Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Meet Hedinux

Filed under
Linux
Reviews
-s

Distrowatch says that 'Hedinux is a beginner-friendly, i686-optimised desktop Linux distribution built from scratch.' Hedinux released their 2006.1-alpha recently and Tuxmachines thought, "yippee, freshmeat!" Well, it turns out Hedinux isn't exactly brand new, but they were to us. This is what we found when we booted their livecd.

Hedinux's announcement states the following improvements:

  • The distribution was build with the "Linux From Scratch" book, gcc 4.0.2.
  • The latest stable kernel is available in version 2.6.15.4.
  • spca5xx and ov51x-jpeg webcam drivers are included.
  • The installer was rebuild.
  • Performance improvements for the "hed" package manager, and bugs fixes. Here is a list of new commands :
    • hed update upgrade (update packages list and upgrade the system)
    • hed list (list installed packages)
    • hed list not_installed (list not installed packages)
    • hed install mypackage (installation of "mypackage" package)
    • hed remove mypackage (remove "mypackage" package)
  • Faster boot up process
  • New major packages: cups, ssh, sane...
  • A simplier GNOME menu.
  • Latest versions of desktop environments: GNOME 2.12.3, KDE 3.5.1, XFCE 4.2.3.2, Enlightenment 0.16.999.023.

Hedinux comes in several formats. They offer a 622mb livecd featuring the gnome 2.12 desktop, a 604mb more traditional install cd, and a 73mb net install cd. We chose the livecd. You can download any of them here.

LiveCD

As we booted Hedinux we recognized the linux live boot up debian live distros seem to prefer. Hed's is a bit customized in that you find pumpkin orange OK's. If all goes well, you'd be asked at what resolution you'd prefer and probably end up in a Gnome desktop. Having problems with my graphic chip and the xorg 6.82 combo, I ended up at a commandline. Changing "nv" to "vesa" and killing X allowed the X server to restart and drop me into Gnome.

It's a cute little gnome desktop. Mostly default, it features a white background with Hedinux's mascot and logo. I'm assuming this is a hedgehog. But their rendition is a much cuter almost cartoonish version. I never thought a hedgehog could be cute before, but never say never. I wonder if we are to draw some parallel with it's ability to roll itself into a ball. Big Grin

In the menu one can find several useful apps for browsing, email, office tasks, graphic manipulation, and sound and video enjoyment. One can find a im and irc chat client as well as an ftp, voip, download and some emule apps. Also included are some basic linux system and development tools. I thought it was a fairly good general purpose menu.

        

    

        

Harddrive Install

One highlight in the menu is their hedinux-installer. I was hoping I'd might find one, but given their download choices, I wasn't sure I would. The included installer must be their net-installer as that was it's method. It downloaded packages it needed, upon execution and setup, to install a base system. Then after first boot, it downloads the rest of your package selection and installs them.

One of Hedinux's goals is to be newbie-friendly, but I'm not so sure this installer, at least on the livecd, would qualify. For anyone with a bit of Linux experience would probably not have a problem, but someone straight from windows would run away probably screaming into the night.

The first step is cfdisk. Now I can fdisk in my sleep, but I hate cfdisk. Personal feelings aside, this is not as newbie-friendly as some fans may profess. Would qtparted be much larger? The next few steps are easy enough in choosing packages and setting up users and such. Although after installation configuration is another step that could send Mandriva and SUSE users next door. Given a choice of vi or nano, the user is expected to edit certain configuration files on their own. Most are easy enough and anyone with moderate experience knows the format, but some are not as common and all are daunting for the newbie. They do have a non-expert setting, but as far as I can tell, it's the same procedure, one just doesn't choose the steps from a menu. Instead they are presented to the user in a predefined sequence.

        

After the install of the base system and one boots into Hedinux for the first time. During the boot process, the system stops and finishes the install. For my install, I chose all 4 window managers and all packages. This added up to 280 packages and took approximately an hour to download. The installer looked very apt-get like to me, but it's called Hed. It did it's job admirably and ... amazingly. 280 packages and no errors. I was stoked.

One has to reconfigure some of their services again after installation, such as your X server. But then one might find themselves at the lovely login screen. You've seen this one before. It's the one with a kde-like blue wavy background with a big yellow lazy susan or daisy in the corner.

After login you can choose from any of your installed desktops, except for enlightenment which didn't show up in the menu. KDE and xfce4 were stock installs, meaning no customizations, but they seemed complete and fully functional. Gnome on the other hand was not fully functional. It did start but shot an applet error and all components were launched in seperate windows, including the desktop itself. Given the choice to delete the troublesome applet from configuration, I did, yet it did not fix the problem. After reboot, Gnome still behaved in the same manner. I thought it was rather strange since this was their system of choice and default on the livecd. If any one should have worked, it should have been gnome.

        

Conclusion

Hedlinux is based on noone so they claim. I recognized the linux live startup scripts, they used Linux From Scratch as their build method, and the package installer/updater is apt-get. So to state they aren't based on anyone is stretching it a bit far. However, it all comes together to work pretty good. I liked it. The system installs, mostly works, and offers above average performance with an adequate variety of applications. I had no stabilty problems and all apps seemed to function well (except mplayer which wouldn't start due to a missing libmad). The only hardware issue was with usb devices not detected. To call it newbie-friendly is a misnomer however, at least in the version tested here. All in all, I think it's a wonderful effort and a great project. Considering this is an alpha release, I'm quite impressed. More screenshots here.

More in Tux Machines

Ubuntu Touch to Get Improved Desktop Mode with Next Update

Canonical is preparing a major new update for Ubuntu Touch, but it will take a while until it's going to be ready. From the looks of it, the devs are preparing some interesting improvements and updates. Read more

Parsix GNU/Linux 7.0 Will Reach End of Life on June 14 to Make Room for Parsix 8.0

The Parsix Project has recently announced that their Parsix GNU/Linux 7.0 (Nestor) distribution will reach the end of its life support in the coming weeks, urging users to upgrade to Parsix GNU/Linux 7.5 (Rinaldo) as soon as possible. Read more

Leftovers: Software

  • 3 Open Source Python Shells
    Python is a high-level, general-purpose, structured, powerful, open source programming language that is used for a wide variety of programming tasks. It features a fully dynamic type system and automatic memory management, similar to that of Scheme, Ruby, Perl, and Tcl, avoiding many of the complexities and overheads of compiled languages. The language was created by Guido van Rossum in 1991, and continues to grow in popularity.
  • Google Chrome 44 (Dev) Brings Interesting New Features
  • CodeWeavers CrossOver 14.1.3 has been released
    I am delighted to announce that CodeWeavers has just released CrossOver 14.1.3 for both Mac OS X and Linux. CrossOver 14.1.3 has important bug fixes for both Mac and Linux users.

today's leftovers

  • Consumers Continue to Buy Chromebooks as Secondary PCs, Enterprise Still Uninterested
  • Video: LXD containers vs. KVM
    Since I'm such a big container fan (been using them on Linux since 2005) and I recently blogged about Docker, LXC, and OpenVZ... how could I pass up posting this? Some Canonical guys gave a presentation at the recent OpenStack Summit on "LXD vs. KVM". What is LXD? It is basically a management service for LXC that supposedly adds a lot of the features LXC was missing... and is much easier to use. For a couple of years now Canonical has shown an interest in LXC and has supposedly be doing a lot of development work around them. I wonder what specifically? They almost seem like the only company who is interested in LXC.. or at least they are putting forth a publicly noticeable effort around them.
  • Ubuntu's LXD vs. KVM For The Linux Cloud
    LXD is usable with Ubuntu 15.04 albeit not many have yet fully experimented with this new technology from Canonical given its early state. The LXD Linux container hypervisor allows for rapid provisioning, very fast performance, a REST API, and other functionality. If you're wishing to learn more about LXD, this week at the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver was a talk about LXD vs. KVM for Linux hypervisors.
  • Cloud Driving HP's Server Business Forward
    HP announced is second quarter fiscal 2015 earnings on May 21, with company executives enthusiastic about the company's upcoming split, and continued prospects in the cloud.
  • The Latest Linux Kernel Git Code Fixes The EXT4 RAID0 Corruption Problem
    An EXT4 file-system corruption problem was uncovered with Linux 4.0 that turned out to be an MD RAID0 issue with the Linux kernel in the latest stable series. This RAID corruption issue has now been fixed in the latest kernel Git code.
  • Interview with Mary Winkler
    LOVE the blending tools. I’m used to those of Paint Tool SAI, and finding a program whose brushes are far more customizable and can do more is digital art heaven. Especially an open source one!
  • Reminder: Evolving KDE survey milestone on May 31st
    Evolution is a powerful concept and tool. When harnessed properly, humans have been able to tailor and adapt crops and domesticate animals. We’ve been able to grow the Dutch unnecessarily tall and create beautiful and consequence-free theme parks as shown in the Jurassic Park documentary series on the BBC. However, when not monitored closely or left to nature’s own devices, the result is the terrifying land based sharks that have caused such recent devastation across most of Australia.
  • GNOME Shell It is!!
    It’s been a while since my last post, I was busy with my university exams and didn’t get much time to work on my GSoC project. But during whatever time I got I tried to get myself familiar with GNOME Shell coding style and get a hang of the way it works, since GNOME Shell is the main module I will be working with in this project. But things weren’t as simple as I initially thought them to be. It has been a struggle trying to find out some structured documentation for GNOME Shell code-base mainly the JavaScript part.
  • Attention Fedora 22 prerelease users
  • Fedora 21 chrooted on an aarch64 Nexus 9
    A while back I bought a Nexus 9, mainly because it has a weird processor that emulates a 64 bit ARM (aarch64). Google seem to have abandoned this platform entirely, just 6 months after I got it, so fuck you too Google. Anyway …
  • Meet SparkyLinux, a Debian-based Linux distribution
    SparkyLinux features customized lightweight desktops (like E19, LXDE and Openbox), multimedia plugins, selected sets of apps and own custom tools to ease different tasks.
  • Is Canonical going to have an IPO?
  • Mozilla shifts gears: $25 phones out, Android apps in
  • Linksys NSLU2 adventures into the NetBSD land passed through JTAG highlands - part 1
  • GCC 6 Gets Support For The IBM z13 Mainframe Server
    The latest GNU Compiler Collection code now has proper optimization targeting/tuning support for the IBM z13.
  • News for open source virtual reality, popular Linux game distros, and more