| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 423, 19 September 2011
Welcome to this year's 38th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Slackware Linux is often regarded as an excellent base from which to build custom distributions for a variety of deployment scenarios. One of the more recent arrivals on the operating system scene is Salix OS, a rather interesting project that provides a number of desktop-oriented editions depending on your desktop environments and window manager preferences. Caitlyn Martin takes a long look at the project's latest release, version 13.37, and finds that Salix OS is exactly what her collection of hardware needs for happy and trouble-free computing. In the news section, openSUSE developers make a surprise announcement about the inclusion of KDE 3 in the distribution's next release, FreeBSD News collects a few recent links about keeping the popular operating system's core and packages up-to-date, Fuduntu announces a gradual break from Fedora, and DEFT Linux plans a CentOS-based server edition of its specialist distribution for forensic analysis tasks. Also in this issue, links to excellent overviews of two leading Linux distributions for a very different group of users - the user-friendly Linux Mint and the more technical Arch Linux. Finally, if your hardware comes with an Intel graphics card don't miss our Questions and Answer section which gives a few suggestions about improving the video card's performance. Happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Caitlyn Martin)
Taking a long look at Salix OS 13.37|
Just over a year ago I wrote the first review of Salix OS for Distrowatch. I found that the desktop-oriented Slackware-based distro met the goals of the developers: maintaining all the positive attributes of the parent distribution while offering additional tools and functionality to provide a friendlier system for users who don't want to get under the hood of their operating system. Overall I was pleased with the performance and stability of the system as well as the selection of utilities and applications offered in addition to what is found in vanilla Slackware. I also appreciated how the developers managed to keep Salix OS very close to its Slackware roots and the nearly complete compatibility with the parent distribution.
Slackware released version 13.37 back in April. In May the first version of Salix OS based on the new Slackware was released. This standard edition features an Xfce 4.6.2 desktop. It was followed by a Fluxbox 1.3.1 edition in May, a KDE 4.5.5 edition in July and an LXDE 0.5.5 edition last month. As I write this a fifth edition using the minimalist Ratpoison window manager is in release candidate stays. I didn't have a chance to try this latest addition to the menu of Salix OS builds.
Currently all five editions are available on a single CD sized ISO image with an ncurses-based installer. Salix Live, the live CD edition, is still in beta and is not included in this review. The fact that neither the Xfce nor the KDE editions use the latest and greatest versions of their respective desktop environments reflects the rather conservative approach that both Slackware and Salix OS have generally taken on what they package. Both often avoid the leading edge and certainly the bleeding edge in favor of stability.
I used the same two systems I used for my review of Salix OS 13.1.1 last year. The first is an eMachines EL-1300G small-footprint desktop sporting an AMD Athlon 2650e processor (single core, 1.6 GHz CPU with 512K L2 cache), NVIDIA GeForce 6150SE integrated graphics chipset and a 160 GB 7200rpm SATA2 hard drive. I ran the native 64-bit code of the four desktop editions I tested on this system. I also used my HP Mini 110 netbook which features a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270 processor, 2 GB RAM, an on-board Intel GMA 950 graphics chipset, and a 16 GB SSD in lieu of a hard drive. Four 32-bit editions have been installed and tested on the netbook but due to the limited storage I was unable to test them side by side as I did on the desktop. The use of identical systems should guarantee that all my comparisons to the previous release are apples to apples.
Installation and configuration
The installation methods available have expanded since Salix OS 13.1.1. Installation from CD, from within an existing Linux or Windows installation using an image on an existing partition on a hard drive, or from a USB stick continue to be supported. Support for installation across a network has been added, including installation from NFS, from a Samba share, or from an FTP or HTTP server. This should make Salix OS far more appealing for use by businesses and organizations who need to be able to rapidly deploy the OS to a number of dispersed systems.
While Salix OS does offer a very nice graphical installer it is limited to the live CD version still in development. Those who prefer to test drive from a live CD will have to wait a bit. I still prefer the ncurses-based (text) installer as it is often far more flexible and configurable and it works well on almost any hardware. I installed the Xfce versions on both machines from a CD. For the Fluxbox and KDE versions I chose to install from an old 1 GB USB stick using UNetbootin. If you are running a previous version of Salix OS you will find a UNetbootin package in the repository. The Salix OS wiki offers these instructions for how to successfully install from USB. I also used a USB stick for the LXDE edition on my desktop but did an NFS installation to the netbook. All of the installation options I tried successfully launched the installer without problems.
Salix OS 13.37 needs less than 1 GB to install a core system without X. A full installation requires anywhere from under 2.5 GB for the LXDE edition, which is the lightest of the four, to 4.0 GB for the KDE edition. When additional applications and upgrades are considered figure on anywhere from 3 to 5 GB of space to install Salix OS on a typical system. The installer and documentation remain English-only. As I mentioned in the previous review, most of the tools and applications built for Salix OS include a wide variety of translations but the installer still does not. I still find this surprising for a distribution based in Europe.
Once the installer loads it will first ask whether or not to keep the default US English key mapping or if you would like to select something different. Salix OS then offers two installation options: autoinstall, which wipes the entire hard drive and takes defaults, or a more traditional installation which will prompt the user with a variety of questions. I still don't have the ability to test autoinstall on my systems. From this point on, I will only be describing the interactive installation process.
The Salix OS installer uses cfdisk for partitioning. In addition to the internal hard drive or SSD on each system any removable media I had were also correctly detected and could be used for installation. In all cases I installed to the built-in media on my systems. After partitioning the installer prompts you to choose which partition should be used for swap space. You can optionally check for bad blocks on the swap partition. Once swap is formatted it is activated and used for the rest of the installation process if needed.
The next prompt allows you to choose the root partition. If you format this partition you once again have the choice of checking for bad blocks. You can optionally define additional partitions as desired, typing in the name of each mount point you wish to use. ext4 is the default file system. Support for ext3, ext2, ReiserFS, JFS, and XFS is also available during installation. Brtfs is not supported in version 13.37. I used ext4 on both systems. If your system has any partitions with DOS/Windows file systems you will also be given the option of adding them to your /etc/fstab file at this point.
Next you choose the location of the installation media for Salix OS. This is where you can specify an NFS or Samba mount or a partition on any of the media on your system. It should be noted that the installer does not distinguish between media types and you will need to know the device assigned to the media you want to use, i.e.: /dev/sdb when I installed from a USB stick.
Salix OS still offers three types of installations: a full system, a minimal installation of the core OS, X.org and the desktop environment offered with your chosen edition but no applications, or a "core" installation which is truly minimal and doesn't include X. Salix OS does not offer the option to choose individual packages or groups of packages during the installation process. After installing the system files the installer also offers the option to create a USB boot stick and to use either a standard or frame buffer console.
LILO is still the only bootloader offered during installation. You can then choose between simple (automated) LILO configuration and expert mode. The automatic process has not been improved since Salix OS 13.1.x and still usually fails to detect other Linux distributions. The expert mode offers the option of installing LILO to the master boot record of the drive you installed to, the first sector of your root partition, or bypassing LILO installation entirely. There is no opportunity to customize the LILO configuration to the level needed to boot to other operating systems. Expect to do that manually after installation is complete.
Next the installer then asks you to configure your time zone, decide if numlock is to be enabled on boot, and decide if Asian language input should be enabled. Final installation steps are to set the root password and to setup one or more user accounts. The installer does give the option of creating and fully configuring as many user accounts as you want. The system then reboots and installation is complete.
Installation went reasonably smoothly on my netbook in every edition I tried. The Intel graphics chipset was correctly configured and the desktop was at the optimal resolution. Wired networking was correctly setup for a network with a DHCP server but the system hostname was set to darkstar. There is a GUI tool for changing the hostname and network settings can be changed using wicd. For those who prefer working on the command line the old standby, netconfig, is also available.
Wireless was not working after installation. While recent versions of the b43 kernel module do support the Broadcom BCM4312 chipset in my netbook, proprietary firmware is still required. The net result is that Salix OS does not detect that the netbook has wireless at all. The solution is to install fwcutter from the repository, then download the firmware, and use the build script found at Slackbuilds.org to create a firmware package. If you are going to depend on wireless for your connectivity and know you need a proprietary driver or firmware package you may want to download what bits and pieces you will need before installation. Once fwcutter and the firmware were installed wireless worked flawlessly on the netbook with Salix OS.
Installation on the desktop was somewhat more problematic. One of the changes in Slackware 13.37 which carries over to Salix OS is that the Open Source nouveau driver is now installed by default and used if an NVIDIA graphics chipset is detected. The NVIDIA GeForce 6150SE chip in my desktop is not supported by nouveau. Salix OS boots to the GUI by default and doesn't offer a different option during installation so at first boot instead of a login screen I had a useless mess.
The solution is pretty straightforward for someone who is comfortable on the command line. CTRL-ALT-F1 brought up a virtual terminal and I logged in as root at the command line. I then retrieved an updated package list for both the Slackware and Salix OS repositories with the command:
I then removed the nouveau driver
slapt-get --remove xf86-video-nouveau
and installed a Slackware package which blacklists nouveau and enables the old, somewhat limited, open-source nv driver:
slapt-get --install xf86-video-nouveau-blacklist
a reboot brought me to a nice, normal graphical login screen. One additional step is needed on Salix OS that is not needed on vanilla Slackware. Salix OS offers automated updates. The updater assumes that the blacklist package is an outdated version of nouveau and will cheerfully offer to replace it with the latest and greatest driver which I can't use. I had to edit my /etc/slapt-get/slapt-getrc file to add ^xf86-video-nouveau to the EXCLUDE= statement in that file.
For those who have an NVIDIA chip which isn't supported by nouveau and want full 3D accelerated functionality a trip to the NVIDIA website to download the proprietary driver is a necessity. Slackbuilds.org does offer a handy, dandy scripts to build the two needed packages but they are written for an older version of the driver. I modified them to reference the current version so I now have the proprietary NVIDIA driver managed by the Slackware apt package management system.
The good news on the desktop installation was that both wired and wireless networking were detected correctly. I simply had to go into wicd to enter the authentication information for my wireless network and I was up and running.
Finally, as in previous releases Salix OS does not provide its own custom kernel but rather uses the same one that Slackware uses. The hugesmp.s and huge.s kernels enable support for an extremely wide range of hardware by default and are quite large. To have the hardware supported in loadable kernel modules, as is done by most distributions, you need to install the Slackware generic kernel and create an initial RAM disk image (initrd file) at the command line using mkinitrd. Then you must manually edit your bootloader configuration to use one of the two generic kernels and the newly created initrd file. The default kernel will work well for most people so this step is not required.
Salix OS 13.37, Xfce 4.6.2 default desktop
(full image size: 726kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Changes since Salix OS 13.1.2
Salix OS 13.37 is based on Slackware 13.37 and all the changes announced for the latest version of Slackware also apply to Salix OS. This includes the 220.127.116.11 kernel, updated libraries and development tools as well as desktop applications. LibreOffice 3.3.2 has replaced OpenOffice.org as it has in most new distributions. The graphical and command-line Salix tools for systems administration have also been updated but this time around the changes are incremental: small improvements and minor bug fixes rather than new tools. Any bugs I noted in my review of Salix OS 13.1.x, for example the ALSA sound issue with my netbook, have been fixed in 13.37.
Probably the biggest and most interesting change is in the area of package management. Salix OS 13.37 adds Sourcery Slackbuild Manager, a graphical tool for downloading, building and installing packages from source using Slackware/Salix OS build script repositories like the one at Slackbuilds.org. Opening Sourcery reveals a long list of available software and brief descriptions. While some of the offerings are already in the Salix OS repository most are applications and libraries which have not been included to date. Clicking a check box before a package name offers two options: Install and Get Information. The Get Information choice is important because Sourcery can only support automated dependency checking and retrieval for script repositories that include that information. Slackbuilds.org does not. Using Get Information allows for finding out if additional packages must be added to satisfy dependencies. Once a package is selected for installation a green checkmark icon is added to the top of the Sourcery window. Once you are done checking off packages a click of that green icon starts the download, compilation and installation process without further user interaction.
Salix OS 13.37 - looking at Sourcery
(full image size: 115kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
Much of the time installing software via Sourcery really isn't harder than it is with Gslapt or with Synaptic in Debian based installations. The net effect is to greatly increase the available software without having to go to the web to various third party sites and run scripts one by one. When the selection from Slackbuilds.org is added to the Slackware and the increasingly well-stocked Salix OS repositories the selection of applications now rivals many of the major distributions.
Of course, this isn't quite the same as simply downloading and installing binary packages. First, some compilations can take quite some time. Second, if a dependency is not met the process will fail. In addition, Sourcery isn't smart enough to continue to install any remaining packages after a compilation failure. It just stops with a failure message. On the other hand, Slackware Apt (slapt-get and Gslapt) are smart enough to prioritize package sources. If you install a package created by Sourcery and an official Salix OS package becomes available it will offer to upgrade you to the official package as part of the regular upgrade process.
Salix OS 13.37 - Sourcery during compilation
(full image size: 106kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
The only similar tool I've seen is VPackager in VectorLinux. Sourcery is less likely to fail than VPackager because it depends on scripts from external sources. In the case of Slackbuilds.org those scripts are generally well-tested and of excellent quality. VPackager, on the other hand, is somewhat more flexible in what it can install since it uses its own internal code rather than requiring a Slackbuild script. Almost anything using a standard configure, make, make install build sequence can be installed by VPackager. Of course, depending on external scripts means that Sourcery can install things that have unusual or non-standard builds so long as a script is present. Both Sourcery and VPackager are impressive tools. Most of the time Sourcery just works and makes the build process a no brainer, something which will be welcome to those with limited command line experience.
One other small but nice change in Salix OS package management is the little icon salix-notifier uses in the panel of the various desktops to alert users to available patches and package updates. In my review of Salix OS 13.1.1 I commented that the icon was "conspicuously inconspicuous" and rather easy to miss. Since then a bright red stripe has been added to the icon which makes it much harder to miss and more like the major Linux distributions.
Running Salix OS 13.37
Salix OS benefits from the Slackware philosophy of keeping dependencies and overhead to a minimum. While I didn't run any benchmark comparisons between Salix OS 13.37 and other distros, subjectively the KDE edition seemed to perform better than other KDE-based distros I've tried, with no sluggishness or slowdowns, even on my netbook. Needless to say the lighter Xfce, LXDE and Fluxbox editions all performed very well indeed.
Salix OS 13.37 - KDE 4.5.5
(full image size: 480kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
All the editions have a polished and professional look and feel. As I already mentioned, between the entire upstream Slackware repository, Salix OS exclusive packages, and Sourcery the package selection is at or near the level seen in major distributions, but still not quite what Debian or Ubuntu users are used to. When compared to other Slackware derivatives and, of course, Slackware itself, the selection is probably second to none, particularly for 64-bit systems where there are fewer Slackware-based options.
Salix OS does respect software patents and both US and EU law so multimedia support immediately after installation is quite limited. As in previous releases, a menu item called "Install Multimedia Codecs" provides a one-click method of installing patent-encumbered codecs, the matching GStreamer plugins, and other bits and pieces to allow the included multimedia applications to function fully. The installer will warn you that it is installing software that may run afoul of patents in some countries. The onus of whether or not to do this is placed on the end user.
Each of the different Salix OS editions has its own unique default package set. I found some of the choices the developers made rather surprising. For example, the KDE edition doesn't include the Konqueror web browser. It also replaces LibreOffice with KOffice 2.3.3. The Fluxbox edition was even more surprising. Unlike the LXDE edition, which provides both a lightweight desktop and matching lightweight applications, the Fluxbox desktop comes with heavyweights like LibreOffice and the Firefox web browser. The LXDE variant offers AbiWord 2.8.6, Gnumeric 1.10.12 and Midori 0.3.3 instead. Of course, all the packages from all the different editions are available in the repository so you can mix and match.
Salix OS 13.37 - Fluxbox 1.3.1
(full image size: 256kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
I'm currently using an Epson Stylus NX305 printer/scanner/copier/fax all-in-one office product as well as the trusty old HP LaserJet 1020 for printing. The Epson is fully supported out of the virtual box by Salix OS and any other Linux distribution I've tried. The HP, on the other hand, is well supported by some distros and not supported at all by others. As I described in my review of Salix OS 13.1.1, the issue is the foo2zjs driver for printers which use the Zenographics ZjStream wire protocol for their print data. This includes some models by HP, Konica and Minolta. Neither Slackware nor Salix OS include this driver and that has not changed since the previous release. Once again I had to go to the driver developer's website, download the source code, compile it, install it and download the firmware. Once I did that the printer worked perfectly and can be managed both by CUPS and the usual HP tools which are included in Salix OS. This process is automated once the printer is detected in many of the more user-friendly distributions but in Salix OS, as in Slackware, it remains a do-it-yourself task.
I ran into a bug with the 64-bit package for DeVeDe from the repository. It produces ISO images with loud clicking noises across the entire audio track. I've tried changing the audio settings every which way imaginable but nothing fixes it. The 32-bit package has no problem and produces a clean audio track. A newer version of DeVeDe is supposed to resolve this problem and a new Salix OS package is currently being tested. It likely will be in the repository by the time you read this.
The Salix OS developers have continued to be extremely prompt in releasing security patches when needed. Salix OS leverages the upstream Slackware repositories so patches to Slackware are available almost immediately to Salix OS users, albeit with dependency checking and resolution added. In cases where Salix OS packages are different from or not included in Slackware repositories the patches have appeared equally quickly. The combination of salix-notifier and Slackware apt (slapt-get and Gslapt) makes keeping a system patched and up-to-date as simple and painless as any distro out there, including those aimed to making things easy for newcomers to Linux.
While I have yet to find a distro that is entirely free of bugs, Salix OS 13.37 is about as close as anything I've tried to date. The developers are very accessible and participate in the forum. The community in general is very friendly and helpful. While there most certainly is a do-it-yourself ethos within the community typical of Slackware users, everyone seems to be willing to help to the best of their ability. I've used Salix OS since late 2009 and have yet to see a rude or unhelpful response to a newcomer or anyone else.
Internationalization and localization
Slackware has many strengths but international language support has never been one of them. Salix OS, which is based in Europe, has a multinational and multilingual development community and user community, so it's no surprise that this is one of the areas they have continuously improved upon. The Xfce, LXDE and Fluxbox editions use GDM as the default display manager. GDM supports changing language and/or locale on a session-by-session basis. Sadly, KDM does not and the KDE edition sticks with the matching display manager for its graphical login screen. Migrating to GDM with the KDE edition is, of course, possible. All the editions include gtklocalesetup, a part of the Salix tools which makes it easy to change the default system language and locale.
Salix OS also includes all the relevant packages from the Slackware repository including international Aspell dictionaries and a reasonable set of international fonts. FriBidi is also included for supporting languages written from right to left such as Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew and Yiddish. The Salix OS repository also includes language packs for LibreOffice, KOffice, Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird.
The ongoing Salix translation project at Transifex as well as continuing efforts to translate the web site and documentation keep improving the user experience for a variety of languages.
From the beginning the Salix OS developers made clear that they had no intention of competing with Ubuntu or Mandriva and they were not trying to create a newcomer-friendly distribution that would be easy for Windows or MacOS users. Rather, they described the target audience as "lazy Slackers." I've always understood that to mean Linux users who want the reliability, stability and performance that Slackware consistently delivers but who also want modern conveniences and features like automated dependency resolution, automated notification when patches are available and a first class set of tools to administer their systems. If those are truly the goals then Salix OS meets them admirably.
The addition of Sourcery Slackbuild Manager, a tool unique to Salix OS, dramatically increases the availability of software beyond what is already a reasonably well stocked repository by offering an automated, straightforward, no fuss way of building packages from the scripts at Slackbuilds.org. Sourcery integrates well with the existing Slackware apt package management system. It represents a major step forward for this increasingly popular distribution.
As with the previous release, Salix OS is not for everyone. If you want a distro that "just works" immediately after installation then Salix OS may not be for you. Tweaking and manual configuration may be necessary after the initial installation, particularly when proprietary drivers or firmware are needed. Slackware's move from nv to nouveau as the default driver for NVIDIA graphics chipsets has made this more of an issue for a rather significant subset of NVIDIA chips not supported by the newer driver. In that case a willingness to venture on to the command line to fix the problem is a must.
If you are willing to do a little work to get the initial setup and configuration right then Salix OS for daily use is a thoroughly modern distribution that takes no more effort to maintain and administer than any other Linux distribution. If a newcomer to Linux or a relatively inexperienced user is willing to learn and willing to ask questions in the forum then Salix OS is an excellent introduction to the Slackware way of doing things as well. Salix OS, particularly the LXDE edition, should also appeal to those looking for a lightweight Linux distro for use on older or limited specification hardware.
In general, I find Salix OS to be worth the effort. The performance, particularly on my netbook, and the ease of administration after the initial setup, make Salix OS a keeper for me.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
KDE 3 for openSUSE 12.1, keeping FreeBSD up-to-date, overviews of Linux Mint and Arch Linux, changes in Fuduntu and DEFT Linux
The openSUSE Conference, an annual gathering of openSUSE developers, was held last week in Nuremberg, Germany. As is usually the case with such events, the participants were keen to share the outcomes of their discussions with the media, providing much interesting information for all openSUSE users and fans. Andrea Müller has summarised one of the main topics of the conference - the new features of the upcoming openSUSE 12.1 release, such as switch to GNOME 3, introduction of the Btrfs file system and Systemd service manager, and the surprising addition of the deprecated, but still much-loved KDE 3 desktop: "openSUSE 12.1 will also offer a series 3 version of the GNOME desktop. The classical version 2 won't be available as an alternative, as the developers decided to focus on offering optimum GNOME 3 support rather than distributing their efforts across two versions of the desktop. ... In the desktop area, openSUSE users are in for a nostalgic treat: various enthusiasts from the developer community have joined forces to prepare KDE 3 packages for version 12.1 of the distribution. However, Jaeger said, as things currently stand the KDE 3 packages won't make it onto the installation media for reasons of space." The beta release of openSUSE 12.1 is scheduled to arrive on 22 September, while the final release is expected on 10 November 2011.
* * * * *
Another project that finds itself in the midst of preparation for a new major release is FreeBSD. The highly popular operating system has been trying to make it easier for users to keep the core and any packages up-to-date throughout the lifetime of the product, but as with any complex source and binary setup, this can still be an arduous task. FreeBSD News has collected a few recently-posted links which give instructions on how to keep your FreeBSD system up-to-date: "Vermaden has posted two very useful step-by-step tutorials on the FreeBSD forums showing how you can keep your base system and applications up-to-date: PART I. Keeping the FreeBSD base system up-to-date and PART II. Keeping the FreeBSD packages up-to-date. As always, the FreeBSD Handbook also has an excellent chapter on this topic: Updating FreeBSD. RootBSD has posted a how-to showing how you can update FreeBSD with Webmin if you run a VPS or dedicated server: 'Since I began using FreeBSD 4.x, I quickly learned of Webmin, a web-based server administration tool, which allows administrators to manage everything from: MySQL, Apache, Sendmail, system processes, networking and much more. One of the coolest features of Webmin is its modular structure. Modules can easily be downloaded and installed to fit your specific server needs. In this quick tutorial you will learn how to install and use Webmin.'"
* * * * *
Linux Mint has been growing in stature for several years now, so it's hardly surprising to see a plethora of articles that talk about the Ubuntu-based distribution. The latest one comes courtesy of Tech Radar which introduces the inner workings of a distro that is redefining desktop standards: "Linux Mint's meteoric rise to the top of the distro charts can be attributed to its perfect mix of usability and functionality. But if you think it's just another Ubuntu-skinned distro, you're very wrong. Unlike most popular Linux distros, Mint is the brainchild of just one man - Clement Lefebvre - yet it has managed to invigorate the community. It's no surprise, then, that it looks to its legions of users for advice. Kendall Weaver, the man who maintains the LXDE edition of the distro, says Mint's success is down to Lefebvre and his interpretation of what the community wants. 'Most of the idea generation comes from Clement Lefebvre and his take on the community input. He's the project leader and the primary decision maker," he said. Lefebvre confirms that brainstorming takes place throughout the cycle and is mostly done by the community. It's no surprise, then, that it looks to its legions of users for advice."
* * * * *
Linux Mint is not the only distribution making a huge impact on the Linux scene. The popularity of Arch Linux has also seen a dramatic rise in recent years, which is even more surprising given the fact that it is designed for more advanced Linux users. But as Richard Hillesley explains, perhaps the main reason for Arch's impressive ascent is its flexibility and customisability: "The role of community distributions such as Arch Linux is to return control to the more technically inclined user as a platform for learning, educating and building into the future. According to Aaron Griffin, the 'owner' and lead developer of Arch Linux: 'Arch is not a distribution made for 'user friendliness'. It is a distribution designed to be a platform -- a 'base' for the user to do what they want. This means that we don't try to force a user's hand into our way of doing things, with our configuration tools, and our ideas. It should be about their ideas.' Perhaps because the user is able to do as they wish, Arch has been the base for many derivatives, the best known of which is probably ArchBang; this has gained a following as a minimalist distribution which uses an Arch base and the Openbox window manager. The Arch philosophy has also been ported to the Hurd in the form of ArchHurd. Other Arch derivatives that are worth trying are Chakra, which is 'Arch Linux + KDE 4 + Shaman with some artistic touches', and Parabola, which is entirely free software."
* * * * *
While Arch Linux has found a niche and settled into a routine, many newer distributions keep searching for ideas about how to attract more users. One of them is Fuduntu, a Fedora-based desktop distribution. Last week Andrew Wyatt published an intriguing blog post entitled "Important Fuduntu Linux announcement," highlighting some upcoming changes in the distribution. These include a gradual break from Fedora and a switch to a rolling-release style development model: "We have made several important decisions. The first is that Fuduntu has really been a rolling release since inception, and we believe that it is in the best interest of the team and the community to formalize and announce that Fuduntu is now a 'rolling release'. We will continue to mature the distribution, incrementally as we have historically, releasing updated distribution media quarterly. We will not follow future versions of Fedora, or rework the entire distribution based upon their release cycle. Instead we will continue to fork over time eventually cutting the cord separating the two products entirely. This means that Fuduntu users will continue to enjoy the benefits of new kernel releases which include security fixes and new hardware support, as well as new software versions without being forced into a major upgrade every few months."
* * * * *
To conclude the news section, here is another distribution whose next release will see some large-scale changes. The developers of DEFT Linux, an Ubuntu-based "Digital Evidence and Forensic Toolkit", have published a roadmap leading towards the release of version 7 in December 2011. One of the new items on the list is a "server" edition based on CentOS: "There two big news items. The first is that the project is also dedicated to incident response issues; the second is that DEFT will have two core, one dedicated to the server (based on CentOS) and one (based on Lubuntu) for personal computers, both of them live DVDs. The choice of a double kernel was determined after a thorough series of tests that led to the following conclusion: the desktop environments have different needs from enterprise environments in terms of drivers and performance. The end users decide what to run based on their needs, if you must acquire a server, run DEFT SE, but if you need to perform analysis or acquisition activities on a PC, run DEFT." DEFT Linux 7 will be based on Lubuntu 11.10, while the brand-new DEFT SE will be built from the CentOS 6.x code base.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Tweaking X.Org drivers for better Intel graphics support
Suffering-with-Intel asks: I am really getting frustrated with X.Org drivers in updating various Linux distros (mostly Ubuntu-based such as Ubuntu itself and Linux Mint) on several of my PCs (IBM Think Centre, and several Fujitsu Lifebooks) that have built-in Intel graphics in the 8xx and 9xx series. It seems the support has gotten flakier over the last several versions. Are there any "mainstream" distros that have done a more consistent job of tweaking the X.Org drivers for better Intel graphics support?
DistroWatch answers: Support for Intel cards has been getting worse for some Linux users. Back when I wrote a tutorial on compiling the Linux kernel I mentioned that video had become noticeably worse on my Intel card. Testing with the more recent 3.0 version of the kernel has shown performance on my Intel card hasn't improved. However, if I go back to an older kernel, 2.6.32 for example, video performance dramatically improves. I bring this up because I don't think it's so much a case of one distro having good support and another having bad support, running different versions of the Linux kernel on the same distro using the same hardware can make a big difference.
You might wonder why distributions would be shipping newer and slower drivers? The answer appears to be that the new releases support a wider range of hardware, so performance is taking a hit in favour of compatibility. This means the new drivers are a welcome change to people who have (previously) unsupported cards, but means others take a drop in performance.
If you find you're using one of the cards that don't work with the newer drivers, what can you do? For a long term solution, visit the Linux Graphics Drivers from Intel website and provide them with feedback. Let them know what does and doesn't work for you and give them details on your hardware. Hopefully if enough people speak up we'll see improvements. Assuming performance was good in the past and has been getting worse with newer releases I'd recommend using old, long term support releases. Projects like Scientific Linux, Ubuntu LTS, Slackware Linux and Debian GNU/Linux maintain older versions of the kernel and drivers for several years. If you need newer software you may be able to run a more modern distro, but install an older kernel from kernel.org. And, if none of the above appeal to you, I recommend joining the Intel-gfx mailing list and asking for suggestions on improving the experience.
|Released Last Week
Proxmox 1.9 "Virtual Environment"
Martin Maurer has announced the release of Proxmox 1.9 "Virtual Environment" edition, a Debian-based distribution designed for running virtual appliances and virtual machines: "We just released Proxmox VE 1.9, including a lot of fixes and updates. This release includes the long awaited new stable OpenVZ 2.6.32 and also latest KVM 0.15 with KSM support. Release notes: PVE kernel 2.6.32, updates for drivers including e1000e to 1.5.1, ARECA RAID driver, megaraid_sas, bnx2, igb to 3.1.16, ixgbe to 3.5.14-NAPI, drbd 8.3.10; vzctl (3.0.28), update to latest upstream, set default template to Debian 6.0, merge some fixes from upstream; PVE manager (1.9), fix uptime display for 2.6.32 kernel with 1000HZ, support newer vzctl versions, support 'maxfiles' backup option; PVE QEMU KVM (0.15.0), use PXE ROMs from upstream qemu-kvm; QEMU Server (1.1), small fixes for new qemu-kvm 0.15.0...." Read the release announcement and release notes for further details.
Karanbir Singh has announced the release of CentOS 5.7, a free enterprise Linux distribution built from source code for Red Hat Enterprise Linux of the same version number: "We are pleased to announce the immediate availability of CentOS 5.7 for i386 and x86_64 architectures. CentOS 5.7 is based on the upstream release EL 5.7 and includes packages from all variants including server and client. All upstream repositories have been combined into one to make it easier for end users to work with. CentOS conforms fully to the upstream vendor's redistribution policy and aims to be 100% binary compatible. CentOS 5.7 is the seventh update to the CentOS 5 distribution series, it contains a lot of bug fixes, updates and new functionality." More information is available in the release announcement as well as the CentOS-specific release notes.
Alasdair Lumsden has announced the release of OpenIndiana oi_151a, an updated version of the community fork of OpenSolaris, now with support for Kernel Virtual Machine (KVM): "OpenIndiana oi_151a was released on 14th September 2011, exactly one year after our first release, oi_147. Our latest build brings a wide variety of enhancements, including being our first build based on Illumos. Notable changes to the kernel and core userland since OpenIndiana's oi_148 release includes KVM, the open source kernel-based Virtual Machine, as a basic virtualization solution along with the QEMU package. This KVM port includes virtualization extensions for Intel VT. Using KVM, a user or system administrator can run multiple virtual machines running unmodified x86_64-based operating system images for Linux, BSD, or Windows images. Each virtual machine has private virtualized hardware." Read the release notes for further details.
José Antonio Calvo has announced the release of Zentyal 2.2, an Ubuntu-based distribution for small servers: "Your favorite development team proudly presents Zentyal 2.2. Zentyal is a Linux small business server that can act as a gateway, unified threat manager, office server, infrastructure manager, unified communications server or a combination of them. Let us summarize some of the new features of this new version. Improved performance - thanks to the configuration backend rewrite and other optimizations, the responsiveness of the interface and the speed of other processes have greatly improved. Better installation process - in addition to the general performance improvements that also affect the installation speed, the package selection interface has been simplified." Read the detailed release announcement for more information.
Zentyal 2.2 - an Ubuntu-based distribution for servers
(full image size: 77kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Scientific Linux 5.7
Connie Sieh has announced the release of Scientific Linux 5.7, a free enterprise-class distribution built from source packages for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.7, with extra packages suitable for use in academic environments: "Scientific Linux 5.7 has been released for i386 and x86_64 architectures." Here are some highlights from the release notes: "Alpine 2.02, a tool for reading, sending, and managing electronic messages; Aufs 20090202, a stackable unification file system; gnuplot 4.2.6; Intel wireless firmware (ucode) Intel wireless; R 2.13.1, a language and environment for statistical computing and graphics; updated kernel modules for XFS, a highly scalable, high-performance journaling file system; updated kernel modules for OpenAFS and NDISwrapper; updated Sun/Oracle Java packages to 6u26...."
Linux Mint 201109 "Debian GNOME", "Debian Xfce"
Two new releases of the Debian-based editions of Linux Mint were announced earlier today. Featuring the rolling-release update mechanism with updated software pulled from Debian's "testing" repository, these releases offer the following highlights: "Available in both 32-bit and 64-bit variants as live DVDs with GNOME or Xfce; the purpose is to look identical to the main edition and to provide the same functionality while using Debian as a base; all Linux Mint 11 features; installer improvements (keyboard variants, locale, bug fixes, UUID in fstab); update packs, dedicated Update Manager and staged repositories; GTK+ 2/3 theme compatibility; updated software and packages." Read the complete release announcement if you'd like to find out more.
Johnny Lee has announced the release of Macpup 528, a minimalist desktop distribution based on Puppy Linux and the Enlightenment 17 window manager: "Macpup 528 is based on Puppy Linux 5.2.8 'Lucid Puppy', an official Woof build of Puppy Linux that is binary-compatible with Ubuntu packages. Macpup 528 contains all the applications from Lucid Puppy with the addition of Firefox 7.01 beta. Extra applications, like Opera or GIMP are available for easy download from the Quickpet application on the iBar or the Puppy package manager. Macpup 528 also includes the Enlightenment 17 window manager, the EFL libraries version 1.0.999 and E17 version 62861 were compiled and installed from source. Macpup is a full-featured system right out of the box with applications for office, graphics, multimedia, Internet and much more." Here is the full release announcement with additional information and credits.
Macpup 528 - a Puppy-based distribution with Enlightenment 17
(full image size: 1,280kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Klaus Knopper has announced the release of KNOPPIX 6.7.1, an updated version of the popular Debian-based live CD and DVD featuring the LXDE desktop. Despite the minor version bump, this release contains a rather large number of updates: "Version 6.7.1 has been updated from Debian 'Squeeze' with the usual picks from Debian 'testing' and 'unstable'; it uses Linux kernel 3.0.4 and X.Org Server 1.11; experimental free nouveau graphics modules supporting NVIDIA cards; OpenOffice.org replaced with LibreOffice 3.4.3; Chromium 13.0.782.220 and Firefox 6.0.2 web browsers; optional 64-bit kernel via 'knoppix64' boot option, supporting systems with more than 4 GB of RAM and chroot to 64-bit installations for system rescue tasks; new boot option for mounting the KNOPPIX compressed file system from a stored ISO file; boot option 'grub' for starting a bootloader shell in system rescue tasks...." See the KNOPPIX 6.7.1 release page for further details.
Chris Buechler has announced the release of pfSense 2.0, a major new update of the specialist FreeBSD-based operating system designed for firewalls and gateways: "I am proud to announce the release of version 2.0. This brings the past three years of new feature additions, with significant enhancements to almost every portion of the system." Features and changes: "Based on FreeBSD 8.1-RELEASE; i386 and amd64 variants for all install types (full install, NanoBSD, embedded, etc.); USB memory stick installer images available; GRE and GIF tunnels; 3G support; multi-Link PPP (MLPPP) for bonding PPP connections; LAGG interfaces; IP Alias type Virtual IPs; IP Alias VIPs can be stacked on CARP VIPs to go beyond the 255 VHID limit in deployments that need very large numbers of CARP VIPs; QinQ VLANs; bridging enhancements - can now control all options of if_bridge, and assign bridge interfaces...." Read the release announcement and visit the features and changes page for more detailed information and upgrade instructions.
Trisquel GNU/Linux 5.0
Rubén Rodríguez has announced the release of Trisquel GNU/Linux 5.0, an Ubuntu-based distribution carefully stripped of all non-free components in order to comply with Free Software Foundation's four software freedoms: "In what we can now call it a tradition, we celebrate the Software Freedom Day by publishing our latest release: Trisquel GNU/Linux 5.0 STS, code name 'Dagda'. Today we publish both the standard GNOME-based and the lightweight LXDE-based 'Mini' editions. Current Trisquel 4.5 users can upgrade using the update-manager application, without the need for re-installation. Advanced installations -- server, RAID/LVM, encrypted, etc -- can be done using the 'netinstall' images. The standard edition includes, among many others, the following packages: Linux-libre kernel 2.6.38, GNOME 2.6.32, LibreOffice 3.3.3, Abrowser (our unbranded Mozilla-based web browser) 6.0.2." Here is the full release announcement with several screenshots.
Trisquel GNU/Linux 5.0 - a free GNU/Linux distribution approved by the Free Software Foundation
(full image size: 939kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Qomo Linux 3.0
Qomo Linux, previously known as Everest Linux, is a community distribution maintained by the Linux-Ren community in China with support from Red Flag and other companies. Qomo Linux 3.0 was released partially in celebration of the Free Software Day of 2011. It is based on the latest stable version of the Linux kernel patched by the community with abundant hardware support. Systemd preempts upstart to speed up the booting process, and certain package descriptions have been translated into Chinese for better localization. LibreOffice is now the productivity suite, but is only available from the online software repository simply for reducing the footprint of the ISO image. Check the brief announcement (in Chinese) with a few screenshots.
Qomo Linux 3.0 - a Chinese community distribution sponsored by Red Flag Linux
(full image size: 1,282kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
IPFire 2.9 Core 52
Michael Tremer has announced the release of a new update of IPFire 2.9, a specialist Linux distribution for firewalls, focusing on easy setup, good handling and high level of security: "This is the 52nd update for the second series of the IPFire firewall distribution. Core Update 52 is addressing several security issues in the web proxy service and the Apache web server. It additionally introduces Russian language support and adds some minor features. It is recommended to install this update as soon as possible and please take notice that both services are restarted when updating. List of changes: Squid 3.1.15 (security fixes), Apache 2.2.20 (security fixes); Ethtool 3.0; web proxy - fix LDAP UTF-8 authentication; add Namecheap as a dynamic DNS provider." Here is the brief release announcement.
Benjamin Zores has announced the release of GeeXboX 2.0, a major new version of the media centre purposed Linux distribution for embedded devices and desktop computers: "After countless years of development, the 2.0 release of GeeXboX (code name 'Love It or Shove It') has landed. This new GeeXboX 2.0 is radically different from the 1.x series and, sorry to disappoint some of you, will not provide the same level of services. We are now doing much more things than we used to do with 1.x, but unfortunately a few things have to be left behind. But the GeeXboX philosophy remains the same and we still aim at targeting the most PCs and devices as possible, in as lightweight as possible a way. GeeXboX now also support many embedded devices running ARM SoCs and many more will be added in the months to come. These devices just make the perfect fanless, energy-efficient HTPC and GeeXboX just makes the perfect media center distribution for those." See the complete release announcement for a full list of features.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to waiting list
- CloudLinux OS. CloudLinux OS is a commercial, server-oriented Linux distribution based on CentOS.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 26 September 2011.
Caitlyn Martin, Ladislav Bodnar and Jesse Smith
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • Two really good news (by macias on 2011-09-19 07:57:02 GMT from Poland) |
First -- common-sense approach of openSUSE. As KDE 3.5.10 user (openSUSE 11.4) I am really glad to see KDE3 will be still installed with ease. The second -- Fuduntu, I didn't know it is rolling release. Considering the fact it is/was based on Fedora, makes this project worthy checking.
Rolling release, encrypting partitions (when installing the system), package installation rollback, should be considered standards de facto of modern Linux distribution. Pity, many distro lack those.
2 • Standards de facto (by Anonymous Coward on 2011-09-19 08:45:55 GMT from Spain)
Rolling release, encrypting partitions (when installing the system), package installation rollback, should be considered standards de facto of modern Linux distribution. Pity, many distro lack those.
I agree that filesystem encryption during install time is important, so it would be a plus for any distro to include an installer able to handle it. That said, most distributions I have used can be installed encrypted from the start. Even Slackware cans, if you take the time to read how to do it.
Now, I guess many guys out there are going to tell you that "the rolling release" thing is not good for every one, and I agree. I am not going to start a discussion, but I think that there are many users of traditional distributions that prefer them as they are. I think they are enough to prevent "rolling" from becoming a standard.
3 • Caitlyn's review needs some revision; (by cai eng on 2011-09-19 09:56:39 GMT from United States)
Caitlyn Martin wrote:
"If you are willing to do a little work to get the initial setup and configuration right then Salix OS for daily use is a thoroughly modern distribution that takes no more effort to maintain and administer than any other Linux distribution. If a newcomer to Linux or a relatively inexperienced user is willing to learn and willing to ask questions in the forum then Salix OS is an excellent introduction to the Slackware way of doing things as well."
The distribution is neither thoroughly modern, nor facile to use. You repudiated yourself, by discussing the numerous steps required to enable wireless.
Their forum is not, perhaps, hostile to newcomers, but it is not informative either. The worst aspect of Salix, is that it is NOT TRANSPARENT. (capitals for emphasis, because the Salix forum members jump up and down if one employs capital letters, as though one had committed a capital crime....)
With regard to your review, Caitlyn, I urge you to run some benchmarks, simple tests, to confirm WHY Salix is a "keeper". How long does it take to boot up? How long to shut down? How long to execute a standard program? You need, I think, to explain why Salix performs better, in your estimation, than other distributions out there. I have found it entirely unsatisfactory.....
I would profit from your critique of my review of four LXDE distributions, no, Salix sadly, was not one of those, couldn't get it working.
4 • BSD approach (by fsd on 2011-09-19 10:04:11 GMT from Austria)
I think the BSD approach is really great. They have a core system with releases and third party software in ports. pkgsrc (the ports system used by NetBSD, DragonFly BSD, Minix, some Linux distros and a number of Solaris folks) even has two branches, a main one with the latest updates and a stable quarterly release where packages are very stable and only bugfixes/patches/security updates are applied. This combines the features of releases, stable and unstable rolling release systems and usually doesn't have any drawbacks.
5 • Arch Linux (by DrSaleemKhanMarwat on 2011-09-19 10:21:38 GMT from Pakistan)
" which is even more surprising given the fact that it is designed for more advanced Linux users"
IMHO arch linux is not just for advanced linux user but for everyone , even home users like me . I find it equally easy and user-friendly as PCLinuxOS which I am using for past 5 years. I am using Arch Linux on my home computer and at my office and I have never faced any issues in either installing or manageing Arch Linux .
6 • I'd go with saleem (by manmath sahu on 2011-09-19 10:25:12 GMT from India)
rightly said saleem bhai. "arch is difficult" is just another FUD, nothing else. I am loving arch and find it very well put together.
7 • Intel Xorg drivers (by mark_alec on 2011-09-19 10:26:17 GMT from Australia)
I have found the opposite behaviour to what you describe; newer kernels have improved the performance and stability of my computers with intel video cards.
8 • SuSE & KDE 3 (by Holben on 2011-09-19 10:56:53 GMT from Germany)
It is a good thing that someone in the SuSE development team have finally come to their senses, and have KDE 3 desktop as part of the release instead of having to getting Evergreen or jumping hoops to put KDE 3 desktop into the latest release, or ditching SuSE and using Redhat/Scientific/Cent OS 5 or Vector Linux to get it,
as some of them might not come back to SuSE.
Beside KDE 4 still have some serious issues to work on before it become mature like KDE 3
9 • Salix review (by Rick on 2011-09-19 11:19:29 GMT from United States)
Caitlyn, I'd say your review of Salix mirrors my recent experience. I downloaded the LXDE edition when it came out and liked it so much it replaced Mint Debian on my secondary desktop, a ruddy old Dell Optiplex rescued from my office. I *really* wanted to like "vanilla" Slack, but much like "vanilla" Debian it left a good bit to be desired, a certain je ne se qua that Salix has.
Sure, it might not have VLC installed by default or whatever Cai eng is angry about (I quit reading his LQ posts because it hurt my brain; is he also mad Windows doesn't ship with VLC?), but it's certainly well-rounded enough for everyday use if you know how Linux works; for me it's the perfect blend of DIY to automated, which I guess makes me a lazy Slacker.
10 • Re: #9 by Rick (by Leo on 2011-09-19 12:33:57 GMT from United States)
"which I guess makes me a lazy Slacker."
Lovely quote to start my Monday :)
11 • SalixOS is nice (by Microlinux on 2011-09-19 13:15:27 GMT from France)
I'm a born-again Slacker (began with 7.1, used it until 12.0, distro-hopped a few years and then came back shortly after 13.37), and I recently gave Salix a spin. If I was a lazy Slacker (but I'm not), I guess Salix would be my favourite Slackware spinoff. Their community is friendly, the build scripts and everything are *very* clean, and the overall concept makes sense. I've played with the idea of moving to Salix, but decided - after a brief hesitation - to stay with the original :o)
12 • Salix netbook (by Bob Anderson on 2011-09-19 13:32:10 GMT from Finland)
My Aspire One is well supported in 13.37 but its broken BIOS (no free MTRRs) forces me to patch my 2.6 kernel for smooth video playback - does vanilla Linux 3.0 fix this?
13 • Salix Review (by GeekBoula on 2011-09-19 14:07:45 GMT from Canada)
Congratulation Caithyn for your great review of SalixOS. I agree with you
the speed with KDE is more fast and reactive of other Distro. It also the same with
This is one of the best review I read here and I learned things.
14 • Salix (by Slingshot on 2011-09-19 14:17:56 GMT from United Kingdom)
Somewhat reluctantly have to agree with cai eng. On the one hand, very appreciative of the hard work CM has put into the extensive and informative review. However, the endless procession of things that 'didn't work' or needed the undoubted and obvious expertise of the reviewer lies uneasily with the conclusions and recommendations. Found the earlier versions of Salix rather appealing, but from about a year ago, found it wouldn't boot on some machines, and on those that it did, there were a plethora of 'issues'. As for their Forum, replies seemed rather brusque and presumptuous of more knowledge than possessed! None of these 'features' bode well for neophytes. For experts there is never a problem with Linux distros, they have the answers at hand. Sadly this provides little encouragement to those whose expertise lies in other fields.
15 • Selective reading? (by Caitlyn Martin on 2011-09-19 14:46:01 GMT from United States)
#3, #14: I made clear both at the beginning and end of the review that SalixOS is not for, to use your chosen word, "neophytes" or newcomers to Linux. SalixOS developers go out of their way to make that perfectly clear. One factor that goes into every review I write is what claims the developers make for the operating system and how well those claims are met. The reason I tend to rub (vanilla) Slackware fans the wrong way is that I point out that the official Slackware website claims the distro is easy to use and I don't believe that claim is met at all. OTOH, SalixOS makes no such claim. Neither do Arch Linux or CRUX or any of a number of other distros designed for experienced users. Judging any of those distros based on ease of use for newcomers when they claim to be no such thing would be entirely unfair.
So, yes, some work is needed to make SalixOS work with hardware requiring proprietary drivers. Let's reexamine the NVIDIA issue: That is a consequence of the move from nv to nouveau that most distributions have made. I have found a wide variety of distros that simply don't work with my NVIDIA chipset unless I tinker, including ones that are supposed to be newbie friendly. Unless the installer has either the option to download and install proprietary drivers or the intelligence to choose not to load nouveau for specific chipsets this is going to be an issue. It is with Pardus, it is with Fedora, it is with Mandriva and it is with SalixOS.
Similary, wireless will not work out of the box in Fedora or Mandriva for precisely the same reasons: proprietary firmware is required. Pardus gets around this because Turkish law is different and they can get away with including the firmware. Distros based in the E.U. or the U.S. simply cannot. Once again, SalixOS is one of many distros that would have this issue.
Moving on to the forum, the developers and user community assume that people coming there are their target audience. Newcomers are outside that audience, hence the assumption of knowledge. However, I have, time and again, seen someone explain that they are a newbie and do not understand and in each and every case I've seen someone come back and give a response at a suitable level for a newcomer. Perhaps the initial response seems "brusque" because of the assumption made. I don't see it that way and I generally find the forum among the most friendly I have encountered anywhere in the Linux community. As always, YMMV, and I do respect that.
I made clear in my review that SalixOS is not for everyone. A very large percentage of DistroWatch readers have the basic skills to make it work, particularly when the solutions are laid out not just in the distro wiki but right in the review. I also write based on who my audience is.
Finally, no, I do not need to "revise" my review. A review is an opinion piece by definition and I am entitled to my opinion. I respect that you have a different opinion. You are most certainly entitled to express it. If you express it in all caps that's shouting and it's impolite and poor netiquette and yes, I'm going to call you on it. I'm also going to express another opinion you won't like: anyone who can't get SalixOS to work, with very rare exceptions, didn't try very hard. As I said in the review, if you want a distro to "just work" out of the box then SalixOS and indeed Slackware itself are not for you. Perhaps your reading was a bit selective when you ignored that part of what I wrote.
16 • Selective reading (by fernbap on 2011-09-19 15:43:56 GMT from Portugal)
Nice review, Caitlin, Salix is probably the only slackware based distro i would ever use. However, i have better to chose from.
"I made clear both at the beginning and end of the review that SalixOS is not for, to use your chosen word, "neophytes" or newcomers to Linux. SalixOS developers go out of their way to make that perfectly clear"
Well, then what is Salix for? People who want to play with slackware?
The purpose of a distro is to give the computer user a good environment to work with, regardless of your degree of expertise.
The reason why Salix is good is because it is not pure slackware. That says a lot, doesn't it? What makes it different? Exactly the same stuff you get ready made from Debian, for example.
If you can tell me of anything you can do with Salix that can't be done in Debian in a more easy way, except obviously being using slackware or not end up with a dependency nightmare, of course, then Salix might even have a reason to be chosen.
You pointed out some problems that Debian doesn't have. Why? Perhaps because the people at Debian are not working to make the life of the user harder.
There is no reason whatsoever why Salix should not be newcomer friendly. After all, it all depends on a set of simple scripts...
Lilo? Are you kidding me? That is a show stoper to me, i keep multiple Linux installs in the same disk, one for work and a couple more for testing in order to select my next working environment. I think what i do is not that rare...
17 • Salix (by Slingshot on 2011-09-19 15:53:36 GMT from United Kingdom)
Comments not intended as criticism of CM, or review as such, just another point of view. Never had any problems with Slackware itself but Salix as presently embodied causes concern. Perhaps fernbap expresses reservations somewhat better? And yes - LILO!!!
Lots of alternative distros out there with friendlier aspects - both content, usability and Fora.
18 • Firmware footnote (by Jesse on 2011-09-19 16:09:30 GMT from Canada)
>> "wireless will not work out of the box in Fedora or Mandriva for precisely the same reasons: proprietary firmware is required."
Just wanted to add a footnote to this. While closed firmware is a problem for distributions, Fedora is trying to provide as much firmware as possible, both free and non-free. For example, my Intel wireless card uses non-free firmware, but I can download an RPM for it from the Fedora website here: http://koji.fedoraproject.org/koji/buildinfo?buildID=237934
There is a list of firmware Fedora is trying to support, even if the firmware isn't in their install media yet, here: http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Firmware
Some firmware they can't legally redistribute, but there are some non-free modules they can, depending on the exact terms of the license.
19 • Fuduntu is a rolling-release? (by Scott Dowdle on 2011-09-19 16:45:05 GMT from United States)
I must admit, I don't know that much about Fuduntu. Other than disliking the name I assume it is a Fedora remix. I do NOT understand how they are going to become a "rolling-release" because Fedora is not a rolling release. Unless of course they are going to take all of Fedora's source packages and fork them... building and maintaining their own binary packages... which I see as an incredible amount of work.
The primary contention seems to be that they don't like the fact that Fedora has dropped GNOME 2.x in Fedora 15... and they don't like GNOME 3... so they'd like to stay with GNOME 2. I guess the reality that GNOME 2.x is basically dead now (as in not much development or fixes coming from GNOME upstream) doesn't mean anything to them. Yes, there are a few projects to keep GNOME 2 going but I haven't seen anything that says those efforts have the talent and numbers of developers needed to actually do that. This is very similar to what Fusion Linux claims to be doing too. Perhaps they should join efforts.
20 • Salix, Knoppix, Nvidia, Nouveau (by computergeek on 2011-09-19 16:53:43 GMT from Mexico)
A very thorough review of Salix...Sounds like it's not one of those mythical 30-minute install distros that folks on DW fantasize about but cannot name the distro (because it does not exist).
Question though, the author mentions that Nouveau does not support the Nvidia 6150. Does Nouveau fully support any Nvidia video cards yet?
Then later in the DW section there is mention of Knoppix 6.7.1 which includes Nouveau support for Nvidia video cards. It might be helpful to include the Nouveau version number so that potential users can research their Nvidia card. Likely it will NOT be supported, and then you'll have all sorts of headaches. Kinda difficult to go command line if you don't have video.
Segue to a point I've raised before in these forums - Developers take note, hardware support is not bloat!
21 • @ #16 (by Microlinux on 2011-09-19 16:55:21 GMT from France)
"Lilo? Are you kidding me?"
I recently setup a 100% Slackware SOHO network in a school here : two HP Proliant servers and twenty desktop clients with NFS and centralized authentication. Servers are running Slackware64 with a software RAID5 configuration. A breeze to setup with LILO.
Curiously enough, it's mostly the Debian users who like to sneer at Slackware for it's lack of <insert $FEATURE>. Now what exactly is wrong with LILO?
22 • #20: Nouveau (by Caitlyn Martin on 2011-09-19 17:04:59 GMT from United States)
Yes, nouveau supports the majority of recent vintage video cards. Also, for cards it doesn't support properly, like mine, you still have the frame buffer console to fall back on. It's not that you have no video -- you have the command line only. That's why I was able to fix my video with three commands.
Any distro can blacklist nouveau and fall back to nv. The irony here is that Slackware, not known exactly known for automating processes, has a package that does away with the need to hand edit a configuration file. It's actually easier to fix once and for all in Slackware and derivatives including SalixOS than some of the more user friendly distros :)
23 • Salix and required knowledge for a given linux (re #16) (by df on 2011-09-19 17:07:05 GMT from Hungary)
"The purpose of a distro is to give the computer user a good environment to work with, regardless of your degree of expertise."
Common guys, the majority of mankind are can't install any kind of OS (linux or else),
so the required knowledge level is not so important. No matter how hard the main distros are trying to be easy to installed, there is a level you have to have for the install.
The experience of the installed system is more important, and Salix rather good in it.
(By the way the fastest install time I have measured was definitely the Salix install)
24 • The mess that is Display Managers in Debian (by Bob on 2011-09-19 17:16:16 GMT from Canada)
Debian is a great distro but the state of the display managers is pathetic. I use Xfce and want a lightwieight DM because I use an older laptop. Slim has serious bugs right now and won't open my login keyring, and there appears to be no development on that package for ages. KDM brings in half of KDE, LOL, no thanks. The GDM3 package is even funnier as it recommends gnome-settings-daemon, otherwise themes don't work. And funnier yet, GDM3 suggests installing metacity!! If you don't install metacity you get a perpetual busy cursor! The only light at the end of the tunnel seems to be lightdm, which appears to be in active development and looks promising. I'll keep my fingers crossed.
25 • @19 (by Jeremiah on 2011-09-19 17:23:52 GMT from United States)
If you would read the release announcement, all of your questions would be answered. Instead of making assumptions, read the facts.
Link To Announcement: http://www.fewt.com/2011/09/important-fuduntu-linux-announcement.html
26 • Arch Linux (by Eddie on 2011-09-19 18:10:17 GMT from United Kingdom)
I get confused whenever I see Aaron Griffin named as lead developer since I'm under the impression that the Arch team is currently headed by Dan McGee (toofishes). Aaron seems to have zero presence on the Arch forums nor on the irc channels.
It's a strange arrangement for sure.
27 • Debian DWM (by mrneilypops on 2011-09-19 18:59:31 GMT from Luxembourg)
Give Livarp with DWM a try;
The site is French language but it is possible to install in English.
Low RAM usage and a very thorough set of install scripts give this lightweight distro(let) my thumbs up!
28 • @20: nouveau (by cba on 2011-09-19 19:03:45 GMT from Germany)
It strictly depends on your nvidia hardware.
Let me give an example:
My Geforce4MX 420 card ist fully supported with 2D and 3D by nouveau in openSUSE 11.4, whereas my Geforce4MX 440 Onboard-Chip (nforce2 chipset) does not show me any usable 2D. Even the commandline is almost unusable due to a completely distorted video output.
In this case one option is to start your system with "nomodeset", blacklist nouveau in /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf and install nv as Caitlyn Martin pointed out.
But this could be a problem in the future: nv is currently seen as unsupported by Nvidia and because nv is "obfuscated" there is no chance for any non-Nvidia developer to develop nv and to accomodate it to future xorg releases. So distributions will drop nv sooner or later, Debian for instance already abandoned nv in Wheezy (the current Debian testing). Moreover, nv is not usable with modern Nvidia cards, because Nvidia decided not to let nv support such newer cards.
Even a few modern Nvidia cards are very problematic when nouveau is used, one example are NVA3+ nvidia cards. They currently work with nouveau only if 2D acceleration is disabled, with activated 2D acceleration they will freeze sooner or later. There is a special microcontroller with unknown function on such cards the proprietary nvidia blob is communicating with all the time.
29 • salix ox (by Anton Wolters on 2011-09-19 19:09:17 GMT from Netherlands)
What a thorough review on Salix. Since a year or so it's my favourite distribution, because any Debian based distro I tried (mepis, sidux, debian, ubuntu) wasn't able to get Citrix making an connection to the server at my work. That was the main reason for me to choose a slackware distribution (after years of debian based distro's). Tee installation of Salix I did (thinkpad 600X, thinkpad X31 and EeePC 901) all worked 100%. Now I'm using Salix 13.37 basic Fluxbox installation and using Enlightenment E17 as windowmanager. I'm really satisfied. Thumbs up for this review and for the Salix OS developers!!
30 • installation of Salix, Caitlyn's review needs revision.... (by CAI ENG on 2011-09-19 19:14:23 GMT from United States)
#15, #16, #17, #20, #21
"From the beginning the Salix OS developers made clear that they had no intention of competing with Ubuntu or Mandriva and they were not trying to create a newcomer-friendly distribution that would be easy for Windows or MacOS users. Rather, they described the target audience as "lazy Slackers." I've always understood that to mean Linux users who want the reliability, stability and performance that Slackware consistently delivers but who also want modern conveniences and features like automated dependency resolution, automated notification when patches are available and a first class set of tools to administer their systems. If those are truly the goals then Salix OS meets them admirably."
The amateurish, clumsy, undocumented disk partition program, far less performant that the equivalent program on Slackware itself (sorry, too many years ago, is that called fdisk??) certainly is not "first class".
I was obliged to boot up with a dos floppy, and run Ranish to partition the disk, then, I could proceed with the installation of Salix, up to the point where the OS DEMANDED, not demanded, n.b. DEMANDED, that the user furnish a minimum of five letters for a root password.
Caitlyn, nobody instructs me on how I MUST use my computer. Not you, and certainly not Salix.
I deliberately choose to use a minimal, single character password for root, because:
a. my radio, back in the 1940's, didn't have ANY passwords, and worked just fine;
b. my computer runs both win98 and winXP just fine, with zero passwords;
c. my computer works very well with AUTOLOGIN enabled, using Ubuntu, Debian, CrunchBang, or PCLINUXOS. In each of those, I employ a single letter password for root, no problem.
d. my computer works BEST, with Puppy Linux, no passwords whatsoever.
My point then, is this: there is nothing "modern" about Salix. It is looking to the past, when UNIX developers were accustomed to several hundred users sharing the same cpu. That's exactly how we functioned, back in the 60's.
Guess what? At the present time, we now have our OWN computers, we don't require passwords, to access them. If someone desires a password, then, let them have one. But a "modern" OS ought not compel the user to employ passwords. This is another example of how Salix is NOT a modern distro with "modern conveniences and features." It is, contrarily, indicative of an obsolete, user hostile operating system.
So, rather than explain my irritation with Salix, which, in my opinion, is NOT easier to install, than "plain vanilla" Slackware, (though I have not installed Slackware since version 11.0, but I suspect that it is more or less the same--much, much simpler to install, than Salix today), I tersely wrote that I could not install it.
Yeah, armed with Ranish, I could install Salix, if I were willing to put up with such nonsense as furnishing a minimum of five characters twice, for both root and a user. I am not willing to do so, however.
Perhaps you could identify, for us, Caitlyn, where are these "modern conveniences and features" located?
Installation of Crunchbang Linux requires 12 minutes on my obsolete, 1GHz P3, with only half a gigabyte of RAM. Works. Effortless. No nonsense about "codecs" this, or "codecs" that. Nope. Just works. Perfectly. VLC is operational, one click of the mouse and music emerges. No nonsense about nnn symbols in the root or user password.
Ubuntu, yes it has its failings, but the installer is not one of them: wow: SENSATIONAL. Clearly the best of class.
Puppy Linux: for OLD hardware, such as I employ, it is very tough to beat Puppy. Puppy is the gold standard, for older hardware, in my opinion. The Puppy forum is also first rate.
Debian remains the Cadillac, or Mercedes, or Lexus of the Linux world, in my opinion.
LILO: unlike many other folks, I PREFER LILO to GRUB. For me, LILO is the best. On the other hand, I am accustomed to LILO, having first used Slackware more than a decade ago, but, I confess I no longer remember when LILO first emerged on the scene, late 90's?...
Caitlyn, if you wish to convince me, that Salix has merit, I need to read some numbers in your review: boot time, installation time, shut down time, time needed for some test, any test, one that you make up, that's fine: then the rest of us can run your test on our machines, for comparison. That's a review that will provide users with a reason to change distros.
"If you express it in all caps that's shouting and it's impolite and poor netiquette and yes, I'm going to call you on it. I'm also going to express another opinion you won't like: anyone who can't get SalixOS to work, with very rare exceptions, didn't try very hard. As I said in the review, if you want a distro to "just work" out of the box then SalixOS and indeed Slackware itself are not for you. Perhaps your reading was a bit selective when you ignored that part of what I wrote."
regards, CAI ENG (all capitals)
31 • #30 WTF?!? (by Microlinux on 2011-09-19 19:48:41 GMT from France)
Now here's someone who mistakes an OS reviewer with his psychotherapist.
32 • in re: stuff (by grindstone on 2011-09-19 19:54:31 GMT from United States)
#3,30 certain distros are more hands-on--on-purpose. massive generosity makes free distros available and the customary perspective in which to receive such generosity is, if you have issues, figure out where to ask "how can I help?". no one owes you anything--your satisfaction is up to you. only tyrants and infants are able to demand that the world conform to their desires; all others must either compromise or roll-up their sleeves and take responsibility. i sincerely hope you find what you seek.
#15 one nit--the "easy to use" verbiage probably goes back to when that was more true...the world moved a little ;) thanks for a real review in the sort of depth that is so sorely missing anymore.
#16 multiple installs on the same disk works the same way with lilo as it has for a Good While... you are not alone in having multiple installs. from this chair, a predictable, reliable and familiar loader that requires hands-on updating beats an unplanned recovery here and there as the latest flavor of loader is loosed upon the world.
this too gets to the general undercurrent of why even both with slack-based things at all. almost w/o exception, if you get into trouble, (a) you did it yourself and (b) you can undo it yourself. while that may be true of most other distros given enough knowledge, slackware is a place on the continuum of compromise between access and convenience that simply balances well for many users. you are a trusted admin of your own machine and the spirit of that comes through in the README.initrd link. you're presented with clear and orderly documentation inside many of the files. it's a vibe and it feels right to a lot of people. you get to know what time it is, but you also get to see some of how the clock works ;) if you just need the time, however, maybe a different route is the way to go. it's just that sooner or later your shiny clock will stop and you'll need to find a watchmaker or buy a new clock ;) _that's_ why slack is the way it is--day-in, day-out, all-weather, through thick and thin, it's the simplest/shortest/sanest way in the end. use stuff long enough and lower-level simplicity is a better trade than higher-level convenience. that's my take on it, anyway, and why the steadfastness of philosophy remains appropriate (thanks for teaching a lot of people to fish, Patrick).
FWIW, not now using any salix because i'm too lazy to be even a lazy slacker anymore but some editions are very close to what i'd seek if looking that way again--if only for a smaller subset of installed packages w/o having to make tagfiles and do everything by hand. (where is zipslack when you need it? rhetorical...).
33 • @30 (by sam on 2011-09-19 19:57:46 GMT from Italy)
"Debian remains the Cadillac, or Mercedes, or Lexus of the Linux world, in my opinion".
I like that, and agree.
34 • @30 (by TobiSGD on 2011-09-19 20:00:11 GMT from Germany)
Sorry, but I can't see how setting up a machine with totally insecure passwords is in any way modern. You are not the only one on your computer at any time you connect it to the net. Any malware (may be through a trojan, may be through a browser exploit) that was able to start on your local account will break a single letter root password in less than a second and can install any rootkit (or whatever) without pain, leading to more spam or your computer participating in illegal activities, like DDOS attacks, brute force attacks to other machines or hosting child porn. Not to metion that I never even would think about something like online banking on such a machine.
This is not modern, this is plain stupid. Sorry.
35 • @16 (by TobiSGD on 2011-09-19 20:20:19 GMT from Germany)
"The purpose of a distro is to give the computer user a good environment to work with, regardless of your degree of expertise."
I disagree. The purpose of the distro I choose for me is to give me an environment that fits to me, and it can only fit to me if it regards to my degree of expertise. That is why I am using Slackware, which comes (as most other distributions) with the two most powerful tools for administration of a Linux system for me: man and vim.
If you are not interested in putting that much effort in administrating your system, or you don't have the expertise, distributions like Slackware, Arch, Gentoo or Salix OS simply aren't for you, there are other distributions to use, which fit better to your degree of expertise or willingness to put effort in administration.
Or, in other words: If you want to take a ride with a limousine you wouldn't complain about the difficulties to drive a truck or a race car, wouldn't you?
36 • @30 & @34...Passwords (by DavidEF on 2011-09-19 21:40:02 GMT from United States)
How about a third opinion of the "modern"-ness of passwords? I say strong passwords are neither modern, nor obsolete. They are relevant to some people and not to others. Passwords are simply a tool to use, or not use, at your option. Microsoft had an operating system free of passwords long ago, and Unix had strong passwords even longer ago. In fact, it is the argument about passwords which is old and tired. Back then, it made the difference. Now, in a modern O/S, security shouldn't necessarily have to rely on one tool, such as strong passwords. To me it seems that a modern O/S should be able to be secure with or without passwords.
I don't know anything about coding, but I've just about concluded that one strong password will probably take the place of hundreds of lines of code that it would take to make the O/S "secure". But, hundreds of lines of code should also, then, be able to replace passwords, if someone wanted it that way. And, maybe, in this "modern" age, it shouldn't even take so much. A few lines of well-placed and well-written code should do the trick, as long as the user is doing his part. Truly, the greatest security risk is between the keyboard and the chair.
37 • A distro should be... (by fernbap on 2011-09-19 22:09:30 GMT from Portugal)
"The purpose of a distro is to give the computer user a good environment to work with, regardless of your degree of expertise."
It seems my statement got misunderstood by many. What it means is that whatever your expertise, a good distro remains a good distro.
I didn't mention Debian by chance. Debian is great for expert users, but it is ALSO great for not expert users. And, for both expert and newcomers, it is easier to deal with.
I am still waiting for an information regarding what you can do with Slackware that you can't do with Debian in an easier way...
38 • @36 (by TobiSGD on 2011-09-19 22:13:59 GMT from Germany)
If your system is setup to not using passwords, you have two options:
1. Using a different type of authentication, like a chip-card, a RFID chip or maybe a key on an external media.
2. Don't use a password and let anyone that is able to find only one exploit on your machine (shouldn't be difficult with mainstream software like Firefox or Thunderbird) take over your machine without you noticing it for any purpose the attacker wants.
Of course a password shouldn't be your only security mechanism, but nonetheless a secure authentication system is essential.
39 • Passwords (by Jesse on 2011-09-19 22:18:44 GMT from Canada)
>> "They are relevant to some people and not to others. Passwords are simply a tool to use, or not use, at your option. "
i think Dave has made a very good point here. Strong passwords are a good thing to have in many cases. However, on a home machine (or mobile device) shouldn't it be up to the user whether or not to set a strong password (or any password)?
The complaint of "This OS requires a large, complex password and I don't want one" is something I see more and more frequently on both Linux and BSD forums. For a single-user system with no remote services there isn't much point in forcing the user to type a long password. Yes, sure, there are a few cases, but preventing the user from completing an install unless they provide a big, complex password is a bit over-kill and definitely annoying.
I run into this sometimes setting up virtual machines, some of which exist for only a few hours. It seems silly to make up a 8+ character password with "at least one number" for something which doesn't need to be locked down.
40 • #37: "A distro should be..." (by Caitlyn Martin on 2011-09-19 23:24:39 GMT from United States)
fernbap wrote: "I am still waiting for an information regarding what you can do with Slackware that you can't do with Debian in an easier way..."
Let me turn the tables on you. I'm happy with Slackware derivatives. What can Debian do that SalixOS (or VectorLinux or Zenwalk or...) can't do in an easier (or equally easy) way. I'm waiting....
Seriously, I don't like Debian packaging. I also prefer rpm packaging to both Debian and Slackware packaging but that's neither here nor there. As you've mentioned I have periodically run into issues with the Debian repository with package conflicts and dependency issues that I have not seen with SalixOS. Then I have had issues with the Debian community. If you ever read the Debian Women list you know exactly what I am talking about.
I disagree with your assertion that Debian is "easy to deal with" for newcomers. I think it's anything but. Is vanilla Slackware more difficult in that regard? Probably, but I didn't review vanilla Slackware this week. I reviewed SalixOS. It's a tangential issue. I do like that SalixOS offers a variety of desktops and package sets in a nice small, ready to go installation package. Debian does not. In that respect SalixOS is easier.
In general, the only thing at all difficult about SalixOS is initial installation and configuration. As others have said, most newcomers really can't install any OS without help. Once a system is configured I would put SalixOS on par with the most user friendly distros out there, say Linux Mint, Pardus and Mandriva. Once it's setup there is nothing difficult in the least.
A lot of my dislike of Debian is personal preference. I suspect a lot of what you like about Debian can be described in exactly the same two words. That's fine. Use what you like. Just don't put down those who choose differently.
41 • #39: No password == leaving the door unlocked unless... (by Caitlyn Martin on 2011-09-19 23:29:11 GMT from United States)
A password is a tool to keep bad guys out. A long or difficult password is inconvenient. Having a system compromised is far more inconvenient and potentially costly. TobiSGD made a good point: passwords are but one of several possible authentication methods. So long as you use some form of secure authentication system you're fine. The problem is when nothing at all is used. In that case I'm completely with TobiSGD when he calls that "stupid". It's like leaving the doors to your house and car unlocked. Sure, maybe nobody will walk in. Do you really want to take that chance?
Sure, it's your computer. The problem is what someone else may do with it.
42 • Salix review (by Ruffian on 2011-09-19 23:49:02 GMT from United Kingdom)
I enjoyed Caitlyn's detailed review of Salix and, whilst I do not use the latest versions of Salix, I support her positive conclusions of the distribution wholeheartedly.
I have Salix 13.0.2 installed on two old laptops: an IBM T30 from 2003 (1.8 Ghz P4 with 512MB RAM) and a Toshiba Satellite Pro 4300 from 2000 (640MHz P3 with 320 MB Ram). Both of these work every time, without fail, and have done since I first installed Salix on them.
I use the T30 with XFCE for internet and email mainly, with occasional use as a TV with a DVB-T USB dongle (using Kaffeine and so requiring KDE libraries to be installed), and it works superbly. The SatPro is mainly a backup for the T30 and gets little use, but it still works flawlessly every time I fire it up.
Whilst I do not use Salix or Slackware on my much more modern desktop computer, I am hugely impressed by the quality control and stability of the Salix/Slackware software on my older machines and would recommend Salix for anyone using such old equipment.
43 • @34,35 and indirect @30 (by Pierre on 2011-09-19 23:49:42 GMT from Germany)
I really agree with you opinion, TobiSGD.
Using unsecure passwords, no matter on what system, is plain stupid and has nothing to do with beeing modern.
And distros are not made to fit every need or even to work on every environment for every user. Distros all are more or less specialized. And that's perfect. That's the way it is supposed to be. We don't need thousands of distros that all work the same, look the same and deliver the same. Distos are not supposed to be like Windows, running on every system for every common user. The user desires which distro fits the best for his/her own tasks and way of working. This includes your willingness to take your time for administration. You will find systems that simply work, like Linux Mint. And there are others, that are very flexible but need a lot more time for administration like Arch Linux.
I love to use openSUSE and Linux Mint, they both work out of the box and are standing out of the way.
But this is it, everyone is free to make his or her choice that fits his or her liking.
44 • @40 A distro should be... (by fernbap on 2011-09-20 00:56:35 GMT from Portugal)
"What can Debian do that SalixOS (or VectorLinux or Zenwalk or...) can't do in an easier (or equally easy) way."
Hmmm... don't know where to start... Perhaps the huge amount of packages available (i know, i can use tarballs, but then i'm entering the dependency nightmare, so there goes the "equaly easy").
A large amount of graphical settings managers, easy to use, that won't ever make me have to edit a single text file (not that i can't, i still can).
Most proprietary software (virtualbox, dropbox, google earth, skype, etc) can be found on Debian and Ubuntu .debs. For salix, back to the tarbals....
As to Debian packaging, i don't remember having a single issue (apart from repositories being offline, but Debian's are always up. And fast). On the other hand, my greatest issue with mandriva is the rpm packaging system. Not that it is slow, that is not an issue, but the amount of apps that you install only to find out that they refuse to run.
"A lot of my dislike of Debian is personal preference."
Sure, and you are entitled to it. But if you write to a place like DW, you have to be impartial, or if not possible, at least apply the same criteria.
DW managed to recomend Slackware while at the same time not recomend Debian. To the general user. I rest my case...
45 • RE: 37 and 44 (by Dopher on 2011-09-20 02:24:19 GMT from Belgium)
Have you even tried salix 13.37? Because your remarks tell me you are just guessing.
One of the advantages of salix is that you have a full working desktop within 20 minutes with all the apps and multi media support.
plus with salix you don't have to go back to tarballs. There is a huge rep by using the slackbuilds with sourcery. ( This was in the review)
Also one man's dependency checking is another man's dependency hell. I would also recommend salix over debian. Because salix is easier to setup. But at the end it's all linux. the only differences are the init and packaging system.
46 • @45 (by fernbap on 2011-09-20 03:00:00 GMT from Portugal)
"Have you even tried salix 13.37?"
yes, i tried it. Even had it installed (no lilo, please). Stopped using it because i couldn't find some apps i grew used to.
However, i recomend it for old laptops, for instance (provided your wireless works).
"One of the advantages of salix is that you have a full working desktop within 20 minutes with all the apps and multi media support."
Have you even tried Debian? The installer has a simple checkbox: do you want proprietary codecs? It even gives you the choice.
However, let's try not to compare apples with oranges. Salix is a Slackware derivative, made to work out of the box. Should be compared with a Debian derivative. So, let's compare Salix with Mint, for instance. Or Mepis. Or Bodhi.
So, don't "recomend Salix over Debian", because you are comparing apples with oranges.
47 • NVIDIA 6150 + nouveau problems (by eco2geek on 2011-09-20 03:11:43 GMT from United States)
I'm not going to even pretend to be an expert when talking about things like kernel mode setting or Linux video drivers, but I can talk from experience. I also have an NVIDIA 6150 chipset.
I've seen the same "garbled screen" problem on openSUSE 11.4's live CDs:
-- and also on some pre-release versions of Ubuntu 11.4. The problem went away when the kernel was updated, which leads me to think that it is not a problem with the nouveau drivers. In any case, I'd bet that when the kernel in Salix 13.37 is updated, it will no longer be a problem.
In any case, here is a screenshot of Salix Live Xfce 13.37 with the garbled screen:
Here is a screenshot with the problem fixed:
The problem was fixed by adding "Option" "ShadowFB" "on" to a file named "50-device.conf" (without the quotes) in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d. (In Salix's case, that file had to be created.) So the whole thing looks like this:
Identifier "Default Device"
Option "ShadowFB" "on"
Restart X, and it should work OK.
48 • encrypting partitions (by aduka on 2011-09-20 03:12:05 GMT from Malaysia)
i prefered distro installer have options to encrypting partitions than 8+ character password with "at least one number".
49 • Re - Salix Trolling (by Ray on 2011-09-20 03:12:05 GMT from United States)
Wow, since when did the DW OS reviews turn into a trollfest? I for one am no expert, I had no issues installing Salix, and playing around with it for awhile. I am the first to admit, my PC is kubuntu (let the howling and bashing BEGIN!). But one of the funnest things I do is read the reviews on OS's here at DW, as well as just plain trying them out myself, just for FUN. Anyway, my point here is, this comment section looks like a trollfest at some whateverchan type site. Just wanna say, ty DW for the weekly mag, and keep up the good work, I really appreciate whatever info I learn, whether I agree with it or not.
50 • Re: 50-device.conf in #47 above (by eco2geek on 2011-09-20 03:15:47 GMT from United States)
(Note that the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th lines of that file are usually indented by convention, but they apparently don't *have* to be.)
51 • Re - Salix Trolling (by Ray on 2011-09-20 03:26:38 GMT from United States)
Sorry, I feel I should clarify my previous comment (I got off a 14 hour shift at work a few hours ago, so im not as coherent as I should be). Everyone is entitled to their opinion and should always feel free to express it, but remember, these people offer this service, and information, for free and with their free time. Their information is valuable to anyone who wants to know, but responses should be free of negativity and rudeness. Continuing to argue a point or have shouting matches over *** distro is what (IMO ONLY) is trolling. Everyone has their preferred distro, but please, keep responses in a positive light....
52 • Salix: Asian language support? (by Candide on 2011-09-20 04:58:48 GMT from Taiwan)
I'm sure Salix would be pretty good about supporting European languages, but I would have liked to know more if it can be tweaked to support Asian languages. Specifically, Chinese, Japanese and Korean.
53 • @ LILO multiboot support (by Akuna on 2011-09-20 05:47:18 GMT from France)
Salix does provide LiloSetup, a GUI utility developed in-house that offers automated multiboot detection which the end-user can then choose to setup with a mere couple clicks, while, in the case of more advanced users, the LILO configuration file it generates can still be further customized if it is so desired.
54 • @ Salix Asian language support @ 52 (by Akuna on 2011-09-20 05:58:26 GMT from France)
Please try it out, and let us know if we can improve it still.
SCIM has recently been replaced by iBus to facilitate Asian language input
Most of our utilities are already translated in Japanese while Chinese & Korean still need work on.
Anyone wanting to help with missing translations can easily contribute here: https://www.transifex.net/projects/p/salix/r/default/
55 • Passwords and encryption (by Anonymous Coward on 2011-09-20 08:20:48 GMT from Spain)
i prefered distro installer have options to encrypting partitions than 8+ character password with "at least one number".
This depends on your threat level but, roughly speaking, filesystem encryption does not replace user authentication, as user authentication does not replace filesystem encryption.
Filesystem encryption is a tool that protects your data when the filesystem is turned off, so if a bad guy tries to mount it, he will need a password. This also can protect your user password mechanism, as it could be used to protect your passwd, shadow and group files against manipulation.
User passwords protect the running system against unauthorized use. Without a password, you are taking some risks and ensuring that any remote exploiter that is able to crack your user will mess your data in every way they like. Ok, if all what you do with your computer is e-mailing, you are surely not risking intrusion, but why take the risk, when creating a stupid password takes zero time? You don't need an APG generated password. A simple one that can be easily remembered will be better than no password ("I-am-Super-Geek1234", "My-tool-is longer-than-yours4321"...)
Of course, true random passwords are better, yet harder to remember...
56 • @ cai eng (by machinehead on 2011-09-20 08:25:27 GMT from Germany)
"I was obliged to boot up with a dos floppy, and run Ranish to partition the disk, then, I could proceed with the installation of Salix, up to the point where the OS DEMANDED, not demanded, n.b. DEMANDED, that the user furnish a minimum of five letters for a root password."
LOL, get a life!
57 • Pardus release (by DShelbyD on 2011-09-20 13:16:06 GMT from United States)
Reading the Pardus announcement, wondering whether Pardus has reingineered their live DVD to an =installable= live DVD as the Distrowatch, not the Pardus, announcement states. Previously it has been a live DVD that is only a demo.
58 • @25, I read the announcement before it appeared here even (by Scott Dowdle on 2011-09-20 13:35:53 GMT from United States)
I actually received the Fuduntu announcement in my email before it appeared here on Distrowatch and yes I read it. That's why I have no idea how they are going to achieve a "rolling release" from Fedora. Fedora isn't a rolling release so how is a distro based on Fedora going to become a rolling release? As I questioned in my first post... are they going to copy all of the source packages and fork the whole distro and maintain everything from this point forward? Doesn't sound likely.
59 • @58 (by Fewt on 2011-09-20 13:59:22 GMT from United States)
Yes, that is exactly what we plan to do. It is not as difficult as it sounds.
60 • Passwords (by Patrick on 2011-09-20 13:59:45 GMT from United States)
Just for fun, I'll throw this into the discussion. :)
61 • Fuduntu (by Ray on 2011-09-20 15:06:35 GMT from United States)
@58 (and anyone else)
We will not follow future versions of Fedora, or rework the entire distribution based upon their release cycle. Instead we will continue to fork over time eventually cutting the cord separating the two products entirely
Thats from the announcement, pretty much says it all. Btw, for anyone who has a netbook, Fuduntu works great on it heh :)
62 • @58 (by Jeremiah on 2011-09-20 15:39:55 GMT from United States)
I'm one of the developers/packagers for Fuduntu. We are no longer claiming to be based directly on Fedora. Yes, currently we pull packages from the Fedora repos. However, ever since the inception of Fuduntu we've stepped further away from Fedora with every release.
As Fewt said in 59, what we're planning to do isn't very difficult. One thing good about being involved in the Fuduntu team is that we realize and admit when we're biting off more than we can chew. If the team was not confident in our ability to do this, we wouldn't release an announcement saying as much.
63 • #47: NVIDIA 6150SE and nouveau (by Caitlyn Martin on 2011-09-20 16:45:23 GMT from United States)
Everything I had read indicated that the 6150SE chipset was not compatible with nouveau so I was surprised by your post. I tried it and, sure enough, it works. So... the procedure I outlined in my article is still correct for the mainly older NVIDIA chipsets not supported by nouveau. For the 6150 series the instructions provided by eco2geek are definitely a better solution as the problem is misconfiguration, not incompatibility. Thanks for posting.
I'm preparing an article for O'Reilly on resolving NVIDIA issues in vanilla Slackware and I am going to add the information you've provided. I'd like to give you proper credit, of course. If you'd like your name used rather than just eco2geek please e-mail me privately.
64 • @37 (by Not Sure on 2011-09-20 17:39:13 GMT from United States)
"I am still waiting for an information regarding what you can do with Slackware that you can't do with Debian in an easier way..."
1) Control the system
2) Install apps from source
3) Update/Upgrade/Clean the system
4) Pretty much anything else
Good ol' LiLo
65 • @67 (by fernbap on 2011-09-20 18:17:27 GMT from Portugal)
Are you familiar with apt?
How is installing apps from source any different?
And, guess what: i can use lilo with debian, so your point is irrelevant.
66 • Password entropy (by Anonymous Coward on 2011-09-20 21:07:09 GMT from Spain)
Just for fun, I'll throw this into the discussion. :)
Good joke, men!
Now, I would like to see if that "hard to guess password" is truly unbreakable in a reasonable time. Dictionary attacks are really powerful these days. Also, it seems that the cartoon is assuming that you are going to perform a brute-force attack against each password, which may or may not be true (in fact, I think that most people tries dictionary attacks first).
The first password in the cartoon can be surely more easy to break by brute force, but the second one won't survive for long against a dictionary attack. Anyway, If you have brain enough for the task, you'd better use a 40 characters password, combining both concepts ("Thorhasahammer-JUIycefni4?to_hit_nails") and ensure you remember it.
67 • @63,64 (by weissglut on 2011-09-21 07:54:00 GMT from Germany)
I've been a Slackware/Zenwalk/Salix user for many years now. Before sticking to Slackware I've tested/used pretty much every dustribution that was available these days :D Of course Debian, too.
I still have to use Debian sometimes (at work, etc.) and I have to agree with comment 63: Pretty much everything is more straight forward to do with Slackware. Especially I really don't like the packaging system in Debian: why do they have to split every package in 1000 sub packages? OK, I know the answer, but I don't like it that way.
Of course this is just my personal view and I know many people like Debian more. But please respect other opionions, too.
PS: most important thing why Slackware is better than Debian:
68 • RE:67 Very Nice (by Eddie on 2011-09-21 11:31:43 GMT from United States)
I liked that. Not much difference at all when it comes right down to it.
69 • Package Fragmentation (by Anonymous Coward on 2011-09-21 12:02:43 GMT from Spain)
Especially I really don't like the packaging system in Debian: why do they have to split every package in 1000 sub packages?
I see we are reaching the Apt vs Pkgtool stage.
From my point of view, Slackware packaging system is surprisingly flexible, given that it lacks dependency checking. In fact, when I first tried Slackware, I thought that the lack off dependency handling would make system administration extremely difficult.
After five minutes of installing external packages, I fell in love with Slackware's mechanism. It takes some time to get used to it, but it really makes easier the installation and updating of unofficial software. In addition, making Slackware packages is far more easy than making proper .deb packages (a fully compilant .deb requires a lot of work to make!)
The only thing I miss in Slackware is the fragmentation of the contents of the packages (yes, I like each package divided into more manageable pieces). However, when I really need to have the software fragmented, I just repackage it myself.
I must write that the Apt system is great too, and it generally makes packages installation a little faster (from local repositories, at least). Apt uses to lead to a smaller system, as the package fragmentation allows to install only the components you need. However, when you try to install big and complex apps from outside of the repositories, you often have to find ways to trick the dependency tracker or to desist (as Apt's dependency relations are more restrictive that of the ones that really affect the packages).
70 • @65,69 (by TobiSGD on 2011-09-21 16:32:06 GMT from Germany)
"Are you familiar with apt?
How is installing apps from source any different?"
With apt you get the packages build with the features and dependencies the package maintainer decided. When building from source you are deciding yourself.
"Apt uses to lead to a smaller system, as the package fragmentation allows to install only the components you need."
That is not a feature of Apt at all, it is a decision of the package maintainers in how many and which parts they split a package. Package fragmentation can be done with any package manager.
71 • Package fragmentation (by fernbap on 2011-09-21 16:38:04 GMT from Portugal)
That is an interesting point indeed.
Have you ever thought of looking at i this way: the reason why Slackware has larger packages relies exactly on the fact that Slackware doesn't check package dependency, and so you have to include everything you need in each package (much like windows, each program has to include all the DLLs it needs)?
I have nothing against deciding not to enable dependency check. Not having the option is what i find at least debatable.
72 • @70 - installing from source (by fernbap on 2011-09-21 16:46:34 GMT from Portugal)
"How is installing apps from source any different?"
What i asked was how it is any different installing from source on Debian or on Slackware...
73 • Apt and smaller systems (by Anonymous Coward on 2011-09-21 16:47:56 GMT from Spain)
"Apt uses to lead to a smaller system, as the package fragmentation allows to install only the components you need."
That is not a feature of Apt at all, it is a decision of the package maintainers in how many and which parts they split a package. Package fragmentation can be done with any package manager.
Apt does not make the system to take less room by itself, but makes that easy.
In my experience, when someone installs Slackware, he installs a vast amount of packages and libraries, because it is easier to install most of the stuff that to try to make a smaller installation with the Slackware method.
With Apt, people tend to install a more basic system and add required packages and libraries only when they discover they are needed.
You can have a slim installation of Slackware, and a bloated installation of Debian, but most desktop users are not going to burn their brains and will take the easy road. The easy road in Slackware is to install a base system of 5 Gb. The easy road in Debian is to install a base system of 2 Gb.
Anyway, I agree that package fragmentation is more related to repository handling that to the package manayer.
74 • Installing form source (by Anonymous Coward on 2011-09-21 17:04:14 GMT from Spain)
What i asked was how it is any different installing from source on Debian or on Slackware...
1- Slackware is closer to the GNU/Linux standard. That means that libraries and other system files are in the places in which a generic unofficial app will look for them. Many distributions do have important files placed in uncommon folders, thus confusing some unofficial apps and making installation a little harder. Not a big problem, anyway.
2- It depends on your branch of Debian, but Slackware uses to have more recent components, so you are less likely to face problems because a given library that is not easily replaceable is too old.
3- If you want to make a package from the source, and then install it (I hightly recomend this), Slackware allows for an easier package making. You can still make .deb packages with checkinstall or other methods, but such packages won't be compliant with the official .deb specification and can be a headache if you install many of them. Making a true .deb package that survives the lintian test is not so easy as making a .tgz package.
4- Slackware won't force you to upgrade half of your base packages just because you need to update one single library in order to compile your unofficial software. I have faced this problem in some distributions, but not in Slackware.
I hope this helps.
75 • @71 (by TobiSGD on 2011-09-21 20:31:44 GMT from Germany)
"Have you ever thought of looking at i this way: the reason why Slackware has larger packages relies exactly on the fact that Slackware doesn't check package dependency, and so you have to include everything you need in each package (much like windows, each program has to include all the DLLs it needs)?"
That is not the way Slackware packages work. Assume that package A depends on library B. That doesn't mean that library B is included in package A, most likely you will find that library B is a different package.
"I have nothing against deciding not to enable dependency check. Not having the option is what i find at least debatable."
Not more debatable than not having the option to disable it. While you can install a package without its dependencies using dpkg this will break the dependency chain and apt will refuse to work until you fix that, which means that you either have to remove the installed package or install the dependencies.
76 • Dependency checking (by Caitlyn Martin on 2011-09-21 21:35:57 GMT from United States)
To me, this is one of the strengths of several Slackware derivatives, including SalixOS. I want automated dependency checking and I get it yet I keep all the benefits of Slackware. To me it's the best of both worlds.
77 • KDE 3 in SUSE - good move! (by Gnobuddy on 2011-09-21 21:48:36 GMT from United States)
Good move from the SUSE developers, making it easy to install the best Linux desktop to date - KDE 3.5.x.
I am one of the thousands (millions?) of people, Linus Torvalds included, who found little to like and much to dislike in every version of KDE 4.x from 4.0 to the current version. As for Gnome, it became less and less usable for me as the Gnome developers focused on making it more "usable" by dumbing it down and slowing it up. Gnome 1.x was okay, 2.x was progressively more of a PITA, 3.x is a ridiculous mess that I can't even contemplate actually using.
What makes this particularly exasperating is the fact that for me, and many others, the last versions of KDE 3.5.x offered the best desktop experience offered to date by any operating system - Windows, OSX, and Linux included, as well as more obscure offerings like BeOS and Solaris back in their day. In my opinion, KDE 4 was an extreme case of "fixing what wasn't broken", a retrograde step that put visual flash and bling ahead of actually getting work done efficiently on your computer.
So, after spending much of a year trying to learn to love (or at least tolerate) KDE 4.x, and Gnome 2.x, I gave up, and went back to the best desktop I've ever used - KDE 3.5.10, courtesy of the Trinity Project ( http://www.trinitydesktop.org/ ).
Since 2010 I've been running Kubuntu 10.04 and 10.10 customized with the Trinity Desktop, i.e. KDE 3.5.10 with updates and fixes. Improved kernels and filesystems under the hood mean little to me if the desktop is less usable, so I'm stuck in the past, unable to use the newer Linux distro versions that are a big step backwards in usability for me. With the Trinity project, I can continue to use the best file manager (Konqueror), the best quick image viewer (Kuickshow), the best LaTeX editor (Kile), a music manager that actually works without crashing constantaly (Amarok for KDE 3.x), and avoid such bits of loathsomeness as Dolphin and other space wasting, slow, memory-hogging bits of KDE 4.x.
I've contributed significant amounts of money to the Trinity Desktop Project, because they singlehandedly made it possible for me to continue to use Linux. Before I stumbled across the Trinity Desktop project, my experiences with KDE 4.x and recent versions of Gnome were bad enough to drive me to consider (albeit briefly) going back to Windows, after a full decade of being Linux-only.
For now, I've settled on the Trinity Desktop. I'm keeping an eye on Bodhi Linux (E17 desktop) as well as the other usual suspects (XFCE, LXDE), but so far, none matches the quality and completeness of the KDE 3.5.x software set.
78 • KDE 3.5.10 (by Brandon Sniadajewski on 2011-09-22 00:21:05 GMT from United States)
It's good for openSuse to have the older 3.5.10 desktop available for those who want it; but as for me, I will stick with Kubuntu and KDE 4 series. It (KDE4) looks much better IMHO.
79 • Trinity & KDE3 (by Andy Axnot on 2011-09-22 12:49:07 GMT from United States)
It does my heart good to read of support for Trinity and KDE3.
I was a bit amused at the openSUSE announcement, however. "In the desktop area, openSUSE users are in for a nostalgic treat: ..."
Nothing of nostalgia, folks. Some of us have never left KDE3, other than to go to Trinity which keeps building and improving on the former.
KDE3 is not for everybody, but neither is Linux. It is *good* to have choices. I have nothing against KDE4 or Gnome3, I just don't want to be forced to use them, and I don't see why what was probably the best desktop ever was abandoned.
80 • Another Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure (by Eddie on 2011-09-22 13:24:06 GMT from United States)
I too believe it is good that openSuse is offering the KDE 3.5.10 for people if they choose it. Knoppix was the first Linux distro that I ever had any experience with and I was very impressed. That was back in the Win98 and Win2k days. As was stated earlier the Trinity Desktop Project is a good option also for those wanting to stay with the older KDE series. The only concern that I would have would be who keeps the KDE 3 series applications up to date? It just seems to me that it would be a huge undertaking to do so. I could be wrong but that's the way it appears. Opinions on the usability of certain desktop environments are purely subjective to the user's hardware, needs, preferences, and so fourth. I used the KDE 3 series for many a year and loved it, but I have not found it to be any more productive then many of the other environments, after you learn how to use the other environments. Granted the KDE 4 series does seem to be somewhat of a pain to get around in and has some lags but that is just my experience. I'm sure other people find it a breeze to use. I haven't had much experience with Gnome 3 so I can't really comment about it's performance. I find Unity to be very productive. I can bring up any application I want with one or two mouse clicks or just typing a couple of letters. It's also easy to modify. I've had many good comments on Unity. I also have keen interest in Bodhi Linux. I'm impressed with the development. My point is that opinions do vary greatly and opinions are not facts and we should remember that. What one person thinks is trash another man would consider treasure.
81 • post #16 (by GreginNC on 2011-09-22 18:35:03 GMT from United States)
"Lilo? Are you kidding me? That is a show stoper to me, i keep multiple Linux installs in the same disk, one for work and a couple more for testing in order to select my next working environment. I think what i do is not that rare..."
What does that even mean? Lilo is more easily configured to chainload multiple bootloaders than Grub2 is any day.
I like you multiboot 8 distributions on my system, two partitions each, with the bootloaders of all except what could be called my primary system installed to their respective root partitions.
I currently use PcLinux as my primary simply because it uses Grub Legacy as its bootloader which is installed to the mbr and chainloads all the others.
Although I use Grub Legacy, if the time ever comes when it is no longer available I will use Lilo.
From my experience Lilo is superior or at least the equal to Grub2 in every way, except the ability to have a pretty picture as a bootloader background which is completely irrelevant to me. Functionally Lilo can do anything that Grub2 can do, while still being easier to customize.
To me ease of use equals quality, and using this scale Grub Legacy is the clear winner, Lilo although more complex is a close second, and Grub2 which seemed to use all the bad points of Lilo and compound them by making everything even more complex and convoluted certainly is a distant third.
82 • Gnome 2.x is the most reliable so far... (by Caraibes on 2011-09-22 21:09:29 GMT from Dominican Republic)
I spent the afternoon toying around with Trinity desktop, in my main PC (actually a single-boot Lucid Macbook)
I usually use Gnome 2.x, and tried KDE 3.5... Didn't like it... It feels a bit clumsy...
But then again I never liked KDE...
Gnome 2.x until I can't find it anymore... So far it is there in Ubuntu LTS...
I guess I'll move to a RHEL clone (I'll have to read Kiki Novak's book again, as I forgot most tricks... While he is a Slackware born-again !!!)
There should be a fork of Gnome 2... Maybe I'll have to move to Xfce...
83 • live Arch-based CD with Gnome 3 (by gnomic on 2011-09-22 22:10:38 GMT from New Zealand)
Those with a taste for the exotic may find this interesting.
Three current browsers for some side by side testing. Have only run this on one machine so far (Dell laptop with ATI X300); a live session lasted for 8 hours or so without falling over.
84 • Gnome 3 (by walter on 2011-09-23 04:08:59 GMT from Canada)
Is there a reason why gnome 3 can't have a gnome 2 look? Gnome devs probably won't do it - but is there reasons why it can't be done? Ie - let them develop their tablet os, while the gnome 2 desktop continue on but on a gnome 3 foundation? Would seem to be the best of both worlds.
Ubuntu can be ubuntu again then...
85 • @81 (by Not Sure on 2011-09-23 15:44:59 GMT from United States)
LiLo can use a bitmap as a picture - as in slackware, and is quite flexible and easily customized, if one would want that (it's not a "background", tho)
86 • After Gnome 2.x... Lxde... Maybe... (by Caraibes on 2011-09-24 19:05:36 GMT from Dominican Republic)
Gnome 2.x is still lighter than Xfce is Lucid... Fluxbox & Lxde are the only one to provide something lighter but still reliable... For regular folks, Fluxbox is too strange... So Lxde, with its Windows 9x feel, has the best potential... Hence its use in Knoppix... Klaus knows it best !!!
87 • Salix OS is sweet... (by KevinC on 2011-09-26 02:31:58 GMT from United States)
Just installed 64-bit XFCE version...and I'm liking it a lot. I've used in that past, but Salix just keeps getting better. And very good review or a very good distro. I am partial to Debian / Debian-based distros (using LMDE 64-bit Gnome, which is very good as well). But lately I've grown bored and started experimenting / distro-hopping again. Like Scientific and Cent OS 6 a lot and Mageia was very promising in VBox install....may add 64-bit version of this as well soon. As to Salix, it's nice to know that this distro exists, b/c w/ Unity and Gnome3 taking over some of my old standbys...well it's time to move on for me. So far, looks as if Salix will earn a spot on my hard drive. One of the best, if not the best, XFCE implementations I have used.
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