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):

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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 – Foresight Linux

Once upon a time, when I was a relative newcomer to GNU/Linux, I found a wonderful little distribution, which was also new at the time.

Tomas Forsman, a member of the Foresight Linux team, probably doesn’t even remember me from back then. I frequented the old support forums for Foresight Linux back when it was in version 1.0. I think that was sometime back in 2006. I remember FL creator Ken Vandeen from back then. I found Foresight, a fork of rPath Linux, while perusing Distrowatch one evening. It looked intriguing. Besides, I liked the green color theme. Green is my favorite color, you know.

I’ve had Foresight on many of my systems over the years since v1.0. It’s never been my primary operating system. You all know that I’m a Slacker, but that doesn’t stop me from experimenting with other distros. I have my favorites that are never far from one of my systems. I can usually be found tweaking (often breaking) these distros on any given day.

I did a major system overhaul a year or so ago and never was able to get a working copy of Foresight installed. It wasn’t Foresight’s fault, though. Tomas knows that I’m an Xfce fan, so he provided me with an alpha of their Xfce version. It didn’t seem to like my hardware for some reason. Well, that was a while ago, anyway. Their Xfce 64 bit version is in final release now and installs and runs perfectly.

I know this because I just installed it  a couple nights ago. I didn’t have any issues during installation. For any of you who have ever installed a GNU/Linux distribution on your system, you’ll not find any surprises with the Foresight installer. It’s pretty straight-forward and relatively easy.

Once I had FL installed, I did my usual tweaks here and there under the hood and with the Xfce interface. All went well. I have a completely updated and usable Foresight Linux installation on my system now. I made a quick custom wallpaper for it and took a nice screenshot for you folks.

If you’d like to give Foresight a tryout, you’ll find that the distribution has excellent documentation and a helpful support community. Tomas also visits Scot’s Newsletter Forums – Bruno’s All Things Linux quite often. You can catch up with him there occasionally. Foresight is a stable, full-featured distribution with a sterling pedigree (RedHat, rPath). It’s suitable for a home system or a business server.

Stop on by the Foresight forums. Tell Tomas I sent you. He’ll get you up and running with Foresight in no time at all.

Have fun with it! :)

Later…

~Eric

Image credits: Foresight Linux “eye” logo owned by Foresight Linux.


Mate – an Alternative Desktop Environment

So, you’re not too thrilled with Gnome 3, Unity, or KDE 4. Well, here’s another option…

MATE is a Gnome 2 fork started by Arch Linux Forum member Perberos. I like the description: MATE Desktop Environment, a non-intuitive and unattractive desktopHeh! Can’t get much more honest than that.

Christopher Tozzi at varguy.com wrote a nice article about MATE. Here’s a snippet or two:

Right or wrong, plenty of Linux users — such as this guy — have been less than happy with the interface changes wrought by the advent of Unity and GNOME 3. Lucky for these people, there’s hope in the form of MATE, a fork of GNOME 2…

To be perfectly upfront with my readers here, I have never tried Gnome 3 or Unity on any of my systems. I do have some experience with KDE 4, as many of you know; none of it was pleasant. My main desktop environment is Xfce. I’ve been using Xfce primarily in my main (Slackware) and secondary (Arch) installations for quite some time now; ever since KDE 4 first came on the scene, actually. I was a big KDE fan up till then. Oh well… the world moves on.

Tozzi continues…

GNOME 2 may not have been ideal for touchscreens or tablets, and it wasn’t the most visually dazzling interface out there. But it got the job done without giving me a headache or turning every mouse click into a surprise by eliciting totally unpredictable behavior.

A surprise with every mouse click. Hmm… that sounds a lot like my KDE 4 experience. ;)

Seriously, folks… as I always say, whatever works best for you is what’s best for you. If you would like to go back to the older, more stable, less visually orgasmic Gnome 2 days, give Mate a shot.

Have fun!

~Eric


Today’s Featured Distribution – Zenwalk (Revisited)

Today’s Featured Distribution – Zenwalk

Posted by V. T. Eric Layton on Apr 10, 2010

Ahhhhhmmmm… Ahhhhhmmmm… It’s a Zen thing.

Good morning faithful readers! Today we’re going to talk a bit about what I like to call “Slackware for the faint of heart” – Zenwalk Linux. Zenwalk is a tight, lite, and beauteous thing to behold. Only a geek can see beauty in operating systems, but it’s there. I assure you. Zenwalk (originally Minislack) is based on Slackware.

Its default desktop environment is the “little mouse that roars” – Xfce. For those of you unfamiliar with Xfce, it kinda’ looks like Gnome, but it’s a whole lot less bloated and much faster. Click HERE for a nice Zenwalk/Xfce screenie. Sharp looking, huh? It’s extremely customizable, so you can easily make it your own.

I first ran across Zenwalk about four years ago when I was experimenting with Slack-based Linux distributions. I was impressed from the very first boot up. Not only is Zen relatively easy-peasy to install, but it’s also easy to customize and operate. You don’t have to be a Linux whiz kid to drive this baby. And with all that going for it, it still has the guts of Slackware… one of the most stable distributions of GNU/Linux ever created.

Zenwalk Linux also has a few other things going for it. It has a dedicated development team, a wonderful support community, a great wiki, and excellent documentation.

Don’t just sit there. Run on over to the Zenwalk Main page and grab yourself the version of your choice. It’s free. Of course, any assistance you can offer is always welcome.

Ahhhhmmmm… you feel calmer just thinking about running Zenwalk, huh?

Peace out!

~Eric

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This article was originally published on my Nocturnal Slacker | Lockergnome blog. You can see it there by clicking HERE.


Jack Wallen Likes Gnome 3 (Revisited)

Jack Wallen Likes Gnome 3

Posted by on Apr 5, 2010

I’m not so sure I do.

I ain’t no young whipper-snapper geek here, kids. Us older folks don’t like change. Wallen thinks we need to be getting away from the Win 95 taskbar/icons/Start button paradigm. I don’t. Old farts like me have a saying… “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Wallen contends that the model is broken, though.

Oh of course there will be those that say, “If it isn’t broke…” Well, I am one of those who will first claim that it is, in fact, “broke.” The current desktop that most everyone uses is klunky, kludgy, and ugly. It’s a task bar, and menus, and icons, and blah blah blah…

For the entire article at Tech Republic –> clicky.

Klunky? Kludgy? C’mon… how can anyone say that about my beautiful Slack/Xfce desktop?

Aieee! KDE 3.5 wasn’t broke either. Now KDE 4 is borked <– play on spelling. Cute, huh?Photobucket

Hey! There’s no Gnome Menu on the panel. There aren’t any app icons on the panel. I can’t find my Nautilus. ARRRRRGH! It  looks like a friggin’ iPad. Oh my! I guess this old geek is just going to have to get used to all this new-fangled progress stuff.

Ah… whatever happened to the good old days of Slackware 9.0 with Lynx in the CLI?

I’m outta’ here…

~Eric

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This article was originally published on my Nocturnal Slacker | Lockergnome blog. You can click HERE to see it there and read the accompanying comments.


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