| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 438, 9 January 2012
Welcome to this year's second issue of DistroWatch Weekly! The recent release of VectorLinux, a Slackware-based community distribution that has been around for well over a decade, is a curious mix of user-friendly ideas and software, put together by a tight group of highly experienced hard-core developers. As such, the product tends to make good first impression, but under the hood things can get a little rough at times. Jesse Smith has spent a week evaluating VectorLinux 7.0 - read below for his experiences and recommendations. In the news section, Mandriva once again gets into the headlines for all the wrong reasons, Ubuntu rumours (and occasionally even facts) continue on the eve of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and CentOS developers remind users to keep using the useful CR repository for timely security updates. Also in this issue, a first-look review of the Razor-Qt desktop, a lightweight environment built with the Qt toolkit. Finally, we are happy to announce that the recipient of the DistroWatch.com December 2011 donation is the Transmission project. Happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First look at VectorLinux 7.0|
I wanted to start the year off by looking at a Linux project which doesn't generally get much of the spotlight. The project I chose is VectorLinux whose team, toward the end of 2011, launched version 7.0 of their distribution. The project advertises their credo as "keep it simple, keep it small and let the end user decide what their operating system is going to be." It certainly sounds good on virtual paper, especially for people who are interested in resurrecting older hardware. The latest version of VectorLinux comes in two editions, Standard and Live. The latter doubles as both a live CD and as installation media. At the time of writing, both editions are available in 32-bit builds only and both ISOs are about 700 MB in size.
Booting off the CD brings up a boot menu which will allow us to boot into a graphical desktop or command line. Taking the default desktop option shows us some start-up messages and ultimately presents us with the Xfce desktop environment. The background is soft blue and dotted with icons for navigating the file system and bringing up various sections of the VectorLinux website. At the top of the screen we find an application menu, task switcher and system tray. At the bottom we find an OS X style launcher and task switcher. If we poke around in the application menu we'll find the installer, which is labeled "Install VL". At this point I feel it's worth noting that performing administrative actions, such as running the installer, brings up a password prompt. The password is blank.
VectorLinux 7.0 - the system installer
(full image size: 531kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
The installer is probably the weakest part of the distribution. It isn't so much an application as a series of independent dialog boxes. There doesn't appear to be any way to go back to previous screens and closing one dialog just brings up the next one. In other words, don't make any mistakes and you can't abort. Each window that pops up looks like something cobbled together in Motif. That's not to say the installer doesn't work; it does, and on my test runs it did its job without any problems. I bring up the presentation because I found it to be in high contrast to the rest of my experience with the distribution, which was generally both functional and attractive.
The first thing the installer does is give us the option of launching GParted to carve up the hard disk. Once we've closed GParted we're presented with a menu which allows us to create a user account and set the root password. The normal user account creation goes into a fair amount of detail, including picking groups and setting the user's ID number. Then we move on setting the current date and time. Next up we have the option of removing optional hardware support. After that we have the option of selecting which services will be enabled at various run levels. We're then asked to choose which partition will hold the root file system and, optionally, we can provide a separate /home partition. The last step of the installer asks us where to install the LILO boot loader.
When first booting into the newly installed VectorLinux distribution the system automatically logs us in. Interestingly enough, we are logged in as the user "vl", not the user created at install time. This behaviour can easily be changed through the distro's login settings GUI. Exploring the interface I found it to be fairly standard Xfce material, with the addition of the Cairo-Dock at the bottom of the screen. One aspect of the environment I found eye-catching (though perhaps both normal and appealing to some users) is that the top bar, which holds the task switcher, will grow or shrink depending on how many applications are open. Usually this seemed like a good idea as the top bar was only as wide as it had to be and this made sure I only had to move the mouse pointer the minimum amount of distance to access items. On the other hand, I sometimes found myself chasing the application menu if a dialog box appeared. Generally though Xfce performed quickly, the interface is easy to navigate and Xfce is pleasantly flexible and tends to stay out of the way.
The distribution's CD contains a good collection of default software. These applications tend to be GTK+-based and cover a wide range of functionality. We're given the Firefox web browser, Pidgin for instant messaging, XChat, the gFTP client and Zenmap. There's a disc burner, the Exaile media player, the MPlayer multimedia player and Xine. In the Office menu we're given AbiWord and Gnumeric, along with the Orage calendar application and a thesaurus. There's a PDF viewer, the GParted disk manager, the htop process viewer and the Grsync backup tool. There's a diagram editor, the GIMP, Inkscape and Shotwell. For developer tools we're provided with GCC, the Glade IDE, Geany and a graphical front-end for CMake. There's a system configuration tool called vasm, and a wide selection of tools for managing the look & feel of Xfce. As usual, we have a text editor, calculator and archive manager. VectorLinux comes with Java and Flash, popular multimedia codecs and the 3.0 version of the Linux kernel.
VectorLinux 7.0 - running various applications
(full image size: 350kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
I tried running VectorLinux on two physical machines, my HP laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 3 GB of RAM, Intel video card) and a generic desktop box (2.5 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM, NVIDIA video card). On both machines VectorLinux booted fairly quickly and, once at the desktop, the system was very responsive. The Xfce environment is pleasantly light and, even with the extra launch bar, I found it to be fast. On both machines all of my hardware was detected and configured out of the box. My Intel wireless card was activated and picked up local networks without any input on my part and VectorLinux set my screen resolution to its highest setting on both computers. I found when sitting idle at the desktop VectorLinux would use about 128 MB of memory, leaving plenty of room for applications.
VectorLinux comes with the gslapt package manager. The gslapt interface is similar, I find, to Synaptic's -- plain, straight forward and suited to performing a batch of actions all at once. At the top of the window we find buttons for refreshing the package list, performing queued actions and marking all available upgrades for installation. In the middle of the window we find a list of available packages in alphabetical order and we're able to search for software by name. All in all, I found gslapt worked smoothly and I like that it provides detailed information on the actions it is performing. It's a fairly good all-in-one package manager, with no extra bells or whistles and I was able to find software I wanted in the repositories, such as games, administration tools and LibreOffice. One thing I did miss when running VectorLinux was any sort of notification when new software upgrades were available. Checking for updates requires the user to open the package manager, refresh the repository information and apply any updates. Maybe the lack of notification is part of the "keep it simple, keep it small" philosophy, but it's a feature I like to have on desktop systems.
While I'm on the subject of things I missed or that bothered me, I have a few others (mostly minor) which caught my attention during my trial with VectorLinux. Perhaps the biggest issue I had was with the Cairo-Dock, the launch bar placed at the bottom of the screen. Sometimes it would pop-up over windows I was working in when I didn't want it, other times it refused to appear when I wanted to use it, Cairo-Dock's behaviour rarely felt consistent and I eventually disabled it. Fortunately this is easy to do, thanks to Xfce's flexible and easy-to-navigate settings. In a similar vein I discovered a few quirks on the command line. For example, VectorLinux comes with (and suggests the use of) Midnight Commander, a file manager. Well and good, but the default terminal's short-cut keys interfere with Midnight Commander's control keys, so it may be best to only use the venerable file manager if you're running from a real text screen. Though not itself a problem, I found it odd that VectorLinux comes with the gFTP client, yet it's one of the few distributions I know of which doesn't include a command line telnet or FTP client out of the box. Lastly, the application menu includes a top-level entry called "Help". The link this entry points to doesn't exist, which is likely to frustrate users looking for assistance.
VectorLinux 7.0 - browsing the web and using Cairo-Dock
(full image size: 454kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
It would be accurate to say there were a lot of little things which bothered me in this release, but it's also fair to say that VectorLinux has a number of points in its favour. It detected and used all of my hardware properly, performance was first-rate, codecs and Flash are available in the default install and it comes with a lot of useful software. Whether these pros and cons balance each other out will be a matter of taste. My overall impression of VectorLinux 7.0 is perhaps best described by comparing two types of applications. You know how some graphical applications are obviously front-ends to command-line programs, Grsync would be an example. It's apparent they're an attractive layer which is just going to take your input fields and run them through a command line program in the background.
Other graphical applications appear to be designed to really be naturally graphical, not just pretty entry fields. Even if they do ultimately pass your data off to a command line program their work flow is smooth enough you don't think about it. Take K3b as an example; it uses behind-the-scenes components, but the design is smooth and abstract enough that we typically don't consider what's going on under the surface. Running this distribution felt like using the former. The installer, the vasm configuration utility, the splash screen shown at boot time and the package manager all feel like a thin layer over a command-prompt driven operating system. For intermediate and advanced users who know the command line and are comfortable with it, but prefer the convenience of point-n-click interfaces, I think VectorLinux is a good option. It's especially well-suited to older hardware. It installs quickly, runs fast and stays out of the way. Less experienced users are likely to be put off by the approach and will want a smoother, more beginner-friendly set of tools than what the distribution provides.
VectorLinux has some odd behaviour and, in my eyes, undesirable defaults, but it also comes with good configuration tools and a responsive, clean environment. It's not something I'd recommend to most desktop users, though it is perhaps a good stepping stone for people interested in Slackware and that family of Linux distributions.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Mandriva in bankruptcy threat, latest on Ubuntu-powered devices, CentOS on CR repository
Mandriva Linux, once the top distribution in this site's Page Hit Ranking statistics, has had a turbulent history, coming close to a bankruptcy on several occasions. News reports about the latest round of financial troubles started appearing over the weekend after Mandriva CEO Dominique Loucougain had sent a notice to shareholders threatening to cease operations as early as next week. Susan Linton reports for OStatic: "Wolfgang Bornath posted the text from a letter shareholders received from Dominique Loucougain, president of the executive board of Mandriva SA dated December 23, 2011. It provided proof that the news was true. He wrote on the Mageia forums: 'In late December the CEO sent a notice to all shareholders. Mandriva needs a raise in capital, otherwise it will have to cease operations on January 16th. The main investor is OK with the raise and declared that they would give the money all by themselves if necessary. But the former main investor Occam (who is now Linlux) does not agree to the raise.'" The author concludes the story with a plug for Mageia, a community distribution formed in 2010 by former Mandriva developers and contributors: "While the news about Mandriva is sad knowing they are teetering on the edge of oblivion, if the worst should happen, Mageia is there." For more on the situation see also these articles by Computerworld and ITworld, with further discussions on Slashdot, LinuxFr (in French) and Mandriva Brazil (in Portuguese).
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Continuing with rumour mill, the expected move by Canonical into the mobile device market has given rise to speculation that an Ubuntu-powered tabled PC could be announced as soon as this week, during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2012 which starts tomorrow (Tuesday) in Las Vegas. ExtremeTech's Ray Walters has even created a mockup of a tablet (pictured on the right) which he named "ShuttlePad", in reference to Canonical's founder Mark Shuttleworth. But the author also remains sceptical about the company's chances to succeed in a market that is already dominated by powerful players. From "Canonical announcing Ubuntu 'concept' device at CES": "As far as market penetration in the US, it's going to be difficult for a non-carrier-supported device to make much of an impact. With the smartphone market already saturated with products from Google, Apple and Microsoft, the device is going to have some killer feature to attract consumers. Being able to run Android apps in some sort of emulation mode isn't going to do the trick. Any kind of Ubuntu-based device is going to be a niche product for Linux geeks and the more technical user at best. There are just too many smartphone options already on the market that are already entrenched in the hearts and minds of the consumer."
Another piece of hardware Ubuntu has reportedly been interested in targeting with its software is the television. Direct from CES, PC Pro's Barry Collins has the latest, together with the first screenshots: "Canonical has demonstrated Ubuntu TV for the first time, as the company moves to broaden the reach of its open-source OS beyond the PC. Plans for versions of the Linux distro for tablets, smartphones and TVs were unveiled last year, and now the television is - perhaps surprisingly - the first of those to arrive. The company is showing off the first Ubuntu TV at CES here in Las Vegas, and Canonical expects the first Ubuntu-powered television to be on the shelves by the end of this year. Silber told us Canonical was in discussions with a number of television manufacturers, but couldn't confirm any signed deals. It will face stiff competition from Google - which only last week added LG to its roster of Google TV manufacturers - and Apple, which is widely tipped to be working on an internet television after making little impact with successive generations of its Apple TV hardware. Silber however remains confident that Ubuntu TV can offer something different to its two formidable rivals."
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Away from the glamorous universe of high-tech shows, a more mundane world is awaiting many CentOS users who have finally been able to upgrade their installations to version 6.2 and thus catching up with the upstream vendor (Red Hat Enterprise Linux). The CentOS project has been criticised for not providing timely point releases, although its optional "Continuous Release" (CR) repository was designed to meet the security updates while the latest point release was being worked on. And even though users running CentOS 6.2 no longer need it, Johnny Hughes believes it's a good idea to have the CR repository enabled: "We have put a Continuous Release (CR) repository in place for both CentOS 5 and CentOS 6. This repository can be installed via the simple command 'yum install centos-release-cr'. The purpose of the CR repository is to allow the CentOS Project to push some of the security updates if we are having issues with a point release build (like we did with both CentOS 6.0 and CentOS 6.1). If we are not going to meet the 2-4 week goal for our point release, we will push out the packages we have gotten to build properly while continuing to work on the problem packages. This repository is totally optional and was not needed with CentOS 6.2, but we recommend it be installed if you want to get your security updates as fast as possible." The author also reminds users of CentOS 4 that the product will reach end of life in February 2012.
|Sneak Peeks (by Jesse Smith)
The Razor-qt desktop environment
One of the big news items in the open source community at the end of 2011 was the arrival of the Razor-qt desktop environment. Razor-qt is a light desktop environment in a similar vein with LXDE and Xfce. However, where Xfce and LXDE are based on the GTK+ framework, making them a lighter sibling to GNOME, Razor-qt is put together using Qt, the same technology upon which the KDE desktop is built. The Razor-qt team recently pushed out version 0.4 of their environment and I decided to take a look at the offering.
Before getting into the technology itself, I will say that a lightweight desktop based on Qt is something which I've been hoping to see for several years. I am a big fan of Qt and, while I also like the KDE desktop, I find KDE is a bit heavy for older machines and its interface is busier than one usually finds in other desktops. Having a low-resource desktop environment using the powerful Qt toolkit strikes me as a great way to enjoy all the benefits of Qt without the overhead involved in running KDE. In short, there is great potential here to entice new users and developers who might be interested in the benefits of Qt, but who aren't comfortable with KDE.
Razor-qt 0.4 - running with multiple applications open
(full image size: 152kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
Logging into Razor-qt for the first time brings up a prompt asking which window manager we would like to use with the desktop. Installed window managers are detected and displayed in a list. As I am running KDE on my desktop these days KWin was the only option presented. The Razor-qt desktop is laid out in the classic manner with the application menu, task switcher and system tray at the bottom of the screen. The default background is a soft, deep blue and an analog clock widget sits in the top-right corner of the display. On my system no icons were displayed on the desktop. The application menu appears to have been borrowed from KDE and is displayed in the classic layout.
Something I noticed early on is that Razor-qt doesn't, by default, start many programs. Items such as a network connection manager, volume control and clipboard aren't present. A quick look at Razor-qt's settings shows we can set such utilities to start when we login, but by default we're given a very plain environment in which to work. While this lacks a certain convenience, it does mean we can easily craft our own interface starting with a very simple framework.
Since I just mentioned the environment's settings, this seems like a good point to talk about Razor-qt's two main configuration tools. One is labeled Razor Desktop Configuration and the other is called Razor Session Configuration, both can be found in the application menu. The former deals with options such as which file controls the contents of the menu, the background wallpaper and whether we see icons on the desktop. The Session Configuration tool lets us adjust which programs are launched at login, which window manager to use and default applications for opening files. I found the settings straight forward and, while there aren't many options at this time, both panels worked well.
Razor-qt 0.4 - configuration panels
(full image size: 224kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
For me perhaps the only unusual aspect of using Razor-qt was the desktop's Edit Mode. Right-clicking on the desktop allows us to activate something called Edit Mode where the background dims and we can adjust the environment's widgets. Unlike KDE, which allows the user to directly interact with widgets, Razor-qt requires that we change modes before we can alter the position of these items. We can click on and drag widgets around the screen, remove them and add new ones. At the moment only a few widgets are available, mostly for demonstration purposes, but they worked well enough. Exiting Edit Mode is accomplished by right-clicking on the desktop again and unchecking the proper box.
Razor-qt 0.4 - Edit Mode
(full image size: 229kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
Since I have had front row seats to most of the early releases of KDE and GNOME (most infamously KDE 4.0), I went into my trial with Razor-qt assuming there would be the occasional problem. A few rough edges are to be expected in a 0.x release. Surprisingly there really weren't any big issues. During the week I used Razor-qt it functioned smoothly. I didn't see any crashes or poor behaviour. The desktop was responsive and, even with a few applications in the system tray, the environment used less than 50 MB of memory.
My reaction to Razor-qt at the end of the week is that the environment is more capable and more stable than I would expect from a 0.4 release. My system runs KDE smoothly, so I may be in a poor position to judge Razor-qt's performance, especially for low-resource machines, but I found the desktop to be quick to respond. There were no stability issues and I found most of the controls intuitive. I think managing widgets and the switch between using mode and editing mode could be a little more obvious and I would like to see some more options, especially where fonts and colours are concerned. However, those minor issues aside the experience was quite good. Certainly better than I would expect from such a young project.
In short, there are a few rough edges to smooth down, but the foundation is solid, small and useful. Once I had my start-up applications configured to include things like wicd and a volume control, logging into Razor was like logging into KDE's little, less complicated sibling. I'm not ready to make Razor-qt my default desktop at this point, but the work done so far speaks to a very promising future. For those interested in trying Razor, packages for Ubuntu, openSUSE, Fedora, Arch Linux and a few other distributions are available. People comfortable with compiling their software from source can find Razor-qt's source code on the project's website.
|Released Last Week
Gentoo Linux 12.0
David Abbott has announced the release of Gentoo Linux 12.0. The live DVD is meant to merely showcase the current cutting-edge state of Gentoo and it does not provide a hard disk installation program. From the release announcement: "Gentoo Linux is proud to announce the availability of a new live DVD to celebrate the continued collaboration between Gentoo users and developers. The live DVD features a superb list of packages, such as Linux kernel 3.1.5, X.Org Server 1.10.4, KDE 4.7.4, GNOME 3.2.1, Xfce 4.8, Fluxbox 1.3.2, Firefox 9.0, LibreOffice 188.8.131.52, GIMP 2.6.11, Blender 2.60, Amarok 2.5, VLC 1.1.13, Chromium 16.0 and much more. Special features: writable file systems using Aufs so you can emerge new packages; persistence for $HOME is available. The live DVD is available in two flavors: a hybrid x86/x86_64 edition, and an x86_64 multi-lib edition."
Gentoo Linux 12.0 - a new live DVD showcasing the latest and greatest in Gentoo development
(full image size: 1,860kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
BackBox Linux 2.01
Raffaele Forte has announced the release of BackBox Linux 2.01, an Ubuntu-based distribution and live DVD tailored to penetration testing and security assessment tasks: "The BackBox team is proud to announce the release 2.01 of BackBox Linux.The new release includes features such as Ubuntu 11.04, Linux Kernel 2.6.38 and Xfce 4.8.0. What's new: system upgrade; performance boost; new look; improved start menu; bug corrections; new sections such as Forensic Analysis, Documentation & Reporting and Reverse Engineering; new hacking tools and updated tools such as Dradis 2.8, ettercap 0.7.4.2, John the Ripper 1.7.8, Metasploit 4.2, Nmap 5.51, SET 2.5.2, Sleuth Kit 3.2.1, w3af 1.0, weevely 0.5, Wireshark 1.6.3." Here is the full release announcement with system requirements.
James Nixon has announced the release of FreeNAS 8.0.3, the latest update of the project's FreeBSD-based system designed to provide free Network-Attached Storage (NAS) services. What's new? "Use smaller block and frag sizes for /etc and /var; import a build tweak to nuke /var/db/pkg to save 7 MB of space; other build tweaks to remove non-essential features and packages from the image; disable output to /var/log/console.log in non-debug builds to avoid unnecessary duplication in /var/log/messages; upgrade ATAidle to 2.6; upgrade Nut and net-snmp to 2.6.2 and 5.7.1, respectively; import Omnibus build system fixes to fix the fact that the 8.0.3-BETA1 image was broken due to the environment of the build machine where it was produced on; increase the /var size from 74 MB to 160 MB so that Samba will be able to service requests copying large sets of files...." Read the rest of the release notes for a complete changelog.
Incognito Live System 0.10
Version 0.10 of Incognito Live System (also known as TAILS) has been released. New features in this release of the project's Debian-based live CD with strong privacy-preserving features include: "Tor upgrade to 0.2.2.35; install Iceweasel 9.0 from the Debian Mozilla team's APT repository; update Torbutton to 184.108.40.206; support viewing any YouTube video that is available in HTML 5 format; use Scroogle (any language) instead of Scroogle (English only) when booted in English; install the NoScript Firefox extension; disable third-party cookies, they can be used to track users, which is bad; do not transparently proxy outgoing Internet connections through Tor, instead drop all non-Torified Internet traffic; applications have to be explicitly configured to use Tor in order to reach the Internet; upgrade Vidalia to 0.2.15, this version will not warn about new Tor versions...." See the rest of the release announcement for a detailed list of changes.
IPFire 2.11 Core 55
Michael Tremer has announced the release of IPFire 2.11 Core 55, a specialist Linux distribution for firewalls: "Today, we are going to release two new core updates for the IPFire firewall distribution. Core Update 54 - minor feature enhancements and bug fixes. This core update comes with some updates for network hardware that will give more speed and reliability. The web proxy service has been updated as well and consumes less memory in some circumstances, among other improvements. The intrusion detection system rules download is working again for the latest rule set and the hardware status section in the web user interface recognizes more hard drives. Core Update 55 - six security updates in OpenSSL, OpenSSH has been updated to version 5.9p1." Read the full release announcement additional details.
Jay Flood has announced the release of Porteus 1.1, a Slackware-based live CD with a choice of Trinity (a KDE 3 fork), KDE 4 and LXDE desktops: "The Porteus community is pleased to announce the official and final release of Porteus version 1.1. This release is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit editions and includes several bug fixes and some new features. Chief among them are a new graphical installer and a completely overhauled Porteus package manager, which now allows users to download hundreds of software packages with automatic dependency resolution through a clean GUI interface. There have been vast improvements since our version 1.0 release, here are the main changes: upgraded to Linux kernel 3.1.8 with BFS scheduler and ASPM patch; upgraded NDISwrapper to latest stable version; dropped Broadcom driver as the kernel supports most devices...." Here is the full release announcement.
Porteus 1.1 - the i486 edition comes with the Trinity desktop
(full image size: 637kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
December 2011 DistroWatch.com donation: Transmission|
We are happy to announce that the recipient of the December 2011 DistroWatch.com donation is Transmission, a cross-platform BitTorrent client. The project receives US$250 in cash.
Transmission is a fairly simple BitTorrent client with only limited number of tools found in other popular download utilities, so simplicity is perhaps its greatest strength. That said, Transmission still boasts some powerful features: "Encryption, a web interface, peer exchange, magnet links, DHT, µTP, UPnP and NAT-PMP port forwarding, webseed support, watch directories, tracker editing, global and per-torrent speed limits, and more." It also has the lowest memory footprint of any major BitTorrent client. If you'd like to find out more, the project's about page is a good place to start.
Launched in 2004, this monthly donations programme is a DistroWatch initiative to support free and open-source software projects and operating systems with cash contributions. Readers are welcome to nominate their favourite project for future donations. Those readers who wish to contribute towards these donations, please use our advertising page to make a payment (PayPal and credit cards are accepted). Here is the list of the projects that have received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme (figures in US dollars):
Since the launch of the Donations Program in March 2004, DistroWatch has donated a total of US$30,190 to various open-source software projects.
- 2004: GnuCash ($250), Quanta Plus ($200), PCLinuxOS ($300), The GIMP ($300), Vidalinux ($200), Fluxbox ($200), K3b ($350), Arch Linux ($300), Kile KDE LaTeX Editor ($100) and UNICEF - Tsunami Relief Operation ($340)
- 2005: Vim ($250), AbiWord ($220), BitTorrent ($300), NDISwrapper ($250), Audacity ($250), Debian GNU/Linux ($420), GNOME ($425), Enlightenment ($250), MPlayer ($400), Amarok ($300), KANOTIX ($250) and Cacti ($375)
- 2006: Gambas ($250), Krusader ($250), FreeBSD Foundation ($450), GParted ($360), Doxygen ($260), LilyPond ($250), Lua ($250), Gentoo Linux ($500), Blender ($500), Puppy Linux ($350), Inkscape ($350), Cape Linux Users Group ($130), Mandriva Linux ($405, a Powerpack competition), Digikam ($408) and Sabayon Linux ($450)
- 2007: GQview ($250), Kaffeine ($250), sidux ($350), CentOS ($400), LyX ($350), VectorLinux ($350), KTorrent ($400), FreeNAS ($350), lighttpd ($400), Damn Small Linux ($350), NimbleX ($450), MEPIS Linux ($300), Zenwalk Linux ($300)
- 2008: VLC ($350), Frugalware Linux ($340), cURL ($300), GSPCA ($400), FileZilla ($400), MythDora ($500), Linux Mint ($400), Parsix GNU/Linux ($300), Miro ($300), GoblinX ($250), Dillo ($150), LXDE ($250)
- 2009: Openbox ($250), Wolvix GNU/Linux ($200), smxi ($200), Python ($300), SliTaz GNU/Linux ($200), LiVES ($300), Osmo ($300), LMMS ($250), KompoZer ($360), OpenSSH ($350), Parted Magic ($350) and Krita ($285)
- 2010: Qimo 4 Kids ($250), Squid ($250), Libre Graphics Meeting ($300), Bacula ($250), FileZilla ($300), GCompris ($352), Xiph.org ($250), Clonezilla ($250), Debian Multimedia ($280), Geany ($300), Mageia ($470), gtkpod ($300)
- 2011: CGSecurity ($300), OpenShot ($300), Imagination ($250), Calibre ($300), RIPLinuX ($300), Midori ($310), vsftpd ($300), OpenShot ($350), Trinity Desktop Environment ($300), LibreCAD ($300), LiVES ($300), Transmission ($250)
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New distributions added to database
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New distributions added to waiting list
- DRBL Live. DRBL Live is a specialist Debian-based live CD featuring Diskless Remote Boot in Linux (DRBL), a free software solution for managing the deployment of GNU/Linux operating systems across many clients.
- Lena Linux. Lena Linux is a distribution intended to be installed on a 4 GB Flash drive or SD card. It is geared towards the creative do-it-yourself programmer, musician or artist who wants to get straight into developing home-brew cross-platform applications and games with the least hassle.
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DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 16 January 2012.
Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • Vector (by divadgnol on 2012-01-09 09:20:19 GMT from United States) |
Gotta love Monday mornings. A Fresh cup of coffee and a fresh serving of Distrowatch!!!
I was a Vector loyalist for a short time years ago. I found the distro fun, fast and capable. I am a big fan of Slackware and its derivatives but have recently moved away from them favoring their older siblings from the BSD family.
I am interested in the fairly new desktop environment Razor-qt and look forward to giving it a try. I used to use KDE 3.5 but have since moved to something lighter. It will be nice to have another alternative to the heavy hitters like Gnome3 and KDE4.
I also hope the rumor mill is correct in assuming Ubuntu is making its way into the tablet market. I am one of those people who bought several HP Touchpad during their firesale. I have android running on it now but would like to have more choices from linux.
Good day mates.
2 • Ubuntu on tablet PC (by Koroshiya Itchy on 2012-01-09 10:25:16 GMT from Belgium)
Some people called the obvious "conspiranoia" when it is clear that Gnome3 and Unity are oriented to the embedded devices market and it was clear that Ubuntu was targeting that very same market. There is nothing wrong with that (whatever the outcome may be). But it is not surprising either that most people refuse to use on the desktop a product which has not been conceived for the desktop, but for touchscreen devices.
3 • Goodbye manriva (by LiQuidKermit on 2012-01-09 11:17:02 GMT from Indonesia)
I gotta say goodbye mandriva. Mandrake 9 was my first Linux. Everything went wrong when they acquired connectiva. Sadly, I won't miss you.
4 • Ubuntu TV (by Dien on 2012-01-09 11:28:56 GMT from Canada)
I wonder what chance ubuntu Tv has. With Google Tv is still struggling to establish it self in the market and Apple Tv supposedly coming out. On the other hand, after seeing pictures of its interface, Unity finaly make sence to me.
5 • benefits of Qt? (by Toolz on 2012-01-09 11:51:27 GMT from Vietnam)
What is meant by "benefits of Qt"? I'm writing this from Win XP and I have about 20 Qt apps here. When I'm not on Win XP I'm on Openbox or Xfce or even Gnome and I have a similar number. I've never needed to run KDE. I am dying to look at Razor-qt however.
6 • The Razor-qt desktop environment (by Dr.Saleem Khan on 2012-01-09 12:12:39 GMT from Pakistan)
The Razor-qt desktop environment is an interesting alternate to KDE4 or KDE3 and it is rightly called as an LXDE of KDE4 . I tried it on Arch Linux from AUR package and it worked though not fully functional . It will prove an alternate for KDE and also serve those who want to try something new than the available desktop environments . But I wonder why their website is down ever since and only thing avialble on their website is "The connection has timed out " ?
7 • Vector Linux + MC (by jayell on 2012-01-09 12:20:54 GMT from United Kingdom)
"Well and good, but the default terminal's short-cut keys interfere with Midnight Commander's control keys, so it may be best to only use the venerable file manager if you're running from a real text screen."
I think this is pretty normal when running mc in a terminal window, but I've got used to it. I used Norton Comander way back in PC-Dos days so it was natural to choose mc when I converted to a Linux based system.
I still use mc as my primary file management tool and much prefer it to any graphical one (nautilus and the like).
Have been using Debian (sid) since 2001 and wouldn't dream of changing to any other distro. Currently using Gnome 3 in classic mode as that suits my style of working
8 • Ubuntu also shooting at car embedded systems (IVI's) (by Leo on 2012-01-09 13:35:04 GMT from United States)
The other biggie from Canonical / Ubuntu is about In-vehicle Infotainments. Power to them!
9 • Ubuntu new products (by vw72 on 2012-01-09 13:47:00 GMT from United States)
It seems that there is a lot of concern about how successful Ubuntu could be in the smart-phone, tablet and similar consumer markets. Most of these concerns center around the saturated markets of the United States. However, there are other markets that are just now opening up that aren't saturated.
Time will tell if Ubuntu's consumer market plans bear fruit or not, but we should all remember that it is a global economy they are after, not a US one.
10 • @2 Ubuntu on Tablet PC (by vw72 on 2012-01-09 13:54:30 GMT from United States)
While all the rants have been against Gnome-Shell and Unity on the desktop, when users are polled, the results are quite different. The OMGUbuntu site did a poll of its users as to what desktop they were using and Unity and Gnome-Shell were by far the two most popular ones.
Canonical has enormous downloads of Ubuntu, far more than the KDE/LXDE/XFCE versions combined. So unless people are downloading it and switching to a different desktop environment, there are evidently quite a few users who use Ubuntu's tablet interface.
Are these new interfaces perfect? No, they are not. But are they in use by many, many, many users? Yes, they are.
11 • Mandriva, Ubuntu (by Ron on 2012-01-09 14:21:49 GMT from United States)
@3 Same for me. I really got into Mandrake, but once they merged it with Connectiva it went downhill. Funny, if you told them that back then what direction things where going in, which some actually did, you would get the same responses as Ubuntu is giving people now. All good things come to an end people.
@10 Unity and Gnome 3 are not made for the average desktop. Plane and simple. The numbers you see now for users are short term. Watch as it declines over time. I was once a faithful Ubuntu user. Not anymore. I use Debian or sometimes Linux Mint,. Right now with new users I tell them to use Linux Mint, rather then Ubuntu which is what I use to tell them.
It is sad that many Ubuntu or former Ubuntu users are ignored and told they are wrong and not worth listening to. Well once things get worse, I will be one of the first to say to Ubuntu, "I Told You So."
12 • @10, Ubuntu versions (by Toolz on 2012-01-09 14:29:06 GMT from Vietnam)
> "Canonical has enormous downloads of Ubuntu, far more than the KDE/LXDE/XFCE versions combined."
I imagine more people download the Ubuntu alphas than a typical distro in the top twenty and quite simply, the Ubuntu KDE/LXDE/XFCE editions have never been held in high regard, the Xfce edition was especially shunned. Lubuntu only recently joined the Ubuntu-sanctioned group after a couple of years of effort and the fact that it sits at number 11 on the DW list just shows how you can't read too much into the DW Page Hit Ranking, IMO.
Some respected people have come out and said Unity looks promising but I doubt any of them will be admitting to using it on a daily basis for quite some time yet. And a poll on OMGUbuntu isn't going to shine much light, really, is it?
13 • @11 Unity and Gnome 3 Desktops (by vw72 on 2012-01-09 14:35:38 GMT from United States)
I would have to beg to differ. Unity and Gnome-shell are made for the average desktop. They are not made for the technical user/geek desktop. Canonical is wanting to pursue the consumer market and in doing so they have developed an interface for that market.
Both Unity and Gnome-shell work quite well for the typical user who has a few applications open at a time, while surfing the net and listening to music. Neither does well with multiple monitors or twenty terminal windows.
One of the biggest gripes people had was with the menu bar. While some Apple aficionados liked it, when using multiple windows it was easy to close the wrong one. Well, in 12.04, it has a setting to disable it or not. So, how is that not listening to their user base?
Linux Mint is a fine distro, but it should be recommended because of its merits, not because of displeasure with design choices Canonical has made regarding Ubuntu.
To be fair, when Unity came out, I was not a happy camper, either. But I made myself use it. And for day to day work, it works fine. Then I tried Gnome-shell. I like that even better than Unity, now that various extensions are available. And, I still use KDE and Xfce, too. Of course, when I am on a Mac, I use OS X and on a Windows machine Windows 7.
Each of those desktops has their advantages and disadvantages. However, Canonical shouldn't be faulted for switching to Unity from Gnome 2 when Gnome 2 was discontinued by Gnome. The fact that Mint is developing a Gnome 2 like interface for Gnome 3, also shows how flexible the design is for Gnome 3.
With the standard monitor, laptop or desktop, now being widescreen, Unity and Gnome 3 definately seem to be suited to the average desktop.
14 • VectorLinux (by CliffyB on 2012-01-09 14:42:27 GMT from United States)
Uses LILO? Sorry, no can do.
15 • @12 Ubuntu Versions (by vw72 on 2012-01-09 14:42:38 GMT from United States)
I was referring to Ubuntu's own download statistics and not Distrowatch's page counter.
As for OMGUbuntu, I can't think of a better place to ask the question of desktop use than a site dedicated to Ubuntu (I don't think many Redhat/Fedora/Suse/etc users are going to use Unity).
What was surprising about their non-statistical survey was how many readers on that site actually were using gnome-shell. The low results for KDE, Xfce and the others is understandable as the site mainly caters to the Ubuntu Unity/Gnome-shell crowd.
Maybe distrowatch can run a poll on what desktop environment people use. That would give a much broader group. Of course, Unity would suffer as it is only available on Ubuntu and it couldn't simply say Gnome 3 as that would leave out the alternative shells (it would need to be Gnome 3 with Gnome-shell, for instance).
As I said in a previous post, when Unity first came out, I, too, did not like it. After using it for awhile, it actually is quite easy to use and very functional.
16 • @15, Ubuntu Versions (by Toolz on 2012-01-09 15:11:53 GMT from Vietnam)
What I'm trying to say is that a poll at a site called 'OMGUbuntu' is obviously going to attract people using the current version (of Ubuntu) so "Unity and Gnome-Shell" will be highly represented won't they?
You go on to say "The low results for KDE, Xfce and the others is understandable as the site mainly caters to the Ubuntu Unity/Gnome-shell crowd." - do you have any more chasing-your-tail arguments lined up?
17 • DWW topics (by TomG on 2012-01-09 15:29:54 GMT from United States)
First, like many others, I got started with Linux by using Mandrake (8.0). I have fond memories of that, and although I ended up leaving Mandrake it's still a shame that the company hasn't been stable in recent years. Don't forget, PCLinuxOS, a well-regarded distribution, was (or still is) based on Mandrake.
Second, I liked the review of Vector Linux. I think it's an under-appreciated distro, with a lot of strengths and a top notch appearance. Their biggest downside is simply not enough applications in their repositories. I have found this distressingly common among smaller distributions. Vector has great potential if they can expand their user base and available software. For someone with older hardware and simple needs, it would probably be a better choice than large distributions like Fedora or Ubuntu.
Third, this new lightweight Qt desktop, Razor-Qt, looks promising,
The community needs well-thought out choices such as this one.
18 • @16 Ubuntu Versions (by vw72 on 2012-01-09 15:51:49 GMT from United States)
I understand that OMGUbuntu caters to the Unity/Gnome3 crowd. However, that site is just as vocal about it's dislike for Unity as any other (but not so on Gnome 3). So, the site ran a poll to see how many of its users switched from Unity to a different desktop environment and it appeared that most had not.
One can conclude from that response that either the naysayers were a vocal minority, or the naysayers didn't vote. It wasn't a statistical sample, so of course one can not extrapolate the results to the world wide community.
As for OMGUbuntu doing the poll, well, it would seem to make sense to conduct the poll on a site where you know the people use the software in question. Why would Redhat conduct a poll of Ubuntu users that use Unity?
However, that is also the reason why I suggested that somebody, more neutral, like Distrowatch conduct the poll.
Maybe the question asked could be: If you are an Ubuntu user and switched from Unity, what did you switch to?
f) Something Else
g) I'm still using Unity
A second question could be: Regardless of the linux distribution you use, what destkop environment do you use most often?
a) Gnome 3
f) Something else
Those two questions would tell what most distrowatch users use and if Ubuntu users switched from Unity, to what did they switch to. Again, the results would be biased as it would be based off of the readership of Distrowatch. But then again, most surveys are always biased.
19 • ubuntu 11.10 (by walter_j on 2012-01-09 15:52:30 GMT from Canada)
I tried ubuntu 11.10 for about 5 days. I got used to the side bar eventually, although I still think it's all that useful. It isn't easy to find minimized programs in the side bar. I also need more space at the sides than I do at the top and bottom when I have many programs open at once. Although you can place a program over it, it becomes annoying when you try to get at something at the left edge when the side bar keeps popping up. The worst feature is the finder. I found myself typing, then using the mouse to select the item. I eventually abandoned that and just used the menu - which isn't easily accessible.
The best part about ubuntu 11.10 is the fast boot. 10 to 15 seconds as opposed to a full minute for opensuse 12.1 kde. Electricity is getting expensive, so I try to conserve where I can, so I turn off the pc if I'm away for a few hours, so a fast boot time is nice. Maybe other distros should look into how ubuntu is able to boot so quick.
Ultimately I abandoned 11.10 because of instability. No obvious crashes - just programs not opening after being minimized, or opening under other programs. Occasionally being dumped back to the login. These issues should be resolved before going to mass market items such as phones, tv's, otherwise the return rate will be high. I'd be interested in the phone if it worked well with my pc.
20 • @18, Ubuntu Versions (by Toolz on 2012-01-09 16:23:40 GMT from Vietnam)
@18: You start off with:
> "The OMGUbuntu site did a poll of its users as to what desktop they were using and Unity and Gnome-Shell were by far the two most popular ones."
Then we get:
> "The low results for KDE, Xfce and the others is understandable as the site mainly caters to the Ubuntu Unity/Gnome-shell crowd."
Now you're wanting to design polls!
> "there are evidently quite a few users who use Ubuntu's tablet interface."
You mean: "there are evidently quite a few users who use Ubuntu's interface", right?
> "I was referring to Ubuntu's own download statistics and not Distrowatch's page counter."
When I mentioned DW Page Hit Ranking (for Lubuntu) I was supporting your argument, not countering it.
21 • @19, Ubuntu boot time (by Toolz on 2012-01-09 16:26:58 GMT from Vietnam)
> "The best part about ubuntu 11.10 is the fast boot. 10 to 15 seconds"
Ubuntu have been putting a lot of effort into boot time since 2009. In fact certain promises with given which have not been kept (certainly not since the last LTS).
22 • @19, ubuntu 11.10 (by Toolz on 2012-01-09 16:33:17 GMT from Vietnam)
> "Electricity is getting expensive, so I try to conserve where I can, so I turn off the pc if I'm away for a few hours, so a fast boot time is nice."
It's 2012, try suspend or hibernate.
23 • @13 (by Ron on 2012-01-09 16:40:49 GMT from United States)
Don't get me wrong. I am not one of those people that wants to see Ubuntu fail. However if Ubuntu thinks they will get more Windows users with this, I doubt it very much. I am checking out Windows 8 developer preview and as much as I hate to say it, I am lking how they have it set up compared to Gnome3 or Unity. Well except for one thing. Windows 8 has Aero and Metro. The one thing I hate about it is with installed apps icons. The default ones are huge and look great. The installed user apps are small and ugly. But what I do like is this. They have two screens. A more traditional desktop you can add icons to. The other one is the start menu replacement. But the great thing is that it takes very little to get from one to the other. Opposed to more clicks with Gnome3 or Unity.
Linux Mint seems to see this and is working on something better, a compromise. I never thought I would be impressed with Linux Mint, lol.
Gnome3 and Unity has to clean it up a bit more. And I also like Unity more then I do Gnome3. However.... "I really hate saying this, I hate Microsoft,) but I like the feel of Metro much better.
Also. I am not recommending Linux Mint out of spite for new users. I think right now they are the best choice for those use to XP and Windows 7 and new to linux.
I hope things get better for Gnome3 and Unity. I will check out 12.04 and give my honest thoughts on it. I was there when Ubuntu first came out. I new it would make it far. So lets see if they can balance things like Linux Mint is trying to do.
I don't hate anything that is Linux related. I have favorites and prefer some things over others. But I want to see Linux succeed in general for many reasons. This includes Ubuntu being successful as well as Gnome3.
24 • @10 - Plus one, here! (by DavidEF on 2012-01-09 17:00:07 GMT from United States)
I use Unity every day and am quite happy with it, aside from a few growing pains (it is relatively new, after all). My 11-year-old daughter uses it quite successfully on her laptop, as well. In fact, she has been using it since it was "Netbook Remix." My wife is the hold-out. I set up Gnome3 Classic for her.
@11 - you are not forgotten. Unity was apparently NOT made for YOU, but there are plenty of others to choose from.
What I think is strange is that we promote choice as one of the better features of free operating systems (better, compared to non-free O/S's), but at the same time people bash Mark Shuttleworth and Canonical for introducing more choice. After all ,that's all they've done. They haven't stifled choice, they've expanded it! What's wrong with that?
Mostly, I think people are frustrated because THEIR choice is not the DEFAULT choice in Ubuntu any more, meaning they would have to take the extra step of installing something different themselves. Even still, there are derivitives now for that! Problem solved! Leaving Ubuntu proper doesn't have to be with heavy hearts and hurt feelings. If a derivitive succeeds, Ubuntu succeeds (and Debian, and Linus Torvalds, and Unix, ...) Can't we all just get along?
25 • Ubuntu Versions (by Bill on 2012-01-09 17:07:57 GMT from United States)
I started with Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy and was so grateful to get away from Windows, free at last! After setting up all the programs and getting compiz to work, I never gave it another thought. I could browse the internet, watch movies, edit audio files, work on documents, even compiled a kernel just for fun. But them came 11.10 and Unity. OG is right, what the heck??
I switched after a few days to another distro that was staying with Gnome 2 until it's death. In the meantime I tried KDE, Lxde, Xfce and Gnome 3 (OpenSuse).
Xfce was the winner because I could get everything working very close to Gnome 2, even compiz and Cairo Dock.
Then came Mint MGSE, and I was thinking that would be the answer to not lag behind the linux world. Now comes Mint Cinnamon, nice but still needs some work to be able to have mutter equal compiz and to be able to have bar at top and change themes.
So it's down to Xfce or Cinnamon and may the best developers win.
26 • Pear OS Debian Edition Alpha (by Vic on 2012-01-09 17:12:54 GMT from Canada)
Comment deleted (please no release announcement in the comments).
27 • VectorLinux Review (by Simon on 2012-01-09 17:14:05 GMT from United Kingdom)
All in all a decent review but when I read the following line -
"VectorLinux is a good option. It's especially well-suited to older hardware."
I wondered on what basis was he making that claim considering he installed it on two high end machines - dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 3 GB of RAM, Intel video card and 2.5 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM
My experience of Vector 7 on older hardware (1 GHz CPU, 528 MB RAM) was that it was rather sluggish.
There also are issues (in my experience) for getting Vector 7 to install nVidia drivers and getting compiz-fusion to work - but it doesn't appear Jesse tried to configure this.
I have to admit though, that Vector 7 is still the most polished distro this crew has produced so far. Gotta love the weather app - only wish I could get it on Mint.
28 • @24 (by Ron on 2012-01-09 17:18:01 GMT from United States)
I completely agree. That is the great thing about open source and the linux community. If we don't like something we have choices. You can't get those choices with MS Windows at all, or even with Macs.
I also agree that we don't nee to fight at all. The success over Linux in general is much more important. I think Shuttleworth is doing a great job, even if I disagree with him at times. It seems that Linus Torvalds and Richard Stallman don't always agree at times. But they get along and Gnu and linux always work great together. That is the way it should be. We can all agree or disagree but we are all part of the same community and should want to see things in general succeed.
29 • ShuttlePad (by Chris on 2012-01-09 17:19:20 GMT from Latvia)
Comment deleted (disrespectful).
30 • VectorLinux (by DavidEF on 2012-01-09 17:20:06 GMT from United States)
I've tried Vector Linux many times. I'm addicted to trying new distros, and I want to like Vector, so I try almost every new release. But, it just doesn't seem that I'm a fit for their style. I guess I'm just the kind that wants/needs a smoother experience than they offer. But I would recommend that people try it, especially if they have low spec hardware.
My favorite low resource distro is Puppy. But, I only use that for quickies. On my own computers, I use Ubuntu. One man's "bloat" is another man's "icing on the cake."
31 • @26 Pear OS Debian Edition (by Dion on 2012-01-09 17:32:14 GMT from United States)
Thank you. I loved Pear OS other than the minor language translation problem. I think it is great that they are taking the direct Debian approach to it.
32 • CentOS (by Anonymous on 2012-01-09 17:39:18 GMT from United States)
[The CR repository was] not needed with CentOS 6.2, but we recommend it be installed...
With the lack of concern for their users' security, how has Cent not gone the way of WhiteBox?
33 • Choice (by Ron on 2012-01-09 18:03:36 GMT from United States)
"What I think is strange is that we promote choice as one of the better features of free operating systems (better, compared to non-free O/S's), but at the same time people bash Mark Shuttleworth and Canonical for introducing more choice. After all ,that's all they've done. They haven't stifled choice, they've expanded it! What's wrong with that?"
For some time now, I could not crystallize my thoughts about this 'Choice' idea of Linux. Finally, it came to me regarding the new Unity, Gnome3 debate. Think, choice for its own sake alone is not good.
For instance, just imagine your automobile. What if someone decided to suddenly sell cars with the brake and gas pedals in new places. Think about a valet or garage attendant or mechanic's shock and difficulty when suddenly confronted with this.
Choice is good if it improves something, but choice can have the effect of diluting effort and standards. That's it - standards. We have standards in use everywhere for good reason. When Windows first came out there was one version. Everyone rallied around it, now there's multiple versions, professional, home, home-cheapo, and .....
No wonder people are fed up with it.
By having unneeded diversity, you spread out effort and suffer the consequences of wasted resources. Sometimes I think the same can be said of so many distro versions of Linux. How much better could things be if all the human effort was concentrated on fewer Linux projects rather than multiple similar projects for the sake of CHOICE!
34 • Vector Linux (by David McCann on 2012-01-09 18:10:09 GMT from United Kingdom)
I'm not sure what Jesse did, but I certainly didn't find myself logged-in as vl. Nor do I remember finding the installer unfriendly; I particularly noted it's pop-up help screens and the sensible way it encourages the use of /home.
When I test a distro, I run all the main programs from the command line to check for warnings. It's surprising how many distros throw up "critical" and "this may cause a crash", but Vector passed with flying colours. Personally, I'll trade a pretty installer for stable software any day!
35 • @6 Razor-Qt Site (by randomreader on 2012-01-09 18:17:08 GMT from United States)
Check your Internet connection. I can access their site just fine.
36 • Pear OS Debian (by Koroshiya Itchy on 2012-01-09 18:23:11 GMT from Belgium)
I certainly will give Pear OS Debian a try as soon as the 64-bit version become available!
37 • Ub (by M1k on 2012-01-09 18:28:06 GMT from Italy)
Ubuntu again trying to follow Apple.
You can run android apps on the device and in 2 years maybe ubuntu on a phone.
Too late Mark...too late...........
We do need INNOVATION...not another alternative to....
38 • The Razor-qt desktop environment (by Dr.Saleem Khan on 2012-01-09 18:31:46 GMT from Pakistan)
@35 Razor-Qt Site , thanks I did that after I posted my comment , somehow their website wont open for me unless i hide my IP address as
dont know if my ISP is causing that or they have some kind of access control for my region .
39 • Vector (by Jesse on 2012-01-09 18:34:41 GMT from Canada)
>> "I wondered on what basis was he making that claim considering he installed it on two high end machines"
I don't think most people would consider my equipment "high end". The laptop is about three years old and was "bottom of the line" then. The desktop is about seven years old and was also considered economy class at the time. At any rate, my description of Vector as being suited toward lower end machines was based on its speed and low resource usage. Just about any machine made in the past ten years should be able to run Vector. Which you proved by saying it would run on your old 1GHz CPU wwith around 500MB of RAM. Sure it's sluggish, but your running a modern OS on equipment a decade old. Of course it's not going to be optimal.
>> "I'm not sure what Jesse did, but I certainly didn't find myself logged-in as vl."
Did you perhaps install from the installation CD instead of the live CD? I'm fairly certain only the live CD installs the VL account. If I recall correctly the editions feature different installers too.
While I'm posting, I have a shameless plug to make. My entry was picked as the winner in the iXsystems haiku contest.: http://blog.pcbsd.org/2012/01/winner-of-haiku-contest/
40 • @18 (by Roy H Huddleston on 2012-01-09 19:00:12 GMT from United States)
LXDE then Gnome shell. Really like LXDE except Ace-of Pidgin and the Xscreensaver. Got to keep the LxPanel and LxTerminal. But then there was the LXDE, then LXDM and finally the LDM. I had the choice of the LXDM or GDM and I chose the GDM. I did the same with Debian once of an option of KDE or Gnome and I always choose Gnome eventually even with a choice of Classic Gnome or Gnome 3 I will choose Gnome. Second choice Gnome 3 with those Keep It Simple Stupid 'on-off' buttons. I like the 'on-off' buttons. I like the Xfburn over Brasero though. So much like K3B from KDE. I like the Shisen-Sho from KDE. I really like the alternate CD Debian installer. that is just plain awesome for want a better word. That is really K.I.S.S. I am surprised there isn't a linux distro called K.I.S.S. I think it would be awesome. :)
41 • Choice and Fear. (by Eddie on 2012-01-09 19:29:31 GMT from United States)
@33, The car analogy was about the most stupid thing that I've heard in a while. In the first place doing to a car what you said would make that car unusable. Gnome3 and Unity are very useable and very easy. Also who determines if diversity is unneeded in anything? I take it that by standards you mean "everything looks the same." Desktop environments should have nothing to do with standards. Standards are how things work in general. You need to learn a little bit about how the open source world works. It is built upon choice. Without it you would end up like Apple. A walled garden with a dead business model for desktop computers. Don't be afraid of change.
@25, Bill, Gnome 2 is dead completely and thankfully. I used Gnome 2 for years but was glad to move on up to something better. Whatever Mint or the other Gnome 2 spinoffs use, remember that it will not be Gnome 2.
@20, All polls are designed. Didn't you know that? You keep going around in circles like you're chasing your tail or something. Same old, same old. Will the bitch fest ever end? I don't see it happening.
Well I miss the good days at DWW. Then we all had just one common complaint and it had to do with MS and the things we talked about were always helpful most of the time. Now it seems that everyone hates everyone else. People are too stupid to know when they have a good thing. Sometimes a person just don't know when to shut up or they think that they are owed something. Unless you paid for it you are owed nothing. Just my 2 cents but really, who cares?
42 • @39, Jesse: VL Installer (by Pearson on 2012-01-09 20:43:27 GMT from United States)
"I'm fairly certain only the live CD installs the VL account. If I recall correctly the editions feature different installers too."
May I recommend that you add this note to your review? This sounds pretty important and like something a reader would find useful.
43 • re: Razor-qt (by Michael J King on 2012-01-09 20:44:04 GMT from United Kingdom)
Great to hear about Razor-qt, I added it straight away to have a play myself. On my system (Bodhi linux, and a thinkpad x40) this seems to uses 160mb on boot up (My E17 starts up under 100mb to compare ), I am still trying to configure certain things but I will following this and see how it goes, It looks very clean and KDE like.
44 • @39 Jesse's review etc (by Vic on 2012-01-09 20:47:22 GMT from Canada)
Congrats on the contest. Thanks again for another good review and piece on razor-qt, both good reads.
In regards to vl being created on install, you are correct in your assumption that it had to depends on the media you use. The live cd installer for Vector basically just dumps the live cd system directly to the HD, the vl account and all with little change to the system. Unless you need to test your hardware first, the install media is the better choice. It offers a more 'polished' installer that actually creates a fresh system according to your choices.
I ran Vector 7.0 for about a month after it's release and I enjoyed it for it's very simple KISS set up. Of course the bottom dock doesn't follow that theme, I think it's an added eye candy feature to boost visual appeal to new Linux users. Vector was a nice way to try Slackware with out the hassle of setting a system up from scratch. If I wasn't so badly bitten by the distro-hop-bug it might have lasted longer. Alas I've moved on, though after today's read I'm glad I saved the install HD image in case I feel like a trip back...
45 • Editions (by Jesse on 2012-01-09 21:05:03 GMT from Canada)
>> "I'm fairly certain only the live CD installs the VL account. If I recall correctly the editions feature different installers too."
May I recommend that you add this note to your review? This sounds pretty important and like something a reader would find useful."
The above is just my theory, I didn't try the plain installation media, so I'm not sure that's the case, but based on your comment it seemed logical. Since I didn't use the plain install media, I don't think I should write about it. I pointed out in my review there were two editions, Standard and Live and I reviewed the Live one. If you used a different edition it makes sense for you to have different results.
46 • Rasor-Qt (by Occupant on 2012-01-09 21:42:44 GMT from United States)
Now only if Symantec could detect and filter results my tool chain (k,g or Q). I'd be all set. But I too can't wait for distros using the new light KDE desktop. I have everyone still on Easy Peasy/UNR (laptop) and XFCE, E17 or LXDE on the desktop. I'm tied of bumping into KDE based apps I can't run without adding a big bunch of packages.
47 • Vetcor Linux 7 review, responses to a few comments (by Caitlyn Martin on 2012-01-09 21:43:11 GMT from United States)
The standard (installable) version of VectorLinux has always worked better than the Live version. This release is no different. In general, I was shocked at how many things I found in Jesse's review that I would consider inaccurate or just plain wrong. For example, there is a 64 bit build of Vector Linux 7.0 which is still in beta but it is remarkably close to ready for prime time at this point. The claim that this is a 32-bit only distro is just not correct. Similarly, Vector Linux Light 7.0 is in beta, with Light Live close behind. The KDE Classic version is also in development. Each is treated as a separate project with separate lead developers so the do trickle out. In any case, as with Vector Linux 6.0 there are already at least have a dozen editions, not two.
While I agree that Cairo-Dock was not quite ready for prime time the rest of the distro works incredibly well and really isn't difficult to use at all. NVidia setup works well in the standard version but is more challenging starting from Live. Command line FTP clients (you have choices) are in the repository and are just a couple of clicks away. Midnight Commander is not the default file manager by any means. That would be Thunar. mc is simply an alternate choice for the command line. jayell nails in in #7. mc works perfectly well in a console session. In a terminal window the behavior Jesse saw is common to most if not all distributions and has nothing to do with VectorLinux per se.
#14: Slackware uses LILO so it's not surprising that most Slackware derivatives do as well. Why do you say "No can do"? Is that your personal bias or do you have some practical reason. I find LILO works very well indeed in most situations and is a lot simpler to configure than GRUB2.
#27: I'm surprised you found it sluggish at all with >512MB RAM. Have you tried the Light beta? That works well down to about 128MB RAM.
#30: Does your comment include VL 7.0? I've had much more trouble with Ubuntu being anything but smooth on my hardware than any Vector Linux version since 5.8. If you're going back to 5.1 or so, then, yes, I'd agree with you. VL 5.8-6.0 did take a bit more configuration than Ubuntu but once running smooth is exactly the word I'd use to describe them. With VL 7.0 my hardware works out of the virtual box, something decidedly not true with Ubuntu.
I could go on and on but you get the drift. I have a Vector Linux 7 review which will be published by O'Reilly within the week. It's much more comprehensive and is based on two months use rather than one week. It does cover the installable version (recommended) and the 64-bit versions as well. Read it for yourself and come to your own conclusions. I respect Jesse highly as most of you know but this is one time I find his review way off base.
Oh, and no, I have no association with Vector Linux, haven't had for about two years, and had nothing whatsoever to do with the development of this release.
48 • Builds (by Jesse on 2012-01-09 21:56:31 GMT from Canada)
>> "I found in Jesse's review that I would consider inaccurate or just plain wrong. For example, there is a 64 bit build of Vector Linux 7.0 which is still in beta"
I assume you're referring to this statement in the review:
"At the time of writing, both editions are available in 32-bit builds only"
Since you just pointed out the 64-bit build is still in beta and I wrote this review a few weeks ago I fail to see how my comment was inaccurate.
I didn't claim there wasn't an FTP command line client available in the repositories, only that there isn't one in the default install. Nor did I claim the Midnight Commander is the default file manager. I simply pointed out it is available and recommend (which is it whenever you open a terminal).
All the things you say are inaccurate about my review are things I didn't actually claim or are things which were true when I wrote them and may change over time.
I realize you're a big fan of Vector, understandably so, but putting words in my mouth and then attacking those words won't help the project any.
49 • Response to #48 (by Caitlyn Martin on 2012-01-09 22:13:03 GMT from United States)
I didn't put words in your mouth, Jesse. That is what you implied. The current beta build of VL64 was available in December. The first beta was available in November. It is very much inaccurate to claim it's a 32-bit only distro. It would have been accurate if you said that the 64-bit build was still in beta so you focused on 32-bit only. Regarding mc, you're splitting hairs. You claimed that it was "recommended". OK, that's a better word than default. Pray tell, where is it recommended over Thunar? I also wasn't disputing what you said about the command line FTP client not being included on the Live iso. I pointed out why I considered that irrelevant. Big difference.
As far as my being a "big fan" of Vector Linux... If I am, why hasn't it been my desktop distro of choice since December, 2010? Hmmm... It would be fair to say that I consider some of the developers to be friends and I respect their work. "Fan" is a stretch at this point.
Sorry, I don't find Vector to have "undesirable defaults" (that's a personal preference issue, of course) and I don't think you did it justice starting with Live rather than Standard. It's called Standard for a reason. Considering I found it easier to get Vector working right on my hardware than Ubuntu, I find your conclusion curious at best.
50 • Vector Linux + MC --hide-menubar (by Kristian Nygaard Jensen on 2012-01-09 22:28:06 GMT from Denmark)
If you modify the launcher for the terminal and add the "--hide-menubar" switch you can use all the fatures of MC and the cli emacs bindings as aswell. This used to be possible with gnome-terminal too, both gnome shell and unity have this switch for the terminal, but it does not work. This is the reason I have switched to XFCE.
51 • @50 (by Gustavo on 2012-01-09 23:32:08 GMT from Brazil)
Nice tip, Kristian!! The function keys behavior has always annoyed me.
On XFterminal just uncheck show menu bar option on the menu itseft.
52 • cinnamon, razor-qt (by Candide on 2012-01-09 23:48:45 GMT from Taiwan)
I happily installed Razor-qt on my LinuxMint12 partition. Unfortunately, Razor just won't start. But I've noticed that I can't get OpenBox to run on this machine either (at least under Mint12). Most every other desktop will run - go figure.
I also decided to give Cinnamon a try. It's pretty, but seems sluggish, at least on my ASUS eeePC. The sluggishness probably has something to do with its Gnome3 roots. MATE runs better and I use that when I need a complete desktop, but Enlightenment is superfast though it lacks a few features (like automounting of USB devices).
So mostly I run Enlightenment, or MATE when I want all the bell and whistles. Switching between the two only takes about 10 seconds.
The war for the perfect desktop continues...
53 • Razor-qt (by Pumpino on 2012-01-10 00:06:40 GMT from Australia)
Thanks Jesse for the article about Razor-qt. It's refreshing to see a new DE on the horizon. I switched from Gnome2 to KDE, but then switched to XFCE due to the feeling of bloat. Having a "lite" DE like Razor-qt might be just what I'm after.
Which distro did you try it under? I noticed on the Razor-qt website that the link to Fedora packages takes us to openSUSE packages. :(
54 • Lost In Translation (by Woodstock69 on 2012-01-10 01:05:00 GMT from Papua New Guinea)
Great to see a few distros running Trinity. More needed though and a stable repo wouldn't go astray. Nonetheless great effort by the Trinity devs to keep the beloved KDE3 alive and kicking.
I'm not sure if Google or the webmaster of ROSA is playing tricks on us but has anyone noticed the translation of Russian to English on the ROSA Linux site?
"Mandriva/ROSA desktop 2011 is a software package for the deployment of modern viruses, the workplace at no additional cost."
Gives new meaning to the phrase "lost in translation".....
Lastly, any review posted on DW is going to be mostly opinion and personal experience. We all realise that, though some forget. I doubt very much that Jesse would consciously misrepresent a distro, and of course the reader is entitled to argue their own rebuffs, but I did think Caitlyn's comments came across as a little harsh and personal. He reported what he saw and had available at the time of review.
I wait in anticipation at Caitlyn's review on her blog and the expected lively comments following..... ;-)
55 • @14 Vector 7 Boot Loader (by TheBullDog on 2012-01-10 01:42:01 GMT from United States)
When I installed Vector 7, I was given the choice of installing LILO or GRUB. Nice option.
56 • Mandriva (@3, @11) (by Adam Williamson on 2012-01-10 02:32:52 GMT from Canada)
Sad to hear the latest news about Mandriva.
Contrary to @3 and @11 I'd suggest it wasn't the Conectiva merger that hurt Mandriva (actually, the Brazilian team was fantastic, and Brazilian sales continued to be strong); Ubuntu pretty much killed Mandrake/iva five years ago. The only viable business model MDV ever had was to sell copies of a desktop Linux operating system; once someone shows up who is willing to give away a perfectly competent desktop Linux operating system for free, that business model loses rather a lot of its practicality...
You can argue the toss about whether MDV or Ubuntu is better all day long, but the truth is there isn't a whole hell of a lot of difference at the end of the day. They're both perfectly competently made Linux desktops. Mandriva's continued existence depended (still depends, really) on people buying it; Ubuntu's doesn't. There's the key to the whole thing.
There were some of us at MDV who recognized this, and various different ideas for different alternative business models, and trying all of them half-heartedly at once probably wasn't a great idea. But I'm not sure any of them could ultimately have panned out, for the company Mandriva actually is/was. It's not built to be a Red Hat, because it really doesn't understand how to do enterprise/government support properly. It's not built to be Apple, either. It did a fairly good job of being a modest paid distribution house in the years when being one of those was a viable plan, but those days are long gone...
57 • Vector (by Neal on 2012-01-10 04:10:42 GMT from United States)
What ever happened to Vector ligt? I liked that one using the Icewm...Last release of VL was april 09.
58 • #19 - openSUSE boot times (by Andy Prough on 2012-01-10 05:01:02 GMT from United States)
@walter_j "The best part about ubuntu 11.10 is the fast boot. 10 to 15 seconds as opposed to a full minute for opensuse 12.1 kde. Electricity is getting expensive, so I try to conserve where I can, so I turn off the pc if I'm away for a few hours, so a fast boot time is nice. Maybe other distros should look into how ubuntu is able to boot so quick."
"Ultimately I abandoned 11.10 because of instability. No obvious crashes - just programs not opening after being minimized, or opening under other programs. Occasionally being dumped back to the login. These issues should be resolved before going to mass market items such as phones, tv's, otherwise the return rate will be high. I'd be interested in the phone if it worked well with my pc."
Sorry to hear about your slow boot times with an openSUSE 12.1 installation. I've had quite the opposite experience with openSUSE. I'm running it on a workstation I built for work with a 6-core AMD processor and an nVidia 550 video card, and I've had it booting in about 6 seconds into KDE login. I actually took steps to slow down the boot process, as it seemed a bit too fast for my tastes. On my Dell 1737 laptop, it boots in about 15 seconds, and on my eee PC netbook, it boots in about 12-13 seconds. On both the laptop and the netbook, I made tweaks to optimize the boot time, but I haven't seen anything near 1 minute since prior to the 11.3 release.
The programs are quite stable, and KDE 4.6 is very stable - although I do avoid the use of PackageKit as the software management tool - it still seems a bit buggy, and YaST2 works much better for me when I'm installing and upgrading software. If you want to take another shot at it, I would invite you to bring any boot speed issues to the forums at forums.opensuse.org, and we would be happy to help.
Kyle, Texas, USA
59 • @56 - Ubuntu and Mandrivas existance (by Mike on 2012-01-10 05:42:13 GMT from United States)
Hi Adam, do you really believe that Ubuntu/Canonical's existance isn't dependent on someone "buying it"? I would view Ubuntu's desktop and server offerings as their loss-leader when their real offering is Support and perhaps the mobile space. Now granted in the enterprise space they lag Red Hat and Suse, but they are trying to make inroads. If ultimately Ubuntu/Canonical fails in the support and mobile space I wonder if Shuttlesworth will continue to burn capital to fund Ubuntu. I don't get the impression Ubuntu could continue as a pure community distro.
60 • Mageia Phuckery (by Tony on 2012-01-10 07:05:52 GMT from United States)
How come Mageia keeps rising in the HPD when their forum never has any users? I've been there every day for the past month an there are never more than 2-3 people online. What kind of phuckery is going on here?
61 • VectorLinux and LILO (by CliffyB on 2012-01-10 07:30:37 GMT from United States)
It`s my personal preference, Caitlyn. I`ve got Win 7 and Ultimate running Grub2 and don`t feel like changing that setup. Also, you come across as very protective of a distro you "use to work for." Not very objective, no?
62 • @59 (by greg on 2012-01-10 07:34:53 GMT from Slovenia)
Mark set a side a fund in case that happens, so that (in that case) community can pick off where Cannonical left.
63 • Criticism (by Koroshiya Itchy on 2012-01-10 12:15:14 GMT from Belgium)
Am I the only one who thinks it is a bit puerile accusing anyone who has different criteria of being either a fan-boy or a hater? Different people have different needs. It is as simple as that. One can prefer certain features over others and that does not make him either a fanboy of X or a hater of Y. Free software is libre, and that freedom leaves a lot of room for everybody.
64 • @60 (by Ron on 2012-01-10 12:44:39 GMT from United States)
Forum activity is quite different then operating system usage. Usage is always higher then the forum activity.
65 • Vector 7 (by TuxTest on 2012-01-10 13:50:34 GMT from Canada)
I do not have the same verdict on Vectorlinux 7. I tested it on 5 different PC, setup Intel and AMD.2 Laptop and 3 desktop with diffrérent config. First you must use the real install version to be able to do a properly evaluation. My test is based on three months of use on 5 different PC. The installation steps are very simple and easy to understand for a newbie.
Recognition hardware is really exellent for old and new material. Sound, wifi,3 usb wifi, video card no problem. Compared to Ubuntu 11.10, VectorLinux 7 was run perfectly on my PC 5, Not Ubuntu and several other like Debian to name another.
The only problem with linux Vector 7 is the management of languages that is not in native during installation on all version. Internationalization language needs to be reviewed if the team wants Vectorlinux attract more users around the world. The Vasmant needs to be a little polish, but is working properly. Gslapt is Clear and run fast! The update is too easy. For doing a real review, I think should be done over several weeks. If you want a really have an overall vision of a distro.
Vector 7 could easily be in the top 10 with some improvements (Internationalization choice language start at on the fist step of intallation on all version. Need some polished on Vasm management admin tool.
I think a reader must be put in perspective the review is on Distrowatch! With respect, I do not think we should see the reviews on Distrowatch as an absolute truth. People must make an effort themselves! The best way!
In conclusion, my experience with Vector 7 day to day use is great with not bad surprise. I'am not a Vector big fan user, actually Vector 7 is on my fist Laptop with 2 other distro. I don't have a main system.
66 • #57: Vector Light, #61 I never worked for VL (by Caitlyn Martin on 2012-01-10 13:59:41 GMT from United States)
#57: Vector Linux Light 7.0 is currently in beta. Info is at http://forum.vectorlinux.com/index.php?topic=15565.msg88940#new
$61: I never worked for Vector Linux. Sorry. I'm also not "protective" of them. I agree with TuxTest in #65: Using Live is an unfortunate way to test Vector Linux if you intend to install. The installer on the Live version has never produced great results. (See, I criticize too) and I found Jesse's review results to be what was really harsh. It had to be the most negative review of Vector Linux I have ever seen and I honestly feel it was unwarranted.
Regarding comments I will receive on the O'Reilly Broadcast website, well... hate comments are nothing new to me.
67 • VL64 (by Koroshiya Itchy on 2012-01-10 14:04:07 GMT from Belgium)
Approximately, how many packages are available in Vector Linux and Vector Linux 64 through slapt-get?
68 • Scalability of Open Source (by Baul on 2012-01-10 15:03:08 GMT from United Kingdom)
I think what Ubuntu and what it is trying for open source is important and unique - yes there is a bothersome re-design issue going on - the old (for me) Gnome interface was lovely but now there is a need to scale up - how can you complain against a visionary like MS - this conversation would not be happening 15 years ago.
Personally I think there has to be two interfaces - one private and one public free to use.
However that happens - I guess is not really touch based or to pull down a menu and point at something.
If I am wrong criticise me - but the new technology paradigm is scalability of use and interface - Ubiquity get a bad press - but it is a possible winner as well (I kinda thought that open source was a kinda area for people to try out ideas - not be shut down because it was different!).
69 • VectorLinux (by CliffyB on 2012-01-10 15:23:44 GMT from United States)
@ 66: Well, you said yourself you "hadn`t had any association" with VL for two years, implying you were associated somehow in the past. Since you seem to be some sort of consultant, that implies you worked for them in some capacity, at least. It wasn`t a hate comment, no need to get defensive.
70 • Installation and Vector Linux (by David McCann on 2012-01-10 16:43:42 GMT from United Kingdom)
It's interesting to see how Jesse and I got different perspectives of Vector just from using different CDs. This seems to be a common problem. Anyone reviewing Fedora or CentOS from their live CDs will get a very different experience to someone using the DVDs. As for OpenSUSE, I remember two successive versions where the live CD was shipped with a broken installer. Some developers obviously regard the creation of a live CD as something of an afterthought, a concession to popular demand. The moral for Vector and the others is "get it right, or have the courage of your convictions and don't do it."
71 • #69: Clarification, #70: Live CDs (by Caitlyn Martin on 2012-01-10 17:53:07 GMT from United States)
#69: Oh, good grief! I never said your comment was a hate comment. I said I get those on O'Reilly. I never stated or implied I worked for Vector Linux. As people who have been around DWW for a while know I was a volunteer packager and later, briefly, a repo maintainer for VL. That was my way of paying back when I used it as my primary desktop. I do believe in giving something back to the FOSS community.
#70: First, I fully agree with you about the Live CD being a different, and often inferior experience, and installing from Live doesn't do justice to a lot of distros. I agree with you that Fedora and CentOS are in that category, as is Scientific Linux. I don't think VL Live is an afterthought but, like Fedora or CentOS, you don't get the same quality of results from the live installer. Their live installer has always had minor issues and this one is no different. Also, they always have to leave a few package off the live version to make it fit on a CD sized iso and that sometimes is a factor as well.
I'll gladly concede that a big part of the very different results Jesse and I get may be due to his choice to review Live and my choice to work from Standard.
72 • re: Choice and Fear (by Peter Besenbruch on 2012-01-10 18:41:38 GMT from United States)
"Now it seems that everyone hates everyone else."
"Hate" is too strong a word. I would say rather, that people often fail to show basic respect and courtesy.
"People are too stupid to know when they have a good thing."
This is a good example of that failure.
"Sometimes a person just don't know when to shut up or they think that they are owed something."
73 • Mandriva and the Good Old Days (by Peter Besenbruch on 2012-01-10 19:57:35 GMT from United States)
Mandrake was the first distro that I installed successfully. As a Windows user in 2002, Mandrake's install went smoothly and made sense. It all went down hill after that. It was the most unstable piece of software I have ever worked with. I also tried Suse, which installed well, but soon had me confronting RPM hell. Red Hat was even more user hostile, while Caldera's installer showed promise, but wouldn't install properly.
Then there was Debian. Early in the installation process you got presented with this screen full of choices, none of which made any sense to this Linux noob. In retrospect, I realize that Debian was allowing me to compile a custom kernel at install time. The proper response was to hit [Enter], and move on. No where did the screen tell you that hitting [Enter] was an option. Yes, that's what usability was like back then.
It is hard wired into our psyches to complain about stuff, and one side effect is to have those complaints escalate into name calling and claims of victimization. One way to minimize that is to look at what the fights have been about in this issue of Distrowatch. They center on Jessie's criticism of the Cairo Dock, and the installation of an extra user in Vector Linux. Then there is the usual complaining about Gnome 3 and Unity. These are either small bugs, or usability issues. Gone are the days of wondering how to get my mouse supported, let alone wifi. Remember when a distribution's failure to support suspend and hibernation on a laptop wasn't counted against it?
Regarding the Vector review: Jessie says they got the basics down, and there were a couple of glitches. Bottom line, Vector works, and will serve someone nicely. Regarding Gnome 3 and Unity: Both introduced huge changes, and weren't very good initially. It's also pretty clear that they are aiming for a certain level of maturity in time for the Spring distro releases, Ubuntu LTS, and the freeze of Debian Wheezy. That's when we need to evaluate them seriously.
I write this as someone who tried KDE 4 (actually 4.3) and then moved to XFCE. KDE is without doubt the most advanced desktop environment out there. I don't hate it. I know they went through hell over the transition, but I admire their efforts. I stopped using KDE, because I didn't want the extras that they offered. That's a personal decision. I am not angry at KDE because their goals and mine differ.
2011 saw the introduction of still more choice into the Linux world. Unity is aimed at smaller screens. Gnome is going the Firefox route with a somewhat stripped down offering, coupled to a growing list of extensions. Who knows how this will all shake out, but 2012 sure looks interesting.
74 • #70 (by Andy Prough on 2012-01-10 20:07:42 GMT from United States)
@David McCann - "As for OpenSUSE, I remember two successive versions where the live CD was shipped with a broken installer. Some developers obviously regard the creation of a live CD as something of an afterthought, a concession to popular demand. The moral for Vector and the others is "get it right, or have the courage of your convictions and don't do it."
What installation problems did you have David? I think I've tried all the openSUSE live CD versions, and never ran into a "broken installer". Distrowatch links to all the reviews over time - I don't think you will find a single one that refers to a "broken installer". No major distro would make it out of beta stage with that kind of a problem! I would dare say you won't find a version of Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu, etc that has shipped with a "broken installer" - there wouldn't be any sense in burning the CD in the first place!
Like all major distros, openSUSE does have a forum where more experienced users will gladly help you with your installation difficulties. Have you asked for help?
75 • @61 Mixing multiple distros with different bootloaders (by Vic on 2012-01-10 20:39:55 GMT from Canada)
@CliffyB it's fairly possible and quite simple to run Vector on a system already booting with Grub 2. I had it working fine on my laptop for the month I tried out Vector 7 right after it's release. At the time my first partition contained Linux Mint 12, which uses Grub 2 and handled the booting for all the currently installed systems I was trying out. When I installed Vector I had the option of installing Lilo to the mbr, the partition, or to skip it all together. Cause I used the liveCD Grub wasn't offered. Now I wanted to keep Mint's Grub 2 handling the boot process so installing to the mbr wasn't an option, leaving the later two. I chose to skip adding Lilo and after Vector install was completed I booted into Mint, ran
and the Vector partition was picked up and added to my grub.conf file. Quick reboot and I was able to choose Vector from the boot screen.
Alternately I could have had Lilo installed to Vector's root partition and than manually created an entry into Mint's Grub 2 set up to chainload Vector, effectively handing off the boot process to Lilo. This being a temporary set up I choose the first quicker option.
Hope that helps you or anyone else faced with a similar scenario out.
76 • reviews and gnome 3 (by TuxTest on 2012-01-10 20:45:16 GMT from Canada)
I installed on 1 desktop and a 1 laptop OpenSuse 12.1 education version. For testing at a long term. After 2 week test on Gnome 3.2, I need more time to make an objective reviews of every aspect of this Distro. A few days or one week would not sufficiant. It would not do justice to this version of openSUSE and not make me service in my evaluation.
For this reason, we must put in perspective the reviews of Jesse. His reviews can be as good and as bad as mine. This is not the end in itself! It is an opinion in a short time!
3 For Gnome, I just simply say that it is a matter of taste as regards the GNOME 3.2. Gnome 3.2 is a completely different environment gnome 2.2. For this reason, we should not compare them. Gnome 3 is certainly interesting in terms of look. But it is less convenient than the previous gnome. This is a personal opinion! I do not think I'd like to use this environment every day. Too many simply click to open an application if it is not in the task bar. This will be my only comment about it!
@73 I share your opinion, too much talk in the comment section around Unity or Gnome 3! This is redundant and unnecessary! It is not lack of choice.
77 • #65: Jesse's review, your comments (by Caitlyn Martin on 2012-01-10 20:59:30 GMT from United States)
I think your assessment of internationalization and localization in the Vector Linux installer is fair criticism. International language support has long been a weak area in VL and while it has steadily gotten better it has a ways to go.
Another criticism voiced earlier is the relatively small size of the repositories. That is a problem for almost all smaller distros when compared to Debian, Ubuntu or Mandriva. The good news with VL and a number of other small distros I could name (i.e. Pardus, SalixOS, probably dozens more) is that the packagers take requests and do their best to fill them. In addition, the repository has been growing steadily as volunteer packagers add things. This is where a trip to the forum, and the package request thread in particular, can really pay off.
Finally, one more comment on Jesse's review: Vector Linux does have a notifier that works properly for updates --- but apparently not in the Live version Jesse used. That kind of, sort of makes sense if you think of Live as Live and Standard as the version to install.
78 • Re: 73,76 reviews and gnome3 (by Ron on 2012-01-10 21:08:26 GMT from United States)
"@73 I share your opinion, too much talk in the comment section around Unity or Gnome 3! This is redundant and unnecessary! It is not lack of choice."
Can I believe my eyes? Too much talk in the comment section. How ironic! Where else?
It seems that some people just do not like to hear what they do not like to hear.
79 • Just finished installing Funduntu... (by Vic on 2012-01-10 21:49:59 GMT from Canada)
...to get online this morning and see the newly announced point release, dope! Guess being a rolling release I'm not missing much but a few configuration changes. Already changed my default font to the one to the newly added one. I've been on the new install for 12 hours and I'm pleasantly content for now. It's very close to my CentOS install with all the basic bells and whistles I usually add already there out of the box, and with more current software. Kind of like running Fedora with a sanely familiar Gnome 2 DE. Hopefully this sedates my distro ADHD.
80 • @Caitlyn and @78 (by TuxTest on 2012-01-10 22:11:30 GMT from Canada)
@ caitlyn Thank you for your comment! I also believe that we must consider the standard user does not need to have 25.000 package available in the application manager. Vector has ample enough to package for 90% of users. One thing that is different with the community is that Vector dev team is available/actif on the forum. Also there are many tutorial http://www.opensourcebistro.com/blog1/ here for the curious. This is precisely why VectorLinux is a good community! That is why I class Vector in my top 10. The user will learn a lot if he want. We cannot find this in all Distro.
@78 Ron Week after week, half the comments here are on Unity or Gnome 3 people love it or not! Sorry but the people have XFCE, KDE, TRINITY, E17, MATE, LXDE and many more! People have a choose another desktop manager. That's it! Why make a never ending story when the alternative is there?
81 • Jessie vs. Caitlyn (by Sly on 2012-01-10 23:00:40 GMT from United States)
Wow. I've been checking out the exchange and additional comments by others. In the end it appears that Caitlyn is backtracking on her rather blunt comments. Caitlyn one request for you.....give me this link to where your reviews are published.... if Distrowatch will allow it? One might infer that you are trying to tweak our curiosity to read your reviews, so let's have the link.
82 • #81 (by Andy Prough on 2012-01-10 23:26:51 GMT from United States)
Just google "Caitlyn Martin". She is a very widely published, well-respected journalist. Her site at O'Reilly publishing should come up as the first hit, and I think she links a lot of her material from there.
83 • caitlyn reviews (by TuxTest on 2012-01-10 23:34:07 GMT from Canada)
Caitlyn reviews on VectorLinux 5.8 and 5.9
Another good post by caitlyn
84 • Shuttlepad "mock up" (by shenanigans on 2012-01-11 00:51:13 GMT from United States)
It's nothing more than a picture of an ipad with a half cut off screen of unity. Not very creative.
85 • #84 (by Andy Prough on 2012-01-11 01:09:44 GMT from United States)
84 • Shuttlepad "mock up" (by shenanigans on 2012-01-11 00:51:13 GMT from United States)
It's nothing more than a picture of an ipad with a half cut off screen of unity. Not very creative.
At least we know it's not another ego trip by Shuttleworth - it's not like he named it after himself or anything...
86 • Asturix 4 (by Chds on 2012-01-11 06:16:00 GMT from Liechtenstein)
Practically all the guys, who are commenting here has some years in the calendar. This new DE in Asturix 4 was made by a 15 year old boy from Spain, who is now just 16. Would you older guys like to download Asturix 4 and give feedback to him? The youngsters have cleaner minds, without all the clutter collected in the years. Good day!
87 • gome3 Again (by ken on 2012-01-11 10:06:20 GMT from Congo, The Democratic Republic of the)
I think most people here understand that the problem some us have with Gnome3 is not its existence but its role in the death of Gnome2.Those other alternatives we are told about non of them is gnome2.
88 • @87 (by TuxTest on 2012-01-11 13:01:49 GMT from Canada)
Even if you talk about Gnome 3 it until 2050! This will not change anything! Made you the idea. Using MATE or Other Desktop management. Gnome developers have decided to take another way. That's it! It is their choice and it will live with the consequence
89 • #71 Live CD being a different, and often inferior experience, (by jack on 2012-01-11 14:58:24 GMT from Canada)
This is a real shock
I have only 2 computers; a fairly recent one and an old one that I keep so that I can go online when I screw up my main computer.
In the past , if I saw an OS mentioned on DW I downloaded the live version and if it didn't work I just dumped it.
I would never consider installing it on my main computer as I am not sure that my knowledge level would allow me to correct the potential
So now I either have to buy a new computer as a testing unit or accept the fact that my experience with any live OS may be an unreliable guide.
For example; #86 Asturix, looks interesting; but I could not find out from their site if the 32 bit version is a live version.
Not a happy camper
90 • Asturix live (by jack on 2012-01-11 15:49:11 GMT from Canada)
from their forum:
El idioma solo está en inglés en la versión live, debido a que si poníamos las traducciones en español, "llenaríamos" mucho el DVD, y de 1 GB que ocupa quizás ocuparía 2 GB. Sin embargo, cuando lo instales, estará en español totalmente, y el teclado también en español, o en la opción que elijas.
The live version is in English only because adding Spanish would double the size.
Once installed it will be completely Spanish, including the keyboard
91 • "old hardware" (by Simon on 2012-01-11 16:21:27 GMT from United Kingdom)
When Jesse made the claim (post 39) that computers with hardware specs of 2 GHz CPU and 3 GB of RAM, and the other - 2.5 GHz CPU and 2 GB of RAM was 'old hardware' I accept that this is his (Toronto?) reality. But it is laughable for those of us of 'the other half'.
It ain't "old hardware" in the Canadian Maritimes where I spent this summer ... or back here in Wales.
He also adds "Sure it's [my 1 Ghz CPU with 512 RAM] sluggish, but your running a modern OS on equipment a decade old. Of course it's not going to be optimal."
Not that long ago I used to install Vector on Pentium III 500 to 650 Mhz with 128 to 256 RAM machines and they used to run pretty good. Not sluggish.
Jesse also added "Sure it's [my 1 Ghz CPU with 512 RAM] sluggish, but your running a modern OS on equipment a decade old. Of course it's not going to be optimal."
Why does a "modern OS" require so much resources when they are not really any better that ones that came out 5 or 6 years ago? Can we conclude that Linux Operating systems are following Microsoft's lead and getting progressively less efficient and resource hungry?
92 • @ comment #33 (by Johnny Hughes on 2012-01-11 19:01:47 GMT from United States)
CentOS does not care about updates ... WTF?
We got the 6.2 point release done in 10 days and released on them on the same day as Oracle did their 6.2 for UBL ... how is that not caring about security?
We did it in 10 days WHILE the lead developer and his wife were having a baby ... WHAT are you talking about?
Every update for CentOS-5.7, 4.8, and 6.2 have been released within 24 hours after their release.
Nice touch with the anonymous post.
93 • Comment #91 on "old hardware" (by Koroshiya Itchy on 2012-01-11 19:36:01 GMT from Belgium)
"Why does a "modern OS" require so much resources when they are not really any better that ones that came out 5 or 6 years ago? Can we conclude that Linux Operating systems are following Microsoft's lead and getting progressively less efficient and resource hungry?"
I could not possibly agree more. Why should we need more resources to do the very same thing? Why is everything getting heavier and heavier? Efficiency, efficiency, efficiency.
94 • #92: CentOS (by Caitlyn Martin on 2012-01-11 20:16:27 GMT from United States)
Nice to see one of the CentOS developers here. CentOS did (past tense) have a problem getting security updates out on a timely basis. The same was true of dot releases but that was less critical for enterprise users. It might make deployment on very new hardware more difficult but it isn't a security issue. Since the CR repository came online the security updates have been universally prompt. Johnny Hughes is right about how timely the CentOS 6.2 release was. There were problems in the past but from my perspective the CentOS developers seem to have solved them.
95 • @93 (by Patrick on 2012-01-11 20:19:38 GMT from United States)
Generally the "more efficient" thing to do is to use more resources as they become available. For instance, a program will run better if it keeps more of its data in memory, hence it has higher memory use. Or drawing a GUI is more efficient when done by a GPU (which is made for the purpose of drawing pixels) than when done by a CPU. This also aids in parallelism since the CPU can run other tasks while the GPU is doing its thing.
So as time moves on, and more powerful hardware becomes commonplace, developers shift their target hardware specs up, making things work better and more efficient on the hardware that is common at the time. This is completely normal and desirable. For instance, I would be quite annoyed if a program kept hitting the hard drive when there are gigabytes of free memory available. I also don't see the point in my GPU sitting idle while the CPU is wasting its time drawing my screen.
The downside is of course that this software optimized for contemporary hardware may be too heavy for ancient hardware. It just wasn't designed for it. This being Linux though, there are plenty of choices, which include distros targeted at old hardware. The endless range of software and huge amount of knobs to turn in the Linux kernel makes it possible to build a system that is optimized for really low end systems. You just can't expect mainstream distro's to do that though. They target higher performing systems, and rightfully so. Using hardware resources when they are available is the most efficient thing to do.
96 • @93+91 (by Barnabyh on 2012-01-11 20:37:47 GMT from United Kingdom)
97 • #86, 85, 93, 91: (by Caitlyn Martin on 2012-01-11 20:53:54 GMT from United States)
Building on the excellent points made by Patrick and Barnabyh, I'll add that there are also many more types and models of hardware to support. A distro circa 2000 really only had to worry about wired networking. Today we have wifi and Bluetooth and 3G/4G modems to support. Naturally networking utilities and tools have multiplied and become heavier. The same can be said of almost any class of hardware. It isn't bloat if it's necessary to run a modern system.
98 • RE: #89 #71 Live CD being a different, and often inferior experience (by Ron on 2012-01-11 21:09:11 GMT from United States)
"I would never consider installing it on my main computer as I am not sure that my knowledge level would allow me to correct the potential"
You would do well to learn the 'Clonezilla' software program. It's available on a CD. It takes a little time to learn, and it must be used properly, but it is a life saver after a super crash or drive failure (it can and does happen alas).
Work Clonezilla through a test system to make sure you have it right and that you do not run into some surprises if and when its really needed. Then, you can clone your entire system/drive and play all you want and still come back exactly as you left things.
99 • Re: Donations: Transmissions receives US$250 (by Jordan Lee on 2012-01-11 21:59:19 GMT from Hungary)
This is pretty cool -- I hadn't looked at the tip jar for a few days, so I found out about this when I downloaded the podcast. Thanks Distrowatch!
100 • 90 • Asturix live (by jack (by Ed on 2012-01-12 01:11:32 GMT from Netherlands)
Go to http://asturix.com/on/ and then check the link Asturix 4. Everything is in English.
Everyone is arguing about how bad Gnome 3 and Unity, but none wants to do something about that. So, a 15-year old did.
Download it, check it, give him your feedback, but don't criticize. Let him grow up to a great developer. He was 15, when he did it! Now he is 16.
101 • @100 (by JR on 2012-01-12 01:41:03 GMT from Brazil)
the world is evil, he has to learn that, the criticism will come one way or another, is what he does about it that will make the criticism constructive or harmful!
102 • Distro Jumping (by TheBullDog on 2012-01-12 04:50:20 GMT from United States)
I checked out four distros this week.
- Fuduntu 2012.1. Boot was uneventful. It seemed to recognize all my hardware. The dock had the most commonly used apps available. Looks like the distro is geared toward the 'cloud' user, and maintenance would be best left to someone a little experienced with linux.
- DreamLinux-5. Booted up to a nice xfce desktop. I though the dock was laid out nicely, functional versus flashy.
- Porteus v1.1. Tried the KDE and LXDE desktops. Nice for KDE enthusiasts.
- Astorix 4 - interesting. Felt like I was stuck somewhere between standard linux and android. Now, if I only had a touchscreen.....
103 • re #91 - that bloatware creep (by gnomic on 2012-01-12 10:05:35 GMT from New Zealand)
"Why does a "modern OS" require so much resources when they are not really any better that ones that came out 5 or 6 years ago? Can we conclude that Linux Operating systems are following Microsoft's lead and getting progressively less efficient and resource hungry?"
Hmmm. I hear what you are saying and I sympathise. However a few quick thoughts on the topic.
* Flash (and the like) - need I say more? Streaming video needs horsepower, and bulkier software.
* Likewise big browsers required to deal with today's web content, and big office suites required to deal with who knows what - maybe mimicking the dread PowerPoint, MS Word, etc etc.
Fatter kernels with more hardware support for stuff only a twinkle in some mad scientist's eye when the Linux journey began. There was a time when vmlinuz fit on a floppy iirc. Remember the floppy disk?
Commercially driven computing's need to be better and newer continually in the interest of selling more stuff.
The nerds want to make more exciting software that uses the latest hardware to the full, but unfortunately leaves behind those thousand dollar 2 meg video cards of yesteryear. Not to mention those megabyte range disks. Now where is that 540 meg disk that cost over $500 back in 1994? Ah yes, still in the 486/33 that cost about $3k.
I was going to say 'games' but let's not go there. Except perhaps to say one could once run Linux in 20MB of RAM - a modern gaming card has 2 gigs of RAM or so I believe - I haven't been keeping up.
In the end one has to decide what one wishes to do with a particular box; that PIII can still be a typewriter that prints output impossible in 1980. or even 1990. It is likely marginal for browsing the web today.
And don't forget: 2 gig of RAM is the new 512.
104 • Razor-Qt (by Craig on 2012-01-12 12:23:58 GMT from United States)
How nice it will be to finally have a Qt alternative to LXDE and XFCE! Thanks for the review. It's the first I'd heard of it.
105 • @103, that bloatware creep (by Toolz on 2012-01-12 13:55:21 GMT from Vietnam)
Not really. Flash has been around a while and in extreme cases it needs horsepower, but not bulkier software. Browsers: Opera is not big. The kernel is increasing in size exponentially: correct.
The main cause supersedes all these: It is *abstraction*.
106 • Linux Mint (by CliffyB on 2012-01-12 14:42:54 GMT from United States)
Finally bit the bullet and switched from Ultimate to Mint. This distro is fantastic, Cinnamon installed with the first update and it`s Gnome 2 for all intents and purposes. All my favorite apps like Chromium, Picasa, Amarok and Skype were in the software manager and installed in a snap. Everything works, and works quickly! This is a fast system, I see what all the fuss is about now.
107 • Live vs standard (by jeff on 2012-01-13 00:53:30 GMT from United States)
I always use the live CD or DVD to first check if my hardware and the distro are compatible, I had a bad experience with an install only CD that I never got wireless to work and had no wired internet at the time.
If it works then I install with the same media, since I know that it works.
I would say that most people would do the same, and any distro that does not take that onto account is failing themselves and their users.
108 • Linux Mint 12- cd (by greg on 2012-01-13 01:47:29 GMT from United States)
Linux Mint 12- cd no codecs 32-bit, is worth a try if you have an older computer, as I have. It's nice that the Mint team hasn't forgotten those of us, who are system-challenged.
109 • re #105 - the abstraction problem? (by gnomic on 2012-01-13 03:55:49 GMT from New Zealand)
'The main cause supersedes all these: It is *abstraction*.'
Are you able to expand a little on this statement? I'm not clear on what you are saying here - or is there some source about this matter you can point to?
110 • FreeBSD 9 (by TuxTest on 2012-01-13 04:24:13 GMT from Canada)
first: I am not a troll! I
I downloaded freebsd 9 2.1 GB DVD to see the improvements and make a test. Well freebsd 9 is always equal to itself. A new installer! What? It's worse than ever! I do not understand the dev teams seems to freebsd insistence offer a desktop version. Stop you lost your time. 99.99% of PC users will unable to install and configure correctly desktop management.
Honestly focus your effort on the server version. The version Desktop forgotten! With desktop version you repeat the same mistakes. Why build a system that 0.001% of PC users can install and can't to a fully functional desktop. This seems to be very difficult for freebsd to evolve over time and procede a necessary evolution.
A user is Luckly those who want to use a FreeBSD system, he have a PC-BSD ago that an approach based on real time 2012 not 1990
Sorry but it's reality!
111 • @109, that bloatware creep (by Toolz on 2012-01-13 09:27:02 GMT from Vietnam)
Yes I'll expand, it goes something like this: The first "hello world" program I wrote nearly 30 years ago was just one line of code and it just ran. I tried the same thing with Visual Basic twenty years ago and it was more complicated and I was very disappointed that I had to pack a 1MB library to run it on another machine - 1MB was a big deal in those days. These days to write the same program, in Python for example, you're loading up how many MB of libraries? It's like that because of abstraction - calling functions to take care of housekeeping, calling many more functions than are required just to put 10 letters (and a space) on the screen, loading the odd library that will never be used ... simply cos it's too risky or cumbersome or ugly (yikes! how do I theme it!) to directly put those ten letters on the screen. That's abstraction.
112 • @108 - Mint on older computers (by Uncle Slacky on 2012-01-13 11:04:33 GMT from France)
Mint LXDE or Peppermint OS (also LXDE) would be better choices for older hardware than anything running GNOME, I'd say, especially since the advent of GNOME 3.x.
113 • @112 (by Toolz on 2012-01-13 11:21:37 GMT from Vietnam)
> "Mint LXDE or Peppermint OS (also LXDE) would be better choices"
Both Ubuntu-based ... Ubuntu or Gnome, you'll still get bloat. And I don't know why the parent is stressing the no-codecs version, unless there's a disk space issue.
114 • RE: 97 (by Terminal on 2012-01-13 15:52:49 GMT from United States)
Comment deleted (troll).
115 • @111 (by Patrick on 2012-01-13 16:13:48 GMT from United States)
Unfortunately, abstraction is necessary for increased functionality. No one human brain can deal with everything involved in making a complex system (say at the level of a modern web browser), from the high level functionality of presenting a web page to the user, all the way down to the transistors that are switching to make it happen.
Some people know how to make high performance transistors. Others know how to combine those to make optimized and consistently performing logic gates. Then still others know how to use those gates to build processors. Yes, even at that low level, these are usually not the same people, and abstractions happen in every step that could be considered inefficient. But they are necessary to make the product happen.
So you can call it bloat if you want, but most of us would probably call it functionality. Sure, a side effect is that your hello world program has become bigger over the years, but nobody is interested in running your hello world program. For programs that people are interested in running, such as web browsers, abstraction is an absolute necessity.
116 • Vector Linux (by David on 2012-01-13 19:51:02 GMT from United States)
I am using Vector 7 on an old Thinkpad I got for connecting to wireless over lunch hour at the public library. Until a few days ago it had 256MB RAM, now 512. I had used Vector Light 6.0 before that, tried AntiX in between.
I decided to go from Light to Standard to have a few more programs available. With 256 MB only the text(ncurses?)installer would run, but it's quite straight forward(I used DOS back in the day but I'm hardly a sophisticated user). Compared to the VL 6.0 Light install my chief complaint is it was all or nothing--Light had a number of optional packages one could take or leave. Had problems with the built in wireless that had worked in 6.0 and had a little trouble following the wireless tutorial(later discovered driver was black listed). Among other things I remember some directories having changed from old version to now and the tutorial not being updated(Thoiugh I didn't ask there, forums seem friendly and helpful, just appears not everything updated). I solved the problem by putting in PCMIA card that was autoconfigured.
As to the looks of the distro in XFCE I moved the menu bar to the bottom and got rid of the Cairo Dock as it wasn't useful to me. You can also use Fluxbox, probably more appropriate for old hardware, but I would have like a clock in the panel by default.
Not sure whether having Flash is good or bad, but I mostly use Opera so it's easy to disable.
All in all Vector works OK for me. AntiX would too but I would have to spend time I don't have on the learning curve for a few things.
Finally, can anyone suggest a way to achieve something like Windows US International keyboard on linux?
117 • @113 - Less bloated distros (by Uncle Slacky on 2012-01-13 20:15:04 GMT from France)
If it's less bloat you're after, then Debian-based distros like AntiX, Crunchbang or Mint Debian XFCE might be more appropriate.
I suggested Ubuntu-based distros as some people like having access to the larger repositories, but Debian's aren't too shabby.
118 • @110 - FreeBSD (by Mike on 2012-01-13 20:44:06 GMT from United States)
"Honestly focus your effort on the server version. The version Desktop forgotten! With desktop version you repeat the same mistakes."
What would give you the impression that FreeBSD developers focus on a desktop version as opposed to a server version? FreeBSD is developed for the server market first and foremost, the motto is "the power to serve". FreeBSD isn't making any mistakes, they are building a great OS that you can use however you see fit. You are correct that PC-BSD focuses on making FreeBSD a great desktop so what is the issue?
119 • FreeBSD @118 (by TuxTest on 2012-01-13 22:28:35 GMT from Canada)
thank for your reply
I do not question the quality of development the FreeBSD. But I simply said is that FreeBSD should drop the desktop version. Make way for other like PC-BSD and perhaps GhostBSD. I suggest you one thing! Do this experience: Take 10/20 people on the street with medium or good ability with a PC. Ask these 20 people to install FreeBSD on a PC, any of them will be able to do so. Why work a built desktop version that nobody will be able to install or maybe 1/2..
FreeBSD is sold as a Desktop solution but in fact it is nothing for 99.99% of people who might be interested! Only if you're a Geek
best regard Mike
120 • RE: 118-119 (by Landor on 2012-01-14 03:18:10 GMT from Canada)
I agree with Mike, their target is exactly what he said, the server. I'd go further and say anyone wanting a cli experience for the desktop as well. Not that there is anything wrong with their GUI Desktop (a point you failed to clarify I might add, since the cli is still considered a desktop by many).
But you miss the boat completely with your rant about FreeBSD, and this is a common thing that I find every single 'evangelist' does wrong. You think that the rest of the world wants to use FreeBSD, or Gentoo, or Linux, or Haiku, etc. Then you say only if you're a Geek. That's exactly the target audience, so they don't care.Walk out your door and ask the first totally random person if they might be interested in FreeBSD, they'll look at you like you're out of your mind. Not because FreeBSD is so hard, but because they're not a Geek or Nerd and have never heard of it, nor even understand what an operating system is, even though they use various ones all the time.
So FreeBSD's doing everything right. But also, I haven't had problems with their installer, though I admit I haven't used the newest one. I doubt I'll have problems with that one either. Maybe you should review the process a little more if you are. Gain a big more skill, and I'm being honest, not rude.
Keep your stick on the ice...
121 • @115 (by Toolz on 2012-01-14 07:21:35 GMT from Vietnam)
> "Unfortunately, abstraction is necessary for increased functionality."
Of course. I hope you're just being rhetorical here.
> "So you can call it bloat if you want, but most of us would probably call it functionality."
I'd never have expected to see an argument on Distrowatch that abstraction, per se, might be a negative thing. I hope you're just being rhetorical here. (You're definitely being repetitive.)
> "a side effect is that your hello world program has become bigger over the years, but nobody is interested in running your hello world program"
I'm not interested in who is running my hello program. Now I know you're just being rhetorical. What I care about, in similar vein to my worries about the Linux kernel - is that the rise seems exponential. Simple utilities just don't come in under the 5MB mark anymore - anybody remember MS Word v6? The rise in memory usage of simple utilities is outstripping the gains brought by Moore's Law. It's because of abstraction gone mad - to cast it off as just the price we pay for a linear growth in functionality* is to be disingenuous.
(* Or is functionality being added at a rate that is tailing off? Save that one for another day.)
122 • @117, Less bloated distros (by Toolz on 2012-01-14 07:26:14 GMT from Vietnam)
> "If it's less bloat you're after, then Debian-based distros like AntiX, Crunchbang or Mint Debian XFCE might be more appropriate."
Those are more up my street. I've also been pointed toward Parsix, and I was looking at Semplice (Debian unstable, unfortunately) and Liquid Lemur. Parsix might be the one (for me).
123 • Dreamlinux 5 (by JJ on 2012-01-15 06:31:45 GMT from Netherlands)
Whatever people here might say, Dreamlinux is a pretty excellent distro with very good apps. It responds to clicks faster than Antix, but slower than Puppy Linux.
It responds much better than Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, Arch etc. Out of the the four mentioned, Mint is the slowest.
124 • @123 Mint slowest? (by Vic on 2012-01-15 15:01:45 GMT from Canada)
I've always found Mint to be on par, performance wise, with Ubuntu. Do you have any data to support your claim? Or is it opinion based?
125 • RE: 124 (by Landor on 2012-01-15 17:11:39 GMT from Canada)
'I've always found Mint to be on par, performance wise, with Ubuntu.'
Do you have any data to support your claim? Or is it opinion based?
Keep your stick on the ice...
126 • @125 Lol (by Vic on 2012-01-15 19:17:23 GMT from Canada)
Data of course, though the last time I ran benchmarks on both I was running installs of Ubuntu 9.10 and Mint 8...
127 • ArtistX 1.2 impossible to install (by chon on 2012-01-16 01:42:26 GMT from Thailand)
I just tried to install ArtistX v1.2
The setup routine is presented with a ' theme ' that varies from " dark black " to " light black ", but no matter if I change my glasses, reach for the torch, take a magnifying glass, I can not read what I am supposed to select.
As I have setup and used v1.0 and v1.1, I am sure the distro will be OK, once installed.
But, how to install , if you have black characters on a black background ?
Anyone shares my opinion ?
128 • @127 ArtistX 1.2 impossible to install (by LinuxFreak on 2012-01-16 06:23:56 GMT from Germany)
I'm still downloading the iso, so I do not (yet) have personally experienced the difficulties you are currently dealing with. Does it help if you highlight the text on the install screen with the mouse? It likely won't work for text buttons, though. Or try the OSD menu of your screen, there might be an option to switch from colour to black-and-white mode for better contrast. Then turn screen brightness way up. Makes you wonder what sort of equipment the developer tested the installer on.
129 • @ 128 (by chon on 2012-01-16 08:00:11 GMT from Thailand)
Yes, you can go to and click on the far right bottom corner.
There you select user and go to settings
Then you can select screen or display ( I forgot which one ) and change the theme.
Then it's fine.
If a newbie to linux comes along, how is he going to find it.
The developer of this one deserves the Nobel Price for < bad taste > for this version 1.2. ( Joking only )
Once it's installed and set up, it's fine.
130 • Better development (by BAD on 2012-01-16 08:02:58 GMT from United States)
With Mint tops on the hits/day list I hope the people who develop open source software take note of what users want. Plain and simple which can be altered to suit a user. Not we are forcing this on you.
131 • @130, Better development (by Toolz on 2012-01-16 08:51:25 GMT from Vietnam)
> "With Mint tops on the hits/day list I hope the people who develop open source software take note of what users want."
Mint doesn't do plain and simple. Mint is alone in introducing around a dozen bespoke apps, including the seemingly irresistible (and annoying, IMO) mintmenu. For the Debian edition they've introduced a whole new layer to the package manager. And the package manager makes it very difficult to choose suitable mirrors - unlike the parent distributions, both Ubuntu and Debian. Not exactly plain-and-simple-can-be-altered.
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|• Issue 1019 (2023-05-15): Rhino Linux (Beta), checking which applications reply on a package, NethServer reborn, System76 improving application responsiveness|
|• Issue 1018 (2023-05-08): Fedora 38, finding relevant manual pages, merging audio files, Fedora plans new immutable edition, Mint works to fix Secure Boot issues|
|• Issue 1017 (2023-05-01): Xubuntu 23.04, Debian elects Project Leaders and updates media, systemd to speed up restarts, Guix System offering ground-up source builds, where package managers install files|
|• Issue 1016 (2023-04-24): Qubes OS 4.1.2, tracking bandwidth usage, Solus resuming development, FreeBSD publishes status report, KaOS offers preview of Plasma 6|
|• Issue 1015 (2023-04-17): Manjaro Linux 22.0, Trisquel GNU/Linux 11.0, Arch Linux powering PINE64 tablets, Ubuntu offering live patching on HWE kernels, gaining compression on ex4|
|• Issue 1014 (2023-04-10): Quick looks at carbonOS, LibreELEC, and Kodi, Mint polishes themes, Fedora rolls out more encryption plans, elementary OS improves sideloading experience|
|• Issue 1013 (2023-04-03): Alpine Linux 3.17.2, printing manual pages, Ubuntu Cinnamon becomes official flavour, Endeavour OS plans for new installer, HardenedBSD plans for outage|
|• Issue 1012 (2023-03-27): siduction 22.1.1, protecting privacy from proprietary applications, GNOME team shares new features, Canonical updates Ubuntu 20.04, politics and the Linux kernel|
|• Issue 1011 (2023-03-20): Serpent OS, Security Onion 2.3, Gentoo Live, replacing the scp utility, openSUSE sees surge in downloads, Debian runs elction with one candidate|
|• Issue 1010 (2023-03-13): blendOS 2023.01.26, keeping track of which files a package installs, improved network widget coming to elementary OS, Vanilla OS changes its base distro|
|• Issue 1009 (2023-03-06): Nemo Mobile and the PinePhone, matching the performance of one distro on another, Linux Mint adds performance boosts and security, custom Ubuntu and Debian builds through Cubic|
|• Issue 1008 (2023-02-27): elementary OS 7.0, the benefits of boot environments, Purism offers lapdock for Librem 5, Ubuntu community flavours directed to drop Flatpak support for Snap|
|• Issue 1007 (2023-02-20): helloSystem 0.8.0, underrated distributions, Solus team working to repair their website, SUSE testing Micro edition, Canonical publishes real-time edition of Ubuntu 22.04|
|• Issue 1006 (2023-02-13): Playing music with UBports on a PinePhone, quick command line and shell scripting questions, Fedora expands third-party software support, Vanilla OS adds Nix package support|
|• Issue 1005 (2023-02-06): NuTyX 22.12.0 running CDE, user identification numbers, Pop!_OS shares COSMIC progress, Mint makes keyboard and mouse options more accessible|
|• Issue 1004 (2023-01-30): OpenMandriva ROME, checking the health of a disk, Debian adopting OpenSnitch, FreeBSD publishes status report|
|• Issue 1003 (2023-01-23): risiOS 37, mixing package types, Fedora seeks installer feedback, Sparky offers easier persistence with USB writer|
|• Issue 1002 (2023-01-16): Vanilla OS 22.10, Nobara Project 37, verifying torrent downloads, Haiku improvements, HAMMER2 being ports to NetBSD|
|• Issue 1001 (2023-01-09): Arch Linux, Ubuntu tests new system installer, porting KDE software to OpenBSD, verifying files copied properly|
|• Issue 1000 (2023-01-02): Our favourite projects of all time, Fedora trying out unified kernel images and trying to speed up shutdowns, Slackware tests new kernel, detecting what is taking up disk space|
|• Issue 999 (2022-12-19): Favourite distributions of 2022, Fedora plans Budgie spin, UBports releasing security patches for 16.04, Haiku working on new ports|
|• Issue 998 (2022-12-12): OpenBSD 7.2, Asahi Linux enages video hardware acceleration on Apple ARM computers, Manjaro drops proprietary codecs from Mesa package|
|• Issue 997 (2022-12-05): CachyOS 221023 and AgarimOS, working with filenames which contain special characters, elementary OS team fixes delta updates, new features coming to Xfce|
|• Issue 996 (2022-11-28): Void 20221001, remotely shutting down a machine, complex aliases, Fedora tests new web-based installer, Refox OS running on real hardware|
|• Issue 995 (2022-11-21): Fedora 37, swap files vs swap partitions, Unity running on Arch, UBports seeks testers, Murena adds support for more devices|
|• Issue 994 (2022-11-14): Redcore Linux 2201, changing the terminal font size, Fedora plans Phosh spin, openSUSE publishes on-line manual pages, disabling Snap auto-updates|
|• Issue 993 (2022-11-07): Static Linux, working with just a kernel, Mint streamlines Flatpak management, updates coming to elementary OS|
|• Issue 992 (2022-10-31): Lubuntu 22.10, setting permissions on home directories, Linux may drop i486, Fedora delays next version for OpenSSL bug|
|• Issue 991 (2022-10-24): XeroLinux 2022.09, learning who ran sudo, exploring firewall tools, Rolling Rhino Remix gets a fresh start, Fedora plans to revamp live media|
|• Issue 990 (2022-10-17): ravynOS 0.4.0, Lion Linux 3.0, accessing low numbered network ports, Pop!_OS makes progress on COSMIC, Murena launches new phone|
|• Issue 989 (2022-10-10): Ubuntu Unity, kernel bug causes issues with Intel cards, Canonical offers free Ubuntu Pro subscriptions, customizing the command line prompt|
|• Issue 988 (2022-10-03): SpiralLinux 11.220628, finding distros for older equipment and other purposes, SUSE begins releasing ALP prototypes, Debian votes on non-free firmware in installer|
|• Issue 987 (2022-09-26): openSUSE's MicroOS, converting people to using Linux, pfSense updates base system and PHP, Python 2 dropped from Arch|
|• Issue 986 (2022-09-19): Porteus 5.0, remotely wiping a hard drive, a new software centre for Ubuntu, Proxmox offers offline updates|
|• Full list of all issues|
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View our range including the highly anticipated StarFighter. Available with coreboot open-source firmware and a choice of Ubuntu, elementary, Manjaro and more. Visit Star Labs for information, to buy and get support.