Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Reviewing OpenLab myself

Filed under
Linux
Reviews

[A regular at] TuxMachines.org has asked me [the lead developer] to do my own review of OpenLab, I won't deny that it feels rather odd to be doing so. After all, I am obviously biassed. But the request does justify the idea very well, so I reckoned I would give it my best bash. I'm not going to try to be dispassionate - any attempt at that is unlikely to completel succeed anyway, but more than that it would feel dishonest. So rather, I will try to explain how we were thinking at various stages of the system, what motivated certain decisions over others and what is really happening sometimes. Such a review will actually be usefull to people trying to make a decision, without being either too much like false marketing or too modest.

So let's start at the beginning, the CD-bootup screen. This screen has drawn praise from other reviewers as it shows one of the things we spent the most time on - trying to be explanatory at all times and give newbies an easy point of departure with lots of help and tips. We did do that but it's not all you can say about this screen. The text color there actually needs a bit of work, this is already on the list for next time, the colour we chose is nice but on some screens hard to see. A bigger thing is that since you cannot test on all pieces of hardware, I really wish I could rewrite the troubleshooting page now - as I now know two more entries that I wish I had known about when we first wrote that.

One little thing here that I'm very proud off is that if you do need to follow any of the troubleshooting things to boot the LIVEcd, and you then install - OpenLab will automatically make sure your troubleshooting lines are in your lilo.conf file so that you won't need to worry about adding them later.

Full Review.

about openlab

it was quite interesting to read a review from developer's own perspective - this was a good idea! However there are still a few questions none of the reviews I've seen so far addressed, for example:

- what is the state of multi-media apps and codecs in openlab? For example, will it play mp3s, avi's etc out of the box, or does it follow the big names in not including these apps and codecs? I realise the focus of openlab was on education market first of all, but I do consider multimedia applications and codecs they depend on an essential part of my system, and I'm becoming increasingly unhappy about having to install them myself...

- what tools does openlab offer to keep the system up to date or install additional software?

- how compatible is openlab with Slackware 10.2?

- what about installing binary nvidia/ati drivers?

Finally, I have to comment on your decision to 'not explicitely give the option to install lilo in a partition rather than an MBR...' While I understand your desire to simplify the installation, unfortunately it makes life very difficult for those of us who are multi-booting several systems, already have a perfectly functioning bootloader, and do not want to replace it or mess with it in any way! We might be few, but we are the early adopters, and writers of the reviews... Smile
So I think an 'advanced' option would be useful, and hopefully not too confusing for those who don't need it.

Re: About OpenLab

Let me try to answer your questions.

- what is the state of multi-media apps and codecs in openlab? For example, will it play mp3s, avi's etc out of the box, or does it follow the big names in not including these apps and codecs? I realise the focus of openlab was on education market first of all, but I do consider multimedia applications and codecs they depend on an essential part of my system, and I'm becoming increasingly unhappy about having to install them myself...

*Well one advantage of developing in South Africa is that we are not subject to US patent laws, so we can and do include every codec with a license that allows redistribution. OpenLab is meant to be free software except where important things simply do not have viable replacements (yet). So three non-free things are include. Java JRE, Flash plugin and windows multimedia codecs. We ship with totem as default video player, enabled for all the codecs I have encountered, and mplayer is in there as a fallback as well.

- what tools does openlab offer to keep the system up to date or install additional software?

*OpenLab uses slapt-get and gslapt for this. Our default package sources are all fully dependency tracked and this makes for quite an easy to use update system which we work hard to keep up to date.

-how compatible is openlab with Slackware 10.2?

*100% compatible, but I need to qualify that. Out of the box, a large number of 10.2 packages will complain about missing dependencies this was caused by slackware 10.2 being released after we did, on our update mirror however (which is preconfigured in OpenLab), has been an updated and installable elflibs package for some time, if you install it, you will instantly be able to install any slackware 10.2 package you wish again or even do a dist-uprade.

- what about installing binary nvidia/ati drivers?
I am an nvidia user myself so firstly let me assure you they do work.
That said we did not wish to ship non-free drivers in the base system, so the Nvidia drivers specifically is shipped on the KARMAcd, that package is self-installing and largely self-configuring as well.
To install the package from nvidia.com you will obviously need the kernel sources, which if you don't purchase the disk set you will need to install yourself.You don't need to configure it though, you can get the .config file from /proc/config.gz

As to the lilo locations, in fact the advanced options are already in front of you, it is just not explicitely said on screen. All the drop-down menu's in the OpenLab installer are editable so that if at any point our detected lists were wrong (which I have never seen happen) you could enter a corrected value yourself. In the same way when the lilo install screen come up, if you type /dev/hda1 as an option it will install to the partition rather than the MBR.

Comment viewing options

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

More in Tux Machines

Android Leftovers

Orange Pi 4 has an RK3399 and an optional NPU

Shenzhen Xunlong has posted preliminary specs for a Rockchip RK3399 based “Orange Pi 4” SBC that is smaller and more affordable than the Orange Pi RK3399 and faster and more feature rich than the Orange Pi 3. A 4B variant adds a Lightspeeur 2801S AI chip. New Orange Pi boards usually just show up unannounced on AliExpress, but for the fourth iteration of its flagship Orange Pi board, Shenzhen Xunlong teased some detail views on Twitter. The Orange Pi 4 and an AI-enhanced Orange Pi 4B will ship in two weeks. Pricing is undisclosed, but the boards will be “cheaper” than the previous Rockchip RK3399-based Orange Pi, the Orange Pi RK3399. That larger SBC debuted at $109 and now sells for $89 with 2GB DDR3 and 16GB eMMC compared to 4GB LPDDR4 and 16GB eMMC for the Orange Pi 4. Read more

RedisInsight Revealed and WordPress 5.2.4 Released

  • Redis Labs eases database management with RedisInsight

    The robust market of tools to help users of the Redis database manage their systems just got a new entrant. Redis Labs disclosed the availability of its RedisInsight tool, a graphical user interface (GUI) for database management and operations. Redis is a popular open source NoSQL database that is also increasingly being used in cloud-native Kubernetes deployments as users move workloads to the cloud. Open source database use is growing quickly according to recent reports as the need for flexible, open systems to meet different needs has become a common requirement. Among the challenges often associated with databases of any type is ease of management, which Redis is trying to address with RedisInsight.

  • WordPress 5.2.4 Update

    Late-breaking news on the 5.2.4 short-cycle security release that landed October 14. When we released the news post, I inadvertently missed giving props to Simon Scannell of RIPS Technologies for finding and disclosing an issue where path traversal can lead to remote code execution. Simon has done a great deal of work on the WordPress project, and failing to mention his contributions is a huge oversight on our end. Thank you to all of the reporters for privately disclosing vulnerabilities, which gave us time to fix them before WordPress sites could be attacked.

Desktop GNU/Linux: Rick and Morty, Georges Basile Stavracas Neto on GNOME and Linux Format on Eoan Ermine

  • We know where Rick (from Rick and Morty) stands on Intel vs AMD debate

    For one, it appears Rick is running a version of Debian with a very old Linux kernel (3.2.0) — one dating back to 2012. He badly needs to install some frickin’ updates. “Also his partitions are real weird. It’s all Microsoft based partitions,” a Redditor says. “A Linux user would never do [this] unless they were insane since NTFS/Exfat drivers on Linux are not great.”

  • Georges Basile Stavracas Neto: Every shell has a story

    … a wise someone once muttered while walking on a beach, as they picked up a shell lying on the sand. Indeed, every shell began somewhere, crossed a unique path with different goals and driven by different motivations. Some shells were created to optimize for mobility; some, for lightness; some, for speed; some were created to just fit whoever is using it and do their jobs efficiently. It’s statistically close to impossible to not find a suitable shell, one could argue. So, is this a blog about muttered shell wisdom? In some way, it actually is. It is, indeed, about Shell, and about Mutter. And even though “wisdom” is perhaps a bit of an overstatement, it is expected that whoever reads this blog doesn’t leave it less wise, so the word applies to a certain degree. Evidently, the Shell in question is composed of bits and bytes; its protection is more about the complexities of a kernel and command lines than sea predators, and the Mutter is actually more about compositing the desktop than barely audible uttering.

  • Adieu, 32

    The tenth month of the year arrives and so does a new Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) update. Is it a portent that this is the 31st release of Ubuntu and with the 32nd release next year, 32-bit x86 Ubuntu builds will end?