Author Topic: Linux Lite vs MX Linux for second distro on laptop  (Read 110 times)

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Offline fox

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Linux Lite vs MX Linux for second distro on laptop
« on: September 06, 2021, 03:25:31 pm »
I want to put a second distro on my Dell xps laptop, mostly as one to boot in if I want to do something to my Ubuntu partition. The two I'm considering are Linux Lite and MX Linux. Ideally, it would boot up quickly and not need a lot of updating. I never tried Linux Lite before, but I've heard good things about it and it would be nice to try. I had MX on this computer before though I hadn't used it extensively. One advantage of it over Linux Lite is that it's Debian derived, so probably doesn't require a lot of updating, vs Linux Lite which is Ubuntu derived. Also, I wonder if the grub menu would be slightly different in a Debian distro, and just maybe would boot up from the Windows bootloader. Thoughts?
Ubuntu 21.04 on 2019 5k iMac
Ubuntu 20.04 on Dell XPS 13 2 in 1

Offline Jason

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Re: Linux Lite vs MX Linux for second distro on laptop
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2021, 04:51:33 pm »
Does Debian really have less updating, though? Just wanted how you know that. Are you talking about the stable version? You might not want to use that for your desktop as the included software is likely very outdated. Testing would be better but you'd have the updates.

In any case, Linux Lite does a fair bit of updating (several times per week) but they're almost all tiny updates. The kernels are an exception to the size but there's no way around that unless you want to use an older kernel that has been more tested longer so it probably has fewer security issues.

Linux Lite is built on the last LTS version of Ubuntu, 20.04 in this case, but they use more recent versions of software. And even LTS versions have programs that need to be updated for security reasons.

If you want less updating, you don't have to go to Debian, just use an LTS version of Ubuntu. And if you want speed, go for Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu MATE (fastest to slowest). I was using Xubuntu 20.04 LTS before settling back on Linux Lite and I liked it. It just doesn't have the Linux Lite enhancements and the software is going to be a little out of date.

The GRUB menu should look the same. But I'm not sure what you mean by wondering if it "would boot up from the Windows bootloader". Do you mean Windows starting to boot and then passing control to GRUB? I don't know if the Windows bootloader can do that but possibly. I definitely know it works the other way.
"With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world." - Max Ehrmann, Desiderata

Offline fox

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Re: Linux Lite vs MX Linux for second distro on laptop
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2021, 05:35:17 pm »
Does Debian really have less updating, though? Just wanted how you know that. Are you talking about the stable version? ....

Yes, I am talking about the stable version and yes, it has fewer updates than Ubuntu. I'm basing this comment on MX, which is the latest Debian-based distro I have used. Updates were infrequent and small.

In any case, Linux Lite does a fair bit of updating (several times per week) but they're almost all tiny updates. The kernels are an exception to the size but there's no way around that unless you want to use an older kernel that has been more tested longer so it probably has fewer security issues.

Good to know. I can live with that.

The GRUB menu should look the same. But I'm not sure what you mean by wondering if it "would boot up from the Windows bootloader". Do you mean Windows starting to boot and then passing control to GRUB? I don't know if the Windows bootloader can do that but possibly. I definitely know it works the other way.

My version of the Windows bootloader shows the Ubuntu grub (calls it "Ubuntu"), but it won't boot. This is actually a text-like menu that BCDboot creates. I get an error, that it is looking for something with "shim" in it. I don't know if all grub menus are the same when they list distros not on that menu. I seem to recall that the structure of the menu command for Mint was different than that for Ubuntu, but I could be wrong.
Ubuntu 21.04 on 2019 5k iMac
Ubuntu 20.04 on Dell XPS 13 2 in 1

Offline Jason

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Re: Linux Lite vs MX Linux for second distro on laptop
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2021, 08:50:08 am »
My version of the Windows bootloader shows the Ubuntu grub (calls it "Ubuntu"), but it won't boot. This is actually a text-like menu that BCDboot creates. I get an error, that it is looking for something with "shim" in it. I don't know if all grub menus are the same when they list distros not on that menu. I seem to recall that the structure of the menu command for Mint was different than that for Ubuntu, but I could be wrong.

Interesting. I don't know how BCDboot does it so can't help you there. But the use of the word "shim" is concerning. The structure should be the same if they're both using the same version of GRUB (1 or 2). But there are some differences you can choose to do. For example, you can mention have a root line in the stanza for an entry and then a kernel location where the root tells you what partition it's on, or you can lose the root and just use the one line to give the partition and kernel filename, etc. Not sure if that makes any sense. I need to do a presentation or a write-up on how to configure GRUB. I did one a long, long, long time ago.
"With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world." - Max Ehrmann, Desiderata

Offline fox

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Re: Linux Lite vs MX Linux for second distro on laptop
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2021, 04:47:36 pm »
On my Ubuntu grub I have the following text for the Windows Boot Manager (on /dev/nvme0n1p1):
Code: [Select]
setparams 'Windows Boot Manager (on '/dev/nvme0n1p1'
    insmod fat
    if [ x$feature_platform_search_hint = xy ] ; then
           search --no-floppy --f$-uuid --set=root xxxx-yyyy
    else
           search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root xxxx-yyyy
    fi
    chainloader /EFI/Microsoft/Boot/bootmgfw.efi

Where xxxx-yyyy is the UUID of the first partition (/dev/nvme0n1p1). That partition is an EFI system partition, formatted in fat32, and mounted on /boot/efi. Can someone check their Windows entry on their grub and see if there looks to be anything structurally different? Note that the actual partition where Windows resides is /dev/nvme0n1p3.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2021, 04:57:35 pm by fox »
Ubuntu 21.04 on 2019 5k iMac
Ubuntu 20.04 on Dell XPS 13 2 in 1

Offline fox

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Re: Linux Lite vs MX Linux for second distro on laptop
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2021, 08:22:59 am »
I installed Linux Lite on my xps 13 as a secondary distro. I picked it over MX Linux because I never tried it before. I am not that impressed with it. It locks a bunch of stuff (like the dock and firewall, and it took me awhile to figure out how to unlock them. Not surprisingly, its version of grub was no better than Ubuntu's at booting Windows.

I might remove it and put on MX Linux instead.
Ubuntu 21.04 on 2019 5k iMac
Ubuntu 20.04 on Dell XPS 13 2 in 1

Offline Jason

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Re: Linux Lite vs MX Linux for second distro on laptop
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2021, 06:03:44 pm »
There's a firewall under settings. It's very basic (off/on/status) but since Linux Lite has Ubuntu under the surface, just install whatever Ubuntu firewall you like. I admit that making a different panel than the default is tricky. But that's the fault of Xfce, not Linux Lite, unfortunately. Xfce is fast but it's a bit kludgy.

Check out the extra features I mentioned though before you drop it. It may not make you keep it but at least you'll see where it does shine. My recent review of Linux Lite mentions them with screenshots. I like the Lite Tweaks in particular - there's a lot of them. But if you're mainly going for looks out-of-the-box, MX Linux is probably better for you. I think it uses Xfce, but maybe not but it looks lovely.
"With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world." - Max Ehrmann, Desiderata

Offline fox

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Re: Linux Lite vs MX Linux for second distro on laptop
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2021, 07:40:43 am »
Thanks for the reference to the old Linux Light reviews. I will take your advice and check out the extra features. With regard to the firewall, I was able to turn it on, but it wasn't straightforward. That surprised me for a user-friendly distro. With regard to adding apps to the dock, this is an xfce setting, but Linux Lite had the dock locked and it didn't have to be. Probably to protect users against doing something they don't mean to do, but making it harder for more experienced users to make changes.

I have used xfce before, in Manjaro and in MX Linux. I don't recall having any difficulty in navigating or customizing it under either distro, but it was awhile back when I tried either of these.
Ubuntu 21.04 on 2019 5k iMac
Ubuntu 20.04 on Dell XPS 13 2 in 1

Offline Jason

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Re: Linux Lite vs MX Linux for second distro on laptop
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2021, 08:21:10 pm »
With regard to the firewall, I was able to turn it on, but it wasn't straightforward. That surprised me for a user-friendly distro.

Hmm, I didn't have any problem. It's right in settings, but it's under the Lite stuff so that might thrown you off. Also, the easiest way to find any program when you don't know where it is is to use the search bar in the program menu. Sometimes, if you're a fast enough typist, it's faster than finding programs under the category. When I run Timeshift, I usually do this since I'm going to need the keyboard to enter my password anyway. That reminds me, I have to re-enable Timeshift as it was turned off during the exam.
"With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world." - Max Ehrmann, Desiderata