Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Frugalware 0.3 - getting there!

Filed under
Reviews

Frugalware strives to combine simplicity of distros like Slackware or Arch with ease of configuration and use. It adopted Packman (from Arch Linux) as its package manager, and is compiled for i686 architecture. I've been following the progress of this project from their very first release and I really wanted to like it because the concept appealed to me, but until now I found it plagued by various small and not so small problems that would quickly turn me off. So I am very happy to report it appears that things have come together this time and Frugalware is starting to live up to its potential.

One of the major problems I've always had with Frugalware is their installer - most of the time I have not been able to complete the installation from the CDs due to mysterious problems that always appeared during the actual installation of packages on the hard disk. 'Mysterious' also because the error message inevitably informed me only that 'some error occurred during installation', or words to that effect... well, thanks for that! In fact, I got burnt so many times I no longer even bother downloading Frugalware isos - I found the process works much better with their net install. This is also the way I used this time - possibly the installer is by now working perfectly, but I just wasn't prepared to waste any more CDs and downloads. My other gripe is about the way this installer needs to be watched and prompted along the way - after making selection of packages the process starts, but after some base packages are copied it stops to present the options regarding GRUB. Once told what to do, it moves on to main body of installation... then it pauses again, to ask about installing additional packages! There are no reboots required throughout and surely it would be possible to gather all this information all at once, at the beginning, so the installation could be left unattended once it starts?
Apart from that, installation is easy and clear. All the usual steps are there: creating the user, setting up network and video - special kudos for actually getting the refresh rates of my monitor right for once!

There is a huge amount of software available, just look at the list of Window Managers: KDE, Gnome, XFce, Fluxbox, Openbox, Blackbox, Enlightenment, IceWM... Multimedia needs are also well looked after with Mplayer, Kaffeine and Amarok, along with all the required codecs including those 'naughty' win32 ones. Java, Flash, nvidia and ati binary drivers are also provided, so Fugalware is a delight in this respect - none of this 'adding from outside sources' nonsense.
There is also Mono, though I don't think many Mono-based applications are included (I looked for, and haven't found Beagle, Banshee and f-Spot)
Kernel used in this release is version 2.6.13, Gnome is at 2.12.1, KDE at 3.4.2 and Open Office at 1.1.5.

Pacman is a great package manager, effective, simple yet flexible. Frugalware guys wrote their own GUI front-end for those so inclined, though I find pacman is perfectly simple to use from the command line. There is also repoman, a tool for building packages from source.
The other tool developed specifically for Frugalware is their GUI runlevel editor, and this is something I really appreciate, because I don't enjoy hunting through various runlevels turning scripts on and off by hand. On the command line there is also the 'service' command, used by some Red Hat based systems.

One test I like to perform on my desktop system is to plug in my digital camera. It is a Cannon Powershot A30, a common model well supported in Linux. Unfortunately, on Frugalware it didn't work. Forget auto-mounting on the desktop, I couldn't get gtkam to interface with it either. I suspect problem with USB, in fact I had an identical problem in one of the previous version of Frugalware. Back then it was a problem with user permissions, because I found I could access the camera as root. On this occasion however I discovered the root is no longer allowed to log into a GUI session at all - something I will have to change... Security is all good, but not when it stops you from getting things done!

So, this is how far I got for now... this is a blog entry, not an in-depth review! But I think I can say that while some issues remain, Frugalware makes solid progress with each release and by now it mostly lives up to its promise of a modern, easy to use system.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

re: Frugalware

I reviewed a release candidate of 0.3 and I thought it was great. I thought it was one of the easiest installs and setups I'd run across. But then I don't have a digital camera either.

Nice bloggin! Thanks. Smile

----
You talk the talk, but do you waddle the waddle?

More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

  • FLOSS Weekly 417: OpenHMD
    Fredrik Hultin is the Co-founder of the OpenHMD project (together with Jakob Bornecrantz). OpenHMD aims to provide a Free and Open Source API and drivers for immersive technology, such as head-mounted displays with built-in head tracking. The project's aim is to implement support for as many devices as possible in a portable, cross-platform package.
  • My next EP will be released as a corrupted GPT image
    Endless OS is distributed as a compressed disk image, so you just write it to disk to install it. On first boot, it resizes itself to fill the whole disk. So, to “install” it to a file we decompress the image file, then extend it to the desired length. When booting, in principle we want to loopback-mount the image file and treat that as the root device. But there’s a problem: NTFS-3G, the most mature NTFS implementation for Linux, runs in userspace using FUSE. There are some practical problems arranging for the userspace processes to survive the transition out of the initramfs, but the bigger problem is that accessing a loopback-mounted image on an NTFS partition is slow, presumably because every disk access has an extra round-trip to userspace and back. Is there some way we can avoid this performance penalty?
  • This week in GTK+ – 31
    In this last week, the master branch of GTK+ has seen 52 commits, with 10254 lines added and 9466 lines removed.
  • Digest of Fedora 25 Reviews
    Fedora 25 has been out for 2 months and it seems like a very solid release, maybe the best in the history of the distro. And feedback from the press and users has also been very positive.
  • Monday's security updates
  • What does security and USB-C have in common?
    I've decided to create yet another security analogy! You can’t tell, but I’m very excited to do this. One of my long standing complaints about security is there are basically no good analogies that make sense. We always try to talk about auto safety, or food safety, or maybe building security, how about pollution. There’s always some sort of existing real world scenario we try warp and twist in a way so we can tell a security story that makes sense. So far they’ve all failed. The analogy always starts out strong, then something happens that makes everything fall apart. I imagine a big part of this is because security is really new, but it’s also really hard to understand. It’s just not something humans are good at understanding. [...] The TL;DR is essentially the world of USB-C cables is sort of a modern day wild west. There’s no way to really tell which ones are good and which ones are bad, so there are some people who test the cables. It’s nothing official, they’re basically volunteers doing this in their free time. Their feedback is literally the only real way to decide which cables are good and which are bad. That’s sort of crazy if you think about it.
  • NuTyX 8.2.93 released
  • Linux Top 3: Parted Magic, Quirky and Ultimate Edition
    Parted Magic is a very niche Linux distribution that many users first discover when they're trying to either re-partition a drive or recover data from an older system. The new Parted Magic 2017_01_08 release is an incremental update that follows the very large 2016_10_18 update that provided 800 updates.
  • How To Use Google Translate From Commandline In Linux
  • How to debug C programs in Linux using gdb
  • Use Docker remotely on Atomic Host
  • Ubuntu isn’t the only version of Linux that can run on Windows 10
  • OpenSUSE Linux lands on Windows 10
  • How to run openSUSE Leap 42.2 or SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 on Windows 10

Leftovers: Software and Games

Hardware With Linux

  • Raspberry Pi's new computer for industrial applications goes on sale
    The new Raspberry Pi single-board computer is smaller and cheaper than the last, but its makers aren’t expecting the same rush of buyers that previous models have seen. The Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 will be more of a “slow burn,” than last year’s Raspberry Pi 3, its creator Eben Upton predicted. That’s because it’s designed not for school and home use but for industrial applications. To make use of it, buyers will first need to design a product with a slot on the circuit board to accommodate it and that, he said, will take time.
  • ZeroPhone — An Open Source, Dirt Cheap, Linux-powered Smartphone Is Here
    ZeroPhone is an open source smartphone that’s powered by Raspberry Pi Zero. It runs on Linux and you can make one for yourself using parts worth $50. One can use it to make calls and SMS, run apps, and pentesting. Soon, phone’s crowdfunding is also expected to go live.
  • MSI X99A RAIDER Plays Fine With Linux
    This shouldn't be a big surprise though given the Intel X99 chipset is now rather mature and in the past I've successfully tested the MSI X99A WORKSTATION and X99S SLI PLUS motherboards on Linux. The X99A RAIDER is lower cost than these other MSI X99 motherboards I've tested, which led me in its direction, and then sticking with MSI due to the success with these other boards and MSI being a supporter of Phoronix and encouraging our Linux hardware testing compared to some other vendors.
  • First 3.5-inch Kaby Lake SBC reaches market
    Axiomtek’s 3.5-inch CAPA500 SBC taps LGA1151-ready CPUs from Intel’s 7th and 6th Generations, and offers PCIe, dual GbE, and optional “ZIO” expansion. Axiomtek’s CAPA500 is the first 3.5-inch form-factor SBC that we’ve seen that supports Intel’s latest 7th Generation “Kaby Lake” processors. Kaby Lake is similar enough to the 6th Gen “Skylake” family, sharing 14nm fabrication, Intel Gen 9 Graphics, and other features, to enable the CAPA500 to support both 7th and 6th Gen Core i7/i5/i3 CPUs as long as they use an LGA1151 socket. Advantech’s Kaby Lake based AIMB-205 Mini-ITX board supports the same socket. The CAPA500 ships with an Intel H110 chipset, and a Q170 is optional.

Leftovers: Ubuntu and Debian

  • Debian Project launches updated Debian GNU/Linux 8.7 with bug fixes
    An updated version of Debian, a popular Linux distribution is now available for users to download and install. According to the post on the Debian website by Debian Project, the new version is 8.7. This is the seventh update to the Debian eight distribution, and the update primarily focuses on fixing bugs and security problems. This update also includes some adjustments to fix serious problems present in the previous version.
  • Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, December 2016
    The number of sponsored hours did not increase but a new silver sponsor is in the process of joining. We are only missing another silver sponsor (or two to four bronze sponsors) to reach our objective of funding the equivalent of a full time position.
  • APK, images and other stuff.
    Also, I was pleased to see F-droid Verification Server as a sign of F-droid progress on reproducible builds effort - I hope these changes to diffoscope will help them!
  • Linux Mint 18.1 "Serena" KDE Gets a Beta Release, Ships with KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS
    After landing on the official download channels a few days ago, the Beta version of the upcoming Linux Mint 18.1 "Serena" KDE Edition operating system got today, January 16, 2017, an official announcement. The KDE Edition is the last in the new Linux Mint 18.1 "Serena" stable series to be published, and it was delayed a little bit because Clement Lefebvre and his team wanted it to ship with latest KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS desktop environment from the Kubuntu Backports PPA repository.
  • Linux AIO Ubuntu 16.10 — Ubuntu GNOME, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, and Xubuntu In One ISO
    Linux AIO is a multiboot ISO carrying different flavors of a single Linux distribution and eases you from the pain of keeping different bootable USBs. The latest Linux AIO Ubuntu 16.10 is now available for download in both 64-bit and 32-bit versions. It features various Ubuntu flavors including Ubuntu GNOME, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, and Xubuntu.