| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 292, 2 March 2009
Welcome to this year's 9th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Last week saw the release of SimplyMEPIS 8.0, a Debian-based desktop Linux distribution designed for both personal and business purposes. We take the live CD for a spin to see what it has to offer. In the news this past week, openSUSE develops Debian-like distribution upgrade functionality to their package manager, Red Hat looks set for a comeback to the desktop arena as it announces virtualisation plans that will centre on KVM technology, and Novell signs a virtualisation agreement with VMware over support for their products. Also in the news, the Linux Starter Kit from Linux Format magazine has been released for free and we link to interviews with lead developers of Linux Mint and Kongoni. Finally, we are pleased to announce that the DistroWatch.com February 2009 donation goes to Wolvix GNU/Linux, a Slackware-based desktop distribution and live CD. Happy reading!
- First look: SimplyMEPIS 8.0
- News: openSUSE gets system upgrade ability, Red Hat returns to the desktop, Novell signs with VMware, Arch drops ATI's Catalyst driver, interviews with Linux Mint and Kongoni developers, Linux Starter Kit
- Released last week: Linux Mint 6 "Xfce", Dreamlinux 3.5
- Upcoming releases: Mandriva Linux 2009.1 RC1
- Donations: Wolvix GNU/Linux receives US$200
- New additions: Estrella Roja, Maryan Linux
- New distributions: dvd::rip Cluster live CD, Elementary OS, GUARA Linux OS, Hag GNU/Linux, Qimo 4 Kids
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (22MB) and MP3 (19MB) formats (many thanks to Russ Wenner)
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
First look at SimplyMEPIS 8.0
I have been intrigued by MEPIS Linux ever since I first heard about it, but never actually got around to trying it. The distro was founded by Warren Woodford in late 2002 after he had tried several distributions of Linux, but found that they all fell short of his vision for how a Linux desktop should work. Inspired by his experience as a NeXT developer, Warren decided to try his hand at creating a Linux distribution that 'just worked'. The first version of MEPIS Linux was released to the public in May 2003. MEPIS is derived from Debian, one of the oldest and most stable distributions, with this latest version being based on the recent Lenny release. According to the website, "SimplyMEPIS just works! It is pre-configured for simplicity and ease of use, even for beginners." So, this distro is aimed at beginners and claims to be easy to use. What does it have to offer?
Live CD and environment
Although MEPIS is effectively a commercial Linux distribution, it does also release a freely available community edition in the form of the SimplyMEPIS live CD. This is what I downloaded and booted on my Dell Latitude X1 laptop computer (Intel Pentium M 1.10GHz CPU, Intel 915 video, Intel 2200BG wireless, Broadcom BCM5751 network, 1.25 GB memory). The first thing I noticed was the very nice GRUB menu and boot screen. There were plenty of options in the menu, but I think some should be moved out into a sub menu instead. If you are aiming your distribution towards beginners, then in my opinion there should be only two entries; the default which automatically detects the video settings and a basic option designed to work on everything. To illustrate what I mean, the default entry on this live CD is Default, but then there are also options for Alternate (try if Default fails), VESA (alternate display driver or for virtual machine), Failsafe (minimum options, small display), 60Hz (for digital monitors), and 75Hz which warns: "CAREFUL! May damage digital monitors." Why make it complicated? The inclusion of Memtest is always a good idea, but it's a pity there is no option to verify the contents of the CD.
SimplyMEPIS 8.0 - live CD GRUB menu
(full image size: 157kB, screen resolution: 800x600 pixels)
The live CD booted straight to a nice looking KDE desktop manager and presented two users to log in as, either demo or root. Unfortunately the system does not automatically log the user in and the password is not made clear. I guessed that the password is the same as user name, but why not just keep it simple and auto log in as the unprivileged user? If you're aiming this at beginners, especially those coming from Windows, they will not be used to putting in passwords. I'm not advocating this for the installed system, but for a live CD where they didn't ever set the password anywhere, how are they going to know what to enter?
On my system, all the hardware was correctly detected. This included the video card and resolution with 3D support, sound, network, wireless, CPU speed stepping, power management, touchpad with scrolling and Bluetooth (although I couldn't find any user space applications for this). Unfortunately the multimedia keys did not work. When I closed the lid, my laptop successfully suspended to RAM and resumed, which was nice. Unfortunately suspend to disk did not work. On the desktop sits an icon for the user manual, which is quite well written and comprehensive. The usual KDE applications are all there, including Amarok and K3b, but of surprise to me was OpenOffice.org version 3.0. Nice work! Debian and even Ubuntu's latest release ship the older 2.4 release. OpenOffice.org was also themed to use KDE style icons, which also makes for cleaner system integration.
A found a few annoying interface issues, which should perhaps be addressed. When my network cable was plugged in I could see the icon in the system tray showing the connection. Great. When I unplugged it however, the icon disappears completely. Getting it to stay was a simple matter of changing the configuration, but would be nice if this remained by default. Also, you can't configure the network from this icon, that's fair enough because it's just a monitoring program, but these days most other distributions let you configure the network this way via NetworkManager. By default, MEPIS uses their static configuration system over the automated NetworkManager, although the system can be configured to use it. While a few years ago it would have been brilliant, the MEPIS network management tool is a bit clunky for 2009.
I configured my wireless using it and then received a message saying: "The configuration has been updated. It should take effect if you restart the active Interface, but with some cards it maybe be necessary to reboot." This is not very helpful for a beginner. I can hear them say: "How do I restart an active interface? I've no idea. I do know how to reboot my computer though, I guess Linux is just like Windows after all." At the very least the system could offer to restart the network for the user. Nevertheless, I restarted the network myself and saw the system trying to get an address on my wireless network. Unfortunately, this never worked because it was still associated to some another random network. In my opinion, this is just not up to scratch when compared to other modern distributions.
SimplyMEPIS 8.0 - network configuration tool
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So how did NetworkManager go then? Using the MEPIS network assistant I set the network to 'Automatic'. Once again I received a message telling me that I should reboot and that after doing so I may need to start the NetworkManager program from the Kmenu. Instead of rebooting, I just kicked up the NetworkManager program which loaded and sat in the system tray. I unplugged my wired connection and NetworkManager disabled the network. I right-clicked on the icon, saw my wireless network, selected it, typed in my passphrase and I was connected. Now this is more like it! Once switching to NetworkManager, the system works really well and it really should be the default. Now that I was online I loaded Firefox which, like OpenOffice.org, was using a KDE icon theme, albeit one different to the rest of the KDE system. The browser defaulted to the Mozilla development information page and I'd like to see it go somewhere useful like Google, or some kind of local page about MEPIS. Perhaps the brilliant user manual?
I noticed that by default there was no pager in the task bar - the applet which lets you switch between virtual desktops. I initially thought this was quite good, they want to keep it simple for beginners and most people aren't used to such a concept. However clicking on a program title bar I noticed they still had four virtual desktops enabled, so when I sent Firefox to desktop number two I had no way of getting it back! Either disable the other virtual desktops, or include the pager in the taskbar.
The system comes with KDE 3.5.10 by default so I kicked up the file manager, Konqueror, and tried to browse my local Samba network. It didn't work, saying that it could not find any workgroups on the local network and suggested a firewall might be blocking this. Connecting directly to a server with smb://[ip-address] did work however. I kicked up a terminal and as root ran the command iptables -L. OK, so they've enabled a firewall by default which is good to see, but not if it's going to block important local traffic! It took me quite a while to find the firewall management tool, which I found sitting under Kmenu, Applications, Browse All, Applications, System, Security, Guarddog Firewall. Looks like the Applications category has doubled up somehow. The tool appears quite powerful and the interface will probably suit those coming from a Windows background (of course there's always the iptables command if you prefer). Speaking of which, MEPIS does not include Wine by default which means beginners will not be able to install their basic Windows software out of the box. Whether this is a good thing I'm not sure, but I can see beginners getting frustrated either way.
SimplyMEPIS 8.0 - firewall configuration tool
(full image size: 53kB, screen resolution: 700x564 pixels)
This brings me to another point, in MEPIS the everyday user is not in the Sudoers file and all system changes require the root password. Personally (and I'm sure many will disagree) I prefer handling this by disabling the root account and allowing appropriate users to administer the system with their own password via sudo. On a system which might have multiple users, it is nice to not have to give out the root password, but still let users run certain administrative tasks. You also get the additional security benefit of having the root account explicitly disabled.
As for the feel of the desktop, it is very clean, uncluttered and works very well. Actually, it's probably one of the nicest KDE 3.5 desktops I have encountered. I have not extensively tested MEPIS over time, but I did perform most of the tasks that I consider a new user would want to do. On my laptop, I connected my Canon IXUS digital camera but nothing happened. The camera did not switch over to 'PC mode' unlike when I plug it into my desktop. I was however, able to add the camera and successfully download the images using Digikam, KDE's photo manager. Likewise, plugging my SD card into the internal reader prompted no response from the computer and I was unable to see how to mount this using KDE. The kernel did see it however and I was able to manually mount the device on the command line. The same problem occurred for my USB memory stick and my iRiver media player. The kernel sees them just fine, but KDE doesn't know about them at all. Hmm... Obviously this is not very user friendly and can't be right. I booted MEPIS on another desktop computer, which worked as I expected with full KDE feedback. So this must have been a strange glitch on my laptop. The good news is, MP3 music files play out of the box, as did Flash content on sites such as YouTube, and Windows movie video files. My iPod also worked correctly with the Amarok media player. MEPIS appears to have a pretty good media support out of the box.
If you're using some hardware that requires a proprietary driver (such as ATI or NVIDIA video cards or NDISwrapper for wireless), MEPIS has some tools that can automatically configure these for you. One such tool is their X-Windows Assistant, which is available under the System, MEPIS category in Kmenu. This tool lets you configure things such as font DPI, type of mouse or touchpad, monitor specifications and then install and enable either the NVIDIA or ATI drivers. On an AMD64 box with an ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT card, I used this tool to automatically download, install and configure the proprietary driver, which worked a treat. While it's not quite as simple as Ubuntu's Jockey program, which automatically detects that your hardware requires such a driver and prompts the end user, it's certainly a step in the right direction as far as ease of use is concerned.
Being based on Debian, MEPIS inherits their powerful package management which makes the installation and removal of packages a snap. Unlike Ubuntu, which builds all their own packages from source using Debian tools, MEPIS uses the official Debian Lenny tree alongside their own. Essentially, you are getting a customised, specialised and 'more-up-to-date' Debian system. The system comes with a graphical package manager to perform these tasks, or you can use the standard commands on the console.
SimplyMEPIS 8.0 - installer EULA license agreement
(full image size: 91kB, screen resolution: 806x527 pixels)
The installer itself is quite simple and easy to follow. There is a help section on the left explaining each step, which should make it easier for beginners to complete the process successfully, although I saw no explanation of what 'hda' is. It does not use a built-in partitioner, but calls the GParted application to load externally which works very well. There are only options to use a root partition (/), swap and /home (but that's all most users need). Once you select these partitions, the installer formats and begins the installation. Next, it prompts to select the boot method, for which I chose to install GRUB to the master boot record. Interestingly, there was an option to disable the use of an initial RAM disk. If you take this off, the kernel must have drivers built in so that it can read your drive(s) to boot. I didn't test this, but I wonder why they give the option.
After this you get the chance to disable unwanted boot services, including Bluetooth, CUPS printing, dial up with PPP and the firewall. After this, the installer asks for a computer name and network to belong to, keyboard and language details, whether set the clock to use GMT or not, create a local user account and set the root password. As a side note, there was no option to set the time or zone of the computer, which meant the clock was wrong pre and post install. Setting the time zone to Sydney, Australia under KDE however fixed this, but it would be good to be able to set this in the installer. Finally, the computer is ready to reboot into your new MEPIS install. Overall, the installer is quite simple and effective.
SimplyMEPIS 8.0 - installer
(full image size: 42kB, screen resolution: 806x527 pixels)
Perhaps it was just some glitch on my test machine that stopped external devices from working under KDE (perhaps D-Bus or HAL didn't start properly). If not, then some fundamental things seem to be broken in this MEPIS 8.0 release, but I'm prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt. Either way, I'm not convinced that the built-in network configurator is the way to go. It would be much better to switch that over to NetworkManager by default, which actually works very well and is more user-centric. Aside from these things I've raised, overall the system works quite nicely and is pretty quick and responsive. It's also very pleasing to the eye, although there are no 3D desktop effects installed by default.
SimplyMEPIS 8.0 comes with a good selection of applications, including KDE-themed Firefox and OpenOffice.org. It inherits all the greatness of Debian (which means experienced users can get in and configure things the way they like) and then adds some extra tools to assist not-so-experienced users configure important things like the network and 3rd party drivers. The package management system will be rock solid and I was able to update the system without any fuss. The multimedia support is very good as everything seems to just work out of the box. This distribution has the potential to be a very easy-to-use desktop for first time users, but I think some more work needs to be done before they get there. Nevertheless the distro is very solid and I highly recommend giving it a shot.
SimplyMEPIS 8.0 - default KDE desktop
(full image size: 258kB, screen resolution: 1280x768 pixels)
openSUSE gets system upgrade ability, Red Hat returns to the desktop, Novell signs with VMware, Arch drops ATI's Catalyst driver, interviews with Linux Mint and Kongoni developers, Linux Starter Kit|
Package management is one of the most fundamental components of a Linux distribution (although some still do not include one). The openSUSE distribution uses RPM packages with their own manager called Zypper, which is very powerful and a huge improvement over many others. While it does a great job at managing packages for a particular release, one feature lacking is the ability to upgrade between releases. This has been a feature of Debian's package management system for many years and finally it will make its debut in the upcoming 11.2 release of openSUSE. Described as a "Debian-like dist-upgrade live system full version upgrade," the entry on the feature tracking system says: "With the 11.2 cycle, we want to offer users the ability to perform a live system upgrade in the manner of Debian's dist-upgrade. For the purpose of this cycle, we want to support dist-upgrade from the previous version (11.1) only, as this is a sufficiently complicated problem as is. From the user's view, the difference is between being able to update the system incrementally within the given version or service pack running, to being able to migrate with a system command ("zypper dup" or similar) to a higher version altogether." The ability to forever upgrade between releases should be a welcome addition to the popular distribution.
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Is Red Hat making a comeback to the desktop? Early in 2008 they released a statement saying that "we have no plans to create a traditional desktop product for the consumer market in the foreseeable future." However later in the year they acquired Qumranet, which gave them control of the KVM virtualisation technology. Last week they announced an interoperability deal with Microsoft, while this week they have confirmed that KVM will form the base of their virtualisation strategy. Part of the new line-up will include a virtualisation manager for desktops, explained as "a new management system for virtual desktops that will deliver industry-leading VDI cost-performance for both Linux and Windows desktops, based on Qumranet's SolidICE and using SPICE remote rendering technology." While existing Red Hat Enterprise products can be used as a desktop, most of the new features are found only in Fedora, the community distribution which they sponsor and which has recently hit one million users. If Red Hat is moving back into the desktop arena, then we should see many more of these features make it into the official products. Interestingly, Fedora already has over 50 new features approved for the upcoming 11 release, which in some cases is double the number from previous versions.
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It seems everyone is jumping on the virtualisation bandwagon, with deals being done left, front and centre. In 2008 Novell announced support for their products under the VMware Ready Program and last week announced further collaboration to "help independent software vendors (ISVs) build fully supported SUSE Linux Enterprise-based virtual appliances." Novell also announced a "broad collaboration agreement with VMware to deliver SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) as a fully-supported and optimised guest operating system running on VMware ESX, the industry-leading hypervisor. The two companies have signed a cooperative support agreement that enables Novell to provide enhanced support for customers running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as a guest on VMware ESX." The first ISV to bring such an appliance to market is Zmanda, who will produce an out-of-the-box product using their backup software, Amanda. With Red Hat backing KVM, Citrix going all Xen, Microsoft providing Hyper-V and Novell working with VMware, virtualisation is going to be one hot arena in the coming years!
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 - a "sneak preview" released publicly last week
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In related news, openSUSE community manager Joe Brockmeier has posted an address regarding the recent layoffs at Novell, and what it means for the openSUSE community: "Novell has recently laid off less than 100 employees. Some of the reports have greatly exaggerated the numbers, but again -- the number of people laid off is less than 100. So, how does this impact the openSUSE Project? Obviously, there will be an impact, but Novell remains committed to openSUSE. We will work on opening the project further and improving the infrastructure to allow all contributors to participate as fully as possible in openSUSE. We will continue to open our planning and decision making processes. We are going to concentrate on our strengths and focus on the areas most important to our community."
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Since being bought by AMD in 2006, we were promised improved Linux drivers for ATI video cards. Recently AMD released a second batch of information on their hardware to the open source community, which helps to feed into the radeonhd driver, but their closed source proprietary driver still remains, well, closed. The driver has always been second rate, but now it has gotten to the point that Arch Linux developers have decided to dump it all together. Developer Eduardo Romero writes: "The ATI Catalyst drivers are in a pitiful state and AMD is doing close to nothing to improve the situation, they just take Linux as a joke. At least, that is the impression one gets when NVIDIA releases great drivers for Linux." He and Andreas Radke have decided to drop the driver out of the supported package trees and have pushed it back onto the community to maintain. They are instead going to concentrate on the free and open source radeonhd driver: "The radeonhd driver, which is in extra, shows some promise." After many years, the battle for open source graphics drivers is still ongoing.
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Linux Mint is one of the most popular distributions which, like many others, is based on Ubuntu. Currently sitting at the number three spot on the DistroWatch main page it is bested only by its parent and openSUSE. From the About page: "Linux Mint is an Ubuntu-based distribution whose goal is to provide a more complete out-of-the-box experience by including browser plugins, media codecs, support for DVD playback, Java and other components. It also adds a custom desktop and menus, several unique configuration tools, and a web-based package installation interface. Linux Mint is compatible with Ubuntu software repositories." Linux Magazine Italia has conducted an interview with maintainer Clement Lefebvre, of which a translation has appeared on his blog. If the idea of Linux Mint interests you then take a look, where Clement discusses how he got into free software, what Linux Mint is, why it is based on Ubuntu, and much more!
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In last week's issue we introduced Kongoni, a new Slackware-based desktop Linux distribution and live CD out of Africa. The distribution comes with KDE 4 and uses a BSD-style architecture with a ports tree package management system. From their website: "Kongoni is the Shona word for a Gnu (also known as a Wildebeest) the animal which inspired the name of the GNU operating system. The name represents the spirit and history of Kongoni, a GNU/Linux operating system of African origin. Kongoni is a desktop oriented operating system with a strong belief in being truly free software. This means that Kongoni will neither include nor ship any software not under a license approved by the free software foundation." As a part of their '5 Questions Interview Series', free software site OpenSource Release Feed has conducted an interview with Kongoni's lead developer, A.J. Venter. In the interview he explains his background and how Kongoni came about, what sets it apart, how users can get involved, his thoughts on developing free software and more.
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For those new to Linux and free software, it can be a daunting experience learning how to install and use it. While there are lots of good resources available online and commercial books to buy, the Linux Format Magazine guys over at TuxRadar have released their 130-page Linux Starter Pack on making the move to Linux, centred on Ubuntu, as a free PDF download: "New to the wonderful world of Linux? Looking for an easy way to get started? Download our complete 130-page guide and get to grips with the OS in hours rather than weeks or months. We show you how to install Linux onto your PC, navigate around the desktop, master the most popular Linux programs and fix any problems that may arise." Previously the Ubuntu Pocket Guide and Reference was released as a free download. It is great to see such high quality content freely available, and hopefully we will see the emergence of similar products for other distributions.
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Finally, something for those readers who like the idea of using FreeBSD on their desktops and are proud to display their operating system preference: - an excellent collection of FreeBSD wallpapers for every taste.
|Released Last Week
Linux Mint 6 "Xfce"
Clement Lefebvre has announced the release of Linux Mint 6 "Xfce" edition: "The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 6 Xfce Community edition. Based on Xubuntu 8.10 'Intrepid Ibex', Linux kernel 2.6.27, Xfce 4.4.2 and X.Org 7.4, Linux Mint 6 'Xfce' comes with a brand new software manager, FTP support in mintUpload, proxy support and history of updates in mintUpdate, mint4win (a Linux Mint installer for Microsoft Windows), and many other improvements. The Linux Mint 'Xfce' Community edition comes with the Xfce desktop and provides most of the functionality found in the main edition while taking fewer resources. This edition is ideally suited to laptop users with 512 MB of RAM or less as it represents a very nice compromise between a full-featured desktop and a fast and light operating system." Read the release announcement and release notes for further details.
Parted Magic 3.7
Patrick Verner has released another bug-fix update to Parted Magic 3.x series, a live CD with a collection of hard disk management utilities: "This is a bug-fix release for the 3.x series of Parted Magic. The package installer had a scripting error that wouldn't allow more than one package to be installed. Added /mnt/local so G4L works. Jason added some fixes and features to the wipe and mount scripts. The code for booting ISOs directly using GRUB4DOS was merged back in after the last round of major changes. The code for forcing devices at boot with uuid= and label= was also merged back in. The "unnamed window" problem fixed in Conky. Web links in GTK+ applications about dialogs launch now. Added Xfce files so help in Screenshooter works. List of updated packages: Linux kernel 22.214.171.124, Coreutils 7.1, Firefox 3.0.6, FireFTP 1.0.4." Here is the complete release announcement.
Caos Linux 1.0.8
Greg Kurtzer has announced the release of Caos Linux 1.0.8, a high-performance distribution designed primarily for high performance computation (HPC), servers, and custom appliances: "The Caos team of developers and contributors from Infiscale are proud to announce the public release of Caos Linux NSA 1.0.8, an updated release to the NSA-1.0 tree. The NSA 1.0 release identifies the stabilization and validation of the core operating system, fully tested on some of the world's fastest public and private systems and architectures. And now with NSA 1.0.8, you get bleeding-edge security updates, the new 2.6.28 kernel, updated packages such as OFED 1.4 and GCC 4.3.3, a streamlined Sidekick system configuration toolkit, the latest Perceus 1.5 cluster management software, and Abstractual, Infiscale's cloud virtualization solution." Here is the brief release announcement.
Astaro Security Gateway 7.4
Astaro has announced the release of Astaro Security Gateway 7.4, a commercial firewall and gateway distribution featuring a web-based system administration utility: "After a hugely successful BETA program spanning several months and including thousands of comments and feedback, Astaro is proud to today release our version 7.400, making it generally available for all Astaro Security, Mail, and Web Gateway products. This release brings new features which will enhance the functionality and capabilities of your AxG installation. Most notable are the introduction of full WAN link balancing, HTTPS filtering, site-to-site SSL VPN, and Cisco IPSec client support, along with dozens of other exciting new features." Read the remainder of the press release for a more detailed list of new features and improvements.
Roberto J. Dohnert has announced the release of PC/OS 2009v2, a Xubuntu-based distribution providing an easy-to-use, simplified user interface and out-of-the-box support for popular media codecs: "Today we are happy to announce the general availability of PC/OS 2009v2. The new release also introduces the new PC/OS WebStation 1.0. PC/OS OpenDesktop 2009v2 and PC/OS OpenWorkstation 2009v2 have been fully tested and are ready for broad consumer adoption. Changes include a slightly tweaked user interface and updated packages, and all important security updates. Some of the updated packages are Opera 9.63, Skype 2.0 and VLC 0.9.8." Read the brief release announcement for more details.
Leszek Lesner has announced the release of ZevenOS 1.1, an Ubuntu-based GNU/Linux distribution with focus on providing an easy-to-use system with BeOS-like user interface and support for older hardware: "We are proud to announce the brand new ZevenOS 1.1. It includes many new and updated features. We switched the base system to Ubuntu 8.10, including Linux kernel 2.6.27 and X.Org 7.4. That results in many new drivers and better netbook support. We updated our applications, MAGI 2 and Deskbar, to get a better user experience. Deskbar now includes a task switcher and MAGI 2 has MeCoI integrated. All in all, the system is much more reliable and still offers the best BeOS experience in the Linux world." Here is the brief release announcement.
ZevenOS 1.1 - now based on Ubuntu 8.10 "Intrepid Ibex"
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A new version of Dreamlinux, a modular desktop distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux 5.0, has been released: "The Dreamlinux team is pleased to announce the release of Dreamlinux 3.5. The default edition is Xfce with a GNOME edition also available. This release concentrates on portability, with special attention paid to out-of-the-box wireless drivers, netbook and laptop installs, and USB pen drive installs. Dreamlinux builds on the now stable Debian 'Lenny' base, with a host of custom scripts and applications to make everything from installation to getting on the Internet a breeze. Dreamlinux's famous remaster tools are included, as is an OEM installer and the ability to install directly from an ISO and/or Flexiboost directory structure. Main features: Linux kernel 126.96.36.199, new init script in initrd written in Lua, new icons, redesigned stock icons, new default GTK+ theme." Read the complete release announcement for further details.
Dreamlinux 3.5 - a Debian-based distribution with a Mac OS X-like desktop
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François Dupoux has announced the availability of an updated release of SystemRescueCd, a live CD containing a variety of hard disk management and utilities. From the changelog: "Updated the standard kernels to Linux 188.8.131.52 with Reiser4fs and ext4; updated the alternative kernels to Linux 184.108.40.206 with Reiser4fs and ext4; updated NTFS-3G to version 2009.2.1; updated FSArchiver to 0.4.3 (file system backup and deployment tool); updated the speakup driver to version 3.0.3; fixed problems with the function keys in Midnight Commander in terminal; added crossdev to make it easier to compile 64-bit programs or kernels; added LXDE Terminal and Xarchiver (graphical file archiver); added Xfburn 0.4.0 (simple CD/DVD burning software, still in development); Updated GParted to 0.4.3.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
February 2009 donation: Wolvix GNU/Linux receives US$200.00|
We are pleased to announce that the recipient of the February 2009 DistroWatch.com donation is Wolvix GNU/Linux, a Slackware-based desktop distribution and live CD.
According to the project's web site, Wolvix features "the Xfce desktop environment and a comprehensive selection of development, graphics, multimedia, network and office applications. It's mainly targeted at home users and strives to provide a balance between everyday computing tasks, creativity, work and enjoyment. By default, Wolvix only includes GTK+ applications. Though it is fast and has a low memory footprint, it's not specifically developed for old computers, as it features modern software, but it should perform well on systems which are not the latest and greatest." To learn more about Wolvix GNU/Linux, check out the project's About Wolvix page. The current stable release is the somewhat dated Wolvix 1.1.0, but the project is actively working on the upcoming version 2.0, with development builds available for public testing.
As always, this monthly donations program is a joint initiative between DistroWatch and two online shops selling low-cost CDs and DVDs with Linux, BSD and other open source software - LinuxCD.org and OSDisc.com. These vendors contributed US$50.00 each towards this month's donation to Wolvix GNU/Linux.
Here is the list of projects that received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the program (figures in US dollars):
Since the launch of the Donations Program in March 2004, DistroWatch has donated a total of US$20,233 to various open source software projects.
- 2004: GnuCash ($250), Quanta Plus ($200), PCLinuxOS ($300), The GIMP ($300), Vidalinux ($200), Fluxbox ($200), K3b ($350), Arch Linux ($300), Kile KDE LaTeX Editor ($100) and UNICEF - Tsunami Relief Operation ($340)
- 2005: Vim ($250), AbiWord ($220), BitTorrent ($300), NdisWrapper ($250), Audacity ($250), Debian GNU/Linux ($420), GNOME ($425), Enlightenment ($250), MPlayer ($400), Amarok ($300), KANOTIX ($250) and Cacti ($375)
- 2006: Gambas ($250), Krusader ($250), FreeBSD Foundation ($450), GParted ($360), Doxygen ($260), LilyPond ($250), Lua ($250), Gentoo Linux ($500), Blender ($500), Puppy Linux ($350), Inkscape ($350), Cape Linux Users Group ($130), Mandriva Linux ($405, a Powerpack competition), Digikam ($408) and SabayonLinux ($450)
- 2007: GQview ($250), Kaffeine ($250), sidux ($350), CentOS ($400), LyX ($350), VectorLinux ($350), KTorrent ($400), FreeNAS ($350), lighttpd ($400), Damn Small Linux ($350), NimbleX ($450), MEPIS Linux ($300), Zenwalk Linux ($300)
- 2008: VLC ($350), Frugalware Linux ($340), cURL ($300), GSPCA ($400), FileZilla ($400), MythDora ($500), Linux Mint ($400), Parsix GNU/Linux ($300), Miro ($300), GoblinX ($250), Dillo ($150), LXDE ($250)
- 2009: Openbox ($250), Wolvix GNU/Linux ($200).
* * * * *
New distributions added to database
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
And this concludes the latest issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 9 March 2009.
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • Another Great Read (by Notorik on 2009-03-02 10:14:30 GMT from United States) |
Thanks Chris and Ladislav. Another very informative and timely article. I think Linux Format Magazine had an article on virtualization a couple of months ago. I am looking forward to trying out the distros mentioned above.
2 • Mepis Review (by Brooko on 2009-03-02 10:20:38 GMT from New Zealand)
Chris - thanks. Nice in-depth review of Mepis. Still a few 'rough edges' but for the size of the community base and a single developer, it's doing pretty good (we think).
On the EULA question - won't go into it in depth. You can freely distribute Mepis, but if you want to do it commercially, you need Warren's permission. He's recently Apache licensed his own tools, and released the source so the community could contribute to development of them. Quite a big step from him, and one we've taken advantage of.
Actually he's allowed the community quite a bit of input into the last 2 releases (including art, manuals, tweaking his tools, community website etc). You'll also note that in the sources list, there is a community run repo. We maintain it ourselves and port apps from testing and unstable so that we can keep the applications up to date for the rest of the community. Latest version of Wine is in there as well BTW.
Chuckled when I saw your comment on the menu. Yes - it needs work. Warren allows both the KDE menu and Debian menu. One of the things hopefully we can work on with him in time. Guarddog is actually accessible from KDE Start > Internet > Security Tools.
Anyway - thanks for doing the test-drive. Mepis isn't perfect (far from it), but it is quick, and on most hardware (that we know of) it seems to be very stable. Would be interested to know how long your install was. Mine is under 5 minutes. Nice! If you get the chance, have a look at the System Assistant (one of the Mepis Tools). You can create a bootable thumb-drive (ie mirror of live-cd) - it's a nice simple tool - and works really well.
Thanks again Chris. Am really enjoying each DW in 2009.
3 • disabling root account. (by AbacusMonkey on 2009-03-02 10:22:35 GMT from Australia)
I really do not see why disabling the root account is a fantastic idea. I work as a sysadmin on a wide variety of unix/linux systems. There have been times when an inexperienced administrator has wrecked the sudoers file and killed sudo access for all users. Without a root account and password how does one rectify this situation? In a production environment bringing the box down really isn't a possibility.
4 • As good as it gets (by Bob on 2009-03-02 10:28:34 GMT from Austria)
Tried Slitaz once again last week. It still appears to be the fastest booting live CD ever tested. Pretty impressive for a sub-30-MB distro.
5 • Mepis network assistant (by Marcos on 2009-03-02 10:59:18 GMT from Germany)
Thanks Chris for having reviewed Mepis. We are always looking to improving the assistants and polishing them.
There is something I do not completely understand of the Mepis network assistant review. In the screenshot you attached, it show eth0 and eth1 are green, active and running (if you hover the mouse on the green buttons, it say that), which means that they are enabled and connected to a network.
If the default network it founds, is not the network you want, you have just to go to the wireless tab, clicking on Scan and select the network you want to connect to. Didn't it work? have you tried it?
6 • Guara Linux OS (by azra on 2009-03-02 11:07:04 GMT from United States)
The website is in Portuguese, not Spanish. This appears to be a Brazilian distro
7 • GuaraOS / GUARA Linux OS (by Ricardo "RR_Fang / MoonRupt" on 2009-03-02 11:13:00 GMT from Brazil)
Just a note about GuaraOS: the project's page is in Portuguese, not Spanish. It's named after the maned wolf, the largest canid in South America, also known as "aguará guazú" in the Guarani language or "lobo guará" in Portuguese. So, yeah, a new distribution from Brasil :)
GuaraOS is being developed as a personal project by Paulo Henrique De Sousa, more known as LinuxPH on Guia do Hardware forums. I truly wish him good luck with his project ;-)
8 • disabling root account (by greenpossum on 2009-03-02 11:23:34 GMT from Australia)
Yeah, I know of one site that locked themselves out of a remote server by editing /etc/sudoers manually. The solution is that the use of visudo should be mandatory. This does a syntax check before actually writing the changed contents back. Of course it is still possible to wreck the system, given enough stupidity.
PS: visudo doesn't imply vi has to be used. Other editors can be used by visudo.
9 • No subject (by Refilwe on 2009-03-02 12:15:30 GMT from Canada)
As an openSUSE user I'm glad that its developers are looking at having "dist-upgrade" functionality and zypper has had the "dup" command in it for a few versions now...but unless you have a more definitive source I'm not sure linking to openFATE is sufficient. This feature is listed there as under evaluation for 11.2, not completed or even in progress. Unless there's more information elsewhere, it seems a bit strong to suggest that it will make it's debut in 11.2. Many of us are hopeful, but let's not jump too far ahead on hope alone.
10 • Viva DWW!! (by Tony on 2009-03-02 12:30:09 GMT from United States)
Another great week of DWW Chris and Ladislav! Thank You BOTH! Please pardon the brief shouting.
I've cobbled together several Franken-PC's and the new Mint OS's run sweetly on all of them. Now the biggest trick of all is to find the time to use them. The biggest glitch so far (and mind you I have only tested any of those computers for a few minutes), is on the 64-bit Mint version of Real Media video seems to have the audio/voice out of sync. And to answer the first Question: "Yes, it was the 64-bit Mint version installed on a 64-bit system."
I posted this in the Mint Forum. Great Distribution's after all is said and done. My Thanks to all involved!!!
11 • Hard on Mepis (by Pete on 2009-03-02 12:32:07 GMT from United Kingdom)
Thanks for another great edition.
Just wanted to say that I appreciate how hard you were on Mepis. I think a lot of improvement can be made through criticism, plus your windows user minded comments are spot on - and are a lot of the reason I can't convert my friends and family to Linux.
Equally though, I think you can be harder on other distros to help them come to terms with the Windows user - I hope you keep it up with critiques of Ubuntu, Mint and other releases.
12 • Wow! (by Rebel devel on 2009-03-02 12:35:50 GMT from United States)
Estrella Roja Linux? Finally, a killer distro! Does it use ReiserFS, the killer file system, as default? XD
13 • Mepis (by PaulB on 2009-03-02 13:17:56 GMT from United States)
Yup! It looked good until I tried to connect. After coming around full circle with the network manager/configuration stuff, it became apparent that I was going around in crcles. Sometimes I learn quickly.
I didn't feel ambitious enough to pursue it. But then, I wasn't writing a review either. Good job, Chris! I think Mepis wireless needs work.
14 • No subject (by Greg on 2009-03-02 13:23:21 GMT from Greece)
Even though its none of my business, i think the donation to Wolvix must be a joke. Is it April's fool in your country? Its not here.
Wolvix is a project that hasnt contributed anything AFAIK, not even to other Slackware based distributions.
I see you have donated money to many (almost all "popular") Slackware based projects, why not Slackware itself? Most of those distributions live from Slackware.
15 • RE: 14 (by ladislav on 2009-03-02 13:35:01 GMT from Taiwan)
The reason I donated to Wolvix was that some readers suggested the project, so obviously they are doing something right. In the absence of any other suggestions, it was an easy decision. You yourself didn't provide any suggestion, so I don't think you have a case to complain here.
As for Slackware, I believe it doesn't accept cash donations, but correct me if I am wrong.
16 • @12 - estrella roja. (by Matyas on 2009-03-02 13:35:30 GMT from United States)
The few things i've red in their homepage, are about politics.
17 • Wolvix (by Greg on 2009-03-02 13:42:59 GMT from Greece)
18 • No subject (by Joe Biden on 2009-03-02 13:50:37 GMT from United States)
To donate to Slackware:
On the topic of wireless, wicd is IMO the most intuitive for the new user yet best-working.
19 • 17 Wolvix (by ladislav on 2009-03-02 13:51:50 GMT from Taiwan)
OK, thanks. They do hide the donations link pretty well - there is nothing on the front page and no obvious way to get to the link from the Slackware store. I wonder if they really care about them....
20 • Mepis Clarification (by Fried Monkeys on 2009-03-02 13:59:51 GMT from United States)
I was confused by the Mepis article because I couldn't tell if all your "problems" were evidenced by using the OS in LiveCD mode or after install to the hard drive. In my own experience with Mepis and many other LiveCD distros, once they are installed to the hard drive many of these problems simply disappear. That being said, it would not be fair to the distro to critique it solely on its booted from LiveCD performance. Once I installed Mepis to my hard disk, everything worked flawlessly.
Thank you Warren and crew.
21 • "improved" versions of Debian GNU/Linux (by GNU's advocate on 2009-03-02 14:01:49 GMT from Cyprus)
"Being based on Debian, MEPIS inherits their powerful package management which makes the installation and removal of packages a snap. Unlike Ubuntu, which builds all their own packages from source using Debian tools, MEPIS uses the official Debian Lenny tree alongside their own. Essentially, you are getting a customised, specialised and 'more-up-to-date' Debian system."
It's perhaps worth adding that there are often good reasons why Debian GNU/Linux has decided to stick with some older versions of packages. Adding more up-to-date packages can easily compromise the tried-and-tested stability that Debian developers have worked so hard to achieve.
I don't have anything against MEPIS adding their own customized packages to Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 base, or against people using Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 with newer packages from Debian's own backports repository. But let's not pretend that newer custom packages always necessarily "add value" to Debian GNU/Linux 5.0, OK? The fact of the matter is that adding new relatively untested packages to Debian's stable releases has always a fair chance of breaking Debian's major selling point: its tried-and-tested stability.
Ubuntu Linux is notably a distro that tries to benefit from marketing itself as an "improved" version of Debian GNU/Linux. Ubuntu sells people the idea that Ubuntu takes its stability from Debian and then adds newer packages plus their own customizations. But what Ubuntu's marketing people usually "forget" to tell is that Ubuntu Linux is not based on any stable release of Debian but, instead, they use random snapshots of Debian's unstable development branch as "the rock upon which Ubuntu is built."
"On my laptop, I connected my Canon IXUS digital camera but nothing happened. The camera did not switch over to 'PC mode' unlike when I plug it into my desktop. I was however, able to add the camera and successfully download the images using Digikam, KDE's photo manager. Likewise, plugging my SD card into the internal reader prompted no response from the computer and I was unable to see how to mount this using KDE. The kernel did see it however and I was able to manually mount the device on the command line. The same problem occurred for my USB memory stick and my iRiver media player. The kernel sees them just fine, but KDE doesn't know about them at all. Hmm... Obviously this is not very user friendly and can't be right. I booted MEPIS on another desktop computer, which worked as I expected with full KDE feedback. So this must have been a strange glitch on my laptop."
Yes, it could have been a glitch on your laptop. Or it could just as well have been strange unstability that MEPIS has introduced to Debian's stable release with MEPIS' own "value added" updates and customizations. My bet is on the latter option.
22 • @21 - 'improved MEPIS' (by Carl on 2009-03-02 14:07:38 GMT from Spain)
In 2003, MEPIS offered an installable live CD, automatic hardware recognition and configuration, out of the box multi media. Debian are slowly moving towards that goal. I have had my share of glitches with Debian stable due to it using so-called 'stable' versions that simply had bugs. An example is DPMS problems with Intel video drivers. The solution was to upgrade to Lenny...I am not contesting Debian is a great project. Just don't be so smug about its stability. SSH anyone?
23 • "suitable for beginners" (by David Smith on 2009-03-02 14:07:50 GMT from Canada)
Many distros make this claim, but apparently very few FOSS developers have really thought through what this means, or subjected it to any sort of reality check. It is refreshing to see a review that does exactly that, and offers specific sugestions on areas for improvement.
24 • AMD/ATI and Arch Linux (by Kensai on 2009-03-02 14:12:36 GMT from Puerto Rico)
Chris you commented we were promised better drivers from AMD/ATI, well, that is the impression we all got, still their developers constantly say they never did such a thing, which is worst because it goes to show they have no interest in this drivers or Linux at all.
If you guys read the mailing list thread linked above, I have just written an email thanking the community for their support on this, and confirming the drivers will be removed from the official repositories. We can't support something that does not want to play well and support us (the users) back.
25 • SimplyMEPIS, Dream Linux (by Adam Drake on 2009-03-02 14:30:43 GMT from United States)
I downloaded and booted the SimplyMEPIS live CD. My girlfriend thought it looked cute, so I installed it to the hard drive (after my usual live CD test to make sure sound works, etc.). Overall, I'd say it's a good solid distribution.
It has been mentioned that the menu layout needs some work. I agree. That's the most annoying thing I could find so far. Also, I like to poke around in the package manager and see what repos and applications are available in live mode before installing. I was not able to open the package manager in live mode, but it worked after I completed the install.
I still prefer Mint and think it has the overall polished feel going for it. I can't wait to try the new Dream Linux. I've always thought it looked nice, but have never gotten it to run correctly on my box (granted I never tried very hard after the initial failures at boot time).
26 • Package management not included? (by Anonymous on 2009-03-02 14:44:36 GMT from Switzerland)
The Suse item begins: "Package management is one of the most fundamental components of a Linux distribution (although some still do not include one)"
It would be interesting to know which distros don't include package management. LFS isn't a typical distro, is it? Are there any others?
27 • Donation (by Wolven on 2009-03-02 14:50:35 GMT from Norway)
Thank you very much for the donation Ladislav, we will put the money to good use.
As for Wolvix contributing to "anything" (a rather broad term) my answer is this. As it is now I we're no doubt receiving more than we are giving in terms of code, we're not Red Hat, Novel, or some other large distro with lot's of coders on staff, but we do contribute where possible, like reporting bugs and doing translations for the software used in Wolvix. The Wolvix Control Panel has also been used in several other distros and at one point Wolvix was the base for another distro.
I also feel that we are helping promote Free Software in general by filling our own small niche and by including software which other distros might not include. Something which makes the developer(s) of the software in question proud and perhaps inspire them to keep developing.
So are we a large contributer in the world of Free Software? No, we're not, but we DO contribute at some level and we will continue to do so where ever possible.
Whether the donation is deserved or not is not up to me to decide, but we proudly accept it and we will use it to further improve upon our work.
28 • @26 (by chemist on 2009-03-02 15:01:07 GMT from Germany)
But Slackware proves that package management is not so fundamental as Suse wants to make you think of.
Slackware' s pkgtool is sufficient for a lot of users. Pkgtool does not know any "dependencies", so you can install what you want, even the kdegames although no other kdelib is installed.
Pkgtool - like Slackware in general - assumes that the user knows what he is doing. So the user is not limited in any way.
If you want more, you can always use apt-like tools like slapt-get which are included in Slackware "Extras".
29 • Mepis Live mode and package manager (by Ko Bros on 2009-03-02 15:02:39 GMT from Netherlands)
If you would have booted the Mepis 8.0 LiveCD and added aufs yourself (it IS added in the second entry of the boot selection menu), then you can use the package manager to install packages (into memory of course; only useful for the duration of the bootsession). Provided you are online.
Synaptic, Kpackage can be started fine in 'livecd mode', but you cannot install anything using the livecd without the aufs option selected.
30 • MEPIS EULA (by chemist on 2009-03-02 15:06:57 GMT from Germany)
As I understand MEPIS wants to protect its trademark, logos and artwork.
It is very similar to this:
But you do not need such an extensive EULA for this.
With this MEPIS EULA in mind I would not have installed MEPIS, too.
31 • Good DWW, good choice in Wolvix (by Caitlyn Martin on 2009-03-02 15:11:04 GMT from United States)
First, kudos to Chris for an excellent DWW.
I also want to express my appreciation for the choice of Wolvix to receive a contribution this month. I liked Wolvix 1.0.5 (the first version I tried) and was really impressed with 1.1.0. The only reason it isn't my desktop of distro choice is the long gap between releases. With a fairly new netbook I need very current hardware support. I've been pleased to read about the upcoming 2.0 release and I know that I am not the only DWW reader who has been waiting for this one.
Wolvix has some great ideas and great execution of those ideas. It also always seems to be a bit short of resources. Hopefully Distrowatch has helped a little in that area.
32 • donations (by Greg on 2009-03-02 16:25:53 GMT from Greece)
To clarify a bit what i said earlier.
There are much more vital projects used by all distributions, than the distributions themselves, that can be backed up with donations.
DW is about the distributions, but the donation money dont have to go to the distributions, as there havent always in the past.
After all, the applications are the guts of the distributions and are much more important that the wrapping the distribution developers do.
Lacking ideas? Heres another one: https://www.fsf.org/associate/support_freedom/
Im sure there are many other important projects DW hasn't donated yet.
33 • MEPIS No Sound cs46xx (by Ralph on 2009-03-02 16:46:19 GMT from United States)
A desktop without sound, well that's no fun.
MEPIS needs to include snd-cs46xx.
I can hear if I use Ubuntu, Open SUSE, Linux Mint, PCLinuxOS.
But Lenny and MEPIS don't make a sound.
Include a disclaimer or make it easy to include the full alsa, don't send out a muted Distro. There are still a lot of people that need to use an older computer and sound is an issue.
I guess this is another reason to use Linux Mint instead of MEPIS.
34 • Donations (by Notorik on 2009-03-02 16:49:27 GMT from United States)
Nice idea Greg, after the fact. Why didn't you suggest it before rather than making childish comments that belittle the hard work people do (mostly for free) on these distributions? This is a DONATION! An act of kindness on the part of someone who is trying to make the world a better place. What is going on in your head? Whether or not you have an actual point is over-shadowed by the way you phrased your comment. Are you having a bad morning? Wolvix is a time-tested distribution with a loyal following and it IS a great choice.
35 • #3 - fix with no root account (by ray carter at 2009-03-02 16:49:43 GMT from United States)
It is actually fairly easy to fix if you have physical access to the machine. Simply boot a live CD, chroot to the root of the installation and change the password. (all done as root, obviously) - or move in a good sudoers file after booting a Live CD.
36 • Donations, etc and post 34 (by Oiving on 2009-03-02 17:13:18 GMT from United States)
Notorik, you sure do a lot of comments area policing here, don't you. It seems that you need to direct posts to people here mostly on the basis of those people's means of expression, as if you're some sort of moral guide or (worse) that you are of course superior to them.
Greg's posts were fine, yours to him is not as it contains nothing but your opinion of him.
This post to you contains an opinoin of you, of course, but seems warranted because you do stand out here as some sort of self-appointed paragon of virtue, way above those you address.
Meanwhile, the choices Ladislav makes wrt donations seem rooted, to me, in the very reasons he says off and on; post 15 has a pretty clear explanation of the Wolvix donation, and he's remarked on other donations from time to time, but to question it seems ok in an open forum where we're encouraged to talk about anything linux.
37 • Donations (by anticapitalista on 2009-03-02 17:15:45 GMT from Greece)
Glad Wolvix received a donation.
A suggestion for a donation is the smxi script project.
Originally the script only supported Kanotix, then sidux, but now it supports Debian itself and othe Debian-based derivatives including MEPIS and antiX (Others will be supported if h2 can get the feedback), which is why a donation would be much appreciated.
38 • What amazing about Wolvix (to me)... (by IMQ on 2009-03-02 17:20:21 GMT from United States)
is it packs so many useful apps for less than 650MB in the old edition of 1.1.0. Not to mention it is a very fast system. Faster when installed to HD.
I tested the new current ISO and it looked very promising. Can't wait for the final.
Kudo to DW for the donation to the project.
To Wolven: excellent response! Keep up the good work. Looking forward to final release of Wolvix 2.0 :)
39 • RE: smxi (by IMQ on 2009-03-02 17:28:48 GMT from United States)
I believe smxi is a wonderful tool to keep sidux--the unstable branch of Debian--stable in a desktop environement.
smxi is an excellent choice for donation.
Of course sidux itself is superb!
40 • Good article, Good choice (Wolvix) (by DeniZen on 2009-03-02 17:32:26 GMT from United Kingdom)
Great read as usual, thanks Guys.
Enjoyed the Mepis review.
Regards the comments regards a rather cluttered Menu, well 'vanilla' Debian KDE 3.5.x is a bit like that, too (messy quite frankly!)
But It doesnt take too long to remove some extra packages that _know_ you dont want, and then do some pruning / rearanging with the KDE Menu Editor - if (if) thats all thats putting one off a Distro.
Whether one should have to / would want to do that is another story.
Good choice re the donation to Wolvix, even if it was _partly_ down to a 'slow news week' - apparently!
No doubt Wolvix a project that could do with a little help, and I would be sure that anyone who says that its 'just' a(nother) mini Slack remaster - has not tried it.
The Wolvix Control Panel is one of the sweetest lil' admin tools out there.
Looking forward to the impending Wolvix 2.0 release at last.
I dont need/want another Distro right now, and I've got no free partitions on anything at the moment, but hey - I'll go out of my way to _find_ some space for it.
41 • Mepis, Wolvix, Smxi, (by hotdiggettydog on 2009-03-02 17:41:37 GMT from Germany)
The new Mepis is very nice but I have to agree with comments regarding the mepis network tool. It sucks and I was hoping it would have been entirely overhauled this release. It is plain confusing.
Wolvix. Heard a lot about it considering they only had one release but was that not a long time ago? Glad to see they are still in the picture.
Smxi is a wonderful script and it should receive a substantial donation let alone the recognition it deserves. This tool has made Debian and offspring usable by the masses. Great work!
42 • RE #20 & 21 "improved" versions of Debian GNU/Linux (by Anonymous on 2009-03-02 17:42:20 GMT from United States)
I was battling this nightmare over the weekend and it still is not fixed to may satifaction.
If I make any small change, the next time I reboot I have to unplug everything, not even a empty usb hub. It drops to text and just says that it stopped/halted. Sometimes I have to go into safe mode but I still don't know what fixes it.
The one that seems to be the worst is the new base Debin with the net install. After you battle with the installer and get the repos working, you do the reboot to put in the users and it doesn't even make it that far. Even unplugging everything just gets it a bit farther to the second splash screen and then it freezes. I had a heck of a time just removing the partion afterwards it had some odd flag tossed into it.
About the mounting of drives, I could not get even the live installer to mount the drives in Moon and the new Mint. "No drives to mount at this time" and a empty box in the installer. Yes, it sees them and I could get a icon on the desktop but no mounting. I couldn't get a network share to come up either.
43 • @ 42 - Lenny gone loopy (by DeniZen on 2009-03-02 18:05:20 GMT from United Kingdom)
Sorry to hear you are having issues with 'Lenny'.
I hope you get it sorted out, as your experiences are not especially typical. Good on you for persevering. Maybe , Debian and your specific hardware just dont, and maybe wont get on! - It ought not be _that_ much of a struggle.
But at least you have a mountain of alternatives.
I hope Lenny comes good for you though. A well sorted Debian box is a satisfying thing :)
44 • Mepis and Wolvix (by capricornus on 2009-03-02 18:06:16 GMT from Belgium)
1/ Very good article on Mepis8. To the point. And over it. I use Mepis when I try to illustrate the switch from Win to Lin. Because it has a intuitiveness about it that people seem to recognize. Mepis8 runs great on the one system, but on a AMD64x2 on a Gigabyte-MB, it just halts.
2/ Very nice appreciation of Wolvix. Hunter does the job on every older hardware I get my hands on. Wonderful experience! Even for greyish Win-addicts. Because it is one of the only Slack's that integrate Wine/CrossOver so easily. I really really hope that 2.0 will give us a new standard in Slackistan.
45 • No subject (by Anonymous on 2009-03-02 18:17:45 GMT from United Kingdom)
Turns out (or its beginning to look like) Wolvix is/was everyones favourite 'best-kept-secret'.
Hmm .. Maybe less 'secret' by the day ;)
I'm beginning to wonder whether Wolven may be a'ponderin' whether to spend that moolah on some extra bandwidth / hosting ;)
46 • Donation suggestion (by Amy on 2009-03-02 18:36:53 GMT from United States)
I was just reading through and thought you needed some donation suggestions.
Why not donate to Absolute linux. I love that linux it is so easy to use and install. Its not only easy its fast.
Any way on the Mepis I used it for a while and it was very nicely done and I might go back to using it here pretty soon as I am having issues with gentoo/ saybon.
47 • Anyone have a live mirror for DreamLinux?? (by MM on 2009-03-02 19:30:45 GMT from United Kingdom)
All of DreamLinux's mirrors are dead :-( Anyone got a link to a live mirror please....
48 • #41 - One release? #42/#43 - Perseverence (by Caitlyn Martin on 2009-03-02 20:29:06 GMT from United States)
#41: @hotdiggetydog: What makes you think Wolvix has only had one release? They've had five since 2004. See: http://www.wolvix.org/about.php I've used the last two releases. A long time between releases? Yep. I can think of a few well known distros that have long release cycles starting with Debian. You don't have to put out something every six months for a distro to be worthwhile.
#42/#43: One point I've tried to make here repeatedly is that not all distros will work on all hardware. There is also no way any distro, even the largest, can test with every possible hardware combo. We often see what I call "hit and run" reviews here in the DWW comments. They all go something like: "I tried distro X. My [something] didn't work. It's crap. I'm back to distro Y." These often show up a day or two after a release. I agree with #43 that a little perseverance and a post or two in a distro forum can go a long way. If you get [something] sorted out the distro may turn out to be brilliant for you for a long time to come. Then again, maybe not. You won't know until you give something a fair try.
49 • @33: snd-cs46xx (by chemist on 2009-03-02 21:04:50 GMT from Germany)
snd-cs46xx has been intentionally "removed" for license problems:
Please, take a look at this:
"wget ftp://ftp.alsa-project.org/pub/firmware ... 17.tar.bz2
tar xjvf alsa-firmware-1.0.17.tar.bz2
./configure && make && make install"
then load the sound module with mod, unload it with rmmod
50 • #28 Package management (by Anonymous on 2009-03-02 21:57:34 GMT from Switzerland)
@28: No. Slackware has package management, and comes with a large selection of package management tools. You mentioned pkgtool yourself, and the base system includes installpkg, removepkg, upgradepkg.
Like everyone else, you seem to have fallen into the trap of thinking that "package management" is the same as "automated dependency resolution". It's not.
51 • estrela roja (by valves on 2009-03-02 22:05:45 GMT from Portugal)
I will try estrela roja, because the screenshot shown has CPU 0º and mine is always burning with acpi and cpufreq.
52 • In reply (by Chris Smart on 2009-03-02 22:40:44 GMT from Australia)
Firstly as a broad clarification, I thought MEPIS was pretty darn good. If you change to NetworkManager then most everything else worked quite well. If these few issues that I raised were solved, I'd be hard pressed to find anything I didn't like about it (though I'm still not comfortable with that EULA).
@3, disabling root account
Hey AbacusMonkey, as I said in the article, I'm sure many people will disagree with me ;-) If you have a computer connected directly to the Internet, then you will get lots of scripts attacking your computer. If you use strong passwords this will help, but they need to first guess your username. So they need to know my username is 'MrJoeBob' before they can try and crack the system. However, if root is enabled then they already know your username, they just need to bruteforce the password. If the root account is disabled, they can bruteforce all they want but they won't get in.
To give you a realworld example, I had a friend the other day installing Linux on his computer who set the root password to 'password'. This was on a computer which connects directly to the Internet via PPPoE, so a direct connection pretty much. He has SSH enabled. Are you nuts!? :-)
Also, sure you can break sudo, but as others have mentioned, it's not so hard to do if you use the proper tools. Also you can recover via chroot. Still, if it's a computer directly connected to the net there's no-way I would ever activate the root account, even if it had a ridiculously long password.
Essentially, if you have sudo configured correctly, then you just don't need the root account enabled (of course you can become root with 'sudo su -').
@5, Mepis network assistant
Hey Marcos, I can't remember now to tell you the truth. I remember that the wireless automatically associated to some other person's wireless network, not mine. And I did tell it to join my wireless but it never seemed to release the original association. As soon as I switched to NetworkManager however, it worked straight away.
@20, Mepis Clarification
Dear Fried Monkeys, you're right, I should have made this more clear. I tested most of the issues both before and after install. But there may have been some that I didn't, but I can't think of any off the top of my head :-)
53 • @48 (by Gottaletitout on 2009-03-02 22:56:07 GMT from United States)
I need updated software. I can't use any distro made before the 2.6.27 kernel; it doesn't work with my Wi-Fi otherwise. Same with a few other X.org issues, because old versions have a fit when they realize I have both integrated and dedicated graphics cards in my machine (I use the dedicated, obviously). Also, the aforementioned graphics card needs some pretty recent drivers to run; nVidia 177 series usually will suffice, but a lot of old distros don't have that anywhere nearby.
We're talking about a fairly old machine here, but sometimes a recent update is required. The open-source world moves faster than we think, and we don't realize this until we run into a hardware issue.
PS: At the review, I liked it, but I wish we'd stop writing reviews from the perspectives of newbies. It's hackneyed and annoying, and only serves to cover up the fact that the writer has only basic things to say about their subject. I mean, it's okay to say that there's a "Linux newbie" factor in every distro; of course that's valid, but we can't write an entire article articulating exactly where the Linux-ignorant run into problems. We could make the newbiest friendly distro ever and newbs would run into problems anyway, just like they do on Windows or Mac on a regular basis.
That said, it covered the bases well and was a well written review to boot. Always enjoy DWW.
54 • Another vote for both smxi and sidux (by Bandyt on 2009-03-02 23:03:10 GMT from United States)
Another vote for both smxi and sidux as very deserving of a donation. Sidux is wonderful by itself and the smxi script is unbelievable.
55 • A distro with updated software and good for old computers (by dooooo on 2009-03-02 23:20:10 GMT from Jordan)
The answer is Arch Linux .
As I understand from your comment that you're not a newbie . So following this installation guide shouldn't be a problem for you :
56 • Wolvix donation (by Martin on 2009-03-02 23:29:41 GMT from United Kingdom)
An interesting debate re the Wolvix donation, I have used Wolvix in the past, and it is a great little distro, and I would like to thank ALL the people out there that make Linux so fascinating and release all these distros that we can try out without any payment. And lastly, many thanks to Ladislav for providing such a wonderful site full of information about what is available out there.
57 • @53 - 'newbie' reviews (and a biig hats-off to Arch / Chakra Project) (by DeniZen on 2009-03-02 23:33:40 GMT from United Kingdom)
I get where you are coming from too, but it's bound to be a consistent factor in Linux Distro Reviews.
I'd love to see a 'newbie' orientated review of ... Arch ;) (or Slack or ... Lunar .. cough ..)
That would go well .. meh!
On the subject of which ..
My 'new' (old!) Laptop has been running with Arch *superbly* for a couple of weeks 'on test' now. Not one hitch. really - not one.
And, by Gad it's a blazing fast Distro. Bordering on the unbelievable TBH. And yet seemingly hewn of granite. Top stuff.
Anyways, another pleasant surprise this evening.
Having run KDE (KDEMod) 4.2 for a couple weeks, and found it remarkably solid, swift and very, veeeery usable, (not even any one minor drama) , tonight, I sync'ed Pacman for an update, and I now have KDE(mod) 4.2.1 - eh? already?
Hats off to Arch - while other Distro;s are still long waiting for 4.2, Arch / KDEMod users can already enjoy 4.2.1 :)
That said, I went to peruse the changelog, but there is no mention of 4.2.1 on www.kde.org ?
Guess it must be from the 'Chakra Project'/KDEMod testing repo.
Who knows. I' cant speak highly enough of' the Arch/Chakra Project, KDE 4.2 combo experience.
58 • Orientation of Reviews (by Draca on 2009-03-02 23:48:30 GMT from United States)
The orientation of reviews stems from FOSS community members' desire to see Linux on more people's computers. The reviewers simply do not want to lose a prospective newcomer simply because a certain distribution has a glitch, particularly if there exists a workaround for said glitch or another distro lacks it.
Perhaps, though, a new class of review needs to be established: the intermediate Linux user-oriented review. Confusion can be avoided by a clear label on reviews such as "for newcomers" and "for intermediate users."
Otherwise, I see the slanting of reviews towards newcomers as unavoidable because in point of fact, the newcomers outnumber the rest of us.
59 • nice review (by desktopuser on 2009-03-02 23:49:57 GMT from United States)
Seems like the review reflects a new, more critical approach. If this is true, if the new approach is levied across the board, it will be most welcome!
If a desktop release has "office" software that won't exchange files with the software used by 90% of the offices out there, it needs to be mentioned in the review.
When a desktop user needs to pour through howtos and add repositories or use the CLI to implement graphics card acceleration or play a flash video, it needs to be highlighted.
When a developer releases a "live" CD that is aimed at Windows users, then it should do what Windows users expect... Like play mp3. Like print. Like find the native display resolution, or provide an easy way to adjust the resolution.
If a desktop distro runs as root by default, if the firewall is difficult, if there is no user-friendly tool for turning off unneeded services, the reviewer should make that absolutely clear.
Especially sharp criticism should be reserved for a desktop distro that includes something like KDE 4 without clear warning.
I've run the gamut of trying out many desktop distro over the past couple months, and the winners for me, on a range of hardware, are Mepis, Mint, and Pardus (alpha order). From the standpoint of a typical desktop user, several DW highly-rated distros are less satisfactory. If there were more reviews done to the standards set here today, I would have been spared much frustration.
IMO Linux will be better served by more critical reviews like this one.
60 • Beginners focus (by Chris Smart on 2009-03-03 00:16:18 GMT from Australia)
Hi Gottaletitout, if you're a regular to DWW you'll know that when I write a review of a distro, I try and judge it based on what the creators claim it does. In this case, MEPIS claims to be a beginner friendly distro, so this is became the central theme of the review. Naturally a review on Linux From Scratch would not follow the same criteria.
61 • Re: 47 + mirror for DreamLinux? (by Anonymous on 2009-03-03 00:20:09 GMT from Australia)
Sorry if the mirrors are not working for you (MM) but if you can use BitTorrent:
As I write: 16 seeds, 26 leeches, 50 completed downloads so far.
62 • RE: 47 Dreamlinux ISOs (by ladislav on 2009-03-03 00:32:20 GMT from Taiwan)
I've updated the Dreamlinux ISO links, you can get them from the nluug.nl server:
63 • @60 (by Gottaletitout on 2009-03-03 00:58:57 GMT from United States)
I'm directing my comments less toward you and more toward other Linux publications. I kid you not when I've seen Slackware reviews spend several paragraphs knocking the distro because it's not newbie friendly. Uh, duh?
In this case, I just ask what the validity of writing for a newbie audience is when this website isn't really filled with that many newbies. I understand your answer regardless; that's what MEPIS tags itself as, so we might as well test the claim. So when you do the Debian review, how will you approach it as the "universal" standpoint? ;)
64 • Debian review (by Chris Smart on 2009-03-03 01:29:33 GMT from Australia)
Debian? Hmm.. I'll have to think about that :-)
65 • smxi & sidux (by ceti on 2009-03-03 01:32:30 GMT from Brazil)
My vote for a donation goes to smxi or sidux, too (or both).
sidux is a wonderful distro and the smxi script makes it run smoothly thru the dire straits of Sid.
66 • #59 (by Notorik on 2009-03-03 01:45:40 GMT from United States)
Nice post, well stated. I completely agree. I think there are three (at least) factors that go into a users experience with xyz distro (none of this is earth-shaking or new but it doesn't hurt to reiterate from time to time).
2. Level of Experience
3. Willingness to explore and learn.
For example, I have machines that AntiX (fantastic distro by the way) will run on and machines it won't run on. I have machines that Ubuntu will run on and others that it won't. I just downloaded Estrella Roja it didn't boot up on one machine but I haven't tried it on my other one.
Whether a distro works or not can be qualified by the time I have and am willing to spend on the forums troubleshooting the given problem. Sometimes it can be resolved and other times it can't (RAM maxed out). For me this is part of the fun and frustration of Linux but I learn from the experience.
I am not interested in your personal opinion of me. I have no control over this forum. I am a human being like you and Greg, expressing my thoughts relevant to the topics being discussed. I would be upset about any donation to any distro being met with derisive comments. I understand many distros would not exist if not for Debian and Slackware that in and of itself does not justify the comments made by Greg, "...Are you joking...". I stand behind everything I have said in this forum. As Greg himself states, Distrowatch is about distros (in case you missed the name of the website) and therefore his secondary comment about donating to whatever seems irrelevant. Having said that, I am not in charge of who donates what to who and if Ladislav wants to donate to the Interplanetary Alien Distro Supporting Application Software Development Association, so be it.
However in retrospect, I wish I had just offered my congrats to Wolven on the well deserved recognition.
67 • Re: 62 (by Anonymous on 2009-03-03 01:52:55 GMT from Australia)
Ladislav: Only problem with your link to the Dutch nluug site, is that for the XFCE version of DreamLinux (eg:20092802 iso) there is currently NO MD5SUM for it :-)
IE. md5sum: f33b86dc90961f60b99b4b3414bddbea DL3.5_20092802.iso
For the 'Dreamlinux_3.5_Gnome' version (a DVD) if one can use BitTorrent:
68 • No subject (by forest on 2009-03-03 02:02:44 GMT from United Kingdom)
I should imagine the newcomers number in the millions...we read of entire countries/nations/continents almost, being furnished with government sponsored distros, with nary a word of English between them.
That said I read very recently that Canada has an interest in sponsoring a "Canadian" distro...so that's most likely to be in English and French, but do you suppose the vast majority will be discussing other distros? Will they care? No, of course not. Free is gratis is libre in anyone's volcabulary.
I daresay the number of folk who read "distrowatch" is "quite" a lot, but the number of contributors to the forum number about 200 tops (in a week) and that's assuming only one post each.
You see where I'm going on this? Our respective views don't really add up to a whole lot. And, dare I say, are mainly the views of the hobbyist. That's not being rude to the readers...to judge by some of the opinions expressed, very few of the contributors appears to be an IT professional.
And so what if plugs are made or this or that distro, it's only 50:50 a distro will work on "a" machine anyway, as we have all remarked from time to time, ahem...
I don't suppose many of the folk in their respective countries, who develop the distros, visit this site on a regular basis, if at all. I would say they base their distro development on one which is likely to be supported for a very long time to come. Any guesses on that one yet?
The real reason GNULinux will become more popular is because of cost, pure and simple. Given the global recession/depression does anyone seriously imagine MS can compete with "free"? Folk whose first language is not English, and, will be new to computing know nothing of MS, ergo they can't miss it.
If a computer manufacturer can reduce the cost of installing/licensing an OS, so that the machine can be priced competitively, then it would be a very attractive proposition. Granted, there are exceptions to the "rule", but you can follow the argument.
Their computers will ship with whatever distro and that as they say is that. Even if a new owner did wish to try MS could they afford it? On top of a computer that is.
I would hazard a guess that the main distro provider with be Canonical with something based on 'buntu. It can't have escaped your notice that Canonical is seeking the new markets...ones that know nothing or very little of MS...eg. yougsters.
The Qimo4Kids (see above) is a 'buntu derivative. A goodly proportion of the laptops sold with a Linux OS use some sort of 'buntu...
You might say that instead of taking MS on head to head and playing uphill, against the wind...Canonical is building new customer bases in youngsters and the emergent nations (on the technology front, in case you took that to be patronising) where MS is not very well known. What these these customers lack is cash to buy software, especially when they have free stuff anyway.
So you were absolutely bang to rights in saying that newbies outnumber the knowing...evidently this has not gone unnoticed...
Clever bloke that Mark...
69 • Re 49 chemist (by Nobody'sBusiness on 2009-03-03 02:35:57 GMT from United States)
Hey...just wanted to say "thank you" for the snd_cs46xx info. I googled this and couldn't believe it. I wonder why it survived all the previous kernels and now it's a problem? This module is responsible for bug reports on debian and RPM based distros concerning sound not being enabled after suspend/hibernate. (Mandriva bug # 40499 and Ubuntu bug # 11149). I use 3 Thinkpads here at the house for the family...2 for using and one for me to fiddle with...One A22m, one T22 and one T20. This issue really ticks me off. I guess through attrition I will eventually not be using these TP's but right now they are more useful to me than any of the so-called 'netbooks' taking the world by storm. When those netbooks with their tiny 1024x600 screens die, my TP's will probably still be working so this module is definitely important to me. Thanks again!
70 • Hardware Compatibility and Stuff (by Woodstock69 on 2009-03-03 02:39:15 GMT from Papua New Guinea)
RE:@58 Caitlyn, it is my understanding that the kernel holds the hardware drivers for a distro, not what's packaged (in the way propriety video drivers are). So given this, why does distro X with kernel 2.6.aa detect hardware that distro Y with the same kernel or a point release newer, misses? I've never understood that.
The same can be said about standard video card and resolution detection. Kernel based driver issue or something else? Knoppix was brilliant at hardware/display detection, whilst other distro's had difficulty, at least up to a year ago.
Thanks for another great DWW editorial Chris, I'm convinced that I should give SimplyMEPIS 8 a go. Tried 6.0 but wasn't impressed, you've convinced me it's improved, so in three weeks (download time) I'll give the liveCD a spin.
DreamLinux looks good too. So the Internet connection is getting a hammering ATM, what with Sidux and Debian 5 Live still downloading, all on a 128kbps leased line with 30 other users....
Does anyone know what the average lead time for a Linux Mint KDE CE release is to the standard release? And from what I can tell, it's a generation behind the equivalent Ubuntu also, is that right? Oh well...Still waiting for the latest LM KDE CE....
71 • First look at SimplyMEPIS 8.0 (by Stephen Toni on 2009-03-03 04:05:17 GMT from United States)
More than the review of MEPIS 8.0, I am interested in your grasp of the English language, or the lack of it. The least you could do is use a spell
check before posting. It would also aid any arguments you make in your reviews to use proper sentence structure. The end result is a very unprofessional sounding review. My intent is not to take any cheap shots at you. I just wanted you to know that effective writing is very much impacted by grammar, editing for effectiveness, and the ability to make an argument. I know what you were trying to say, but just keep in mind that how it is said is just as important.
72 • #70 You've got it half right (by Caitlyn Martin on 2009-03-03 04:11:55 GMT from United States)
#70: Not all hardware is handled by the kernel. Video, for example, is handled by X.org. Sound can be handled by ALSA, PulseAudio, OSS, esound, etc... Printing is mostly handled by CUPS nowadays. None of these are part of the kernel.
Distros use different tools to detect hardware for these various systems. For example Debian and Ubuntu use dexconf to detect X configuration while Zenwalk and AliXe use vconf. There are others as well. It really does vary by distro.
Then there are version differences. Look at the DW distro pages and you'll see different versions of these systems are used. Then there are patches which may or may not be applied. For example, with alsa-driver 1.0.18 there is a bug which prevents the headphone/external speaker jack from working on systems with an HDA-Intel audio chipset. Ubuntu 8.10 has this issue and the patch can be found in the forum. A distro with 1.0.19 or a patched 1.0.18 won't have the problem.
Some distros have proprietary drivers, some don't. In some cases (like nVidia graphics drivers) there are different versions which work with different hardware. Vector Linux includes something like four different nVidia drivers. A distro that doesn't include those will work with fewer nVidia chipsets. Of course, if you don't know which to choose the Vector Linux solution can be awfully confusing.
I can go on but you get the point. The net result is that some distros will work out of the box with some hardware and others won't. Generally the ones that don't can be corrected easily if the problem is known and documented. I've already told you where to find the fix for the Ubuntu sound issue with HDA-Intel, haven't I? This is why going into a forum and asking questions is important. Very often the fix is really, really easy. If not, if you can't get help, only then is it time to move on.
73 • #63 -- You make a valid point, but... #60 -- Great points, Chris (by Caitlyn Martin on 2009-03-03 04:30:24 GMT from United States)
@Gottaletitout: You make a valid point about Slackware reviews including the one I wrote for O'Reilly for Slackware 12.1 at http://news.oreilly.com/2008/06/slackware-121-the-newest-versi.html Why did I stress that Slackware isn't newbie friendly or even user friendly? Simple: both the Slackware website and the Slackware user community insist that Slackware is user/newbie friendly and, like you, I beg to differ.
The following appears at: http://www.slackware.com/info/
The Official Release of Slackware Linux by Patrick Volkerding is an advanced Linux operating system, designed with the twin goals of ease of use and stability as top priorities. Including the latest popular software while retaining a sense of tradition, providing simplicity and ease of use alongside flexibility and power, Slackware brings the best of all worlds to the table.
Ease of use is stressed not once but twice. If you look at some of the comments responding to my review, especially some of the fairly hostile ones, you will see that some in the Slackware community insist that their distro is perfectly simple. Again, like you, I beg to differ.
Slackware has many, many strengths. Recent versions have had fewer bugs than any other distro I've seen bar none. I don't think you can do better than Slackware in terms of stability or reliability. Slackware gets security patches out very quickly, an area where many distros really fall down. If you want to learn how Linux works under the hood learning Slackware is one of the best ways to go. In my view Slackware is simply the best in some very important areas. Ease of use, however, is not one of them. Unfortunately many in the Slackware community get very upset when someone levels that criticism or challenges the assertion that Slackware is easy/newbie friendly.
My job, when I write a review, is to fairly assess a distro based on my observations. Like Chris Smart said in #60, the claims made by the distributor have to be taken into account when writing a review. CRUX, for example, claims to be "advanced" like Slackware and claims to be for advanced users, not newcomers. The criticism is valid for Slackware because of the quote above and the claims made for the distro. The same criticism wouldn't be something I'd include in a review of CRUX. Rather, I'd quote their stated goals and judge how well they meet them. CRUX is NOT user friendly but that isn't one of their goals, is it?
74 • Thanks (by Woodstock69 on 2009-03-03 04:56:19 GMT from Papua New Guinea)
RE:@72. Thanks for the concise and understandable reply Caitlyn. And thanks for not stopping at the first paragraph by expanding your explanation further. Helped me to understand it better. Though I knew some of what you said, you filled some other holes for me. If only all explanations were this well answered by others. I'm richer for the experience.
75 • Searching for projects to donate to. (by finn on 2009-03-03 05:28:49 GMT from Germany)
How about a split between Celestia and Stellarium? These may be considered sort of niche software, but I appreciate them both.
76 • RE: 68, Canadian Stuff (by Ca Nada on 2009-03-03 06:25:19 GMT from Canada)
Canada already has a top-notch distro we can get behind: OpenBSD.
I would love to see our government put some cash into it, OpenBSD would make a fine replacement for their thousands of Windows 2k/XP boxes running as service kiosks. With a GUI installer and a little desktop polish people across the country could enjoy the security of OpenBSD. If the government is going to give our tax dollars away to private enterprise I'd like them to try giving some money to people getting it right and doing good work.
The average joe is going to think about binary blobs and encryption, but they sure do give a damn when the government screws up and gives out their private records. I think the time is right for our government to get off the MS treadmill.
77 • No subject (by forest on 2009-03-03 09:13:32 GMT from United Kingdom)
Ca Nada, I was referring to this bit of info, which you might find interesting (?).
And, just to complicate things, there's this:
You could be forgiven for thinking all this free, open source would promote harmony...LOL.
78 • the dream linux (by Nonny Moose on 2009-03-03 11:23:03 GMT from United States)
Here are 8 computers, 4 Viao laptop, 2 Dell and 2 Thinkpad.
Good download (md5sum matching) and burn on 4 disks.
No successful installation. :(
Microsoft Wireless 3000 mouse not seen (cursor drift from top to bottom of screen). Switch to Targus mouse and worked fine, but error at random time about "multiple session not supported."
Screen blank on ALL 8 MACHINES at irregular interval during day. Not good for work!
3.5 Dream released too soon? Forum community respond ok on hardware issue but nothing change and work there at our little company must continue (back to Vista for now).
79 • RE: 73 (by Anonymous on 2009-03-03 11:59:32 GMT from United States)
Caitlyn, you may be reading into "ease of use/stability" more than was intended. To me that phrase does not imply Newbie-friendly. It just means it is easy to use for somebody. Speaking as Linux Newbie, I find that all distros are newbie-UNfriendly to a greater or lesser degree. However, I have found Slackware to be much easier to install and use than Arch or Absolute, not to mention Gentoo. That is not to say I prefer it to Mepis or Mint, which can make the switch from other OS's to Linux much easier for a newcomer.
Having Linux gurus such as yourself or Chris or Ladislav doing reviews from the point of view of a newbie is both counterintuitive and counterproductive. That's like men reviewing products made for women. There is no commonality of experience. You guys automatically make certain assumptions because of your knowledge. You take certain basic things for granted; things that to a newbie are not basic at all. If you want a newbie perspective, let a newbie do the install and record her/his comments, opinions and experiences.
80 • RE: 71 Spelling and grammar (by ladislav on 2009-03-03 13:05:06 GMT from Taiwan)
The least you could do is use a spell check before posting
What exactly is misspelt in the article? Let me know and I'll fix it promptly.
81 • sidux donation (by arno911 on 2009-03-03 13:33:53 GMT from Germany)
there has been a donation for sidux not so long ago, but smxi would be a good candidate :) its not a sidux-tool, its made for Debian, sidux, Mepis/antiX, ... and it makes life easier for many users. does h2 have a donation-link? ;-)
82 • @68 (forest) (by greenLegs on 2009-03-03 13:39:59 GMT from France)
"Folk whose first language is not English, and, will be new to computing know nothing of MS, ergo they can't miss it."
What does language have to do with this? AFAIK, MS products have better localization than most softwares.
"in youngsters and the emergent nations (on the technology front, in case you took that to be patronising) where MS is not very well known. What these these customers lack is cash to buy software, especially when they have free stuff anyway."
These categories are less aware of the MS brand than we are, but they are even less aware of the Linux brand. And they do get MS stuff for free anyway. (Just as the rest of the world, that's how they are aware of this brand: they use their products). So in a sense, presently they're not customers.
Now if you talk about governement/organisations/companies of these emergent countries/youngsters, then you're right about the cost (but still wrong about the MS brand).
83 • smxi donation (by miks on 2009-03-03 13:41:05 GMT from United Kingdom)
I also vote for smxi. The donation button is on the techpatterns forum site:
84 • RE: 83 smxi donation (by ladislav on 2009-03-03 13:45:57 GMT from Taiwan)
That's a donation button for Tech Patterns, not smxi. Or are they the same thing?
85 • smxi donation (by anticapitalista on 2009-03-03 14:00:01 GMT from Greece)
smxi donation here:
86 • @ ladislav (by arno911 on 2009-03-03 14:15:16 GMT from Germany)
same guy behind it :-)
87 • smxi donation (by miks on 2009-03-03 15:37:31 GMT from United Kingdom)
@ladislav, those two links both point to the same place.
88 • Distro Reviews (by Anonymous on 2009-03-03 15:44:28 GMT from United States)
I applaud those who review distros based on their stated qualities (ease of use, system rescue, etc.). I don't know about other readers of DistroWatch, but I'm not a distro hopper. I come here to keep up-to-date so that I can make recommendations to my friends and family. So, if some Distro says that it's newbie-friendly, it's good to have that claim validated or refuted. Likewise, a critical review of FreeNAS would be useful if a coworker needs a quick NAS solution (this would most likely *not* be newbie friendly - but I've never looked at it to know).
89 • antiX (by shorty on 2009-03-03 16:54:01 GMT from United States)
this seems the choice for older machines and new ones too.
the icewm and fluxbox "quickchange" is a great touch for two of us using the same machine interchangably on short notice.
network and configuration tools via control center are clear and simple yet powerful.
multimedia is "out of the box" working fine after tweaking.
just might settle on this one. :)
90 • SMXI & Chakra (by RandyPenguin on 2009-03-03 17:40:50 GMT from United States)
I also vote for SMXI.
I would like to also make a suggestion for the next round of donations.
91 • No subject (by forest on 2009-03-03 17:43:04 GMT from United Kingdom)
Re # 82 from greenLegs
Apologies if I confused you or anybody else. I alluded to the language aspect meaning folk who do not have any experience of using computers, at all, could not have any notion of using MS, so therefore could not miss using it.
My model, as it were, implied "their" first acquaintance with a computer/operating system would most likely be their goverment's sponsored distro as in Cuba, say, in their own language or vernacular (as in the Spanish "local governments" for example.)
Then of course there's the laptop for every child project, although it must be admitted you don't hear much about that at present.
You are probably quite correct about Linux, as a brand, not being well known...it's certainly not very well known here in UK, LOL! However I suspect the computers will not come branded with Linux per se, but the name of the distro, if that.
(You might have noticed in last week's comments (#61) that Ubuntu do not mention overtly the name "Linux" and were accused of the heinous crime of using Linux to push Ubuntu.)
I was unaware MS gave it's products away for free, unless you meant MS product was part of the bundled software parcel pre-installed on a new machine. There is of course a premium to pay for the pre-installed software, although the price breakdown appears not to be available to the consumer.
Linux "powered" machines are perhaps more likely to be cheaper over the counter, for obvious reasons, ie the supplied distro is likely to contain all of the required packages such as WP, browser or media player.
Agreed, you can't really have "pre" customers...I was alluding to the "cradle to the grave" approach, as in Qimo to Edubuntu and so on and so forth. You could also use the "catch 'em young..." scenario.
It appears my comments could have been better edited, which fell to you it seems, LOL. Thanks for keeping me on the straight and narrow.
92 • spelling & grammar (by capricornus on 2009-03-03 17:47:33 GMT from Belgium)
Of course we like the spelling and grammar correct. And of course in an environment like this, it could be one of the weaker aspects of the contributions. But I prefer the multicolored views and opinions. And I take it as a surplus that so many people with different language background try to express themselves in the new Lingua Franca. That Lingua has no internal superiority, thought, it is an assembly of Gaelic, French, Nordic and Germanic. Just like French for instance, which is Gallic, Roman and Germanic. It seems like Linux flavors: they too are interesting and working put-togethers that just work and that we enjoy. So: no grammar/kernel purity priests here, please.
93 • #79 - I disagree (by Caitlyn Martin on 2009-03-03 17:48:23 GMT from United States)
First, ease of use or usability does have a commonly accepted definition. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usability "Easy to use for somebody" isn't it. Obviously an experienced Slackware user will find Slackware easy to use for him or her because it's what he or she is used to.
Second, all of us were newbies once. In addition, anyone who has worked as a consultant or in support of Linux on the desktop, or has taught people how to use Linux has a pretty good idea of what newcomers find to be easy or difficult. To claim that we can have no understanding of what newcomers find difficult or no "commonality of experience" is ridiculous. That's like claiming teachers know nothing about students. It's just not true.
94 • Re #57 'newbie' reviews (by engelsman on 2009-03-03 18:17:33 GMT from Netherlands)
DeniZen wrote: I'd love to see a 'newbie' orientated review of ... Arch ;) (or Slack or ... Lunar .. cough ..)
I too would love to see an independent Lunar review, but having a 'newbie' orientated review makes little sense because Lunar is intended for the experienced user, unless of course the newbie really, really, really wants to learn.
When I first started with Lunar I was inexperienced with the ways of Linux. I had problems, and I documented my experience on the Lunar wiki. That was several years and at least three ISOs ago and things have changed a lot since then. I have never updated this page because I am no longer the same inexperienced user and therefore I can't write from that point of view any more.
Recently someone else provided a report on installing Lunar on an Eee PC.
For details see: http://wiki.lunar-linux.org/index.php/User_Reports
Disclaimer: I have become an minor developer for Lunar in the years since I wrote that report.
95 • #92 (by Notorik at 2009-03-03 18:31:05 GMT from United States)
Well stated. English is a second language for many people who post here. My understanding is that this is an internationally friendly (gulp...) forum.
1. Sociology. the belief in the inherent superiority of one's own ethnic group or culture.
2. a tendency to view alien groups or cultures from the perspective of one's own.
96 • 79 (by Joe Biden on 2009-03-03 18:46:44 GMT from United States)
Comment deleted (disrespectful, off-topic).
97 • 96 (by Todd R. on 2009-03-03 19:04:43 GMT from United States)
Comment deleted (disrespectful, off-topic).
98 • Setting the record straight (by Caitlyn Martin on 2009-03-03 19:25:50 GMT from United States)
I don't have a distro. There is no `"her" distro. By my count I have seven distros installed here. Seven, not one. All of them are good for what I want them to do. None of them is good at everything.
I am not anti-Slackware. "My" definition of ease of use or usability is a dictionary or encyclopedia definition which I linked to. Compiling Abiword only came up in response to comments about my review as an example of why having a decent sized repository is an advantage, It didn't even figure in my review at the time. I'd hardly call my response to why I choose to include ease of use in a review, which seems to be the same criteria Chris uses, a rant. I also don't claim that ease of use is the only criteria or even the primary criteria for judging a distro. How anyone can call what I wrote, above, an anti-Slackware rant is completely beyond me unless they have completely prejudged me.
I also don't have anything to say about the myriad distros people like. No distro is one size fits all. The comment that Tood R. is referring to last week was in response to a post that claimed that a Puppy Linux derivative is the only thing that runs correctly on netbooks, as in ALL netbooks. That clearly isn't true and I have a triple boot netbook here to prove it. A distro that says "I like Mepis because..." or "I like Puppy Linux because..." or some such thing will never garner a response from me.
I also don't work for Vector Linux, period. The only distributor I have ever worked for is Red Hat. Oh, and yes, I do think Red Hat Enterprise Linux or CentOS is the best choice for most businesses. If we talk about enterprise use I'd talk against Vector Linux, not for it.
I understand that the Slackware community doesn't like me because I won't write uncritical, glossy reviews about their distro. Clue: I won't write glossy, uncritical reviews about any distro. I also am in the process of writing a fairly unfavorable review of Vector Linux 6.0 which might shock some people. A serious mistake was made with this release and if I write a review I have to be honest, don't I?
I also understand that some people here don't like me personally. That is there problem, not mine. The only agenda I see here, and only from a couple of people, is an anti-Caitlyn agenda. Thankfully most people here will take what I write at face value and not try to spin it.
99 • Corrections (#98) (by Caitlyn Martin on 2009-03-03 19:31:32 GMT from United States)
Correction: The last paragraph should read "that is their problem" not "that is there problem". Poor grammr based on not proofreading carefully. My aplogies. I do know the difference between there and their :)
It should read Todd R. not Tood R.
The final sentence of the third paragraph should read "A comment that says..." rather than "A distro that says..."
I wish there was a way to edit my own comments in DWW but there isn't. My apologies for the errors and any lack of clarity in comment #98.
100 • RE #70, #72 Sound/Video (by Anonymous on 2009-03-03 19:38:18 GMT from United States)
I have a real strange one for you all.
I have a old dell 2200 desktop that was running PCLOS 2007 and would not update. Sound was fine.
Then I put on PCLOS 2008 Mini, sound was fine. Then I did all updates and put all the applications that were missing in mini and...only that one login does not have sound. I'm going to create a new login tonight and see what happens.
101 • upgrade PCLOS and get outraged - or depressed (by capricornus on 2009-03-03 20:07:20 GMT from Belgium)
It is a strange thing with the PCLOS/Drake-upgrades, even with the mini and the granular: upgrade it and be lost in a chaotic environment in which prog's disappear or don't work. It get's me crazy, in 14 days I reinstalled final granular1 3 times, tried mini 2 times and just gave up with the original PCLOS-versions. The once so good distro(s) aren't worth a dime. Or a eurocent.
102 • #100: That is interesting (audio issue) (by Caitlyn Martin on 2009-03-03 20:08:29 GMT from United States)
#100: Yes, that is an interesting issue. Only one user doesn't have sound? Hmmm...
I don't run PCLOS but some generic ideas come to mind:
1. Does the user account that is affected autostart any applications at login that could effectively capture the sound card?
2. Is there anything in the users various config files (usually hidden files or directories starting with a . in the home directory) that might try to use the sound card?
My thought is that it's possible that some application is being started that can use sound and it's effectively using the audio resource and not releasing it.
I'm assuming you've already posted in whatever fora or mailing lists PCLOS has. If not that would be a really good idea.
103 • Enabled root account (by Jesse on 2009-03-03 20:08:29 GMT from Canada)
The idea was put forward earlier that a computer with the root account enabled was more vunerable to attacks over ssh. While this is true in some cases, it's easily fixed by disabling root logins via ssh in the sshd config file. This is one of the first things I do with any fresh install.
Some people claim it also helps local security, when there are a lot of local users, but local users have access to all the account names. So far I haven't found a benefit to disabling root.
104 • @ 100 (by DeniZen on 2009-03-03 21:19:32 GMT from United Kingdom)
Just wondered, Is that particular user a member of / added to the 'audio' Group ?
I may be barking up the wrong tree, as I'm sure PCLOS would add users to 'audio' by default, but thought it worth mentioning in passing.
105 • Re 94 @ engelsman (by DeniZen again on 2009-03-03 21:25:43 GMT from United Kingdom)
"but having a 'newbie' orientated review makes little sense because Lunar is intended for the experienced user,"
Apols if my post was was misleading - I get that point entirely! - in fact, that was the tongue-in-cheek jokey point that I was attempting to make.
106 • Re #98 - - Caitlyn (by GregA at 2009-03-03 21:54:07 GMT from United States)
Caitlyn girl, keep on giving us your feedback,. I think your reviews are balanced and thoughtful. And I suspect it's more work than some folks realize. Thanks again . . .
107 • re #98 (by rview on 2009-03-03 22:09:40 GMT from United States)
Yes, it seems there are people on here that are anti-"something" every week. I don't understand why against you though, at least to the point to continually say something about it. I guess they like their drama. I do enjoy your reviews, and most others too.
Keep up the GOOD work.
108 • #104 -- Great point, #106/107 -- Thank you (by Caitlyn Martin on 2009-03-03 22:13:34 GMT from United States)
#104: DeniZen makes a great point. I didn't think about permissions issues when it comes to audio working but that absolutely could be the problem.
#105/#106: Thank you both for your nice thoughts. They are appreciated.
109 • side-stepping (by Todd R. on 2009-03-03 22:35:39 GMT from United States)
Comment deleted (disrespectful, off-topic).
110 • Linux Mint 6 KDE CE (by Woodstock69 on 2009-03-03 23:22:29 GMT from Papua New Guinea)
WooHoo! Finally! Ok. It's just an RC but it's out! Since it will be KDE4 I can see why it's taking so long. Hope they can release a 3.5.10 version though....
111 • #`109 (by ReaderR on 2009-03-03 23:23:56 GMT from United States)
Any review of anything by anyone will incorporate bias of some sort. You cannot forget your entire life to write a review. Chris, ladislav, caitlyn, O'Rielly himself cannot help but be guided by life experiences and those will ultimately be reflected in their reviews in *some* way.
Caitlyn has a very precise tongue. Her words are carefully chosen so as to not mean something she doesn't intend. If you (intensionally or unintensionally) choose to read more into her words then that's an issue you should really take up with, um, yourself.
Caitlyn is well versed in slack-derived distros. In fact, I would say that she is biased towards slack-derived distros. Am I to believe that, at the same time, she has a personal agenda AGAINST slackware proper? I'd think not. My guess - total conjecture - is that she likes slackware and loves what slackware can be made to do.
I've seen her take HEAPS of flack for giving her reviews (i.e. opinions) of various distros. This is her job and she does it well. Along the way she has picked up a wonderful negative following, which, ultimately, serves to give her reviews more credit and insight. You (Todd and Joe) are helping hone her abilities at writing careful, concise, unbiased reviews (relatively speaking). The more you keep your eye on the prize, the more it keeps you looking at the prize ;-)
Caitlyn: Thanks for your willingness to "step up" and provide POV reviews for your readers. Now you got me interested; I'm looking forward to your next (negative) review of VL6.
All spelling and grammatical errors are my fault... sorry about that.
112 • Stuff and things (by Gottaletitout on 2009-03-04 00:31:12 GMT from United States)
I didn't actually recall the Slackware being one of your reviews, Caitlyn. I just remembered it from somewhere. It could be so.
Then again, when I review video games occasionally, I don't really pay attention to the advertising, because underneath they all say the same message. Everything from Halo to Peggle claims a "satisfying, immersion" with a few more words thrown in there like "gritty" and "impressive" for taste. Linux distros are no better at writing PR, infortunately.
I agree with the sentiment that an experienced reviewer cannot understand the point of view of a newbie; I speak from experience here. A teacher is very good at knowing what their student is thinking, yes, but they're wrong a good sum of the time as well. When I was a Linux newbie (not so long ago...) every article was claiming that I would get confused by this or that. Their predictions were wrong by a large margin the majority of the time, evidenced by not only me but my friends and family that I've switched over the past year or so.
It's a valid viewpoint, but I'm just proposing that we stop using it in *every* review. Every time a reviewer wants to say something negative, they say, "a newbie wouldn't understand this." Heck, if it passed through the reviewer's mind at all, it means THEY didn't understand it, at least for a few minutes. That's more effective than claiming a newbie's ignorance. That's the meat of my claim; take it or leave it as you see fit.
And Mr. Vice President, why would Caitlyn (or anybody?) have a vendetta against a distro? Vector, which she likes quite a bit, is based off of it! That's like saying someone reviews Ubuntu well but hopes Debian does poorly!
113 • Audio (by Notorik on 2009-03-04 03:15:23 GMT from United States)
I have been reading your reviews for several years and they have been very helpful. Over time as I have had a chance to try many different distros I have independently come to the same conclusion as you that Slackware works the best, especially on older machines. I see you defending yourself week after week against the same ill informed attacks on this forum. Didn't we have this same argument (Caitlyn hates Slackware) last week? I am curious as to why you continue to do it?
I have another question. Why does Debian not offer support for older drivers? I have a sound card Opti93x that just won't work. However when I use Slackware distros it works. There are some very nice Debian distros that I would like to use but without sound it kind of spoils the whole thing. How would I go about making it work? I don't have Windows on my machine so I can't use a NDIS wrapper unless there is some way to copy a driver from a Windows machine and then use it. Could I copy something from Slackware and use it?
114 • #112: Older audio drivers (by Caitlyn Martin on 2009-03-04 04:37:37 GMT from United States)
@Notorik: ndiswrapper is just for WiFi AFAIK. That wouldn't help.
How to go about it depends alot on what audio system the driver was originally written for. The Debian based distros have moved to PulseAudio which just doesn't support some legacy chipsets. Slackware hasn't as of yet. I honestly don't know if that sound card is natively supported by ALSA or if it is using legacy support in Slackware.
Re: the argument: I never raise the issue. When someone makes a false accusation against me I make a post to set the record straight and leave it at that. I give people enough rope to hang themselves (see #109 for an example).
115 • Grammar (by Robert Jacobs on 2009-03-04 05:44:42 GMT from United States)
I have to agree with Stephen on his comments. Spelling, putting a sentence together properly along with well thought out remarks are important. Not by the people who reply to reviews or stories but for the author. If such things are not applied then it does hurt credibility. That is a fact. Sorry capricornus but you are wrong. Because this forum has people from many countries who speak different languages is a poor excuse. So is the idea that the nature of the subject matter does not lend itself to proper grammar. That is just ridiculous. At the very least someone should proof read what the author intends to post.
116 • 115 Grammar (by ladislav on 2009-03-04 06:34:39 GMT from Taiwan)
Come on guys, now this is the second post that criticises the author's spelling and grammar without giving a single example of a spelling or grammatical error in the article.
I am certainly happy that you expect a high standard of written content from this web site, but how can we improve if you don't point out where the incorrect grammatical structure occurred or which word was misspelt?
117 • No subject (by forest on 2009-03-04 08:44:36 GMT from United Kingdom)
I don't know why you worry Ladislav, if folk want to carp about your spelling and grammar...and not stick to Linux distro type stuff then it begs the question why they come on the forum.
Curiously, nobody seems to worry about a typo, or if a word is spelt (spelled) in English english or American english.
So what if a reviewer commits the heinous crime of poor grammar/spelling...if we can all understand the gist of the review then job done.
The only caveat to the above is when code is being presented for input to ones machine.
All languages are evolving constantly, nobody writes like W. Shakespeare any more (or W. Shatner come to that)...the "english" spoken and written by youngsters is a prime example...my son's emails/txts to me sometimes need the entire services of a Bletchley Park to decypher, he does this deliberately of course to amuse himself. Unless he wants cash...then he is able to craft his request in "dad's" english perfectly...odd that...
Why not simply issue an edict banning personal attacks on folk, on pain of deletion? This might help to persuade the Petruchio Pack to not to take old manuscripts quite so seriously.
never forget educashun is grate
118 • RE: #93 (by dragonmouth on 2009-03-04 10:16:51 GMT from United States)
First, let me apologize for not using my handle in #79. I hit "submit" a tad quickly.
Second, if I were you I wouldn't use wikipedia as a source, Webster's Unabridged or Encyclopedia Brittanica it ain't.
As for the rest, let's agree to disagree. I don't think this is the forum for long, philosophical discussions.
119 • RE: #101 (by dragonmouth on 2009-03-04 10:25:49 GMT from United States)
I had a similar problem after installing Granular 1.0. Before doing an upgrade, I had two web browsers listed, Konqueror and Firefox. After upgrading just the FF, all mention of FF disappeared from the menus. Synaptic showed FF as being upgraded but I had no way to use it.
I moved on to another distro, one that does not come with problems out of the box
120 • Grammar (by dragonmouth on 2009-03-04 10:33:01 GMT from United States)
Is this Distrowatch or Grammarwatch??? Get a grip guys. It isn't easy to write idiomatically in another language.
121 • No subject (by forest on 2009-03-04 11:30:10 GMT from United Kingdom)
This is probably not for purists, but it seems some folk on the subcontinent have found a way to mix and match:
122 • @103 (by MR on 2009-03-04 12:13:26 GMT from United States)
Jesse, in an environment with multiple admins disabling root and requiring the use of sudo can help with accountability. When someone logs into a box via SSH and uses sudo to perform commands, those commands get logged along with the actual user ID; when someone becomes root that isn't the case. Makes it a lot easier to troubleshoot when something mysteriously stops working -- you can look in /var/log/security (or the distro's variant) and see what's been done on the box lately that might have caused it.
123 • Comments and Grammar (by Gene Venable on 2009-03-04 14:02:18 GMT from United States)
(1) Someone once said that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. Not true: Criticizing spelling in online message boards like this is the last refuge of the scoundrel. Spelling in an official site article, on the other hand, is fair game. I haven't seen any important spelling mistakes on this site, ever.
(2) The comments in this particular issue are unusually interesting, with the heavy participation of people who actually write and edit the site. I would like to see the comments expanded, keeping this section, of course, and adding a place for comments on each distro. This would be very handy when there are problems with a certain release, making DistroWatch an early warning beacon.
Yes, people should go to the official forums to find out about distros, but sometimes they are hard to find or are inactive.
I know that this would make some Linux community members angry, as they would see DistroWatch as duplicating the services of other sites. But I don't think that would be the effect -- it would increase the total number of Linux fans and, as George W. Bush once said, would "make the pie higher."
124 • AMD/ATI drivers (by john frey on 2009-03-04 15:16:23 GMT from Canada)
While nvidia puts out great closed source drivers, Ati's closed source drivers have always suffered in comparison. In answer to a call from the community (not specifically to AMD/ATI but to hardware manufacturers in general) AMD released their hardware specs so we could have great free software drivers. ATI released the specs for Radeon 8500 and older cards a few years ago and the community proceeded to produce really good drivers based on those specs. Those free software drivers became the best drivers for those cards while the closed drivers were rarely used.
AMD/ATI deserve to be lauded for their efforts on behalf of free software rather than criticized for their proprietary drivers. In the past there have been attempts to improve those drivers with some success but many of the improvements did not last through more than 1 or 2 iterations. On the other hand the free drivers for the Radeon 8500 and older cards, based on ATI's hardware specs, have been more than satisfactory. As they are part of xorg they are equally compatible with every distro.
Now we have more data for development on the latest hardware. The decision by Arch Linux to dump proprietary drivers in favour of the free ones is a good thing. Who cares what the proprietary drivers are like when we have free ones? Let's thank AMD/ATI for answering that old complaint levelled against hardware developers and encourage them to keep providing the specs. They can stop developing proprietary drivers altogether. If they want to develop drivers contribute to the free ones.
Note that nvidia has never released any data for free software to build on. As that company struggles to survive in the face of larger and more successful manufacturers like Intel and ATI we may one day have no more releases from nvidia. The danger with proprietary drivers, they can become obsolete and development is entirely at teh whim of the company. Free software is always available and upgradable.
125 • Sudo (by john frey on 2009-03-04 15:29:59 GMT from Canada)
I heartily disagree with Chris Smart on the root user issue. There are arguments to be made for security on both sides of the issue. I consider it a greater security risk to let local users have access to admin tasks than to have a root account. User "bill" is just as easy to brute force as password "password". People will always do stupid things on their computers. The errors made by administers are horrible enough that I would never want users to have admin privlileges. We know how well that works for MS, let's not emulate that foolishness.
Yes Chris, you know there are people like me who disagree. I just wanted to explain a little bit about why. I acknowledge that you make some good arguments about security. I think I prefer root users because that is the system I most frequently use not because there is an inherently stronger argument for root over sudo. I suspect that is your reason as well:)
126 • re:125 (by john frey on 2009-03-04 15:33:08 GMT from Canada)
"administers" should obviously have been "administrators". My apologies to the spelling and grammar nazis.
127 • DreamLinux looking pretty good (by Gnobuddy on 2009-03-04 15:55:04 GMT from United States)
I'm trying to piece together a Linux box using parts from a few of my older PC's for a friend with limited computing skills and no money.
So I've been searching for a Linux distro that will run acceptably on not-so-new hardware, and most importantly, be as easy to use as possible.
I heard about Dream Linux for the first time about a week ago, and downloaded first the 3.5 RC4 and then the 3.5 final version. It's looking pretty good so far - unless I find problems in the next day or two, I'll probably install this for my friend.
Congratulations to the Dream Linux developers, I think you have put together a very nice distribution. I will definitely be keeping an eye on this one!
128 • RE:124,125. Just a thought. (by Eddie Wilson on 2009-03-04 17:43:42 GMT from United States)
@124- ++1 Nvidia has not and never will give anything openly to the Linux community as ATI and Amd has done.
@125- I use sudo. Nothing against root accounts but why have it enabled if its not needed. I've never found a use for it.(that I need)
129 • @128 (by john frey on 2009-03-04 19:21:51 GMT from Canada)
My understanding and use of sudo is limited. I believe there are things that sudo can't do that root can. I stand to be corrected. If that is the case then I have no interest in installing an OS that gives me less than total control on a machine that I use. I could use Windows if I wanted restricted access.
As one person pointed out I could shut the machine off, locate a live CD that gives me root access and write access to the hard drive (not all of them do), then boot form the live CD. Or I could just type su followed by the root password.
When I am doing administration from the command line I find it onerous to type sudo before every command. It's a PITA. In the greater scheme of things it is a minor inconvenience but I prefer to avoid it.
Enabling the root account is not necessary on most distros. The majority of them set up the install with a root account by default. It is only recently with the advent of Ubuntu that sudo has become so widely used and well known. So it is a matter of removing the root account after setting up sudo for most distros.
130 • No subject (by Gene Venable on 2009-03-04 20:04:41 GMT from United States)
Can't you just type sudo su and get root access? You don't have to suffer under the onerous obligation of typing sudo before every command unless you want to be protected.
Myself, I type sudo when running Ubuntu and su when running Sidux.
(Insert French phrase for "it don't make no difference to me" here.)
131 • Spelling or typo? I report You decide. :):):):) (by IMQ on 2009-03-04 22:57:23 GMT from United States)
Out of curiousity, I copied the content of this week article, etc. minus the comment section, into OpenOffice.org and did a spelling and grammar check.
Guess what I found?
One misspelling or typo in the last sentence before Chris signed his name. Ready? The word is... instalment.
So, I found what caused the Spelling-and-Grammar police come out in force to... enforce the rule of English 101.
OK, Chris. All you need is 1 key stroke to silence the Spelling-and-Grammar watchdogs.
I know you can do it. :)
132 • RE: 131 Spelling or typo? (by ladislav on 2009-03-04 23:18:28 GMT from Taiwan)
One misspelling or typo in the last sentence. Ready? The word is... instalment.
And even that is NOT incorrect - that's how you spell the word according to the spelling rules of British English.
133 • RE: 129 (by ladislav on 2009-03-04 23:23:54 GMT from Taiwan)
When I am doing administration from the command line I find it onerous to type sudo before every command.
You don't need to. You type "sudo -s -H" once and you are effectively root. You won't need to re-type sudo again in that terminal session.
134 • No subject (by forest on 2009-03-04 23:31:54 GMT from United Kingdom)
installment in*stall"ment, instalment in*stal"ment, n.
1. The act of installing; installation.
135 • RE: 132 (by IMQ on 2009-03-05 01:09:38 GMT from United States)
What?! The British really spoiled it! :):):)
I completely overlook that even though I noticed many words spelling the British way (s instead of z), yet the light didn't go off.
136 • Spellowatch (by Mistar Jownes on 2009-03-05 08:16:01 GMT from United Kingdom)
Can wee orl shutt tha fork upp abowt speling now - pleeze
137 • Swapping desktops without the pager (re: MEPIS review) (by Neil Youngman on 2009-03-05 11:41:21 GMT from United Kingdom)
If you haven't got pager you can probably still get to the other virtual desktops. In KDE under lenny CTRL-Fn gets you desktop n, e.g. CTRL-F3 gets desktop 3
Of course, there's no way a beginner would know that.
138 • linux Mint (by Sandgroper on 2009-03-05 13:11:51 GMT from Australia)
After experimenting with a lot of Linux live-CDs, I initially decide on Ubuntu 8.10 to be install under Windows. The only thing that made me very frustrated is the lack of installed restricted media drivers. Not having a regular net access, and trying to do a work around, (cut down the long story) I decided to give Linux Mint 6 a go. I downloaded the iso, burn it onto a CD and did a live boot. After about 15 min, this is the distro that I will install under Windows. Everything I wanted for it to do out of the box, worked for me. Beaut distro!
139 • News (by Sertse on 2009-03-05 13:17:14 GMT from Australia)
Wow, DWW on Mon. Now it's Fri (I'm from Australia)...and it's still the top item on the site.
No news for so many days. Is this a record?
140 • PCLOS/Mint, other similar distros (by Landor on 2009-03-05 13:56:20 GMT from Canada)
I've always been amazed by the instant following of distros that include out of the box support for codecs, flash, specific video cards, etc.
Now I know a lot of these distros have gone far beyond their initial releases and added quite a bit more, but I honestly think it's fair to ask where would they be right now if such items were not added by default at the onset of the distro's initial releases.
Another curious thing that always comes to mind in regard to our community is how quickly many will jump on the rights of OSS/FSS and discuss EULA's and other such items, as if the former is almost holy and the others are a sin, but how many stating such openly circumvent/disrepsect the rights of other software patents/authors by distributing/using proprietary/licensed software. Quite a conumdrum.
Keep your stick on the ice...
141 • Ref #139 (by Verndog on 2009-03-05 14:43:31 GMT from United States)
I was thinking the same thing. I also thought they kept it there so everyone would read it. Now it's Thursday and still there. I guess it's a quiet period of distros this month.
On another note, I also really like DreamLinux. I haven't in the past thought much of it. Thinking it's just a "Mac" look alike, but for older(and newer) PC's it is very well thought out.
It looks like NOTHING will catch Ubuntu now. It has outpaced everything in its path. DreamLinux like Ubuntu is based off of Debian, just not the support.
142 • RE: 139, 141 (by ladislav on 2009-03-05 14:46:54 GMT from Taiwan)
It has been the pattern recently - nothing much happening early in the week and then a big bunch of releases during the weekend. I wish it was the other way around :-(
143 • @post142 (by Jerry on 2009-03-05 18:12:17 GMT from United States)
It's ok.. after all, we have each other!
144 • speling and gramer (by divadgnol on 2009-03-05 21:45:28 GMT from United States)
i dount no what the probem is wit evryone thinkng they can just go arond critesising my speling.
i bet u can reed this.
scru the hatrs
See what i mean, it's content that counts, and Chris's article is loaded with that sheit.
ladislav is the man. keep up the good work.
145 • Did You Miss It? (by Woodstock69 on 2009-03-05 22:19:28 GMT from Papua New Guinea)
RE: 139,141,142. Did you miss my post (@110)?
Linux Mint 6 KDE CE RC1 is out....
Linux Mint 6 KDE CE RC1 is out....
Linux Mint 6 KDE CE RC1 is out....
Linux Mint 6 KDE CE RC1 is out....
Linux Mint 6 KDE CE RC1 is out....
Linux Mint 6 KDE CE RC1 is out....
OK. Did you see it now?..... =};^)>
Sorry, no spelling errors. And no comments about Paul the Christian...
146 • Re: 145 Did You Miss It? (by ladislav on 2009-03-05 22:43:22 GMT from Taiwan)
No, it's you who missed it. It's on the front page, in the "Latest Distributions" section.
147 • antiX (by oTTo on 2009-03-05 23:36:46 GMT from United States)
I still think antiX should have its own place on the stats chart/list. Kubuntu/Xbuntu/MahatmaGhandibuntu et al have their places there.
Was it a Mepis choice not to have an antiX listed as a seperate distro? Just curious.
148 • re #147 antiX (by pearson on 2009-03-05 23:58:12 GMT from United States)
I had trouble finding anything about antiX on the Mepis website (I did eventually find that I could download it, and the URL). It's not particulary well publicized. So, I'd say that it's Mepis' choice to manage antiX as less than a standalone distro.
As I understand it, Ladislav's criteria for listing distros is that he lists distros and not sub-projects. Ubuntu manages the Xubutu/Kbuntu/Edubuntu distros as separate entities. While they are all "derived from" Ubuntu, they are managed separately (different project leaders, different websites, etc.).
149 • @148 (by oTTo on 2009-03-06 00:19:06 GMT from United States)
Thank you for that.
Fwiw, I found the antiX link in the "related websites" section of the Mepis page linked on the page hit stats list.
150 • Nitpickers (by I've got a life on 2009-03-06 02:30:06 GMT from Australia)
Come on all you people who are nit-picking. Get a life.
If you have nothing better to do than act like policemen looking for spelling/grammer errors or distro's not listed then maybe you should pick up a book and do some reading or go fly a kite or something useful. You must be really bored at the computer to be a nit-picker.
Distrowatch is one of the better and most informative websites there is. Ladislav & Chris do a wonderful job and at no cost$ to you. So thank them instead of being narky towards them.
Congrats on a good job Ladislav & Chris.
151 • Thanks for including Maryan Linux! (by maty1206 on 2009-03-06 06:07:46 GMT from Costa Rica)
ML's community is very pleasant in been part of this amazing web site. We appreciate your recognition!
We had published an announcement:
152 • antiX is impressive (by elimisteve on 2009-03-06 07:57:11 GMT from United States)
I'd like to compliment the antiX/Mepis people for creating antiX-M8. Great job on creating a distro that detected all my hardware, which several other distros were simply not able to do, despite being extremely light-weight.
Thanks Ladi and Chris for another great DWW :-)
153 • International 'No Distro Release Week ' :) (by DeniZen on 2009-03-06 09:17:03 GMT from United Kingdom)
Lordy - nearly a whole 'working' week and no Distro updates / releases since Mondays DWW.
Cant recall that occurring previously?
The more severely afflicted 'hoppers must be getting real twitchy by now!
154 • No subject (by DeniZen on 2009-03-06 09:31:23 GMT from United Kingdom)
I was previously drawn to Maryan as I saw it described as Arch with E17 - which sounded v. interesting.
The 'Arch' based project is still mentioned on the 'about' page at maryanlinux.com, as well as Maryan based on Ubuntu/E17
Is the Arch & E17 project still alive I wonder - no links to download nor mention in the blog.
Another Ubuntu respin (which will move to a Debian base according to Wikepedia) is not so interesting - dare i say ;)
155 • 154 was @ Maty -151 (by DeniZen again on 2009-03-06 09:34:27 GMT from United Kingdom)
(error detected between keyboard and chair)
156 • RE: 153 International 'No Distro Release Week ' (by ladislav on 2009-03-06 10:06:13 GMT from Taiwan)
If you need something to play with during these quiet times, take a look at the three distros I've added to the database this week:
Tiny Core Linux http://distrowatch.com/tinycore
Damn Vulnerable Linux: http://distrowatch.com/dvl
Have fun :-)
157 • No subject (by forest on 2009-03-06 10:15:33 GMT from United Kingdom)
Re installation to usb...has anyone succeeded in installing the recent puppy clones "dice" etc onto a stick? Seems to go on yet no final message..."well done, give that man a coconut", stuff.
They did not boot. I got the original puppy onto a stick without any probs and the only other success for myself is Knoppix.
(The CDs have no probs finding the hardware and wifi is very easy to sort.)
158 • Lad the Provider :) #156 (by DeniZen on 2009-03-06 11:36:19 GMT from United Kingdom)
Just to be clear(er)! I wasnt having a pop at DW's coverage - merely observing that it seemed to be a genuinely, and notably slow news week.
You neednt have gone looking Ladislav! - theres a'plenty already TBH ;)
159 • #157 (by Notorik on 2009-03-06 13:31:27 GMT from United States)
I have installed IcePup on a usb successfully. I am sure I have installed a couple of the others as well but maybe they were based on an older kernel version 3. A friend of mine was having problems connecting Vista to wifi. He was amazed (having never actually seen Linux) when I ran BuddaPup on his laptop and it got the wifi working so quickly.
In keeping with the theme of this week, I have also installed Wolvix Hunter & Cub on a usb (very easy).
Austrumi is another one I keep on a flash. It was easy to install and works nicely.
Thoughts on Writing Reviews from a Newbie Perspctive:
It can be a daunting challenge for many people switching from Windows to Linux. I remember getting really frustrated just trying to change the wallpaper. Then over a week, or so (slow learner) I discovered user, share, backgrounds. I am still struggling to learn how to do some things. For example, I wanted to change the code in Conky. Ok, I went to several websites and they said it's easy you just edit the .conkyrc file. Well I looked and looked for that little bugger, couldn't find it, gave up. A couple months later tried it again, same thing. Then a last month I stumbled across an article that mentioned "ctrl h" to display hidden files. I tried it and surprise, there it was. Also just coming to grips with some of the terminology is a challenge. I had never heard of an "ndiswrapper", much less the fact that it is just for WiFi AFAIK. It would have been helpful to know that Debian apparently uses PulseAudio and doesn't support some Legacy chips (see #114). Distrowatch is a valuable resource that I have used and am still using to help me find my way through the maze. Yes you should try to pacify the "techies" (they're people too...hmmm...) but please don't forget the newbies.
160 • Perspective (by Notorik on 2009-03-06 13:32:40 GMT from United States)
Spelling - perspective.
161 • No subject (by forest on 2009-03-06 14:04:44 GMT from United Kingdom)
Thanks for that Notorik, I'll try the Wolvix too. Did you perchance reformat to ext 2 or 3 or just leave it as fat16?
(I don't comment on the Debian thing...draws down Debian demon disciples demanding draconian detractions (should be retractions but got lost in the alliterations...LOL))
162 • Anti-x (by J.B. on 2009-03-06 14:08:19 GMT from United States)
We were experimenting with Anti-x but decided to stay with it on one machine here; it is just good and reliable and has the magic "no connection lost" attribute we were dreaming of for this gawdawful Realtek 8187b adapter. ;o)
The Mepis outfit has a great one plus this smaller great one too. Too bad it has not its own page hit thing just for the curious as to where it would be. :o)
This Toshiba has 36 users during mid semester, then 4 between semesters. The "core 4" usually decide what os will be on it (Vista was replaced, happily). Mint 6 is on one other laptop and our old pc.
Anti-x 8 stays on this one. Yippee. lol
163 • No Activity on this Blog Since Beginning of Week (by Fuzzy Dog on 2009-03-06 14:11:09 GMT from United States)
Are you on vacation? Sick? Hope all is well.
164 • Re: 157 (by Menfin!?! on 2009-03-06 14:23:14 GMT from Canada)
Forest, have you tried UNetbootin?
Per their site:
"UNetbootin allows you to create bootable Live USB drives for a variety of Linux distributions from Windows or Linux, without requiring you to burn a CD."
165 • REF#156 - Damn Vulnerable Linux (by Verndog on 2009-03-06 14:34:47 GMT from United States)
I don't know if DVL is a joke, but read the reasoning behind the release. Very interesting.
Also, TinyCore is just about as small a distro as possible. Remember Tom's Floppy Linux?
166 • No subject (by forest on 2009-03-06 16:05:00 GMT from United Kingdom)
Menfin!?!, thanks very much for that info. Just what I wanted. Brilliant!
167 • @165 (by john frey on 2009-03-06 17:28:06 GMT from Canada)
No DVL is not a joke. Very useful for the people who need it. That's the wonderful thing about Linux, it's not just a desktop OS, it's many many things.
Did you mean Tomsrtbt? It's still around these many years later http://www.toms.net/rb/. Amazing. I still find floppies necessary from time to time when I need to flash a bios. It's a pita when floppy drives are rarely installed anymore. Fortunately there are other options although it's surprising that most mb vendors still offer boot floppies as the main alternative to flashing from Windows. I have to choose to install Windows or install a floppy. The floppy is the easier alternative. There's always one lying around somewhere.
Why don't they offer bootable CD images as the default, I wonder?
168 • RE: 154 • No subject (by DeniZen on 2009-03-06 09:31:23 GMT from United Kingdom) (by maty1206 on 2009-03-06 18:09:53 GMT from Costa Rica)
154 • No subject (by DeniZen on 2009-03-06 09:31:23 GMT from United Kingdom)
The 'Arch' based project is still mentioned on the 'about' page at maryanlinux.com, as well as Maryan based on Ubuntu/E17.
Is the Arch & E17 project still alive I wonder - no links to download nor mention in the blog.
YES IT IS ALIVE. We are currently testing our second alfa release of the Arch based edition (Maryan Linux 2), wich due to we don't have a dedicated server, we can't offer it to the community. By now, it is only for internal development purpose.
Any way, you can get it from here: http://marvinortega.com/ftp/Maryan_Linux/ML2/maryanlinux-alpha1.tar.lzma
You must uncompress it, and maybe build it, use Larch for the build process.
Don't forget to watch out out bug tracker:
My best regards
169 • RE: 167/168 (by Landor on 2009-03-06 20:22:15 GMT from Canada)
I've often wondered the same thing. I personally can't stand floppy's anymore, they're so funky unless it's an old old drive that's like a timex :) I've always hoped that more devs would start creating flash images. Again, for some older systems you're sol with one, but still another alternative. For the longest time I carried an old drive and cable with me for systems that didn't have one. Oh, and lovin' this weather no? :)
Is Maryan originally a fork from Mandriva? Some issues over the community edition or something? I seem to recall something about an E17 (possibly) community edition that pulled away from Mandriva or some dispute.
Keep your stick on the ice...
170 • No subject (by forest on 2009-03-06 22:20:47 GMT from United Kingdom)
Just read this:
A bit of a boost.
171 • #161 (by Notorik on 2009-03-06 23:09:45 GMT from United States)
Sorry, I don't remember. I know I did have to format the drive because it had some kind of crappy file system on it. I think I might have first formatted it to FAT to wipe it and then to ext 2 or ext 3. Sounds like you found what you needed anyway.
172 • OpenBSD 4.5 pre-orders are now available! (by Anonymous on 2009-03-07 00:49:09 GMT from United States)
OpenBSD 4.5 pre-orders are now available!
Orders for OpenBSD 4.5 are now being accepted:
173 • RE: 169 Is Maryan originally a fork from Mandriva? (by maty1206 on 2009-03-07 04:40:02 GMT from Costa Rica)
No, it is not. Originally, ML 1 was based on Ubuntu 8.04 and ML 2 is been based on Arch Linux.
174 • Offtopic, right click bug in Firefox on Linux (by Aony Moss on 2009-03-07 04:53:48 GMT from India)
Sorry for being somewhat off topic. As many of you might have experienced, there is a v annoying bug in Firefox on Linux platform, especially for power users who open many tabs.
Here's the bug- Right click on a hyperlink ( usually with intention to open the link in a new tab ) and wait for the context menu to appear. Many a time, firefox simply does not open the context menu at all, but after a delay, by itself chooses one of the actions specified in the context menu randomly, ie, it either brings up a save as dialog, or opens the hyperlink in the background tab, or starts up the email program, etc.
Is this a known bug listed on FF bugzilla? I did a search and could not find one. Can anyone please confirm if this is indeed the case? If it is missing, I will file a detailed bug report, with screenshots if possible.
175 • Qimo for Kids and educational distros for older machines (by awong on 2009-03-07 06:47:01 GMT from Canada)
Qimo for Kids is an interesting educational distro. I haven't been able to find many educational distros that cater to primary school aged children. Foresight for Kids exists but it fits on a DVD so it won't work on older PCs with CDROM drives only. Edubuntu is no longer a stand alone; Ubuntu must be installed first. Sure, you can install distro X and download and install all the software, but in real world situations time is a luxury and an expense.
I tested Qimo on (old) Celeron 500 systems with just 384Mb RAM and they ran smoothly. Hopefully I can have an update on how the intended audience, kids, enjoy and use Qimo. Incidentally, I have noticed that installing it on VirtualBox creates issues that don't exist on a real install, such as TuxPaint freezing up or the dock not appearing.
176 • No subject (by forest on 2009-03-07 07:50:16 GMT from United Kingdom)
Thanks for the gen and yes to the second.
177 • RE: 174 (by IMQ on 2009-03-07 14:35:07 GMT from United States)
I couldn't duplicate your problem. Unless I misunderstood it.
I tried the right click on hyperlinks on this page and also tried with many tabs open on a a few of pages from google search result. Each time the context menu appeared and remained until I select one on the menu. No random automatic selection.
If you have addons installed, maybe one them caused the behaviour in your case.
178 • Qimo 4 Kids (and education-focused Linux) - Not There yet (by RO on 2009-03-07 14:52:47 GMT from United States)
I was hoping this would be suitable for a low-end note/netbook, Fujitsu Lifebook P1120 with Crusoe 800 Mhz (about equivalent to Intel 400 Mhz in my experience), 240 MB of "usable" RAM. I installed it under Virtual Box with 240MB vram, and was disappointed. All I saw was Xubuntu's standard desktop with the few "educational" programs buried in the XFCE menus - "kid friendly interface"?? Where is the cutesy poo desktop with the eskimo-looking (sorta) kid? The performance is so-so under VBox on a AMD 1333 with 1.5GB of RAM, so might be ok natively on the P1120, but the minimalist XFCE desktop with a few add-on programs does not look very compelling.
I have tried Edubuntu 5.x and 7.x in the past, and found that much more as billed with educationally-oriented desktop and program choices a bit more numerous and obvious than Qimo (not a lot, though). I don't understand Qimo's claim that Edubuntu is network/lab oriented or the statement above that Ubuntu has to be installed first - has the 8.x version changed that radically?
I got an XO laptop last year as part of the G1G1 program, and we played around with it a bit with our 3-year old grandson, but nothing "magic" about that, and I wound up selling it to a techie college student who wanted to make it into an ebook reader and oversized iPod Touch-like gadget (with a little linux geeing on the side...).
My wife, as an elementary teacher of "challenged" students still finds specific Windows/Mac programs more suitable to her needs, and, although using Ubuntu 8.04 at home almost full-time (still fires up Win98 to run an old PrintShop for end-of-year banners and certificates for the students, but just about weaned...), sees nothing compelling for Linux in the classroom.
We need to get some good teachers with time and energy to spare (a huge challenge for the ones like my wife fighting an uphill battle with uncaring parents, limited resources and an overload of bureaucratic BS) together with developers who can really listen, and shape the software/packaging to the teachers' needs. Maybe when my layoff comes along...
179 • Qimo 4 Kids - Vbox not a good testbed? (by RO on 2009-03-07 14:57:47 GMT from United States)
I just noticed awong's comment about Vbox not showing the "dock" - is that the eskimo kid desktop?
180 • @178 (by Nobody Important on 2009-03-07 15:02:54 GMT from United States)
Edubuntu was changed to a single meta-package in Ubuntu. So yes, your source is correct - it's not its own distro anymore. If you want a clean Edubuntu install, you have to install the base system off of the Alternate CD, and in the terminal type "apt-get install edubuntu-desktop" (or something to that effect). But it's more work than it used to be when it was just a lone CD, yes.
Being a teacher is a demanding and public job that doesn't pay nearly enough for all the work they do. While moving over to Linux is a good option in theory, it does take time and effort some teachers simply cannot afford, especially in this economic climate you mentioned. Perhaps now is the time to present it and consider it, and when time and effort becomes available, make the switch.
181 • @174 (by Nobody Important on 2009-03-07 15:08:57 GMT from United States)
Sorry for the double post.
I have the same Firefox issue. I've tried running the program with no extensions and a few extensions, but it happens on all of them. right now I only have Adblock Plus running in Firefox and it still occurs.
A small, annoying bug. Hopefully if enough of us discuss the specifications of the event, some sort of understanding will be found.
182 • #178 (by Notorik on 2009-03-07 15:18:12 GMT from United States)
Here are a couple of other distros for kids:
Zenwalk - ZenEdu
I have tried Freeduc it's pretty good but it is dormant according to DW.
183 • Qimo 4 Kids - Vbox update (by RO on 2009-03-07 15:19:50 GMT from United States)
I got the eskimo desktop! I had to sign out, then sign back in selecting the "Qimo" ID (had selected auto login for the admin ID I set up during installation, which gets the standard XFCE Xubuntu desktop - duhhhh). Much better! I see the iconic menu at the bottom with the selections for the "educational" programs - is that the "dock" you are missing, awong?
Odd that the "Text Editor" icon in the dock (as I think of the bottom menu) really is just the Mousepad text editor, and not AbiWord, which is available from the XFCE Office menu.
So my earlier criitcism about the desktop for Qimo has to be modified, but only somewhat - still not a lot of compelling choices, at least not without a lot of "education" of the parents/teachers who need to understand what the available programs have to offer in order to guide the kids to get up to speed with them.
But this just might be worth pursuing on the Lifebook, and I can hope that we have the beginnings of something viable here...
hmm, what's that Mark Twain caveat below the comment submission box about opening the mouth, and removing all doubt about foolishness?
RO (trying to extract at least one foot from mouth....)
184 • #178 Linux for Kids (by Notorik on 2009-03-07 15:29:56 GMT from United States)
Freeduc was put out by UNESCO and has a lot of applications on it.
I also just noticed that Foresight has a one too. Foresight Linux 1.0 "Kid's" Edition. I didn't see much on this one other than a few games but I haven't actually tried it out.
185 • #174 - Firefox bug (by Caitlyn Martin on 2009-03-07 16:08:28 GMT from United States)
#174: Yes, I've experienced exactly what you describe. The bug was present in all distros I've tried so far and in all 3.0.x versions up to 3.0.6. I just downloaded a 3.0.7 package for Vector Linux and I am hoping its corrected in the new version. I also need to update Firefox in my Ubuntu Network Remix install to 3.0.7 today. We'll see if there is any change.
186 • firefox and iceweasel (by joy verna on 2009-03-07 18:02:35 GMT from United States)
the bug is in ff but not in iceweasel
187 • quimo (by jack on 2009-03-07 18:04:48 GMT from Canada)
I have just downloaded this and compared it to the chrismas 2007 "Zenedu"
Quimo has more games for younger kids.
Both have gcompris.
Zenedu has more advanced math, chemistry, etc.
Perhaps it should be emphasized that one can leave a 3 year old playing with a live cd without any fear that he/she will mess up one's computer by hitting each and every key.
188 • No subject (by forest on 2009-03-07 19:14:09 GMT from United Kingdom)
At the risk of being "cynical" the notion of a "kids" distro or programs is really a marketing ploy. I recall saying earlier about "catching them young".
And off topic but in response (sympathetic) to the educationalist view of "difficult" kids...and their uncaring parents...my sister managed the special needs department in a "mainstream" college in Cornwall...she would more than agree with your sentiments...some parents should NOT EVER be parents.
And, it would be fair to say that in some London boroughs...the only time a child is safe from harm is after the parents have killed it...with the unwitting connivance of the social services, medical authorities,police and courts.
189 • No subject (by forest on 2009-03-07 19:19:53 GMT from United Kingdom)
Apologies for rant in 188...I applaud the excellent work being done in educationalist circles to help kids and the effort teachers/tutors need to make to make it happen...then I see another reality.
190 • #179, 183 RO (Qimo for Kids and educational distros for older machines) (by awong on 2009-03-07 20:41:27 GMT from Canada)
Someone at Digg could not see Qimo's dock - I had no such problems.
Under VirtualBox with my newer system, I had problems with TuxPaint freezing upon exit, even with 512Mb, but real installs on older machines exhibited no problems so far.
191 • Linux for Education in Elementary Schools (ages 5-12) (by awong on 2009-03-07 21:19:49 GMT from Canada)
A WIP summary list of distros intended for use by children includes Qimo, Edubuntu, Freeduc, Zenedu, and Foresight for Kids.
Some, like Edubuntu, just load kids programs into the main menu and let you config them. You could them use something like remastersys to create your own customized DVD distro (most won't fit on a CD after you use remastersys) to pass on to others or load in a school environment. As an aside, I crafted my own special edition Linux EduMint 6 complete with docky.
Others, like Qimo, try to create a usable desktop for 3 year olds and make it functional on older machines, as some can only afford older second hand machines. The target for Qimo, unlike Edubuntu, is the home audience;however, it could be used in a school environment.
Freeduc seems well developed but as mentioned earlier, the latest release is several years old and intended as a livecd.
Future development of a Linux OS for use in elementary schools would probably be welcomed by progressively thinking school districts (I know a local school district that is considering a switch to a certain open source office program from its alternative). A review of educational (for the learning of children at home or school) Linux distros here at DistroWatch would be an interesting article for those involved in the education field and parents choosing a useful OS for their children. If I have time in the near future, I might consider it or perhaps assist others with writing such an article.
192 • live distros (by dan cardinale on 2009-03-08 00:50:59 GMT from United States)
would it be possible to add a listing of the current number of live distros to your summary?
I like them because I don't have to give anything up to try them and see if the see my hardware before I make a decision to install.
( so far Mandriva is my distro of choice as it saw all my hardware on the laptop and it just works!!)
keep up the great work
193 • RE: 192 Live distros (by ladislav on 2009-03-08 01:31:07 GMT from Taiwan)
You can find them all here:
194 • Package Management Cheatsheet...? (by uz64 on 2009-03-08 06:59:50 GMT from United States)
I was just wondering about DistroWatch's Package Management Cheatsheet. It seems to have appeared out of nowhere, or at least I didn't hear about it. I just happened to see it one day recently up at the top of the page. I recall the original plans were to release it in PDF format... did that ever happen? I'd like to have one for local reference purposes.
195 • No subject (by forest on 2009-03-08 12:58:04 GMT from United Kingdom)
Re "distro-on-a-stick". (or DOAS...I just invented an acronym...watch out for the grammar police...LOL)
Managed to get a flexxpup (Interlaced flavour) installed, by simply reformatting usb stick to ext2 and letting it do it's thing, job done.
Wifi sorted out with the connect wizard, in minutes, and it (wifi) has been running for over two hours without any drop outs, dips at all. (As stable as wifi via Ubuntu...thus far...given my hardware of course.)
Found I could save to an ext hard drive no problem at all, by drag'n'drop and of course to stick itself. Picture files worked no probs , but not yet tried film/sound file.
I have to say this is quite a convenient way of trying out a distro without time delay of CD rom and you could save stuff to stick for privacy.( The only caveat of course is that your PC must be able to boot from usb!)
I gather it is now possible to install the iso file onto a usb stick without needing to burn a CD/DVD first...does anyone know if it is possible to simply d/l straight onto a stick from the internet itself?
If there is a way the apologies for asking for old news.
196 • No subject (by forest on 2009-03-08 13:09:43 GMT from United Kingdom)
Suddenly just thought that IF a previously tricky to install distro has an install to usb stick (DOAS) function...yes, you are there already.
This would/might bypass the partitioning problem of hard drive.
197 • #195 (by Notorik on 2009-03-08 15:03:31 GMT from United States)
Puppy allows you to create a boot floppy if your computer doesn't support booting from usb. It is one of the choices on the puppy menu. I have to use this on my emachine. Glad you got it working.
198 • Zenwalk 6.0 (by Warp0 on 2009-03-08 15:13:04 GMT from United States)
Wanted to install this on an Athlon X2 that I had sitting around. Boot, partition, so far so good, got to the install screen and it couldn't find the CD drive that the disk booted from. Haha .... I'm surprised that yelling "its the drive you booted from!" really loud didn't help.
199 • No subject (by forest on 2009-03-08 15:47:37 GMT from United Kingdom)
That's cos the sound card was not configured...
I tried it too but it did not want to play after the p/w thing. Tried to re-install but got trapped in the partition maze, managed to escape very neatly by strangling the electricty supply...gave up in the end and did the biz in #195...which was a success.
So, for those of you interested in the arcane hardware stuff, like me, the machine Zenwalk 6.0 did not get on with is a Compaq Evo (c2002) with 1Gb ram (twice the original). This is not a dig at Zenwalk folk, just reporting probs relating to my hardware.
Hope that helps somebody make a decision...either way.
200 • No subject (by forest on 2009-03-08 16:07:37 GMT from United Kingdom)
me again...suspect everyone else is still at church or in bed...
Notorik, I had not thought about using a floppy cos I oiked the drive out of one machine and disabled t'other in the bios. It is quite hard to get a floppy these days (no age related or oxymoronic jokes I thank you...)
I have to say this notion of usb sticks is quite a good wheeze because some bright spark invented them, and an even brighter spark thought of using them as a floppy or CD rom and a really brilliant spark with laser assistance actually made it work.
Which gives me something to do and might even keep the little grey cells entertained ere they leak out of my ears...
201 • ??? (by Azzorcist on 2009-03-08 19:51:59 GMT from Indonesia)
Copyright (C) 2001-2009 DistroWatch.com
Contact, corrections, and suggestions: Ladislav Bodnar (mailto:email@example.com)
You all see the rule guys.
But, it seems that we like to post it in this 'opinion column' because Ladislav reacted to it and it is more transparent to all readers.
Ladislav is very kind to respond your post(s).
So, please don't do that... (what do you say? profile killing??? Sorry for my bad english).
For donations, i think the one that should be donated is UNetbootin.
With the netbook market is going fast and the lack of CD/DVD on it makes it the best tool for installing distro to netbook(s).
And I feel (feel) that installing from USB Flash Drive is faster than CD. And of course with the USB 3.0 coming out it would be much faster.
202 • 201 (by Notorik on 2009-03-08 23:06:15 GMT from United States)
I understand the part about UNetbootin, netbook, and USB Flash Drive but I am not sure what your point is about contact, corrections and suggestions. Are you saying people should email Ladislav about those things instead of posting in the forum?
203 • Granular (by paul b on 2009-03-08 23:18:52 GMT from United States)
Some things just get better. I just had a near perfect install with Granular. I had to install sound fonts and web cam drivers. Otherwise everything just worked! They even got the cups-devel files updated so I could get my orphan Lexmark running. And as a special bonus, the setup for Samba went without a hitch. I don't think that has happened for me since Mandriva was measured in single digits.
204 • RE #202 (by Azzorcist on 2009-03-08 23:21:22 GMT from Indonesia)
I mean we all already break the rule of this opinion column (I think its better to call it like that - you can see the header 'DWW is a weekly opinion column').
But, Ladislav is very kind to answer and respond to our post(s).
It's a pity there's people blaming him for just a typo or mispell.
Yeah, that's not good in eyes but nobody's perfect like you said no distro is perfect.
205 • Zenwalk no go (by ZenStop on 2009-03-08 23:46:33 GMT from United States)
I also tried to install Zenwalk 6.0 and it couldn't find my cddvd drive that I booted from. Weird. Also failed to configure xorg. In fact it failed on many levels. It's Slackware after all. What did I expect.
No wonder Ubuntu is riding high these days. Who has the time to fritx around with all the config settings that Slackware requires. Mandrive, Debian all work out of the box.
What's with this backward thinking that Slackware brings to the table. It's 2009.
206 • #204 (by Notorik on 2009-03-09 02:49:56 GMT from United States)
#204 - Yes, I agree with you.
#205 - Ok, it didn't work out for you. Why not try to contribute something worthwhile (if you haven't already) by going to the forum and reporting your experience (including hardware details) so the developers can improve it. Just saying Slackware uses "backward thinking" is of no use to anyone. It might make you feel better to "vent" on this forum but really, to what end?
207 • @206 (by Warp0 on 2009-03-09 03:46:51 GMT from United States)
"but really, to what end?"
To save others from wasting a CD and an hour on a distro that was released half baked? This ain't a beta release.
208 • RE: 207 (by ladislav on 2009-03-09 03:56:55 GMT from Taiwan)
You seem to assume that if a release doesn't work for your, it's "half-baked" and shouldn't have been released, right?
Well, I installed Zenwalk 6.0 yesterday and had no problems whatsoever. That means that the problem might be specific to your hardware and in all likelihood won't affect the vast majority of users.
209 • Zenwalk 6.0 (by Caitlyn Martin on 2009-03-09 05:33:20 GMT from United States)
Like Ladislav I installed Zenwalk 6.0 without any issues here. My first impression is a positive one.
Zenwallk isn't Slackware, it is based on Slackware. There are major differences between the two under the hood. Saying Zenwalk is Slackware is like saying Linux Mint is Debian. Not quite.
Next up: Vector Linux Light 6.0 beta 3, released earlier today.
210 • SlackOFF (by Slacklessness on 2009-03-09 05:52:54 GMT from United States)
I'm through with ANY Slackware nonsense. I've tried all flavors, VL, Zenwalk, and others, all with the same results.
If there NOT "half-baked" as someone else pointed out, then how come ALL Debian derivatives work.
211 • RE: 210 SlackOFF (by ladislav on 2009-03-09 05:57:20 GMT from Taiwan)
If Debian derivatives work for you and Slackware ones don't, why do you keep trying Slackware? Just curious...
Number of Comments: 211
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