Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
With the new release of RR4-Linux 3.0 beta 0 and considering it didn't work here last release, I just had to try it again. It is a gorgeous liveDVD that comes with KDE 3.5 and nvidia drivers. I was so impressed with its beautiful desktop, I just had to install it onto my harddrive. But how did it do this time?
The livedvd boots first to a rather mundane screen suggesting one just hit enter, but offers some cheat codes with the press of F1. This is when the magic starts. The next thing I see is the boot splashing fading in. A wonderful effect! Gorgeous. And even if you hit Alt+F1, the verbose screen is still very pretty. Just wait til the icons come up. It uses icons later in the boot to give the user boot feedback, and they are so pretty. I couldn't get shots of those tho. You'll have to take my word for it or download it yourself.
It only took 2 days here. Well, actually, it trickled in at dial-up speeds for a day and a half, when suddenly the download rate shot up to over 300KB/sec. So, perhaps if you were interested, you'd get some descent speed.
The login screen isn't really worthy of the rest of the system, but not ugly by any stretch of the imagination. It had several desktops listed, but honestly, I didn't bother checking any of them except KDE. You'll soon discover why this review isn't really telling you too much.
The KDE desktop is still at version 3.5.0, but rr4 features a 2.6.15 kernel, xorg 7.0.0 and gcc 3.4.5. The first thing you see after logging in is a monitor/resolution configuration module. If your monitor is correctly detected, you could probably adjust your resolution, bit depth, and such. Mine wasn't, so that first boot I edited the xorg.conf and restarted X.
The desktop featured this really great colorful abstract background heavy on the blues, with transparent taskbars and panels. They used some really nice icons and a lovely lovely window decoration. Their choice of colors was tasteful. The over look and feel was just gorgeous. They've customized the launcher layout some as well. The menus seemed chocked full of handy and useful applications.
In the home directory were some handy gentoo installation guides in several formats, stage tarballs, and a portage snapshot for those wishing to install r44 in the more tradition gentoo method.
The installer is a pretty piece of software that has several install options. You can install any of the gentoo stages optimized for several architectures or copy the dvd. That's what I wanted. I already have a built-from-scratch (stage 1) gentoo install, I wanted that nice wallpaper and KDE theme! I wanted RR4 and I wanted it tonight. So when the time came to choose an install method, I chose to install the livedvd.
It began the install and got as far as wiping out my partition table before it stopped. Thank goodness that was all it could do. It did not destroy any information on the disk, as far as I can tell so far. Sure I told the installer to format the partition to get rid of the stuff on there, but there was no reason to even touch the partition table. It didn't give me the option to change filesystem, so it should have never touched the partition table. But it did. Also thank goodness I had the foresight to mail a copy of the partition table to myself and it was stored on gmail. I predicted I might need that someday with all the OS's I mess with. For a mere mortal, this could have spelled disaster. But I just called up fdisk, input the start and end block numbers, and typed "w." Waddle Waddle!
That was about as much as I cared to mess with rr4 this evening.
As a livedvd it was just wonderful. As stated, it is one of the prettiest desktops going. If you read the forums, there are plenty of users who have successfully installed rr4, but I think they all did it by stages. I glanced around quickly for any "it wiped out my hard drive" posts, but I didn't see any.
So, if you'd like a nice livedvd to carry around and use, you can't find much prettier. If you want an pretty environment from which to install gentoo in the more traditional manner (using stages), I bet it'd work. If you want to install their livedvd, I suggest you back up your partition table or at least record the block numbers! Actually, I recommend you not try that method at all. I was lucky. ...this time.