CentOS Joining Red Hat Family

CentOS Project Leader Karanbir Singh writes:

With great excitement I'd like to announce that we are joining the Red
Hat family. The CentOS Project ( http://www.centos.org ) is joining
forces with Red Hat. Working as part of the Open Source and Standards
team ( http://community.redhat.com/ ) to foster rapid innovation
beyond the platform into the next generation of emerging technologies.
Working alongside the Fedora and RHEL ecosystems, we hope to further
expand on the community offerings by providing a platform that is
easily consumed, by other projects to promote their code while we
maintain the established base.

Read more about this fabulous development in this ars technica article and in Karanbir Singh’s CentOS Announce list posting.

I’m very excited about this. CentOS has been a favorite of mine for many years. I used to tell folks it’s the closest thing you can get to Red Hat without spending money. Now it’ll be closer than ever before.

Best of luck with this endeavour CentOS and Red Hat!

Later…

~Eric


Linux Mint 15 Olivia MATE Review – A Reblog from Linux and Life

Linux Mint 15 Olivia MATE Review from Linux and Life

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Last year, I installed and wrote a review for Linux Mint 13 Maya, the MATE version. It had worked really well on my laptop so even when Linux Mint 14 “Nadia” was released, I still kept using Maya. But after a year, I think its the time for an upgrade, and on the same occasion that Linux Mint 15 Olivia was recently out, I decided to download and install the new Linux Mint 15, MATE version.

Read the rest of this excellent review HERE.

Later…

~Eric


Memorial Day 2013

Never forget.


Porteus – Another Excellent Choice for the Thumb Drive Toolbox

A few years ago, I wrote a little article called My Thumb Drive Toolbox for Linux.com.

In that article, I explain how to install Slax on a thumb drive. I also mention Puppy Linux as being usable for that purpose also. It’s very useful to have a full-featured Linux OS on a thumb drive, particularly when repairing corrupted MS Windows systems, as I did earlier this evening for a client.

Over at Scot’s Newsletter Forums – Bruno’s All Things Linux, a topic came up regarding the porteus.org website possibly being down. Hamza from porteus.org dropped in to respond to the issue. After we resolved the issue, I went to the porteus.org website to snoop around a bit. I was, of course, already familiar with Porteus, but I had not visited the new site nor had I used the distribution recently.

My old (ancient, really) version of Slax on my thumb drive toolbox was still functioning, but I had been wanting to update to the newest version of Slax for a while. I’d been waiting for v7.0 for a while. I decided to kill two birds and all that…

I downloaded and installed both Slax and Porteus earlier this afternoon. I’ve had the chance to evaluate them both this evening. Slax is very nice, even with KDE 4. ;) However, this article is about Porteus, which I installed with my favorite desktop environment –> Xfce. I first burned the .iso to a CD (directions on Porteus’ download page) and then booted that CD to use the Porteus Installer app to install it to my thumb drive. It worked wonderfully.

I specifically chose to use the 32 bit version because many of the systems that I would need to boot it from are older 32 bit machines. It’s best to have a diagnostic Linux distribution on a thumb drive that is functional with older machines if you’re in the fix-windows-for-family-and-friends business. HA! :)

Visit the website, snoop around the forums, then give Porteus a try. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. This is a quality portable media distribution, with a good documentation and support network. You know I’m going to like Porteus. It’s only natural…

from the Porteus forums:

Porteus is a light-weight, highly configurable and flexible live distribution based on Slackware

Oh, and don’t forget… if you have the resources available, run it from RAM. It’s GREASED LIGHTING FAST!

Have fun!

~Eric


Slax 7.0? It’s About Time!

Many of us have patiently waited for this:

New Design for Slax.org, Preparing Final Release

at 17:40 Posted by Barnaby |

Just in time for the expected final release of Slax 7.0 on Monday after all this time the web site has had a makeover as well to serve as a visual reminder that a new age for Slax has truly arrived.

Read the article at Linux, BSD, and everything else…

Hmm… KDE, huh? Well, I’ll deal with that if necessary. ;)

Happy Slaxxing! :)

~Eric


Arch Linux Commits to systemd

Can’t say I didn’t see this coming. I converted to pure systemd months ago in my Arch.

According the THIS article at The H website and other sources, it looks like Arch Linux is going 100% systemd. Well, that’s cool. I don’t have any issues with that. I’m not completely sold on systemd yet, but I haven’t found anything to really complain about. I do think it’s a slight poke-in-the-eye to Arch’s KISS approach to GNU/Linux, but that’s just my personal opinion.

Arch isn’t the only distribution that has made this leap. I believe Fedora and SuSE are also moving in that direction. I’m not a developer or coder, so I can’t really tell you what the under-the-hood advantages of systemd over sysvinits may be. However, many folks smarter than I am in that area seem to favor systemd.

There are some holdouts. Patrick Volkerding of Slackware has no plans in the current millennium of getting away from sysvinits in his distribution. Slackware is my primary OS, as you know, so this is OK by me. I don’t believe the Debian folks are considering systemd at this time either. I would actually be shocked if they were. Systemd is too new for Debian. It would be a definite threat to their legendary commitment to stability.

Have a wonderful fall season (spring, if you’re way down south ;) )!

Later…

~Eric


Running Pure systemd In Arch Linux

A recent upgrade in Arch Linux caused my Thunar file manager to lose its auto-mounting capabilities.

Now granted, auto-mounting of removable media (floppy, ZIP, CD/DVD, USB, etc.) on my system is purely a convenience. It’s not a necessity. I have no fear of the command line, so mounting manually can always be achieved. It’s the principle of the thing, dammit. What used to work should continue to work. Unfortunately, as we all know, thanks to updates of one sort or another (in any operating system), this doesn’t always hold true.

After doing some reading and research into the causes of Thunar’s apparent crippling, I became aggravated with Arch because recent updates have been plaguing me with breakage. Now, let’s be honest here… it’s not really Arch’s fault. Arch is a rolling-release distribution. Things change rapidly. The developers keep the base system closer to the bleeding edge that most periodic-release distributions. Anyone who uses Arch knows these things.

I run Slackware as my primary operating system on all my machines (except for an old Dell Latitude 610 running Bodhi Linux). Arch is my secondary (backup) operating system on my main system. I used to use Debian for this purpose, but as much as I love Debian, it is just too sluggish about getting current versions of apps in its repos. Now don’t all you Debian folks start throwing rubber chickens at me. I understand that Debian’s legendary stability is due to the fact that its stable repos contain only tried and truly long-term tested versions of applications. That is how it should be with Debian (I run Sid as a tester on my system, by the way).

So, back the Arch situation…

In the process of trying to find out what I needed to do to fix the auto-mounting issue, I ran across some information here and there about systemd. What is systemd, you might ask.

systemd is a system and service manager for Linux, compatible with SysV and LSB init scripts. systemd provides aggressive parallelization capabilities, uses socket and D-Bus activation for starting services, offers on-demand starting of daemons, keeps track of processes using Linux control groups, supports snapshotting and restoring of the system state, maintains mount and automount points and implements an elaborate transactional dependency-based service control logic. It can work as a drop-in replacement for sysvinit.

*from http://www.freedesktop.org/wiki/Software/systemd

I noticed that Arch’s core repo shifted udev from its stand-alone status to a sub-app of the systemd-tools application.

News: systemd-tools replaces udev

2012-06-01 – Dave Reisner

systemd and udev have been merged upstream. We will still ship them in separate packages. However, in order to keep things simple, udev will now be part of a package called systemd-tools. This package contains several other standalone tools which can be used without systemd. The astute reader will note that this also means the entirety of systemd is available in the core repository.

Please replace udev with systemd-tools when prompted. If you upgrade the linux package at the same time, you may see an error during initramfs creation that the udev hook is not found. After the upgrade completes, please rerun ‘mkinitcpio -p linux’ to ensure that a bootable image is created for the newly installed kernel.

Seeing this made me wonder if Arch was going to transition to systemd over initscripts sometime soon. To be honest, as some of the folks at Scot’s Newsletter Forums/Bruno’s All Things Linux can attest to,  I actually became a bit peeved… pissed off, you might even say. ;) All’s well, though. Ignorance is a great stimulant for fear and loathing. Knowledge paves the way for understanding and acceptance.

A little research was in order, so I spent the next few days after this initial rant about systemd learning what I could about it. Eventually, I decided to convert my Arch to systemd 100%, eschewing initscripts entirely. How did that go? Relatively well, actually. Read more about how I did it and how things turned out HERE, if you’re interested. I even managed to solve my auto-mount issues along the way.

systemd is available in many distributions already. I do believe that it has a good chance of replacing the standard initscripts method of services in GNU/Linux in the near future. If you’re a tinkerer, go give it a try on some test partition on one of your systems. I wouldn’t recommend converting 100% to systemd on your main operating system, though; not unless you really know what you’re doing. It wouldn’t hurt to learn the fundamentals of systemd. I believe it’ll be around for a while.

Have fun!

~Eric

Further reading:

https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Systemd

http://www.freedesktop.org/wiki/Software/systemd

http://www.h-online.com/open/features/Control-Centre-The-systemd-Linux-init-system-1565543.html

http://www.h-online.com/open/features/Booting-up-Tools-and-tips-for-systemd-1570630.html

*Sorry for the raw links. I’m being lazy today. :(


Bodhi Linux – It’s About Time

I’ve been using GNU/Linux as my primary operating system for quite sometime now.

Actually, this June will be my six year anniversary of switching to GNU/Linux. Wow! Time sure does fly. It seems like it was only yesterday that I was burning and installing Ubuntu 6.06 Dapper Drake. ;) Since that beginning, I’ve burned hundreds of CDs and DVDs with GNU/Linux distributions on them. I’ve tested most of the main line distros like Debian, Fedora Core, Mandriva, OpenSuSE, Slackware, Arch , Ubuntu, Mepis, Mint, etc. over the years.

Like most, I’ve found my favorites… Slackware, Arch, Debian (Sid), Zenwalk, Vector, Salix, CentOS, Foresight, Ark, etc. These distributions can almost always be found on some partitions on one of my systems at any given time. There are a few that have really impressed me. I’m always impressed with GNU/Linux, but to tell you the truth, it’s been a while since I was just absolutely taken aback by the presentation and quality of any distribution. I think Arch was the last distribution to really knock my socks off.

I think this is because, basically, all GNU/Linux distributions are pretty similar under the hood. It’s just how the eye candy wrappers are manipulated that make them somewhat different. Gnome in OpenSuSE can look a lot like Gnome in Debian, for example. KDE 4 is still buggy and bloated, regardless of what distro you’re running it in. Just kidding, KDE fans. ;) Every once in a while, though, the entire presentation; website, support, documentation, visual appearance of the installer, ease-of-installation, and 1st boot up impressions conspire to overwhelm one’s reactions… pleasantly, I mean.

This is the case today for me. I have heard a lot about Bodhi Linux, of course. Jeff Hoogland, the lead dev for Bodhi, is a member at Scot’s Newsletter Forums where I’m an Admin. I read Jeff’s blog regularly. I’ve watched from the very beginning when he first started putting Bodhi together. So, yeah… Bodhi Linux wasn’t some unknown for me. My pal Paul “ChipDoc” Campbell was a contributor to the Bodhi Linux documentation project. Oddly enough, I had never (till today) tried Bodhi Linux.

Recently, I received a little Dell Latitude D610 laptop from my niece. The unit is in near new condition, but it’s limited hardware-wise. I had been looking for the perfect lightweight distribution for it. First I tried my old favorite Vector Linux. That was pretty nice, but even VL was pushing the limits of this little guy’s Pentium M processor and 768Meg of RAM. Next I tried Zorin OS. Zorin was pretty cool. It calls itself a “transitional Linux” due to the fact that it’s geared for folks coming from MS Windows. Zorin worked well, but I still wasn’t satisfied.

Today, I visited the excellent Bodhi Linux website. I snooped around. I read the documentation. I looked at the beautiful screenies. I downloaded the tiny (450Meg) Live/Install .iso file. I burned it to a CD. I inserted that CD into my little laptop here on my desk and an amazing thing happened. The grizzled old GNU/Linux, Slackware-loving, veteran GNU/parted-using nocturnal geek, who is rarely impressed with anything these days, was IMPRESSED from minute one with Bodhi Linux.

Everything about Bodhi Linux just seemed… well, right to me. From the installer’s simple step by step walk-through to the general informational blurbs that came up on the screen during the installation process; it was all pleasant and Zen-like. I don’t know if Jeff was intentionally aiming for this mellow and tranquil feeling, but one assumes he was with a name like Bodhi, right? You hit your mark, buddy.

After the relatively quick install, the fun really begins. You get to actually start using Bodhi Linux. I like to start any distro with the customization stage. I go through the desktop first, changing the panels and icons and whatnot to my usual setup. I then go a bit deeper into the operating system and modify app behaviors, start-up behaviors, themes, window behaviors, and so on. On a distro that I’m not familiar with, like Bodhi, it may take me a couple hours to get it how I want it.

My simple little Bodhi Linux:

Photobucket

If you haven’t tried Bodhi Linux yet, what are you waiting for? You don’t need an old obsolete laptop to run it. It’ll run on your bleeding edge system just as well; better, actually. Bodhi is only minimal at the initial install. Thanks to their unique AppCenter, you can stuff your Bodhi full of yummy apps and goodies. If they don’t have it in the AppCenter, you’ll probably find it in Synaptic (using Ubuntu‘s repos). If you still can’t find your fav app, ask for it on the forums. Someone will make it happen for you.

Jeff, my hat’s off to you and all the contributors to the Bodhi Linux project. You folks have done an amazing job with this distribution. I can pretty much guarantee you that I’ll be looking for a spare partition or two on my main or shop system to install Bodhi Linux. I am impressed. Don’t get me wrong, though. You’ll still be hearing me bitch once I find the aggravating things in there. I know they’re there. They always are. I’ll try to stay calm and tranquil about it. Ahhhhmmmm… Ahhhhmmmm… HA! :)

Later…

~Eric


Vector Linux 7.0 Standard – a Mini-Review

My niece deposited her old, tired Dell Latitude D560 laptop on her old, tired uncle yesterday.

She knew that he would wipe that ol’ corrupted Win XP installation off that baby and make ‘er scream again with a nice efficient GNU/Linux operating system. With a 30Gig hdd and only 760M of RAM, screaming will be only moderate with his little machine. However, scream again she does with a fresh install of Vector Linux 7.0 Standard (32 bit).

I had fully intended to give newcomer to the GNU/Linux scene, Zorin, a go on this old lappy. Unfortunately, their download hosting sites were terribly slow today; I mean dial-up slow. The NLUUG Netherlands site was faster than the U.S. iBiblio site, but that ain’t saying much. Either one was stating 11-12 hours download time for a measly 1.1Gig .iso file. That’s just sad. Oh well, maybe another time for Zorin. It does look promising; particularly as a transitional OS from Win to Lin.

Today, though, Vector won out in the download speed race. I’ve used Vector off and on across numerous of my systems and platforms over the past 6 or 7 years. It has always been a stable, usable, no-surprises distribution. I like that. I’m not a fan of surprises when it comes to operating systems. I like boring. I’ve been reluctant, as mentioned elsewhere here, to install Vector on my main or shop systems because I’m patiently waiting for a 64 bit version. A 32 bit version was just what this lappy needed; one not too bloated.

Installation was almost Slackware-ish boring. As I said, no surprises… GOOD! I installed on ext3 partitions; one for / and one for /home, as is my standard practice with GNU/Linux. The entire installation took about 15 minutes or so. I’m running the default Xfce/Cairo Dock desktop at the moment. It’s pretty nice, actually. Ethernet and wireless work out-of-the-box; again, no surprises.

Here’s a pic of the peppy and refreshed old laptop (click of bigger pic):

Photobucket

So, there you have it. Have an old, tired laptop lying around out in the garage? Grab it and install a fresh Vector Linux install on that baby and off you’ll go. That lappy will be a fully-functional machine once again. Set it up for the kids. Donate it to some needy person. Whatever you do with it will be better than what it was doing, sitting on that shelf all lonely and neglected.

Later…

~Eric


Today’s Featured Distribution – Salix OS

Salix is a GNU/Linux distribution based on Slackware that is simple, fast and easy to use.

As many of you know, I’m partial to distributions with the Slackware pedigree. Salix is one that I had not tried before. My favorites up to now have been Zenwalk, Absolute Linux, and Vector Linux. However, I haven’t had any of those on any of my systems for quite some time. I’m patiently waiting for the 64 bit versions.

Now with Salix OS, I find a nice 64 bit version all ready to go. I installed it with the Xfce desktop. Installation was fast and easy using their familiar installer. No surprises here, folks. It just works. I had to do a couple custom tweaks here and there to get the system up and running, though.

After installation, I first booted into Salix using the kernel line alone. On my main system, Arch (my secondary OS) controls the MBR, and its GRUB rules. I had to modify Arch’s menu.lst to boot Salix. Once I was in Salix, I created an initrd using the README.initrd that you can find in most Slack derivatives. Nothing new here either. For you Slack veterans, this will all look very familiar to you. I re-edited Arch’s menu.lst to include the newly created initrd.gz line and away we went. Anyway, most of you will just use the LILO boot loader provided by Salix.

Salix booted up without a burp or hiss. I updated right off using the tried and true slapt-get command line package manager. Anyone who’s ever run Vector or Absolute Linux would be familiar with slapt-get. It’s a cool PM. The GUI frontend in Salix is gslapt. You can set up auto-updates with it. Makes you feel like you’re running Ubuntu, almost. ;)

After updating, I performed my usual Xfce customizations and then took a little screenie for you to look at:

Photobucket

Salix OS has the legendary stability of its parent Slackware along with some ease-of-use features, like the GUI package manager gslapt, more often found in more graphically oriented distributions. You grizzled Slackers will feel comfortable with it. You folks who’ve always wanted to run Slackware, but were afraid to, will love Salix OS. It’s not as hardcore as Slackware. It’s perfect for someone with only minimal GNU/Linux experience. That doesn’t mean it’s a minimal or hand-holding distro. Salix OS is a full-powered GNU/Linux operating system, fully capable of running your little laptop or that business server.

Go visit the excellent Salix OS website and download a copy for yourself. Give it a try. You might be pleasantly surprised. While you’re there, check out the Salix Team of hardworking individuals whose passion and labors have made this wonderful distribution possible.

Later…

~Eric

Image credits: Salix OS logo owned by Salix OS


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