Donate to the Black Lab Linux Project

When you donate to the Black Lab Linux Project it helps us with many things:

Domain renewals
Aging equipment replacement

How much should you donate? Any amount you wish. No matter how large or small it goes to the project. We also take hardware donations as well. Contact for details. We thank you for your support.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Black Lab NEXT 2015.10 RC4 Released

Today we are releasing RC4.  Release Candidate 4 is a major bug and application fix that plagued users of the RC2 and RC3 series.  With that we also have some changes that came along and landed in RC4.  Some visual changes and some application changes.

We are testing some browsers so we have included Seamonkey 2.38 and Opera 34.  We have also upgraded the kernel to 3.19.0-51.  And have applied all system updates up to Friday Oct 23 2015.

We also resolved several issues.

HDMI mirroring is now fixed
Our remaining wireless networking issues are now resolved
2007 Macbook wireless drivers now included by default and working
Unable to create bootable media with ISO fixed
Virtual Machine compatibility improved
Dropbox daemon issue fixed
MTP volume mounting fixed

You can download Black Lab NEXT 2015.10 RC4 from ibiblo and it is available in 64 bit only while testing.

Black Lab NEXT 2015.10 RC4
Black Lab NEXT 2015.10 RC4 md5

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Java on Google Chrome and Chromium

Google has cut support for NPAPI based plugins so this rendered NPAPI plugins like Java and Silverlight useless on most Linux and FreeBSD distributions.

To run Java applets and the Java plugin you required Firefox and most users who use Chrome or Chromium didnt want to use Firefox because of speed issues and resource consumption.  If you try to run the Java plugin this is what you see:

So how can you run Java on the Chromium platform?  Enter IE-On-Chrome this extension allows you to switch over to the Trident rendering engine which also allows Java Applets to run.

Now this isnt freeware.  There is only a 30 minute limit to use IE-On-Chrome but for what I use it for thats OK considering I dont use it for much.

You can visit their website for pricing.  IE-On-Chrome website

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Seamonkey on RC2 part two : customization and use

Last post showed the novice user (one like myself) how to download a stable Seamonkey tarball, extract and install it to /opt and then....what?
There's the good-old-fashioned-way, using ALT+F2 :

But, for those who prefer launchers or your Xfce menu of choice, Applications or the Whiskermenu, this is not going to be an ideal solution.
What to do? Since Seamonkey was not installed using aptitude or the App Grid, .desktop files are not automatically generated and menu entries added. So, using the Menu Editor included the default RC2 install, we can easily add the entry to the default menu, without having to manually edit .xml files.

Open the Menu Editor and select Add Launcher :

Add the launcher, give it the appropriate name and then navigate to /opt/seamonkey to add seamonkey as the command. Navigate to /opt/seamonkey/chrome/icons to add the default icon to the menu launcher. When closing the menu editor, you'll be prompted to save or lose changes.
Adding a desktop launcher is the same basic process :

When you're done, you'll be able to launch Seamonkey from the menu or from a desktop shortcut.
For simple useage, Seamonkey seems very similar to Firefox (as it should, since they share a common codebase). It's fully compatible with Mozilla addons (immediately installed two of my favorites, Quicknote and Speed Dial). Performance is excellent;memory useage is very good.

Add the launchers, open Seamonkey, start customizing it with some Addons and away you'll go!

Seamonkey on RC2 - part one : Installation

Since I'm just a contributor, not a developer, working with Black Lab Linux is a never-ending learning experience for me : although the development team makes using the OS seamless and intuitive, there are always tricks and tweaks to make Black Lab work better.
To that end, the Seamonkey is being talked about as an additional browser in RC3 - Opera will be offered as the default browser, but the Seamonkey suite will be available as a lower-resource alternative to Mozilla Firefox, with which it shares an interface and code base.

To install Seamonkey, first use wget to obtain the installation tarball :


Then untar the archive :

tar -xjvf seamonkey-2.33.en-US.linux-x86_64.tar.bz2

Then run these three commands to install it :

sudo rm -rf /opt/seamonkey
sudo cp -r seamonkey /opt/seamonkey
sudo ln -sf /opt/seamonkey/seamonkey /usr/bin/seamonkey

That's it. The Seamonkey Internet mail and browsing suite will be installed for your browsing pleasure.

I'm a heavy Mozilla user, mainly for certain Java-dependent tools - the remote support platform that I utilize runs on .jnlp files, and then there's Outlook Web Access, which doesn't seem to work on any browser platform other than Mozilla on Linux. Thanks to RJD for including Seamonkey in Black Lab - until I recently installed it and gave it a try, I was relatively unfamiliar. But compared to Firefox, it seems quick and does exactly what I need it to. Another reason to give Black Lab and the new RC a try!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Guake dropdown terminal on Black Lab RC2

Guake is a low-resource dropdown terminal for the shell-addicted power user;simply install using Synaptic or Xfce terminal : sudo apt-get install guake :
Here's the end result, invoked using F12 :

Sometimes neglected, give Guake a try!

Opera on Black Lab = cutting edge. Vivaldi Technical Preview on Linux = not-so-bleeding-edge

"The Vivaldi team this week released the third technical preview of their new Web browser Vivaldi for Mac, Windows, and Linux. Added in this build are tab stack tiling, page actions, mouse gestures and better note taking as highlighted productivity improvements."
Black Lab Linux' latest release candidate build ships with Opera as its default browser - fast, stable and cutting edge, just like the platform it runs on.
Vivaldi Technical  is for those who like to step off the cutting edge onto the bleeding edge - bearing in mind that we're talking about browsing the Web here, not performing delicate brain surgery : if a page isn't rendered correctly, fall back to Opera. 

To install, follow these steps :

1). Download Vivaldi Technical Preview / vivaldi_TP4. :

2). Once the .deb file has been downloaded use sudo dpkg -i vivaldi_TP4. to install the Technical Preview :

3). There are going to be dependency issues with libappindicator1 - use sudo apt-get install -f to correct the dependencies and install the browser :

4). After correcting this dependency, the Technical Preview will install normally. After installation, run the program and enjoy some of Vivaldi's advanced features! I've found that it's very quick. 

It includes a feature which Opera introduced and most other mainstream browsers have since copied, Speed Dial - sites can be added or deleted as the user sees fit :

The interface is clean and uncluttered;its sidebar includes integrated Bookmarks :

And Email, which isn't active yet in the Technical Preview :

The feature I like most is Notes in the Sidebar (I'm a big user of the Mozilla Quicknotes add-in)

Long story short, Vivaldi is an advanced browser, using the Presto rendering engine which features the newer features of HTML5. Most importantly :

Give it a try - you won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Black Lab Core Server 7 Released

Today we are happy to announce the release of Black Lab Core Server 7.  Black Lab Core Server 7 is the base of the Black Lab Server distribution.  Black Lab Core Server is for users to design their own servers or workstations and to include their own selection of software.  Black Lab core Server 7 has some basic system requirements.  Here are the minimum system requirements for running Black Lab Core Server 7.

Minimum System Requirements

x86_64 or AMD64 Processor
512 mb of RAM
10 gb Hard Drive
VGA or better display

Being a core distribution what software is included.

Kernel 3.19.30
Midori Web Browser
Fogger Web app utility
Full NFS stack
Samba 4

Black Lab Core Server does boot into command line mode but the XFCE desktop environment is included.  Network management is not enabled via GUI desktop but rather through the Network Manager command line utility nmcli. Here is a manual of connecting via nmcli.

nmcli reference

Black Lab Core Server 7 is designed for intermediate to advanced users.

You can download Black Lab Core Server 7 from Sourceforge:

Black Lab Core Server 7 x86_64     md5

or from Ibiblio:

Black Lab Core Server 7 x86_64     md5

You can purchase Black Lab Core Server 7 on installable media or as a virtual hard disk for use with VirtualBox or VMWare Player for $150.00 USD.  Contact for ordering.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Black Lab NEXT 2015.10 RC1

Today we are releasing the final RC candidate before the major release in December for Black Lab Linux 7.  Black Lab NEXT 2015.10 we focused on many compatibility issues and resolved a few that were plaguing users.  The list of currently fixed bugs are as follows

  • Freezing on a system with an NVIDIA card. - FIXED

  • Lag in wireless keyboard and mouse input. - FIXED

  • Youtube black screens with Firefox 41. - FIXED

  • Network manager crash - FIXED

  • .MKV playback crashes Parole - FIXED

  • Lenovo ThinkCentre M52 XFCE crash - FIXED

We also introduced some new fixes and upgrades to Black Lab NEXT.  Below are some of the updated software we have introduced.

Kernel 3.16.0-50
Kernel 3.19.0-30
Firefox 41
Audacious 3.6.2
Thunderbird 38.2.0

GMTP is no longer included.  MTP is now supported via the filesystem so transferring files is handled via the File Manager.

We have now entered feature freeze.  This means that we will not be making any more non-critical changes to the system.  The XFCE GUI has not changed since the main release of 6.5 and will NOT be changing.  we did tweak it a bit and added Windows buttons to indicate open applications and we introduced the NewCurve icon theme and a few new themes but the layout has not changed.

You can download Black Lab NEXT 2015.10 from here for x86_64 based systems.

Black Lab NEXT 2015.10 x86_64  md5

If you would like to donate to the Black Lab Linux Project you can do so below