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Jelly Comb – Evolutionary Trackball


I recently purchased a Jelly Comb MT50 trackball as a replacement for a dying Logitech M570. I don’t know if it’s objective, but the M570 buttons seem to be less sturdy than they used to be… My friend Joe repairs a lot of M570s and suggested I get one.

It looks good. It feels good. There are some differences that almost escape you, such as the fact that the button cover is one piece, split and flexible enough to use for individual buttons.

There are differences. The battery is internal, not replacable (unless I send it to Joe or another tech), and rechargable. It turns off when it becomes idle, rather than waking with your mouse usage, and you have to physically turn it off and back on when you boot if it has been longer than a certain amount of time.

It charges with USB C. Or, and here’s a big difference, if your computer has current Bluetooth, it can not only run as a Bluetooth device (and not use your WiFi signal or the dongle at all), it can charge via Bluetooth.

Showing USB-C, internal light, indicators

The price on Amazon is similar to the M570, so the difference in pennies you pay should not be a factor in choosing either trackball. You’ve never heard of Jelly Comb? That could be a factor.

This looks like a better trackball, feels like a better trackball, and probably, down the road, will continue to be a better trackball. It’s not any single thing that makes it stand out: other than the Bluetooth capability, there is nothing that would make you want to throw your M570 away and buy one of these. But that M570 is going to die, or stop working as well as it used to, sooner than you used to be able to count on for a Logitech device, and it is my opinion you should strongly consider replacing it, when it does, with a Jelly Comb MT50.

  • Moss

Linux Mail Clients Deep Dive: Thunderbird

E-mail has been around forever, predating even the web. Despite its age, and the continuous influx of new messaging platforms, it remains the most widely employed form of electronic communication. It offers a combination of reliability, ease of use, flexibility, with an open and non-proprietary structure that appeals to both new and seasoned users. When it comes to accessing e-mail the options are numerous and the choice can be deeply personal.

Most e-mail services offer web-based interfaces that can be accessed through any device and with any operating system. While this can provide users with basic functionality, many users require a dedicated mail client for expanded functionality, the ability to review messages offline, and for managing multiple accounts. In this series of reviews, the ItsMOSS team will review the various mail clients available to Linux users and share our experiences.

Mozilla Thunderbird

Thunderbird is developed by MZLA Technologies Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation. Thunderbird has been in active Open Source development for close to 18 years. It is available for Linux, macOS, Windows and unofficially on FreeBSD and OpenBSD. The built-in features are many.

  • Calendar, local and remote server
  • Chat via IRC and XMPP compatible services
  • RSS Feeds
  • Address Books local, LDAP and Text file import
  • Usenet News Groups
  • Filelink service functionality for WeTransfer, Nextcloud, Dropbox and Box
  • Event and Tasks
  • End-To-End Encryption via OpenPGP and S/MIME

To further add to the functionality, Thunderbird supports Add-on programs. These Add-ons are similar to the extension feature of Web Browsers. I have personally used it on Windows and Linux off and on since it was released.

Installation and setup

Thunderbird can be found in most repositories along with Flatpak, Snap and Appimage. If it’s not already installed in your Linux Distribution. Once installed and opened for the first time, you will be prompted to configure your mail account or accounts. By default it supports POP3 and IMAP, with Microsoft Exchange accounts needing an Add-on to work. Once you type in your name, email address and password, Thunderbird will look to see if it already has the configuration for that provider; if it does, you are done. If not you will be prompted to enter the details specific to your provider. An Exchange account will require the installation of a Add-on and adding your account details to that Add-on. There is also the option of importing mail messages, address book entries, feed subscriptions from compatible applications.

My use case

I’ve been using email for close to 30 years. I started out using Pine, which was a text based email client which used the ncurses interface to give it a somewhat graphical interface. There was no mouse control: you would use the keyboard arrow keys and the enter key to navigate. I would dial in to the University with my modem. I have seen the advancement of email clients over the years. After entering the office workforce in the mid 90’s, I began to use Lotus Notes and Outlook. For my personal email I continued to use Pine for many years until switching to Eudora and then to Thunderbird. After changing careers, I no longer had an employer-provided and -supported email account, and one thing I missed was the ability to see sent emails and read emails despite what computer I was using, due to limitations of POP3. Since the invention of browser based ‘Webmail’, I started to use it to resolve that issue. Once Email providers began offering IMAP, which allowed for two-way folder synchronization, that revived my interest in mail readers.

User Experience

Thunderbird’s functionality is very similar to other email clients mentioned in our previous articles. Your accounts’ folders are on the left panel, with the contents of the selected mail folder in the center panel. Below that is where your selected message is displayed. These windows can all be adjusted by dragging them; optionally, you can display a single day of calendar events in a panel on the right. You can also customize the tool bar by right clicking on it and selecting customize. Other options are available via the View menu, or, if the menu bar isn’t shown, press the alt key on your keyboard.

If you have used other mail clients, you will find similar behavior in Thunderbird. Replies are defaulted to in-line, where the message is quoted below where you would enter your text. Forwarding a message follows the same format as a reply, with the original subject, date, from and to fields listed below. Creating a draft message is very simple, just click on File from the menu bar and select save. That message will then appear in the Draft folder in the left panel; to re-open it, select it from the Drafts folder and resume typing. Once you press the Send button it will be removed from the Drafts folder and placed in the Sent Mail folder. The Address Book is only needed if you are editing or adding new entries. After clicking on Write to create a new message, simply start typing in the name in to the To field, it will automatically display matches in a pop-up window directly below. There is a bit of contention over Address book synchronizing along with the Calendar (more on that below) if you are coming from Outlook. Since that is a native function of the Exchange server. Thunderbird attempts to solve that via text file import using such formats as LDIF, TAB, CSV, TXT and VCard (VCF) or via a Add-on app like TBSync.

The default Calendar integration is not as robust as Outlook. It will prompt to add an event to the calendar if the person sent an ICS file as an attachment to the message. If HTML links are present in the ICS file, they will be preserved in your calendar entry. An ICS file is a standard iCalendar file format that most if not all clients support. Thunderbird does natively support LDAP and iCalendar (not an Apple product). You have the option of importing an ICS calendar file or using a remote ICS service. In order to support CalDAV or CardDAV you will need an Add-on. Synchronizing depends on the provider; some will only support 1-way sync (download from the service to your computer) and others support 2-way sync. Better, and perhaps easier, functionality can be gained by installing an Add-on calendar app replacing the existing default feature.

Over the years Thunderbird has been a popular choice, compared to the paid version of Microsoft Outlook available in MS Office. Thunderbird was still a go-to choice even when Microsoft released Outlook Express, which was a feature-reduced version of Outlook available in Windows. Within the past decade, the look and feel of the various mail clients have kept up with current norms. Many will say the same is not true of Thunderbird; despite the appearance upgrade 4 years ago, it still looks a little outdated. I can’t say I blame them, I think MZLA’s design is more of function over form. It doesn’t mimic the interface that the other current mail clients use. If you used Thunderbird a decade ago, you will see that it hasn’t changed. The Get Messages, Write, Address Book, etc tool bar icons are in the same location and order. The calendar looks and functions the same. That is not to say that they haven’t mimicked other designs. In the past few years they decided to hide the file menu by default (to view the bar you would press the alt key).

When Microsoft released Office 2007 with their new Ribbon Tool Bar (which shouldn’t be confused with the Ribbon Design concept of the late 80’s and into the 90’s) they called it “The Fluent UI”, and it was further refined in future versions. Thunderbird did not make a similar design change, which leaves it looking more dated.

I should say more about the Add-on feature of Thunderbird, one feature which sets it apart from other E-Mail Clients. Unfortunately it is not all roses. The Add-on feature works similarly to the Web Browser Extensions or Gnome Shell Extensions. The Achilles heel of Thunderbird’s Add-on functionality is that a change can essentially break the Add-on. As with the Add-ons of the aforementioned products, they are not all maintained by MZLA, but are independent developers, in many cases donating their time and efforts creating the Add-on. Generally you will not have a problem, but when you do, you are at the mercy of the developer of that Add-on. The Add-on system in Thunderbird will only let you add Add-ons that are compatible with your version. Even if you try to manually install it, Thunderbird will disable it if the Add-on is not compatible with your version of Thunderbird. When this happens, it obviously upsets a number of people. Many will call out the Thunderbird developers to not fix what isn’t broken. This type of issue has been going on for years and not just with Thunderbird: Gnome Shell is notorious for updates that break extensions for example.

Version 78 was released last summer, with an overhauled Add-on system which left many Add-on’s unsupported. It was up to the developers of each product to update their Add-on. I will point out that not all Add-on providers are providing their software for free. There are some who offer products for a fee, and those have a more-vested interest in keeping up with updates. This is not to say that free developers do not attempt to keep up with updates, but they may be less motivated to, or may be too busy with paid projects.

When I updated to version 78 from the version 68, I lost the ability to use gContactSync, which was an Add-on to sync my Contacts from Gmail. I searched for a replacement and found TbSync; this supports CalDAV, CardDAV, Google and Exchange ActiveSync (EAS). If you are using OwnCloud, NextCloud or iCloud then you are covered because they use CalDAV and CardDAV. Replacing gContactSync with TbSync wasn’t a big deal, just a bit of an annoyance.

Final Thoughts

Over the years I have found Thunderbird and the Add-on system to be reliable, though it can be a bit annoying at times. I have never felt that it was lacking any functionality I needed, due to the Add-on features. It may not be very flashy like other E-Mail clients but it will get the job done. I would not have any reservations using Thunderbird as a Outlook replacement when used with a well-supported Add-on for MS Exchange support. For personal use, it is quite usable in its default configuration, though it is not as lightweight as Geary, Claws, or KMail.

Linux Mail Clients Deep Dive- The Lightweight Options

E-mail has been around forever, predating even the web. Despite its age, and the continuous influx of new messaging platforms, it remains the most widely employed form of electronic communication. It offers a combination of reliability, ease of use, flexibility, with an open and non-proprietary structure that appeals to both new and seasoned users. When it comes to accessing e-mail the options are numerous and the choice can be deeply personal.

Most e-mail services offer web-based interfaces that can be accessed through any device and with any operating system. While this can provide users with basic functionality, many users require a dedicated mail client for expanded functionality, the ability to review messages offline, and for managing multiple accounts. In this series of reviews, the ItsMOSS team will review the various mail clients available to Linux users and share our experiences.

Geary, Claws, and KMail

My previous entry in this series (on Evolution) was focused on finding a full-featured mail client and personal information manager. With 8 different accounts that I monitor regularly including a mix of exchange and imap, and with multiple active calendars, the options are limited on Linux (or Windows or Mac for that matter).

However, not everyone has such a complex use case. For many people, the mail client is used with one or two accounts, and additional functions like calendar and tasks lists are unnecessary. In fact, even I don’t bother with my work accounts on my secondary systems. In this case, an enterprise-friendly client is not needed and one might consider lightweight options for a simpler interface.

I tried out Geary, Claws, and KMail, three lightweight mail clients that are in active development and suitable for those who don’t need a comprehensive information manager.

Claws

Claws is a free and open source lightweight mail client that is available in the repositories of most Linux distributions as well as Windows, MacOS, and BSD. It just celebrated its 20th anniversary. It initially started as a developmental branch of Sylpheed (Sylpheed-Claws) but was eventually forked and now appears to be more active then its parent development (Sylpheed’s latest release was January 2018).

Initial setup of Claws is fairly straightforward. You enter the basic details for the account (Full Name, Mail Address) and choose your server protocol. For many accounts you can then click autoconfigure and it will automatically pull the server details which is extremely convenient. Occasionally I have found that you will need to manually enter these details. Be forewarned that Claws will only work with IMAP and POP servers so you will need to look elsewhere if your email is hosted on an exchange server.

Once you have configured your account(s) the interface is fairly standard with an account list and folders on the left and message list with previews to the right. The default layout (message list above the preview) can be changed to three columns (account list, message list, and preview all alongside one another), wide message (the preview column runs the width of the screen under the account list and message list, wide message list (the message list runs the width of the screen over top of the account list and preview, or small screen (account list, message list, and preview are viewed one at a time and take up the whole screen). Personally, I found the three column to be the most visually appealing and functional.

Overall I found the user experience fairly decent in Claws. It isn’t the most visually appealing client, but the interface is simple to navigate and very fast. The toolbar is not overly complicated but that actually conceals a fairly feature rich environment (for a lightweight client). You have an address book, mail filtering system, and signature functionality (simply create a signature file in a text editor and then link it through account preferences, compose). This constitutes the key features in Claws, however this can be expanded slightly through plug-ins (available on the Claws Web site). For example, the ability to view .pdf or to receive attachment warnings.

The verdict:

This is a perfectly functional and fast client that does what it says. While it is not a solution for exchange accounts, for POP/IMAP accounts it gets the job done with no fuss. A worthy option.

Geary

Geary has been around since 2012, initially developed by the Yorba Foundation. According to Wikipedia, the original purpose of Geary was “to bring back users from online webmails to a faster and easier to use desktop application”. That is a mission that I can get behind!

Eventually Yorba stopped operations and, after a fork to Pantheon mail initiated by ElementaryOS, Geary became a GNOME project. It remains in active development, with the most recent stable release coming in September 2020.

Like Claws, Geary does not try to be a one-size-fits-all personal information manager, but remains a clean and simple email-only client. Geary is available in all major repositories and a flatpak is available.

On first boot you are met with a very simple welcome screen that asks you to choose your mail service (Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Outlook.com, other). If your account is with Gmail, Yahoo, or Outlook/Hotmail, Geary will automatically incorporate the server details. All that is needed is a login and password. For other IMAP/SMTP accounts you will require the server address and possibly ports to configure. It’s a bit more work than some clients (Claws, for instance, pulled the server details for most of my accounts) but still fairly straightforward. Like Claws, Geary does not work with exchange e-mail servers.

Once your client is installed, you are welcomed with a fairly modern and clean interface which is amongst the most visually appealing of all Linux mail clients.

Like Claws, it also has a very clean interface with limited buttons on the toolbar. However, behind the scenes it is also quite lean. The only option for changing settings is by clicking the little mail icon in the top left corner. This brings up options to edit accounts, a handful of preferences (automatically select next message, the look of the conversation pane, and sound options) and various help screens.

That’s it! No calendar, no task list, no address book, no filtering options or integration of other apps. It took me a while to find the option but it is possible to create signatures. Once your account is created go to the account list (from the mail icon in the top left) and choose to edit your account. At the bottom of the tab you can create a basic signature.

The verdict

Geary is never going to be mistaken for Thunderbird or Evolution in terms of the features it offers. But that’s the point. This is a lightweight mail client in the truest sense and it is very effective in achieving this goal. It shouldn’t be an option as a personal information manager but for basic e-mail usage it offers the simplest and most visually appealing interface of the lightweight mail clients that I have tried.

KMail

KMail is the e-mail component in Kontact, the personal information manager for the KDE desktop environment. It is designed to be used as an integrated PIM package, but individual components can be downloaded, including Kmail. KMail itself is available in the repositories of most Linux distributions.

I will start by saying that it is a bit of a misnomer to call KMail a lightweight mail client, particularly when used alongside the full Kontact suite. It is significantly heavier and more feature rich than Claws or Geary, but the lack of exchange integration and an incomplete integration of calendar and task features led me to include it alongside Claws and Geary.

Account setup starts off fairly simple. It is just a matter of entering your name, email address and password. KMail can find your provider settings from the internet by checking a box – this is quite effective and worked for every IMAP/SMTP account I tested. You can also enter the information manually if it does not work for some reason. Once this process is complete, KMail offers to configure email encryption with GNU privacy guard. This is somewhat unique amongst the mail clients I have tested. Certainly other clients are able to do encryption in this way (Evolution and Thunderbird have the option in the account settings and Claws has a GPG plugin), but it is rare to incorporate this into the setup process. For new users this might be a greater level of complexity than they are comfortable with, but advanced users may appreciate this.

Once you have configured an account, the interface is quite clean and simple with the typical account/folder list on the right and the message list and preview tab to the right. There is a simple list of actions in the top panel. This is fairly typical but I do find the interface to be slightly more modern looking and visually appealing than other clients (ie. Claws, Thunderbird, Evolution and even Geary).

KMail offers a handful of features like mail filtering, a very nice signature setup, and a rich plugin environment. Being a KDE entity it is also highly configurable with the ability customize toolbars, and virtually everything else. A pet peeve of mine was that sometimes when I would change a setting or appearance (i.e. width of columns) that the change wouldn’t be retained the next time I launched Kmail. I’m not sure if this was unique to me as I only tested in one system.

The verdict

Ultimately I find KMail as a standalone client to not really fit a use case for me. It isn’t really lightweight (Geary and Claws are far lighter) but it isn’t really a full featured personal information manager either. That’s where Kontact comes in. Kontact actually does a very nice job of incorporating separate applications for Mail, Addresses, Calendar, and Tasks together (it also incorporates a news reader and pop-up notes) such that it really does seem to be a single application that approximates the functionality of Outlook, Evolution, or Thunderbird. It has a more modern look than other Linux productivity managers with lots of customization options and a smooth interface.

So if I am thinking about at Kmail then it is within the Kontact suite and the peer group would be Thunderbird, Evolution etc… The big barrier for my own adaptation is exchange integration and unfortunately that is absent at the moment. (*I will be exploring this in greater depth and if I find a solution I will update this article accordingly). So Kontact is one to keep an eye on as a full featured client but for now, as a lightweight option or a comprehensive personal information manager it comes up short in my mind.

Final thoughts

When I am looking for a lightweight mail client, my personal choice is Geary. It is the best-looking, with a simple and highly functional interface. It is currently the client that I’m using for my children’s systems. Both Claws and KMail are functional options that have plenty to offer, but for a lightweight mail client I’m looking for the lightest and simplest with the cleanest interface — and that’s Geary.

Linux Mail Clients Deep Dive: Evolution

E-mail has been around forever, predating even the web. Despite its age, and the continuous influx of new messaging platforms, it remains the most widely employed form of electronic communication. It offers a combination of reliability, ease of use, flexibility, with an open and non-proprietary structure that appeals to both new and seasoned users. When it comes to accessing e-mail the options are numerous and the choice can be deeply personal.

Most e-mail services offer web-based interfaces that can be accessed through any device and with any operating system. While this can provide users with basic functionality, many users require a dedicated mail client for expanded functionality, the ability to review messages offline, and for managing multiple accounts. In this series of reviews, the ItsMOSS team will review the various mail clients available to Linux users and share our experiences.

GNOME Evolution Mail

GNOME Evolution (generally referred to as simply Evolution) is a mature client that has been around for over 20 years. Initially developed by Ximian, it has been free from its inception. It is the default mail client for GNOME, although it is compatible with most other Linux Desktop environments. I have personally used it in Mint Cinnamon, Mint Mate, Manjaro Mate, Lubuntu, and ZorinOS without major issue.

Installation and setup considerations

Evolution is available is most respositories and there is also a flatpak available. It is the default mail client in Debian GNOME and Fedora GNOME. Regardless, finding this application is straightforward for most distros. One thing to bear in mind during installation: if you wish to use Evolution with an exchange/office 365 account then you will need to also make certain it installs exchange-ews, and if it does not, do it yourself.

On first launch, you will be asked to configure one or more mail accounts. POP3 account installation should be as simple as providing a address and a password. Exchange accounts are a little more complicated (see further detail below) but feasible.

Summary of my usage case

I am a very heavy e-mail user both personally and professionally (I am a researcher and university professor). I rely heavily on productivity features like calendar integration and task management.

At the moment I have 8 separate accounts that I use regularly. I have a Hotmail account that I’ve held since before it was owned by Microsoft; it is mostly for spam these days but a number of old friends still use it. I also have a Gmail account (for using the google ecosystem), a ProtonMail account (main personal account), two office365 accounts for work, a POP3 account from my internet service provider (rarely used except for billing), and an account for a professional organization that I volunteer with which I hold temporarily while I sit on the board of directors. Given the breadth of accounts I monitor at any given time, web-based solutions are not appealing and I require a dedicated client. For the past 15 years, that has been Microsoft Outlook; before that I used Lotus Notes and, initially, Eudora.

Regular readers may remember from my February article on Office Suites that finding a replacement for Microsoft Outlook was a major priority for a permanent switch to Linux. So I enter this exercise with this as my main focus.

User Experience

Anyone who has experience using Microsoft Outlook will instantly feel at home with Evolution. The layout is very similar with the account list and mailboxes on the left with a message pane and preview window to the right. The preview window can be re-arranged in the settings menu (again with options very similar to Outlook). Below the account list you will find tabs to access mail, contacts, calendar, tasks, and memo’s similar to what you would see in Outlook. I actually find these tabs more intuitive and easier to navigate than the current Outlook setup.

This similarity to Outlook permeates absolutely everything about Evolution. The signatures feature (accessible under edit, preferences, composer preferences) is almost identical to Outlook and most basic functions (including folder management and flagging of messages) are functionally equivalent. One difference in basic functionality is in forwarded messages. In Outlook you have the option of the message being included in-line in the text. Evolution is similar to earlier versions of Outlook where the forwarded message is included as a separate attachment. Another minor issue is when you receive e-mails from outside your time zone it does not automatically convert, so if I receive an e-mail from Australia it sometimes appears as if it arrived “tomorrow”. Outside of these minor considerations I find the functionality to be near equivalent.

In looking through reviews of Evolution there seem to be two schools of thought on the similarity to Outlook. Some people are turned off by this, wanting nothing to do with Microsoft whatsoever. Others, like myself, appreciate the familiarity which eases the transition process. Much like LibreOffice this an application that you can give to longtime Office users and have them “up and running” reasonably quickly. The learning curve is not what one would face (for example) when switching from Adobe Photoshop to GIMP.

The primary difference between Evolution and Outlook isn’t actually in the features but in the integration of other applications. There is no Teams or OneNote plugin; Zoom integration is also incomplete (i.e saving a meeting opens an e-mail with the invitation details but it does not embed into your calendar automatically). This is true for most e-mail clients in Linux, although Thunderbird does play nice with Zoom and can expand functionality with various plug-ins. Unlike Thunderbird, Evolution does not really have a “plug-in” culture to change appearance or expand functionality. It does have a list of plug-ins under the edit menu but these are fairly limited and there is no download centre like you would see with Thunderbird or Firefox. This does mean that appearance and features are limited to what is available within the application. For most users I think that this will be fine.

The calendar and task integration in Evolution is quite strong compared to other options on Linux. It allows for multiple calendars including Exchange, google, nextcloud etc… and you can choose which ones to display at a given time by checkbox as in Outlook. One papercut issue with the calendar right now is that calendar entries are in plain text rather than HTML. So if there is a link in the invitation (say a Microsoft Teams invitation) then you have to copy and paste it into a browser rather than clicking on the link.

Exchange Integration:

When considering mail clients on Linux there are a variety of options, but when exchange/office 365 is a requirement then the options become quite limited. In fact, as best I can tell, Evolution Mail is the only client on Linux that offers the ability to manage exchange mail and calendars without any associated costs. Mailspring can synch exchange mail but has no calendar integration, Thunderbird requires a plug-in (OWL) that costs ~$10 USD per year, and Hiri is a proprietary software that costs money (it also appears to be no longer in development).

So in many ways Evolution is the logical choice for anyone using an exchange server. However it is not without its challenges. First, as mentioned above, you must make sure that you have installed the evolution-ews package. Second, is that adding an account is slightly more complicated then simply adding the address and password. It can be as simple as manually adding a “host URL” such as is seen in this example:

https://www.eduhk.hk/ocio/content/faq-configure-evolution-access-office-365

However it can also require providing a bit more information (tenant and application IDs…) that may require contacting your system administrator or working with Azure yourself. For such cases the Evolution wiki instructions are clear and accurate (if slightly complex):

https://wiki.gnome.org/Apps/Evolution/EWS/OAuth2.

Which method is necessary depends on how the server is configured by your company/institution but using one of the two approaches you should be able to confirm your account via your preferred 2FA method and then be up and running.

If you absolutely require exchange but the above procedures sound too complicated for you then I would encourage you to consider Thunderbird with the OWL plug-in. It costs $10/yr but once the plug-in is installed then configuration is as simple as providing a log-in and password (and 2FA).

The Verdict

Choice of mail client will always be dependent upon your use case. If you are only interested in receiving mail from a single POP account and do not require a calendar then you may be interested in a lighter client such as Claws or Geary (I will have write-ups for these clients in the future). However if you a heavier user, require calendar and exchange integration then Evolution should be on your radar.

For me, Evolution was really the final domino to fall in my switch to Linux. If you have any affinity for Outlook then you will instantly feel at home with this powerful and intuitive e-mail client. In my opinion it offers greater functionality than most Linux mail clients and better visual appeal and free exchange integration compared with Thunderbird (the only real competitor from a business/productivity standpoint).

I will take my position one step further: it is time to make Evolution the default client in major Linux distributions. Thunderbird (the most common choice) looks like it crawled out of 2003, does not have exchange integration out of the box, and even when you have exchange configured, generating a professional signature is time consuming and complicated. Other clients lack adequate calendar integration or the ability to add all of your accounts. As it stands right now, new Linux users who prefer a powerful mail client will be left longing for Outlook and either switch to a web-based interface or leave Linux altogether. Evolution offers new users familiarity and functionality that could ease the transition. I know from experience: a year ago I was that person and it wasn’t until I found Evolution that I truly felt ready to switch full-time. The impact on experienced users should be minimal since they are either entrenched in Thunderbird/Geary/Claws, using a web interface, or doing e-mail via their phones. Asking them to install their preferred client after the fact shouldn’t be an issue.

Distro Madness: And your champion is…

Congratulations to Linux Mint Cinnamon: our first ever Distro Madness Champion. Cinnamon was a consistent performer, being well liked in every round and eventually coming out on top with 75% of the vote in our final round. Linux Mint Mate was certainly a worthy runner-up but fell just short.

A critic will say that we spent three months finding out that a group largely recruited from the Linux Mint community preferred Linux Mint as its distribution and Mint’s most popular desktop environment amongst the various Mint flavours. Next year I think that we will need to reach out to other communities and restructure our tournament to get the most out of this exercise.

But I personally had a lot of fund watching the results each week and seeing which other distributions had caught our community’s eye. In several cases, such as Feren OS, seeing the popularity of a distribution caused me to give it a second look.

I hope that our readers and voters took as much from this as I did. Now that we are complete I know that many of you will be curious about the results as a whole. While we know that Linux Mint was the most popular distribution, what about the others that contributed multiple DEs to the competition? Ubuntu fairly convincingly finished with the second most total votes but it is worth noting that Manjaro achieved its total with only two entrants (XFCE and KDE). Thus Manjaro seems to be fairly popular amongst our group. I’ve often referred to Manjaro as “Linux Mint for the Arch base”: maybe there is some merit to that?

DistroTotal VotesVotes/DE
Linux Mint424106
Ubuntu22332
Fedora13226
Debian11122
Manjaro11055

For those who really want to delve in to the results I have also included a sorted table with every distribution and the total votes it gained across the whole competition below.

RankDistroTotal Votes
1Mint Cinnamon139
2Mint Mate114
3Mint XFCE100
4MX Linux83
5Solus77
6LMDE71
7Ubuntu62
8Manjaro XFCE61
9Fedora-GNOME53
10Debian-GNOME50
11Arch50
12Xubuntu49
13Manjaro KDE49
14OpenSUSE46
15Kubuntu45
16Pop!_OS44
17elementary OS43
18Zorin OS42
19Debian Plasma40
20Ubuntu Mate40
21UbuntuDDE38
22Ubuntu Budgie38
23KDE neon38
24Lubuntu34
25TAILS34
26Endeavour OS33
27Fedora Plasma32
28Ubuntu Unity30
29Feren OS30
30CentOS30
31Peppermint OS30
32Fedora LXQt24
33Rocky Linux16
34PCLinuxOS15
35Bodhi Linux15
36Garuda15
37Kali Linux14
38Debian Mate14
39Red Hat13
40Mageia13
41Sparky Linux13
42Fedora Cinnamon13
43Ubuntu Studio12
44Linux Lite12
45Slackware11
46Parrot OS11
47OpenMandriva11
48AntiX11
49Fedora XFCE10
50Raspberry Pi OS (Raspbian)10
51Deepin10
52Gecko Linux10
53Puppy Linux9
54Scientific Linux9
55Gentoo7
56Nitrux7
57Debian LXDE7
58Alpine7
59Sabayon Linux7
60Oracle Linux5
61PureOS5
62Chromium OS5
63Ubuntu Kylin3
64Slax1

Thanks again everyone for your participation. Looking forward to bringing this back “bigger and better” in 2022.

Cheers

Memory Usage of Distros

Moss Bliss

Each distro uses RAM differently. How much memory your computer has, and how much your distro uses, are key components in selecting a distro, one which is often overlooked.

I have (and have had) several machines. I have run gobs of distros on each one. There are several programs in Linux which can measure RAM usage, some of which are available for all Linux distros. For the purposes of this article, I have used neofetch.

I have gone into each, with the machine booted at rest and with nothing running except what the distro loads at boot (which may include things you have added, such as Slimbook Battery), opened a Terminal program, and run the neofetch command.

The following file lists my results, with the key below, divided by RAM usage and alpha by distro name. (The terms in parentheses indicate which computer the test was run on, with a key below the table.)

By Size
Bodhi 5.1 (Mini) 269 MiB
Bodhi 5.1 (Z400) 269 MiB
Bodhi 6 RC (Dell) 281 MiB
Bodhi 5.1 (Kudu) 292 MiB
Bodhi 6 RC (Kudu) 329 MiB
ExLight 2021.1 (Kudu) 340 MiB
Endeavour OS (Z400) 360 MiB
Bodhi 6 Beta (Z400) 366 MiB
Peppermint 10 (Mini) 368 MiB
Peppermint 10 (Kudu) 411 MiB
Lubuntu 21.04 (Kudu) 461 MiB
Linux Mint 20.1 MATE (Z400) 469 MiB
PCLinuxOS 2020.10 MATE (Kudu) 483 MiB
Lubuntu 20.10 (Kudu) 486 MiB
UbuntuDDE Remix 21.04 (Z400) 490 MiB
OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 (Mini) 513 MiB
SolydX 2021 (Dell) 522 MiB
Mageia 8 XFCE (Dell) 526 MiB
OpenMandriva Lx 4.2 (Z400) 557 MiB
Linux Mint 20.1 MATE (Dell) 560 MiB
UbuntuDDE Remix 20.10 (Dell) 562 MiB
UbuntuDDE Remix 20.10 (Z400) 590 MiB
OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 (Kudu) 601 MiB
Linux Mint 20 MATE (Mini) 603 MiB
Emmabuntus DE3 LXQt (Kudu) 606 MiB
Linux Mint 20.1 MATE (Kudu) 619 MiB
UbuntuDDE Remix 20.10 (Kudu) 626 MiB
Mageia 8 Plasma (Kudu) 689 MiB
Linux Mint 20.1 MATE (Z800) 691 MiB
MakuluLinux LinDoz 2021 (Z400) 698 MiB
Manjaro 20.2 Cinnamon (Mini) 721 MiB
Robolinux 12 MATE (Kudu) 754 MiB
MakuluLinux LinDoz 2021 (Dell) 794 MiB
Feren OS 2021.01 (Kudu) 811 MiB
Pop!_OS 20.10 (Kudu) 822 MiB
MakuluLinux LinDoz 2021 (Kudu) 826 MiB
Ubuntu Unity 21.04 (Kudu) 815+ MiB
Manjaro 20.2 Cinnamon (Kudu) 906 MiB
Ubuntu Unity 20.04 (Mini) 941 MiB
Ubuntu Web 20.04 (Kudu) 1137 MiB
By Name
Bodhi 5.1 (Mini) 269 MiB
Bodhi 5.1 (Z400) 269 MiB
Bodhi 5.1 (Kudu) 292 MiB
Bodhi 6 RC (Dell) 281 MiB
Bodhi 6 RC (Kudu) 329 MiB
Bodhi 6 Beta (Z400) 366 MiB
Emmabuntus DE3 LXQt (Kudu) 606 MiB
Endeavour OS 2021 (Z400) 360 MiB
ExLight 2021.01 (Kudu) 340 MiB
Feren OS 2021.01 (Kudu) 811 MiB
Linux Mint 20.1 MATE (Z400) 469 MiB
Linux Mint 20.1 MATE (Dell) 560 MiB
Linux Mint 20 MATE (Mini) 603 MiB
Linux Mint 20.1 MATE (Kudu) 619 MiB
Linux Mint 20.1 MATE (Z800) 691 MiB
Lubuntu 20.10 (Kudu) 486 MiB
Lubuntu 21.04 (Kudu) 461 MiB
Mageia 8 XFCE (Dell) 526 MiB
Mageia 8 Plasma (Kudu) 689 MiB
MakuluLinux LinDoz 2021 (Kudu) 826 MiB
MakuluLinux LinDoz 2021 (Z400) 698 MiB
MakuluLinux LinDoz 2021 (Dell) 794 MiB
Manjaro 20.2 Cinnamon (Mini) 721 MiB
Manjaro 20.2 Cinnamon (Kudu) 906 MiB
OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 (Mini) 513 MiB
OpenMandriva Lx 4.2 (Z400) 557 MiB
OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 (Kudu) 601 MiB
PCLinuxOS 2020.10 MATE (Kudu) 483 MiB
Peppermint 10 (Mini) 368 MiB
Peppermint 10 (Kudu) 411 MiB
Pop!_OS 20.10 (Kudu) 822 MiB
Robolinux 12 MATE (Kudu) 754 MiB
SolydX 2021 (Dell) 522 MiB
UbuntuDDE Remix 20.10 (Dell) 562 MiB
UbuntuDDE Remix 20.10 (Z400) 590 MiB
UbuntuDDE Remix 20.10 (Kudu) 626 MiB
UbuntuDDE Remix 21.04 (Z400) 490 MiB
Ubuntu Unity 20.04 (Mini) 941 MiB
Ubuntu Unity 21.04 (Kudu) 815+ MiB
Ubuntu Web 20.04 (Kudu) 1137 MiB

My machines:
2014 System76 (Kudu) 3, i7-6700HQ, 16 Gb RAM, 1 Tb SSD
2014 Gigabyte (Mini) Box, 4th Gen i3, 16 Gb RAM, 512 Gb SSD (retired)
2010 HP (Z400) Workstation, Xeon W3565, 16 Gb, 512 Gb SSD
2010 HP (Z800) Workstation, dual Xeon X5570, 24 Gb RAM, 1 Tb HD
2016 (Dell) Inspiron 7353 2-in-1, i5-6200U, 8 Gb RAM, 128 Gb SSD

+ Every time I ran neofetch on Ubuntu Unity the number was higher than the last time. The lowest number is reported

Of course, how much RAM is used when you load your browser (and how many tabs) or other programs will also vary from distro to distro, but the ones which manage RAM better probably are the ones which boot with better RAM management.

This article will be updated with new information. First post 04/26/2021

Linux and Open Source Podcasts

Linux podcasts are a wonderful thing, and are underappreciated in my view. I started listening to Jupiter Broadcasting podcasts way back when they were independent (they are independent again, after separating from their corporate overlords), like 2015 or so. I wanted so badly to get Jupiter to start a new podcast on desktop Linux, and was rebuffed because there are so many desktops Chris didn’t know how to handle that in a podcast.

In October 2018 I was named part of a new team taking over mintCast, a long-running podcast. I’m still on that team, and it’s a lot of fun to do as well as to listen to, as indicated by our 3300-4000 weekly listeners. It runs pretty long; we record it every other week and split it into two podcasts, so it turns out to be a weekly show.

In April 2019, one of my mintCast co-hosts agreed to start a new podcast with me, Distrohoppers’ Digest, and we’ve been doing it at about one episode per month with some slippage. It’s MOSS admin Dale Miracle has joined Tony Hughes and I on that podcast and is now a team member. We try to keep Distrohoppers’ down to 45-60 minutes for a variety of reasons.

And I have just done my 4th weekly podcast of Full Circle Weekly News. This is required to be under 10 minutes, although I’ve been pushing it lately.

Other podcasts of interest include Crowbar Kernel Panic, a podcast on Linux gaming by two others of my mintCast cohort, Josh and Bo; The Linux Link Tech Show and Linux Lugcast, which include mintCaster Joe Boyland, Hacker Public Radio, which is open to anyone to talk on any topic with approval of the host and including Tony Hughes as a correspondent. You might call this my current family of podcasts, although there are no contractual ties among us.

I already mentioned Jupiter Broadcasting; they have a pretty good selection of shows. Destination Linux Network is another group of people working together. Linux4Everyone has resurged of late, and is or used to be part of Destination Linux Network.

There are a number of popular UK podcasts, including Ubuntu Podcast, Linux Lads, and Late Night Linux.

I have been reminded by friends that I missed Going Linux, Linux Journal: Reality 2.0, Sunday Morning Linux Review, and Linux For the Rest of Us. I will point out that my comments to the makers of that last show mentioned have been met with less than respect. Also Linux User Space, a show I listen to regularly although it is currently on end-of-season hiatus, and there is even a podcast for Distrowatch. There is another podcast which frequently walks on Linux-based ground, Bad Voltage.

This is still only a sampling of English-language Linux and open source podcasts, although we are approaching completeness. Feel free to mention who we missed, and we’ll add them to the list. This is not intended as a full-fledged directory, but may evolve into one.

Many of these shows are supported by donations; most are also supported by advertising revenue, supported by companies like A Cloud Guru, Linode, Digital Ocean, Ting and the like. All of those listed are audio; some are also available in video from YouTube, Odysee, PeerTube or other sites. At present, none of the podcasts I’m on feature any advertising, although I do have a Sponsus and all are welcome to donate to it; the link can be found on this site.

Moss

Choose your champion- Distro Madness Finale

It took 5 rounds but we finally had a Linux Mint DE exit Distro Madness. Of course it only happened once every other distro had been eliminated, but it still happened.

Our semifinal matchups were not particularly close in the end. I can’t say I was surprised by the result for Cinnamon vs LMDE. LMDE evolved as a backup plan and I think that it tends to be viewed as such by many. That’s not to diminish LMDE in any way, I think it serves a very important purpose, but I don’t think that you can call the result a surprise.

The dominance of Mate over XFCE was a bit more of a surprise to me, both had been equally dominant leading up to the semifinal so I expected a little more competition. Given this result I honestly don’t know what to expect in this final matchup but I am excited to finally be able to choose our champion. As always thanks for the participation and support.

Vote here

Timbuk2 Authority Laptop Backpack Deluxe in Black

Updated 4/28/2021
Updates are available at the end of the article.

I travel for my job, so I need to be able to carry a lot of personal belongings. I’ve had that taken care of for quite a number of years. I have always carried my laptop with me in the typical laptop carrying case. Since the size of my laptops over the years haven’t changed much, I’ve been able to reuse the carrying case, only replacing them due to wearing out.

I acquired another laptop in the past couple years for the purposes of trying different Linux Distros AKA Distrohopping. The laptop was staying at home until last fall, which is when I started doing reviews for the Distrohoppers’ Digest Podcast. I would pack the laptop with my clothing for protection because I didn’t have a case for it. That was a workable solution and kept the laptop protected.

This past March I purchased a new laptop, a System76 Pangolin. My first impression review is available via this link. It is 15.6 inches in screen size; my existing case only supports screen sizes up to 14″. So I started looking at new cases. My first thought was to get the same brand of case I’ve been using. I saw many other good options while browsing online. The next day while working I started to think about how I would carry another laptop case. Then I thought about my other laptop that doesn’t even have a case. I surely am not going to have 3 laptop cases hanging off of me.

That evening I looked at the System76 website to see what accessories they have. I noticed they had some carrying cases. Personally I didn’t care for the design. I saw they were selling the Timbuk2 brand. Having never heard of them, I looked at their website. They had quite a selection; I narrowed my choices to the backpack style of laptop cases. I read through some reviews on their site and others.

Well, after looking for a couple more days, I decided I would give them a chance. The specific model is 1825-3-1358. As of the date of purchase – March 25th, 2021 – the price was $139.00. I was a little surprised at the price, as I have never paid that much for a backpack or laptop case. Actually if you added up the cases I’ve had the past 20 years, I don’t think it would add up to $139.00.

Details

  • Product Style Pack
  • Total Volume (liters) 28.00 L
  • Weight (lbs) 2.4 lb
  • Avg. Laptop Fit (in) 15”

Further details are available from this link.

The material has a smooth but textured feel to it. They mention using Canvas, Twill, Polyester and other Polymer based material. Timbuk2’s craftsmanship doesn’t look or feel cheap. Stitching is neat and tight, all of the zippers have pull tassels and use nylon metal teeth. They move freely with minimal effort of one hand. I was able fit my 15.6″ System76 Pangolin in the rear sleeve and my Lenovo ThinkPad T430 in the middle compartment sleeve. There is plenty more room for a 8″ or 10″ tablet along with notepads and books. I put the power adapters in the bottom of the middle compartment.

There is a front zippered pocket with a lanyard which has a clasp for keys. Below is to allow the width of the pack to expand.

On the back you can see the padding and the adjustable shoulder straps. There is a clasp that can cinch the two strap closer together. In the bottom third you can see a horizontal piece sewn into the backpack; this is for attaching the backpack to a rolling piece of luggage, where you would slide it over the handle of the luggage.

There is an expandable pouch on the right side.

There is nothing on the left side to mention.

Here is the front compartment. There are pockets sewn in with a zipper compartment 5 or so inches deep. In front of the sewn pockets, there is a deep pouch that could hold notepads or books. A 14″ laptop would fit but anything smaller would move around slightly.

Here in the middle compartment there is a sleeve; I keep my 14″ Lenovo ThinkPad T430 in there. There is more space in the pouch in front of it. Keep in mind that anything you put in the front compartment, though separate, shares the same volume as the middle compartment. Flat items such as books or notepads would work best.

Here is a view looking into the middle compartment. You can see the ac adapters for the two laptops laying in the bottom.

This is the rear compartment. The main laptop sleeve is located here. There is only room for the laptop. The laptop pictured is my 15.6″ System76 Pangolin. It is a pretty snug fit and takes two hands to slide it out.

Another feature I like is the handle on top of the backpack, which has a nice firm but spongy feel. It makes lifting the backpack fully loaded very comfortable. The underside of the shoulder straps are padded the same as the back of the backpack. The top side is a stiff but flexible canvas type material. The adjustments are at the bottom of the straps. I wore backpacks all through school without ever having an issue with discomfort other than having 20 to 30lbs of books and notepads to carry around. Fast forward into my mid 40’s and my occasional back pain due to hours of driving over the years. I may not be the best judge of comfort when it comes to backpacks. With that said, I will say that the Authority is decently padded. I personally would have liked a little more.

Conclusion

Overall I am pretty happy with the Authority. I can carry and protect two laptops. Along with other items I didn’t have space for in my roll-able luggage. The upright form factor of the backpack is easy to stow away, while still having access to the compartments without needing to move it. This is in comparison to common laptop bags. I have no concerns about it not protecting the contents; it is decently padded through out the backpack. So far my only complaint is the nylon teeth of the zippers (See update below). They function well and don’t snag while being used, but my concern is after many years of use, they might wear down and not mesh completely, resulting in the zipper track separating. That can make moving the zipper’s slider difficult if not impossible. That has been the failure of laptop bags, clothing, and toiletry bags I’ve had in the past. I have found metal teeth to be more reliable and last for many more years. I will write a follow-up review of the Authority in 6 months and possibly a year to see how it is working.

Update 4/28/2021

I emailed Timbuk2 to inquiry about the material used in the zipper. They informed me that the zipper on the Authority and Authority Deluxe are made of metal. They did not specific what type of metal. I know it is not a magnetic metal. Because I tested a magnet on the zipper. That only leaves aluminum, brass and nickel. With nickel it depends on how it was made to determine if it is magnetic.
Personally the zipper doesn’t feel metal to me. As I stated in my conclusion the material feels like nylon or a polymer based material. Perhaps they are coating it with something for weather protection. That may make it feel like nylon/polymer based material..

System76 Pangolin : First Impression

Among many Linux enthusiasts, System76 is an aspirational brand. I’ve known of them for several years. I have been a huge fan of the ThinkPad laptops currently made by Lenovo; my interest dates back to the mid 90’s when IBM created them earlier in the decade. I repaired them professionally from the mid 90’s until the early 2000’s, so I grew quite fond of their quality and later compatibility with Linux. Out of all the System76 reviews in print and video, one of the most common criticisms has been that the keyboards do not compare favorably to those of the ThinkPads. I will agree that the ThinkPad keyboard is one of the best compared to other brands. But I’ve been quite curious about the System76 laptops and how they compare to my ThinkPads.

There were only a few things holding me back. First, obviously, was the keyboard, and secondly was NVidia graphics. I knew System76’s Pop!_OS has some of the best NVIDIA support in Linux, however that would still cause issues when wanting to dual boot another distro without included drivers. I personally have not had good luck with NVidia under Linux. I have never been a fan of touchpads and also have a problem bumping them while I type. I usually disable them on my ThinkPads and use the TrackPoint. When System76 announced an all AMD laptop, I was very interested, and signed up for email notifications on it.

Like many others, I received an email in mid-March of this year, stating that the Pangolin was available for purchase. I immediately looked over the specs and pricing. After sleeping on the decision, I configured and ordered the laptop the next day.

My configuration

  • Base System Price $849.00
  • Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS (64-bit) with full disk-encryption
  • 4.0 GHz Ryzen 5 4500U (2.3 up to 4.0 GHz – 8MB Cache – 6 Cores – 6 Threads)
  • 16 GB Dual Channel DDR4 at 3200 MHz (2 x 8GB) $89.00
  • 240 GB Seq Read: 540 MB/s, Seq Write: 465 MB/s
  • 1 Year Limited Parts and Labor Warranty
  • United States QWERTY Keyboard
  • WiFi 6 + Bluetooth
  • 15.6″ Matte FHD FHD Wide View Angle Matte Display
  • Subtotal: $938.00

All features and options are listed below.

Operating SystemPop!_OS 20.10 (64-bit), Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS (64-bit), or Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (64-bit)
ProcessorAMD Ryzen™ 5 4500U: 2.3 up to 4.0 GHz – 6 Cores – 6 Threads AMD Ryzen™ 7 4700U: 2.0 up to 4.1 GHz – 8 Cores – 8 Threads
Display15.6″ 1920×1080 FHD, Matte Finish
GraphicsAMD Radeon™ Graphics
MemoryUp to 64 GB DDR4 @ 3200 MHz
Storage1 x M.2 SSD(SATA or PCIe NVMe). Up to 2TB total.
Expansion1× USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 1 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, 2× USB 2.0 Type-A, MicroSD Card Reader
InputMultitouch Clickpad, Multi-Color Backlit US QWERTY Keyboard
NetworkingGigabit Ethernet, Intel® Dual Band Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5
Video PortsHDMI(w/HDCP)
AudioStereo Speakers, 1× Headphone/Microphone Combo
Camera1.0M 720p HD Webcam
SecurityKensington® Lock
BatteryLi-Ion – 49 Wh
Charger65 W, AC-in 100–240 V, 50–60 Hz
Dimensions14.19″ × 9.42″ × 0.78″ (36.0 × 23.9 × 1.99 cm)
Weight3.64 lbs (1.65kg)
Modelpang10

First Impression

Upon removing it from the box. My first thought was it looked far more expensive than the configured $938. The build quality was as good as my ThinkPad T460. They sell new for around the same price range of the Pangolin. When I pick up the laptop, holding it from the palm rest, it doesn’t flex and feels very rigid. The LCD hinges offer just enough tension to allow adjustment with one hand, although moving it back does require holding the base down with my other hand. It is no different on my T460; both have similar amounts of flex in the LCD. I will say that the T460’s LCD is slightly more rigid. Keep in mind that my T460 has a 14″ LCD and the Pangolin has a 15.4″.

The first couple days typing on the keyboard was quite an adjustment for me. The key caps are flat but have a good texture to them, whereas the T460 is smoother and the key caps have a slight bow to them. The key travel is slightly more than that of the T460 keyboard. So the first week was interesting when you add the flatness, smoothness and deeper key travel. Oddly enough after typing on the Pangolin’s keyboard for 2 weeks, I honestly can say I am kind of preferring it more. The bump I get using the T460’s keyboard is more pronounced than the Pangolin’s and I find myself typing as fast or slightly faster on the Pangolin. Go figure.

One thing I really like about the keyboard is the addition of the 10 keypad AKA the number pad. That is something I missed using my ThinkPads. It has resulted in me re-learning where some keys are on the keyboard.

The backlit keyboard on the Pangolin is much brighter than the T460, which only has two brightness levels. The Pangolin has the default lowest level plus 5 brighter levels. The backlight colors are Magenta, Green, Cyan, Yellow, White, Blue and Red. All are accessible via Fn + marked key caps.

The TrackPad for me has been a big surprise; I must be more self aware about not bumping while typing than I use to be. I still did a couple times but not often. It supports multi-touch gestures, including two finger scrolling and right mouse button usage. I am sure there are more yet to be discovered.

Here are some images of the sides of the laptop.

Right Side showing the USB 3.2 Type A and C ports, full size HDMI and barrel type power socket.
Left side showing Kensington Lock, RJ45 Ethernet, 2 USB 2.0, 2 card readers and the microphone/headset connector.

The battery life so far is decent. With the screen brightness at about 1/4 or so and the keyboard backlight at its lowest setting, I’ve used it for 2 hours and still had 80 to 85% battery. I used it throughout the past week without plugging it in, probably around 4 or 5 hours at about 50%. I will monitor it some more.

A brief mention on Pop!_OS. It has been a good experience. I am not much of a Gnome fan and I haven’t used Gnome 3 much since its release a decade ago. I can’t really give any comparisons to Pop!_OS at the moment. I will speak more on this on the next Distrohoppers Digest, Episode 022. https://distrohoppersdigest.blogspot.com/

Final Thoughts

After two weeks of use, I can say that I am very pleased with the Pangolin. My apprehension over the keyboard and touchpad is pretty much gone. The fact that I am tending to prefer the keyboard on the Pangolin over my much-loved T-series ThinkPads really says something. I will write a follow-up article after I use the laptop for a few more weeks, probably around the time DHD Episode 022 is recorded.