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Help Wanted

The three of us have gotten too busy to keep writing all the time. For instance, we didn’t even finish last year’s Distro Madness and it’s time for yet another. (Part of the blame for that is due to having had troubles getting mintCast published on time, with editor issues, so we didn’t have an easy way to get information on the results and closing/opening of rounds to you.) I have 3 podcasts I work on (Full Circle Weekly News, mintCast, and Distrohoppers’ Digest) in addition to substitute teaching, Dale is also on Distrohoppers’ Digest and is a long haul trucker, and Dylan is a full time university professor.

If any of you have things to say on open source or non-open-source software for Linux or other *nixes, or on hardware topics, please write to me at with your idea or article.


Upgrading from Mint 20.3 to 21.1

I recently downgraded from Mint 21 back to 20.3, just for stability’s sake and to use some apps which were disabled or removed from the Ubuntu 22.04 base. Now that there has been some time for Ubuntu to fix some of those issues, and Mint has released the next version (Vera, 21.1), I thought I would give it a try, and thought a few of our readers might be interested in the result. Here are the steps I took and the time it took to do them:

Upgrade from 20.3 to 21

Downloaded mintupgrade
Started @18:41
Timeshift completed @18:47
Fix holds, search for orphans
Phase 2 @18:47 -18:48
Package download @19:00 (over 2400 files)
Phase 3 – Upgrade @19:00-19:37
Looking for foreign packages, fix @19:37
Final phase @19:39
Reboot @19:39

Upgrade from 21 to 21.1
Upgrade to 21.1 started @19:41
Download started @19:42
Completed @19:47
Updates completed @19:51
Tweaks – removed vestiges of libreoffice, pysolfc @19:58

So, to upgrade through two versions of Linux Mint, it took me about 77 minutes, but that is including a couple tweaks of my own that you might not do.

In the end, PySolFC is still not working, and neither is Grub Customizer. Both of them have been fixed, but neither fix has been picked up by Ubuntu or Mint for use in the .deb package; I have been told that PySolFC is fixed in the Snap version.

Things Are Slow

I realize 2022 wasn’t our most active but we were all really busy and were trying to keep up on other projects. Dale still intends to get Part 3 out of his fine article on desktop environments. mintCast had some timing problems with getting episodes out which impacted our ability to do Distro Madness in any particular time frame. And I’ve had a lot of work to do with my three podcasts, as early in the year I returned to mintCast in addition to my duties with Distrohoppers’ Digest and Full Circle Weekly News. I am happy to report that I got an episode of FCWN out for every week of the year, with two to go.

I hope to have more articles in 2023. If you would like to submit something, sent it to me at or

Distro Madness Round 1 Concludes

After an extended voting period, the first round of Distro Madness is now concluded. Voting for round #2 is now open


Here are the results to date with some thoughts to follow

The first thing that I noticed was that Linux Mint ended up in a surprisingly competitive race. It was by no means a nail biter but this was the champion from last year and Void linux took 3 votes from it while other distros such as Debian, Ubuntu, Manjaro, Zorin and Pop OS all had “perfect” rounds.

Round #1 rarely gives many upsets because of our seeding process however there were a few upsets based on the initial rankings. Deepin took down Endeavour OS in a mild surprise, Red Hat fell to Linux Lite by 4 votes and Ubuntu Studio slipped past Kali Linux in two 8 vs 9 matchups. Scientific Linux defeating CentOS (residual hard feelings from the switch to CentOS Stream last year? and Nitrux defeating KDE Neon were both upsets but the most shocking result was Arco Linux defeating Kubuntu (handily). It seems that our voters are not big fans of Plasma.

On to round 2 where the feature matchup is Lubuntu vs Ubuntu Mate.

Distro Madness 2022 Opens

Welcome to DistroMadness 2022.

For those of you who participated last year you can skip straight to the voting.


If you are new to Distro Madness or just want a refresher on how it works then please see below.

What is Distro Madness?

DistroMadness is an effort to understand the Linux community’s distribution preferences that is modelled off of the NCAA college basketball tournament held in March of each year in the United States. That tournament, affectionately called “March Madness” determines the top basketball team in the country through a series of single elimination matchups.

How does it work?

For “Distro Madness” we have selected the most common distributions available and will work through a series of choices between two distributions. Votes will decide which distribution they personally prefer based on whatever criteria they choose. At the end of each round I will tabulate the votes and the distributions with the most votes will advance to the next round and so on for a total of 6 rounds before deciding on the champion distribution.


To avoid having the top basketball teams in the country facing each other early, the basketball tournament divides the teams into 4 regions (East, South, Midwest and West) and then further seeds within the regions from 1-16 based on the estimated quality of the team. Similarly, we have divided the Linux distributions into 4 groups with seeding from 1-16. This has been done based on last years voting results.

Enough background let’s see the bracket

Here is the 2022 bracket

Full Circle Magazine Needs You

Full Circle Magazine is a monthly online publication which has just published its 177th issue. FCM is about anything regarding computers and open source, with an emphasis on Ubuntu Linux and other Linux distros which are based on it.

Ronnie writes:
“Excerpt from my Editorial: Probably for the first time in FCM history we only have enough for two HowTo articles. […] As stated last month: we DESPERATELY need articles. I’ve got nothing spare. So, PLEASE, spend a few moments to write SOMETHING about what you know. It can be ANYTHING as long as it has something to do with Linux; hardware/software reviews, a how-to on something, even your story of how you found Ubuntu/Linux (of any flavor). Send whatever to:”

It’s MOSS’s own Dale Miracle has the cover article in this issue. Moss Bliss does a weekly Full Circle Weekly News podcast. We support this magazine. We hope that you can too.


Are you ready for our second season of Distro Madness? We have not exactly built up our user levels, but I’m back on mintCast so we might have some traction… We did better research after the last version, which admittedly was a trial run. So we won’t have ExLight going up against Ubuntu or some similar travesty, unless the David has already slain a Goliath or two in earlier rounds.

The sides are being taken. The seedings are being made. Get ready for … DISTRO MADNESS!

My Year In Linux / Moss

Favourite Distribution(s): Always Bodhi, but I’m getting to like ArcoLinux Mate. Gotta keep Mint around in case something needs to get done that I am having trouble with.

Favourite New Hardware (that you own): This has been a good hardware year for me. I have a new T540p laptop and a new ThinkCentre Tiny M700 desktop.

Favourite FOSS project in 2021: Ventoy

Favourite closed source project (if any): SoftMaker Office

Biggest disappointment: Bluetooth in Mint. My Bluetooth mouse seems to work better in almost any other distro.

FOSS projects that I have contributed to in 2021 (financial or otherwise): Bodhi Linux

Project/Product release that I am most looking forward to in 2022: Mint 21, Tenacity

Best News in 2021: Steam Box (still not released, but coming) I’m not a gamer, but getting more people in Linux is always a good thing.

Worst News in 2021: Audacity/MuseScore merger and multiple fauxs pas

Positive Prediction for 2022: Linux will reach 4% of desktop use.

Negative Prediction for 2022: Nobody will care.

Favourite Linux/FOSS Podcast: Distrohoppers’ Digest. But I’m prejudiced. Podcast I’m not on that I listen to the most: Late Night Linux

Favourite Linux/FOSS News Source:, Jupiter Broadcasting, DLN

Ambitious goal for 2022: Survive another year. Sell my unused computers. Find a new place to live and move there.

My Year in Linux/FOSS (Dale)

Favorite Distribution(s): Solus Budgie, Debian, Void Linux, Pop!_OS

Favorite New Hardware (that you own): System76 Pangolin

Favorite FOSS project in 2021: I finally got around to installing and configuring OpenRGB. It works well controlling my Corsair LED fans, Razer Cynosa V2 keyboard, and G.Skill Trident RGB memory. Though you do need to install OpenRazer to support Razer products.

Favorite closed source project (if any): I don’t have any.

FOSS projects that I have contributed to in 2021 (financial or otherwise): ProtonMail and Bitwarden.

Project/Product release that I am most looking forward to in 2022: I am following the development of System76’s Pop!_OS and the Solus project moving away from Gnome. It is not likely they will be released in 2022, but I am hoping for some Beta versions.

Best News in 2021: The Wayland project gaining some much-needed ground with Gnome and distro’s using it by default. A big surprise was NVIDIA providing support.

Worst News in 2021: Redhat ending support early for CentOS. In my opinion, It was the most botched announcement. I’ve heard in some podcasts that Redhat is now saying as they look back, that they could have done much better.

Positive Prediction for 2022: Intel will (supply chain issues withstanding) offer graphics cards to compete with NVIDIA and AMD.

Negative Prediction for 2022: NVIDIA will continue to support Linux in the least way possible.

Favorite Linux/FOSS Podcast: Linux Unplugged.

Favorite Linux/FOSS News Source: Linux Action News and Full Circle Magazine.

Ambitious goal for 2022: I am not sure about ambition but I’ve been wanting to learn more about GRUB and its UEFI support.

Installing Linux on a ThinkCentre Tiny M700

I just got a new (refurb) model of this incredibly tiny machine, to replace my giant HP Z800 Workstation for both room, newness, and power consumption. So I set down to install Linux on it, not Windoze 10 as comes installed. And I ran into a brick wall. With help from friends, chiefly Leo Chavez of Linux User Space podcast, I got it working. This assumes you already have your distro burned to a USB stick (I use a Ventoy stick with multiple distros). Here are the steps.

1. Boot & wait for Lenovo screen
2. Hit Enter and wait for BIOS screen
3. Insert USB (in my case, Ventoy) stick quickly enough that the machine has time to read it without moving on to the next menu (if you miss this, you’re going to need to start over)
4. Hit F12 to tell it to boot from an alternate source
5. Select USB (Ventoy) stick (& choose your distro)

After that, it’s a piece of cake.