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Recent Review Rounds

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Reviews

This past month has been quite exciting with the recent distro releases. We've seen some great work, revolutionary ideas, and even some down right radical thinking. We've seen newcomers do groundbreaking things and old dawgs learn some new tricks.

I've had a long running habit, of about 5 years now, of testing out distros as they were released then I'd write my friends and tell em what I think. I have posted my lilo config a couple times as an example to someone having trouble or questions with setting up dual or triple boot, and got many cute replies. One guy told me to get a life. Big Grin See, there have been times when I've had as many as 30 distros installed across two hard drives. These days I'm down to one. Seems my power supply can't handle the load of all my hardware, which includes an nvidia 6800 that requires it's own power cable, and a second harddrive. So right now I have 11 linux distros bootable on that one harddrive (some with several bootable kernels).

Since I've started the site, I've been posting those said thoughts of distros here instead. Some of my reviews seem to get a few hits while others seem to get a bit fewer. But that's about how it was from friends too. If it was something they became excited about, I'd get emails about this and that, even requesting more screenshots. If it wasn't interesting to them, I'd get a "oh that's nice". Big Grin That's about how it's going here. Big Grin

To the point: I've had some successes and not so successful adventures. I got stampeded by Buffalo, a distro whose name intrigued me. I didn't achieve any yingyang with Zen, whose logo was so darn cute. And my fruit went sour with Berry, whose motif was quite appetizing. All these would get to the point of starting X and then give me the big nothing. That's the way it goes, some hardware combinations just don't fly with some distro. I think this is a big advantage to livecds - one can test their hardware /before/ an actual harddrive install.

My latest tests have been going well. Should I state in public that I've never been the big Redhat fan? Did that come thru in my Fox review? I tried de-emphasize my personal slant towards Redhat and offshoots to write an objective review. And in fact, Fox has improved and purtied it up to where it's almost great. I /could/ get by with it if there weren't so many other choices, but I felt Redhat and Fedora fans should really check it out.

In the interim, I've been working on Lunar. Lunar isn't one of those quickie installs and reviews. It's requiring some work to get ready. I had a basic install from their iso in no time, but it's taken a little while to get to a kde desktop. One can compare Lunar to a stage 3 gentoo install I think. In fact, I see some definite similarities between Lunar and gentoo. Lunar is based on sorceror, but is sorceror an off-shoot of gentoo? I need to research this if I'm gonna write a review of it, but some of it's unique filesystem structure and naming conventions sure remind me of gentoo.

After I finally discovered the commands Lunar uses to install software, I was on my way. I didn't tweak any compile flags or set up distcc, but it's still kinda neato to watch it compile up your applications from scratch. I don't think Lunar is for everyone, as it's taken a little coaxing at times, but i got xorg and the kde desktop installed and running, as well as xawtv! I had to compile a vanilla kernel as I had a little trouble with the nvidia drivers. But it's default is a 2.4 kernel, so one of the next things is to see if I can convert it to a 2.6.

So, as the month draws to end, I need to get a desktop ready for the Gentoo Monthly Screenshots and finish up my Lunar for a review. I'm currently running kde 3.4.1 in gentoo and lunar has kde 3.4.0 installed. Between my real job, this site, my home upkeep, recent car trouble, and a boyfellar who accuses me of things when I conk out from exhaustion - I'm being stretched a little thin these days. I just can't seem to get everything done I'd like.

Happy Linuxin' folks.

More in Tux Machines

today's howtos

GNOME Development and Events

  • Dependencies with code generators got a lot smoother with Meson 0.46.0
    Most dependencies are libraries. Almost all build systems can find dependency libraries from the system using e.g. pkg-config. Some can build dependencies from source. Some, like Meson, can do both and toggle between them transparently. Library dependencies might not be a fully solved problem but we as a community have a fairly good grasp on how to make them work. However there are some dependencies where this is not enough. A fairly common case is to have a dependency that has some sort of a source code generator. Examples of this include Protocol Buffers, Qt's moc and glib-mkenums and other tools that come with Glib. The common solution is to look up these binaries from PATH. This works for dependencies that are already installed on the system but fails quite badly when the dependencies are built as subprojects. Bootstrapping is also a bit trickier because you may need to write custom code in the project that provides the executables.
  • Expanding Amtk to support GUIs with headerbar
    I initially created the Amtk library to still be able to conveniently create a traditional UI without using deprecated GTK+ APIs, for GNOME LaTeX. But when working on Devhelp (which has a modern UI with a GtkHeaderBar) I noticed that some pieces of information were duplicated in order to create the menus and the GtkShortcutsWindow.
  • GLib/GIO async operations and Rust futures + async/await
    Unfortunately I was not able to attend the Rust+GNOME hackfest in Madrid last week, but I could at least spend some of my work time at Centricular on implementing one of the things I wanted to work on during the hackfest. The other one, more closely related to the gnome-class work, will be the topic of a future blog post once I actually have something to show.
  • Introducing Chafa
  • Infra Hackfest
  • Madrid GNOME+Rust Hackfest, part 3 (conclusion)
    I'm back home now, jetlagged but very happy that gnome-class is in a much more advanced a state than it was before the hackfest. I'm very thankful that practically everyone worked on it!
  • GNOME loves Rust Hackfest in Madrid
    The last week was the GNOME loves Rust hackfest in Madrid. I was there, only for the first two days, but was a great experience to meet the people working with Rust in GNOME a great community with a lot of talented people.
  • GNOME Mutter 3.29.1 Now Works With Elogind, Allows For Wayland On Non-Systemd Distros
    GNOME Mutter 3.29.1 has been released as the first development snapshot of this window manager / compositor in the trek towards GNOME 3.30. Mutter 3.29.1 overshot the GNOME 3.29.1 release by one week, but for being a first development release of a new cycle has some pretty interesting changes. Among the work found in Mutter 3.29.1 includes: - Mutter can now be built with elogind. That is the systemd-logind as its own standalone package. This in turn allows using Mutter with its native Wayland back-end on Linux distributions using init systems besides systemd.

KDE: Plasma Widgets, PIM Update and More

  • 3 Students Accepted for Google Summer of Code 2018
    Since 2006, we have had the opportunity for Google to sponsor students to help out with Krita. For 2018 we have 3 talented students working over the summer. Over the next few months they will be getting more familiar with the Krita code base and working on their projects. They will be blogging about their experience and what they are learning along the way. We will be sure to share any progress or information along the way. Here is a summary of their projects and what they hope to achieve.
  • Plasma widgets – Beltway Bandit Unlimited
    The concept of addons is an interesting one. At some point over the past decade or two, companies developing (successful) software realized that bundling an ever-growing code base into their products in order to meet the spiraling tower of requests from their users would result in unsustainable bloat and complexity that would not warrant the new functionality. And so, the idea of addons was born. Addons come in many flavors – extensions, plugins, applets, scripts, and of course, widgets. A large number of popular programs have incorporated them, and when done with style, the extra functionality becomes as important as the core application itself. Examples that come to mind: Firefox, Notepad++, VLC, Blender. And then, there’s the Plasma desktop environment. Since inception, KDE has prided itself on offering complete solutions, and the last incarnation of its UI framework is no different. Which begs the question, what, how and why would anyone need Plasma widgets? We explore. [...] Conclusion A good mean needs no seasoning, indeed. And Plasma is a proof of that, with the widgets the best example. Remarkably, this desktop environment manages to juggle the million different usage needs and create a balanced compromise that offers pretty much everything without over-simplifying the usage in any particular category. It’s a really amazing achievement, because normally, the sum of all requests is a boring, useless muddle. Plasma’s default showing is rich, layered, complex yet accessible, and consistent. And that means it does not really need any widgets. This shows. The extras are largely redundant, with some brilliant occasional usage models here and there, but nothing drastic or critical that you don’t get out of the box. This makes Plasma different from most other addons-blessed frameworks, as they do significantly benefit from the extras, and in some cases, the extensions and plugins are critical in supplementing the missing basics. And so, if you wonder, whether you’ll embark on a wonderful journey of discovery and fun with Plasma widgets, the answer is no. Plasma offers 99% of everything you may need right there, and the extras are more to keep people busy rather than give you anything cardinal. After all, if it’s missing, it should be an integral part of the desktop environment, and the KDE folks know this. So if you’re disappointed with this article, don’t be. It means the baseline is solid, and that’s where you journey of wonders and adventure should and will be focused. 
  • My KDE PIM Update
    This blog post is long overdue, but now that I’m back home from the KDE PIM Sprint in Toulouse, which took place last weekend, there’s some more news to report.
  • KDAB at QtDay 2018
    QtDay is the yearly Italian conference about Qt and Qt-related technologies. Its 2018 edition (the seventh so far!) will be once more in the beautiful city of Florence, on May 23 and 24. And, once more, KDAB will be there.
  • Google Summer of Code 2018 with KDE
    It’s been 2 days since the GSoC accepted student list was announced and I’m still getting goosebumps thinking about the moment I saw my name on the website. I started contributing to open source after attending a GSoC session in our college by one of our senior and a previous GSoC student with KDE: Aroonav Mishra. I was very inspired by the program and that defined the turning point of my life. [...] Then I came across GCompris and it caught my eye. I started contributing to it and the mentors are really very helpful and supportive. They always guided me whenever I needed any help  or was stuck at anything. Under their guidance, I learnt many things during the period of my contributions. I had never thought I would get this far.

GNU/Linux Distributions