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Recent Review Rounds

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Reviews

This past month has been quite exciting with the recent distro releases. We've seen some great work, revolutionary ideas, and even some down right radical thinking. We've seen newcomers do groundbreaking things and old dawgs learn some new tricks.

I've had a long running habit, of about 5 years now, of testing out distros as they were released then I'd write my friends and tell em what I think. I have posted my lilo config a couple times as an example to someone having trouble or questions with setting up dual or triple boot, and got many cute replies. One guy told me to get a life. Big Grin See, there have been times when I've had as many as 30 distros installed across two hard drives. These days I'm down to one. Seems my power supply can't handle the load of all my hardware, which includes an nvidia 6800 that requires it's own power cable, and a second harddrive. So right now I have 11 linux distros bootable on that one harddrive (some with several bootable kernels).

Since I've started the site, I've been posting those said thoughts of distros here instead. Some of my reviews seem to get a few hits while others seem to get a bit fewer. But that's about how it was from friends too. If it was something they became excited about, I'd get emails about this and that, even requesting more screenshots. If it wasn't interesting to them, I'd get a "oh that's nice". Big Grin That's about how it's going here. Big Grin

To the point: I've had some successes and not so successful adventures. I got stampeded by Buffalo, a distro whose name intrigued me. I didn't achieve any yingyang with Zen, whose logo was so darn cute. And my fruit went sour with Berry, whose motif was quite appetizing. All these would get to the point of starting X and then give me the big nothing. That's the way it goes, some hardware combinations just don't fly with some distro. I think this is a big advantage to livecds - one can test their hardware /before/ an actual harddrive install.

My latest tests have been going well. Should I state in public that I've never been the big Redhat fan? Did that come thru in my Fox review? I tried de-emphasize my personal slant towards Redhat and offshoots to write an objective review. And in fact, Fox has improved and purtied it up to where it's almost great. I /could/ get by with it if there weren't so many other choices, but I felt Redhat and Fedora fans should really check it out.

In the interim, I've been working on Lunar. Lunar isn't one of those quickie installs and reviews. It's requiring some work to get ready. I had a basic install from their iso in no time, but it's taken a little while to get to a kde desktop. One can compare Lunar to a stage 3 gentoo install I think. In fact, I see some definite similarities between Lunar and gentoo. Lunar is based on sorceror, but is sorceror an off-shoot of gentoo? I need to research this if I'm gonna write a review of it, but some of it's unique filesystem structure and naming conventions sure remind me of gentoo.

After I finally discovered the commands Lunar uses to install software, I was on my way. I didn't tweak any compile flags or set up distcc, but it's still kinda neato to watch it compile up your applications from scratch. I don't think Lunar is for everyone, as it's taken a little coaxing at times, but i got xorg and the kde desktop installed and running, as well as xawtv! I had to compile a vanilla kernel as I had a little trouble with the nvidia drivers. But it's default is a 2.4 kernel, so one of the next things is to see if I can convert it to a 2.6.

So, as the month draws to end, I need to get a desktop ready for the Gentoo Monthly Screenshots and finish up my Lunar for a review. I'm currently running kde 3.4.1 in gentoo and lunar has kde 3.4.0 installed. Between my real job, this site, my home upkeep, recent car trouble, and a boyfellar who accuses me of things when I conk out from exhaustion - I'm being stretched a little thin these days. I just can't seem to get everything done I'd like.

Happy Linuxin' folks.

More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

Leftovers: More Software

  • PSPP 0.10.2 has been released
    I'm very pleased to announce the release of a new version of GNU PSPP. PSPP is a program for statistical analysis of sampled data. It is a free replacement for the proprietary program SPSS.
  • Skype For Linux Alpha Update Adds ‘Close to Tray’, Call Settings, More
  • Hamster-GTK 0.10.0 Released
    Just a few seconds ago the initial release of Hamster-GTK, version 0.10.0, has been uploaded to the cheese shop. That means that after the rewritten backend codebase hamster-lib has been out in the wild for a few days by now you can now have a first look at a reimplementation of the original hamster 2.0 GUI. It will come as no surprise that this current early version is rather unpolished and leaves a lot to be desired. However, if you are familiar with legacy hamster 2.0 aka hamster-time-tracker you will surely see some major resemblance.
  • Core improvements in digiKam 5.0
    Version 5.0.0 of the digiKam image-management application was released on July 5. In many respects, the road from the 4.x series to the new 5.0 release consisted of patches and rewrites to internal components that users are not likely to notice at first glance. But the effort places digiKam in a better position for future development, and despite the lack of glamorous new features, some of the changes will make users' lives easier as well. For context, digiKam 4.0 was released in May of 2014, meaning it has been over two full years since the last major version-number bump. While every free-software project is different, it was a long development cycle for digiKam, which (for example) had released 4.0 just one year after 3.0. The big hurdle for the 5.0 development cycle was porting the code to Qt5. While migrating to a new release of a toolkit always poses challenges, the digiKam team decided to take the opportunity to move away from dependencies on KDE libraries. In many cases, that effort meant refactoring the code or changing internal APIs to directly use Qt interfaces rather than their KDE equivalents. But, in a few instances, it meant reimplementing functionality directly in digiKam.
  • MATE Dock Applet 0.73 Released With Redesigned Window List, Drag And Drop Support
    MATE Dock Applet was updated to version 0.73 recently, getting support for rearranging dock icons via drag and drop (only for the GTK3 version), updated window list design and more.
  • Minimalist Web Browser ‘Min’ Sees New Release
    The Min browser project has picked up a new update. Version 1.4 of the open-source, cross-platform web browser adds browser actions and full-text search.
  • Docker adds orchestration and more at DockerCon 2016
    DockerCon 2016, held in Seattle in June, included many new feature and product announcements from Docker Inc. and the Docker project. The main keynote of DockerCon [YouTube] featured Docker Inc. staff announcing and demonstrating the features of Docker 1.12, currently in its release-candidate phase. As with the prior 1.11 release, the new version includes major changes in the Docker architecture and tooling. Among the new features are an integrated orchestration stack, new encryption support, integrated cluster networking, and better Mac support. The conference hosted 4000 attendees, including vendors like Microsoft, CoreOS, HashiCorp, and Red Hat, as well as staff from Docker-using companies like Capital One, ADP, and Cisco. While there were many technical and marketing sessions at DockerCon, the main feature announcements were given in the keynotes. As with other articles on Docker, the project and product are referred to as "Docker," while the company is "Docker Inc."

Games for GNU/Linux

  • Cheese Talks: Porting Games to Linux & Day of the Tentacle
    In addition to my own thoughts, the article includes insights from a number of other Linux game porters including Leszek Godlewski (Painkiller Hell & Damnation, Deadfall Adventures), Ryan "icculus" Gordon (StarBreak, Left 4 Dead 2, Unreal Tournament 2004, Another World, Cogs, Goat Simulator), David Gow (Keen Dreams, Multiwinia), Ethan Lee (Salt & Sanctuary, Hiden in Plain Sight, HackNet, Waveform, Dust: An Elysian Tail) and Aaron Melcher (Outland, La-Mulana, Hyper Light Drifter, Darkest Dungeon). Betweem them, they offer a great range of attitudes and approaches that support and provide counterpoint to my own experiences.
  • ​Bundle Stars presents the Indie Legend Bundle 4
    Boasting one of the most star-studded game line-ups ever seen in an indie bundle, the brand new and exclusive Indie Legends 4 Bundle is here. Bundle Stars has pulled 8 incredible Steam games out of the bag for just $3.49 – that’s a saving of more than $100, and a discount of more than 95%. So just how good are the games? Games like Party Hard and Door Kickers are award winners, and the average Steam user score is a stunning 91%, across nearly 30,000 reviews!
  • Life is Strange: a Groundhog Day Simulator

Android Leftovers