Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

When Choice Matters: VectorLinux SOHO 5.1 rc2

Filed under
Linux
Reviews
-s

"VectorLinux is a small, fast, Linux operating system for Intel, AMD and x86 compatible systems, based on one of the original Linux distributions, Slackware." The developers unleashed released candidate 2 of the small office - home office edition on Jan. 4, 2006, and since we've never tested any Vector, we thought it was time. The soho edition, "as its name implies, is a distro aimed at Small Office and Home Office users."

Some of the features of the Soho version include:

  • OpenOffice productivity suite.

  • Business applications for personal information, finances, and database work.
  • Powerful web development tools, including a local server.
  • Graphics editors, from simple to advanced.
  • Complete Internet applications pack, including Firefox web browser with preconfigured PDF, MPlayer, FlashPlayer and Java plugins
  • Multimedia and entertainment, for music and video playing and even web content streaming.
  • Internet and local Network connectivity.
  • Support for peripherals including printers, scanners, digital cameras, fax/modems.

The Install:

The installer appears to be based on Slackware's ascii-graphic installer. If not, it certainly shares a similar appearance. The installer worked flawlessly and walked me through a complete install and setup. It includes some great extra configurations, such as specific keyboards, without overkill or adding confusion for the user. The only problem I saw with it was during choosing from a list of a few extra packages of libraries and drivers. This list included such as rt2004 and zd1201. As I didn't know what they were, I figured I didn't need them. Whereas this method works for me, it may not work for a new comer who hasn't heard what their drivers are called or what libraries they'll needed for their given needs. Otherwise the installer was straight-forward and can practically guarantee a successful install. One of the cute extras I observed was at the start of the system/package installation phase, a message was offered stating, "You may leave if you want." teehee But if you do, you'll miss the scrolling message above the progress bar first giving the forum ip addy and then the nicks of the developers. The rest was fairly standard giving the user a chance to setup a hostname, root password and user account(s). Given the opportunity to install lilo, make a boot floppy or skip this step was appreciated here. It appears one is given the choice of two kernels: a 2.4.29 or 2.6.13. I chose 2.6.13.

During the install you are given your choice of type of login:

  • Text Server
  • Text Desktop
  • Graphical Server
  • Graphical Desktop

First boot stops to check the filesystem, or it did in my case as I chose ext3. Then I looked away to make a note and the system rebooted. I expected a failure. Second boot it updated libraries and did some last minute configuration, then I was taken to my chosen graphical login. At that point I surmised the initial reboot was normal.

The System:

The graphical login is quite pretty with a theme that I will come to discover matches the desktop. One is given a choice between KDE and XFCE4. Both desktops were quite pretty, although KDE defaults the plastic theme and default kde colors. Xfce4 was plain gorgeous, using the same VectorLinux wallpaper as KDE and utilizing a lovely theme. The default wallpaper is a pretty yet professional looking background in shades of blue featuring the Vector logo. Included are the standard kde wallpapers as well as at least a couple variations of the Vector background.

        

        

The menus are quite healthy with many application for most all of your small or home office needs. There are text editors, word processors and desktop publishing. There are image viewers, photo viewers, and image capture and manipulation. There are finance applications, spreadsheets, and mobile device synchronization. And of course there are plenty of internet and multimedia applications as well.

        

        

There are quite a few system tools as well. Besides the usual SysV editor and popular system monitoring applications, one finds gkrellm, gslapt, and Vasm (Vector's own Administration System & Menu). Inside this Vasm one finds a plethora of modules for configuring hardware, services, and system setup.

    

Upon the desktop is an icon labeled vector-help. That opens firefox to a local index file that can lead one to local help files, online documentation or the vector forums for example.

        

Multimedia isn't neglected in this office version of Vector. In the menus we can find ogle dvd player, xine media player, and xmms. Ogle played an encrypted dvd here with no problems and xine did a wonderful job playing mpegs and avis here. Xmms had no problems with music cds either. You may think this is a given, but I've tested several distros in which xmms refused to work. Mplayer is in the package list, although I didn't see it in the menu.

        

And true to their claims, browser plugins worked out-of-the-box here as well.

        

Some little problems encountered here include a lack of mysql (although sqlite is listed in packages as well). I figure a distro for small office and server use should probably contain mysql. In fact, I couldn't even find it available in slapt-get. Speaking of server, I wasn't able to find this small local web server mentioned as included either. That doesn't mean it's not really there somewhere, I just gave up looking for it before I found it. My scanner functioned only after editing the usual /etc/sane.d file. Gslapt is listed in the menus and a binary is available in /usr/sbin, althought I could not get it to open here (cli slapt-get worked fine). As root I got display errors and as user I got permission problems. Bearing in mind this is still a release candidate, I have high hopes this matter will be resolved before final.

Some version numbers of interest include:

  • gcc-3.3.4
  • alsa-1.0.9
  • xorg-6.8.2
  • kernel-source 2.6.13
  • kdebase-3.4.2
  • xfce4-4.2.0
  • gimp-2.2.1
  • openoffice-2.0
  • mozilla-firefox-1.5
  • gaim-1.3.0
  • perl-5.8.6
  • python-2.4.1
  • rp-pppoe-3.5
  • rpm-4.2.1
  • Full list

My Conclusion:

I liked VectorLinux very much. I found it to be quite stable and functional with great performance. The desktops were very pretty, polished and professional with limited but very nicely rendered fonts. The list of included applications was more than adequate for just about any generic office needs, or at least a solid foundation. I can envision my small office running Vector on a daily basis. I thought it was a wonderful binary distribution and I don't hesitate to recommend it for a second.

More Screenshots HERE.

    

Re: desktop

sennachie wrote:

hey, which desktop are the screenshots from? kde or xfce?

Both. Mostly KDE, but I threw some of xfce4 in there too. Easiest way to tell is the panel. Big Grin

They're both nice huh?

Comment viewing options

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

More in Tux Machines

Tizen News

OSS Leftovers

  • How Open Source Tech Helps Feds Solve Workforce Turnover Issues
    Just as a mainframe from decades ago might be ready for retirement, the IT staff who originally procured and installed that system might also be preparing for a new phase in their lives. It’s up to the current and next generation of government IT employees to prepare for that eventuality, but there are indications they may not be ready, despite evidence that older IT professionals are retiring or will soon be leaving their positions. Unfortunately, a skills gap exists even among younger generation IT workers. Agencies are scrambling to find personnel with expertise in cloud service management, cybersecurity, technical architecture and legacy technologies, such as common business-oriented language (COBOL) and mainframes, among other areas. At the same time that many workers are getting ready to retire, leaving behind a wealth of knowledge, many younger IT professionals are struggling to gain the knowledge they will need to take their agencies into the future.
  • Introducing Fn: “Serverless must be open, community-driven, and cloud-neutral”
    Fn, a new serverless open source project was announced at this year’s JavaOne. There’s no risk of cloud lock-in and you can write functions in your favorite programming language. “You can make anything, including existing libraries, into a function by packaging it in a Docker container.” We invited Bob Quillin, VP for the Oracle Container Group to talk about Fn, its best features, next milestones and more.
  • Debian seminar in Yokohama, 2017/11/18
    I had attended to Tokyo area debian seminar #157. The day’s special guest is Chris Lamb, the Debian Project Leader in 2017. He had attended to Open Compliance Summit, so we invited him as our guest.
  • Overclock Labs bets on Kubernetes to help companies automate their cloud infrastructure
    Overclock Labs wants to make it easier for developers to deploy and manage their applications across clouds. To do so, the company is building tools to automate distributed cloud infrastructure and, unsurprisingly, it is betting on containers — and specifically the Kubernetes container orchestration tools — to do this. Today, Overclock Labs, which was founded two years ago, is coming out of stealth and announcing that it raised a $1.3 million seed round from a number of Silicon Valley angel investors and CrunchFund — the fund that shares a bit of its name and history with TechCrunch but is otherwise completely unaffiliated with the blog you are currently reading.
  • MariaDB Energizes the Data Warehouse with Open Source Analytics Solution
    MariaDB® Corporation, the company behind the fastest growing open source database, today announced new product enhancements to MariaDB AX, delivering a modern approach to data warehousing that enables customers to easily perform fast and scalable analytics with better price performance over proprietary solutions. MariaDB AX expands the highly successful MariaDB Server, creating a solution that enables high performance analytics with distributed storage and parallel processing, and that scales with existing commodity hardware on premises or across any cloud platform. With MariaDB AX, data across every facet of the business is transformed into meaningful and actionable results.
  • AT&T Wants White Box Routers with an Open Operating System [Ed: AT&T wants to openwash its surveillance equipment]
    AT&T says it’s not enough to deploy white box hardware and to orchestrate its networks with the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) software. “Each individual machine also needs its own operating system,” writes Chris Rice, senior vice president of AT&T Labs, Domain 2.0 Architecture, in a blog post. To that end, AT&T announced its newest effort — the Open Architecture for a Disaggregated Network Operating System (dNOS).
  • Intel Lands Support For Vector Neural Network Instructions In LLVM
  • p2k17 Hackathon report: Antoine Jacoutot on ports+packages progress
  • GCC 8 Feature Development Is Over
    Feature development on the GCC 8 compiler is over with it now entering stage three of its development process. SUSE's Richard Biener announced minutes ago that GCC 8 entered stage three development, meaning only general bug fixing and documentation updates are permitted.
  • 2018 Is The Year For Open Source Software For The Pentagon
  • Open-source defenders turn on each other in 'bizarre' trademark fight sparked by GPL fall out
    Two organizations founded to help and support developers of free and open-source software have locked horns in public, betraying a long-running quarrel rumbling mostly behind the scenes. On one side, the Software Freedom Law Center, which today seeks to resolve licensing disputes amicably. On the other, the Software Freedom Conservancy, which takes a relatively harder line against the noncompliance of licensing terms. The battleground: the, er, US Patent and Trademark Office. The law center has demanded the cancellation of a trademark held by the conservancy.
  • Open Source Underwater Glider: An Interview with Alex Williams, Grand Prize Winner
    Alex Williams pulled off an incredible engineering project. He developed an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) which uses a buoyancy engine rather than propellers as its propulsion mechanism and made the entire project Open Source and Open Hardware.

Programming Leftovers

Security: Linux, Free Software Principles, Microsoft and Intel

  • Some 'security people are f*cking morons' says Linus Torvalds
    Linux overlord Linus Torvalds has offered some very choice words about different approaches security, during a discussion about whitelisting features proposed for version 4.15 of the Linux kernel. Torvalds' ire was directed at open software aficionado and member of Google's Pixel security team Kees Cook, who he has previously accused of idiocy. Cook earned this round of shoutiness after he posted a request to “Please pull these hardened usercopy changes for v4.15-rc1.”
  • Free Software Principles
    Ten thousand dollars is more than $3,000, so the motives don't add up for me. Hutchins may or may not have written some code, and that code may or may not have been used to commit a crime. Tech-literate people, such as the readers of Linux Magazine, understand the difference between creating a work and using it to commit a crime, but most of the media coverage – in the UK, at least – has been desperate to follow the paradigm of building a man up only to gleefully knock him down. Even his achievement of stopping WannaCry is decried as "accidental," a word full of self-deprecating charm when used by Hutchins, but which simply sounds malicious in the hands of the Daily Mail and The Telegraph.
  • New warning over back door in Linux
    Researchers working at Russian cyber security firm Dr Web claim to have found a new vulnerability that enables remote attackers to crack Linux installations virtually unnoticed. According to the anti-malware company, cyber criminals are getting into the popular open-source operating system via a new backdoor. This, they say, is "indirect evidence" that cyber criminals are showing an increasing interest in targeting Linux and the applications it powers. The trojan, which it's calling Linux.BackDoor.Hook.1, targets the library libz primarily. It offers compression and extraction capabilities for a plethora of Linux-based programmes.
  • IN CHATLOGS, CELEBRATED HACKER AND ACTIVIST CONFESSES COUNTLESS SEXUAL ASSAULTS
  • Bipartisan Harvard panel recommends hacking [sic] safeguards for elections
     

    The guidelines are intended to reduce risks in low-budget local races as well as the high-stakes Congressional midterm contests next year. Though most of the suggestions cost little or nothing to implement and will strike security professionals as common sense, notorious attacks including the leak of the emails of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta, have succeeded because basic security practices were not followed.  

  • Intel Chip Flaws Leave Millions of Devices Exposed
     

    On Monday, the chipmaker released a security advisory that lists new vulnerabilities in ME, as well as bugs in the remote server management tool Server Platform Services, and Intel’s hardware authentication tool Trusted Execution Engine. Intel found the vulnerabilities after conducting a security audit spurred by recent research. It has also published a Detection Tool so Windows and Linux administrators can check their systems to see if they're exposed.