Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Frugalware 0.3 - getting there!

Filed under
Reviews

Frugalware strives to combine simplicity of distros like Slackware or Arch with ease of configuration and use. It adopted Packman (from Arch Linux) as its package manager, and is compiled for i686 architecture. I've been following the progress of this project from their very first release and I really wanted to like it because the concept appealed to me, but until now I found it plagued by various small and not so small problems that would quickly turn me off. So I am very happy to report it appears that things have come together this time and Frugalware is starting to live up to its potential.

One of the major problems I've always had with Frugalware is their installer - most of the time I have not been able to complete the installation from the CDs due to mysterious problems that always appeared during the actual installation of packages on the hard disk. 'Mysterious' also because the error message inevitably informed me only that 'some error occurred during installation', or words to that effect... well, thanks for that! In fact, I got burnt so many times I no longer even bother downloading Frugalware isos - I found the process works much better with their net install. This is also the way I used this time - possibly the installer is by now working perfectly, but I just wasn't prepared to waste any more CDs and downloads. My other gripe is about the way this installer needs to be watched and prompted along the way - after making selection of packages the process starts, but after some base packages are copied it stops to present the options regarding GRUB. Once told what to do, it moves on to main body of installation... then it pauses again, to ask about installing additional packages! There are no reboots required throughout and surely it would be possible to gather all this information all at once, at the beginning, so the installation could be left unattended once it starts?
Apart from that, installation is easy and clear. All the usual steps are there: creating the user, setting up network and video - special kudos for actually getting the refresh rates of my monitor right for once!

There is a huge amount of software available, just look at the list of Window Managers: KDE, Gnome, XFce, Fluxbox, Openbox, Blackbox, Enlightenment, IceWM... Multimedia needs are also well looked after with Mplayer, Kaffeine and Amarok, along with all the required codecs including those 'naughty' win32 ones. Java, Flash, nvidia and ati binary drivers are also provided, so Fugalware is a delight in this respect - none of this 'adding from outside sources' nonsense.
There is also Mono, though I don't think many Mono-based applications are included (I looked for, and haven't found Beagle, Banshee and f-Spot)
Kernel used in this release is version 2.6.13, Gnome is at 2.12.1, KDE at 3.4.2 and Open Office at 1.1.5.

Pacman is a great package manager, effective, simple yet flexible. Frugalware guys wrote their own GUI front-end for those so inclined, though I find pacman is perfectly simple to use from the command line. There is also repoman, a tool for building packages from source.
The other tool developed specifically for Frugalware is their GUI runlevel editor, and this is something I really appreciate, because I don't enjoy hunting through various runlevels turning scripts on and off by hand. On the command line there is also the 'service' command, used by some Red Hat based systems.

One test I like to perform on my desktop system is to plug in my digital camera. It is a Cannon Powershot A30, a common model well supported in Linux. Unfortunately, on Frugalware it didn't work. Forget auto-mounting on the desktop, I couldn't get gtkam to interface with it either. I suspect problem with USB, in fact I had an identical problem in one of the previous version of Frugalware. Back then it was a problem with user permissions, because I found I could access the camera as root. On this occasion however I discovered the root is no longer allowed to log into a GUI session at all - something I will have to change... Security is all good, but not when it stops you from getting things done!

So, this is how far I got for now... this is a blog entry, not an in-depth review! But I think I can say that while some issues remain, Frugalware makes solid progress with each release and by now it mostly lives up to its promise of a modern, easy to use system.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

re: Frugalware

I reviewed a release candidate of 0.3 and I thought it was great. I thought it was one of the easiest installs and setups I'd run across. But then I don't have a digital camera either.

Nice bloggin! Thanks. Smile

----
You talk the talk, but do you waddle the waddle?

More in Tux Machines

Leftovers: BSD

Security Leftovers

  • Stop using SHA1 encryption: It’s now completely unsafe, Google proves
    Security researchers have achieved the first real-world collision attack against the SHA-1 hash function, producing two different PDF files with the same SHA-1 signature. This shows that the algorithm's use for security-sensitive functions should be discontinued as soon as possible. SHA-1 (Secure Hash Algorithm 1) dates back to 1995 and has been known to be vulnerable to theoretical attacks since 2005. The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology has banned the use of SHA-1 by U.S. federal agencies since 2010, and digital certificate authorities have not been allowed to issue SHA-1-signed certificates since Jan. 1, 2016, although some exemptions have been made. However, despite these efforts to phase out the use of SHA-1 in some areas, the algorithm is still fairly widely used to validate credit card transactions, electronic documents, email PGP/GPG signatures, open-source software repositories, backups and software updates.
  • on pgp
    First and foremost I have to pay respect to PGP, it was an important weapon in the first cryptowar. It has helped many whistleblowers and dissidents. It is software with quite interesting history, if all the cryptograms could tell... PGP is also deeply misunderstood, it is a highly successful political tool. It was essential in getting crypto out to the people. In my view PGP is not dead, it's just old and misunderstood and needs to be retired in honor. However the world has changed from the internet happy times of the '90s, from a passive adversary to many active ones - with cheap commercially available malware as turn-key-solutions, intrusive apps, malware, NSLs, gag orders, etc.
  • Cloudflare’s Cloudbleed is the worst privacy leak in recent Internet history
    Cloudflare revealed today that, for months, all of its protected websites were potentially leaking private information across the Internet. Specifically, Cloudflare’s reverse proxies were dumping uninitialized memory; that is to say, bleeding private data. The issue, termed Cloudbleed by some (but not its discoverer Tavis Ormandy of Google Project Zero), is the greatest privacy leak of 2017 and the year has just started. For months, since 2016-09-22 by their own admission, CloudFlare has been leaking private information through Cloudbleed. Basically, random data from random sites (again, it’s worth mentioning that every site that used CloudFlare in the last half year should be considered to having fallen victim to this) would be randomly distributed across the open Internet, and then indefinitely cached along the way.
  • Serious Cloudflare bug exposed a potpourri of secret customer data
    Cloudflare, a service that helps optimize the security and performance of more than 5.5 million websites, warned customers today that a recently fixed software bug exposed a range of sensitive information that could have included passwords and cookies and tokens used to authenticate users. A combination of factors made the bug particularly severe. First, the leakage may have been active since September 22, nearly five months before it was discovered, although the greatest period of impact was from February 13 and February 18. Second, some of the highly sensitive data that was leaked was cached by Google and other search engines. The result was that for the entire time the bug was active, hackers had the ability to access the data in real-time by making Web requests to affected websites and to access some of the leaked data later by crafting queries on search engines. "The bug was serious because the leaked memory could contain private information and because it had been cached by search engines," Cloudflare CTO John Graham-Cumming wrote in a blog post published Thursday. "We are disclosing this problem now as we are satisfied that search engine caches have now been cleared of sensitive information. We have also not discovered any evidence of malicious exploits of the bug or other reports of its existence."

Security Leftovers

  • Change all the passwords (again)
    Looks like it is time to change all the passwords again. There’s a tiny little flaw in a CDN used … everywhere, it seems.
  • Today's leading causes of DDoS attacks [Ed: The so-called 'Internet of things' (crappy devices with identical passwords) is a mess; programmers to blame, not Linux]
    Of the most recent mega 100Gbps attacks in the last quarter, most of them were directly attributed to the Mirai botnet. The Mirai botnet works by exploiting the weak security on many Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The program finds its victims by constantly scanning the internet for IoT devices, which use factory default or hard-coded usernames and passwords.
  • How to Set Up An SSL Certificate on Your Website [via "Steps To Secure Your Website With An SSL Certificate"]
  • SHA-1 is dead, long live SHA-1!
    Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you heard that some researchers managed to create a SHA-1 collision. The short story as to why this matters is the whole purpose of a hashing algorithm is to make it impossible to generate collisions on purpose. Unfortunately though impossible things are usually also impossible so in reality we just make sure it’s really really hard to generate a collision. Thanks to Moore’s Law, hard things don’t stay hard forever. This is why MD5 had to go live on a farm out in the country, and we’re not allowed to see it anymore … because it’s having too much fun. SHA-1 will get to join it soon.
  • SHA1 collision via ASCII art
    Happy SHA1 collision day everybody! If you extract the differences between the good.pdf and bad.pdf attached to the paper, you'll find it all comes down to a small ~128 byte chunk of random-looking binary data that varies between the files.
  • PayThink Knowledge is power in fighting new Android attack bot
    Android users and apps have become a major part of payments and financial services, carrying an increased risk for web crime. It is estimated that there are 107.7 million Android Smartphone users in the U.S. who have downloaded more than 65 million apps from the Google App Store, and each one of them represents a smorgasbord of opportunity for hackers to steal user credentials and other information.
  • Red Hat: 'use after free' vulnerability found in Linux kernel's DCCP protocol IPV6 implementation
    Red Hat Product Security has published details of an "important" security vulnerability in the Linux kernel. The IPv6 implementation of the DCCP protocol means that it is possible for a local, unprivileged user to alter kernel memory and escalate their privileges. Known as the "use-after-free" flaw, CVE-2017-6074 affects a number of Red Hat products including Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 and Red Hat Openshift Online v2. Mitigating factors include the requirement for a potential attacker to have access to a local account on a machine, and for IPV6 to be enabled, but it is still something that will be of concern to Linux users. Describing the vulnerability, Red Hat says: "This flaw allows an attacker with an account on the local system to potentially elevate privileges. This class of flaw is commonly referred to as UAF (Use After Free.) Flaws of this nature are generally exploited by exercising a code path that accesses memory via a pointer that no longer references an in use allocation due to an earlier free() operation. In this specific issue, the flaw exists in the DCCP networking code and can be reached by a malicious actor with sufficient access to initiate a DCCP network connection on any local interface. Successful exploitation may result in crashing of the host kernel, potential execution of code in the context of the host kernel or other escalation of privilege by modifying kernel memory structures."

Android Leftovers