| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 388, 17 January 2011
Welcome to this year's third issue of DistroWatch Weekly! The various Ubuntu re-spins continue to create controversy in the Linux distro world. Some people are tired of all the newly remastered builds of the most popular desktop Linux distribution, while others welcome the diversity and new ideas that some of them bring to the table. Today we take a look at a relatively recent arrival at the scene - a user-friendly operating system called Zorin OS. Read on to find out how it fared in our test. In the news section, Arch Linux continues to receive positive coverage in the media, Debian announces a release candidate of its installer for "Squeeze", Ubuntu presents a modified variant of its Unity desktop for less powerful computers, and OpenIndiana gets ready for the first stable release of its operating system recently forked from OpenSolaris. Other topics covered in this issue include PC-BSD plans for the year 2011, statistics of online sales by a major vendor of media containing free operating systems, and a Q&A section that deals with creating a swap file on Linux. Today's issue of DistroWatch Weekly is a big one, so go and get a cup of your favourite beverage before you scroll down to the view the content. Happy Monday to all!
- Reviews: Introducing Zorin OS 4
- News: The Arch way, Debian installer RC, SimplyMEPIS boot problems, Ubuntu Unity 2D, Mint on Banshee, OpenIndiana release proposal, PC-BSD 2011 plans
- Statistics: OSDisc.com sales in 2009 and 2010
- Questions and answers: Creating a swap file
- Released last week: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.6, DEFT Linux 6, PelicanHPC 2.3
- Upcoming releases: Pardus Linux 2011, openSUSE 11.3 Milestone 6
- New distributions: KeeP-OS, Parsidora, Porteus, Sn0w L1nuX
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (11MB) and MP3 (30MB) formats
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Introducing Zorin OS 4|
Zorin OS is, according to the project's website, an easy-to-use, fast operating system which attempts to be useful straight out of the box. The distro appears to be targeting people who have, up to this point, been using Windows and the project makes much of its ability to ape the Windows GUI and run Windows applications through WINE. The project offers us the Core edition of their OS for free and charges a small fee for their premium editions. Zorin's website includes a news section, a page for frequently asked questions, a support forum and on-line store. All of this is well laid out, navigation is easy and I found the design appealing. The Core edition of Zorin OS 4 is downloadable as a DVD image and weighs in at 1.17 GB.
Booting from the Zorin DVD brings up a boot menu which allows us to boot into a live desktop environment, a desktop environment with safe graphics settings, a text-based environment, or kick off the installer. I opted for the default graphical environment. A short time later I was presented with a GNOME desktop featuring a night sky background. Large navigation icons and a launcher for the installer were placed on the desktop. A task switcher and an application menu were displayed along the bottom of the screen. The first quirk I ran into with Zorin was that clicking on either the application menu, or the logout button on the task bar, would cause just the top item in the corresponding menu to be displayed. Everything else on the menu was hidden. I soon found that either moving the task bar to the top of the screen or changing the system's theme would cause the menus to display properly.
After a few minutes of poking around and finding no other problems, I kicked off the system installer. Zorin is based off Ubuntu and the installer will feel familiar to anyone who has installed Ubuntu or one of its spin-offs. We select our preferred language, configure partitions, select our time zone and keyboard layout. We then create a user account. Once a partition layout is finalized the installer begins formatting the drive and copying over files. I suppose this is done to make the installation process shorter because we start copying data sooner while the user is still making choices. Though that may have been the intent, it didn't work in my case as the installer locked-up about 90% of the way through. It sat and did, apparently, nothing for over ten minutes before continuing with the process. The installer eventually finished and I rebooted.
Zorin OS 4 - the software center
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In the last quarter of 2010 I found the latest Fedora and Red Hat install discs couldn't turn control over to the local hard drive on my machines. I ran through the same scenario with Zorin, leaving the DVD in my drive post-install and selecting the option to boot from the local disk. Zorin handed control over to the locally installed boot menu without any problems. (It's nice to confirm the problem wasn't with my hardware.) As stated before, Zorin has its roots in Ubuntu and that shows up in a number of ways, especially the branding. The boot menu, for example, lists Zorin as Ubuntu. Zorin, in its attempt to be welcoming to Windows users has a default look & feel much like Windows 7. I tried this for a day, trying to stick with the Zorin defaults, but I found the application menu to be slow and its behaviour flaky and I eventually used the system's "Look Changer" to switch to the system's default GNOME theme. This essentially sets up the user's desktop with the normal Ubuntu-style layout.
Early on there were other small annoyances beyond the menu and theme. For example, the first time I ran the software update tool, it informed me that it couldn't connect to all of the software sources, many of which were PPAs. Once the update application had fetched a list of new packages, I chose to update everything. After some thinking, the update tool told me some of its sources weren't trusted and halted the process. Eventually I convinced the update application to download and install the available updates. Another issue I ran into straight out of the gate came when testing Zorin's Windows compatibility via PlayOnLinux. The first time I launched PlayOnLinux, it threw up four windows and insisted on downloading updates, grabbing new fonts, checking for available software and then it froze. I tried again some time later and managed to get through the long string of updates and checks, but it wasn't a smooth experience and I don't imagine it would be a welcome one for new-comers.
Zorin OS 4 - the web browser and media player
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Browsing through the application menu we find quite a collection of software. There's Chrome 8 for web surfing, Evolution, OpenOffice.org, Transmission, Empathy, Rhythmbox and VLC. There's the usual collection of GNOME configuration tools to adjust the look & feel of the desktop and Ubuntu Tweak is included. There is a graphical firewall utility, a program for handling Windows wireless drivers, Ubuntu One and a backup program called Back In Time. Some smaller applications, such as Tomboy Notes, a text editor, calculator and an assortment of games are available too. For developers the GNU Compiler Collection comes pre-installed. Behind the scenes, I found Zorin included codecs for playing popular video and audio formats. The Flash browser plugin is also installed for us.
There are two graphical package managers on the system. Synaptic is available for people who like its way of doing things. It may not be the most attractive package manager around, but it gets the job done. Also available on Zorin OS is the Ubuntu Software Center. Unlike Synaptic, the Software Center seems to change a little with every release. I find its current layout to be intuitive and the way software is broken into categories and statuses appeals to me. Among the various groups of software are the standard open source programs offered through Ubuntu's repositories. There are also partner repositories, featuring such items as the Opera web browser, Chrome, Adobe Reader, Skype, Flash, World of Goo, multimedia codecs and other pieces of popular software. Though I didn't perform any serious tests, I felt Software Center was more responsive this time around than it has been in the past.
Zorin OS did fairly well with my hardware. On my desktop machine (2.5 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM, NVIDIA video card) everything worked as expected. My screen was set to a suitable resolution, audio worked without any problems and performance was smooth. On my HP laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 3 GB of RAM, Intel video card) things were good, but not great. My laptop's screen resolution wasn't optimal, which I think may have led to the application menu problem I mentioned earlier. Audio worked out of the box, and my touchpad worked well. Unfortunately I didn't get my Intel wireless card working. This is a device which generally works on the Ubuntu family of distributions, so I was disappointed to find it lifeless when running Zorin. Memory usage was in the usual range and Zorin ran smoothly in a virtual machine with 512 MB of RAM. Below that point I found the system tended to swap and performance degraded.
Zorin OS 4 - scheduling backups
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When I do these reviews I try to spend a week with the distribution to get a feel for how it performs with day-to-day tasks. Most of us spend more time working with operating systems than we do installing them and I think a review should reflect that. In this particular case I'm glad I stuck with Zorin, because after the first day I was ready to write it off. During my first day the application menu didn't work properly, I was thrown into a Windows 7 themed environment, the installer stalled, the update manager gave me a string of error messages, PlayOnLinux crashed and (while I realize this is a personal choice issue) I was disappointed to find Zorin defaults to the Chrome web browser. At first glance, Zorin OS appeared to be Ubuntu with a bunch of additional software carelessly thrown on top. At the end of Day One my instinct was to wipe my hard drive and try the next distro on my list.
However, I am glad I didn't. After the first wave of issues, using Zorin became a pleasant experience. With the regular GNOME theme in place, the desktop behaved properly, I encountered no further problems or warnings from the update tool, my second trial with PlayOnLinux worked fairly well and I found that Zorin came with a solid collection of tools for a desktop machine. Once the default theme and web browser were swapped out, I enjoyed my time with Zorin. It comes with a wide range of applications and the codecs I wanted were all there. Performance was pretty middle-of-the-road, neither outstanding, nor sluggish.
In conclusion, while the rough start makes me think Zorin isn't a good choice for computer novices, it may be good for Linux novices who were formally Windows power users. The system is set up to appeal to that crowd and, for someone who wants a large collection of software available and doesn't get scared off easily, I think Zorin is a good option.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
The Arch way, Debian installer RC, SimplyMEPIS boot problems, Ubuntu Unity 2D, Mint on Banshee, OpenIndiana release proposal, PC-BSD 2011 plans
After being around for nearly a decade, the community-run Arch Linux has become a preferred choice of many intermediate and advanced Linux users. This is partly due to its keep-it-simple philosophy, but also due to its rolling-release update mechanism that doesn't require a re-install every few months. Last week Kevin Bush from Linux Journal took the latest version of the distribution for a spin and reported about the results in the article entitled The Arch Way: "You love tinkering with your computer. You've tried Ubuntu and Fedora, and they're good, but you feel something is not quite right. Maybe you don't like all those daemons loading on boot, or maybe you want to build your Linux desktop stack just how you want it? Perhaps you're completely new to Linux and want to learn exactly what makes a Linux workstation tick? It's time for you to try Arch Linux. Arch Linux is often called the binary Gentoo - an appropriate description. Arch gives you a full but simple command-line base to build on, but unlike Gentoo, Arch uses i686 or x86_64 optimized binary packages instead of source code."
* * * * *
The first release candidate for Debian Installer for "Squeeze", the upcoming new version of Debian GNU/Linux, was announced last week by Otavio Salvador: "The Debian Installer team is pleased to announce the first release candidate release of the installer for Debian GNU/Linux 'Squeeze'. Improvements in this release: Linux kernel updated to 2.6.32-29; updated artwork for 'Squeeze' theme (#603554); fixed Finnish keymap in graphical installer; fixed usability issues with very long questions about accepting firmware licenses when some non-free firmware is used; fixed mklibs segfaults on static objects; avoid reloading modules that have a network interface that is already configured; support the new suite name for 'volatile'; fix text of examples in debconf templates to fit the new partition numbering scheme in GRUB 2; fix resolv.conf writing of manual entered values in case DHCP doesn't supply them...." The new Debian Installer CD images are available for download from the project's website.
* * * * *
With the upcoming release of Debian GNU/Linux 6.0, many Debian-based distributions are also finalising their products. One of them is MEPIS Linux, a user-friendly distro featuring the latest KDE desktop. But as Susan Linton reports on OStatic, the upcoming SimplyMEPIS 11 is plagued with problematic boot issues affecting many beta testers: "SimplyMEPIS 11.0 Beta 1 was released last week, but again is plagued by start problems for many people. All during the SimplyMEPIS 11 development cycle boot problems have stopped many users from testing. Unfortunately, and probably the root of problem, is that this occurs for only some of the users with little hardware in common. To compound the issue, the boot issues haven't been caused by the same reason to the same people each release either. With so much variation, it can be very difficult to nail down corrections. For example, the first four alphas would stop booting immediately after the GRUB screen for many testers. Some identified the issue possibly as device naming conventions listed in the GRUB menu. Some could get to the GRUB edit screen to overcome, some couldn't."
* * * * *
Ubuntu's rapidly evolving changelog has been causing concern among some of its users, especially the upcoming switch to a brand-new desktop called Unity which would leave users with less powerful hardware on the sidelines. Luckily, Canonical has now accepted that the Unity situation in its original state isn't ideal and has announced Unity 2D, a variant that can be used without graphics acceleration. Michael Larabel in Canonical's Working On A Unity 2D Desktop: "Back in October there was the very controversial news that Canonical would be replacing the GNOME Shell with their own Unity project as the default desktop shell for Ubuntu 11.04 and going forward. The original version and specification for Ubuntu Unity (and as found in Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook) required 3D acceleration and would use Compiz as its compositing window manager. For those without the necessary graphics drivers to support the functionality, Canonical's plan for Ubuntu was to have it fall-back to the traditional GNOME desktop and inform the user of their sad graphics support. However, now Canonical's developing a 2D version of Unity for such scenarios. The "Unity 2D" desktop is to provide a Unity environment without the need for OpenGL or any accelerated graphics drivers." Web Upd8 has also commented on the subject and included a few screenshots.
* * * * *
If Ubuntu's frequent announcements about radical changes to its distribution leave you unimpressed, a good alternative to consider is Linux Mint. The project has so far resisted most of the dramatic changes that Ubuntu couldn't, including the infamous toolbar button placement move and the switch to the Unity desktop. More recently, the project's founder, Clement Lefebvre, announced that, unlike Ubuntu, it didn't see the need to switch to Banshee as the default music player: "Linux Mint currently uses Rhythmbox as the default music player, but what will happen when 'Natty' comes with Banshee pre-installed? Clement Lefevre said: 'Rhythmbox is our default player and we're quite happy with it. If Ubuntu switches to Banshee, we'll of course give it a close look and assess whether the migration is a good move for us too, but as it is now there isn't any plan to change anything.' Clement earlier told me that despite Ubuntu's switch to Unity, 'we are not planning to switch to Unity but to keep our desktop as similar as it is at the moment. So it's hard to say how we'll achieve this technically but we're aiming at using GNOME without GNOME Shell.'"
* * * * *
The OpenIndiana project which was created as result of Oracle's closing of OpenSolaris, is inching towards its first stable release. To prepare for the landmark event, the OpenIndiana developer community has published a release proposal which encourages feedback from users. Alasdair Lumsden writes: "Prior to the Oracle takeover, Solaris 10 was free to use in production, and for a long time, security updates were provided free of charge. OpenSolaris was also free to use, and updates were available by living on the bleeding /dev edge. People were (mostly) happy. Then Sun hit financial difficulties and discontinued free security updates for Solaris 10. Then Oracle happened, ending the free use of Solaris in production. ... We have a real opportunity to capitalise on the situation left by Oracle, to capture server market share away from OpenSolaris, Solaris 10, and give users a migration path other than switching to Linux (which a lot of people are doing). There are a lot of people out there who really really want a stable build of OpenIndiana - myself included, and I believe OpenIndiana's best chance of gaining acceptance, market share, and building a thriving development community is by capturing the server market."
* * * * *
Finally, a report about the PC-BSD project's plans for 2011, as summarised by FreeBSD News. According to Kris Moore, the founder of the most popular FreeBSD-based operating system for the desktop, this year should bring not only a minor update to the current 8.x series, but also a new major release, version 9.0, based on FreeBSD 9.0: "For 8.2, it is mainly a release to include the latest FreeBSD 8.2 / KDE 4.5.4. Also some bug fixes are present for advanced partitioning, letting the user select between MBR/GPT, and easily toggle between UFS+S/ZFS. On the 9.0 front, we've implemented a new system of 'meta-pkgs' which will let users customize their particular desktop based upon the available packages in the release. This means we can now select alternative desktop environments, such as GNOME, KDE, LXDE, Xfce and others. In order to accomplish this, all of our tools have been re-written in pure Qt 4, removing any requirements for KDE 4 to be present. Related to this, we've re-implemented our PBI system to be 100% shell, allowing it to run on native FreeBSD and not be particular about the window-manager being used."
|Statistics (by Ladislav Bodnar)
OSDisc.com sale statistics in 2009 and 2010
Measuring the market share of the various free operating systems is never easy, but the more elements we include in our estimations, the more accurate the results should be. Today we present another interesting data source - the sale of CDs, DVDs and USB media by one of the largest online vendors of media containing free operating systems - OSDisc.com. Ramsey Brenner, the founder of the online store, was kind enough to provide DistroWatch with the sales figures for 2010 which we then compare with those generated a year earlier. The results are summarised in the table below.
Looking through the numbers, many utility distributions, such as SystemRescueCd or Parted Magic continued to be extremely popular with the store's customers, while KNOPPIX is also selling far better than many of us would have expected. Perhaps the most obvious increase in popularity was marked by Linux Mint whose market share of total sales more than doubled from a year earlier to 7.73% and which is now the third most sought-after distribution at OSDisc.com. Also interesting to note is the fact that many of the big KDE-based distributions lost market share last year - most notably Mandriva (from 3.75% to 2.52%), Kubuntu (from 2.28% to 1.56%) and MEPIS Linux (from 2.07% to 1.19%). Ubuntu has only just managed to retain the first position in 2010, but once we include other Ubuntu-based distributions, such as the above-mentioned Linux Mint, Xubuntu and Ultimate Edition, it's clear that Canonical's operating system continues to dominate the sales figures at OSDisc.com.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Creating a swap file
Running-out-of-memory asks: I originally installed my system without a swap partition and that has become a problem. I'm using up all my memory and now I want to have swap space. Can I add this somehow, or do I have to re-install?
DistroWatch answers: You can add swap space without re-installing. Before we look at that option, let's explore some other possibilities. For instance, if you're right on the border of having enough memory you might look at reducing the amount of physical RAM you need. If you're using one of the heavier desktop environments (GNOME or KDE) you can save quite a bit of memory by switching to Xfce or LXDE. Depending on the machine you have and your resources, you might also look at adding more RAM to your computer. In an ideal world we want to keep our data in RAM, rather than rely on swap space.
However, if you do need to create some swap space it's not required that you give swap its own partition. Modern versions of the Linux kernel have greatly improved performance when it comes to accessing swap files. This makes creating a swap file far more appealing than re-installing or resizing your existing partitions to make room for a swap partition. Let's walk through the process of creating a 1 GB swap file.
First we need to create an empty file, 1 GB in size. We do this with the dd command. You will need to have root permissions (or sudo access) for the following commands to work:
dd if=/dev/zero of=/mnt/my_swap bs=1M count=1024
In this case the "1024" means we're creating a 1GB file, "512" would result in a 512MB (half a GB) file, "2048" would create a 2GB file, etc. Next we have to format our file so it can be used for swap space.
We now have a swap file and we need to tell the system to start using it.
The next step is to make sure your operating system remembers to use this swap file again after you reboot the machine. We do this by opening the file /etc/fstab in a text editor and adding this line at the bottom:
/mnt/my_swap none swap sw 0 0
Save your changes to /etc/fstab and you're done. The next time you boot the machine you can run
to make sure your swap file is in use. The "swapon -s" command displays all swap spaces currently in use and you should see /mnt/my_swap listed in the command's output.
|Released Last Week
Chakra GNU/Linux 0.3.1
Chakra GNU/Linux 0.3.1, an Arch-based distribution featuring the latest KDE desktop, has been released: "The Chakra development team is proud to announce our first point-release of Chakra GNU/Linux 0.3, code-named 'Ashoc'. We backported some fixes we did lately in our testing repositories. What changed: Linux kernel 2.6.36 series; Linux kernel 2.6.35 LTS series (optional); X.Org 7.5 stack with Mesa 7.7; X.Org Server 1.7.7; updated X.Org drivers; KDE SC 4.5.5; known bugs fixed in Tribe. For those who use UNetbootin to create USB media for install or choose automated settings for burn-speed to create a CD/DVD, your media will probably not work for a Chakra install, please follow this guide. For how to apply our xdelta patches read this one." Here is the brief release announcement.
Michael Creel has announced the release of PelicanHPC 2.3, a Debian-based live CD for high performance computing clusters formerly known as ParallelKnoppix: "PelicanHPC 2.3 is available. From this release forward, Debian 'Squeeze' will be the base for PelicanHPC, until further notice. Also, PelicanHPC is henceforth available only in a 64-bit edition. There are no major changes since version 2.2, apart from the newer versions of most packages. In particular, the kernel is now at 2.6.32, and Xfce is looking sharp at version 4.6.2. In the move from 'Lenny' to 'Squeeze' as the base, the Ganglia monitoring system has stopped working, because the configuration files have not yet been updated. I would be happy to receive gmond.conf and gmetad.conf files that cause the installed version of Ganglia to work properly on PelicanHPC. KSysGuard still works well as a cluster monitor, though." Visit the project's home page to read the brief release announcement.
DEFT Linux 6
Stefano Fratepietro has announced the release of DEFT Linux 6, a Lubuntu-based live CD featuring some of the best open-source applications dedicated to incident response and computer forensics: "I'm happy to announce that DEFT 6 is out. DEFT 6 is based on Lubuntu with Linux kernel 2.6.35 and with the best free computer forensic tools; it is a new concept of computer forensic live system, ewflib-ready, that uses WINE for running Windows computer forensics tools under Linux. This is a list of changes made to the release candidate version: update FTK Imager from 2.9 to 3; update Digital Forensic Framework from 0.8 to 0.9; added Xmount 0.4.4; added mount_ewf utility; wrong Guymager release, now it's version 0.5.7; fixed ISO image MD5 file check; fixed some grammatical errors." Read the rest of the release announcement for more information.
DEFT Linux 6 - a Lubuntu-based live CD with tools for computer forensics
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Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.6
The legacy series of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) has been updated to version 5.6: "Red Hat is pleased to announce the availability of the latest update to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, release 5.6 (with kernel 2.6.18-238.el5)." Changes in this release include: "the installer in 5.6 automatically makes several attempts to connect to the repository and downloads the required package when it is available; improved driver support for devices required during the installation process; libvirt has been updated to version 0.8.2, enabling sVirt, a technology included in RHEL 5 that integrates SELinux and virtualization; virtio-serial driver has been added, enabling vmchannel capabilities on RHEL 5.6 guests operating on a RHEL 6 hosts...." See the release announcement and release notes for a detailed list of changes and improvements.
Michael Tremmer has announced the release of IPFire 2.9, a specialist Linux distribution for firewalls that focuses on easy setup and high security: "After the last maintenance release in November 2010, the developers are proud to release a new version, 2.9. About 400 different changes were implemented in this build and there were about one hundred testers that have installed at least one of the beta versions. IPFire has got a new service that is called 'fireinfo'. This can be enabled as an option and it sends anonymous information about the system to the project. We strongly recommend the users to enable this feature so that we can learn from the statistics that are collected. IPFire 2.9 is based on the latest Linux kernel 220.127.116.11 which will be maintained by the kernel developers for several years. So all of the integrated patches will get into IPFire as well." Read the detailed release announcement for further information.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to waiting list
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 24 January 2011.
Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • Statisticc (by Didier Spaier on 2011-01-17 09:20:42 GMT from France) |
So Slackware rank 22th ....
This won't make me change my mind, still a happy slacker ;)
Good week to everybody.
2 • ChakraProject (by klanger on 2011-01-17 09:44:20 GMT from Poland)
I've installed on my eeepc 900 (powered by celeron M) latest Chakra iso and I have to say KDE 4.5.5 made by Chakra Poject looks really cool and works very well on such a slow CPU!
This is the first time I use KDE desktop on this netbook without any pain :)
3 • Disappointing (by Smog on 2011-01-17 10:07:06 GMT from United Kingdom)
Still they keep on coming! Distros that don't fit on a CD-R/RW. Why do they bother, especially if targetted at incomers? If you can't fit the basics onto a CD-R/RW examine your credibility as a developer. For all the etheria, a solid repo. will suffice.
Get real. If you want folks to d/l your latest masterpiece, tempt in newcomers, make sure they can and will take the trouble. Think about your putative audience - many may be stuck with DUN, so try to squeeze the essentials into <100Mb .iso. As for Zorin, they have another lessons to learn, as well: if you aren't called Red Hat you have a dud business model trying to sell someone else's kernel&co. with your personalised choice of apps and candy. Too many wannabes...
4 • Correct priority of a review (by x on 2011-01-17 11:19:24 GMT from United States)
Most operating system reviews are mostly installation reviews. Some negative reviews left me with the impression that the author did not fully read or understand all of the installation documentation prior to the actual installation. While a relatively uneventful and successful installation is important users actually spend a very small percentage of time installing compared to total system use. The installation process does need some attention, after all one cannot proceed without a somewhat functional operating system, however, it does not need to be the bulk of the article.
The standard review never seems to address the the true performance issues:
How well does it handled the daily tasks needed by the user?
How are the basic security issues handled and how easy is it?
Is the distribution what it claims to be?
Are the necessary documents clear and understandable?
What limitations might be encountered?
What kind of stability can be expected over the long haul?
I am sure many other o/s readers have other concerns they would like to see addressed in a review. Obviously, a thorough review would be extremely time consuming and possibly outdated by the time it is published (Debian would be an exception to the outdated statement). I like the approach most of the Distrowatch reviewers use and hope they develop into the standard by which other are judged.
Jesse and Ladislav, thank you for another fine edition.
5 • Distros on Dvd's (by Vipor on 2011-01-17 12:19:45 GMT from United States)
seriously these distros will all soon be on dvd's,the major ones are already starting to do that...how long do you think developers are gonna be using cdr's..i mean a dvd drive is under $20 now lol burners hover around the $20-30 mark so there is no reason not to upgrade...but the one complaint i have is there are way too many distro's out there..new users will get confused with all of that
6 • @3: Disappointing (by dragonmouth on 2011-01-17 12:20:44 GMT from United States)
The developers have the mistaken and misguided belief that including more applications makes their distro more enticing. They are afraid that they will be severely criticized by the reviewers if some esoteric application, used by only a few people, is not included. It's called feature creep. It is pervasive. Have you seen the feature lists for the latest cars or cell phones or TVs? They do everything but cook your food and wash your undies. I fully expect that any day now someone will come out with a distro that will only fit on a double layer DVD
7 • Reply To #6 (by Vipor on 2011-01-17 12:25:36 GMT from United States)
yep i use regular dvd's so if they do go dual layer that will obviously be a problem for alot of people me included..i like using regular dvd's,i mean more than 4 gigs for a distro is just overkill anyway
8 • Zorin OS4 (by Neal on 2011-01-17 12:30:05 GMT from United States)
Zorin also offers a "lite" LXDE version designed to look similar to W2000 or Mac OSX. It still weighs in at over 1000mb DVD though....I left the Zorin forum the feedback about the hefty DVD's. The lite version definitely needs to be on a CD.
As for either version, they have performed better than expected on my hardware.
9 • Zorin OS 4 (by Darkman on 2011-01-17 13:10:41 GMT from United States)
I wish the developers of Zorin well. I keep an old XP box around to run 3 essential Windows apps that I have been unable to make work satisfactorily with Wine. If not for those 3 apps, I would reformat the HD and load Linux.
10 • Re: DVD vs. CD-R @ #3 (by Brandon Sniadajewski on 2011-01-17 13:19:56 GMT from United States)
What #3 is getting at is that the size of the .iso file for a CD-R(W) is a smaller and quicker download than even a 1 GB DVD iso. On my machine, using a ~700 kbps cell connection, I can download an CD iso in roughly 2-3 hours, as opposed to 5+ hrs. for a DVD. It is much nicer to get the iso quickly, burn it, and at least try the live environment than it is to wait an eternity to get the DVD.
11 • reply to #10 (by Vipor on 2011-01-17 13:30:02 GMT from United States)
ah ok i didn't even factor in the internet connection,i can see now why people want it small so they don't wait all day for the download :)
12 • Re: 11 (by hob4bit on 2011-01-17 14:10:41 GMT from United Kingdom)
I also favour one singel CD. For Ubuntu 10.04.1 I actually remaster it to around 1.1GB by throwing away things I consider junk like Mono, Ubuntu1 etc... and DL the packages I want.
Then I put this on a USB stick to install in multi-systems. Going to a DVD would just mean move junk for me to indentify and remove. Also a small CD size iamge can easily be booted into RAM for computing on the move.
Also many people have metered bandwidth. Downloading a 4GB DVD and finding the distro not useful is a big waste of bandwidth.
13 • CD/DVD (by Vinze on 2011-01-17 14:18:21 GMT from Netherlands)
CD or DVD who cares??
Get a life.
14 • The Arch Way (by Saleem Khan on 2011-01-17 14:26:33 GMT from Pakistan)
Its a good article . After years of using PCLinuxOS I have decided to move ahead to another rolling release distro with a repute and the answer was Arch Linux. For past many months now it is the main OS on my computer and my whole family prefer using Arch Linux than Windows 7. The installation part might sound a bit scary but once a few basic things are settled it is so simple to configure and use to be truly called "Arch way is the simple way".
15 • Frugalware (by arif on 2011-01-17 14:32:54 GMT from Malaysia)
Please review Frugalware. I try to download but no idea why got so many CD dan DVD ?
16 • Size of downloaded .iso; sn0wl1nux is asking for trouble (by PF Yearwood on 2011-01-17 14:35:24 GMT from United States)
I agree with the comments about the size of .iso images being released. Too many are nudging over the limits of a single CD by 100 or so Megs. Even Puppy is getting fat. the Lucid Puppy is about 130 megs. I remember a statement that Puppy would be kept under 100Megs.
My first linux download was on a 56k dialup modem. It took about a week and about 24 hours of online time to get it. Now, it took 16 minutes of cable to d/l sn0wl1nux at 1.7 Gig. Good thing I use VBox to test.
About sn0wl1nux. It is a nicely thought out distro with apps that I may find interesting. But, since my wife and I are just basic users, (internet and Open Office) most of them are not of interest to us.
First thoughts on SL (I refuse to spell out that name again). The first thing I saw was a Snow Leopard. I like cats and the local zoo has a pair of these rare creatures. Then I checked out the available wallpaper. Counting the two with a Snow Leopard, there were fifteen images with the logo of the Lesser Satan. It is one thing to give the look of Mac, but to actually use the copyrighted logo of the Apple Corp? 15 times? One even had the logo with the promo date January 20, 2009. Given the pursuit of infringers by Apple, I don't expect this distro to be around too long. I also suggest that Distrowatch drop this from its listings for the blatent infringement of IP. The Linux community does not need this hastle. Since this is just another respin of Ubuntu, it will not get installed on my bare metal. I'll stick with Lucid for the next three years.
17 • @15 • Frugalware (by Saleem Khan on 2011-01-17 14:53:49 GMT from Pakistan)
" I try to download but no idea why got so many CD dan DVD ? "
You do not need all those, just do netinstall from a small mini cd or just DVD1 for installation, the rest you can download later according to your needs online.
18 • REF - 4 • Correct priority of a review (by Verndog on 2011-01-17 14:54:00 GMT from United States)
Good observation of the weekly distro reviews. I totally agree. Always the same - trouble with installation, after install it either works ok or stuff hard to find.
True performance is just as important as installation and/or what programs are available.
19 • Single CD vs DVD (by Fewt on 2011-01-17 15:37:59 GMT from United States)
It is a lot harder to build distribution media that small than you might think. The documentation and languages contained on the media are often a significant chunk alone taking up 400-800MB in some cases, depending on the package selection of course.
Then you have to consider default packages, to remove something like OOo will free up a few hundred MB but at the cost of 50% of the users just installing it anyway.
It is getting to the point that it is no longer possible to fit a distribution on a single CD, a DVD provides plenty of storage and isn't much more expensive. That said, DVD media also fits on a thumb drive, and with just about all new hardware having more than 10GB of space for installation it really isn't an issue except in cases where you have metered internet access.
In the case of having smaller older equipment, strong consideration should be made to distributions designed for reducing the footprint like puppy.
20 • Distros on DVD's (by Penguin on 2011-01-17 15:57:32 GMT from Poland)
Distros on DVD's it's a big mistake. The best way is the Debian way. Base system in 150MB and the choice for user. It's a pity that from DW top ten only Debian goes this way. Madriva earlier had mini-dual version, that disappeared in 2010.2. Choice is Linux strength and I like it.
21 • PelicanHPC 2.3 and similar efforts (by Michael on 2011-01-17 16:00:52 GMT from United States)
I have tried the release of PelicanHPC 2.3 and was very impressed with it. I was wondering if there is a distro out there that does what Pelican does (boot from a master node and have the subsequent nodes boot off of it) and also has general office apps (suite) included so that the nodes can get to work right away in a make shift office anywhere without disturbing the HDs of the machines if so chosen. I think PelicanHPC can be customized but if this work has already been done, why re-invent the wheel. Thanks. Distrowatch is outstanding. Keep up the good work.
22 • CD vs DVD (by Flip on 2011-01-17 16:16:17 GMT from United States)
I sort of go the idea most distros would be going to DVD when they quit having the dialup capabilities installed most distros I have tried lately you have to install the programs just to be able to use dialup.
23 • Re: 20 • Distros on DVDs (by ASD on 2011-01-17 17:07:34 GMT from Denmark)
I second the "Debian Way." I always just download the latest "network install" ISO (about 150MB), burn it on a rewriteable CD, and get started. The installation always includes the latest security updates and fixes because I'm installing from the official Debian repository, not a months-old CD on my shelf. I usually do a base system install (300MB on drive, <10MB RAM used), then customize as a server, KDE/Gnome/Xfce/LXDE desktop, etc. Mmmm, Debian. What can't it do?
24 • 23 • Re: 20 • Distros on DVDs (by ASD on 2011-01-17 17:18:35 GMT from Denmark)
Wow! My VPS proxy server (Debian, of course) must really work! My message 23 above is posted as coming from Denmark, and not my well-stocked man cave actually located somewhere in the eastern U.S.! You go, Debian!
25 • Zorin review and stuff (by davemc on 2011-01-17 17:18:59 GMT from United States)
"it may be good for Linux novices who were formally Windows power users."
You could more realistically say this about Ubuntu or Mint and better serve someone who is looking for a real distro in its own right that will truly best serve the best interests of a new Linux/ex Windows power user. An ex-Windows power user will not be intimidated by Ubuntu in any way to begin with, but Zorin is a complete waste of anyone's time and effort. Its a bad respin that is poorly implemented at best. It most accurately can be described as Ubuntu with a couple extra packages from the Ubuntu repo's or PPA's. BTW, the PPA's they use were not even properly setup sources and are unreliable to boot. Its a sad and unprofessional implementation of Ubuntu and its fairly obvious that the "developers", and I use that term extremely loosely in Zorin's case, do not know Ubuntu or Linux. In all honesty, my 10 year old kid could and has done better!.. And these guys are charging for "Premium" edition..
About Ubuntu, give it a rest. Unity is what it is and nobody knows what its future holds yet. I am glad someone is trying something new that may innovate us into new directions. Xorg is a steaming pile o crap whose time was past years ago. Lets face facts here. At least Canonical has the balls to give something new a try, and that is what makes real progress happen in the real world. I wish them luck and cross my fingers that they don't lock the code down when it does succeed.
26 • @25 • (by davemc (by meanpt on 2011-01-17 17:43:29 GMT from Portugal)
:) ... hold on, dave, I'm posting from the a unity 2D 10.10 Netbook edition and liking it ... this is the way to go for tablets, it only lacks the interface for handwriting recognition. I doubt that in the near future we won't have some kind of a tablet screen device interfacing with any machine, instead of the mouse. And, instead a bastard linux (android), we get a real linux.
27 • Chrome OS 1.0.628 RC (by Saleem Khan on 2011-01-17 17:50:38 GMT from Pakistan)
My question is unrelated to DW of today but would somebody clarify about the Chrome OS 1.0.628 RC mentioned in this link please? Is this the official Chrome OS from google?
28 • Distros on DVD (by Anonymous on 2011-01-17 18:15:55 GMT from United States)
The problems I have are with combo (CD-RW/DVD) drives that do not like to boot burned DVD s. Also if you are billing yourself as a lightweight distro you should not have the minimum at 512mb of memory for the install program. Also I've seen some that come on a CD that are supposed to be light weight that insist on downloading another 2-3gb after they are installed all at once either making it slow or unusable (filling the HD etc).
29 • RE: #2 Chakra (by Anonymous on 2011-01-17 18:21:54 GMT from United States)
Is that EEE a original 900mhz with the 512mb of memory and a 4gb SSD? Would it dual boot (take less than 2gb)? If so I'd like to try it.
30 • Best Debian derivative? (by Anonymous on 2011-01-17 18:27:17 GMT from Italy)
Best Debian derivative? Debian itself!
I read that Mepis has a lot of problems.
But I have issues with most Debian derivatives: Aptosid doesn't boot on my desktop (very standard hardware), Mint Debian has several other problems. I won't even mention Ubuntu, because from my point of view Ubuntu isn't a Debian derivative at all.
And Debian itself? Zero problems on all my 3 computers.
31 • Re spins (by Rick on 2011-01-17 18:56:46 GMT from United Kingdom)
It doesn't bother me that a distro comes on a DVD or CD. What irks me the most is all of the ubuntu respins that are only a background change. If there is nothing to offer other than that then why bother? Sure if it includes a desktop environment that differs from it's parent or even an installer that makes the distro even easier to install sure go for it buta wallpaper change? give me a break
32 • DVDs and stuff (by Anonymous on 2011-01-17 19:15:37 GMT from United States)
@ # 13, It's very easy to be critical sitting there with your diamond coated fiber optic internet connection, but even the best connection I've ever had can barley maintain 1Mb per second for any length of time not to mention the DSL or dialup stuff I used to use.
As for making better systems that are smaller I like what I hear about Linux Mint's upgrade to DVD edition option that supposedly appears with other options in a welcome screen. I also have to hand it to the PCLOS team for making OpenOffice a few clicks away via their install script. There are some very good ideas out there that can help keep a system small and keep basic functionality intact. I hope that most of the major distros keep the CD option around, I've run into the same boot issues as #28 before and would like to have options on my old hardware.
Oh and #25/ davemc, I would probably agree with you that there are better choices out there, but unless you've actually worked on distros before and have a kid who makes linux from scratch systems in his spare time I'd go a little easier on the developers. Talk is cheap after all.
33 • arch (by eric on 2011-01-17 19:34:24 GMT from Germany)
completely new to Linux can not install arch! maybe chakra ...
34 • functionality and ease of installation are relevant (sorry #4) (by imnotrich on 2011-01-17 19:35:03 GMT from Mexico)
Sorry, but I have to disagree with #4.
Linux distros need to get back to basics and "just work" on a large variety of hardware.
By basics I mean video, sound, usb (including usb mice and keyboards), and networking (yes, even wifi). Shame on any developer who thinks otherwise.
Any other features or capabilities are moot if the install does not go smoothly because the vast majority of users (even those with some Linux skills) will go elsewhere.
Now we're not talking about people with bleeding edge 632 core gaming towers or desktops with a 286 processor. But if Linux ever aspires to be considered a mainstream operating system "JUST WORKS" isn't good enough. "MUST WORK" should be the new mantra.
As for me, I'm sticking to Debian. It works with a wide variety of hardware, sure some tinkering is required to get your nvidia card going and the recent hplip vs. Lenny battle of unmet dependencies can be annoying but there's no distro better than Debian. Not even those Debian respins. Heck, many of those respins support less hardware than Debian. What's up with that?
35 • Re: #27 Chrome OS (by Alan UK on 2011-01-17 19:36:35 GMT from United Kingdom)
I've just had a look. According to one user review, it is openSUSE 11.1 with Google Chrome browser.
Also, about halfway down the page it says: "Chrome OS is not related to Google".
36 • RE:27, Not the real thing. (by Eddie on 2011-01-17 19:40:16 GMT from United States)
From reading it seems to be fake and does not appear to be related to Google in any way.
37 • #33 and things.. (by davemc on 2011-01-17 20:08:38 GMT from United States)
Sure they can. Anyone can. Its very easy to install Arch. Just follow some step by step directions in a text file and your up and running. You can accept the defaults for 90% of the config files and you'll be just fine. Once your up and running, the sky's the limit. A base Arch install is lean and mean and rock stable. Everything runs faster and smoother. Its the best distro I have found yet and I hop around quite a lot. I would recommend Slackware but I am not so masochistic as that. Still, Slackware is a nice system after all the hair pulling and keyboard slamming is done.
38 • various (by Tom on 2011-01-17 20:13:58 GMT from United Kingdom)
Re: LibreOffice and forking
Re: 13 hmm, i prefer Cd because they seem more reliable for making bootable disks. Also shouldn't it be Cd and Dvd by now? They have been around long enough that the shout-y CD & DVD seems a tad excessive
Always deserves to rate a LOT higher. Almost all distros currently in existence can be traced back to forking from Slackware, or forking from a fork, or forking from a fork of a fork, or ...
Still the stats have to be built somehow and any method has some flaws. The current system and has at least 1 huge advantage.
39 • minimal installs (by Anonymous on 2011-01-17 20:56:33 GMT from Canada)
It seems (to me) that this perspective should be matched with "zero Install"; yet no-one mentions it!
40 • Mechanical Optical Media (by zygmunt on 2011-01-17 21:35:24 GMT from United Kingdom)
Of late it seems almost unnecessary to burn to optical media. Indeed, netbooks usually come without such. Net installs, pendrives, external harddisks (esata, USB, Firewire), internal harddisk isos, SD cards, SSD's etc can usually be persuaded to boot an installer from a live image. Some distributions are more pliable in these respects than others. IMO elimination of mechanical components can only be to advantage in speed, reliability, lifetime, weight, power use etc... . A cheap 4GB USB stick can be very useful along with PLOP for older machines.
41 • @ 20 (by Anonymous on 2011-01-17 21:37:48 GMT from United States)
It's a pity that from DW top ten only Debian goes this way.
Which would be great if it were true, even a half-hearted cursory glance through the installation media of other distributions shows network installation media.
42 • re#39 (by hab on 2011-01-17 21:50:55 GMT from Canada)
That would be a live linux cd/dvd. Pop it in the optical drive and boot.
A fully functioning linux system, no installation required.
43 • Creating a swap file (by chep on 2011-01-17 22:30:13 GMT from United States)
is a bad location even for example (my_swap is a file, not a filesystem mount point),
using: / or /var would be much better choice.
44 • dvd,s (by chris on 2011-01-17 22:32:18 GMT from Canada)
I recently downloaded supergamer iso weighing in ay over 7 gigs. as i dont have dual layer burner i just turned to Unetbootin to install directly from hdd without burning ! sure there a few more steps but it does allow the option of not burning to cd/dvd/dual layer for those that do not have the option
45 • Distros (by Ralph on 2011-01-17 23:23:06 GMT from United States)
You do not have to burn ISO's of distros to a cd/dvd to install them. I use UNETBOOTIN. It will install the distro to your HD and allow you to dual-boot between Windows and Linux. It's a GREAT tool for testing distros. You can also use it to install Linux to a USB drive.
46 • swap location (by Jesse on 2011-01-17 23:28:37 GMT from Canada)
While the /mnt directory may not be ideal, it's also probably not a good idea to use /var. Some distros clear out files from /var upon reboot. And it's generally considered poor style to drop files into /. Really it's a matter of preference. Personally I tend to put globally used loopback files in /mnt, so that's where I put the swap file too.
47 • Knoppix (by forlin on 2011-01-18 00:06:49 GMT from Portugal)
It's tailored to be run from the Cd, and has a top notch hardware detection. It's the best at it's class, has been around for many years now and was very innovative when first appeared. Still, its a beat of a surprise to find it ranked so high. Being a distro to be run from the CD may have some influence on that.
48 • @30 • Best Debian derivative? (by Swapoff on 2011-01-18 00:18:55 GMT from Canada)
I have to agree! So far the big D has worked out of the box on every piece of hardware I've thrown at it.
49 • CD/DVD (by Brandon Sniadajewski on 2011-01-18 01:20:27 GMT from United States)
@ 38 - Technically they are still prperly written as CD and DVD, as they stand for Compact Disc and Digital Versatile (or Video) Disc, respectively.
I personally prefer live CD's as I can tell weather a distro or distro version will work; butt, if I had a much faster connection, say 10Mbps or better, I'd go for the DVD (not Live) version as I can choose which packages to install.
@ 30 - I'd disagree on Ubuntu not being a Debian derivative. From what I know, the distro still takes its packages from Sid and "patch" them for their system. As for my favorite, its Kubuntu (the KDE variant).
50 • @ 47 Knoppix (by forlin on 2011-01-18 01:22:20 GMT from Portugal)
Sorry, just to elaborate a beat about Knoppix popularity. It may have a double users base: Linux and Win users. Among the later, those looking for peace of mind while net connected, but not interested to dual boot.
51 • CD/DVD (by very_anounimous on 2011-01-18 02:23:12 GMT from Brazil)
Problem with DVD only distros is the beta testing! Microsoft pays people to beta testing Windows. Linux distros dosn't afford, so, beta testing is done by user who download the iso from Internet. The big is the iso small is the number of beta testing user able to dowload it. Without beta-testing there's no viable Operational System... period.
52 • MoonOS-4-neak (by RollMeAway on 2011-01-18 02:39:49 GMT from United States)
One of those disappointing ubuntu clones, with "Docky" installed, and new wallpaper. How innovating! NOT.
The original MoonOS based upon e17 was unique.
This is another ho hum.
53 • Debian & DVDs (by uz64 on 2011-01-18 03:48:38 GMT from United States)
Comment 3: "Still they keep on coming! Distros that don't fit on a CD-R/RW. Why do they bother, especially if targetted at incomers?"
I can't say that I agree with this... at least not fully. Like it or not, software (especially desktop environments) is getting bigger, and distros are including a bit more software on average. It's a fact. The Compact Disc was maxed a while ago; it's amazing it's still being used as much it is for Linux distros. By going DVD, distros can include GNOME (not so sure about KDE4, it's pretty big compared to its predecessor, but it can be done...) and plenty of extra programs that people may expect but the developers may otherwise have had to drop due to space limitations. Some distros have the right idea; Linux Mint, recent versions of Parsix, etc. They add what is needed (but would not fit on a standard CD) without going overboard. And then there are sidux/aptosid and KANOTIX, which provide a DVD version containing both i386 and x86_64.
And then you have distros like Ubuntu, which keep clinging onto the CD specifications as if their life depends on it, and what do you get? Dropped GIMP with no suitable replacement and the excuse, "well it was too advanced for our dumb users anyway... but you can still install it manually from our repositories if you need it." Meanwhile, lightweight window managers and even desktop environments like Xfce and LXDE can breathe new life into the CD format, since they on their own require far less space than the big ones and therefore will more likely allow all the programs someone might expect, even on a CD. Once GNOME 3 is released, I'm guessing it'll be just as bad as KDE4 when it comes to disk usage. Mandriva has already had to make a new (third) European language pack CD for their "GNOME One" release to to space constraints of the CD format, and that's with GNOME 2.
I should clarify, though. Just because a distro requires a DVD (which implies a DVD burner and DVD+/-RW disc, as well as a DVD-ROM drive in the target machine), doesn't mean the OS should require the full ~4.4GB of disc space. In fact, if it does, in most cases... something is seriously wrong. Consider the fact that with today's compression for live discs, probably 8-12GB worth of software can be stored on a 4.4GB DVD... that's ridiculous. There is nothing wrong with going, say, 300-500MB over the typical 700MB max of a CD. But if you're going the full 4.4GB (ahem... KNOPPIX DVD and Sabayon) and your distro is seriously (and noticeably) suffering the bloat, then something is seriously wrong. You've gone overboard. ESPECIALLY for a live CD (installable or not). Traditional installers on DVD-sized images are fine though: Debian, Mandriva, openSUSE; they all allow you to install extra software or change your software selection completely if you want, but they do not install everything by default.
In conclusion: CD or DVD, I don't care. As long as it's not 4.4GB of mandatory-installed software.
Comment 20, 23 (and others): Some people have mentioned that the so-called "Debian Way" is to download the netinst CD and install from the Internet. OK, that has its advantages (only download what you need, be fully up-to-date from the start, etc.), but it also has some disadvantages: requires an Internet connection, requires re-downloading for every computer it is installed on, slower to install. Which is why I always downloaded the CD1 images of each desktop environment and CD2 to be safe, and now I just get the DVDs (if only for my OS collecting habit and for future amusement). Jigdo makes "updating" images, whether CD or DVD a breeze. I agree though, Debian is great. I'm running Squeeze/Testing right now.
54 • OpenIndiana & PC-BSD (by uz64 on 2011-01-18 03:54:57 GMT from United States)
It's good to hear news on these two operating systems. The new features in store for PC-BSD especially sound good, especially for their next major version. And OpenIndiana... I hope they overtake Oracle's "official" Solaris and become the "standard" Solaris system. Needless to say... yes, I do have something against Oracle.
55 • WTF? (by uz64 on 2011-01-18 04:04:35 GMT from United States)
"By going DVD, distros can include GNOME (not so sure about KDE4, it's pretty big compared to its predecessor, but it can be done...) and plenty of extra programs that people may expect but the developers may otherwise have had to drop due to space limitations."
Wow, that's a glaring WTF. I might as well point that out before everyone else does. Oh well--I'm drinking. What I meant is that by going DVD, distros can include the latest and greatest (and biggest) desktop environments while still including the programs people expect. In comparison, the CD is really starting to show its limitations with KDE(4), and will likely do the same with GNOME 3.
56 • Sn0wL1nuX (by aBsolutex3 on 2011-01-18 05:53:18 GMT from United States)
i just want to thank PF Yearwood for letting me be aware of the Apple wallpapers, i'll remove all the Apple (c) related wallpaper.
57 • Thank you (by Kailash on 2011-01-11 08:22:29 GMT from India) (by win2linconvert on 2011-01-18 06:07:33 GMT from United States)
From last week:
36 • @35 (by Kailash on 2011-01-11 08:22:29 GMT from India)
Press F12 and click on "Edit Site Preferences" OR
Menu -> Settings -> Quick Preferences -> Edit Site Preferences
Go to Network tab and choose from couple of options in "Browser Identification"
Hope that helps.
Worked like a charm. Thank you very much!
58 • DWW (by win2linconvert on 2011-01-18 06:10:34 GMT from United States)
Also like to say thanks for another interesting issue of DWW. And of course the comments section is always entertaining as well as informative also.
59 • RE: #56 thank you for understanding. (by PF Yearwood on 2011-01-18 06:20:56 GMT from United States)
I wish to commend aBsolutex3 for the prompt action on the the wallpaper. I am still testing his/her distro on VBox. While I most likely will not keep SL on its own hard drive, I may find an app that I will want to add to my Lucid system. I did find Pandora while testing Peppermint a few months ago. Is that not what Linux/GPL is about? Searching for the "Perfect Distro" or improving what you use?
Happy New Year
60 • Open source marches on (by eco2geek on 2011-01-18 08:01:05 GMT from United States)
This is a note to say "thanks" to those who contribute to and develop open-source software.
I have an old Compaq laptop with an ATI Radeon XPress 200M graphics chipset, and when it (and 3D compositing) was new, the proprietary driver was a PITA. Usually, trying to switch back and forth from a console window to X was all it took to crash the system. But for some time now, it's gotten acceptable 3D performance using the open-source radeon driver.
Next, it's got a Broadcom BCM4318 wireless chipset, which usually required futzing with ndiswrapper or (later) plugging in a network cable to get the firmware for use with b43-fwcutter. However, wireless networking has worked on it out of the box with the last two live CDs I've tried (one Ubuntu-based, the other Fedora 14-based).
Now that's progress.
P.S. to fewt - nice work on Fuduntu.
61 • DVD / GNOME / KDE / ... (by DG on 2011-01-18 08:15:54 GMT from Netherlands)
Obviously if a distro wants to offer a LiveCD / LiveDVD experience with all software
preloaded, all of the software needs to be on the disc.
However, for those people who have slow download links, it would make sense for
distros to offer a 'minimal' installation, where the installer runs in console or basic X11.
After all, downloading GNOME or KDE or whatever desktop should then be only a
yum / aptget / rpm / whatever away.
62 • #20 (by Niki Kovacs on 2011-01-18 09:25:35 GMT from France)
"Base system in 150MB and the choice for user. It's a pity that from DW top ten only Debian goes this way."
You forgot Arch. Ranks as #8 and goes *only* this way: install core system and let the user build the rest.
63 • #20 #62 (by musty on 2011-01-18 10:25:36 GMT from France)
Fedora also provide a net-install for both x86 ans x86_64. And even it provides a bfo.iso 'less than 700K which is independent from version (F12, f13 or f14) it is a boot from internet and works for me very well
64 • 32 Eric (by Tom on 2011-01-18 11:08:53 GMT from United Kingdom)
Arch and Slackware are famously the most difficult to install for a noob. Most people start with an "entry level" distros such as Ubuntu, Mint, Mandriva, openSUSE and then progress through a few distros before getting to Arch.
A few "distro-hoppers" would recommend having 1 stable distro for daily use while having a couple of spare partitions for trying out different distros and perhaps another partition for building up a dream distro from Arch or something. They can all share the same swap-partition and most distros only need about 5Gb or so. Ubuntu needs about 15Gb to be useful. The swap needs to be about 2xRam but more is pointless. Anything over Ram is a good size for swap really but people often double ram when they upgrade which is why i go for 2xRam.
If you chose Arch because of system-spec limitations then try a few smaller distros such as sliTaz, Wolvix Hunter 1.1.0
Wolvix 1.1.0 is quite old but has an excellent installer that teaches people a lot quite fast and tends to choose good defaults.
The best plan for any 'new' machine is to try booting up a few different distros straight from Cd/Dvd or Usb-stick to get a "Live Cd session".
Some wont work straight away and might need complex install tricks so put them aside and install the one that does work as a dual/multi-boot so that you can keep using your existing OS.
Good luck and regards from Tom :)
65 • @56 • Sn0wL1nuX (by aBsolutex3 (by meanpt on 2011-01-18 11:32:29 GMT from Portugal)
If I was you I wouldn't care about that cause there are many more apples mocaps around, not only for Linux (chamaleonOS) but also for windows 7
66 • oops (by Tom on 2011-01-18 11:46:58 GMT from United Kingdom)
Ooops that liveCd link should have been
I wanted to add sub-pages to that to cover the most recent or most stable or lTS (equiv) releases of a few different distros so that people could see screen-shots of the most radically different and an example of a standard style. Also i was hoping to find time to get the Ubuntu LTS screeenshots alongside the most recent 6monthly release.
Could anyone email me screenshots of the crucial steps in getting a LiveCd. I think Gif or png formats are better. Png is especially good if the bit-depth is reduced to make it lighter-weight and therefore faster to appear onscreen.
Ideally i would like to move this page to a DW help page or perhaps wikipedia. Either would mean taking the Ubuntu-specific stuff off & onto a sub-page. I thought 1 sub-page could cover a number of distros by having corresponding screenshots alongside each other in a table. I think about 3 or 4 pages could cover "typical examples" along with "unusual oddities".
Could DW host a couple of generic help pages to help people fresh into linux-land or wanting to become good distro-hoppers?
Regards from Tom :)
67 • Distro downloads that don't fit in a CD (by Anony Moss on 2011-01-18 12:00:03 GMT from India)
Wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments of those who are opposing distro images greater than what would fit in a CD.
1) Larger downloads => more time on slow bandwidth connections. And believe it, many of us 'testers' tend to be short on patience :-)
2) I don't have a DVD writer on my old laptop! And I'm sure I'm in good company. If I don't have a fast connection, a DVD writer is of limited use to me anyway.
3) Owing to 1. and 2. above, distro developers cut down on their target audience, participation and popularity.
4) As others have pointed out, feature creep and redundancy. Why have five video players that are half baked? This takes additional space, is harder to test, develop, integrate, bug-fix; and after all that work, *isses the lay user when a the application does not work correctly.
On another note, I type from KDE 4.5.4 on Fedora 13, and it has been performing very well indeed. KDE is getting ready for showtime now- they should keep the focus on performance and feature completeness. An excellent free software product. Second only to Firefox in my opinion. Keep up the good work.
68 • @67 (by Anony Moss on 2011-01-18 12:10:56 GMT from India)
Sorry, using Fedora 14 not 13, as incorrectly stated in the above post.
Also, on the issue of ISO image sizes, I'd much like to try and test Pardus, but for the images that won't fit on a CD.
And good news- Xfce 4.8 is released! Now the slack based distro releases using Xfce shall be something to look forward to.
69 • Cds (by Tom on 2011-01-18 12:39:23 GMT from United Kingdom)
Yes, i prefer Cd or smaller. The smaller the image the less likely it is to go wrong. Core functionality and then perhaps a 2nd Cd or Dvd for a wider range of apps, DEs and languages.
Alternatively the Cd could have a menu of easy to install recommended apps. Or the package manager could be easy to reach with a category for recommended apps?
Even something as large as a Cd, such as Ubuntu, is large enough to create problems. Even with Cds people find using slow burn speeds is contra-intuitive. Dvds tend to be written at much higher speeds, even their minimum is too fast. Then add that dvd/cdd-drives lose boot functionality faster than read/write functionality, although they can often still handle something small like sliTaz. If we want to push people away and stop them trying linux then large Dvds are excellent. This could be one reason why Ubuntu stays so far ahead of other distros.
Regards from Tom :)
70 • @69 (by Anony Moss on 2011-01-18 14:05:55 GMT from India)
Good points, and some of them I was not aware of, about DVDs.
"Or the package manager could be easy to reach with a category for recommended apps?"
Again, an excellent point. Package managers are already getting friendly, so that is good to see.
Another old crib when coming to package managers is- please, and I say this again- please- migrate over to delta-rpms for those that haven't. It saves poor users much bandwidth, time and heartache. It is practically guaranteed that the distro popularity will increase in countries where bandwidth availability is limited and/or expensive.
71 • CD size vs DVD (by Barnabyh on 2011-01-18 14:35:41 GMT from Germany)
It could be agued that if a distribution has to go over the CD limit just to accommodate a desktop environment and a few useful programs on top then that DE has definitely become too big.
KDE 4 appears very useful in Chakra, Fedora 14, PCLOS, Debian Live, amongst others, and they all still fit on a CD. Fedora and Ubuntu still manage Gnome on one Cd as well, but Fedora including NE but Planer in the office section, poor show, but then they include packs for almost every language so that´s a factor. Does not seem to be a problem with their KDE4 though. Some feeling tells me that Gnome is already bigger than KDE. Paradoxically it appears faster in daily use on the desktop, I hate the lag opening a menu in KDE. Almost like the old ´doze days when people used to hack the registry to get instant response, on top of disabling sliding/fading menus.
Anyway, CD size is the way to go, for many users in so-called 3rd world countries (or 2nd world) and for the poor hobbyist. Nothing worse than dl´íng 2GB only to find out it won´t boot for you.
72 • CD size vs DVD size (by Jmirles on 2011-01-18 15:22:31 GMT from United States)
When properly done, having the DVD is very handy. Some of the distros have all of the popular DE/WM's available on one DVD. Mandriva did this plus they also offer the single DE/WM on CD's.
I liked it since it allowed me to test different DE's/WM's on a single download. I especially like it when the distro would just have apps for that particular DE/WM. I dislike using KDE apps in Gnome, etc.
I would download the DVD overnight and in the morning, when getting ready for work, I would burn the image to a DVD. When I got back from work, I had my DVD to play with.
73 • 'Debian/Arch way' (by #32 on 2011-01-18 16:29:26 GMT from United States)
I've actually used an installer similar to Debian/Arch through PC-BSD. Unfortunately it took forever and a day to install, and didn't boot on my old hardware on top of everything. The fact that the old machine didn't boot from DVD's was the reason I went with PC-BSDs alternate install plan, but everything seems to hate that old hardware. Anyway, I suspect there are even more OSes besides PC-BSD, Debian, and Arch where this is an option. Sadly not being able to boot to a live environment sure doesn't help check the comparability of the kind of oddball hardware where those kind of installers might otherwise be ideal.
74 • Re. 69 (by uz64 on 2011-01-18 16:50:27 GMT from United States)
"Yes, i prefer Cd or smaller. The smaller the image the less likely it is to go wrong."
I'm not so sure how you come to that conclusion. If you're talking about download errors--do you check the MD5SUM (or SHA1SUM, etc.) before burning it to disc? Whether the image is 200MB, 700MB, 1.5GB, 2GB or even 4.4GB, you should *always* check the checksum to make sure the entire file was downloaded successfully. This will prevent coasters. If the image tests OK, the burning should be smooth as long as your system is not overloaded and/or low on power and resources.
"Even something as large as a Cd, such as Ubuntu, is large enough to create problems."
I have honestly never come across a properly-downloaded CD image that gave me problems burning or required burning at a lower speed. I always burn at max speed, whether CD (40/52X depending on drive) or DVD (16X), and the disc always tests good.
I think it's specifically the "live" CDs/DVDs that some people recommend slower settings while burning, because they are typically highly compressed into one big compressed filesystem. And to make it more confusing--some CD burners' optimal speed is *not* the absolute minimum, so going that low with a modern drive may actually *cause* problems.
Moral of the story? If your drive does have problems reading burnt discs of live CDs, try to use the "standard" installer version. They are not set up with a massive compressed filesystem, just the base ISO-9660, and are more fault-tolerant as a result. Live CDs are cool and can be extremely useful, but they have their downsides. And although I haven't come across this one, well, it is possible on some disc burner/writer combinations.
75 • 73 Old Hardware (by Tom on 2011-01-18 16:52:57 GMT from United Kingdom)
How old? More relevantly, what is the cpu speed and Ram size?
Have you tried sliTaz, Knoppix, Wolvix Hunter 1.1.0, Puppy? Those 4 seem to boot on almost anything.
Regards from Tom :)
76 • CD or DVD, Swap Size, ect. (by Eddie on 2011-01-18 16:53:24 GMT from United States)
On the subject of CD size vs DVD size, I don't really see a problem. It was said that DVD size distros would deter any new ones from trying a Linux distro because of the size of the distro. I don't see where that comes from. People that are interested in Linux will not base their decision on disc size. If that's the case then Debian is in trouble. For instance at OSDisc.com Debian is 5 DVDs or 30 CDs.You could do a netinstall or a minimal install but you had better have a good internet connection and only be installing on one computer. It seems that OSDisc.com is the best option for new users, slow or no internet connections or if you install on many computers. Most computers that have been built in the last ten years have a DVD R/W installed or a DVD Rom / CD R/W combo. If it's a DVD Rom then OSDisc.com is a good option. If the hardware is older then that a person will use a small distro anyway, so again disc size is irrelevant. Disto hoppers may say that they can't afford to order from OSDisc.com whenever they want to try a distro. Distro hopping, most of the time, is done for fun and is not a necessity so if you are going to play then you have to pay. It's not any more complicated then that. Personally I've never had any more trouble booting DVDs than I have CDs. I know in theory DVDs should be harder to read or boot but that just hasn't happened to me, yet. I do believe that that the best way for someone who downloads their distro is to use a USB flash drive to install.
@64: Tom, I noticed that you stated that your swap space size should be 2xRAM. That would make it 8 Gigs for me. Why in the world would I need 8 Gigs for swap space. It could be needed, I just don't know for what.
77 • Forgot in Re. 74: (by uz64 on 2011-01-18 17:01:54 GMT from United States)
Forgot to mention, some blank discs just work better in certain brands of CD/DVD drives. I have always had success with Memorex discs in all my drives for years now, and would never switch to something else unless the quality started noticeably deteriorating and a higher percentage of coasters were produced. If you haven't considered the brand and get some no-name cheap pack... who knows, that could be part of the problem (if it isn't your drive). Not all recordable CDs/DVDs are made equal.
78 • Re. 76 (by uz64 on 2011-01-18 17:08:42 GMT from United States)
Actually, if you look at the current "testing" directories on Debian's FTP servers, Debian Squeeze is currently around 8 DVDs big. Compared to, as you said, 5 DVDs for the current release (Lenny) and IIRC 3 DVDs for the previous version, Etch.
I would say that Debian is one of those distros that does it right though; everything you need is on DVD 1. The next most popular (ie. likely to be installed) is on DVD 2. And so on. It's not perfect, but it's nice. [Example: There are tons of language packs that I would consider useless on disc 2, yet several useful programs scattered across discs 3 and 4 (maybe even 5).]
79 • RE #77 DVD images (by Anonymous on 2011-01-18 17:26:39 GMT from United States)
Not all DVD drives are created equal either. LG doesn't seem to like to boot disks burned in a Samsung for some reason and the other way around. But external USB/Firewire drives seem to be better supported across all machines that is if the machine allows booting from external devices which is another problem.
It would be nice if Live DVD distros supported Grub4dos and allowed updating the DVD image installed on a USB key, then all problems would be solved. Get the key set the way you want it and install it quickly and up to date on all machines.
80 • Linux generally... (by Ariya on 2011-01-18 17:37:47 GMT from Sri Lanka)
Well, Zorin os 4 is much nicer than Ubuntu it is based on. Sorry to say, you may have to change your hardware. It worked quite well and the 1st time and still doing well today. (The laptop is Acer Aspire 4741G with Intel i3-330M) This Zorin OS4 is quite good for anyone, who doesn't know much about computers. They don't have to install it by themselves, but can ask someone else, can't they? We cannot judge the OS by the hardware we own, right?
Simply Mepis has a problem of thinking that it is the best. It is not, but its fork AntiX is much better, and user friendly! Arch (and other Linuxes) must get out of the thinking that everyone is a geek or somewhere near a geek, but that most of the users are just users! Simple ordinary people, who like to have a computer that just works with whatever the OS in it and as far as one doesn't have to pay ransom to Mr. B Gates, anything goes, right?
It would be much better if every developer of a Linux distribution stop adding a plethora of programs that they think we should have, but tell us users how to download them separately and install them in our Linux distro! For example, why should a Linux distro be like a cow like MS windows? Sorry cows!
It would be much better, if all stop trying to be better than the "other" distro, but spend their energy in developing excellent programs. Let us decide what we want and keep the "distro" smaller. That would be one way of showing why the MS Windows is such a cow! Sorry cows!
My saying something good about Zorin OS4 might look somewhat not correct on what I wrote above, but that guy Zorin is trying to give a OS that any grandma would work with. It is NOT for just for any MS Windows defector, but for any new ones too, who had never seen a computer before. Let's say it is such a nice distro (not an OS, but a distro) which I won't let go, even if he stops making more of that.
As we talk about freedom as free air, I think we should stop whining about Mark Shuttleworth's decision to change Gnome for Unity. Mark should also have the right to do whatever he likes too, for that's freedom as free beer or air. If not for him and his Ubuntu, we'd be still serfs of Mr. B gates, don't we?
81 • relevance? (by Tom on 2011-01-18 17:53:53 GMT from United Kingdom)
@76 Eddie, My post 64 specifically referred to post 32 so strangely enough i also didn't cover the different requirements of linux servers, tablets, hand-helds, phones, embedded devices or any other unlikely hardware.
@74 uz64 & @76 Eddie
It is great to hear that your limited experience with 1 or 2 machines has not given you any problems so far. If you had dealt with hundreds of cases in forums and in the real world then you might have noticed patterns.
Knowledge of theory, tech manuals produced by manufacturers and what "should" or "shouldn't" happen often disagrees with the truth on the ground. People and machines are not perfect. Testing downloads doesn't fix anything and doesn't guarantee the person burns a perfect copy on their hardware with whatever Cd/dvd they happened to have at hand.
@77 uz64 Oddly i have always found people have more success making a LiveCd from the cheapest "write once" Cds that are so cheap you can't even buy them singly. Perhaps that is just because i don't care so much when they become coasters as burning another is no problem. I haven't dealt with anyone using memorex which makes me suspect you could be right.
Regards from Tom :)
82 • re#76,64 Swap size. (by hab on 2011-01-18 18:12:01 GMT from Canada)
The discussion/argument about swap space is, i think a little obscure to the newer/newish *nix junkies among us. Swap was originally intended to extend the amount of physical system ram. More memory if you will, to run proggies in. This is really useful on the 'Back In The Day' machines that had kilobytes or somewhat more recently, megabytes of ram. When i came to Linux (1995) the advice was to size swap, partition or file to about 1.5 times the size of physical ram. On a 32 meg machine use a 128 meg swap size. This is a variable because ultimately ram required is a function of memory the os needs along with the memory requirements of software the system needs to run for the machine to be useful.
On a modern dual/multi core processor with perhaps 2 or more gigs of ram and a normal desktop machine's load i seriously doubt that the system would ever dip into swap. I know on my old p4 2.4 1 g ram never goes into swap.
On machines i assemble now with multi gig ram and half terrabyte harddrives i configure for a swap 'file' of half a gig and leave it a that. So far its worked out.
For more on swap files see here: http://www.linux.com/archive/feature/113956
83 • Swap space (by Jesse on 2011-01-18 18:28:40 GMT from Canada)
Swap space will vary a lot depending on your needs. For years the general rule was twice the size of the machine's RAM, but RAM size was a lot lower then.
I usually recommend people set up as much swap space as they have RAM, maybe more for notebook computers. That way if the user puts the computer into hibernation there is enough swap space to accommodate whatever is in RAM.
84 • Swap or "Virtual Memory" (by Tom on 2011-01-18 18:55:59 GMT from United Kingdom)
Well, as i said more than 2xRam is a waste of hard-dive space.
Some distros such as Ubuntu use up a lot of ram so it's worth having some swap if you use one of them. With Ubuntu if you have 2Gb Ram or less and not a super-fast cpu or hard-drive read/write time then it is worth having a fairly decent swap partition somewhere near the front of your hard-drive especally if you really push multimedia, virtual machines, gaming.
Swap also gets used if you hibernate or sleep the machine; in which case Ram tends to get copied to swap. Hibernate or sleep is a really horrible dodgy thing to use and i have noticed on one machine that it actually uses up more battery and takes longer than a proper shut-down & boot. Most people doing performance testing must stop their timers before the machine stops drawing power or perhaps the one machine i tested this on was weird somehow (not unlikely).
So, even if a machine doesn't really need swap i tend to advise giving it at least a Ram-sized swap at the end of the drive. Twice Ram is good if they are likely to upgrade their ram soon. Hmm, what about a large ram set-up? Well these people are likely to also have a large hard-drive and probably wouldn't notice <1% of it being 'wasted' on swap. They probably have more in their wastebasket than that.
The thing i find really ironic about all this is that
1. Linux files don't suffer from fragmentation so we could be using swap files instead, although they wouldn't be so easy to share in multi-boots. But we don't, well not often. Also OpenSource programs tend to be much more efficient and use far less resources so it is rare for us to need a swap at all.
2. Windows does squander resources such as ram so it needs swap (which it refers to as "virtual memory") and it suffers terribly from fragmentation. It can't defrag system-files except through 3rd party apps such as Perfect Disk unless Win7 has got something more advanced than the rest. It is possible to set virtual memory to stay a static size and therefore not get fragmented so much but it's discouraged and is not the default. Yet Windows uses a file "pagefile.sys" instead of a swap partition!
So the OSes that don't really need it, as a partition, do have it jic. The one OS that desperately needs it, doesn't!
Regards from Tom :)
85 • Re. 81 (by uz64 on 2011-01-18 18:56:29 GMT from United States)
"@74 uz64 & @76 Eddie
It is great to hear that your limited experience with 1 or 2 machines has not given you any problems so far. If you had dealt with hundreds of cases in forums and in the real world then you might have noticed patterns."
I'm telling you, if you have such problems with burning DVDs and being able to read and boot from them on another computer, if it isn't the poor media, it is the drive. Simple really, and a relatively cheap fix. But it's best to start cheaper and troubleshoot with a different brand of media (maybe your drive is fine, but doesn't like Brand X), which is why I recommended that first to try.
Fix the problem, whether it's a faulty drive or bad media, and your troubles burning and reading Linux discs will disappear instantly. A more expensive but "easier" route for some people would be to buy an external USB drive. The drives an OEM puts in their computers, in my experience, suck. They *usually* work though (with varying levels of quality), with one major, glaring exception.
The only problem I ever came across when trying to boot a Linux CD was on one computer with its stock CD/DVD drive. A cheap, crappy Compaq (not mine), which would boot the OEM's Windows XP disc just fine, but not a single Linux distro's CD would boot. It would just boot right into Windows on the hard drive after trying to "read" any bootable disc. Every... single... distro. Replaced that crappy, generic drive, and boom! Every disc I put in from there on booted fine.
This is probably the closest I've come to your "Linux CDs won't boot" scenario, and it was the result of a crappy drive (maybe crippled by design?)--as I predicted early in the troubleshooting process. It was an easy prediction, since I have *never* come across a computer whose CD/DVD drive wouldn't properly read and boot from the discs I made in my burners. And on top of that, my drives have tended to produce good copies the vast majority of the time.
Here is a topic on another forum that might help you pinpoint the most reliable brands of CD-R media if you're interested:
It lists Memorex as "variable" quality (depending on who they buy their discs from to re-brand), but they've been solid as a rock for me for almost a decade that I've been using them. There are actually ways to tell what company manufactured a specific spindle of discs just by looking at the design of the casing, but I won't get into that. Imation gave me inconsistent performance (one burn would be good; the next a coaster), but I haven't bothered with them since the late 1990s. Sony has also given me poor performance, the few discs I used by them. I think it's safe to say that if you have problems with many of those, then your drive deserves to be smashed and thrown to the curb (or at least used only for reading discs, not booting operating systems).
86 • DVD vs CD (by Penguin on 2011-01-18 19:07:45 GMT from Poland)
“Which would be great if it were true, even a half-hearted cursory glance through the installation media of other distributions shows network installation media.”
Yes, but only Debian base cd 150M offers an installation of core system without network connection.
@62 I meant DW major distributions list. This link. There is no Arch, that I like BTW
87 • choice and diversity (by Tom on 2011-01-18 19:11:34 GMT from United Kingdom)
This swap debate is a bit difficult because different answers suit different circumstances and requirements. We are all right, even Eddie, and the defaults set by most distros is usually good enough for all of us.
Windows on the other hand sets up appalling defaults that guarantee the system will noticeably slow-down quick quickly but will take a repair shop only a fairly small time to "fix" on a regular basis (unless they really solve the problem which takes longer)
88 • Re. 87 (by uz64 on 2011-01-18 19:28:30 GMT from United States)
"Windows on the other hand sets up appalling defaults that guarantee the system will noticeably slow-down quick quickly but will take a repair shop only a fairly small time to "fix" on a regular basis (unless they really solve the problem which takes longer)"
You nailed that one. :)
Between the swapping right from the start when there is plenty of memory free, to the automatically-adjusting (ie. fragmenting) page file in Windows, I don't know which is worse... nevermind factoring the inevitable viruses and other malware into the equation.
89 • ZorinOS (by RayRay on 2011-01-18 19:58:01 GMT from United States)
Beautiful Job! Works well, not for everyone. Ubuntu is a good base distro but some people don't like it's appearance. Although Ubuntu is easily reconfigured, some people don't have the time or inclination to change the look of a distro. These people are well served by distros like Zorin, Pinguy, MoonOS or even LinuxMint. Probably if you enjoy using and testing linux distros, networking, servers or programming languages, perhaps your objectivity is somewhat compromised. I installed PCLinuxOS on my daughters laptop a couple of years ago and about a year ago she bought a Dell with Vista on it. I fired up that old laptop and to my surprise the only change from my original install was the wallpaper. As long as her browser worked and she could access the internet she was satisfied. And by the way she is still using Vista. So when it stops working I'll probably install OpenSUSE maybe Debian Squeeze or just maybe the latest Zorin. Which ever looks best at that time.
Nicely done Jesse, we all have our preferences so analyzing and reviewing an OS will never please everyone, but I'm happy to see you were objective and went past those initial snags.
90 • I won't comment about this Distro, but... (by forlin on 2011-01-18 23:35:18 GMT from Portugal)
I won't comment about this Distro. It appeared at Nov. last year in DW waiting list and had some comments in here. One or two "prominent" commenter didn't like it, Ladislav included. It's last beta had 2 thousand downloads in 10 days. The reason I couldn't resist to comment about it it's because it just addresses all those who prefer a minimal install and let the user choose everything else. More importantly. It has what I always hoped to see once in a distro: an off line installer. Go to its site, choose your application and install it live, or download it and install later. And more. Its in its way to become the first multicore distro ever: a bunto core + an Arch core. Then, Enlightenment on top of it, with weekly updates. Hope Ladislav will give it a second chance.
91 • @ 84 (by Brandon Sniadajewski on 2011-01-19 00:34:00 GMT from United States)
I'll give you that on Windows. There is a way to set virtual memory to another drive. on Win7, Go to Control Panel (Classic) > System > Advanced System Properties > Advanced tab > Settings under Performance > Advanced > Change. On mine, I have it set to 0 MB. That's right, no pagefile. With 2 Gigs RAM and a C2D, Windows works well without it.
92 • DVDs vs. CDs, Unity, and Zorin (by eco2geek on 2011-01-19 00:42:15 GMT from United States)
For those of us with broadband connections and computers equipped with DVD burners, the issue of whether a distro is too big to fit on a CD isn't that big of a deal. Blank CD and (single-layer) DVD media cost about the same.
That said, one does wonder, on the one hand, why a GNOME-based distro with a live DVD would omit something like the gconf-editor utility. (Hell, if you're going to expand to a DVD, why not use more of the space on the DVD?) On the other hand, it's often been said that languages take up a lot of space on an Ubuntu CD. How much space is that, exactly?
Regarding Ubuntu+Unity: I put it on my netbook and then decided to go back to the regular GNOME UI. Unity looks great for use with a touchscreen, so maybe someone should come out with a Unity-based tablet. Other than that, it's a step back to less functionality. Why you'd want to make it the UI of a desktop PC is, so far, beyond me. If my PC popped up a message during installation informing me, "Due to the sad state of your graphics card, we're going to revert you back to a more functional UI," I'd say, thanks!
Unfortunately, it looks like they're coming out with a version of Unity that doesn't require 3D acceleration instead. Gotta love Canonical's top-down version of progress.
Re: Zorin: There are now a ton of Ubuntu-based distros. Zorin is interesting in that it uses GnoMenu and its panel settings in order to emulate Windows 7. It isn't terribly bloated (I'm looking at you, Pinguy OS), and it comes with a few interesting utilities. It's worth checking out.
93 • Debian Squeeze release date (by Mike Harden on 2011-01-19 00:47:44 GMT from United States)
From the Debian mailing lists, looks like Feb 5th or 6th.
94 • Swap (again). (by jake on 2011-01-19 04:05:25 GMT from United States)
As others have noted, "back in the day" it was standard procedure to set swap to twice system RAM. This changed when 128-256 Megs of system RAM started becoming common. Today, with multi-gig RAM setups, most folks only need a swap file/partition for systems that run applications that are heavily RAM intensive (extremely heavy multimedia work and/or kernel hacking come to mind). There are also a few legacy applications that are hard-wired to use swap.
This heavily used near seven year old laptop has 2 gigs of RAM. When I first installed Linux on it (Slackware 9.0 or 9.1), I setup a 256Meg swap partition. To the best of my knowledge, with the exception of a couple of legacy apps, it has never been touched.
My wife's identical machine, running Slackware 13.0, has 512 megs of RAM and no swap. She creates videos of horses we have for sale on a regular basis, maintains her web site, watches incoming horse videos, listens to music (sometimes) and hasn't had any problems. Likewise, my near 75-year old Mum, and 95+ year old Great Aunt are running Slackware on similar machines, with no swap & no problems. I suspect swap, for most users with modern equipment, is superfluous.
For Windows, I used to always set the Min & Max size for the swapfile to the same value (usually around 1.5 or 2.0 times system RAM, but there were exceptions in both directions). This kept the file from fragmenting *on* *the* *drive*. Internally, it typically needed R&Ring every 2-4 months, depending on computer usage.
 Yes, "used to". As of January 1, 2010, I no longer take on Windows contracts. My bank balance & blood pressure have both improved as a result ...
95 • Swap (by Jack on 2011-01-19 12:11:36 GMT from Canada)
Swap space is rarely used by the typical modern desktop system. Add a swap monitor to your taskbar to verify. I haven't used a swap partition on any desktop over 512MB for the last 5 years. I only use swap on notebooks, to allow hibernation. And IIRC, memory is compressed during the hibernation process, so you typically don't even need a 1:1 swap size to memory allocation.
96 • Zorin and a shameless self promotion (by claudecat on 2011-01-19 12:39:09 GMT from United States)
Greetings all... I have tried Zorin, and even have it still installed on my way too many drives. It struck me as interesting, but much less polished than something like Mint or even PCLOS. Still, a few nice little additions that could one day become mainstream.
On another note, I started a blog over at wordpress... literally nobody has visited yet, so I invite everyone to read my thoughts on linux and life in general from the perspective of a non-programmer kinda guy. It's at http://claudecat.wordpress.com/ and has only a bit of content, mainly a Mint review and some background on me, but I hope some of you will look at it.
BTW, I liked this issue of weekly better than most because I've never been able to get BSD to work for me (not exactly a genius here), but I will always try the latest flavor of linux, even if it is yet another Ubuntu clone.
Even one comment on my wordpress site will guarantee further drivel. That the page has been up since 1/1/11 with no comments just proves my utter lack of social skills.
I remain claudecat
97 • claudecat posting (by Tom on 2011-01-19 15:16:28 GMT from United Kingdom)
Hi :) I posted a comment. I couldn't think of anything useful so i just mentioned Wine
98 • Suggestion: Laptop power management (by Quan on 2011-01-19 15:38:49 GMT from United States)
Laptops/notebooks/netbooks are more common today. These machines tend to run very hot, especially when viewing flash-based video online.
I think it would be interesting if DistroWatch could do an article on how to keep your laptops running cool with power management. What tools are available for Intel and AMD-based machines? How to set up one?
I noticed some distros run cooler than the others. For example, right now I am on Macbuntu 10 with just Firefox running and the sensors show:
Adapter: Virtual device
temp1: +67.0°C (crit = +103.0°C)
temp2: +67.0°C (crit = +120.0°C)
Adapter: PCI adapter
temp1: +71.9°C (high = +70.0°C)
If I were to watch flash-based video, the temperature would eventually go very high to even shutdown the machine after several hours. I don't know it would happen under Windows on the same machine since I haven't run Windows for ages.
Anyway, I think it would be helpful to have an article addressing this issue.
99 • Power management (by Fewt on 2011-01-19 15:54:24 GMT from United States)
@98, you can try installing Jupiter, I have been told that it works with Ubuntu 10.x - http://sourceforge.net/projects/jupiter/
@eco2geek, thank you.
100 • Hardware (by #32/73 on 2011-01-19 16:31:34 GMT from United States)
@ #75, Well as of the time that I tried to put the last few OSes on my junker I think the main stumbling block was the crap CPU, of course before that the original TNT video card was hated by both Win XP and Linux alike. In fact I wouldn't have been able to get the current XP service pack working on that old thing had I not swapped out the video card to try and get Linux running. And #85 may have the answer to my DVD boot problem because the current DVD RW drive actually comes from a junked Gateway, so another drive may get the thing booting DVD distros. At least it's all worthless/free hardware so all I'm spending is time, although I've not worked on that machine in a while.
101 • grub 2 (by Anonymous on 2011-01-19 16:48:34 GMT from Germany)
why grub2 can not boot grub1 distributions ? this is very bad thing.
102 • RE #101 GRUB2 (by Anonymous on 2011-01-19 18:15:31 GMT from United States)
I have the same problem, my Debian install won't boot after I installed Fedora 14 on another partition. I'm currently resorting to using a Grub4Dos floppy and choosing between the Distros. Not a perfect solution but it does work. I may try and install Grub4Dos on the MBR and see if that works or I may give up on Fedora again but I was liking their improvements. I can't go back to OpenGnu that was on that partition before.
103 • GRUB (by Landor on 2011-01-19 19:02:44 GMT from Canada)
I never, let me repeat that, never! (knowingly) let any secondary installs touch my MBR, ever!
Instead of letting your installs arbitrarily take over the MBR with each new install, you should just pick one version of GRUB and learn to manually configure it. It's faster than what you're going through/plan as a fix, and will save you a whole lot of headaches. I'd also recommend that you pick GRUB instead of GRUB 2 as it's a lot easier to edit/deal with/learn than GRUB 2. So, for 102, keep your Fedora installed GRUB for the MBR.
Here's a link to a great tutorial. If you read through it you'll see it shows you exactly how to configure GRUB to boot GRUB 2 or GRUB 2 to boot GRUB.
Keep your stick on the ice...
104 • RE: 103/Link (Oops!) (by Landor on 2011-01-19 19:05:10 GMT from Canada)
I forgot the Link! lol
Keep your stick on the ice...
105 • I had to smile at that one Tom (by Eddie on 2011-01-19 19:50:10 GMT from United States)
"@74 uz64 & @76 Eddie
It is great to hear that your limited experience with 1 or 2 machines has not given you any problems so far. If you had dealt with hundreds of cases in forums and in the real world then you might have noticed patterns."
That made my day Tom. You are correct about limited experience but that is just in the use of Linux. I've only been using it for appox. 7 years. I'm not much of a programmer either except for automation and robotics. Other than that I've been working on computer hardware since the early 80s and that's in the real world, not on forums. Anyway I do stick by what I've said and that is disc size is irrelevant. If the hardware is working properly and the media is good, then it will work regardless.
Enough on this subject.
Good Day All
106 • MBR (by Anonymous on 2011-01-19 22:51:48 GMT from Portugal)
If you loose it, don't panic. Burn a "supergrub" disk and you'll get it back with any problem at all. And never forget the golden rule: backup, backup, backup what you cannot afford to lose.
107 • RE: 106 (by Landor on 2011-01-19 23:00:54 GMT from Canada)
"Burn a "supergrub" disk and you'll get it back with any problem at all."
There's far easier ways to dealing with a lost MBR. Booting from the install CD and entering Rescue Mode, etc... (I don't like that one), or chroot from a LiveCD and re-installing GRUB. Both are a lot quicker than burning a CD and then going through a similar process. It's also far better to know how to fix it all instead of using another utility to make up for someone's inability to fix something themselves. :)
Keep your stick on the ice...
108 • @107: Why? (by Anonymous on 2011-01-19 23:51:40 GMT from Portugal)
Supergrub or Landor way.
Choice is good
109 • REF: 99 • Power management (by Quan on 2011-01-20 01:12:13 GMT from United States)
Thanks for the tip.
I give it a shot
110 • RE: 93/108 (by Landor on 2011-01-20 02:23:09 GMT from Canada)
Thank You, I've been waiting for this. I might actually even be ever so slightly excited.
One reason is that I believe the gNewSense 3.0 release shouldn't be too far behind it then as I do believe it's going to be based on Debian 6.0. I won't be using gNewSense myself, but I like to see some of the things that the Libre crew do to their builds, then possibly emulate them in my own free build(s). Debian is super easy to make totally free (Libre), more so now with the free kernel, just use the main/contrib repositories, though I only use main.
Another reason is the release of Xfce 4.8. The two coincide with my plans for switching to a hybrid desktop build using a super lightweight window manager and components from Xfce, mainly, but not only, the panel.
It's not the Landor way, it's the well known/standard way of doing things, rescue disk, or mounting the partition from another install/CD and reinstalling GRUB, or as is my preference as I said, chroot from a LiveCD and then reinstalling GRUB.
It's no different than pretty well everyone should learn to use vi/vim, standards with a Unix-Like system. :)
Keep your stick on the ice...
111 • REF# 107 Fixing MBR (by Verndog on 2011-01-20 03:45:39 GMT from United States)
I've been a big fan of another program to fix my MBR boot. Especially SGD.
If you do then your dependent on it forever. Its best to understand how you MBR is booting and then fix it yourself.
If you want to run a program, I would suggest running boot_info_script. It shows all aspects of you MBR.
112 • Tutorials (by Anonymous on 2011-01-20 03:52:40 GMT from United States)
Yes I also would like a tutorial on power management/efficiency, and possibly on chroots.
Thanks for DWW!
113 • MBR (by Anonymous on 2011-01-20 04:57:34 GMT from Portugal)
@ 103, Landor said: I never, let me repeat that, never! (knowingly) let any secondary installs touch my MBR, ever!
I say: I'm not as unix proficient as obviously Landor is. In fact I don't care about cli.
But I never feared about MBR and I don't really care. I've a supergrub disk always at hand. It's a tool, like any other one, for an end. I've used it more than once. Always successfully.
Using a tool or using
"the well known/standard way of doing things, rescue disk, or mounting the partition from another install/CD and reinstalling GRUB, or as is my preference as I said, chroot from a LiveCD and then reinstalling GRUB. "
at the end is the same.
114 • Grub issue (by dive.ed on 2011-01-20 04:58:25 GMT from United States)
I have 14 partitions set up over three hard drives for testing different distros. As Landor suggests, I use a custom menu that often has over 14 entries and try to keep secondary installs from touching my MBR. They do not always cooperate and on a few occasions I have had it overwritten by an install.
For that reason I keep a CD of Supergrub2 in my tool kit. It gets me right back into my primary OS and I restore my MBR from there with my custom menu in one shot.
While I agree with the comments that Grub is somewhat easier than Grub2 to work with, I like Grub2's ability to boot most live ISO images right from the hard drive. As an example I always have a menu entry for an ISO image of PartedMagic. This lets me quickly make changes to my partitions if I want to.
When I want to test a live os that I think I'll want to install, I download it and write a menu entry for it and that's it. Boot it up and if I like it, put it on on of my test partitions. No need to burn CD/DVD and no issues with CD/DVD drive.
115 • Linux generally... (by Ariya on 2011-01-20 07:03:12 GMT from Sri Lanka)
Operating systems should be for any user, even for grandmas! Linux tend to be for geeks of those, who'd love to tinker, but not everyone is a geek or even want to be one.
How many vehicle drivers know, where is what in a vehicle?
Bill gates make one copy, and then copy that millions times, and still has the billions of $s. MS Windows still is a MINIMALISTIC OS, for it does not have any programs, other than a dvd player, a music player, webbrowser and a note book, but it is sold in millions.
Linux based distros are free, but how many want to test them and use them? Mark Shuttleworth had done some good, for Ubuntu is known now a well as MS Windows and many have a partition with it.
Let Mark ahs his freedom and make his Unity!
I am using it and it is good!
Stop fussing about that guy Zorin and/or JuLinux guy!!!
116 • grub2 (by Tom on 2011-01-20 10:23:44 GMT from United Kingdom)
Ahh, that explains the grub2 mailing list suddenly going on about multi-boot systems. My guess is they are working on getting grub2 working with distros that don't use grub2.
117 • Grub2 and Grub OS (by dive.ed on 2011-01-20 15:48:04 GMT from United States)
Some people think that Grub2 doesn't work with a Grub OS. This is false and the excellent tutorial that Landor provided the link for @104 above goes into detail on how to do it.
What does not always work correctly is the OS prober built into Grub2. I've never tried to look closely at how it works because I do not use it but it appears to just copy the Linux and initrd command lines from the OS it has found. If these lines have any reference by partition to the partition the OS is placed on it will not work since Grub counts partitions from "0" and Grub2 from "1". If you edit the partition reference they will work. Ed
118 • RE: #102 & GRUB & MBR (by Anonymous on 2011-01-20 17:57:47 GMT from United States)
I think the bigger problem is Fedora still doesn't bring up a GRUB menu it just goes right into Fedora. I do believe there is a hot key but it does not wait for it. You have to know it and be pretty quick. It would be nice if there was a download-able fix in the repositories or better yet on the live CD/DVD or a check box on the install.
119 • Fedora instaler (by Anonymous on 2011-01-20 21:27:39 GMT from Portugal)
Fedora always evaluate perfectionism. I remember that one of the targets for its F14 release was an innovative and brand new installer. It happen that it was not ready and was postponed at the last minute. Certainly it will be one of the main F15 features.
120 • snow linux melting as this is posted? (by Badman on 2011-01-21 00:04:11 GMT from United States)
Yeah I know linux fans are sometimes not fans of IP rights but the dev of snow linux is using an image of a snow leopard that looks like a complete copy of Apple's! I mean you're kidding me right? Only it's not the 1st of April yet in my reality, but I'm guessing that Apple's lawyers will be contacting said dev long before that date. Go ahead and flame me but wacky stuff like this only further erodes trust in open source and linux.
121 • @120 - a complete copy (by Anonymous on 2011-01-21 07:15:28 GMT from Portugal)
Badman; You're proofing my theory is right. I mean, the guy who invented the wheel should be among us, charging for royalties.
122 • @120 (by meanpt on 2011-01-21 10:32:34 GMT from Portugal)
:( .. did the leopard got any rights too? go away ...
123 • Re. 94: Swap (by uz64 on 2011-01-21 19:28:39 GMT from United States)
Just because you *can* run a machine with 512MB RAM and no swap, doesn't mean you *should*. Swap serves an important function... if a program starts leaking memory, if swap is enabled/available, the leaking program will start getting swapped out to disk. If not? You might end up with the program seriously damaging the stability of the entire system by leaking into and filling the system memory. I'll give it a little bit of extra hard drive space to prevent the possibility of crash, any day, no matter how much physical RAM is available.
If I had 256MB of system memory, I would give it 768MB swap space (256MB RAM really isn't enough to go without some serious swapping, and even 512MB swap space doesn't seem to be enough for such little RAM).
If I had 512MB of system memory, I would still give it 512MB swap space at least, to be safe.
If I had a gig-plus of system memory, I would probably still give it 256-512MB swap space.
Of course, all of this is heavily dependent on the distro you use, the desktop environment and/or window manager you run, the programs you use, the services you have running, the way you use the machine and the programs, etc. But I would *never* set up or run a system with no swap. I would likely raise the above minimum/maximum values before I would turn it off completely, to improve the performance and reliability. I'm not sure how much swap I would use if I had, say, 4 or 8 gigabytes of RAM, but it wouldn't be zero. It would likely be low, though (maybe 256-512MB).
124 • Swap Use (by Re. 95 on 2011-01-21 19:34:54 GMT from United States)
"Swap space is rarely used by the typical modern desktop system. Add a swap monitor to your taskbar to verify."
jeffrey@ramirez:~$ free -m
total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 1001 949 52 0 32 183
-/+ buffers/cache: 733 268
Swap: 731 155 576
I would say that it is used enough to not get rid of it. I have Firefox open with more tabs than I feel like counting, Geany with several text documents, an instance of the Nautilus file manager with one "tab" opened currently, and two GNOME Terminals. On top of GNOME, of course.
Surely this is far beyond what most people will load their systems with (unless they are running Windows and get infections out the ass), but as I mentioned in my previous post, even if you have loads of memory, swap can still save your ass from crashes by memory-leaking buggy programs.
125 • Pardus 2011 (by RobertD on 2011-01-21 23:27:59 GMT from United States)
I cut my teeth on Slackware Linux and believe it to be the best option out there for those of us that truly want to learn Linux.
That being said, I just downloaded Pardus 2011 and installed it. Professional is the word that comes to mind.
Kudos to the Turks for developing such a fun and interesting distribution.
126 • Re. 125: Pardus 2011 (by uz64 on 2011-01-22 00:25:53 GMT from United States)
I agree, Pardus is a great distribution. I played around with it several times in the past, always leaving quite impressed, and have used it for a brief time a while back. Only really switched away from it because of my distro hopping habit. I just downloaded and I'm having trouble booting the installation ISO for the latest 2011 version though in VirtualBox 3.2.10_OSE (Debian Testing). Checksums do match; virtual machine crashes when loading services during the boot process. :(
I may try installing it on the actual hardware (wipe Debian), but I will have to jump through some hoops just to do so (probably copy the ISO over to a Samba share and ask my sister if she can burn it on her Windows laptop). My other "main" machine (with a DVD burner) which I used to use scp to transfer files to for burning has been wiped and unplugged, and the current system's drive reads both CDs and DVDs but only writes CDs. I'm really curious how the latest version compares and has changed since 2009.2.
I'm not sure if I'll keep using it though, because I have yet to be 100% satisfied with the way KDE runs on a machine with 1GB RAM (under my typical usage conditions).
This is certainly not the first time VirtualBox has failed on me with a newer distribution, and I am quickly getting tired of it. Its bugs are quickly tarnishing my so-far good opinion of the program. It's getting annoying.
127 • Pardus 2011 live 64bit (by Anonymous on 2011-01-22 03:42:33 GMT from Canada)
Until the screen saver cuts in and the display changes completely to a new screen with an icon of a monitor in the lower left corner and a small window with "pars"in it in the center of the screen.
Have to reboot to get back to regular display
m4a88td-vevo/usb3 mother board
athlon llx4 640
128 • Pardus: atl1e makes no connection with DHCP on (by capri.cornus on 2011-01-22 07:44:15 GMT from Belgium)
On my Intelx2, still a testing device, and working horse under Mint, I never experienced any network problems - until: Pardus 2011. No way to get connected, even not manually.
That reported, it is a beautifully and functionally well mastered OS.
129 • Re: 123 (by jake on 2011-01-22 09:27:51 GMT from United States)
I agree. Note that my personal portable oldish & potentially losable machine has a swap partition. So do all of my paying client's machines. For a lot of reasons, a few of which you point out. But my friends & family? Maybe not so much ...
MyDearOldMum & GreatAunt turn on their machines several times a day (over breakfast, before lunch, before supper, and then again in the evening), and turn them off again between uses. I can't convince them otherwise ... and my Wife turns her machine on in the morning, and kills it just before bed. None of 'em have usage patterns that would make memory leaks an issue ... especially not when I am the person providing the operating and software environment.
On-disk swap, for most users, is probably a waste of space. But I'm still going to leave myself 256M of swap for most installs on modern equipment. It just seems prudent ...
Hibernation & etc. has nothing to do with swap ... not when done right, anyway.
130 • Calculate 11.0 ... (by capri.cornus on 2011-01-22 15:55:25 GMT from Belgium)
... unable to recognize my 2nd screen (dual setting) or my NAS-attached printer. Just reporting. I use rerecordable DVD's now, and the pocket ripping provider we have in Belgium (Belgacom) gives me 25 GB to play with, so I can play with some bigger OS's now. I hoped to play with a Gentoo-based OS, but I'll leave it with my first and final try.
131 • Swap (by Landor on 2011-01-23 00:03:10 GMT from Canada)
I'm surprised, doesn't anyone here read Linux Journal?
Though not really meant in regard to a desktop system, there was an article about the virtues of continuing to use swap in the January 2011 issue by Tony Kay.
I personally still keep a large swap partition. I think it's foolish not to, space is far from at a premium these days. I'm quite sure I have no problems allocating X-amount of gigabytes of swap space when across multiple computers and other storage devices I have multiple terabytes available. If anyone's running a new system and can't bring themselves to spare even a couple gigabyte for swap, there has to be something wrong.
Keep your stick on the ice...
132 • @124 Swap (by Jack on 2011-01-23 01:01:07 GMT from Canada)
Well, you proved me wrong. You must have a shic-load of tabs open. I decided to drop swap when I got to 1MB of memory, because no matter what I opened, or however many tabs I opened, I just couldn't get the system to swap...ever! Maybe I just have a low workload? Although I've occasionally done some graphics design for work using the gimp and have several large images going. I've been running like that for several years now and never a problem. I will leave my system on for weeks at a time, with auto-suspend after 15 minutes of inactivity. Never any memory leak issues and I always monitor my system activity and browse the logs.
BTW, I think your memory leak scenario is not so much of a problem on the desktop. I mean come on, if you're leakin' that much memory, just shut the dang program down!
133 • But Landor ... (by jake on 2011-01-23 04:18:19 GMT from United States)
What, exactly, does your "day-to-day" desktop system (as opposed to development system) use a swap partition for? Seriously? Can you be specific?
With the exception of a couple of ~20+ year old applications (& the scripts that make use of them, none of which anyone reading this will be running, all of which I will eventually re-write in my !CopiousSpareTime[tm]), my non-server systems never (that is NEVER!) need a swap partition ... I run one on my personal desktops, mind, probably out of sheer momentum, kinda like shutting down the system with "sync, sync, halt" ;-)
134 • RE: But Landor (by Landor on 2011-01-23 04:28:36 GMT from Canada)
I do a lot with video on my main system, and at the same time browsing, torrents (Jamendo), gaming, etc, etc. I have dipped into swap at various times, depending on how extensive it was with video.
My rationale, and I'll stick 100% behind it, is this: More is always better than less. If you need to tie something and you don't have enough string, or any at all, it's obvious that you're worse off than having what you may have considered more than enough string than you needed. But as I said, really, what's the issue when space is measured in 100's of gigabytes, or in terabytes. At the cost of a couple gigabytes it's better to have it if ever needed than to not have it and deal with the issues that arise from running out memory. :)
Keep your stick on the ice...
135 • swap (by Verndog on 2011-01-23 05:37:14 GMT from United States)
I have several partitions that have various distros on them , including windows. Also one of the partitons is swap. I see no reason to delete it, since its only a few gb's. All new installs automatically pick it up. I really don't see all the fuss over swap.
136 • Oohhh-kay ... "More is always better than less.", according to Landor. (by jake on 2011-01-23 06:35:30 GMT from United States)
So you expect me to fire up the Kenworth instead of the '95 Toyota pickup for a trip into town for a pound of butter, a quart of milk, and four ounces of chipotle powder?
You sound like a soccer-mom ... Nobody needs a Hummer, Suburban, or Expedition to pick up a couple kids after school ... But the space is there, so you might as well use it.
Not the way I learned computing ... nor UNIX[tm] ... Small is beautiful, one tool for one job, many small tools can be hooked up to do specific work.
137 • Ubuntu with Unity 2D is excellent (by Zac on 2011-01-23 12:43:16 GMT from Australia)
The updated Ubuntu with Unity 2D is working fantastic, it very fast and very useable indeed, and I am liking it. The original version that shipped with Ubuntu 10.10 was quite laggy on my netbook.
I welcome all the changes that Ubuntu is doing. I want more radical changes and faster. I want an advanced Linux OS, with all the usability and software advances built-in and neatly packaged for the average user and for the modern developer who wants software made easily available to the end user.
Bring it on Ubuntu! Lead the way, and don't listen to the vocal minority.
138 • Jake (by Tom on 2011-01-23 12:57:18 GMT from United Kingdom)
People should all submit to your way of doing things and justify why they dare to behave differently. It is outrageous that people squander such vast spaces as <1% of their hard-drive on things you consider unimportant or on things that "never happen" in your experience (but clearly have happened in other people's experience)
'Regards' from Tom
139 • No, Tom. (by jake on 2011-01-23 13:20:03 GMT from United States)
No outrage. That's just your take on it. Your computer, your rules. Enjoy.
All I'm doing is pointing out that religion & logic don't exactly mix. If you want to use ~1% of your drive space for no reason other than "I heard that was the way it used to be done, and it must be true because I read it on teh IntraWebTubes!", feel free. Me, personally, I move with the times.
::note to self:: Turn in fuddy-duddy neo-luddite cap & tie.
140 • #135 swap (by zygmunt on 2011-01-23 14:13:04 GMT from United Kingdom)
With msdos partitioning on large (TB) sata disks (kernel 2.6) only 4 primary partitions are available. With Windows pre-installed 3 partitions are usually used (recovery, system and windows). The 4th partition can be used for linux/unix as a primary partition: note there would be no partition available for linux swap (a swap FILE is needed): or just for linux as an extended partition whereby logical volumes sda5 thro' sda15 can be created and used as roots or swap area(s). It would not be possible to use such a scheme to boot amongst windows, linux or unix on a single disk. Unix style operating systems always need a primary partition, which, as far as I can see, must be located after any extended partition. So it's not so much the space but the number of suitable partitions/logical volumes that can be critical, especially on a laptop. It's an example one of the realisable limits that will eventually require a work-around (millenium "bug", 4 primary partitions, linux 2.6 scsi interface, 2/4GB memory address limit, BIOS disk size limits....etc). Why fix it if it's not broken (yet)? Use LVM? Climate change? (Floods, Winds, Famine?...Self Destruct?)
141 • Re. 132 (by uz64 on 2011-01-23 17:08:47 GMT from United States)
"BTW, I think your memory leak scenario is not so much of a problem on the desktop. I mean come on, if you're leakin' that much memory, just shut the dang program down!"
Oh, I do--it's just an annoying bug that you shouldn't have to put up with, but I have been putting up with it since at least Firefox 2.0, though it has been becoming less of a problem in more recent versions. It's annoying having to close the program, only to have to re-open it and wait for it to re-load/download the content of the last-open tabs. I think my biggest problem with Firefox these days, in fact, is that when you go to a site... it's rarely ever actually deleted from memory. You can keep going to sites, opening and closing tabs, and the program will keep using *more* memory, seemingly never removing stuff from memory until the OS decides to jump in and send it to the swap space (which IMO is a bad idea--very old pages should be zapped for good, and retrieved from cache if needed again... that's what it's for!). This always seemed to be a problem with Firefox, but in the past with lots of really nasty leaks... overall system performance got real bad, in very little time.
"Maybe I just have a low workload? Although I've occasionally done some graphics design for work using the gimp and have several large images going. I've been running like that for several years now and never a problem."
I think your lack of swap use is probably related to your workload, possibly hardware/software combination, but mostly workload. Just be glad that what you have seems to be plenty of memory for the way you use your computer. It's never surprising to me to see 100, 200, sometimes even 300MB of swap space used under my typical way of working after a few days uptime.
BTW--I just ran the latest Zenwalk beta in a virtual machine yesterday with 300MB dedicated memory (on top of all that was already opened) to try out the latest version of Xfce, and you wouldn't want to know just how much swap space was being used... [Hint: enough to slow down the entire machine, almost all of it...] I'll admit that that is certainly not a common use scenario, though.
142 • #140 (by Verndog on 2011-01-23 17:19:56 GMT from United States)
I guess I needed to clarify that my Linux partitions are all on extended partitions, and I have two primary NTFS partitions, one for Windows the other for backups.
143 • apols & partitions (by Tom on 2011-01-23 19:17:49 GMT from United Kingdom)
First, my apologies to Jake. Sorry for being completely out-of-order there! Thanks for taking it so well :)
@zygmult So far i have only seen Windows taking up 2 primary partitions. I recently started making the 3rd partition an "Extended Partition" to ensure greater flexibility in the future. I used to avoid it until the 4th. There is no noticeable difference in performance between Logical Partitions and Primary Partitions unless using extremely old hardware.
Regards from Tom :)
144 • @141 • memory leaks and swap (by uz64 (by meanpt on 2011-01-23 19:56:36 GMT from Portugal)
Memory leaks: there are more to it ... even with Ubuntu 10.10, in a Vbox vm with 450 MB of RAM, after using openshot the memory isn't flushed ... the same happens with all lighter derivatives ... right, not even after shutting down openshot. All my vm machines swap, even those with 512 MB of ram ... small amounts of swap don't make the system noticeably slower ... that only happens when 90 MB or more are swaped ..
145 • Swap…ok (by Jack on 2011-01-23 20:01:25 GMT from Canada)
Well after seeing all the comments and various scenarios, I see the usefulness of swap. I don't think I'll use it on my systems unless my work habits changes, but I will recommend a swap space of about ½ of memory size (to be confirmed) which, at the very least, will allow the system memory contents to be compressed, encrypted and hibernated to disk.
146 • @144 & 143 (by jake on 2011-01-23 22:00:22 GMT from United States)
uz64: "Doctor, it hurts when I do `this`!"
jake: "Then stop doing `that`."
Somewhat more seriously, and IMO of course, life's too short to use code that's buggy enough to slow me down. Personally, I'd seek an alternative to openshot & audit their code occasionally, until they fix it. Have you sent in bug reports?
Tom: Don't sweat it. I'm not as gifted as the Bard of Avon (few of us are), and sometimes fail to properly get my point across in this medium.
147 • Swap (by Anonymous on 2011-01-23 23:07:47 GMT from United States)
I personally have 512M ram and 1G swap.
When I notice the system reacting slower or hear the hard drive making more access noises, then I check and see if swap usage is up. So swap is a physical alert to me.
Normally the swap is never used, just a few KB at most and I never notice it.
Funny thing however, once I was using Audaicity to modify a bunch of audio files simultaneously and the OOM-killer started to kill my WindowMaker dock.apps one at a time.
The memory indicators did not show any lack of ram and swap usage was very low, less than a few percent.
I found out that the /tmp directory simply ran out of space, full of Audacity tmp files.
My /tmp is 4GB and usually empty.
I so far have not bothered to find out why /tmp being full caused a kernel out of memory condition, what does /tmp file space have to do with ram and swap anyway?
Has anyone here experienced out of memory by simply filling up the /tmp directory?
As previously mentioned, editing very large photos will simply cause the system to use the swap partition, and I have never used more than about 500MB of swap doing this and never had the OOM-killer's attention before. Why does it look at /tmp size?
148 • #143 (by zygmunt on 2011-01-23 23:46:56 GMT from United Kingdom)
@Tom: It is a wise move to introduce an extended partition prior to the last available. I too used to use the fourth partition as extended but now use extended at the lowest partition possible. It does indeed give a more flexible partitioning and an opportunity to use the third/fourth primary as unix "roots", should one be so inclined. A few years ago I learned this the hard way, but was fortunate enough to rescue without loss.
Number of Comments: 148
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|• Issue 828 (2019-08-19): AcademiX 2.2, concerns with non-free firmware, UBports working on Unity8, Fedora unveils new EPEL channel, FreeBSD phasing out GCC|
|• Issue 827 (2019-08-12): Q4OS, finding files on the disk, Ubuntu works on ZFS, Haiku improves performance, OSDisc shutting down|
|• Issue 826 (2019-08-05): Quick looks at Resilient, PrimeOS, and BlueLight, flagship distros for desktops,Manjaro introduces new package manager|
|• Issue 825 (2019-07-29): Endless OS 3.6, UBports 16.04, gNewSense maintainer stepping down, Fedora developrs discuss optimizations, Project Trident launches stable branch|
|• Issue 824 (2019-07-22): Hexagon OS 1.0, Mageia publishes updated media, Fedora unveils Fedora CoreOS, managing disk usage with quotas|
|• Issue 823 (2019-07-15): Debian 10, finding 32-bit packages on a 64-bit system, Will Cooke discusses Ubuntu's desktop, IBM finalizes purchase of Red Hat|
|• Issue 822 (2019-07-08): Mageia 7, running development branches of distros, Mint team considers Snap, UBports to address Google account access|
|• Issue 821 (2019-07-01): OpenMandriva 4.0, Ubuntu's plan for 32-bit packages, Fedora Workstation improvements, DragonFly BSD's smaller kernel memory|
|• Issue 820 (2019-06-24): Clear Linux and Guix System 1.0.1, running Android applications using Anbox, Zorin partners with Star Labs, Red Hat explains networking bug, Ubuntu considers no longer updating 32-bit packages|
|• Issue 819 (2019-06-17): OS108 and Venom, renaming multiple files, checking live USB integrity, working with Fedora's Modularity, Ubuntu replacing Chromium package with snap|
|• Issue 818 (2019-06-10): openSUSE 15.1, improving boot times, FreeBSD's status report, DragonFly BSD reduces install media size|
|• Issue 817 (2019-06-03): Manjaro 18.0.4, Ubuntu Security Podcast, new Linux laptops from Dell and System76, Entroware Apollo|
|• Issue 816 (2019-05-27): Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, creating firewall rules, Antergos shuts down, Matthew Miller answers questions about Fedora|
|• Issue 815 (2019-05-20): Sabayon 19.03, Clear Linux's developer features, Red Hat explains MDS flaws, an overview of mobile distro options|
|• Issue 814 (2019-05-13): Fedora 30, distributions publish Firefox fixes, CentOS publishes roadmap to 8.0, Debian plans to use Wayland by default|
|• Issue 813 (2019-05-06): ROSA R11, MX seeks help with systemd-shim, FreeBSD tests unified package management, interview with Gael Duval|
|• Issue 812 (2019-04-29): Ubuntu MATE 19.04, setting up a SOCKS web proxy, Scientific Linux discontinued, Red Hat takes over Java LTS support|
|• Issue 811 (2019-04-22): Alpine 3.9.2, rsync examples, Ubuntu working on ZFS support, Debian elects new Project Leader, Obarun releases S6 tools|
|• Issue 810 (2019-04-15): SolydXK 201902, Bedrock Linux 0.7.2, Fedora phasing out Python 2, NetBSD gets virtual machine monitor|
|• Issue 809 (2019-04-08): PCLinuxOS 2019.02, installing Falkon and problems with portable packages, Mint offers daily build previews, Ubuntu speeds up Snap packages|
|• Issue 808 (2019-04-01): Solus 4.0, security benefits and drawbacks to using a live distro, Gentoo gets GNOME ports working without systemd, Redox OS update|
|• Issue 807 (2019-03-25): Pardus 17.5, finding out which user changed a file, new Budgie features, a tool for browsing FreeBSD's sysctl values|
|• Issue 806 (2019-03-18): Kubuntu vs KDE neon, Nitrux's znx, notes on Debian's election, SUSE becomes an independent entity|
|• Issue 805 (2019-03-11): EasyOS 1.0, managing background services, Devuan team debates machine ID file, Ubuntu Studio works to remain an Ubuntu Community Edition|
|• Issue 804 (2019-03-04): Condres OS 19.02, securely erasing hard drives, new UBports devices coming in 2019, Devuan to host first conference|
|• Issue 803 (2019-02-25): Septor 2019, preventing windows from stealing focus, NetBSD and Nitrux experiment with virtual machines, pfSense upgrading to FreeBSD 12 base|
|• Issue 802 (2019-02-18): Slontoo 18.07.1, NetBSD tests newer compiler, Fedora packaging Deepin desktop, changes in Ubuntu Studio|
|• Issue 801 (2019-02-11): Project Trident 18.12, the meaning of status symbols in top, FreeBSD Foundation lists ongoing projects, Plasma Mobile team answers questions|
|• Issue 800 (2019-02-04): FreeNAS 11.2, using Ubuntu Studio software as an add-on, Nitrux developing znx, matching operating systems to file systems|
|• Issue 799 (2019-01-28): KaOS 2018.12, Linux Basics For Hackers, Debian 10 enters freeze, Ubuntu publishes new version for IoT devices|
|• Issue 798 (2019-01-21): Sculpt OS 18.09, picking a location for swap space, Solus team plans ahead, Fedora trying to get a better user count|
|• Issue 797 (2019-01-14): Reborn OS 2018.11.28, TinyPaw-Linux 1.3, dealing with processes which make the desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Issue 793 (2018-12-10): openSUSE Tumbleweed, finding non-free packages, Debian migrates to usrmerge, Hyperbola gets FSF approval|
|• Issue 792 (2018-1203): GhostBSD 18.10, when to use swap space, DragonFly BSD's wireless support, Fedora planning to pause development schedule|
|• Issue 791 (2018-11-26): Haiku R1 Beta1, default passwords on live media, Slax and Kodachi update their media, dual booting DragonFly BSD on EFI|
|• Issue 790 (2018-11-19): NetBSD 8.0, Bash tips and short-cuts, Fedora's networking benchmarked with FreeBSD, Ubuntu 18.04 to get ten years of support|
|• Issue 789 (2018-11-12): Fedora 29 Workstation and Silverblue, Haiku recovering from server outage, Fedora turns 15, Debian publishes updated media|
|• Issue 788 (2018-11-05): Clu Linux Live 6.0, examining RAM consumpion, finding support for older CPUs, more Steam support for running Windows games on Linux, update from Solus team|
|• Issue 787 (2018-10-29): Lubuntu 18.10, limiting application access to specific users, Haiku hardware compatibility list, IBM purchasing Red Hat|
|• Issue 786 (2018-10-22): elementary OS 5.0, why init keeps running, DragonFly BSD enables virtual machine memory resizing, KDE neon plans to drop older base|
|• Issue 785 (2018-10-15): Reborn OS 2018.09, Nitrux 1.0.15, swapping hard drives between computers, feren OS tries KDE spin, power savings coming to Linux|
|• Issue 784 (2018-10-08): Hamara 2.1, improving manual pages, UBports gets VoIP app, Fedora testing power saving feature|
|• Issue 783 (2018-10-01): Quirky 8.6, setting up dual booting with Ubuntu and FreeBSD, Lubuntu switching to LXQt, Mint works on performance improvements|
|• Issue 782 (2018-09-24): Bodhi Linux 5.0.0, Elive 3.0.0, Solus publishes ISO refresh, UBports invites feedback, Linux Torvalds plans temporary vacation|
|• Issue 781 (2018-09-17): Linux Mint 3 "Debian Edition", file systems for SSDs, MX makes installing Flatpaks easier, Arch team answers questions, Mageia reaches EOL|
|• Issue 780 (2018-09-10): Netrunner 2018.08 Rolling, Fedora improves language support, how to customize Kali Linux, finding the right video drivers|
|• Issue 779 (2018-09-03): Redcore 1806, keeping ISO downloads safe from tampering, Lubuntu makes Calamares more flexible, Ubuntu improves GNOME performance|
|• Issue 778 (2018-08-27): GuixSD 0.15.0, ReactOS 0.4.9, Steam supports Windows games on Linux, Haiku plans for beta, merging disk partitions|
|• Issue 777 (2018-08-20): YunoHost 18.104.22.168, limiting process resource usage, converting file systems on Fedora, Debian turns 25, Lubuntu migrating to Wayland|
|• Full list of all issues|
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Remix OS was an operating system based on Android-x86. Remix OS merges the Android operating system with a PC/desktop style interface with a traditional desktop application menu.