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1 • Austrumi (by Anonymous on 2010-09-06 10:55:22 GMT from United States) |
Austrumi has always been my choice for the best of the mini-distros.
2 • Nice (by Barnabyh on 2010-09-06 11:00:00 GMT from Germany)
Austrumi looks and sounds interesting, I'm gonna give it a spin. The auto-login issue is a problem though.
3 • Austrumy = PAE enabled (by meanpt on 2010-09-06 11:10:47 GMT from Portugal)
... meaning it requires PAE enabled processors ... which isn't good news for really old stuff ...
4 • Austrumi (by RichardS on 2010-09-06 11:36:02 GMT from United Kingdom)
Thanks for the Austrumi review. I've used several versions, starting from the old days when it was a gloriously tiny 50MB.
To me, its strength is as a LiveCD etc. rather than as an installation. Austrumi includes tools to customise and create your own Live version with your own choice of Apps.
It's still hard to believe that even the relatively "bloated" current versions of Austrumi load faster on my PC as a LiveCD, than this PC's fully installed WinXP... and run faster.
ps. The main language is Latvian (as is the forum); As with many Linux distros, the "English" setting is actually US "English" so is set for a US keyboard layout.
5 • DistroWatch swag (by Jesse on 2010-09-06 11:38:07 GMT from Canada)
For those of you who are fans of DW and would like to show that love to the world, we have a DW Cafe Press store where you can pick up shirts, mugs and other fun items with the DistroWatch brand on them.
6 • 4 out of 5 new "releases" last week *buntu based!?!? (by Chris on 2010-09-06 13:08:00 GMT from United States)
I really, really think Distrowatch needs to fold all of the Ubuntu based "distributions" in under Ubuntu's umbrella instead of letting them stand as independent distributions. I've noticed, recently, that a lot of so called new distributions are really just Ubuntu re-spins (not to be confused with true forks of Ubuntu, like Linux Mint.) Last week, 4 out of the 5 new distribution releases are really just Ubuntu re-spins. Come on Distrowatch! Let's get real, shall we?
7 • Distrowatch Swag? (by Jim on 2010-09-06 13:18:47 GMT from United States)
Looks like all women's stuff. No kidding, I think I saw two shirts for men, both ridiculously priced "organic".
8 • Re: 4 out of 5 new "releases" (by Toolz on 2010-09-06 13:49:20 GMT from India)
Mint is just a re-spin too. You definitely can't consider it a fork.
9 • Astrumi and on (by Tom on 2010-09-06 13:56:20 GMT from United Kingdom)
The "start button" menu from anywhere using a simple mouse-click is reminiscent of a couple of other tiny distros such as AntiX. Has anyone compared? Is AntiX still available anywhere or is it still hidden away in the Mempsi site or somewhere else difficult to find?
I really like the minimised consoles showing up especially if i could move them to one of the other desktops/workspaces if they got in the way. Usually i minimise to get rid of stuff but this feature could really help work-flow imo.
"As with all Slackware-based systems, my Intel wireless card was not picked up", presumably Wolvix 1.1.0 is not included in this sweeping but understandable generalisation? Of course the 1.1.0s are too old to be talked about now even tho they seem acively maintained and the newer ones are still beta so obviously we can\'t talk about them either. However, i still find the 1.1.0s are excellent at hardware detection rivalling knoppix and others that have hardware dertection as a main USP.
Ubuntu is the number 1 most popular in terms of hits and in terms of mainstream articles even appearing in mainstream press quite often now. It is inevitable that spin-offs will grow perhaps to rival even Puppy.
Good luck and regards from Tom :)
10 • Re: 4 out of 5 new "releases" (by Toolz) (by Chris on 2010-09-06 14:15:58 GMT from United States)
No, actually Linux Mint really is a fork of Ubuntu. It forked way back at Edgy Eft (6.10.) The AMD64 version forked at a later version, but make no mistake, Mint is a fork in spite of its compatibility with the latest Ubuntu repositories. Linux Mint develops many of its own system tools and utilities. It has its own wifi tool, its own package manager and many of its own system configuration tools. I'm not a Mint user by the way, but I used to use in regularly, which is why I know the history of its development.
11 • Austrumi: My experience (by Caitlyn Martin on 2010-09-06 14:35:50 GMT from United States)
I've played with Austrumi on and off for years. First, hardware support has always been limited and, as noted in comment #3, it has never been meant for older machines and does not support legacy hardware well. It never worked on my old Toshiba laptop, for example, as in it would not even boot.
I have been able to get it to run as an ordinary user with X (I have not tried the latest version) so I haven been able to get it to work with reasonable security. The autologin with root is really unacceptable to me as we discussed last week.
In general, I've always found something broken in the distro somewhere, though what is broken changes from release to release. I always come away feeling Austrumi is promising but incomplete or in need of further work. After so many years and so many versions I have come to the conclusion that it will never be finished.
12 • Right click on desktop for application menu (by Felix Pleșoianu on 2010-09-06 15:04:19 GMT from Romania)
To whom it may concern, the vast majority of window managers open the application menu at a right-click on the desktop. That has been true since just about forever. Yeah, yeah, I'm nitpicking. But seriously, the Linux desktop doesn't end at Gnome and KDE. :)
13 • Austrumi and pacakge management (by Josh on 2010-09-06 16:35:06 GMT from United States)
Good review this week. This is one distro that I am now quite interested in taking a look at. I may have some quirks, but it sounds promising.
@11: "In general, I've always found something broken in the distro somewhere, ...."
I could say this about many distros I've tried. Most distros will never be finished fully, just like those other OS's on the market. But, I guess thats a good thing, since if it was finished there may not be need for innovation as often as its seen.
One final note, reading the opensuse part; "...distribution's package manager which promises to be able to download bits and pieces simultaneously from several servers". This sounds like limewire or a bit torrent client. I wonder if anyone has ever thought of combining a torrent client and a package manager. If the download link is lost, the torrent client usually can resume with no problem, and there may be a speed boost, if any at all. Either way, its a nice thought.
Thanks for the DDW, its been an enjoyable one.
14 • What I hate about distros... (by uz64 on 2010-09-06 16:57:27 GMT from United States)
They always seem to come out with some very, very attractive themes... openSUSE 10.1 and the current 11.3 for example, and then as soon as the next version comes along... it's replaced. Sometimes with something equally or almost as good, sometimes with something nice, but not near as good. sidux has a history of some very pretty themes as well, IMO. Why can't they just stick with something for a couple versions if they can manage to come up with something so good? It seems all the major distros suffer from this.
The desktop wallpaper is simple to change, and some distros might put past versions' desktop backgrounds in a package in their repository, but the bootloader, boot, desktop manager, and desktop environment splash screens aren't so easy.
15 • Austrumi (by Kristaps on 2010-09-06 17:09:03 GMT from Latvia)
I am really happy to see that this DistroWatch Weekly looks at distribution, which comes from my country! I also did not expect such positive feedback from commentators. Thank You! :)
However, the overwhelming majority of my countrymen are using Ubuntu or LinuxMint. This is probably because Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distribution in the world and the community, documentation and description is more complete than in the case of Austrumi (in translation from Latvian: "East").
Also thank You for review Jesse! :)
16 • PC-BSD (by Ron on 2010-09-06 17:47:14 GMT from United States)
I have always liked PC-BSD. I just never liked their forums which, the last time I used them, where not that active. So I went to the Free-BSD forum to ask the same questions. WOW. Don't do that. The most common answer I got when I did that was "PC-BSD is not Free-BSD." Which is true but come on, lol. So I just gave up on it for now. I am sure the PC-BSD forum will get better in the future.
17 • @9 antiX home page (by Paul on 2010-09-06 17:52:38 GMT from United States)
I had trouble finding antiX today to get the latest. I googled and found it at
I put it on an old PII Gateway E4200 with 386 Meg. I like the monitor outputs that Anticapitalista included. Except, they were darker in past versions. Is there anyway to make them easier to see?
18 • antiX development (by anticapitalista on 2010-09-06 18:54:39 GMT from Greece)
antiX is alive and well and the latest released version antiX-M8.5 was upgraded on 28 July 2010.
Find it here:
Though it is in the Testing folder, users should use it rather than the antiX-M8.5 released in April 2010 as bugs found have been squashed.
There is also an antiX-core (<100MB) available for Testers to try out. This has a basic cli installer. antiX-core is akin to Debian's net-install iso. It only includes the basics (plus a liitle bit more ;) )
antiX forum is here:
19 • buftracker, google (by foobar on 2010-09-06 19:11:37 GMT from Poland)
I hate developers repeating the mantra: "google it". It's like saying: our software is ok, it's just you being too stupid.
20 • @19 googling or searching a forum (by Brock Landers on 2010-09-06 19:29:38 GMT from United States)
That is because developers get tired of answering the same question over and over because a user is too damn lazy to search a forum or google it.
21 • Finding information (by Jesse on 2010-09-06 20:33:19 GMT from Canada)
>> "That is because developers get tired of answering the same question over and over because a user is too damn lazy to search a forum or Google it."
Developers do get tired of answering the same question time and again, but if that's the case they should let someone else answer. (Or write proper documentation.) If a developer or support person can take the time to write out a forum response telling someone to Google it or search the forum, they could just have easily spent that time either writing out an answer or providing a link. Taking the time to respond with, "Google it yourself, it's been asked before" not only isn't helpful, but it makes the developer/support person come across as a jerk.
On a completely different note, how do people here feel about the format of this week's question and answer section? Do you like having questions supplied by the readers, or do you prefer the standard format?
22 • Linux Mint is not a respin. (by Anonymous on 2010-09-06 20:40:59 GMT from Moldova, Republic of)
Linux Mint is not a respin of Ubuntu, it is a full project with its own goals.
They don't plan to use Ubuntu only as there base, but there is also a work on creating a better Debian based distribution than Ubuntu, called LMDE- linux mint debian edition, which will be as easy as ubuntu based, but much faster and easier to update.
23 • #13: Clarification (by Caitlyn Martin on 2010-09-06 20:46:35 GMT from United States)
Josh, you are quite right, of course. A distro is never truly finished. I clearly didn't explain what I meant. Let me try again.
Better distros seem like they are ready for prime time. They work as expected most of the time and usually don't have major show-stopping bugs. When they do it's news. I've always found Austrumi buggy, or else things didn't work the way I would expect. A good example Jesse found was the installer that doesn't let you know what it's doing or that it is even working. That isn't a bug per se but it is strange and, IMHO, poor design.
Austrumi always is small and fast. It always has elements I really like. It always looks so very promising. It also always fails, at least for me, to deliver a satisfactory computing experience. It is always tantalizingly close, as in close enough to make me look again later.
24 • antix-core (by Saleem Khan on 2010-09-06 20:53:36 GMT from Pakistan)
Ref@ 18 antiX-core is great, I am enjoying the KDE4 installed with it .
More about antix is available at
25 • Great donation selections! (by Verndog on 2010-09-06 22:00:10 GMT from United States)
Before I even read this weeks DWW, I want to thank you for selecting Clonezilla and Xiph.Org. Great, great products both!
26 • @21 (by Brandon Sniadajewski on 2010-09-06 23:31:29 GMT from United States)
A good way is to have a little of both, with more questions coming from the readers. It allows us, the readers, a chance to ask questions that may not have been thought of.
27 • DWW (by Landor on 2010-09-07 00:03:57 GMT from Canada)
I have to echo Verndog's comment. Thank you to all the parties involved in the donation to two great projects, CloneZilla and Xiph.Org. They're more than deserving.
Also, thank you for representing our questions, one of which was mine :), in the interview the Dru Lavigne.
On the news. I've been working on a project with my netbook and testing different configurations. I'm using Gentoo both on the netbook and under VirtualBox, but to test out different options/configurations quickly I've been using Debian Squeeze under VirtualBox as well. I first tried their Alpha installer for the netinstal and had a problem, then switched to a daily build. It would seem at least from that Squeeze may have a bit more work.
Regarding the PHD ranking here. Ladislav, is it possible to (I looked for a way briefly) see just one specific distribution's ranking across all the dates available, or even have that placed on the distribution's page? Similar to what you get when you look at the "more statistics" link at the bottom of the ranking on the main page, but as I said, only for one specific distribution. Sorry if I'm creating even more work for you somehow. :)
A great DWW again this week!
Keep your stick on the ice...
28 • @21 (by RS on 2010-09-07 01:09:08 GMT from United States)
"Or write proper documentation."
LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Never seen any!
29 • Jesse- the aborted review? (by captain obvious on 2010-09-07 02:24:42 GMT from United States)
I'd love to see a smackdown review of some garbage distro. If you took the time to download and burn the iso, why not share your views? You don't have to wax poetic about every distro you test-drive... Dig that turd back out and smear it on the wall here.
30 • #27: PHD? (by Caitlyn Martin on 2010-09-07 02:26:40 GMT from United States)
Landor wrote: Regarding the PHD ranking here.
PHD? Is that "Piled Higher and Deeper"? Are you trying to say we have a lot of well educated people here? Just asking...
31 • #29: The problem with "aborted reviews" (by Caitlyn Martin on 2010-09-07 02:30:31 GMT from United States)
There is a price to be paid for writing a less than positive review. The fans of that distro can get downright nasty at times. I did post a couple of well deserved negative reviews based on my experience. The openSUSE 11.2 review immediately comes to mind. I got nothing but grief for writing it. You have to have a very thick skin, be ready to get lots and lots of hate back, and have a high pain tolerance to write one.
32 • @14: I agree about themes (by Dan on 2010-09-07 02:43:18 GMT from United States)
If one of the distros would pick a theme and stick with it a year or two, they would develop more of an identity with users. Microsoft and Apple are both well aware of this. They make changes every 2-3 years, and usually the changes are just minor tweaks. The various Linux distros do nearly complete makeovers every 6-8 months. It's wasted effort, and makes the distro seem more in flux and not established.
33 • openSUSE 11.2 review? (by M. Edward (Ed) Borasky on 2010-09-07 03:30:22 GMT from United States)
Caitlyn, what was the price you paid for your openSUSE 11.2 review? I'm an openSUSE fan, but I would *never* trash a reviewer who wrote a negative review.
I'm still on openSUSE, BTW - running 11.3. I didn't see a lot of major change from 11.2 to 11.3, though. Both of them seem to be well-polished.
34 • @ 31 Thick Skin (by captain obvious on 2010-09-07 03:33:49 GMT from United States)
"Journalism" shouldn't involve the weak. Seriously though. If some clown releases a distro which accomplishes nothing they set forth to do, who is the victim? The newbie who installed it because no counterpoint to their bs was offered, most likely. People using remastersys to tweak ubuntu and release a "new distro" should be dismissed summarily. I see nothing wrong with informing the community about such poseurs. No one knows me, I'll write a scathing review and sleep just fine. Fanbois be damned. Maybe a new standard needs to be put in place for a distro to qualify as such. I propose anyone using remastering tools be denied entry to the list of active distros.
35 • #33 review (by Caitlyn Martin on 2010-09-07 04:17:04 GMT from United States)
@Ed: openSUSE 11.2 was touted by Novell as offering much improved netbook support. In the nearly one year I've owned this HP Mini 110 it is the only distro that has utterly failed to run properly on it. The issues on the other laptop I tried were easily overcome but they shouldn't have been there in the first place. Hopefully 11.3 sorted things out. I haven't tried it yet because I've been really happy with other distros on the little machine.
36 • interview (by x on 2010-09-07 04:56:37 GMT from United States)
Dru Lavigne is and has always been a valuable resource of information. Although this interview mainly focused on PC-BSD, her knowledge of unix-like operating systems and associated issues, coupled with her ability to effectively communicate make her an invaluable resource. I would encourage the experienced and novice to read some of her works. She is a contributor and educator and promoter of open source software.
My thanks to both the interviewee and interviewer for making this available to Distrowatch followers.
37 • RE: 30 (by Landor on 2010-09-07 05:33:32 GMT from Canada)
As I said yesterday, I even enjoy some of my mistakes, today is one of them. :)
I'd certainly agree with that. There's definitely more than a fair share of well educated people here. :) Education as I like to always use this term, is subjective. For the majority there's always something learned that's brought to the table. :)
Let's see what else I can type incorrectly this week. :)
Keep your stick on the ice...
38 • Re: User-submitted questions (by eco2geek on 2010-09-07 06:09:20 GMT from United States)
@21: It was interesting to have reader-submitted questions answered. Thanks for asking, and keep up the good work.
(Re: Austrumi and autologin: It's got an autologin configuration tool in the settings menu, although I didn't install and try it. One thing that took me about 3 times to get right was using the "lang_en" cheatcode. I kept typing in "lang_us" and ending up with the UI in Latvian. Sigh.)
39 • re 4 out of five distros.... (by mikkh on 2010-09-07 09:31:33 GMT from United Kingdom)
Yes it's getting very silly now
I quickly scan any new release announcement to see if the dreaded U word is there
If it is, I don't even bother reading it fully - there's no point
And do we really need to know about Alpha releases on the main announcement section? It's just pure hype and very annoying to read about 4 or 5 alpha releases of Ubuntu when other distros with final or near final releases get reduced to a link in the recently released section and don't get mentioned at all in the main section.
Even the die hard 'fanbois' don't download every alpha release surely?
I don't even want to know about betas personally and think the main window should be reserved for release candidate and final releases only
Do I hate Ubuntu? No, I just don't think it's anything special compared to other Debian clones like Mepis or Parsix
Ubuntu's only claim to fame IMO is the 'wubi' installer, which is fantastic for Linux newcomers and should be adopted by every distro. Are Ubuntu deliberately blocking other distros using it - this is open source right?
40 • @39 'wubi' installer (by DavidEF on 2010-09-07 11:26:14 GMT from United States)
Open source? Yes! Actually, it was developed by some entity 'other than' Ubuntu. I remember when you had to download it separately to use it. But, after all, it WAS developed for the expressed purpose of installing Ubuntu from inside a running Windows environment.
I think there are actually other tools that are available in some other distros that do something similar. In fact, if memory serves me right, WUBI wasn't even the first. But, since Ubuntu is the most popular Linux, it stands to reason that WUBI will also be the most heard-of tool to perform this work.
Maybe someone else can remember the actual names of the other programs or the distros that use them. However, I do agree that distros that don't yet use a tool like WUBI should adapt it and use it.
41 • Real Distros (by Cuda on 2010-09-07 11:53:02 GMT from Canada)
Ladislav woudn't have much of a website and wouldn't get too much advertising income if all the derivatives and clones were removed! At least he has a "Based on:" label on each distros dedicated page.
Most people subscribe to the "Bigger is Better" philosophy - "OMG, Ponies!! There's 1,000 Linux distributions!!!!". Remember the gOS PC sold at Walmart was a mini-itx board inside a full tower case for the same reasoning.
42 • Dirt review (by Jesse on 2010-09-07 12:17:29 GMT from Canada)
"I'd love to see a smackdown review of some garbage distro. If you took the time to download and burn the iso, why not share your views? You don't have to wax poetic about every distro you test-drive... Dig that turd back out and smear it on the wall here."
There are days I'm tempted to do just that. Every so often I find a distro which trips all over itself and results in time wasted. But I don't plan on doing any smackdown reviews. (Though I do get an odd number of requests for them.) I have two reasons for this.
1. A smackdown review is likely to be short. Maybe a page long. If it really does crash and burn there isn't much to write about. How many ways can I write "It doesn't work"?
2. I try to give projects a fair shake. That means if I experiment with something and it mostly works, I'll review it, but if it doesn't work at all.... Well, it could be a bad product or it could be a hardware issue. Or I'm over-looking something, etc... If a project doesn't work on my machines at all I can't do a real review on it. It would just be trash talking.
Which makes me wonder why so many people seem to want to read me rip a distro a new one? Is there really that much anger and bitterness toward developers that you'd want to see me drag their names through the mud just because their creative work didn't mesh with me or my hardware? Why would I want to smear someone's pet project?
I believe there is a fine line between honestly pointing out a project's flaws and just being mean for the sake of.... ego? And I try to stray toward the former.
43 • Mint Debian !!! (by m1k on 2010-09-07 13:00:52 GMT from Italy)
After Sidux departed,finally a good news
I think that will be my new distro!!
VERY GOOD !!!
44 • antiX (by onmypath on 2010-09-07 13:34:15 GMT from Canada)
@17 Edit the default_color line in ~/.conkyrc - I changed to MintCream which gives a good contrast with the background in antiX 8.5. This is (IMO) a superb distro which should receive more acclaim - thanks anti. This is my first post - apologies for any errors.
45 • Mint Debian... (by coman norbert on 2010-09-07 14:22:04 GMT from Romania)
It is realy fast!!!
This release is absolutely fantastic... good job Clem.
46 • Mint Debian (by Henning on 2010-09-07 14:39:09 GMT from Denmark)
Right now I am running it from a usb-stick on my 10 inch Compaq Mini netbook.
It does feel quite fast, even running in live mode from the usb stick.
The release announcement says that you should expect it to be rough and not quite as user friendly as Ubuntu based versions of Mint.
Well, I havent seen anything rough and unfriendly yet.
Flash works out of the box, as far as I can see it has most of the usual applications available by default, and there is Synaptic Package Manager if you want to install more.
47 • Ref 42 - Dirt Review (by dialup on 2010-09-07 16:35:53 GMT from United States)
There aren't that many good, thorough distro reviewers out there. If those objective reviewers don't mention distributions that have significant problems, that's a disservice to readers. I'm not suggesting a full review eviscerating a project. Rather, something like a short other-distros-tried final section that gives positives/negatives.
48 • LinuxMint Debian (by GustavoRybarczyk on 2010-09-07 16:36:06 GMT from Brazil)
Announcement of the Year!!
49 • 31 • "aborted reviews" by Caitlyn Martin and Polls (by Verndog on 2010-09-07 16:39:03 GMT from United States)
I wish DW had a way to have polls, so we could see more user response. I remember that review of suse and all the comments.
As I see it, those hate comments would be negated by having more "hidden" users selecting a poll.
Its much easier to select yea, nay, good or bad on a poll than to write a worded comment. And to prevent multiple votes, make it based on the users IP address coming in.
50 • Austrumi download (by phil on 2010-09-07 16:42:42 GMT from Canada)
I tried to download Austrumi 2.1.6 from their web site. The only link I found for the iso file is a ftp server that require a login/password. I tried various combinations of "Anonymous" and Austrumi, to no avail. I probably missed something somewhere. Could anyone tell me how to download?
51 • @41 • Real Distros (by Cuda on 2010-09-07 16:46:03 GMT from Canada)
After rereading my comment, I didn't mean to offend Ladislav or any readers. There is a use for all the myriads of distros and Distrowatch faithfully organizes, categorizes and reports on them and allows us to compare and make a choice for ourselves. I personally don't understand why anyone would choose Ubuntu or Mint over Debian for example, but that's just me. But after reading some of the excited comments about "Mintian", I don't really want to take the fun away from those that made the comments.
I think some of the U's and M's would really be surprised at how easy things are in the big D. It's almost boring sometimes, when will something break...???
52 • Questions/Developers and PCBSD (by rec9140 on 2010-09-07 16:49:34 GMT from United States)
"That is because developers get tired of answering the same question over and over because a user is too damn lazy to search a forum or google it."
Thats well TOO BAD.. That comes WITH THE TERRITORY! GET OVER IT! Support your software or keep it to your self!
This is one thing I do not tolerate on my forums and mailing lists. While not related to software directly the nature of this sector is cyclical and the same Q's tend to turn up over and over... Some one either chooses to answer or not... BUT...
"Search,RTFM, GISYF" etc.. BS is NOT TOLERATED. You will get banned and removed quicker than you posted that crap. If you have the time to post that then you have the time to post a polite and HELPFUL response... OR DON'T POST!
As for the PCBSD... is this not the same bunch of slimeballs that had a temper tantrum with some one trying to help their distro improve??? Why not ask that Q.? ? ? ? I want hard hitting no punches pulled reporting.. NOT a schmooze fest...
53 • 49 • 31 • "aborted reviews" by Caitlyn Martin and Polls by Verndog (by Cuda on 2010-09-07 16:53:11 GMT from Canada)
"I wish DW had a way to have polls, so we could see more user response."
I think it would be good to have thumbs-up/thumbs-down counters beside each comment. Many news sites use this feature. An easy way for the reviewers to gauge public opinion from the silent majority. And also for commenters to get a glimpse at how their comments are taken - maybe a few of the regulars would change their tone if they knew.
54 • Mint Debian Yay! (by fernbap on 2010-09-07 17:14:28 GMT from Portugal)
"I personally don't understand why anyone would choose Ubuntu or Mint over Debian for example, but that's just me. But after reading some of the excited comments about "Mintian", I don't really want to take the fun away from those that made the comments."
I personally don't understand why anyone would buy pre-made salads in the supermarkets, if they can buy the legumes themselves and then manufacture the salad at home, using exactly the legumes you want.
Am i making my point clear enough? Most of the public buy pre-made salads. Most of the public don't want to spend their time in the kitchen.
And yes, you have an enormous variety of pre-made salads to chose from.
55 • Mint Debian (by GustavoRybarczyk on 2010-09-07 17:21:58 GMT from Brazil)
The reason is simple: the only flaw Mint has (had) is being based on Ubuntu.
56 • @54 • Mint Debian Yay! (by fernbap (by Cuda on 2010-09-07 17:25:20 GMT from Canada)
Do you have any research to show that most of the public buys pre-made salads?
I think we can agree we're dipping into major marketing territory here. There will be certain market segments who prefer to buy pre-made salads because they don't have the time to make one from scratch, can't toss, or have a kitchen phobia for example. And vice versa.
Funnily, I would expect the people who buy pre-made salads would do so in order to have more time to tinker with their favourite distro.
Debian allows me to toss my own salad. :-)
57 • Questions (by Jesse on 2010-09-07 17:35:24 GMT from Canada)
1. I find it difficult to take seriously your insistence on keeping a civil forum with that much aggressive ranting and personal attacks in your post. For example...
2. "As for the PCBSD... is this not the same bunch of slimeballs that had a temper tantrum with some one trying to help their distro improve???"
You're probably thinking of the OpenBSD vs GNOBSD from several months ago(?) I did have an interview with one of the OpenBSD developers earlier in the year and we touched on that topic.
3. "Why not ask that Q.? ? ? ? I want hard hitting no punches pulled reporting.. NOT a schmooze fest..."
In the Q&A section this week, all the questions were supplied by the readers. If you wanted to see a no-punches question, then you should have submitted one.
58 • 56 • @54 • Mint Debian Yay! (by fernbap on 2010-09-07 17:39:44 GMT from Portugal)
"I think we can agree we're dipping into major marketing territory here."
Of course! But that is the whole point of the "Linux on the desktop" concept. You have to cater to the correct target public, and that is in what Linux has failed so far in order to make the Linux Desktop popular and easily accepted by the Destop target public.
DWW commenters are biased by nature, because DW is not ment for the general public in the first place. Don't expect the general opinion expressed in this comments section to represent the opinion of the majority of the public. That's the main reason why so many of the commenters consider the hit rankings here as meaningless, because it doesn't express their own views on how they think things should be.
Personally, i usually buy a pre-made salad and then improve on it, adding my "personal touch". Saves a lot of time and you can also express yourself.
59 • Austrumi so far... (by Josh on 2010-09-07 17:58:10 GMT from United States)
@23: Yea, I understand that more now than when I read your statement. Thanks for the clarification. I was more just making a statement than anything else though. Though, I fully agree with your last statement Caitlyn.
Though Austrumi isn't so far ready, my time with it so far has really intrigued me with some of its features, especially the left click desktop menu and the minimize to icon. Mouse movement across the screen with just those 2 abilities was cut considerably. No going to corner or bottom of the screen for different things all the time. Definitely not ready for prime time, but very promising.
60 • Ubuntu netbook interfac (by Barista Uno on 2010-09-07 18:21:26 GMT from Philippines)
The Ubuntu 10.10 netbook UI looks great. Not too much razzle and dazzle like the ones for Meego and Jolicloud.
61 • Linux Mint LXDE Perfect OS for Netbook (by Linux My Passion on 2010-09-07 18:25:29 GMT from India)
Its my 3rd distro of LXDE that I tested others were OpenSuse's LXDE and Mandriva's LXDE. I felt Opensuse rocks in all department but for novice user Mint and Mandriva is best as they provide free codecs. Internet through GSM 2G/3G enabled phone using Mint and Suse is Awesome while Mandriva fails .......
Read the full review below
62 • Linux Mint Debian (by tdockery97 on 2010-09-07 19:09:05 GMT from United States)
On the surface of your announcement, you make it sound as if LMDE is replacing the Ubuntu-based editions. LMDE is in addition to, not in place of Mint Main.
63 • Shotwell replacing F-Spot (by Luke on 2010-09-07 19:12:39 GMT from United States)
This is a great move in my opinion, as F-Spot is written in Mono and Shotwell in Vala. All other things being equal Shotwell should be significantly faster, and as a bonus it reduces Ubuntu's dependence on Mono.
Yorba's other projects look promising as well. They're completely focused on Shotwell at the moment but it'll be interesting to see what they do with Lombard, their video editor.
64 • your saying (by DAve on 2010-09-07 19:46:03 GMT from United States)
@56 Debian allows me to toss my own salad. :-)
65 • confused (by ray carter on 2010-09-07 20:47:38 GMT from United States)
I'm really confused. When I go to the 'full statistics' page which, I guess, lists all the active distributions, I find nine different variants of Ubuntu, but I only find one Mint. I would think I should either find at leat five Mint variants or only one ubuntu if things are consistent at all!
66 • Linux Desktop Market Share: Debunking the 1% Myth (by Caitlyn Martin on 2010-09-07 21:00:12 GMT from United States)
Here is this week's exercise in shameless self-promotion :) I have a new article for O'Reilly Broadcast on Linux desktop market share with lots of links to sources. Please visit: http://broadcast.oreilly.com/2010/09/debunking-the-1-myth.html
67 • RE: 65 confused (by ladislav on 2010-09-07 22:20:03 GMT from Taiwan)
We've discussed this many times before, but here are the reasons again:
1. Firstly, most of the official Ubuntu sub-projects (Kubuntu, Xubuntu, etc.) started out as community projects before being absorbed into Ubuntu. As such, they were added to the DistroWatch database before they became part of the Ubuntu family of projetcs. It just doesn't feel right to remove them now.
2. Secondly, if a project has its own web site and domain, it is considered a separate distro. If it doesn't, it is considered an edition of a distro. Hence Kubuntu is a distro in its own right, while Linux Mint "Debian" is just an edition of LInux Mint.
I am not saying that the above is the "correct" rule for categorising distributions, but that's how things are here at the moment. But no matter how we organise the projects, there will always be readers saying that our way is incorrect and we should use a different method. You just can't please everybody...
68 • Reviews/Interviews (by Landor on 2010-09-07 23:57:10 GMT from Canada)
I'm only one voice out of many here but I prefer the approach that we've seen DistroWatch Weekly maintain for as long as I've been reading here, objectivity with respect and decency.
I personally see no reason to focus on negativity when they key behind all of this has always been community.
The few times there have been anything here even remotely negative it has only fostered that kind of response in kind.
Keep your stick on the ice...
69 • Austrumi download and reviews (by Jesse on 2010-09-08 00:50:25 GMT from Canada)
In response to post 50, looking for the Austrumi download, I just went to their main website and clicked the Download link on the right-hand side of the page. it links directly to an ISO file. I didn't need any username/password to download.
70 • Lightning 1.01.B With Thunderbird 3.1.2 (by Darren Mccormac on 2010-09-08 02:30:53 GMT from Australia)
Just a quick question
I Have trying to get PBI Version of Thunderbird 3.1.2. to work with the included version of Lightning Calendar (1.01B) to Play nicely with each other :-(
Any ideas would be greatly welcome.
71 • RE: 70 (by Landor on 2010-09-08 04:43:28 GMT from Canada)
I just did a quick search and found a person that installed Thunderbird on Ubuntu then tried to install the plugin directly from Mozilla and it didn't work. They then installed it via Ubuntu's repositories and it functioned properly. I know this is PC-BSD we're discussing, but do they have the plugin as a PBI? If they don't, maybe you can request a PBI get built for it and try it out that way.
Hope that helps you somehow.
Keep your stick on the ice..
72 • #68: Negative reviews (by Caitlyn Martin on 2010-09-08 05:17:42 GMT from United States)
I can't speak for any other writer but I know that I never have set out to write a negative review. Based on my previous experience with SUSE I really expected to write something truly positive. It just didn't work out that way. The same was true for my review of Absolute Linux, the only other negative one I did for DWW. Some people I really respect had highly recommended the distro. In both of those cases I believe I hit one bad release from what are otherwise perfectly good distributions. Even the best distros have a bad release now and again if they last for any length of time.
To me what is important in any review is honesty. I am going to report my experiences, both good and bad, as accurately as I can. The net result, as you'd expect, is that most of my reviews are mixed. There is no perfect distro. There are very few that are truly awful. Almost all are somewhere in between. The trick is to highlight what is important to readers, present things fairly, and let people make up their own minds. That's what I try to do. Do I succeed? Not always. I am human after all despite rumors to the contrary :)
73 • The new Mint Debian (by Chris H on 2010-09-08 05:20:44 GMT from United States)
Sorry, I can't agree with you all, that the new Mint is great.
The installer got the value of 'utc' wrong in /etc/default/rcS, screwing up the time.
Sidux had a problem with this also; there you set your time zone on the boot screen.
btw, my time zone is America/Los_Angeles.
Also, the fstab is screwed up.
The uuid of the swap file is wrong.
The root directory of mint is just given, like /dev/sda5,
instead of UUID=12345678...
imho, the new Mint Debian has a lot of rough edges.
74 • General Comment (by x on 2010-09-08 06:45:39 GMT from United States)
Years ago, I was searching for information about the capabilities of various operating systems. This was, and still is a major undertaking. One of things I discovered was Distrowatch's static page. While the information was very limited and only covered a handful of Linux distributions, it was the best available from a neutral viewpoint. It has grown considerably since then and is, with the exception of the rankings and comments, the only non-biased resource for information on open source operating systems.
The comment section sometimes turns in to a bash the competition and promote a particular product, without providing any real support for the statements. It is very easy to criticize others in a demeaning manner.
I am constantly seeing demands for features that actually take considerable time and effort to incorporate into any operating system. No effort or time is spent on the coding and documentation by the requester, just the demand and then the anger at being rejected. Most of these 'requests' do not rank very high on the massive list of priorities of most of the developers.
I do think the instructions for configuration and installation need to be revamped so new users are better able to handle this themselves. This is the main reason reviewers place so much emphasis on how easy a distribution is to install and not much time spent reporting the other aspects of the system. (It would probably take a full year to thoroughly review all aspects of any operating system)
Personally, I am glad to see so many distributions and reviews of the lesser known. Small ones sometimes influence larger ones, certainly the larger ones influence the smaller distributions. The inclusion of the BSD's is important, because a BSD operating system was the first complete open source project. It is a different approach, non the less an important part. The perceived weakness of the BSD style license helped solidify the acceptance of the GPL. Part of freedom is a choice of license options, something certain entities would like to take away.
I am deeply appreciative of the effort Ladislav and others make to present this unique and useful website. Anyone who posts a comment should also be grateful that Ladislav allows us as much freedom and latitude as he does, very few sites are as accommodating.
75 • Re: 49 • 31 • "aborted reviews" ... and Polls (by DG on 2010-09-08 07:15:10 GMT from Netherlands)
""" I wish DW had a way to have polls, so we could see more user response. """
I don't know how this could be implemented, but it would be really useful if there
were some way to add a series of "gizmos" at the bottom of each review. There
would be one "gizmo" for graphics card, one for network card, wireless, etc. Each
"gizmo" would allow the user to select specific hardware from a list, or add other[*],
and then to rate the installation experience for that hardware (works out of the box,
works after manual configuration, only works with major hacking, doesn't work at all).
This would allow statistics for how well that distro performs with different hardware.
And finally there would be a simple "rate this distro" option. [1 IP address - 1 vote]
[*] "other" hardware would be verified by a moderator and added to the list
76 • from the austrumi 2.1.7 desktop - via wireless (by gnomic on 2010-09-08 07:17:55 GMT from New Zealand)
"As with all Slackware-based systems my Intel wireless card was not picked up." Hmmm, this seems a bit on the sweeping side. I had no trouble using wireless on Salix for example using a couple of ThinkPads with Intel wireless. As for austrumi, /lib/firmware has the necessary for a number of Intel wifi chips (2100,2200,3945,4965,5000,5100,5150,6000 also rt2860/70). There doesn't appear to be a gui utility for connecting, but using iwconfig to associate with an open access point and then dhcpcd to get an ip address worked here.
I fear austrumi doesn't really qualify as a distro, it'š a bit too quirky and unfinished for that, I'd class it as a project. Got it to play a VCD (remember them?) with MPlayer but not a commercial DVD, no dvdcss. Nor an audio CD. There is also the oddity around trying to mount a USB stick where /dev/sdb1 does not exist. dmesg shows the device has been recognised but it can't be mounted. Never seen this before. All is OK with drives present at boot. There are a few keyboard aberrations as well,eg having to type the apostrophe twice to get it to appear on screen. It is pretty quick by live CD standards.
It does feature Chromium 7.0.499.0. Maybe one day this browser will be able to handle proxy settings like its fully-grown brethren.
77 • mint debian (by m1k on 2010-09-08 08:05:41 GMT from Italy)
never seen before a system so fast...
78 • @21 (by jake on 2010-09-08 08:53:25 GMT from United States)
"Developers do get tired of answering the same question time and again, but if that's the case they should let someone else answer."
If the question's been asked & answered already in a public place (usually several times), why should it be re-answered? Shirley it'd be better to show the user how to find answers on their own? One proper way of showing the user how to find the answer is "metacrawl it". The problem isn't "providing answers for users", rather it is "users not interested in learning how to find answers". Teach a wo/man to fish ...
"(Or write proper documentation.)"
That documentation already exists for FOSS, by definition. (Yeah, yeah, I know ... see "not interested in learning how to find answers", above.)
"If a developer or support person can take the time to write out a forum response telling someone to Google it or search the forum, they could just have easily spent that time either writing out an answer or providing a link. Taking the time to respond with, "Google it yourself, it's been asked before" not only isn't helpful, but it makes the developer/support person come across as a jerk."
If Mr/s Chowdertrowsers asking the question can't figure out how to dig up the information themselves, especially if they are capable of accessing, reading & comprehending DWW and other similar forums ... Well, again, all I can say is "teach a wo/man to fish". If they are incapable of fishing, let 'em starve ... I don't have time to feed them & theirs along with me & mine ... not unless they are willing to pay me, that is. You might see this as me coming off as a jerk ... I see it as me coming off as a businessman. They CAN get the info themselves, if they want to learn how. If they require my services, I will charge them for it. My time is worth real money.
"On a completely different note, how do people here feel about the format of this week's question and answer section? Do you like having questions supplied by the readers, or do you prefer the standard format?"
I see it as an overall positive ... if nothing else, it will give the interviewer input from both old-timers & newbies (all ignorable), while at the same time allowing the interviewer to choose the overall direction of the interview as finally published. Hopefully the old-timers will structure questions more to educate than to troll ... This could be a good resource for newbies, down the road.
79 • @78 (by Andy Axnot on 2010-09-08 12:39:50 GMT from United States)
Who you callin' Shirley? :-)
80 • RE:78 Where are you talking about? (by Eddie Wilson on 2010-09-08 14:37:16 GMT from United States)
Are you talking about charging people money for info on Free Support forums? You have a choice in not wasting your time in free support forums. Free support forums are not for businessmen. If it's paid support then you are getting paid for your aggravation. I do understand what you are saying and that sometimes it can get real irritating, but it would be better not to answer at all if we feel we have to be rude or come off as a jerk.
On documentation, you are correct when you say their is a lot of FLOSS documentation. Sometimes the documentation is very good. Sometimes the documentation is not complete, is outdated, is hard to find, and so on. Sometimes it's not a matter of being lazy so much as being frustrated you cannot find what you are looking for and asking a question in a forum seems to be the next logical step.
That's why most distro forums now have a Beginners Section. If beginners irritate a person then it's better to stay away from them.
81 • @80 (by fernbap on 2010-09-08 15:43:24 GMT from Portugal)
"but it would be better not to answer at all if we feel we have to be rude or come off as a jerk"
Truer words were never spoken.
82 • What constitutes a 'new' distro? (by Anthony Hall on 2010-09-08 16:31:39 GMT from United Kingdom)
I realise this might appear antagonistic but really its not my intention. There seems to be a lot of 'new releases' that are basically an existing distro with a different wallpaper and one or two apps removed / replaced from some repository or other.
Followed by a 'donate here' button.
Is there some criteria for passing something off as a new distro or can anyone chance their hand with a slight modification of an existing distro?
I'm not saying I could do better myself - I can't which is why I don't bother.
83 • ouch (by Anonymous on 2010-09-08 17:49:49 GMT from United States)
As the Luddite who asked the 'stupid' question I must say the pointing to specific forums was helpful, I mean at a certain point in distro hopping you just start tossing things aside instead of digging into things and giving the level of feedback you know you ought to. After posting the question I did find that the onboard card for my main machine had a known flaw that was addressed in linux by specific help from nvidia, though I doubt that BSD got any of that TLC ported to it. I'll try to bug the manufacturer about it a little, but I have to wonder if there are enough GeForce 6150 SE cards around for it to be worth fixing by the BSD folks themselves. I suppose I'll have to start asking these questions before I buy next time and not just accept the fact that it works with the OS that's preinstalled, or else be SOL again next time.
84 • @77 • mint debian (by meanpt on 2010-09-08 18:07:54 GMT from Portugal)
... sorry ... after some problems with the installer, a huge update with lots of warnings referring missing items, I didn't find it fast at all ... in fact. it's sluggish and even slower than some buntus derivatives I have installed (including he Gnome's UberStudent and the 10.04.01 itself) . Already deleted it. The good? Well, my belief they can do better than this :)
85 • Mint Debian (by fernbap on 2010-09-08 19:05:02 GMT from Portugal)
Definitely o rough edges yet to iron out.
Install went smoothly (See? That's not so hard to make a graphics installer from scratch, is it?). Grub detected my other OSes correctly.
Then updates (276 files to download omg!).
It works well, and at least on my machine it's considerably faster than Ubuntu.
I like it overall.
The main issues are with apps default configs. None of the 3 video players worked, wrong output devices in all of them.
Also, the volume applet in the panel assumed my output sound device was the hdmi interface in my video card. It works well after you correct it, but then defaults again to the wrong device in the next login.
You should always expect some issues in a first release, and i have confidence in Clem's work and believe all these issues will be sorted out quickly.
As this is a rolling release, i expect things to get well in the next weeks.
I like it overall, specially its performance.
86 • Mint Debian (by anticapitalista on 2010-09-08 20:11:00 GMT from Greece)
I tried it out as well and was surprised that they didn't upgrade the apps before releasing this as a stable release. Not a good move IMO.
Having said that, I much prefer it to any of the Mint Ubuntu versions. (I still hate that Mint menu though)
87 • Mint Debian, what is the difference with Mepis, Parsix (by Jan on 2010-09-08 20:55:11 GMT from Netherlands)
I have tried Mint Debian.
There are other fully Debian based distros, like Mepis and Parsix.
I tried Mepis some time ago. I think Mint Debian has more recent packages (Firefox in the most recent version) ?
Can anyone add more experiences to place Mint Debian between the established Debian-based distros?
88 • Mint Debian (by Sly on 2010-09-08 22:21:48 GMT from United States)
I haven't tried Mint Debian yet, but the move by Clem, if successful, would put Mint on par with Ubuntu. (both would be Debian based) The next logical evolution is for Mint to become an independent distro. Of course it to do that takes time and resources, but I think it's great!!!
89 • Re:80 (by jake on 2010-09-09 05:51:38 GMT from United States)
"Are you talking about charging people money for info on Free Support forums?"
No, of course not. (Where in mine, or the one I was replying to, was "Free Support" mentioned, BTW?) What I'm talking about is showing people how to find the answer for themselves (if it already exists), *without* providing the actual answer, or link to the answer. Spoon-feeding "how the world works" isn't exactly a good way to teach humans once they are old enough to be capable of rational thought. Remember, these people are (in theory) embracing the concept of FOSS, to the point of joining a forum to find answers.
On the other hand, I'll happily spoon-feed you if you want to pay me. I've made a pretty good living rolling out Slackware-based solutions at businesses & schools over the last dozen years or so ...
"On documentation, you are correct when you say their is a lot of FLOSS documentation."
ALL of FOSS is fully documented. That's the point of "open source" ... you can actually get the source code, and read it for yourself. It's not my fault if you can't read the source ... That's gap in your education, not mine.
"That's why most distro forums now have a Beginners Section."
Whole 'nuther kettle of worms ... those "most distros" that you speak of aren't trying to teach their new users how to use Linux, rather they are trying to teach the newbies their distro's way of doing things. Kinda like Redmond & Cupertino. And for the same reasons.
90 • @72 Human And Quite Lovely, Besides Brilliant! (by casanova on 2010-09-09 06:04:18 GMT from United States)
I`ve been seeing a lot of Caitlyn Martin around lately, from reviews here and the O`Reilly site with a very pretty picture included. I just installed VectorLinux and the credits mentioned a Caitlyn as a repo maintainer. Was that you, Ms. Martin? I must say the combination of intellect, beauty and knowledge gives me hope for our species.
91 • @90 • @72 Human And Quite Lovely, Besides Brilliant! (by meanpt on 2010-09-09 10:06:22 GMT from Portugal)
:) ... cof, cof ... is it telepathy, or what? ...
92 • Dint 9 (by zygmunt on 2010-09-09 11:38:32 GMT from United Kingdom)
UNetbootin using Mint 9 debian DVD iso gives a bootable USB pen drive. Live USB boots very speedily! Install unproblematic apart from GRUB boot loader which has no option to install it in the boot partition. On my 2 disk machine the order of the disks seems to change from distro to distro, so I didn't want to wreck my current boot loader. Have not found a chainloader to work yet on the mixed multiboot GRUB/GRUB2 distros installed. Guess it will have to be patched up using grub-setup from one of them after mounting the Dint 9 partition for access.
93 • 92 • Mint 9 Debian (by zygmunt (by meanpt on 2010-09-09 12:35:55 GMT from Portugal)
... more strangely, I did find the live session from the ISO runs faster (and better) than the installed version ... go figure ...
94 • RE:Didn't Mean To Offend (by Eddie Wilson on 2010-09-09 12:57:59 GMT from United States)
Sorry Jake I didn't mean to offend you. I just have different views than you do and I believe my views are correct. Source code is not "documentation" in my opinion, rolling out Slackware-based solutions is not teaching in my opinion, and I don't agree about the "most distros" statement you made. This is just the way I feel about things and of course these are just my opinions which carry no weight for anyone else. Even tho I may not agree I do respect yours and others opinions. There's no further need for debate. BTW I haven't needed spoon feeding since the late fifty's so I'll pass on that.:)
95 • #93 (by zygmunt on 2010-09-09 13:43:29 GMT from United Kingdom)
... memory faster than hard disk??? better??? don't know!!!
96 • @94 I wouldn't apologize (by Dan on 2010-09-09 15:32:13 GMT from United States)
People like Jake are what is keeping Linux confined to nerds. He's likely one of those guys who thinks only CS majors should use linux, and that normal people just dumb it down.
97 • @90 Human And Quite Lovely, Besides Brilliant! (by Mr. Martin on 2010-09-09 16:22:15 GMT from United States)
Comment deleted (off-topic).
98 • Mint9DEB (by capricornus on 2010-09-09 16:43:41 GMT from Belgium)
I liked Mint7 a lot, and Mint8-was-a-wait, but 9=mine. I run the 32 and 64 GNOME version. But DEB got the Sidux-feel: it runs faster than any before. I ran and run it on a Px2 cpu with Nvidia gc, enough memory and SATA disk, DualScreen (1440x900 x2), PowerLine direct VDSL, and I had no problems whatsoever. The 276 upgrades surprised me, that's true. But after the 10 more minutes, who cares? I think it is good for Mint and good for DEB to have a nicely made alternative, user friendly, newbie friendly.
But please, let someone do something about GRUB2: an annoyance IME.
99 • Caitlyn Martin (by casablanca on 2010-09-09 17:21:43 GMT from United States)
Comment deleted (off-topic).
100 • @94 & @96 (by jake on 2010-09-09 18:33:23 GMT from United States)
94: I'm not offended, far from it. Source *is* documentation, even if you (and many others) don't read that particular language. Me rolling out Slackware isn't intended to be teaching, it's intended to make me money. For more, see below ... Agree or disagree about my take on "most distros", but it's true. Same for Mac OS; most Mac users don't know anything about BSD, any more than most *buntu users know anything about Linux. They know how to use the GUI interface, but they don't have an understanding of how the underpinnings work. And please note that I don't think that's a bad thing!
96: Far from it. I've been settling people into UNIX[tm]-like desktops for around thirty years. Frankly, the more the merrier ... Since moving my Wife, my techno-phobe 70+ year old Mom, and techno-can't 95 year young Great Aunt onto variation of Slackware targeted specifically at their needs, support calls from them have dropped from 4 or 5 a month each, to virtually none. Now, instead of visiting Mom & Auntie several times a month to "fix my Windows, please", the Wife & I visit them on alternate weekends for tea. (They live about 100 miles from me, in opposite directions.) Much nicer.
Please note that ANY amount of documentation won't help most of the userbase. After nearly 40 years in computers and networking, I've come to the conclusion that people just aren't equipped to understand technical terms, even of the most basic nature. For an example, remember all those VCRs blinking "12:00" or "88:88" back in the '80s & '90s? Even today, I can't tell you how many times I reset the clocks in people's microwave ovens ... and you expect people to come up with usable documentation for something as complex as a typical Linux distro?
Shirley it would be far better to come up with a distro that just works. The *buntus and derivatives are doing just that, but they are doing it in a way that I don't like. I'm an old pre-BSD UNIX[tm] hack, and I don't like the shovelware/kitchen sink approach. Is my Slackware solution right for the masses? Probably not ... I bought the hardware & targeted the users in question's specific needs. Not everybody has an old-school hacker in their back pocket. Is there an answer somewhere in the middle? Probably. IMO, it'll probably act a lot like a Mac.
Why Slackware? Because my fingers know it ... I've been using it for over 15 years, since Mark Williams Company was obviously about to close down. Prior to that, I had been using Coherent (desktop) and BSD (servers) ...
 I had to plug a new USB printer into Mom's machine a few months ago, but to be fair I'd have had to do that under any OS ... She's afraid to plug anything into her computer by herself.
101 • RE:100 Any BSD's now on your desktops? (by Eddie on 2010-09-09 19:06:11 GMT from United States)
Have FreeBSD installed now and working well. I believe that PC-BSD is about the same. Are you currently using any BSD's in a desktop capacity?
102 • Re: 101 (by jake on 2010-09-09 19:40:00 GMT from United States)
No. I run BSD on the servers only. Most are headless, a couple have serial terminals, all can be controlled through a serial multiplexer from a dumb terminal in my office, or from a terrminal session running on my deskdop computers.
I have looked at the desktop BSDs recently, and all I can say is "about time, guys!". I will probably install a copy on a spare computer or three in my CopiousFreeTime[tm] ... I've always liked BSD, since before it was BSD :-)
103 • BSD (by David on 2010-09-09 19:53:28 GMT from United States)
I know you didn't ask me, but I use openBSD as my desktop. My desktop is a Toshiba laptop and everything works except for my TI Multi-media card reader. I don't use flash so this has not been a problem either. Wireless is solid using wpi0 and the firmware written by Damien Bergamini.
BSD in my opinion is far superior to Linux. And openBSD is by far the best BSD in my opinion. A lot of other distro's (linux) could learn a thing or two about proper documentation from the BSD world.
104 • Re: 103 BSD vs. Linux (by Sly on 2010-09-09 20:22:25 GMT from United States)
Please give us a few nuggets to back up your statement of why you believe BSD is superior to Linux. I haven't ventured into BSD territory, but if I ever do, it would be nice to have a little background.
105 • BSD (by David on 2010-09-09 20:42:39 GMT from United States)
Code quality = fewer bugs!
106 • Source & Documentation (by Squalphin on 2010-09-09 21:39:42 GMT from Germany)
If you would be a full time programmer you would know that source != documentation. It's a lot faster to grasp what a particular code does by reading a good documentation about it, than just reading the code. Especially when an application has around 20k lines of code which is not uncommon. I don't think that anyone could just start hacking on linux just by reading the code. This could take ages.
Also if code only would suffice as documentation, we wouldn't need any comments in our code. But without comments it can be very hard to understand what a coder before you did. Of course reading both, code and documentation together gives the best results.
107 • Re: 106 (by Sly on 2010-09-10 00:01:46 GMT from United States)
Yea....lot's people are happy with Linux for some reason.... So, I think many would take you to task for that broad statement. So you still haven't given me anything for me to hang my hat on.
108 • @106 (by jake on 2010-09-10 00:14:27 GMT from United States)
"Good documentation", yes. But that documentation seeks to describe a fast-moving target, especially in the FOSS world. Fool's errand? I think so, at least at this stage of the game. Far better to make systems easy to use for kernel coder & newbie alike.
It'd be nice to write code to documentation, but it doesn't work that way in the FOSS world ... For what I think are obvious reasons.
Agree on better/more comments in source ... even hints would help occasionally ... I've seen some real doozies (along the lines of "Don't touch this, ever, it works even though nobody can figure it out anymore.") ... And yes, C isn't as easy to read as your average post in DWW's comments section. But some of us have been working with both C and the kernels since their inception. At least the syntax doesn't give me headaches like Aramaic, Latin & Koin Greek ... Other computer languages are also fairly easy to parse. Probably helps that I've written compilers for a dozen or so languages ... It's all ones & zeros when you boil it down. Complex, yes. Complicated? Not so much.
109 • Documentation (by Landor on 2010-09-10 00:29:35 GMT from Canada)
There's some fine projects that produce an amazing amount of documentation for Linux. Everyone has to remember that Linux is simply Linux, no matter the machine it is on, to a degree of course. A lot of things in Linux don't get dated either. An example, using mke2fs to create a file system, extremely straightforward. For those things that do get dated you apply information from one distribution or project to the one you're using, if it lacks adequate documentation.
I think in all fairness we have to try to remember that some projects are really smal (many cases one individual) and don't have the resources to both build a distribution and fully document it.
Keep your stick on the ice...
110 • The importance of documentation (by Caitlyn Martin on 2010-09-10 05:14:49 GMT from United States)
I'd like to echo the comments by Squalphin and Landor: documentation is invaluable and important. Many developers hate to document things and their products are the poorer for it.
I don't know how many times I've been contacted by a headhunter or told by a potential client that my stressing my documentation skills on my resume has been something that impressed them. I wrote 50+ page standard configuration documents for a government agency, more security audits than I care to remember at the moment, and, of course, lots of article for O'Reilly and DistroWatch. The fact that I not only am willing to document but highlight it as a strength for me has opened doors, even during this difficult economic period. For example, it looks like I landed a new client this week (doing remote administration and maintenance of clustered Linux servers) and both the CEO and the systems admin who did the tech screening commented on my willingness to document my work.
Yes,it is true that some Linux newbies won't understand all the docs. Writing a good getting started guide is a special skill all its own. One of Ubuntu's great strengths is good documentation top to bottom. The same is true for Red Hat. IMHO that contributes to their leadership on the consumer desktop and in the enterprise respectively.
111 • @ documentation ... (by meanpt on 2010-09-10 11:01:31 GMT from Portugal)
.... and you're all right about this. But Jake put the finger on the right place: "But that documentation seeks to describe a fast-moving target, especially in the FOSS world.". And this isn't still a unsolved issue ... it's harder than the highway business: you invest to build and continue to invest in maintain and upgrade it ...
112 • RE: 110 - 108/111 (by Landor on 2010-09-10 23:58:07 GMT from Canada)
In our community documentation can be in many forums, especially man pages. They've been around forever and in most cases will suffice. I know most people would prefer to read documentation in some form of a text or .html file though. I learned most, or all of, what I knew early on in my computing experience by just issuing -h after the command. I'll admit though, even I don't read man pages or do the former at all really any more. :)
I know of another person that is proficient in writing documentation and proudly expresses their abilities in their work too, Daniel Robbins from Gentoo. I think that's one of the reasons why Gentoo has good documentation. I wouldn't doubt he was part of the driving force behind it.
I think for a lot of projects, unless they are rather large the developers have to consider a lot of things. For a project that has maybe 10 developers, they all can't be in the IRC or forums solving problems, developing new releases of a distribution or application, and writing documentation. Usually when you're doing one thing you have to put the other off for another time. That's usually the case for documentation since it's almost always the least in demand at the moment. As you pointed out Jake, most people will go and ask a question first before reading. That puts the primary focus on the forums and IRC.
Keep your stick on the ice...
113 • Re: 112 / man pages (by DG on 2010-09-11 08:19:44 GMT from Netherlands)
"""In our community documentation can be in many forums, especially man pages."""
But these days when FOSS might be targeted at more that just Linux/BSD,
a simple man page is just not enough to reach all possible users. However,
I thought it a sad day when the GNU people decided to move away from man
pages in favour of info pages. Yes, a huge man page can be hard to navigate,
but having to learn emacs (or vi) key bindings to be able to read info pages is
really overkill for new users, especially non-programmers moving from M$.
114 • RE: 113 (by Landor on 2010-09-11 09:29:19 GMT from Canada)
It's true, a lot of distributions are trying to target a broader audience. For reading man or info pages Konqueror had (has with KDE 4?) the ability to pull either one up. You'd type either man:mke2fs or info:mke2fs, in the address bar. Just another thing Konqueror had/has the ability to do.
Keep your stick on the ice...
115 • Man and info pages (by Jesse on 2010-09-11 14:20:58 GMT from Canada)
Konqueror does indeed still have the man: page option in KDE4, though I don't think Dolphin does. Konqueror may not be outstanding at any one task, but it's a wonderful multi-purpose tool. The only thing it doesn't do is make me breakfast.... though I'm hoping my eggs:// patch makes it upstream someday.
I agree with the previous poster that the info pages are a pain to navigate. I much prefer to either have a simple man page or HTML-based documentation. The info pages feel like some sort of weird middle ground where no one wins.
116 • #115 xman (by Caitlyn Martin on 2010-09-11 15:20:15 GMT from United States)
Many distros also have xman, a GUI man page browser, which is not at all difficult to navigate and does not require KDE libraries.
117 • RE:115 (by Anonymous on 2010-09-11 15:28:07 GMT from United States)
Yes I agree about info page reading.
I have found for me, a good alternative; "pinfo".
This info reader uses lynx style navigation and makes reading info much easier.
It also seems to render the pages "nicer" for me.
Although man and info pages abound, I usually preferr good readme's in the doc/"package" directory.
An even better bonus is when good example usage is found there.
This makes it easier to understand how a totally new package (to me) works.
Sometimes when all you have is a man page which only shows the basic command line flags, the same info as using "command -h or --help", this does not help very much and I usually turn to books or the net for more enlightenment.
When I am just browsing documentation, I preferr using mc's built in viewer, very fast and scales well to large xterm sizes; again it too I have set up for lynx navigation.
Thanks DW, and yes this has been a better issue this week.
118 • sidux to aptosid (by Chris H on 2010-09-11 21:57:07 GMT from United States)
When I ran smxi today, there was the announcement
that sidux has become aptosid. http://www.aptosid.com
Perhaps Ladislav can cover the story.
119 • Sidux to aptosid? (by Gene Venable on 2010-09-12 00:10:16 GMT from United States)
yikes, I haven't run SMXI yet today so I didn't know Sidux has changed names or gone under.
It would be nice to see DW coverage of this.
No wonder people were looking at the Linux Mint Debian variant for a substitute for Sidux.
I have always disliked the Sidux crew based on my experiences with them, but I still liked Sidux itself. Sorry to see it go.
120 • RE: 115 (by Landor on 2010-09-12 01:01:01 GMT from Canada)
Thanks for the information on it still being there Jesse. Another feature I always liked about Konqueror was being able to set up the right click menu to open a terminal in the current directory. An act of laziness on my part, but a valued option none the less. :)
Actually, I've been looking at different file managers and this was one of the things I was happy to see as a default option in PCManFM, though from the menu instead of the right click menu, that I remember.
Keep your stick on the ice...
121 • Ref#115 Konqueror (by Verndog on 2010-09-12 02:06:44 GMT from United States)
Konqueror does have many faces. I also am amazed at its utility.
A log of what it can do I end up trying because someone mentioned it in passing.
I really should read up on its docs. Its not just a browser.
122 • Re: Sidux (by Brandon Sniadajewski on 2010-09-12 03:21:35 GMT from United States)
I just ran over to sidux.com and it does say that the sidux project is dead, and that aptosid was set up almost immediately afterwords.
123 • kongoni ? (by RollMeAway on 2010-09-12 04:44:33 GMT from United States)
Tried the new release. That is I booted into the live DVD and started the installer.
I chose hdb, it is already partitioned, and said 'done'.
Prompted me: Do you want to format hda2? ...Hell no, why do you ask?
Gave up after a couple of tries.
If I read the release note correctly, sounds like it will install grub2 to the mbr of hda,
"Whether you like it or not" !
Can't find any forum or mailing list, comments are disabled on the webpage.
No feedback possible.
Strike three. YOU'RE OUT!
124 • sidux -> aptosid (by anticapitalista on 2010-09-12 12:22:13 GMT from Greece)
aptosid is sidux renamed. The devs and the sidux.ev fell out, sidux.ev wanted to keep the name sidux so the devs just rebranded their product from sidux to aptosid.
125 • Tiny Core (by Togo on 2010-09-12 13:51:19 GMT from Germany)
DistroWatch's finest moment was the excellent interview with Tiny Core founder Robert Shingledecker in the March 23, 2009 edition of DW. I hope Mr. Shingledecker's health is holding up and he is feeling well.
126 • Moving from Slackware to Crux (by Robertd on 2010-09-12 18:43:23 GMT from United States)
It has only been a little over a month since I started using Linux (Slackware) and I have learned a hell of a lot. However, I think I am ready to dig a little deeper under the hood. I do not think I am ready for LFS but have decided to try Crux.
Has anyone had any experience with this distro? I like the keep it simply philosophy and I am already use to the BSD init-scripts from using Slackware so I think the transition should not be terribly difficult.
Number of Comments: 126
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