There seems to be a mad dash lately of bloggers tripping over themselves to write reviews of Bodhi Linux. Jeff Hoogland and his merry band of developers have come out recently with version 1.2.0 and I’ve put it through some paces. Overall, I like it, but rather than yet another Bodhi review getting lost in the shuffle, I thought I’d put that one off for another time.
I have a MicroPC TransPort T2200 laptop on which I change distros as often as I change socks. OK, that’s an exaggeration, but it is pretty much a test bed for distros I try out.
Several days ago, I was thinking about how I had not really done a lot with Slackware-based distros other than OpenSUSE. I looked for the latest version of Wolvix, which I had written about a few years ago, but found it was discontinued. This is unfortunate, because while writing that blog item a few years ago, I got the sense when talking to lead developer and new-dad-at-the-time Kenneth Granerud that he was on to something.
So after doing a few laps on Distrowatch.com, I settled on Salix, a Slackware-based distro from Europe. According to its Web site, Salix is a linux distribution based on Slackware “that is simple, fast and easy to use.”
No truer words were spoken. After a relatively quick download and installation, Salix flies on the MicroPC laptop.
I opted for the Fluxbox version of the distro — it also comes in Xfce, LXDE and KDE flavors — and the lightweight window manager version does not disappoint. While it might be objectionable to free software purists (and I’m a little flexible on this issue, though I’d prefer the decision of installing it be given to the user), the presence of Flash on the distro out of the box is a plus for those who want to get online and straight over to YouTube. With the Gslapt Package Manager, you can dig around for programs you’d like to add.
It’s refreshing when you don’t have to pop the hood right away. Right out of the box, so to speak, the distro ran flawlessly. Connectivity is a snap, and there have been no glitches with the wireless since using Salix. I added Conky because I enjoy having a rundown of what’s going on beneath the keyboard that sits on my desktop, and I also added Irssi, because that’s what the “cool kids” use to talk on IRC. Why these two programs aren’t already included on distros — I’ve only encountered Irssi being native on Debian — is a mystery.
As a matter of personal preference, I changed the cursor. I have seen this before on Fluxbox-based distros: It comes with the cursor that has a large black arrow and I prefer the smaller white one. With this exception, there was nothing I needed to tweak right away.
Again, I can’t get over the speed of this distro. Salix flies on this laptop, even with multiple programs running simultaneously. I cannot say that for every distro that has graced this laptop. Salix is clearly one of the better distros I’ve come across.
I am not completely up to speed on Fluxbox and its nuances, but I’m getting there. In the hubbub that is known as the current desktop environment soap opera, I’m starting to like window managers more, and you may find that more distro test drives will include them.
The symbol for Salix is the bonsai. Like a bonsai, Salix is small, light and the product of infinite care.
If you have the time and the inclination, give it a try.
This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.
In lieu of the meeting at Cabrillo College at which the Cabrillo College Linux Users Group was supposed to get the school’s blessing, I instead am in the computer lab. The ICC meeting was cancelled because it’s — surprise! — Halloween, so Cabrillo LUG gets to wait another week before the college give us their imprimatur.
So now I’ve got nothing to do for a couple of hours. Good time to blog, no?
This would be a good time to bring up a random set of thoughts, like:
In a state of Flux: Fluxbuntu released it’s version 7.10, and it’s a great system. The Fluxbox desktop environment is one that can grow on you, and it makes you wonder why the general populace has been brainwashed into expecting icons on the desktop as a standard. What’s more appealing — to me as well as the thousands (maybe millions?) of PowerPC Mac users abandoned by Apple — is that Fluxbuntu will also be releasing a PowerPC version shortly.
Nigeria picks Mandriva: Mandriva gets a pretty peachy account — powering school computers in Africa’s most populous nation. The Nigerian government has selected Intel-powered classmate PCs running on Mandriva Linux for educational use in nationwide pilot, with the project’s aiming to improve the quality of technology delivered to students — as well as to help teachers and parents. Mandriva’s a good choice in that regard. More on the story, as we say at Open Source & Free Software Reporter, from Mandriva can be found here.
Santa Cruz Sentinel: There, I said it — Marc DesJardins, the copy chief at the Santa Cruz Sentinel, has his Google news search set to the name of the paper for which we both work. This blog always pops up — thanks, Google! Since I’m on vacation from the paper, I’m just wondering if the news desk is enjoying the silence in my absence — so are ya, Marcus me ol’ buddy?
(Larry Cafiero, editor/publisher of Open Source and Free Software Reporter, is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)