First Impressions of Zevenos Neptune 3.3 KDE

By | October 20, 2013

Zevenos Neptune

 

I must say this is a visually stunning distro. It is an absolute pleasure to look at the screen even during system boot. They really worked on the graphics! Not just the desktop either, the drivers have dramatically improved. I’m using the same 26” AOC monitor which has always been grainy, sluggish, and just plain hard on the eyes; especially when compared to the 24” Viewsonic sitting to its left, but it is a pleasure to use now. The AOC is still dramatically slow at system boot (read that Grub times out before it displays no matter what input you use) and sluggish to come out of sleep mode, but, it is almost a pleasure to look at now. Suffice it to say I’m only buying Viewsonic monitors from now on. I have purchased several different large monitors because they were “lower cost” than a Viewsonic but I have since learned they were simply cheap.

 

Before you install you must export each Evolution mail folder to an MBOX file. You also need to export your contacts to a V-card file. The version of Evolution available for this distro is buggered beyond recognition. Not only will it neither send nor receive email, the backup and restore option has been removed!

 

While we are on the subject of email, I must point out your choices are a bit limited. They bundle Icedove with this distro. Icedove is a Debian version of Thunderbird. Feel free to view it as a fresh coat of pain on a turd. Because it is based on Thunderbird it cannot be better than Thunderbird. Adding insult to injury is the fact KMail will not install yet Kontact and KAddressBook are installed by default and these are what the “Contacts” icon wants to launch, if it could ever start the database. Given the fact KMail is driving users away faster than they can download something else I’m not surprised it doesn’t install. It has felt like it is “abandonware” for years. Users have been begging and pleading for a functional backup/restore facility within it for over a decade and it still hasn’t happened. I can see why there is a new Qt based email client being actively worked on. Claws and the other email clients are simply not adequate.

 

This version of KDE doesn’t automount your partitions. You need to manually add entries to /etc/fstab. Install JED first so you have a worthwhile/useable editor, then do something like this:

 

roland@neptune:~$ ls -al /dev/disk/by-uuid 
total 0 
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 300 Oct 18 19:03 . 
drwxr-xr-x 6 root root 120 Oct 18 19:03 .. 
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 Oct 18 19:03 163cb343-a46b-40ff-9795-826d137377f6 -> ../../sdc3 
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 Oct 18 19:03 29BDBABF4EEC29BC -> ../../sdb1 
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 11 Oct 18 19:03 2c826f2b-11ff-420d-817d-161f4d772604 -> ../../zram3 
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 Oct 18 19:03 3988-C1A7 -> ../../sdc5 
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 11 Oct 18 19:03 3cd50c5a-0dca-407d-8da1-2febb068080b -> ../../zram0 
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 11 Oct 18 19:03 4bf9442e-c154-4f3f-bcf1-4f7a329e283a -> ../../zram1 
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 Oct 18 19:03 549acee6-af1c-4424-8e05-5a69f6d4d659 -> ../../sdc1 
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 11 Oct 18 19:03 8b18b37e-3aa4-49c6-b4d1-a35c361d3415 -> ../../zram2 
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 Oct 18 19:03 9b36449d-854b-4d96-8bb4-5356d683cede -> ../../sdc7 
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 Oct 18 19:03 9f57d4cc-30d6-4aba-8acc-3bc488165cb6 -> ../../sdc6 
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 11 Oct 18 19:03 bc4a6777-c797-4a86-8dbe-992292923138 -> ../../zram5 
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 Oct 18 19:03 D7CA-F588 -> ../../sdd1 
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 11 Oct 18 19:03 ec7a9cec-fe89-4ca2-aeb7-6663e09239d6 -> ../../zram4 
roland@neptune:~$ ls -al /dev/disk/by-label 
total 0 
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 160 Oct 18 19:03 . 
drwxr-xr-x 6 root root 120 Oct 18 19:03 .. 
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 Oct 18 19:03 books -> ../../sdc6 
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 Oct 18 19:03 db_data -> ../../sdc7 
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 Oct 18 19:03 DRIVE_D -> ../../sdc5 
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 Oct 18 19:03 esata1 -> ../../sdb1 
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 Oct 18 19:03 esata_2 -> ../../sdd1 
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 Oct 18 19:03 NEPTUNE -> ../../sdc3 
roland@neptune:~$ sudo jed /etc/fstab

You will need to add entries which look something like this:

UUID=3988-C1A7 /media/DRIVE_D fat32 defaults,errors=remount-ro 0 0
UUID=9f57d4cc-30d6-4aba-8acc-3bc488165cb6 /media/books ext4 defaults,errors=remount-ro 0 0
UUID=9b36449d-854b-4d96-8bb4-5356d683cede /media/db_data ext3 defaults,errors=remount-ro 0 0
UUID=549acee6-af1c-4424-8e05-5a69f6d4d659 none swap sw 0 0

 

Why? Because neither GParted nor the KDE Partition Manager shipping with this distro currently has the ability to add mountpoints for you. Oh, don’t forget to sudo mkdir /media/whatever before creating the /etc/fstab entries and rebooting. You need the 2 different ls commands so you can match your partition labels to their UUID values.

 

In theory you can use the “Disk Manager” item on the system menu to add the mount points. I didn’t try this. It certainly “looks” like it might work. My real question is why both GParted and the KDE Partition Manager lost an ability they have had for years.

 

My final complaint is that Blogilo will not install due to a packaging error.

 

Package: /var/cache/apt/archives/blogilo_4%3a4.4.11.1+l10n-3+b1_amd64.deb
Error: trying to overwrite '/usr/share/doc/kde/HTML/de/blogilo/index.cache.bz2', which is also in package kde-l10n-de 4:4.9.90-neptune1

 

This distro does not currently have a buzilla bug tracker. What they do have is a user forum with a section set asside for reporting bugs. At first I was a bit put out by this, but I filed my bug reports anyway. I got email responses on a Saturday from the actual distro support people, not just others fumbling around. This is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than Ubuntu and OpenSuSE. We have all filed bug reports with those distros only to have the report rot, then, suddenly, years later we find out someone actually looked at our bug report. How, we get an automated email stating that version is no longer supported so all bugs associated with it are automatically being closed.

It may shock you to read this given what I’ve already typed, but, this version is staying on my desktop. The version of LibreOffice shipping with this distro is actually integrated with KDE, not just a “lip service” integration like other distros. Add to that the fact it is 4.1.2.3 so it is really current. This has also got to be one of the fastest booting distros I’ve ever installed. It has a simple yet elegant K-gear power button display screen which has sections of the power button lighting up as your system starts. I don’t care if it is on a timer or actuall integrated to the startup script. When the button finishes lighting the login screen appears and login actually works…unlike that bug which seems to have been around forever in OpenSuSE KDE desktop.

 

Now all we need is a Qt only based email client which has all of the functionality Evolution used to have, including backup/restore so we can hop to a new distro (or simply copy to our laptop).

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About seasoned_geek

Roland Hughes started his IT career in the early 1980s. He quickly became a consultant and president of Logikal Solutions, a software consulting firm specializing in OpenVMS application and C++/Qt touchscreen/embedded Linux development. Early in his career he became involved in what is now called cross platform development. Given the dearth of useful books on the subject he ventured into the world of professional author in 1995 writing the first of the "Zinc It!" book series for John Gordon Burke Publisher, Inc. A decade later he released a massive (nearly 800 pages) tome "The Minimum You Need to Know to Be an OpenVMS Application Developer" which tried to encapsulate the essential skills gained over what was nearly a 20 year career at that point. From there "The Minimum You Need to Know" book series was born. Three years later he wrote his first novel "Infinite Exposure" which got much notice from people involved in the banking and financial security worlds. Some of the attacks predicted in that book have since come to pass. While it was not originally intended to be a trilogy, it became the first book of "The Earth That Was" trilogy: Infinite Exposure Lesedi - The Greatest Lie Ever Told John Smith - Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars When he is not consulting Roland Hughes posts about technology and sometimes politics on his blog. He also has regularly scheduled Sunday posts appearing on the Interesting Authors blog.