| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 452, 16 April 2012
Welcome to this year's 16th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Network-attached storage might not be the most glamorous of topics to cover on these pages, but there is no doubt that a highly specialised operating for sharing files on a local network can be a perfect solution in many scenarios. Today we launch what should become a series of articles on these useful operating systems, starting with a first-look review of FreeBSD-based FreeNAS. In the news section, Stefano Zacchiroli becomes the first Debian Project Leader to assume office for the third consecutive year, Kubuntu finds a new sponsor in a mysterious Germany company called Blue Systems, and Mandriva seeks feedback from users hinting at a new community-oriented beginning. Also in this issue, an overview of DoudouLinux, a Debian-based distribution with a simplified user interface designed for very young children, and a tips and tricks section dealing with timeless classics - cron and crontab. Happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
A look at FreeNAS 8.0.4|
A few weeks ago I asked if readers would be interested in seeing reviews of network-attached storage (NAS) projects. The feedback was really positive and so I present the first of what I hope to be a series of reviews covering NAS solutions. This week we will be looking at FreeNAS, a FreeBSD-based project sponsored by iXsystems.
Before we get started I think it's only fair that we address the question of why we might want to run a dedicated NAS operating system rather than a generic server system. For instance, this week we're looking at FreeNAS, what motivation do we have for using it instead of FreeBSD or a popular Linux server distribution? The answer is largely one of specialization. People looking at network-attached storage are looking for a place to store files (usually a lot of files) and aren't interested in other features a server operating system might provide. A NAS box will be focused on storing and transferring files, it's probably not going to serve up e-mails or websites or provide DNS services. With that in mind, a NAS should come with all the tools we might need to easily add new disks, take snapshots, perform backups and, being focused on these tasks exclusively, it can cut out any extras, providing a lightweight solution.
The FreeNAS project is based on the FreeBSD 8.2 operating system and comes in 32-bit and 64-bit builds. The project's ISO file is a 94 MB download and booting off the disc will bring up a menu asking if we'd like to run the system installer, drop to a command-line shell or shutdown/reboot the machine. Launching the installer runs us through a series of text-based menus. First we're asked on which disk we want to install FreeNAS. A word of warning here, installing FreeNAS on a hard disk will erase all other partitions, the destination disk should be a small drive used only for storing the FreeNAS operating system. All user data is stored on separate devices. Because of this arrangement it's recommended that users install FreeNAS on a USB thumb drive rather than a normal hard disk as the latter option wastes a lot of space. Once we've provided the installer with a destination disk it immediately goes to work partitioning and copying over files. The process is quite short, taking only a few minutes. Then we reboot the machine.
When we boot into the locally installed copy of FreeNAS we're presented with a text-based menu offering a number of configuration options, the ability to reboot/shutdown the machine and the ability to switch to a command-line shell. Under the menu we're shown the machine's IP address which can be used to access the box's web interface. We'll cover the web control panel later, but for now let's examine some aspects of the FreeNAS console.
When logged in to the NAS box locally we can choose to use the configuration menu to change our DNS settings, reset to the web login credentials, configure the network or reset the entire operating system to its pristine, "factory", state. Really the menu isn't designed to do much except make sure the NAS is on-line and that we can access its web interface. It's assumed we'll use the web interface for everything else. Should we need more flexibility we can launch a shell session which gives us basic command-line tools, a text editor and the ability to peek under the hood. When we're accessing the machine physically we're automatically granted root access without a password. The operating system is pretty lean, using just 50 MB of RAM (before we add disks and enable optional services). There's no compiler, no manual pages and few services. The lighttpd web server is running, providing our web-based interface, the Python language is installed, as are some low-level tools such as awk.
The FreeBSD package management utilities (pkg_add, pkg_delete, etc) are included, but I couldn't get them to work. All attempts to install software from the FreeBSD repositories failed and the update tool, freebsd-update, isn't on the system. In short, we're stuck with the software we're given and there doesn't appear to be any way to install security updates until the FreeNAS project issues a service pack. Another interesting characteristic, which we'll touch on later, is that the system assumes that new user accounts and their home directories will be placed on separate drives under the /mnt directory; there isn't any local /home directory. I bring these points up to illustrate that while FreeNAS bears a resemblance to FreeBSD and its Linux cousins, the operating system has been stripped down and altered to focused specifically on file storage and most interaction with the system is intended to be done through the web portal.
The web interface has a nice, clean design with all the controls and menus on one page. Down the left side of the page we see an expandable tree of options. Top-level categories include user account management, adding and managing storage, creating network shares, configuring services and monitoring the system. Clicking on these categories expands the tree, showing us more specific categories. Over on the right side of the screen we see all of the individual options in the selected category. In the top-right corner of the window there's a log off button, a button for bringing up the account manager, a button for connecting us to the FreeNAS project website and a status "light". The status indicator flashes red when something needs our attention and glows a steady green when everything is working properly. When we first log in the light is red and clicking on it brings up a window suggesting that we set an administrative password. Something I found curious is that the web interface works using the insecure HTTP protocol rather than the secure HTTPS protocol, which isn't available under the default installation -- something to keep in mind if you're using FreeNAS on a shared network.
FreeNAS 8.0.4 - adding a new volume
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The first task we probably want to accomplish after signing into the web interface is setting up disks to use as storage. Going to the Storage menu on the left and selecting Volumes we're able to bring up the file system handling screen. Here we can add new disks, opt to format them as either UFS or ZFS volumes and select a mount point for them. All new volumes are mounted under the system's /mnt directory and owned by the root user. Once a new volume is added to the control panel we're able to change its permissions, enable periodic snapshots and manage any existing ZFS pools. The interface is really slick, and the options clearly labeled. I suspect people who haven't used ZFS at all before will be able to create and manage ZFS partitions and snapshots without any problems.
Another area we can work with is creating new users. Though non-admin accounts can't access the web interface we can give users access to services like rsync and secure file transfers. New user accounts are placed on data volumes and don't share the same partition as the operating system, keeping data and FreeNAS itself separate. One problem I ran into setting up accounts is that FreeNAS offers to let us set public key authentication, but when I installed a key on the FreeNAS box I wasn't able to use it to login.
FreeNAS 8.0.4 - enabling system services
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FreeNAS comes with a number of different services we can enable and configure. Some of them include tying in with a local Active Directory or LDAP server. Secure shell is available, as are rsync, CIFS (Windows) shares, NFS shares and Apple network shares. The SMART disk monitor is there to make sure our hardware is working properly. There's also a UPS monitoring service which will let us check our electrical situation and cleanly shut down the NAS if it appears that the system is on battery power. There is a module for connecting to dynamic DNS providers including dyndns.org, easydns.com, no-ip.com and others, making it possible to connect to our NAS box even when it doesn't have a static IP address. We can also alter our network settings through the web interface, selecting whether we want a static IP address or to use DHCP, and we can set DNS information and gateways. By default FreeNAS uses DHCP and sets these items for us automatically and we can fine tune things as we see fit.
One last feature I really liked was the monitoring option. FreeNAS provides us with the ability to monitor processes and see dynamic graphs detailing CPU usage, memory consumption, swap usage and network traffic. It's nice to be able to bring up a single web page and get an immediate idea of what kind of load the NAS is under.
FreeNAS 8.0.4 - monitoring processes and network traffic
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The FreeNAS project, being based on FreeBSD 8.2, should support all of the same hardware as its parent. One reader asked if I could point out NAS hardware which is known to work or would be supported. On the FreeNAS website they provide links to two NAS solutions, both made available by the project's sponsor, iXsystems. For home and small business users they suggest the FreeNAS Mini and for enterprises they provide an array of higher end NAS hardware. If you're interested in FreeNAS and want a supported solution, that's a good place to start. People experimenting at home will probably find that most common hardware is supported by the underlying FreeBSD kernel and, in a pinch, it's possible to install FreeNAS in a virtual machine.
Let's look at some pros and cons. What I like about running FreeNAS is that it is really straightforward to set up. The install is all of about five minutes, the documentation is helpful and the system doesn't have any clutter. The web interface is top notch, being both very easy to navigate and powerful. When we stick a new disk in our NAS box it's a matter of just a few mouse clicks to format it with either the UFS or ZFS file systems, add it to a pool and enable snapshots. We can enable rsync modules, secure shell and network shares in seconds. The system is stable, uses very few resources and I like the status "light" and accompanying alert messages in the upper-right corner of the web interface. FreeNAS probably provides the easiest way to handle ZFS pools and snapshots I've seen to date.
FreeNAS 8.0.4 - creating periodic snapshots
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There were some concerns too. The big one for me was security. There doesn't appear to be any way to patch software such as OpenSSH or the web server between service packs. The web interface is served up over plain HTTP and there's no secure connection option in the default install. It's easy to enable secure shell to check on items remotely, but it's not as convenient. Though not strictly necessary, it would have been nice if adding new packages would have worked in order to add a specific FTP client, for example. Sadly all of the FreeBSD packages I tried to add failed to install.
In short, I think FreeNAS has a great interface, is quick to get up and running and, using the FreeBSD kernel and ZFS technology, will handle huge amounts of data reliably. I've heard rumours that later versions will support adding software using PBI modules, which will be a welcome addition. I'd like to see more focus on security. Secure HTTP connections out of the box would be great, as would allowing some users limited edit access or read-only access to parts of the web interface. FreeNAS offers a good, simple way to back up our data, it has lots of useful built in services and I didn't run into any show-stopping problems.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Stefano Zacchiroli re-elected as DPL, new sponsor for Kubuntu, Mandriva seeks community feedback, DoudouLinux overview
The annual Debian Project Leader (DPL) elections held last week confirmed Stefano Zacchiroli as the leader of the world's largest Linux distribution project for another year: "In accordance with its constitution, the Debian project has just re-elected Stefano Zacchiroli for a third year as Debian Project Leader. More than 80% of voters put him as their first choice (or equal first) on their ballot papers. This is the first time in the history of the project that a candidate wins in three consecutive years. Stefano's large majority over his opponents shows how satisfied the Debian project is with his work so far, and its wish for him to represent the project during one last term -- Stefano has already announced he won't be seeking re-election again next year. Wouter Verhelst and Gergely Nagy also gained a lot of support from Debian project members, both coming hundreds of votes ahead of the "None of the above" ballot choice. Stefano has been a Debian developer since March 2001 and was a long-term contributor to several core services such as Debian's package tracking system and its quality assurance team. He became Debian Project Leader in 2010, then in 2011 was re-elected unopposed."
* * * * *
Following Canonical's recent announcement about the termination of funding for Kubuntu's lead developer Jonathan Riddell, some fans and users of the distribution began to wonder about the future of their favourite project. Luckily, last week's news about Blue Systems stepping in to take over the distro's sponsorship should alleviate any remaining worries: "Kubuntu will have a new sponsor in Blue Systems from the 12.10 cycle starting in May. Kubuntu is a community-led project to create a KDE flavour as part of Ubuntu. Our sponsor since it started has been Canonical who are now moving to focus on their Unity flavour. Blue Systems sponsors a number of KDE projects and will encourage Kubuntu to follow the same successful formula as it has always had - community-led, KDE-focused, Ubuntu flavour. Kubuntu roll-outs include the world's largest Linux desktop in Brazil. Kubuntu is one of the most successful communities within the Ubuntu project, home to a number of flavours. With the new Kubuntu Active flavour forthcoming as the first Ubuntu flavour designed for tablets there are many exciting possibilities for the project."
* * * * *
Mandriva Linux has been slowly falling off the radar of its user and developer community, following (yet another) round of financial troubles that emerged last year. But the company is not dead yet. In a somewhat unexpected announcement published last week on the official blog, Mandriva COO Jean-Manuel Croset called on the distro's community to take a more active role in the distribution: "The purpose of this post is to get the opinion and ideas of the community, as well as to feel how strong you are. The desktop distribution is our historical product, it has evolved from the early times and have experienced all the ups and downs of Mandriva. I would not like to judge whether the orientations taken in the past were right or not, as I am myself relatively new in the company. However, I'm sure that a community is necessary and that our company can't be without one. I'm also convinced that, considering this fact, we need to take care of you. On April 30th, Mandriva will hold its long-awaited general assembly of the shareholders. Shortly after that, we'll define the strategy and set our priorities for the next twelve months." Susan Linton expands on the story in "Mandriva's Alive!", while Mandrake Linux founder Gaël Duval has written an informative post entitled "An OS in the Public Interest - a Mandriva Linux Foundation?"
* * * * *
One of the many strengths of open-source operating systems is the availability of source code that can be cast into any form and shape - from general-purpose distribution to highly specialised operating systems. One area where Linux has been shining in recent years is education, with DoudouLinux being one of the projects that cater specifically for very young children. Linux.com's Carla Schroder finds DoudouLinux "a beautiful example of functional simplicity": "DoudouLinux has several features that set it apart from the others: a safe computing environment for children; make computers accessible to all children on earth; copy and share freely; carry it anywhere and use safely on any computer; the operating system children prefer. Safety means two things. It means system safety, because even though DoudouLinux can be installed to a hard drive, it's really intended to run from a CD or USB stick without making any changes to the host system, and without access to the host system. It can't be used as a rescue distro or interfere with the host system in any way. There is no console and no command line. It is very simple, with a limited tightly-focused set of applications, and no modifications without rebuilding the system image."
DoudouLinux 2011-02 - a Debian-based distribution targeting young children
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|Tips and Tricks (by Jesse Smith)
cron and crontab: some classics are timeless
Quite often we, as computer users, need to schedule applications or jobs to take place at a given time. Backups typically happen at night, virus scans might happen after dinner, system updates might take place first thing in the morning. It's often useful to have routine tasks performed automatically and at a time when we're not sitting in front of the machine. This week we're going to cover the cron daemon and demonstrate how it can be used to quickly set up periodic tasks.
What does cron do? Well, once a minute the cron daemon checks the file /etc/crontab to see if any tasks are scheduled and, if it finds an applicable task, it runs a given program. The /etc/crontab file is a text file which we can open and examine in any text editor. Let's break down the information fields we will find in that file.
Typically a crontab file will contain two or more lines setting variables. Usually we will see a line setting the path to a shell and another listing the paths where cron can find executable files. These may look like the following:
Following these variables we will find lines specifying times and tasks to be run at those times. Let's look at an example of one of these scheduled tasks:
15 * * * * root logrotate
The first five fields of the line are made up of numbers or stars. These fields represent a given point (or points) in time to let us know when the task will be run. From left to right the fields indicate the minute, hour, day of the month, month and day of the week when a task is to be run. Stars effectively mean "any" or "every". The sixth column indicates which user account will be used to run the task and the final field is the command to be run. In the above example we will run the logrotate command as the root user. This will happen 15 minutes into every hour of every day of every month, on every day of the week. In the following example we will run a backup script as the root user at noon on every Sunday:
0 12 * * * 0 root my-backup-script
As you can see, we've set the minute field to zero, the hour to twelve (noon) and the day of the week to zero (Sunday). Cron associates Sunday with zero, Monday with one... through to Saturday which is six. Here is another example where we perform a clean-up of the /tmp directory at 6:30pm every evening from Monday through Friday. The dash character allows us to specify a range:
30 18 * * 1-5 root rm -rf /tmp/*
On most Linux systems it's not just the root user who can schedule tasks, regular user accounts can create their own cron jobs. These user-scheduled tasks are kept separate from the /etc/crontab jobs and can be accessed by running the command:
The crontab command will open a text editor and allow us to create tasks specific to our account. The main difference between the user-specific schedules and the /etc/crontab file is that the user-specific schedules do not include a username. For example, the following entry in my crontab file will perform a backup of my Documents directory at 5:00am on the first day of each month:
0 5 1 * * tar czf ~/mybackup.tar.gz ~/Documents
Should we wish to see all of the jobs we have scheduled in our cron file we can run
to get a complete list. Lastly, we can remove all of our user's scheduled tasks by running:
The cron program is a very flexible and powerful tool which can be used to automate processes and is particularly good for scheduling backups and system clean-ups. It's a very handy utility to know.
|Released Last Week
Snowlinux 2 "LXDE", "Xfce"
Lars Torben Kremer has announced the release of Snowlinux 2, a desktop distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 and featuring custom LXDE and Xfce desktops: "The team is proud to announce the release of Snowlinux 2 'Ice' LXDE. New features: Snowlinux Metal theme; Snowlinux Metal icons; improved installer (keyboard variants, UUID in fstab); DRUCK key; GNOME-PPP; firewall; apturl; terminal colors; OpenJDK 6 Java; updated software and packages; better software selection; improved speed and response; new look and feel; system improvements. System requirements: x86 CPU; 256 MB memory; 2 GB free disk space; graphics card capable of 800×600 pixel resolution; CD-ROM drive or USB port." Here is the brief release announcement with a screenshot of the default desktop.
Superb Mini Server 1.6.5
An updated version of Superb Mini Server (SMS), a Slackware-based distribution for servers, was made available earlier today: "Superb Mini Server version 1.6.5 released (Linux kernel 3.2.14). This minor release brings along Linux kernel 3.2.14, glibc 2.15 and GCC 4.7.0, with many updated server packages, such as Postfix 2.9.1, BIND 9.9.0, Dovecot 2.1.4, ClamAV 0.97.4, OpenLDAP 2.4.30, MySQL 5.1.62 and OpenSSL 0.9.8u. To retain stability, compatibility and a fully working web server, the new Apache HTTPD server 2.4.1 and PHP 5.4.0 were left out from the stable tree since 2.4 API along with PHP 5.4.0 will bring nothing but problems to most web applications. New packages in this release are gccgo, Wireshark network monitor tool and FreeRADIUS radius protocol server, available in the extra repository. Asterisk add-on package are removed, since they are now included in the new Asterisk 1.8.x package." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details.
SliTaz GNU/Linux 4.0
Christophe Lincoln has announced the release of SliTaz GNU/Linux 4.0, a major new version of the project's fast, minimalist but extensible Linux distribution with its own package management system: "The SliTaz contributors are pleased to announce the release of the new stable distribution SliTaz GNU/Linux 4.0. Two years of community work have created a reliable system capable of even shorter boot times with more than 1,000 new installable packages. SliTaz provides a complete graphical desktop in 35 MB based on LXDE and Openbox that works entirely in 192 MB of RAM. Its new 4-in-1 CD image can be installed on a hard drive with only 48 MB by automatically selecting a configuration most fully suited to your hardware. The home-made tools have grown. Tazpkg brings a new notification system and is much faster despite the increase in the number of packages and Tazpanel enables a new centralized management system." See the brief release announcement and the detailed release notes for further information.
SliTaz GNU/Linux 4.0 - small and light, but powerful and extensible
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Plop Linux 4.2.1
Elmar Hanlhofer has announced the release of Plop Linux 4.2.1, an updated version of the project's distribution built from scratch and designed to rescue data from a damaged system, backup and restore operating systems, and automate tasks: "Plop Linux 4.2.1 released. The i486 version is now the default version to avoid some PAE troubles. The PAE version is still available as an additional version. ClamAV is back in Plop Linux, it's included in the opt.sqfs and it's available as an optional tar.gz package. New ClamAV 0.97.4; updated glib 2.32.1, Linux kernel 3.3.1, Midnight Commander 4.8.2; ISO boot - find ISO image on hard disk bug fix; NFS boot - optional mount parameter bug fix; optional X new and updates to GNOME 3.4, GParted 0.12, MPlayer 2012-03-31, Firefox 11.0, WINE 1.5.1; desktop website icon removed." Here is the full changelog.
Heiko Zuecker has announced the release of Devil-Linux 1.6.0, a specialist live distribution for firewalls, routers and servers which boots and runs completely from a CD-ROM or a USB Flash drive: "Hello Devil-Linux community. It has finally happened: Devil-Linux 1.6 has been released. This new release brings many new features, lots of improvements, many software updates, Linux kernel 3.2, and a 64-bit edition." Some of the major package updates include LVM 2.02.95, DHCP 4.2.3-P2, OpenLDAP 2.4.30, Squid 3.1.19, Webmin 1.580, Dovecot 2.1.3, MySQL 5.5.21, Samba 3.6.3, Apache HTTPD server 2.2.22, PHP 5.3.10.... See the brief release announcement and consult the comprehensive changelog for more information.
Slackel is a Linux distribution based on Slackware's "current" branch, with the goal of integrating the latest KDE desktop, the Calligra office suite and some custom artwork into separate live (installable to hard disk) and installation DVD images. The project's latest version, KDE-4.8.2, was announced yesterday: "A new set of Slackel KDE-4.8.2 version. A collection of four KDE ISO images are immediately available to our users, including 32-bit and 64-bit installation images as well as 32-bit and 64-bit live images that can be burned to a DVD or used with a USB drive. Slackel KDE-4.8.2 includes the latest 'current' tree of Slackware Linux and the latest KDE 4.8.2 accompanied by a very rich collection of KDE-centric software. The Firefox 11.0 web browser, KMail and KTorrent are the main networking applications included in this release, followed by Akregator and Kopete." Read the rest of the release announcement for further information.
Lightweight Portable Security 1.3.3
A new version of Lightweight Portable Security (LPS), a Linux live CD with strong privacy protection features created by the United States Department of Defence, is out. Version 1.3.3 is a maintenance release, updating Firefox, Flash, Adobe Reader and OpenSSL, and adding Thunderbird and Pidgin to the "deluxe" edition. From the changelog: "Changes in version 1.3.3: updated Firefox to 10.0.3 ESR; updated Flash to 188.8.131.52; updated OpenSSL to 0.9.8u; updated Adobe Reader to 9.5.1; updated Encryption Wizard application to 3.3.2; added Thunderbird 3.1.20 and DAVmail to LPS-Public Deluxe for S/MIME email support with MS Exchange OWA; added Pidgin 2.10.2 (with SameTime support); added VMware View 1.4; added option for OpenDNS DNSCrypt; added Firefox extension HTTPS Everywhere 2.0.1; added Firefox extension NoScript 2.3.7 (disabled by default)."
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to database
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 23 April 2012. To contact the authors please send email to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, suggestions and corrections: news, donations, distribution submissions, comments)
- Bruce Patterson (feedback and suggestions: podcast edition)
1 • nice read (by Dave Brown on 2012-04-16 10:59:30 GMT from United States) |
Thanks for the article on Cron. Good read. I'm also going to check out Slitaz. I'm using Ultimate Edition but Slitaz looks like an excellent choice for a USB install. What's up with JabirOS though. In the name of GOD. Really? Thanks anyway and have a great day!
2 • Network storage (by Barnabyh on 2012-04-16 11:11:35 GMT from United Kingdom)
Interesting overview, thank you Jesse. While FreeNAS is certainly appealing there are many other ready-to-go solutions like the Buffalo Linkstation. I wonder what the benefit is of one over the other, aside from that you know that here you get a restricted FreeBSD under the hood.
Then again, how many devices are you comfortable with around your home (given that the typical reader here is a home user). A router/gateway with IPcop perhaps, a FreeNAS device as file server, a seperate mail/web/local newsgroup server, and that's before your PC's, laptops, tablets, ereaders and games/ multimedia consoles. Blimey. Oh, forgot printers.
3 • freenas (by Alexandre on 2012-04-16 11:37:38 GMT from Canada)
Freenas DOES have HTTPS on 8.0.4. you just have to go in advanced setting.
4 • Slackerl (by Didier Spaier on 2012-04-16 12:06:26 GMT from France)
I didn't try it but, but who really needs _yet_another_Slackware_derivative_ ?
KDE 4.8.2 and Calligra just made their way in Slackware-current and this was anticipated, see Alien BOB's blog.
5 • Slackel (by Barnabyh on 2012-04-16 12:29:14 GMT from United Kingdom)
I think the point is that he is releasing one with every update of KDE, whereas 'official' updates in Current are sporadic at best, and adds a few tools from Salix.
6 • @4 Slackel (by DavidEF on 2012-04-16 12:34:04 GMT from United States)
Maybe it's the same people who need a new Ubuntu derivative just about every week. I like variety and choice, but I'd love to see more new distros that are actually new distros, not just re-spins of one sort or another. I'm sure someone appreciates these also. I'm not knocking them. SOMEBODY really needs _yet_another_Slackware_derivative_ !
7 • Blue-Systems (by Tin Foil Hat guy on 2012-04-16 12:57:11 GMT from United States)
Can somebody will some serious investigative journalism skills please look into Blue-Systems. This company is financialy backing important KDE projects and distros but there is no info about it. Who are the people behind it? What type of company are they? How financial healthy are they?
I did a "Who is" lookup and google searched all names and email addresses. But came up with dead ends.
8 • Electronic Domestic Stuff and Slackel (by Anonymous Coward on 2012-04-16 13:05:57 GMT from Spain)
Then again, how many devices are you comfortable with around your home (given that the typical reader here is a home user).
I think is not a question about how many devices would you have, but about how many devices do you really need and how many would you afford.
A NAS solution is nice to have in a home environment of many users, but many times is just easier to have a common USB Flash so everyone can manually share the files with each other. And it is cheaper (think in power consumption). NAS makes more sense in offices and other "professional" environments, I think.
I would like to have a true NAS in my own house, but I have priorities for my money and resources. The USB thing works for me as of today :-)
Didier Spaier wrote:
I didn't try it but, but who really needs _yet_another_Slackware_derivative_ ?
Haha! Good question.
I don´t oppose to derivation when it brings new technologies or improvenments to the field. Otherwise I think it is a waste of time. Most of the time, the original distribution can improve by itself, so I would say +85% of derivatives are a waste of time and effort.
Even new distros are pointless sometimes.
9 • @7 (by greg on 2012-04-16 13:21:56 GMT from Slovenia)
Was about to ask similar thing. However, i think Netrunner is actually their distro. Well at least i thought so. No idea how and where they receive their money though.
I also have a few quesitons regarding NAS (btw the "compatible ones" are rather expencive compared to HP mini servers and other NAS...): Why is there a limit on how much data you can put in NAS? Is it common that these devices are actually run off USB/CD/outside storage?
10 • Good Cron Article (by Ariel on 2012-04-16 13:41:36 GMT from Argentina)
Just exactly the kind of cron information I was looking for, thanks a lot. Btw I sent an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with some suggestions and I got no reply. I'm sorry but that was quite discouraging.
11 • Mandriva (by skin27 on 2012-04-16 13:58:21 GMT from Netherlands)
In the post of Gael Duval about Mandriva, no word is mentioned about Magaia. He also mentions Debian is an example project, but says that the distro targets too much at servers and geeks. If that is so, a project improving support for the desktop on Debian would be a better than set up a separate entity. On the other Magaia would do just fine fitting his objectives already.
12 • FreeNAS (by Jesse on 2012-04-16 14:06:53 GMT from Canada)
>> "Freenas DOES have HTTPS on 8.0.4. you just have to go in advanced setting."
Thank you for pointing that out. Even after reading your post I spent five minutes looking for the option, but it is there. I thought it would have been placed under the Network or SSL pages, but it's under System->Settings->General->Protocol, in case anyone else wants to give it a go.
13 • FreeNAS (by DavidEF on 2012-04-16 14:24:36 GMT from United States)
I have been thinking about a home file server for a while now, years in fact. I've been trying to figure out how to share all my users' files, since my wife and daughter tend to leave their files on whatever device they happen to be using, and not always even under their own login. I wonder if a NAS would help me keep more control over where the files are saved and how easy they are to access from different devices. Sorry, I'm a real n00b when it comes to servers.
It seems like, from the review Jesse gave, that FreeNAS will allow me to mount my users' home directories on the NAS box. Is that true? Or is all that about users' directories only talking about FreeNAS users in particular? What I'd really like is to get all of my family's files in one location, or at least backed up to the one location, where they can be accessed from multiple locations. Would FreeNAS be a good way to do that, or is there a better solution?
@8 Anonymous Coward, USB drives are great for MOVING files, but they offer no advantage for centralized STORAGE of multiple users' files. I don't think they would be a good substitute for a file server, at least not in my case.
14 • Cron (by Barnabyh on 2012-04-16 14:26:29 GMT from United Kingdom)
Cron is great, it's how I got rsync set to check with Current and create a new ISO over night if packages have changed. Very handy for security updates with slackpkg in stable as well.
15 • @9, @7 Blue-Systems (speculation) (by Marco on 2012-04-16 14:28:04 GMT from United States)
> However, i think Netrunner is actually their distro.
Maybe they are trying to preserve their upstream?
"Netrunner is built on Kubuntu"
And, regardless of their motivation, I am pleased by this news.
[Kubuntu 12.04 Beta-2 seems pretty solid to me already]
16 • Backup to NAS (by Jesse on 2012-04-16 14:38:28 GMT from Canada)
>> "What I'd really like is to get all of my family's files in one location, or at least backed up to the one location, where they can be accessed from multiple locations. Would FreeNAS be a good way to do that, or is there a better solution?"
FreeNAS is an excellent way to do that. If you've got a bunch of different devices around the home with various operating systems and non-tech savvy users, your easiest approach is probably to set up scheduled rsync tasks on each personal device and have them backup to the NAS. You can use cron and rsync on Linux (and other Unix-like operating system) and scheduled tasks with (if I remember correctly) DeltaCopy on Windows. Have each personal device connect to the NAS and dump copies of files there. The backup times will be short and won't require user interaction.
17 • Re: 15 and 7, What/Who is/are Blue-Systems (by Leo on 2012-04-16 14:41:38 GMT from United States)
I was also wondering the same. The webpage for Blue systems has no information about the company. Is it even a company? Does it generate any revenue? How exactly does it sponsor projects?
Could someone please illuminate?
18 • @4.5.6 Slackel (by mandog on 2012-04-16 15:17:15 GMT from United Kingdom)
You Guys need to try it for yourselves instead of putting it down a very polished interface
19 • @ 18 Slackel (by Didier Spaier on 2012-04-16 16:22:21 GMT from France)
Probably you are right in that Slackel has a very polished interface, better than Slackware's.
Nevertheless I would prefer that time, effort and skills invested in creating derivatives be used instead to enhance Slackware, as e.g. Robby Workman, AlienBOB and slackbuilds.org contributors do.
20 • Kubuntu (by evil_genius_180 on 2012-04-16 16:27:39 GMT from United States)
I, for one, am looking forward to seeing how Kubuntu does under new management. With Canonical paying so much attention to its main distro, I've always felt Kubuntu kinda lagged behind. Personally, I love KDE and I think Kubuntu is a great distribution. I'm looking forward to seeing what the future brings for it.
BTW, if anybody is that curious about Blue Systems, there's this thing called Google. It's pretty handy. Alternately, you can also go to Kubuntu's website, they have a big Blue-Systems logo you can click on and find out all about it.
21 • @16 Backup to NAS (by DavidEF on 2012-04-16 17:34:27 GMT from United States)
Thanks, Jesse! That does sound like the way to go. I only have Ubuntu and *buntu-based O/S on the various machines at my house, but non-tech-savvy-users nonetheless.
Now, what do I do about sorting out files created by various users on different machines? I don't think an automated backup will help with that. Is there some way I can set up FreeNAS, so that any user on any machine can just "save" their files in their own directory on the NAS? I'm thinking mostly about my wife who sometimes uses my laptop and leaves files on the drive that are important to her and useless to me.
Anyway, there is probably plenty of documentation on HOW to do these things. I just want to know IF what I'm looking for is something that FreeNAS is suitable for and how I should get started. I don't want to take up everyone's time here too much.
22 • #19: Slackware derivatives (by Caitlyn Martin on 2012-04-16 17:46:59 GMT from United States)
Didier, I respectfully disagree. In my review of Slackware 12.1 I angered many in the Slackware community with these words: "To me Slackware is a fantastic base on which to build a first rate distribution. It is not what I consider to be a good distribution in its own right." (See: http://news.oreilly.com/2008/06/slackware-121-the-newest-versi.html ) The point that the outraged don't seem to get is that Patrick Volkerding's design philosophy for Slackware guarantee that it won't be appealing to most Linux users. I know this is sacrilege to hardcore Slackers but the 99% of the Linux community that doesn't use vanilla Slackware wants things like automated dependency resolution and the ability to configure their system without knowing which configuration files need to be edited and hand editing them at the command line.
I'll add something else from that review: "Slackware clearly has some very strong points. It is stable and reliable, offers good performance, and gives the user absolute control over what goes onto his or her system and how things are configured. These strengths have created a cottage industry of derivative distributors promising a Linux system with the reliability and performance of Slackware and a user friendly experience." Distributions like Slackel, SalixOS, VectorLinux and Zenwalk deliver on that promise but do so in very different ways. Slackel is a lot like SalixOS in that it maintains close compatibility with Slackware but does so with Current instead of the last stable version. That does, in fact, make Slackel a unique distribution that does something fundamentally different than any other distro. It has an important place and shouldn't be dismissed.
If there was only Slackware and no derivatives I would have turned my back on it long ago. Instead I am involved in developing yet another Slackware derivative, one which, we hope, will fill certain niches better than what's out there now.
My advice to you, Didier, is that if you don't like what a distro is doing then don't use it. If vanilla Slackware is best for you then that certainly is what you should be using. Don't presume to tell developers what they should and should not be developing or what should somehow best suit their needs. I know that vanilla Slackware will never suit my needs. I also know it's a great base upon which to build something that does. I also don't care how many in the Slackware community will hate my opinions or hate me for voicing them.
23 • @20 Kubuntu (by DavidEF on 2012-04-16 17:50:00 GMT from United States)
If I'm not mistaken, Kubuntu is not under new management. They have the same dedicated team of developers, and Kubuntu itself is still an official variant of Ubuntu. The difference is that the lead developer Jonathan Riddell is no longer paid by Canonical to work on Kubuntu full-time. Now, Blue Systems will be taking up the slack by financially supporting Kubuntu in Canonical's place.
Now, I'm sure an argument could be made that he who writes the checks is the "boss" by default, but I'm not seeing anything to indicate that Blue Systems wants to "manage" Kubuntu. I've not read all the relative articles, nor done extensive research via Google, but from the announcement above: "Blue Systems ... will encourage Kubuntu to follow the same successful formula as it has always had - community-led, KDE-focused, Ubuntu flavour."
Something tells me that if you weren't totally satisfied with Kubuntu before, you still won't be satisfied. I think people give too much credit, or blame, to Canonical for their involvement, or lack thereof, with Kubuntu. I see this change as no big deal for users, although it is a big deal to the developers to have some substantial financial backing.
24 • regarding bluesystems (by Julian on 2012-04-16 18:06:16 GMT from United States)
I looked up bluesystems and there seems to be no information available about who they are.The only thing on their website is a list of who they sponsor -- apparently, just some KDE-related projects.
At first glance it looks like an organization created just for the purpose of providing support (financial support) to KDE-related projects. Anybody care to confirm or deny that?
25 • Blue-Systems (by Tin Foil Hat guy on 2012-04-16 18:23:59 GMT from United States)
To all those that can't follow their own advise: ALL LINKS or INFO for Blue-Systems leads to blue-systems dot com. If you actually looked at this web-page not a web-site you would see their online presence is not good enough. Not only is more info needed it should be demanded. I think it's extremily important to know what type of company is backing open source projects. We don't want another Oracle or Nokia type company screwing things up later down the road.
Its 2012 and this company has no about me, contact me, corporate parteners, HR link, PR link, no sort of online presence outside of what they sponsor. So Yes my Tin Foil Hat is firmly on.
26 • Blue Systems (by Alan UK on 2012-04-16 18:50:58 GMT from United Kingdom)
I just had a quick look. If you go to Netrunner and click to download, the source of the downloads is a site called Green-Systems...
27 • Re: Blue-Systems (by Eddie on 2012-04-16 18:54:59 GMT from United States)
I imagine that the ones who NEED to know about Blue-Systems does know. The "Tin Foil Hat guy" is under the impression that it is our right to know about this sponsorship when really it is none of our business. Why should it be. If we are not a developer for Kubuntu or someone important in the chain then there is no reason for us to know. They are just a sponsor and that is all that has been stated. They cannot own Kubuntu, for it is open sourced under the GPL, they cannot manage Kubuntu because is a community run KDE distro based on Ubuntu and it will stay that way. DavidEF commented in comment #23 what probably is the way thing are and no one has has given an reason to think otherwise. I'm sure in time everything will come to light.
28 • @ those are worried about Blue Systems and DW maimtainers (by Matthias Jung on 2012-04-16 18:59:56 GMT from Germany)
Do you realy made an whois lookup? Do you realy googled the first name you found there?
No, I think not. OK, if you can't read german it is a little bit difficult to understand. But that's not a dead end. Two of the first google hits are:
(sorry only in german)
Clemens Tönnnies is an entrepreneur in butchery business (http://www.toennies.de/en/index.php) and chairman of the supervisory board of the german majorleague soccerclub Schalke 04 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FC_Schalke_04).
And yes he has money. ;-)
Sorry for my rude words in the first paragraph, but the world doesn't end at the border of the country where you live in. What's the worlds no1 sport? Not baseball, not american football, not basketball. Yes it's soccer or for rest of the world outside the US: football. And FC Schalke 04 is a well known german soccer team in the world.
And no I am not a fan of Schalke 04. On the contrary. I am a fan of 1.FCK Kaiserslautern, who will go down from majorleague to secound league after this season :-(
29 • It seems Slackware and Mandriva have something in common... (by Caitlyn Martin on 2012-04-16 19:00:25 GMT from United States)
Both Mandriva and Slackware are in financial difficulty: http://noctslackv1.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/slackware-needs-your-help/
You remember that comment about my involvement in the development of a Slackware derivative? Forget it. We're already discussing about delaying the release and rebasing off of something with a more secure future.
30 • DistroWatch Weekly (by Marcos Fogel on 2012-04-16 19:32:10 GMT from Brazil)
Acompanho diariamente o site principal e adoro ler a coluna DW Weekly, simplesmente genial, parabéns a todos e obrigado por explanar tantas das minhas dúvidas, agradeço a todos.
31 • RE: 29 (by Landor on 2012-04-16 19:42:06 GMT from Canada)
I personally wouldn't put too much stock into what was written on that blog. It's my understanding (though I may be wrong) that Slackware's leader has in fact made a living from Slackware for years, but the author of the blog doubts he's ever made a living from it.
The veracity and integrity of what's being written in this community is pretty well next to nil in the last couple years.
Keep your stick on the ice...
32 • NAS and Slackware (by Jesse on 2012-04-16 19:48:13 GMT from Canada)
>> "Is there some way I can set up FreeNAS, so that any user on any machine can just "save" their files in their own directory on the NAS?"
Yes, FreeNAS supports network shares. You can set up a share for each user in your household, then have their share mounted when that person logs in. Just make sure the person knows to save their files in the mounted share.
>> "You remember that comment about my involvement in the development of a Slackware derivative? Forget it. We're already discussing about delaying the release and rebasing off of something with a more secure future."
I have to ask,. If a secure future was one of the big concerns in picking a base distro, why was the choice made to go with a small project largely lead/controlled by a single developer in the first place? Yes, Slackware is a great base distro with a nice, simple layout, but I think most would agree it lives at the whim, health and financial stability of PV. Slackware has a lot going for it, but secure future was never one of those things, I think PV's unfortunate health concerns a few years ago highlighted that.
33 • #32: Basing choice, #31 Credibility (by Caitlyn Martin on 2012-04-16 20:05:00 GMT from United States)
#32: Jesse, your comment and question are spot on. If this was a one person project (meaning it was my decision alone) it probably never would have been Slackware for the base. It was very quick and easy for us to push out specialized builds, which is all we did with it as a private little distro for projects we were involved in. Taking it public changes a lot of things but it highlights a point I made all along: putting something without major backing and support into a business (as in our customers) is a bad idea in the long run.
It seems I may finally get what I advocated for at the beginning. I just wish it was under different circumstances. I certainly hope Slackware survives. I wish everyone associated with it nothing but the best. I just think for something other than hobbyist/home use it's always best to stick with an enterprise quality base, which to me means Red Hat, SUSE or Debian and their derivatives. That is NOT a comment on the technical quality of other choices, which is often very good indeed. Both Slackware and Mandriva are cases in point. It's a comment about finances and stability.
#31: Landor, I am not privy to anyone's personal finances so I can't comment about who does or does not make a living or how they do it. What I will say is that Slackware.com is down and I have very little doubt that the blog writer is accurate about why based on what sources I do have. I also don't think that the writing in the Linux/FOSS community is any better or worse than writing in general in terms of accuracy and integrity. I'd rate it way ahead of much of the political writing I see.
34 • RE: @ those are worried about Blue Systems (by Tin Foil Hat guy on 2012-04-16 20:05:49 GMT from United States)
@ Matthais I just searched with my cell phone and you sir are correct. I'm using work computer, I did not see any of the info you just posted. Just found out my company blocks certain non english sites without knowing what they are. I see why my IT dept does it. There is absolutly no reason to visit a non english site on a work computer. When I get home I'll look more into Clemens Tönnnies.
@Eddie I completly disagree with your statement: "its none of our business" For the same reasons a person likes to run stable distros is the same reasons you should care who sponsers a distro. If your in the process of switching corporate or class room desktops to the distros in question, than a sponser's info is important. Mid to large range IT Dept heads are more likely to pay huge Microsoft lisences rather than deal with the perception of weak sponsership or instability. I'm not asking for corporate filling or tax data. But a simple this is who we are, this is what we do statment would not hurt. Their web page not web site has been like that for a least 2 months that I known about.
35 • Re: #28. Thanks! (by Leo on 2012-04-16 20:16:09 GMT from United States)
Thanks for the info, Matthias. I did wind up on the same wikipedia page, but I had no way to infer whether that was the right Clemens Tonnies.
In short, it would be nice for the Blue-Systems webpage to have some contact info, and information about the company. This is pretty standard stuff.
36 • Stability (by fernbap on 2012-04-16 20:23:26 GMT from Portugal)
I find funny how the same people that says that slackware might not be stable because it depends on one developer only while at the same time saying that we shouldn't worry about gnome 2, although it currently depends on no developer at all.
In fact, a software project requires almost no expenses, it relies mostly on developers offering their work. Also, a stable software doesn't require any further development, except for security patches if and when some vulnerability is found.
What companies want is another company they can sign a contract with, that will assure maintenance and training. That has nothing to do with any of the issues discussed here.
37 • #36 financial stability (by Caitlyn Martin on 2012-04-16 20:29:01 GMT from United States)
GNOME 2 is still supported by Red Hat, a billion dollar company. MATE, the fork of GNOME 2, is building and growing a development team.
There are significant expenses in any large software project whether you realize it or not. The developers you refer to have to eat and pay bills just like anyone else. Sure, someone may give them free hosting for their project (i.e.: Sourceforge) or support in other ways. No matter how you slice it there are significant costs which someone, somewhere is paying. Stability, in this case, is knowing what is insuring those costs continue to get paid.
38 • RE: 33 - 36 (by Landor on 2012-04-16 20:38:59 GMT from Canada)
Using any other subject as a benchmark has absolutely no bearing on the integrity, or lack there of, of this community. To say on subject/community is better than the other actually proves the point by acknowledging there's problems with it, but the other is far worse. There's far too much drama in this community, and far too many out and out lie just for monetary gain.Because of that I tend to agree with Eddie, though he didn't mean with this, issues are none of our business. But I'm extremely old school.
So how do you expect someone who is developing a project to spend substantial time on said project if they need to eek out a living doing something else?
Software projects require almost no expenses? Seriously? How about getting online? How about a project from a third world? Just an internet connection alone is a fortune in and of itself. Then there's the person's time. What about attending conferences, or other similar venues? Bandwidth for the project itself, and space to have it hosted? That's just the more obvious of the expenses.
Stable applications don't need further development? Seriously? No wonder you like GNOME 2 so much. But if that's the case, why do you even care about GNOME 2? Why are you living on the command line? The command line didn't need any further development based on your model, it's perfect because it's stable. Why add all that unstable graphical crap to it?
I can't believe the progression of your thoughts over the last few months.
Keep your stick on the ice...
39 • @37 (by fernbap on 2012-04-16 20:42:45 GMT from Portugal)
First of all, MATE is not a fork, as i explained earlier, and is still far from doing everything gnome 2 does.
Secondly, the fact that Red Hat still offers support for its gnome installs means nothing under the point of software development, since gnome 2 is no longer being developed, which in fact is my point.
What companies need are companies that sell them support and training, not companies that develop software products for them. Red Hat does both, but that is not the issue.
You can buy nowadays a hosting account with unlimited space and unlimited bandwith for around $100/year. I don't find that any taxing, even for a single mantainer.
Sure, people need to pay their bills, but you know as well as i do that a large portion od open source development is made pro bono.
Besides, the one that pays the bill gives absolutely no guarantee about the quality of the software product.
40 • @38 (by fernbap on 2012-04-16 20:49:57 GMT from Portugal)
"Why are you living on the command line? The command line didn't need any further development based on your model, it's perfect because it's stable. Why add all that unstable graphical crap to it? "
That shouldn't even deserve an answer, but have you ever thought that neither Unity or Gnome 3 offer to the user as much as gnome 2 offers?
Wether you like it or not, Gnome 2 is still the most complete desktop, the others aren't even close.
So, yes, i prefer a stable gnome 2 to any experimental version of Unity or Gnome 3 that don't offer me as much.
41 • RE: @34,35 (by Matthias Jung on 2012-04-16 21:06:52 GMT from Germany)
Once again, sorry about my rude words. I have a lot of friends in the US or they are from the US. So please be nice to me. ;-)
@34: sir is a little bit to much. I have a PhD degree but my name is Matthias or for english speaking people: Matthew. In german we have use a SIE and a DU for speaking to people. In english you only have a YOU. SIE is for distance DU is for friends. In other words DU ist for people you are familiar with or people you like and SIE is like SIR. So please use DU. ;-)
Clemens Tönnies: If you are german and you like soccer you know that name.
The problem is the ö. ;-) Not on the english keyboard. ÄÖÜß :-))))))
I think he wants to spend some money on something for the community. Or his companies uses Kubuntu, Netrunner or what so ever. I don't know.
Nowadays we have same entrepreneurs in germany who think they have to give same money back. One of the SAP founders puts a lot lot lot lot money in sports, especially in soccer and hockey.
Maybe he don't want to be in the newspapers.
42 • @29, 33, Slackware (by TobiSGD on 2012-04-16 21:12:38 GMT from Germany)
I was rather astonished about those comments. That maysound a bit harsh, but is that new spirit of open source?
You plan to build a business with your non-independent distro, which actually means you earn your money with refining the work of someone else. Nothing wrong with that, that is one way how it can work.
But when your base-distro has problems, instead of contributing back you just change your base?
43 • #42: Comments misunderstood (by Caitlyn Martin on 2012-04-17 00:33:10 GMT from United States)
#34: @TobiSGD: Our distro has simply been a matter of customizing an existing distro in a way that fits one project and one project only. Regarding contributing upstream, what we do to Slackware is contrary to Slackware philosophy. I've been told in no uncertain terms that nobody is interested upstream. The base has no interest in us so why should I have interest in the base?
What we do is no different than what Red Hat does with some of its consultancy work or what IBM Global Services does or for smaller businesses what lots of independent *nix consultants do: we take a product and customize it for our customers to solve problems. Do you really object to that? If so, sorry, that isn't ever going to change and it is how Linux is used in business. Always has been, always will be.
The idea of taking the distro public was to give back to the Linux community as a whole. We derive no financial benefit from doing so. The reason it's taken so long is that we honestly fear having to do technical support for the general public. It only has costs associated with it and is time consuming. The whole point was we wanted to and still want to give back.
As far as rebasing: I have to have a product that is supported upstream and that customers can depend on. I was always uncomfortable with Slackware for that sort of use. My discomfort, sadly, has been vindicated.
44 • Slackware (by Gilbert Boisvert on 2012-04-17 01:19:53 GMT from United States)
As for being a user that likes stability in an OS, and the nice bells and whistles, I've tried Slackware over the years, and as of now, never again!
I find it as no picnic trying to install it, or one of it's applications, and losing mucho precious time chasing down missing dependencies after dependencies. Yeah, that dependencies h... is the killer! This dependency can't be installed because that dependency is missing,,, and so on and so forth! It would be like a cat chasing it's tail.
I was interested in a stable OS, (which Slackware has that reputation), but having to go through all that frustration, definitely will not make me a apostle and defender of Slackware OS. I'll stick with the OS's in which the developers have produced a nice total package, ready to use. At my age, I no longer want to be a Linux Mechanic. I'll be happy to finish the rest of my days as a user.
45 • Slackware (by John Grimes on 2012-04-17 01:46:57 GMT from Canada)
So the Slackware website is down. Big deal. It's been down before as have many distro's sites. It isn't a large corporation like RedHat or have the backing of a multimillionaire like Canonical so it goes down occasionally when it can't handle the load. The fact that it has survived this long is a testament to it's stability, utility, and yes longevity - as it's been around longer than Ms Martin has been using Linux (according to her bio).
I'm quite sure that if Pat decides to one day retire the rest of the tem (oh yes, there ARE more than just one person working on Slackware) will pick up the proverbial, as well as the literal Slack.
Ms. Martin is right about one thing. Operating systems, like the computers they run on are tools. You choose the one that suits you needs best. For many that's Slackware, for others something else. I understand there are even a few people who LIKE MS Windows *grin*
46 • #45: You're right (by Caitlyn Martin on 2012-04-17 01:52:23 GMT from United States)
@John Grimes: You're right. I've only used Linux for 17 years. I guess that makes me a newbie in some people's eyes. Feel free to dismiss anything I say :)
47 • @Caitlyn Martin (by Anymouse on 2012-04-17 02:46:43 GMT from United States)
What is wrong with Slackware?
It depends on who you ask? right?
Like FreeBSD it is also one that provides TeTeX, does that not include texlive. BTW, Fedora which is known to be following upstream provides texlive 2007, and no don't give me that it has a repo, why is it not the latest and greatest, because of patents and other B$, why is that the case. Thankfully, for FreeBSD, there is a texlive-freebsd project by Romain Tartiere and for Slackware there are slackbuilds and one can build texlive and run it on our favorite systems.
48 • Slackware (by NyteOwl on 2012-04-17 02:58:50 GMT from Canada)
I read the Grimes post as a commentary on Slackware's longevity not Caitlyn Martin's experience.
In any event, Slackware is decidedly not as "automated" as most distributions. While perhaps less convenient for many, it does provide a degree of stability beyond many other distros. Dependency checking by automated tool is all well and good - when it works. But when it doesn't cleaning up the mess can be horrendous.
I've used most of the major Linux distros at one time or other,a s well as the main Free/Net/OpenBSD flavours. I settled on Slackware, Debian, and OpenBSD for most of my needs. They work for me - use what works for you.
49 • Jumping to Conclusions (by T3slider on 2012-04-17 02:59:52 GMT from Canada)
I don't understand why all of a sudden Slackware is in danger. It has always been true that Slackware has one man at the helm and is therefore a risky investment when doing a half-assed fork (ie. where development still depends on the original's development, and where the fork serves only to fragment the community; if your development cycle still depends on the original project, it would be best to release your unique tools as point replacements/enhancements to the original project instead of pretending it is a new project entirely). That being said, it is the oldest surviving Linux distro, so despite that fact it has remained, for ~19 years, a suitable base for new forks.
People seem to be jumping to conclusions because of a site outage and one single response on one single thread from someone related to Slackware, stating that the PC that hosts the simple web site (and is likely not too involved in actual Slackware development) is a little long in the tooth and having issues. Meanwhile huge updates have been pushed to -current and the web site aside Slackware development seems to be chugging along as usual.
I'm not going to say you're foolish to be nervous about the base of your half-assed fork since it does have one man at the helm -- but nothing I've seen recently indicates any change in Slackware's future that should impart *sudden* fear into anyone. The site has gone down in the past, and it will probably go down in the future until the machine is replaced; however, development doesn't appear to be much affected.
50 • #49: Half-assed fork (by Caitlyn Martin on 2012-04-17 03:41:58 GMT from United States)
T3slider: Thanks for the first truly rude and nasty comment of the day. By your definition Ubuntu is a "half-assed fork" of Debian. You have never seen what we are doing and don't know why we did it in the first place. Who is jumping to conclusions here?
Hey, defend Slackware by demeaning and attacking anyone who dares question the holy writ of your favorite distribution. By all means, go for it. It shows what I have often described as the single biggest problem with the Linux community: religious zealotry around distros. See: http://broadcast.oreilly.com/2009/11/the-problem-with-the-linux-com.html Note the particularly clueful DWW comments I quoted.
Do I believe Slackware has a problem right now? Yes. Do I believe it will survive? I don't know enough to answer that question. I certainly hope it does.
Do me a favor, OK? If and when we do go public with our four year old "half-assed fork" please avoid us like the plague. We won't need zealots in our community.
51 • Slackware worries (by claudecat on 2012-04-17 03:57:40 GMT from United States)
I'm not all that worried about slackware disappearing anytime soon. KDE 4.8.2 hit current just within the last 24-48 hours and there has been a steady flow of updates for weeks now. I'd theorize that they (yes, it's not just Pat) are too busy to bother with something as unimportant as keeping a website up. Let's face it, the project doesn't even have a proper forum... I doubt that they care much what the state of the website is when other priorities present themselves. Naturally, I reserve the right to be wrong :=}
52 • the old days. (by silvernoose on 2012-04-17 05:39:07 GMT from United States)
I must be getting old. I can remember back when diversity was a good thing. When people would rally around smaller distros aimed at their particular needs/tastes. This petty bickering is sad - and precisely why it will never be the "year of the linux desktop". People read this, and turn right back around... :(
53 • Half-assed fork: Part the Second (by T3slider on 2012-04-17 05:53:17 GMT from Canada)
My intent was not to be rude or nasty, or to diminish your work. The work itself may be extremely valuable; I have no idea. The term 'half-assed fork' was not meant to imply that you didn't work hard on the project, just that some part of that work may be misplaced. If Slackware died, Arch would continue (Arch being a real fork). If Slackware died, I don't know if Salix or other directly-derived distros would survive. These are half-assed forks. It doesn't mean they are bad from a user's perspective or that the effort is not appreciated (or that the effort is half-assed), but it's just not a full fork. The need to fork the distro and treat it as a new distro entirely rather than releasing package sets, tagfiles and/or a modified installer (all of which are easy to do in Slackware) continues to serve only to fragment an already small user base, reducing the income to the original developer (who you and other half-assed forks continue to depend on) and ends up bleeding out the entire tree of projects entirely.
As for Ubuntu, you do have a valid point. It has introduced frustration for Debian developers (when a new package is integrated into Ubuntu that would be better submitted to Debian and usable by both) but serves a purpose. I maintain a preference for initial projects that may never escape progenitor-dependence to be non-fragmentary (ie. to remain compatible) until such a point that it can stand on its own. If that is not the case, it tends to bleed away users from the original without contributing anything back. It's like standing on the shoulders of giants while kicking them in the mud.
I don't see how I was being a zealot -- I 100% agree that it is risky to base a 'half-assed fork' on Slackware...I just stated that the risk hasn't *increased* (as far as I can tell) as of late despite rumours stating otherwise (again based on one thread at LQ filled with a bunch of uninformed people making unfounded assumptions and guesses).
There are projects like Studioware that offer build scripts and packages to transform stock Slackware into a DAW. They could have done a half-assed fork and released it as an Ubuntu-esque Slackware Audio Distro but they didn't. This benefits Slackware (and probably Slackware-derived distros) by supplying a niche market without creating YET ANOTHER fork. Rewriting an installer is one thing, shipping an entire distro (with mostly others' work) that may break compatibility (and fragment the user base) is quite another, especially when it is unlikely that it would be able to survive on its own (as stated implicitly by yourself).
In the end, what destroys the Linux community isn't zealots (though I don't enjoy listening to them either); it's the mandatory power struggle, that need to have something of your own. It's a miracle Torvalds has managed to hold on to the Linux kernel; there are many other projects who haven't been as lucky and just get forked over and over until manpower and user-base evaporates (or they re-amalgamate later after wasting time reinventing the wheel).
It should be stated that I generally do not recommend Slackware to anyone who wishes to use a distro that they intend to administer themselves. Just because I enjoy the distro doesn't mean I'm blind to its flaws and design philosophies.
54 • @ Matthias Jung & others (by greg on 2012-04-17 06:30:35 GMT from Slovenia)
I actually remembered yesterday that Netrunner is a German distro so i went with gemran language searcha nd found a couple of Gmbh companies with same name. Didn't have time and had a blocked access to investigate further.
If what you say is true (and it seems it is) then it all makes very much sense to me. To those outside of Europe - it is quite common in Europe for a donor/sponsor not to reveal themselves to public. Those that need to know about who they are etc. will know. But not the public. This also explains why there is no about us on blue systems site.
It also explains why Netrunner would like a good upstream version as well as new solutions/improvements/patches form Mint.
55 • Puts hat down slowly (by Tin Foil Hat guy on 2012-04-17 08:03:01 GMT from United States)
After further digging and asking germany football fans, Im not as paranoid about Kubuntu's sponser as I was earlier. Still skeptical just not paranoid. I hope his businesses are healthy whatever they maybe.
Moving forward, having an about me on a website should be a standard. When declaring your sponsorship of free and open source projects. Its the right thing to do.
56 • #53: Reply (by Caitlyn Martin on 2012-04-17 10:20:36 GMT from United States)
Sorry, but I don't see how the term "half-assed" could be seen as anything but demeaning and derogatory. Pity, because the rest of what you wrote could be the basis for a rational debate about derivative distros. Having read through I don't agree with a single point you've made but you've certainly made your dislike for derivatives clear. By your definition at least 95% of the distros on DistroWatch are "half-assed" and fragmentary and are the problem with Linux. I see just the opposite: our diversity is our strength. We have something for everyone.
There is no power struggle here. I've never been thrilled about the idea of a public release for Yarok at all, but it's been a team goal for a long time. As I said, it's a way of giving back to the community at large. If it serves your needs and tastes then, by all means, give it a go. If it doesn't then give it a pass.
Assuming Yarok, in some form, is released to the public in the near future it will be a niche distro that serves a few specific uses that really aren't well served at present. It will never compete with Linux Mint and probably will never rank highly on the DWW page hit list. Heck, it may never show up at all. It won't fragment the community. It may make things easier for a number of people in the community and that has value in my book.
57 • Jumping to conclusions (by Eric Hameleers on 2012-04-17 10:44:46 GMT from Europe)
The slackware.com server is down. This is a technical malfunction. It costs money to do something about that. Something will be done about that server, but if it takes a while, it is most likely caused by prioritizing and finances. Slackware was without its own web server for a long time in the past. And still active are ftp.slackware.com and connie.slackware.com, so what's the big deal?
This turning of the rumour mill is pretty much unfounded, and I see some of the same old people pouring oil on the fire as usual.
There is no reason to doubt the availability, stability and long term viability of Slackware, the distribution. It has not been a one-man show for some time, the development effort is substantial and plainly visible in the ChangeLog, and there are no plans to switch to another development model or even ditch the distribution.
People who use Slackware will experience first-hand that their distro is stable, up to date and well-supported. These people won't have to fear that anything changes. Slackware is more than just a "hobby and home use" distribution. we are all taking it seriously and Pat Volkerding most certainly does.
People who base their distro on Slackware as a base, are welcome to do so if they can make a difference. If you want to rebase Slackware to make it do something which does not match with the Slackware philosophy then yes, these changes will not by default flow back into Slackware. That is not surprising is it? Slackware caters for a very specific segment of Linux users, and your derivative caters for another segment. Diversity is a good thing.
On the other hand, if you choose to develop or work on a Slackware derivative while at the same time criticizing Slackware, its developers, its useability and its viability, then you are just plain stupid. Move on and stop bothering me.
58 • C'mon, Eric. You know better. (by Caitlyn Martin on 2012-04-17 10:53:41 GMT from United States)
I have never criticized you or any of the Slackware developers. I also didn't chose to develop a derivative; I chose to work with people who chose to rebase to Slackware in 2008. I didn't criticize Slackware's viability. I questioned it based on a blog post that, it turns out, was based on a comment you, yourself had made. I have always praised Slackware's reliability, performance and stability. I have ALWAYS criticized it's usability based on a dictionary definition of that word. Most derivatives I've seen exist specifically because of that issue. Does that make all the derivative developers stupid? Sorry, no sale on that one.
Bothering you? Have we ever exchanged so much as two words before now? Not so far as I know.
Well... at least now I know where the intolerance to any criticism in the Slackware community comes from.
59 • death of slackware (by notsure on 2012-04-17 11:48:06 GMT from United States)
according to patrick volkerding, slack does have a backup plan - there used to be and probably still is a 90 minute or so interview with him. the main website went, it is/was old. the user is given the opportunity to make it usable by their own desires. i personally have referenced alien's scripts/blogs and he, by himself, makes it much easier to learn/transform the base into what you want it to be. his last statement is by far the most harsh i have ever seen. so, the main website, which doesn't effethe established user base is down, as was mentioned, all other mirrors are up and receiving updates. this would be a good thing, and contrary to uninformed statements stating otherwise.
60 • @53 Arch, a fork? (by mythus on 2012-04-17 16:27:14 GMT from United States)
Reading through these comments, one thing caught my attention:
"If Slackware died, Arch would continue (Arch being a real fork)."
Are you sure about that? Where do you get your information? You see, I ask this because Arch Linux is not a fork of slackware. It isn't a fork of anything, but is inspired by CRUX. If anything, you could almost call it a fork of CRUX... almost....
"Arch Linux was founded by Canadian programmer Judd Vinet. Its first formal release, Arch Linux 0.1, was on March 11, 2002. Although Arch is completely independent, it draws inspiration from the simplicity of other distributions including Slackware, CRUX and BSD. In 2007, Judd Vinet stepped down as Project Lead to pursue other interests and was replaced by Aaron Griffin who continues to lead the project today. "
That is from the Arch Linux Wiki. Note that it states it is completely independent. Inspired by others such as slackware, CRUX, and BSD.. yes. A fork of... no.
"Vinet built his own distribution on similar principles as those distros."
So if slackware were to disappear, then yes Arch would be fine.. it isn't based on, part of, or a fork of Slackware. It is simply inspired by slackware's simplicity.
61 • @57 & @58 Slackware (by Didier Spaier on 2012-04-17 16:53:42 GMT from France)
100% agree with Eric Hameleers and disagree with Caitlin Martin.
I don't like r
62 • @57 & @58 Slackware (by Didier Spaier on 2012-04-17 16:59:15 GMT from France)
100% agree with Eric Hameleers and disagree with Caitlin Martin.
I don't like rumors and FUD spreading.
About usability, better consider you needs than a dictionary definition.
Caitlin find it unusable and don't use it. That's fine. I find it usable and use it. That's even finer.
63 • RE: 40 - Slackware (by Landor on 2012-04-17 17:14:18 GMT from Canada)
What about all the other comments you made that I replied to?
This is exactly why I said not to pay any attention to the blog post.
This also just further proves my point about drama and lack of integrity/veracity when writing and such in this community.
Keep your stick on the ice...
64 • Gang up on Caitlyn Martin Day? (by DavidEF on 2012-04-17 17:35:39 GMT from United States)
Come on, everybody, can we give it a rest? Caitlyn Martin made statements - some based on her opinions and some based on facts. She clearly identified them and AFAIK didn't make any claims that her opinions were fact, although a lot of others here can't seem to make the same distinction for their own opinions. It is all well and good to have differing opinions, and I don't see her trying to make anyone agree with her opinions.
But facts are different, they are not up for debate. A fact is a fact, and no amount of bickering can change it. To debate a fact is ignorant and childish. If you all would just read through her posts again, you might see what I'm talking about. If not, feel free to gang up on me too. Maybe then you'll feel better.
@62 Didier Spaier,
Caitlyn Martin is a *nix professional and blog writer. She not only works with *nix all the time, she also finds the time to test and review various linux distros. I'm sure she DOES consider her own needs when deciding what distro to use on her own computers. When working professionally, I'm certain she considers the needs of her customers. When writing reviews, or working on a new distro about to go public, I'd much rather she use a dictionary definition of Usability, so that we all know what she is talking about, and what to expect in our own testing. We are, after all, differing individuals with differing needs and opinions. Using a dictionary definition of Usability to guage a distro is much harder than giving your own opinion based on feelings, or personal needs, by the way.
65 • My response on LQ (by Caitlyn Martin on 2012-04-17 17:43:52 GMT from United States)
This discussion was also going in parallel on LinuxQuestions,org. I actually find the responses to me (other than the one by Alien Bob and my dear friend Didier) heartening. They certainly put the Slackware community in a much better light. Thank you to those who understood where I was coming from. Yes, we (the Yarok developers) were very much aware that until KDE 4.8.2 was pushed that Slackware development had been very slow and very sparse and that plus the blog post (which I originally saw on Tuxmachines.org) caused the five of us doing a derivative to have significant concerns. It wasn't just me.
It would be much, much easier in the short term to finish our custom bits and pieces and to release what we've done. In the long term I still honestly don't know if that's the best way to go. I will be one vote in five as discussions are continuing. Do I have influence? Yes. Do I decide? Heck no.
There is a misconception about my writing which came up in the LQ comments, this time in a very respectful way. DavidEF's post #64 also addressed the issue well. I don't want Slackware to be anything other than Slackware. I also don't doubt that most Slackers who run vanilla Slackware don't want what's in the derivatives. If they did they'd run derivatives. My comments about automated dependency checking are not about what the Slackware community or developers want. They are about what the rest of the Linux community wants and expects from a distro. Slackware is different and there is nothing wrong with that.
When I write for O'Reilly the Slackware community, or those contemplating Slackware, are my target audience if I'm writing a How-To (i.e.: http://broadcast.oreilly.com/2012/04...lems-with.html ) If I'm writing a review Slackers aren't my target audience at all. You know what Slackware is. My target audience are folks who don't know Slackware and want to know how it compares to what they are used to. I judge my audience based on my experience both in my *nix consulting work and in the comments I receive in various places. I think most of you are more than smart enough to know that Slackware isn't for most people.
Sadly, I do take Alien Bob's comments seriously because of his role in Slackware. I agree with an LQ poster who says they were very harsh. My general experience with criticism is that most developers of most distros take it as constructive or, in a case like Slackware, will concede differences in philosophy. The community, the fans, are where things are different. This is the first time a developer has reacted this way and I must say it doesn't make me feel better about Slackware. As others on LQ have pointed out: website + development slowdown == legitimate worry. If Slackware was perfect for everyone there wouldn't be derivatives, would there? Pointing out differences, even being critical of them, isn't stupidity.
Again, I appreciate the community responses this time around. In the next two or three days we (the Yarok developers) will have to make a decision one way or another. I, personally, would prefer moving on. Again, that is not a comment on the technical merits of Slackware, which are many.
66 • @64 and @65 answers to DavidEF and Caitlyn Martin (by Didier Spaier on 2012-04-17 19:49:16 GMT from France)
David, you are free to judge about something's usability according to a dictionary. I stand by my opinion but do not pretend to influence other people's choice.
Caitlyn, first I apologize for having misspelled your first name in my previous post.
I didn't realize that you were a member of the Yarok team. In fact I never heard of Yarok before I read you posts on this thread and still know nothing about it. I only guess that it is a project about a (Slackware?) derivative.
So please don't take what I said in post #19 as a personal attack against you. Of course you have the right to do what you want with your time. I do regret what I see as a dispersion of efforts but I won't deny anybody the right to think differently
I do *not* pretend that Slackware be perfect for everyone (neither does Eric if I understand his words), it is not even perfect for me, though it be my preferred distribution.
If I wouldn't like it as it is, I would prefer to either try to invent something based on a different concept or contribute to it to make it better than create a derivative of it. Again, I am only expressing my humble opinion and I am *not* telling other people what they should do.
67 • Debian based NAS (by Bob on 2012-04-17 20:21:43 GMT from Canada)
I recently purchased a Wyse S30 thin client off eBay for $20. It has an astounding 128MB RAM and a 64MB flash drive. It had WinCE installed, but my goal was a simple NAS/Torrent Box/media server. I set up a tftp server on my laptop (Debian-based of course :-) serving up a Debian netinstall ISO image. PXE booted the thin-client and did a minimal install on the Wyse using the flash drive as /boot and a USB hard drive for the rest. Reason for putting /boot on the internal flash was the thing wouldn't boot off USB (I suspect it will only boot off <4MB USB flash). Anyways, installed dropbear ssh, NFS4 and transmission-daemon on the Wyse and it really cooks! NFS had a bit of a learning curve as it was my first time, but works great now with no problems. We access the think wirelessly and transfer rates are much better than sshfs (and samba I expect). It streams HD content no problem, I just upped the network cache in VLC to 1.5s because there can be slight stuttering if I am streaming content and transferring files at the same time. Our laptops access the media content via NFS, thunar and VLC - I liked that better than the the UPNP projects currently available.
Debian once again proves it's versatility.
68 • Linux Mint Debian 201204 RC with Mate/Cinnamon (by dude on 2012-04-18 12:20:57 GMT from United States)
I just tried the new LMDE 2010204 RC on my Dell laptop. I really LOVE the MATE 1.2 interface! It blows away the crappy Unity interface that nobody likes with Ubuntu. No wonder Ubuntu is dropping in popularity. Unity reminds me of the infamous dark screen in Windows Vista. Oh, the Humanity! The Cinnamon interface is also better than Unity, but I prefer MATE. This version of LMDE comes with MATE as the default interface, with Cinnamon optional at the login screen. You don't need to download anything from the repositories or install any update packs to get MATE or Cinnamon. It just works. Thank you Clem! Oh yeah, and my appologies to Mark Shuttleworth.
69 • Slackware status (by Jesse on 2012-04-18 14:34:39 GMT from Canada)
In case anyone wants to donate to the Slackware project, the link to their store and donation button is http://store.slackware.com/cgi-bin/store
70 • Looking For A Good Learning Distro (by CliffyB on 2012-04-18 15:19:57 GMT from United States)
To explain, I finally talked my brother into buying a computer, a HP Compaq Presario 64-bit with Win 7 Home Premium. He doesn`t want to lose Windows, at least not yet, but he doesn`t know squat about computers in general. I thought of UberStudent, but what I really want is any free online courses that would cover the basics and wondering if any distros have anything like that. UberStudent does, but basically just for using UberStudent. He doesn`t want or need to learn Linux yet, he just wants the basics, terms, etc. In other words, no Arch, no LFS, etc. Any ideas?
71 • RE: #68 (by mcellius on 2012-04-18 15:55:37 GMT from United States)
Ah, there it is: the compulsory FUD attack on Unity and Ubuntu. A few points need to be addressed:
1. To say that "nobody" likes Unity is incorrect. I like it, and so do many others.
2. You say that Ubuntu is dropping in popularity, but there is no evidence that this is the case. (DW's "popularity" numbers aren't significant in this.) Yes, with the abundance of desktop choices available today - a good thing! - people are freer than ever to make other choices, but did you know that both MATE and Cinnamon work as well on Ubuntu as on Mint?
In order to like and promote MInt - which is just fine - it is not necessary to hate Ubuntu. I have tried Mint - every current flavor, I think - as well as lots of other distros and desktop environments. They each have something good to offer, and I have nothing against any of them. Why do you? Use what you like and enjoy it, but is there a reason to resort to name-calling and ad hominem attacks?
72 • RE: 71 (by fernbap on 2012-04-18 18:07:45 GMT from Portugal)
First of all, i don't see anyone hating ubuntu. All i see is people hating Unity.
I have many online friends, with whom i chat on a daily basis. I promote Linux, and so they consider me the man to go about anything regarding Linux.
One of my friends came to me, very happy, saying "i had a lot of connection problems with windows 7, so i finally installed Ubuntu! It is nice, it has these icons and this bar on the left, and i no longer have any connection problems!"
We crossed again 3 days later. Asked him how he went along with Ubuntu:
"You know, i hated the win7 interface, I found it even worse than Vista's, but now i realise that i hate linux even more! I just can't find my way around this mess!"
Making the story short, i guided him into uninstalling Ubuntu and installing Mint. Now he stopped thinking that Linux is an unholy mess.
The problem is that Ubuntu is for many, as it was to my friend, the entry door to Linux, and is giving Linux a bad image.
Btw, i love Ubuntu, it is by far the bast base to build upon, and i understand their option to make their own desktop, due to the unholy mess of gnome 3. But that doesn't make me like Unity.
73 • Re:72 (by AliasMarlowe on 2012-04-18 19:05:17 GMT from Finland)
"First of all, i don't see anyone hating ubuntu. All i see is people hating Unity."
And you're not the only one. I have converted our home machines from Ubuntu to Xubuntu, simply to avoid the Unity debacle. We're presently running 10.04 LTS and expect to upgrade to 12.04 LTS. Having tried recent Ubuntu versions in VMs and been appalled by the interface, I was utterly dumbfounded by the UI screw-up.
We let the kids (pre-teen to teenager) try the Unity interface also for as long as they wanted, trying not to reveal our own opinions, and they uniformly hated it. Actually, our eldest one tried out Unity, Gnome 3, XFCE, and KDE in different VMs (Fedora and PCLinuxOS as well as Ubuntu and Xubuntu) on her PC. She chose XFCE as the best of them, with KDE as a close second. Gnome Shell was a distant but almost respectable third, but Unity was so far behind she repeatedly used it to exemplify "the wrong way" over the following few weeks.
74 • RE: 72 (by mcellius on 2012-04-18 19:15:37 GMT from United States)
It seems to me that week in/week out, many of the rants about Unity also include Ubuntu. (And c'mon: attacks on Mark Shuttleworth? Sheesh!) But I do understand that Unity is what sets at least some of them off.
Fortunately, though, it is easy to install and run Cinnamon or MATE with Ubuntu, and in 12.04 there is an extremely good "Gnome classic" that works very much like the Gnome 2 that so many people seem to miss. I'm running the beta now and have lots of choices I can use; I generally prefer Unity but I'm comfortable with all of them, and switch it around from time to time.
So even if you don't like Unity, you don't have to stay with it in order to use Ubuntu. There are lots of options: that's what Linux is about.
My real point, though, is why get upset at all? Why rant? Linux has lots of choices, and if you prefer one over another, great!
75 • RE: @73, @74 (by fernbap on 2012-04-18 19:43:36 GMT from Portugal)
"She chose XFCE as the best of them, with KDE as a close second. Gnome Shell was a distant but almost respectable third, but Unity was so far behind she repeatedly used it to exemplify "the wrong way" over the following few weeks."
That is my perception as well. Unfortunately, she had no occasion to try gnome 2 or MATE, because what XFCE is (cleverly) doing it trying to occupy the space left empty by gnome.
"And c'mon: attacks on Mark Shuttleworth? Sheesh!"
What makes a man is the ability of recognizing that he is wrong when he is wrong.
"So even if you don't like Unity, you don't have to stay with it in order to use Ubuntu."
I know that, but linux newcomers don't.
76 • RE: 75 (by mcellius on 2012-04-18 21:46:59 GMT from United States)
fernbap, I can agree with some of what you write, or at least see your point of view. (And I agree about XFCE's cleverness.) But about Mark Shuttleworth,
"What makes a man is the ability of recognizing that he is wrong when he is wrong."
And there's the ad hominem attack we've seen too often. You say it's about Unity, and I'm sure it largely is, but now you're ruling on "what makes a man" and deciding that Shuttleworth comes up short. Too often these rants go there, attacking Ubuntu or Mark Shuttleworth, not just disliking Unity. That's the hate to which I referred earlier. And I thank you for making my point better than I ever could.
Now, let's get to better discussions. Dislike Unity? Great! Some others do, too, just as some people like it. Disliking it or liking it doesn't make one person better than another, or even one person right and the other wrong. It's Linux! We have lots of options, so let's use the ones we like and stop trying to run others down. It's unworthy of the Linux community.
77 • @76 (by fernbap on 2012-04-18 23:25:21 GMT from Portugal)
"And there's the ad hominem attack we've seen too often."
That's what happens when you are a public figure. Funny, you don't see people getting outraged when you call a politician an idiot, or a football player.
Shuttleworth is hurting Linux, for the reasons i explained earlier, and until he finally admits he's wrong, Linux will continue to be hurt.
78 • @71 and @68 (by DavidEF on 2012-04-18 23:30:58 GMT from United States)
mcellius, are you and I related?
"To say that "nobody" likes Unity is incorrect. I like it, and so do many others."
I almost responded to this same assertion by dude #68, but I wasn't wanting to start up the flames again. Although, I used to be equally guilty of saying "nobody" likes Vista, until I found exactly one guy who loves it. Of course, he and I disagree on a lot of other things, too. But I no longer pretend that I'm "everybody" and anyone who disagrees with me is "nobody."
I don't know if Ubuntu is dropping in popularity or not. As you said, DW's rating system is not significant enough to be used as "evidence" of this. What I do know is that I wish people would think more along the lines of this statement you made:
"In order to like and promote MInt - which is just fine - it is not necessary to hate Ubuntu."
I would even say you could substitute *ANY* two distro names there, and the statement would still be true. We don't need to hate one in order to like another - period.
Mr. dude, sir, I think it's fine that you like MATE, and dislike Unity. I dislike LXDE, XFCE, JWM, Gnome3, and several others. It isn't that they are worthless junk. Unity isn't worthless junk. All of them are equally valid, and useful to somebody, just like Gnome2 and MATE. I'm not so much trying to defend Unity, as trying to help us all get away from the hate-mongering of all sorts that seems to be going on here lately. You can see that in my post #64 above, too, on a different subject.
79 • RE: 77 (by Landor on 2012-04-19 02:56:12 GMT from Canada)
Who says Mark Shuttleworth is wrong? You? Some users of the distribution that are the vocal minority? The ones that are wearing their emotions on their virtual sleeves? None of those make him wrong. They make the people wrong. If I decide to build a house with no closet or cupboard space, that doesn't make me wrong. Especially not because you or others see it that way.
Linux is the kernel, and it's used in many a varied thing, so how is he hurting Linux? I know of a ton of different applications of Linux that have absolutely nothing to do with Canonical in any form, and in fact, Canonical is partnering with a lot of companies. So, I ask of you how? Can you give me links that show exactly that Mark Shuttleworth has hurt Linux, and in exactly what way.
Every week it's the same thing, so I'm asking this week, show me. Give me this evidence and we'll discuss it here, openly.
Keep your stick on the ice...
80 • @77 & @78 (by mcellius on 2012-04-19 03:04:03 GMT from United States)
fernbap: Oh my gosh! I sure hope the Linux community isn't to be compared to battling political parties! And rival football teams don't settle things by calling each other names, but on the field.
I'd rather see the desktop environment wars settled in something of the same way, though: the successful one survive, the unsuccessful one fade away, not because of name-calling and insults but because in the end the users have chosen one - or two, or three, or four, etc. - over the other.
As for Shuttleworth, I hope he's not hurting either Ubuntu or Linux, but there can be no doubt that his perspective differs from yours or mine. There are many and varied reasons why he might not believe Unity has been a failure, and some of those reasons will be based on how he measures its success: those reasons aren't likely to be yours or mine. (And in my case, since I like Unity and it really works for me, I so far consider it a success, too; whether or not I always feel that way is something I don't know now.) it's very possible - even likely - that Mark Shuttleworth has a longer-term vision for Unity than most users, and in his view it might only just now be reaching what he wanted it to be. I don't know, but I can sure see why he would'n't "admit he's wrong," since from his perspective he probably isn't. (Although I think the inclusion of the extremely well done Gnome classic into the desktop options in 12.04 is to some degree a recognition that Unity was not greeted with universal acclaim.)
DavidEF: I doubt we're related but we at least see some things eye-to-eye. (You might scowl at me, though, since I really had no problems with Vista and thought it was fine; well, for Windows, at least.)
Like you, I've used all those different desktops, too. Over the last year I've loaded and tried about fifty different distros, with all the different desktop environments they've had to offer. I didn't like LXDE nor Gnome3, but I did like Gnome 2, MATE, Cinnamon, and KDE (a lot). For me Unity has been the best and the most useful, but I still try them all out, and Gnome classic, MATE, and Cinnamon are included in my login options.
I think these desktop wars are hurting and dividing Linux far more than anything else. New users will be scared off by this noisy and quarrelsome community, I'm afraid.
I was content to remain silent until I saw a message posted by someone in AskUbuntu. It was full of crude obscenities and name-calling, intended only to insult Ubuntu users. It was removed almost immediately, of course, but I figured if that's how things were going maybe it was time to try to do my part to interject some reason into the debate and speak up for a united Linux community.
81 • @80 (by fernbap on 2012-04-19 03:54:06 GMT from Portugal)
I think we should first and foremost try to understand why people are so angry.
Usually, if a lot of people get angry, there is a reason for it.
I also think that the best judgements must come from within the community.
Personally, i think that some developer communities went schizophrenic, and completely lost contact with the real world. Developers are not, by definition, the best designers of UIs, because they cater their needs as developers and can't imagine that the general public is not composed by developers like themselves.
I think what happened with gnome is a perfect example of that. I could advance with some conspiracy theories, like developers that are getting a salary wanting to justify their salary by showing work done, and so they try to periodically reinvent the wheel (keep it simple, stupid! If it isn't broken, don't fix it!).
That is why criticism is crucial, and i am glad that Linux is so far a community where people are vocal and critic.
Of course, all communities contain a certain number of people that don't know how to be civil.
82 • "Desktop Wars" and Blue Systems (by BDai on 2012-04-19 03:54:52 GMT from United States)
Looking at the desktop controversy, I think what many get annoyed with are people I call "Desktop Racists." These posters boast about either desktop environment superiority and/or inferiority, regardless of the needs and habits of the people using them. Think of if watermelon was the only flavor of lolipop, and all lolipops were sold for free. What a very boring thing, a lolipop would be. Yet I see peoples arguing about DE flavors like this in this forum...
As for Blue Systems, I was rather confused about how it came out of nowhere, but it looks like it means business, as the donating entity is talking about trademark issues of my favorite distro, Kubuntu...
83 • 81 continued (by fernbap on 2012-04-19 04:02:50 GMT from Portugal)
As to Shuttleworth and Ubuntu, as i said before, creating a new desktop was probably the best option, considering the circunstances. They probably didn't realize then that creating a a new desktop is not as simple a task as they thought would be, and, mostly, requires constant feedback over a considerable period of time.
Again, in my opinion, Unity came out horrible, something that Shuttleworth might not have foreseen, but now he is stuck in the choice he made.
HUD is another misstep, imo. Let's look at things reasonably: have you ever seen anyone asking for something like HUD to be created? Or is it just another developer wet dream?
84 • @83 (by BDai on 2012-04-19 04:12:42 GMT from United States)
Did anyone originally ask for an interface like windows 95, osx, or gnome 2? No... I think they asked for DOS 3 and command line UNIX...
85 • @84 (by fernbap on 2012-04-19 04:16:06 GMT from Portugal)
"Did anyone originally ask for an interface like windows 95, osx, or gnome 2?"
Yes, they did, and they came out as soon as the evolving technology made it possible.
This is not a case of new technologies making something possible.
86 • @85 (by BDai on 2012-04-19 04:28:25 GMT from United States)
No, the public did not. There was quite a bit of skepticism about windows 95 coming out. As for gnome 2, originally people actually tried fork gnome 1.
As for the HUD, yes, it came out of technology already made - the computer search engine - and applying it as aid to finding items inside drop down menus, as opposed to finding desktop applications. It's only optional too in 12.04...
87 • RE: 85 (by Landor on 2012-04-19 04:35:06 GMT from Canada)
Actually with all the portable devices it is a case of new technologies making something possible.
But where did these people ask for those things? Though not as long as some of the big names, I've been using computers extensively since the early/mid 80s, I don't recall anyone asking for those interfaces, and don't recall anyone asking for input either. Especially from 'closed source' related companies.
Again, I'd appreciate you providing me with some links to the topic so I can read up on it.
Keep your stick on the ice...
88 • Slackware gone??? Nah. (by Julian on 2012-04-19 05:47:05 GMT from United States)
Slackware is stable because I have total control over what I put on my computer and I like it that way. It is the longest system I have ever kept on a computer.
I will consider Slackware gone when I see the daises. Until then, it remains a viable OS.
And fnally, who keeps starting these "Slackware going" threads? Sounds more like Chicken Littles "The sky is falling" banter.
89 • RE: 81 & 83 (by mcellius on 2012-04-19 08:41:51 GMT from United States)
"I think we should first and foremost try to understand why people are so angry."
That may sound kind and understanding, but look where it gets us. It turns over control of the conversation to the person who throws the loudest tantrum. Angry rants may draw attention, but we have the right to insist that others use the powers of speech and communication for which humans are famous. Our only choice isn't to throw unintelligible tantrums when we're angry: we are all - or mostly - adults and we can talk between ourselves.
"Usually, if a lot of people get angry, there is a reason for it."
Yes, I agree, but it is the responsibility of those who are angry to let us know; it isn't our responsibility to figure out why someone with access to a keyboard and the time to type a message will only use those assets to yell and scream. If one wants to be taken to be a rational human being, one should communicate like one.
"Of course, all communities contain a certain number of people that don't know how to be civil."
That's true. But rather than have everyone else drop to such a level, how about trying to get those jerks to move up? Yeah, I know, some will always be that way: they shouldn't be surprised to find that nobody cares what they have to say.
I'm not advocating some sort of policing of discussions. Everybody is different and will have his or her own way of sharing thoughts and feelings. But if we just pretend that open and honest discourse is like removing the chocolate from a room-full of three-year-olds, we might as well shut things down completely.
Finally, as to whether or not HUD is "another misstep," I think it's too early to tell. I doubt it will ever be used to replace all menus, but I know others fear that's where it's going. I hope that doesn't happen, as if it does I'll almost certainly abandon it, but so far it seems reasonably useful and worth some experimentation.
90 • Unity and Ubuntu (by dude on 2012-04-19 08:47:17 GMT from United States)
"Shuttleworth is hurting Linux, for the reasons i explained earlier, and until he finally admits he's wrong, Linux will continue to be hurt."
I agree with this statement. Ubuntu used to be the top Linux distro on the Distrowatch Page Hit Ranking. Now, Ubuntu has a page hit ranking of only 2062, where Mint has a ranking of 4325 or more than double that of Ubuntu. It's all because of the unpopularity of the Unity interface. I really liked Gnome 2 just fine, the way it was. I understand that Gnome 2 is not being supported anymore, so Ubuntu needs to use something else. That's understandable. But Unity is a radical change, like switching from XP to Vista. Remember the Windows Vista Fiasco? Aye Carumba! Now it's happening with Ubuntu and Unity too. Some of the other comments say Linux has lots of other choices, and to use something else if you don't like Unity. Ok, fine. I don't like Unity so I stopped using Ubuntu. I don't plan to try Ubuntu again either, until Mark Shuttleworth offers something better than Unity.
91 • @90 dude (by grego on 2012-04-19 09:13:35 GMT from Slovenia)
"until Mark Shuttleworth offers something better than Unity."
you mean something like Gnome classic in 12.04?
Unity is not a bad solution it is just a bit strange. I mean i completely see it on touch devices, it can already be on phones and TV. the quesiton is how well is it implemented for production destkop. it is very good for consuming the media, but what about creating/producing something? i don't know. some say it is good some say not.
to me unity is a good way to introduce people to computer. Gnome was always good at that. keeping it all simple, hiding advanced settings from the GUI users. I parted with Gnome when 10.10 Ubuntu came out. I just tried KDE and liked it so much better.almost all settings are done via GUI i really liked that. I am also using XFCE on another maschine because it is too weak to run Gnome or KDE. why hate anything? just use what works...
92 • Ubashing (by Bill on 2012-04-19 14:52:20 GMT from United States)
I really thought we would avoid this issue this week. I guess not. :)
Here's my 2 cents.
I tried Unity, Gnome 3 w/ extensions, MATE, Cinnamon, and Fallback in 12.04 development, all in an attempt to find a DE that would work as well as Gnome 2 which I'd used since Ubuntu 8.04. And I knew I was running out of time with only a year left for support of 11.10.
I didn't like any of the above so what to do. Enter Distrowatch and lots of choices. Thank you so much. I've got two internal HD's and triple boot both, in addition I have Virtualbox in every OS. So I can test 18 DE's at once. And I have been doing that.
I settled on Xubuntu, (I like apt, and .deb files) just used to them. So I am typing this from Xubuntu 12.04 development, with Compiz and Emerald theme changer and fusion icon and conky and checkgmail all running perfectly together.
I've made my choice, no need for any hate, I know I'll be fine for 5 years and I'm almost 60 yrs old. To old to go to war. :-)
Recently my wife finally said she's sick of having to reboot Windows 7 all the time. :-)
And asked me to put Linux on her computer. So I tried Kubuntu 12.04 development. Wow, they've come along way with KDE. t's very pretty, very nice, very easy. She will love it and feel right at home.
Since Ubuntu is the base for both Xubuntu and Kubuntu, how can I hate Ubuntu or Mark or Canicol, or anyone when I like these DE's for my wife and myself? I can't.
I really really dislike Unity and Gnome 3. But I really like have choices thanks to the Linux community in whole and Distrowatch in particular.
By the way, I have personally donated money to help the DE's I like.
That's my take on this topic.
Take care and above all, enjoy yourself, life is too short.
93 • @92 Ubashing (by DavidEF on 2012-04-19 15:34:09 GMT from United States)
Thanks, Bill! That is IMHO the best "2 cents" we've had so far, and very refreshing perspective!
94 • @89, @90 (by Patrick on 2012-04-19 15:41:34 GMT from United States)
"""But rather than have everyone else drop to such a level, how about trying to get those jerks to move up? Yeah, I know, some will always be that way: they shouldn't be surprised to find that nobody cares what they have to say."""
Amen to that! Best comment of the week.
"""Ubuntu used to be the top Linux distro on the Distrowatch Page Hit Ranking. Now, Ubuntu has a page hit ranking of only 2062, where Mint has a ranking of 4325 or more than double that of Ubuntu. It's all because of the unpopularity of the Unity interface."""
Sometimes I wish the page hit rankings would not exist. People just can't seem to grasp the concept that they have absolutely nothing to do with real world usage of any distro.
95 • @92 @94 (by greg on 2012-04-19 20:02:39 GMT from United States)
Calling people "jerks" is hardly taking the high road.
96 • RE: 95 (by mcellius on 2012-04-19 22:07:19 GMT from United States)
"Calling people 'jerks' is hardly taking the high road."
Whom, exactly, have I insulted? Whom, exactly, have I called a jerk? If you can't identify someone, then clearly I did not do it. Rather, I used the noun in order to highlight a describable behavior, not a person. Calling a person a jerk is very different than using the word to describe a behavior. I'm sure you can understand that.
I do believe that some behavior is "jerkish." On the other hand, I have tried to avoid making it personal by calling anyone a jerk.
97 • RE #96 (by anticapitalista on 2012-04-19 22:23:27 GMT from Greece)
#96 This is from your post:
"Of course, all communities contain a certain number of people that don't know how to be civil."
That's true. But rather than have everyone else drop to such a level, how about trying to get those jerks to move up? Yeah, I know, some will always be that way: they shouldn't be surprised to find that nobody cares what they have to say.
So you did call someone/somethem jerks.
98 • RE 95, 97 (by mcellius on 2012-04-19 23:48:58 GMT from United States)
Clearly, then, I owe you an apology.
99 • Didn`t mean to interrupt a fight... (by CliffyB on 2012-04-20 04:10:16 GMT from United States)
Just to ask for advice about a distro, here of all places. What was I thinking?
100 • @70,99 (by notsure on 2012-04-20 11:59:24 GMT from United States)
cliffyb, for something that would be similar to a windows look and feel, i would suggest a distro that has either (or both) a default DE of either xfce/kde 4.8. You didn't specify that's what he wanted/be more comfortable with, but it would probably be a good introduction. That being said, the Ubuntu variants would probably work (repository/dependency checking), or slackware(-current) would be a good choice. with kde he would get almost all tools to manage the system with out the command line. alienbob has a repository of many applications that he could download ready to install binaries, or slackbuilds.org for easy compilation of many programs. Just because it's current, doesn't mean it isn't stable. update using slackpkg and it's a rolling release update/upgrade. the command line tools are not hard to learn. If you were to help him with getting the system up and with questions, you may want to stick with an operating system that you are most comfortable.
101 • Jerks! (by DavidEF on 2012-04-20 14:35:51 GMT from United States)
PERFECT response. I don't know if anticapitalista got it or not.
102 • @70,99 Learning Distro? (by DavidEF on 2012-04-20 14:44:24 GMT from United States)
I would answer along the lines of #100, if I thought that's what you'd want. If I understand correctly, you're actually looking for a Distro which specializes in (or at least contains apps for the purpose of) teaching the basics of how to use a computer. I'm really not sure if it exists, which might be why you didn't really get a response. I know there are distros aimed at children learning to use a computer, just not an adult. So, to end this post the same way I began, let me suggest you follow notsure's advice in post #100. Sorry if that's not what you're looking for.
103 • @98,102 sermonizing (by subg on 2012-04-20 17:35:47 GMT from United States)
Can we get off our high horses please and the preaching? Criticism and critical language are part of normal discourse. If you don't like a comment, skip it - there's always another one. Enough of the behaviourial therapy.
Jesse - good articles this week. Nice to have a little variety. Something more on tools for logging and system information might be interesting too.
104 • High Horses and such (by DavidEF on 2012-04-20 18:27:48 GMT from United States)
@103 I love a good debate. I have no problem with "Criticism and critical language", because, for me they really are part of my every-day "normal discourse." I am not the least bit bothered by someone disagreeing with me in a civilized way. I'm only saying all this to make a clear distinction, once again. What I, and many others, don't stand for, and shouldn't have to put up with, are the "name-calling and ad hominem attacks", as mcellius said in post #71, above. I think people who resort to such things need to be called out and embarassed, until they learn the difference between "normal discourse" and childish insults. I guess that means I'm also disagreeing with your assertion "Enough of the behaviourial therapy." Although, I will make this promise: When people stop defending bad behaviour, I will stop preaching as well.
105 • Computer Basics (by DavidEF on 2012-04-20 18:45:36 GMT from United States)
In yet another attempt to change the subject around here...
I just did a quick search using the DistroWatch database search tool. I didn't look extensively, but I really am thinking that there isn't a distro designed for the task you have in mind. The short description for Uberstudent seems the most promising, but you already said it's not exactly what you're looking for. So, I did a search in Google for "how to learn basic computing" and several possibilities came up. There are entire basic computing learning websites, some how-to video series, and other resources your brother could check out.
Once again, I'm sorry I can't be more help for you. Maybe someone else knows of a good specialist distro for your brother, or a package you could install for him in a distro of your/his choice.
106 • @102 (by notsure on 2012-04-20 18:47:40 GMT from United States)
whew! thought i would've been banished for suggesting a dead yet surprisingly up-to-date distro without a website ;^)
i didn't really see your post as being on a 'high horse'...
107 • Snow Linux 2 Debian LXDE Edition Root Partition (by Roy H Huddleston on 2012-04-20 22:49:53 GMT from United States)
So I go this Asus Terminator 8 computer. I know it is pretty light weight. But I thought it would be perfect for Snow. Only thing is that it asked where do I want to put the root partition. It comes with Gparted but not sure how to create a root partition. Help!
108 • @107 (by Dr. Long on 2012-04-21 00:02:02 GMT from United States)
The answer is really simple but this is not the correct forum for such questions. Please direct this question to the snowlinux forums and you will recieve quick and precise help.
109 • @70 (by greg on 2012-04-21 10:54:26 GMT from United States)
A possible option: 1. Install WUBI from Ubuntu. 2. Install Debian Reference using the Synaptic Package Manager.
110 • This is not base on any of the articles but just a simple Question? (by lott on 2012-04-21 17:54:58 GMT from Colombia)
what is the most ported operating system to most devices.
what is the most ported operating system to more devices.
when i make this question I get really none since or stupid answers.
Like the definition on what is and OS or it leads to wikipedia for the definition of OS.
Or more definitions going back to 2006 with the same ridiculous answer.
So DW do you have the Answer to this simple question.
Even if I know the Answer, or is it the same old game of Politics and BS.
Are there any real numbers on this topic and I am not asking witch Linux distro is on top.
But what OS is ported in General to more Devices in the World.
I got under undertone answers like this one from wiki “Linux also runs on embedded systems (devices where the operating system is .... The GNU userland is an important part of most Linux-based systems, .... and were ported to other operating systems including Windows and Mac OS X due to their popularity. .... In comparison, Microsoft operating systems hold more than 85%.”
or even this one “The dominance of the x86 architecture means that most desktop software is never ported to a different CPU. In that same market, the choice of operating systems ...”
this last-one but never high lighted Linux but never in front of the question just when you go into WIKI.
I run this with 5 variants of the question, on 12 different search engines and all the same unreliable answers.
SO CAN YOU TELL ME A SIMPLE ANSWER.
111 • RE: 104 (by mcellius on 2012-04-21 23:42:46 GMT from United States)
Excellently written! You have expressed my thoughts and feelings exactly! (I still doubt we're related, but there is no question that we see these things very much alike.) I appreciate your comments and your efforts to move things forward in a positive manner and thus try to improve the Linux community.
112 • Trisquel = SO COOL !!! (by Free Libre Linux Rocks on 2012-04-22 11:52:27 GMT from Belgium)
I would like to see more comments of people about their experience with the new release of TRISQUEL.
I have tryied the new version 'Trisquel 5.5 STS 'Brigantia', and I think is really fantastic. It is quicker and nicer than most of the Ubuntu-debian based distros; and it running really smoothly, up to the moment. in one of my PCs.
Is really COOL to have distributions that include 'only' Free Libre Open Source Software; and still are absolutely usable in a daily basis.
Trisquel really runs nicely, to the point that i consider it quicker, and as nice and usable as Mint or Ubuntu, if you do not intend to install proprietary software (like Opera, Skype, proprietary drivers etc); that anyway is not actually needed, because you have other applications that can do the same in most of the cases.
So, being, in most of the cases, as nice and usable as Linux Mint or other Ubuntu variations; and probably quicker than then; besides being completely Free/Libre, are making me consider Trisquel as my primary Operating System in a daily basis, instead of a Fedora based distro that I am using now, and other Ubuntu based distros that I have also used...
113 • #110 - Simple answer (by Caitlyn Martin on 2012-04-22 13:58:40 GMT from United States)
The simple answer is Linux, by quite a lot, actually. Distro doesn't matter. Under the hood Linux is Linux is Linux and whatever works on one distro can be made to work on another.
114 • Slackware Current (by Dr.Long on 2012-04-22 15:47:19 GMT from United States)
I have always been a big fan of Slackware (started using Slackware during the 7 series.)
The current (I do mean current and not 13.37) iteration of Slackware has seen great improvement in the desktop area.
KDE is 4.8, and one can now use networkmanager instead of wicd to manage network connections. This for some reason has fixed the intermittent problems I was having with 13.37and wicd.
115 • @110, 113, Most ported OS (by TobiSGD on 2012-04-22 19:47:50 GMT from Germany)
Actually, no one can tell which OS runs on the most devices, just because the sheer number of different devices out there. But one can say which OS is ported to the most architectures and most people will be astonished that it is not a Linux distribution.
While the Linux kernel supports more architectures than any other kerne,l there is not one single Linux distribution that has support for more architectures than NetBSD (currently supporting 59 hardware platforms with 15 different CPU architectures). When it comes to Linux Debian is officially supporting 11 CPU architectures, I would think that no distro supports more, may be except some source-based distros.
116 • #112 needs a fact check (by imnotrich on 2012-04-23 04:08:47 GMT from Mexico)
The reality is there are no open source programs that can connect to the Skype network.
Please do not suggest Ekiga or any other attempt at messenger emulation. If you use one or more windows-based messengers you're hosed if you try to switch to Linux.
There is meebo (web based), but meebo has more security holes than a stale piece of swiss cheese.
As far as proprietary stuff, if you never go on the internet or use wi-fi you're right. But if you want flash or java, you're stuck with proprietary. There is no viable, stable alternative. Not yet. And heck, if your wireless card is not supported you won't be getting online anyway.
Is not wifi a fairly common technology nowadays? With only a handful of manufacturers making chipsets?
There will come a time when Linux does a proper job supporting wifi. We're not there yet. So...proprietary again.
One day, developers will realize that hardware support is not bloat.
117 • Skype (by imnotrich on 2012-04-23 04:20:57 GMT from Mexico)
P.S. - Yes, I'm aware there are some distros that have a working version of Skype...but just for clarification sake there are no open source alternatives to Skype that can connect to the Skype network.
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