to boot from DVD. Let's go!

19 Jul 2014

Contest for Zorin OS lovers

You probably remember a contest that ran about two years ago. It was dedicated to Zorin OS 6. A new release of Zorin OS 9 has been released only few days ago, that is why it is time for yet another contest, isn't it?

Let's Do It!

Just to refresh your memories, here are the rules.

This contest is organised together by Zorin OS team, Linux notes from DarkDuck and Buy Linux CDs.

Who can participate?

Everyone with a passion for Linux, and with some writing skills. If you're good enough to compose a short e-mail to your friend, then you're ready for the contest.

What you need to do?

Please write a short story about Zorin OS, or maybe just Linux in general.

Why do you use Linux? How did you come to the Linux world? What do you like here? What are you doing to promote Linux? Any of these, or maybe your own themes are good.

It would be better, if your post is about Zorin OS, but this is just "nice to have".

The text you're going to write should not be one-liner. Please be little bit more productive. At least 50 words, if you don't mind.

Where to send your works?

Please e-mail them to zorinos.contest@darkduck.com.

When to send?

Any time until the 31st of July 2014.

What will you get?

Organizers of the contest will select winners, and they will receive:

  1. Disk with Zorin OS 9 Premium with all the attached support. Prize is given by Zorin OS team.
  2. 10 GBP e-voucher for Amazon.co.uk site. Prize from Buy Linux CDs.
  3. CD with any Linux distribution of your choice. Prize from Linux notes from DarkDuck.
Update: there is another prize from Linuxaria: 25 USD voucher for amazon.com. It will be awarded to the 10th article submitted to the contest, disregarding the content of it (unless it is a really dummy submission)! Please hurry!

Will my work be published?

By submitting your work, you allow organizers to use your work on their web sites, unless you specifically withdraw your permission in writing.

When will results be announced?

The results will be announced on the 2nd of August 2014.
The winners will be contacted by e-mail.

Small print:

  1. One prize per contestant.
  2. Decisions of contest organizers are binding, and cannot be changed.
  3. Non-monetary prizes cannot be exchanged for money.
  4. No cash equivalents.
  5. Monetary prizes will be given in currency stated: 10 GBP and 25 USD.
  6. In order to get non-monetary prizes, you must provide your postal address. This will be kept confidential and never disclosed to 3rd parties.
  7. Winners must respond the requests within 14 calendar days. If there is no response, the prize will be withheld.

26 Jun 2014

Linux Mint 17 Xfce quick screenshot tour

Linux Mint team produces a number of distributions. Of course, the most famous of them are based on Cinnamon and MATE desktop environments.
However, KDE- and Xfce-based versions of Linux Mint also find their fans.

Linux Mint 17 Xfce was released today. Let's look at what it offer to the user. This is not going to be a full-blown review, rather a quick screenshot tour in the Live session.

Let's go!

24 Jun 2014

How to enable spell-checking in different languages in Pidgin in Linux

If you are a person who speaks different languages, you are very likely to end up having friends in different parts of the world that you need to communicate with. The modern technological world gives you a good way of doing so using various instant messaging protocols.

Pidgin is a free open source application that allows you to communicate through different protocols. I believe it covers most of the protocols currently known in the world. Some of these protocols are available out of the box, others are available through additional plugins.

I have previously written a guest post on Linuxaria's blog that shows the power of plugins for Pidgin. Today I’m going to dive into a similar topic once again, looking through a different prism.

27 May 2014

How Handy HandyLinux Is?

I haven't written reviews for Linux distributions for a while. I think the last review I've done was about OpenSuSE 12.3 about a year ago, but it was a rather short article. The last full-blown review from DarkDuck was SLAX 7.0 in January 2013.

However, I have received a request to make a review, and I simply could not say "no".

We will discuss HandyLinux today. This is an operating system released by a French community, but targeted to worldwide use. You can download the English release from here - please be sure to select the file *-l10n-*, otherwise you get a French edition.

So, I downloaded the ISO image of HandyLinux 1.5 for "modern" computers, i.e. 686 architecture. The ISO size is about 1.2 GB. Then I "burnt" it onto a USB drive with a dd command. USB stick is plugged into the Dell Vostro 1500 laptop.

Fasten your seatbelts. Reboot. Choose to boot from USB. Let's go!

20 May 2014

Great Linux articles are now in Russian

The readers and fans of Linux notes from DarkDuck have noticed already that the blog has not been updated for a while. There are 2 major reasons for that:

  • I have changed my job. Settling on new grounds took a serious part of my time, leaving almost no space for additional activities.
  • My laptop Sony Vaio VGN-NR21Z decided to end its life after less than a year with me, and I had to acquire a new hardware. My new device is Dell Vostro 1500 with dual core 2.2 GHz Intel Centrino processor, 3Gb RAM, Intel 3945ABG wireless network card.

I think you would expect a "Tux moving house" article again, but I must disappoint you this time. The reason is that I have nothing to write about. All the Linux operating systems installed on the hard drive (Debian Wheezy, Mageia 4 and Linux Mint 15) made absolutely no problem for me when the disk had been moved across. The only problem I had was linked to new drivers for Windows Vista, but that was easy to solve using the Dell web site.

However, I still have something to tell you about. My hardcore fans should remember a series of articles I wrote about keyboard layouts in different Desktop Environments:


I also produced a series of videos showing the process of keyboard layout configuration.

The original articles were written in English. Now they are available in Russian, published in User and Linux magazine as my guest articles:


Welcome to read both original and translated articles!