[This is the sixth 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.]
This started out as observations about Linux Mint Cassandra 3.0 Xfce. However, not having been to the Linux Mint site recently, I visited last week and noticed Clement Lefebvre and the crew at Linux Mint had brought another “woman” — Daryna — with the brand spanking new Xfce 4.4.1 desktop. So Cassandra has company in these observations because the Xfce version of Daryna is available.
[The Linux Mint naming convention is interesting. As I'm told, it goes alphabetically by woman's first name with the last letter of the name ending in "a" so Ada was followed by Bianca, which was followed by Cassandra, followed by the current Daryna (next, um, Edwina? Eliza? Emma?). Apparently when they reach Z (Zelda?) they will start at women's names beginning with "a" again, but then end the name with a different letter, although I don't know if the name will end in a "b" . . . .]
So while I have not tested Daryna extensively — and I don’t think that Daryna’s Xfce version is final and two days of fiddling does not qualify for a thorough test — I can say, at first look, that Daryna is both solid and impressive. I did not go the Compiz route on this one — as a self-proclaimed (and proud of it) “old guy,” I don’t mind having a desktop that is two dimensional and, if I had my druthers, they would all be 2-D — however with 256 MB of RAM under the hood, Daryna Xfce still works adequately and quickly on a Pentium III desktop.
Probably the most impressive features that comes with Daryna — and a couple of very cool improvements on any distro I’ve seen — are the MintInstall and MintUpdate features, the latter of which allows a security level that lets the user know how safe programs are to apply. “Safe,” of course, is subjective here, but it serves as a good indicator to those who might be new to the distro in particular, or new to GNU/Linux in general.
Before the building fire in what was once my office (none of my stuff was damaged, although some of the boxes have a smoky, barbeque scent to them), I used to use a desktop PIII with Cassandra Xfce on it. One of the reasons that I haven’t been around at Linux Mint was that I was completely happy with Cassandra Xfce, which suited my purposes. But what happens? Along comes Daryna and she completely sweeps this distro polygamist off his feet.
[The irony of this observation coming out on Valentine’s Day is probably not lost on the more astute of you out there.]
So coupling Daryna with Xfce — even though this version also comes in GNOME, KDE and Fluxbox versions — is a natural, and as I mentioned yesterday in the gNewSense item, Ireland is doing itself proud in the FOSS department by providing the world with solid distros.
Thanks, Clement and Linux Minters.
Coming tomorrow: Xubuntu 6.10
(Larry Cafiero, editor/publisher of Open Source and Free Software Reporter, is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)
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 my latest 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.
If you’re looking for a distro, you should give Wolvix a test run.
[With apologies to the San Francisco Chronicle's Scott Ostler, who often starts his sports columns this way]
Someone who gets it: As those of you readers outside my immediate family who read my last posting, I roasted Information Week’s Alexander Wolfe for bemoaning the tragic (in his eyes) plethora of distro choices in the GNU/Linux universe. Along comes Linux Today Managing Editor Brian Proffitt with a column that spells out Wolfe’s folly in detail. So now I’m in the enviable position of toasting Brian for the column — salud! — and thanks.
Europe gets it, too: Business Week reports that a high court adviser in the EU has decided that ISPs are not required to reveal information to authorities when users are suspected of music piracy. Hopefully, this will spell doom — in large, italicized capital letters — for the efforts by IFPI, the global RIAA, to litigate against European P2P users. Now if we can only get justices that enlightened on this side of the Atlantic . . . . Get the details here.
Nice doggie: Despite the brouhaha a couple of weeks ago in Distrowatch over Puppy, it bears mentioning that Puppy Linux has released version 2.17, and this latest one comes with CUPS, according to Puppy top dog Barry Kauler. This version will run on older machines — that’s a good thing for those of us who are not on the cutting edge of the latest technology (choosing to spend our money on things like rent, feeding the family other of life’s so-called priorities) — and it immediately goes on my list of distros to try. “More on the story,” as we say at Open Source and Free Software Reporter, from Linux.com here.
[I have just the machine for it: An old Dell Optiplex GXa desktop that the Santa Cruz Sentinel, my employer, gave to me rather than dumping it. Currently it's running Mepis AntiX, after a short stint with Linux Mint 3.0 Xfce -- both GREAT -- but I think I'll throw this Puppy a stick. More on this in a later blog posting.]
Rearranging the deck chairs: My absence from this blog for a few days (tops) comes courtesy of rearranging my living room to accommodate much of the hardware that I’ve accumulated/garnered/been entrusted with, etc. I have the solution of putting three machines each in two corners of the living room and must now do the remodeling. All of which is to say that visitors will no longer have two iMacs and a monitor staring them in the face when they sit down on the couch.
Last, and certainly not least . . . the Italian Open Source Web site One Open Source runs a very interesting Q-and-A interview with Linus Torvalds in which Linus — who’s supposed to be rabidly anti-GPLv3 (to hear some tell it) — just says that GPLv2 is better when asked about the new license. It’s a good read, and I would suggest leaving here and going to the interview here.
(Larry Cafiero, editor/publisher of Open Source Reporter, is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)
Viva Venezuela: A big muchas gracias goes to Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez for having the VIT (Venezuela de Industria Tecnologica), and the Venezuelan Ministry of Light Industry and Commerce produce the Bolivarian computer (named after the South American anti-imperialist revolutionary Simon Bolivar, for those of you who caught up on your sleep in World History class). The Bolivarian computer runs on GNU/Linux, further thumbing the Venezuelan nose at el norte. Bear in mind that this is a nation that offered to supply freezing Northeasterners heating oil this past winter when the White House and Congress would just as soon let them shiver, and they’re also offering to export the machines as well (are you listening, Michael Dell?). A detailed story on this computer and the country that brings it to you can be found at Venezuelanalysis.com.
Speaking of Dell . . . I went to put my money where my mouth is, and they wouldn’t take it. Having blasted Dell — rightfully, I think — over the years, I wrote in an earlier blog posting that I’d get a Dell laptop if they offered Ubuntu. Well, they kept up their end of the bargain, and when I went to buy a laptop on-line (apparently the only place where you can get the Dell-with-Ubuntu deal), my credit was rejected. Reason: Insufficient credit history, which is true. I swore off credit cards in the late 1970s, but I thought having a clean slate would be a good thing. Apparently not, according to our friends at Dell. Being a man of my word, I’ve been putting together a fund to buy one, but now it will take a few months.
Heroes and wankers: Here’s something out of a college professor’s playbook — Read the items at the following links. Compare and contrast these two distro “executives” and explain why one is a hero who leads a growing and vibrant brand and the other is a world-class wanker who, with a stroke of a pen, sent his downwardly spiraling distro into further obscurity and probable extinction.
Correct answer: Shuttleworth=hero, Carmony=wanker. If you answered this way, then go to the head of the class.
Minty freshness: Linux Mint has removed the proprietary software from its version 3.0 “light” version. “Cassandra Light edition was released and is available for download,” announced Clement Lefevbre in a release. “The purpose of the Light edition is to bring an edition of Linux Mint which doesn’t contain: proprietary software, patented technologies and support for restricted formats. In some countries where the legislation allows software patents to be enforced, the Light edition provides a way for users to legally download Linux Mint.” Also, you did it for those of us who would prefer not to use proprietary software too, right Clement? Thanks, Linux Mint!
Got it! I broke down and bought a personalized license plate in California for an extra $60 a year. My car, a burgundy ’94 Volkswagen Jetta, will bear “GNU LNUX” front and back once the plates arrive. Film at 11.