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Posts Tagged ‘Distros

Not A Review.

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In keeping with a diverse mix of topics I thought I would return to not reviewing Linux distributions, in my own incomplete and unscientific fashion, here’s something on Absolute Linux 13.0.3.

Absolute is Slackware based, using a similar install but lacks an indicator on progress and time. After installation the desktop is nice and tidy, there’s no Wine in Absolute’s repo, but it is a simple process to get the Slackware one from WineHQ and install. It uses Gslapt for package management and LILO as Boot manager.

There’s a nice range of programs and a lot of thought has been given to the user experience, changing fonts, etc is very easy, other distributions could learn from Absolute.

At rest it used about 90MB of memory and was fairly responsive on an old Dell 400 Mhz laptop. I couldn’t find how to autologon and music CD’s didn’t play automatically (granted I didn’t RFM), other than that it wasn’t too bad, a commendable 7.5/10.

If Absolute learnt to use grub instead of LILO I might even think of occasionally using it. A good option for a netbook.

Written by modernityblog

05/11/2009 at 02:25

Size and Linux.

with 4 comments

As requested more Linux, a review of sorts, rather subjective and unscientific, pay no attention!

There is a strong tendency amongst developers of Linux distros to emulate Microsoft.

No, not in a nasty way, rather to include everything and the kitchen sink, just in case.

The end result is that a fast operating system is burden with bloatware and unnecessary frills, KDE4 is a prime example.

But I am not going to moan about KDE4, if people like it, fine, I don’t and prefer less inflated software, so trying to find a really small usable Linux-based operating system for a small and slow machine is hard. Not impossible, but harder that it ought to be.

Antix Linux is fine for most things, but I wanted something smaller, compact and workable even on the smallest of old PCs. That way, when you put it on a half way decent machine then it should positively zip along, like a greased whippet. Well, that’s the idea.

So in an unscientific way I picked Puppy, TinyCore and SliTaz as possible choices.

Firstly, Puppy. It gets good reviews and it is about 100 Mb to download, boots up well enough, finds the NIC and allows usage straight from the LiveCD. But you can’t (as with other LiveCD) installs packages until it has been dumped on a hard drive. That’s where the problem begins. Whilst Puppy works well as a LiveCD the installation routine seems like an afterthought, written on the way back from the pub. It is very chatty and less than straightforward. Installation to the hard drive does work in version 4.3.1 but seemed a bit buggy on the X setup, looping, shutting down and going thru the same script again and again. It can work, I know cos I got it working ages back on an older version, but it seems happier on as a LiveCD or USB stick setup. Why the developer couldn’t have followed others when putting together the installer I’ll never know. All in all strikes me as a bit eccentric. But if it works for you, OK. 5/10.

TinyCore is, I believe, from one of the ex-authors of Damn Small Linux. It is very small about 10Mb, and then later on you add the packages. I confess I had wanted a chance to trial this out, but the install is weird. Not too complex, but I couldn’t see an easy way of “re-use an existing partition” for a full hard drive install, still the LiveCD boots up well enough and you could run from there without touching the hard drive, from what I’ve read. I must concentrate and re-do this one, sometime, it has great potential. An optimistic 7/10.

Finally, Slitaz, which took the field by storm a few years back. Sadly it seems to have stopped pushing itself, but is still just around. A 30 Mb download, burn to CD and reboot. Slitaz comes over as the more conventional of these three distros. Install is simple, follow a menu, and 10 minutes later it is on your hard drive, using GRUB. It made the old wreck of a PC that I tested it on usable, a Dell laptop, 400Mhz Pentium 2, 256Mb of memory and an old 5 Gb disk. Slitaz comes in two version, a stable release and a cooker. Software installation on Slitaz is using its own package management, but it is functional and not hard. All in all it feels like a normal distro, but a smaller one, with all the necessary bits and pieces in place. Very commendable. 7.5/10, as Slitaz seems to be in hibernation for the moment, I hope it doesn’t fade out as so many promising ones do.

Written by modernityblog

20/10/2009 at 17:33