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Eight Distros a Week: Wolvix GNU/Linux 1.1 Hunter

February 15, 2008 3 comments

[This is the last in an eight-part series on distros I use. These observations are based on distros running on one or more of the following hardware: Dell Inspiron 5000 laptop, an brandless Pentium III-based desktop, an IBM PL 300 Pentium II, an iMac G3 (Indigo) and an iBook G3. As the auto commercials say, your mileage may vary. NOTE: This is an edited version of an earlier blog item on the same topic.]

All you ’80s denizens get the blog’s title, no doubt, but unless you spent that decade glued to MTV, the reference may be lost. But with a wink and a nod to those who still admit to being Duran Duran fans (of which I have to say I am not, nor have I ever been), I’ve been feeling a little wolflike lately, hungry or otherwise, thanks to a recent distro foray.

Being the happy distro wanderer that I am, I had a chance to put Wolvix 1.1.0 GNU/Linux, the Hunter version, on a Dell Inspiron 5000 laptop, and it easily enters into the group of distros that I think highly of, in general, and distros that I plan to use day to day, in particular.

Based on Slackware, Wolvix Hunter comes with a pretty wide array of “standard software” that provide the user with an assortment that, in some distros, you have to go get. For my purposes, getting gFTP and Bluefish — two programs I use a lot — without having to use a software updater to get them is a definite plus. Additionally, the number of items that come with Wolvix on the live CD download is probably the best, well-rounded selection of software I’ve encountered on a live CD.

But the most impressive item on this distro — other than it’s faster than I had expected on this Pentium III — is the Wolvix Control Panel. Chock full of every imaginable item you might need for maintenance and upkeep, the panel efficiently puts everything in one place.

Another plus is the Conky system monitor. Having encountered this first on the Fluxbox desktop on AntiX 6.5 Spartacus, I often wonder why this program isn’t more well-known or widely used. Geeky, perhaps, but still something that provides some vital — or at least interesting — information about what’s going on under the hood.

Overall, Wolvix gets high marks and is definitely worth a try.

Coming tomorrow: Epilogue

[FSF Associate Member](Larry Cafiero, editor/publisher of Open Source and Free Software Reporter, is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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Categories: Wolvix

Eight Distros a Week: Xubuntu 6.10 Edgy Eft

February 15, 2008 1 comment

[This is the seventh in an eight-part series on distros I use. These observations are based on distros running on one or more of the following hardware: Dell Inspiron 5000 laptop, an brandless Pentium III-based desktop, an IBM PL 300 Pentium II, an iMac G3 (Indigo) and an iBook G3. As the auto commercials say, your mileage may vary.]

You might ask, “Hey, Lar — why are you so far behind? Edgy Eft? You’re already two . . . .”

And I would interrupt and say, “Tsk, tsk, tsk. You know, when Ubuntu made that fatal error of dropping PowerPC support a while ago, 6.10 is the latest I can go on the iBook.” This has been my experience — my foray into the update for 7.04 on the iBook led to a mildly traumatic episode where I thought I had killed the machine, so it was back to the nervous newt (which, if you look it up, is what an “edgy eft” is, after all).

[I understand this is not the case, and I am told that 7.04 and 7.10 both run on PowerPC G3 architecture. If anyone can point out how, I'm all ears.]

A little more history (and thank you for bearing with me): After my first exposure to GNU/Linux with Debian GNU/Linux, Xubuntu was my first other-than-Debian experience and, essentially, it made me what I am today: A happy distro wanderer (and, to some who are somewhat “distro dogmatic,” I am a shameless distro polygamist — and actually I’m at peace with that). Finding the Xfce desktop environment a little perplexing at the time, not to mention a challenge to overcome, the Xubuntu experience was enhanced by the fact that the GTK+ programs were an education to yours truly as a newbie.

As has been a theme in this series, the fact that you can have a desktop environment that does not take up a lot of resources is like having a 426 cubic-inch Hemi planted into a Mini Cooper — the power-to-weight ratio makes the vehicle fly. Xubuntu on the PowerPC G3 in the iBook G3 is no exception to this theme.

There is a debate within the Xubuntu community about whether to include GNOME programs into later editions of the distro. Despite the fact that both sides present good arguments for and against, I think that Xubuntu should stay true to its roots and not weigh itself down.

Of all my portables (and there have only been three), the connectivity of Xubuntu deserves special mention. Despite the fact that Apple’s Airport wireless card has yet to be connectable with any distro — and my guess is that it may never be (thanks, Steve) — the wired connection, whether in my house or in the computer or networking labs in Cabrillo College, has never failed; neither has the iBook had to be reconfigured. I know this ranks way up there in the miracle department, but it’s true (and maybe I’m just lucky). This is not a complaint, but rather I’m sort of awed by this phenomenon that I can’t explain — and, sadly, I can’t repeat this “miracle” with my Intel-based hardware.

With Ubuntu and its family of distros making great strides in the FOSS realm, it is clear that Xubuntu will continue to grow and flourish as part of this tribe. As far as the iBook goes, it has everything it needs , and everything I need, in Xubuntu 6.10 Edgy Eft.

Coming tomorrow: Wolvix 1.1 Hunter (Note: Yes, I know I went out of alphabetical order — I can’t keep track of letters after R. Sorry.)

[FSF Associate Member](Larry Cafiero, editor/publisher of Open Source and Free Software Reporter, is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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Eliminate DRM!

Categories: Debian, Xfce, Xubuntu
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