Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Meet Hedinux

Filed under
Linux
Reviews
-s

Distrowatch says that 'Hedinux is a beginner-friendly, i686-optimised desktop Linux distribution built from scratch.' Hedinux released their 2006.1-alpha recently and Tuxmachines thought, "yippee, freshmeat!" Well, it turns out Hedinux isn't exactly brand new, but they were to us. This is what we found when we booted their livecd.

Hedinux's announcement states the following improvements:

  • The distribution was build with the "Linux From Scratch" book, gcc 4.0.2.
  • The latest stable kernel is available in version 2.6.15.4.
  • spca5xx and ov51x-jpeg webcam drivers are included.
  • The installer was rebuild.
  • Performance improvements for the "hed" package manager, and bugs fixes. Here is a list of new commands :
    • hed update upgrade (update packages list and upgrade the system)
    • hed list (list installed packages)
    • hed list not_installed (list not installed packages)
    • hed install mypackage (installation of "mypackage" package)
    • hed remove mypackage (remove "mypackage" package)
  • Faster boot up process
  • New major packages: cups, ssh, sane...
  • A simplier GNOME menu.
  • Latest versions of desktop environments: GNOME 2.12.3, KDE 3.5.1, XFCE 4.2.3.2, Enlightenment 0.16.999.023.

Hedinux comes in several formats. They offer a 622mb livecd featuring the gnome 2.12 desktop, a 604mb more traditional install cd, and a 73mb net install cd. We chose the livecd. You can download any of them here.

LiveCD

As we booted Hedinux we recognized the linux live boot up debian live distros seem to prefer. Hed's is a bit customized in that you find pumpkin orange OK's. If all goes well, you'd be asked at what resolution you'd prefer and probably end up in a Gnome desktop. Having problems with my graphic chip and the xorg 6.82 combo, I ended up at a commandline. Changing "nv" to "vesa" and killing X allowed the X server to restart and drop me into Gnome.

It's a cute little gnome desktop. Mostly default, it features a white background with Hedinux's mascot and logo. I'm assuming this is a hedgehog. But their rendition is a much cuter almost cartoonish version. I never thought a hedgehog could be cute before, but never say never. I wonder if we are to draw some parallel with it's ability to roll itself into a ball. Big Grin

In the menu one can find several useful apps for browsing, email, office tasks, graphic manipulation, and sound and video enjoyment. One can find a im and irc chat client as well as an ftp, voip, download and some emule apps. Also included are some basic linux system and development tools. I thought it was a fairly good general purpose menu.

        

    

        

Harddrive Install

One highlight in the menu is their hedinux-installer. I was hoping I'd might find one, but given their download choices, I wasn't sure I would. The included installer must be their net-installer as that was it's method. It downloaded packages it needed, upon execution and setup, to install a base system. Then after first boot, it downloads the rest of your package selection and installs them.

One of Hedinux's goals is to be newbie-friendly, but I'm not so sure this installer, at least on the livecd, would qualify. For anyone with a bit of Linux experience would probably not have a problem, but someone straight from windows would run away probably screaming into the night.

The first step is cfdisk. Now I can fdisk in my sleep, but I hate cfdisk. Personal feelings aside, this is not as newbie-friendly as some fans may profess. Would qtparted be much larger? The next few steps are easy enough in choosing packages and setting up users and such. Although after installation configuration is another step that could send Mandriva and SUSE users next door. Given a choice of vi or nano, the user is expected to edit certain configuration files on their own. Most are easy enough and anyone with moderate experience knows the format, but some are not as common and all are daunting for the newbie. They do have a non-expert setting, but as far as I can tell, it's the same procedure, one just doesn't choose the steps from a menu. Instead they are presented to the user in a predefined sequence.

        

After the install of the base system and one boots into Hedinux for the first time. During the boot process, the system stops and finishes the install. For my install, I chose all 4 window managers and all packages. This added up to 280 packages and took approximately an hour to download. The installer looked very apt-get like to me, but it's called Hed. It did it's job admirably and ... amazingly. 280 packages and no errors. I was stoked.

One has to reconfigure some of their services again after installation, such as your X server. But then one might find themselves at the lovely login screen. You've seen this one before. It's the one with a kde-like blue wavy background with a big yellow lazy susan or daisy in the corner.

After login you can choose from any of your installed desktops, except for enlightenment which didn't show up in the menu. KDE and xfce4 were stock installs, meaning no customizations, but they seemed complete and fully functional. Gnome on the other hand was not fully functional. It did start but shot an applet error and all components were launched in seperate windows, including the desktop itself. Given the choice to delete the troublesome applet from configuration, I did, yet it did not fix the problem. After reboot, Gnome still behaved in the same manner. I thought it was rather strange since this was their system of choice and default on the livecd. If any one should have worked, it should have been gnome.

        

Conclusion

Hedlinux is based on noone so they claim. I recognized the linux live startup scripts, they used Linux From Scratch as their build method, and the package installer/updater is apt-get. So to state they aren't based on anyone is stretching it a bit far. However, it all comes together to work pretty good. I liked it. The system installs, mostly works, and offers above average performance with an adequate variety of applications. I had no stabilty problems and all apps seemed to function well (except mplayer which wouldn't start due to a missing libmad). The only hardware issue was with usb devices not detected. To call it newbie-friendly is a misnomer however, at least in the version tested here. All in all, I think it's a wonderful effort and a great project. Considering this is an alpha release, I'm quite impressed. More screenshots here.

More in Tux Machines

Openwashing: Microsoft, Apple and Symphony Software Foundation

Linux Foundation: Real-Time Linux (RT Linux), LF Deep Learning Foundation, OpenTracing and More

  • Developers: Prepare Your Drivers for Real-Time Linux
    Although Real-Time Linux (RT Linux) has been a staple at Embedded Linux Conferences for years -- here’s a story on the RT presentations in 2007 -- many developers have viewed the technology to be peripheral to their own embedded projects. Yet as RT, enabled via the PREEMPT_RT patch, prepares to be fully integrated into the mainline kernel, a wider circle of developers should pay attention. In particular, Linux device driver authors will need to ensure that their drivers play nice with RT-enabled kernels. At the recent Embedded Linux Conference in Portland, National Instruments software engineer Julia Cartwright, an acting maintainer on a stable release of the RT patch, gave a well-attended presentation called “What Every Driver Developer Should Know about RT.” Cartwright started with an overview of RT, which helps provide guarantees for user task execution for embedded applications that require a high level of determinism. She then described the classes of driver-related problems that can have a detrimental impact to RT, as well as potential resolutions. One of the challenges of any real-time operating system is that most target applications have two types of tasks: those with real-time requirements and latency sensitivity, and those for non-time critical tasks such as disk monitoring, throughput, or I/O. “The two classes of tasks need to run together and maybe communicate with one another with mixed criticality,” explained Cartwright. “You must resolve two different degrees of time sensitivity.” One solution is to split the tasks by using two different hardware platforms. “You could have an Arm Cortex-R, FPGA, or PLD based board for super time-critical stuff, and then a Cortex-A series board with Linux,” said Cartwright. “This offers the best isolation, but it raises the per unit costs, and it’s hard to communicate between the domains.”
  • Clarifying the Linux Real Time Issue
    I recently posted an article about the increasing development and availability of Linux-powered automation devices. This is a clear industry trend that’s unavoidable for anyone following the automation technology industry. Shortly after posting the article, I heard from a reader who wrote: “I read your article and I am surprised that you would promote the idea that anyone would use Linux for anything critical. It isn’t even a real-time control system. It can be used for non-critical applications, but the article implies that industry is adopting it for everything.” This reader brings up a valid point. Linux is not a real-time OS in and of itself. As Vibhoosh Gupta of GE Automation & Controls noted in the original article, GE uses “Type 1 hypervisor technology to run a real-time OS, such as VxWorks, running traditional control loops alongside our PAC Edge technology operating on Linux.” [...] The Linux Foundation launched the RTL (Real Time Linux) Collaborative Project in October 2015. According to the Foundation, the project was “founded by industry experts to advance technologies for the robotics, telecom, manufacturing and medical industries. The aim of the RTL collaborative project is mainlining the PREEMPT_RT patch.” While there are plenty of mission critical applications running Linux OS with real-time extensions—as highlighted by GE, Opto and Wago—the Linux Foundation notes on its site that there remains “much work to be done.”
  • Linux Launches Deep Learning Foundation For Open Source Growth In AI
    The Linux Foundation has launched the LF Deep Learning Foundation, an umbrella organisation which will support and sustain open source innovation in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning. The organisation will strive to make these critical new technologies available to developers and data scientists everywhere, said a statement published by LF. Founding members of LF Deep Learning include Amdocs, AT&T, B.Yond, Baidu, Huawei, Nokia, Tech Mahindra, Tencent, Univa, and ZTE, among others. LF Deep Learning, members are working to create a neutral space where makers and sustainers of tools and infrastructure can interact and harmonise their efforts and accelerate the broad adoption of deep learning technologies.
  • OpenTracing: Distributed Tracing’s Emerging Industry Standard
    What was traditionally known as just Monitoring has clearly been going through a renaissance over the last few years. The industry as a whole is finally moving away from having Monitoring and Logging silos – something we’ve been doing and “preaching” for years – and the term Observability emerged as the new moniker for everything that encompasses any form of infrastructure and application monitoring. Microservices have been around for a over a decade under one name or another. Now often deployed in separate containers it became obvious we need a way to trace transactions through various microservice layers, from the client all the way down to queues, storage, calls to external services, etc. This created a new interest in Transaction Tracing that, although not new, has now re-emerged as the third pillar of observability.
  • There’s a Server in Every Serverless Platform [Ed: "Serverless" is a lie. It's a server. One that you do not control; one/s that control/s you. Even Swapnil finally or belatedly gets it. The LF really likes buzzwords.]
    Serverless computing or Function as a Service (FaaS) is a new buzzword created by an industry that loves to coin new terms as market dynamics change and technologies evolve. But what exactly does it mean? What is serverless computing?
  • Take the Open Source Job Survey from Dice and The Linux Foundation
    Interest in hiring open source professionals is on the rise, with more companies than ever looking for full-time hires with open source skills and experience. To gather more information about the changing landscape and opportunities for developers, administrators, managers, and other open source professionals, Dice and The Linux Foundation have partnered to produce two open source jobs surveys — designed specifically for hiring managers and industry professionals.
  • Automotive Linux Summit & OS Summit Japan Schedule Announced [Ed: "Brian Redmond, Microsoft" so you basically go to an event about Linux and must listen to a talk from a company which attacks Linux with patent blackmail, bribes etc.]

Security: Updates, GrayKey, Google and Cilium

  • Security updates for Wednesday
  • Hackers Leaked The Code Of iPhone Cracking Device “GrayKey”, Attempted Extortion
    The mysterious piece of hardware GrayKey might give a sense of happiness to cops because they can get inside most of the iPhone models currently active, including the iPhone X. The $30,000 device is known to crack a 4-digit iPhone passcode in a matter of a few hours, and a six-digit passcode in 3 days, or possibly 11 hours in ideal scenarios. That’s why security experts suggest that iOS users should keep an alphanumeric passcode instead of an all-number passcode.
  • Someone Is Trying to Extort iPhone Crackers GrayShift With Leaked Code
    Law enforcement agencies across the country are buying or have expressed interest in buying GrayKey, a device that can unlock up-to-date iPhones. But Grayshift, the company that makes the device, has attracted some other attention as well. Last week, an unknown party quietly leaked portions of GrayKey code onto the internet, and demanded over $15,000 from Grayshift—ironically, the price of an entry-level GrayKey—in order to stop publishing the material. The code itself does not appear to be particularly sensitive, but Grayshift confirmed to Motherboard the brief data leak that led to the extortion attempt.
  • It's not you, it's Big G: Sneaky spammers slip strangers spoofed spam, swamp Gmail sent files
    Google has confirmed spammers can not only send out spoofed emails that appear to have been sent by Gmail users, but said messages also appear in those users' sent mail folders. The Chocolate Factory on Monday told The Register that someone has indeed created and sent spam with forged email headers. These not only override the send address, so that it appears a legit Gmail user sent the message, but it also mysteriously shows up in that person's sent box as if they had typed it and emitted themselves. In turn, the messages would also appear in their inboxes as sent mail.
  • Cilium 1.0 Advances Container Networking With Improved Security
    For last two decades, the IPtables technology has been the cornerstone of Linux networking implementations, including new container models. On April 24, the open-source Cilium 1.0 release was launched, providing a new alternative to IPtables by using BPF (Berkeley Packet Filter), which improves both networking and security. The Cilium project's GitHub code repository defines the effort as Linux Native, HTTP Aware Network Security for Containers. Cilium development has been driven to date by stealth startup Covalent, which is led by CEO Dan Wendlandt, who well-known in the networking community for his work at VMware on software-defined networking, and CTO Thomas Graf, who is a core Linux kernel networking developer.

Applications: KStars, Kurly, Pamac, QEMU

  • KStars 2.9.5 is out!
    Autofocus module users would be happy to learn that the HFR value is now responsive to changing seeing conditions. Previously, the first successful autofocus operation would set the HFR Threshold value of which subsequent measurements are compared against during the in-sequence-focusing step.
  • Kurly – An Alternative to Most Widely Used Curl Program
    Kurly is a free open source, simple but effective, cross-platform alternative to the popular curl command-line tool. It is written in Go programming language and works in the same way as curl but only aims to offer common usage options and procedures, with emphasis on the HTTP(S) operations. In this tutorial we will learn how to install and use kurly program – an alternative to most widely used curl command in Linux.
  • Pamac – Easily Install and Manage Software on Arch Linux
    Arch Linux is one of the most popular Linux distribution available despite its apparent technicality. Its default package manager pacman is powerful but as time always tells, it is a lot easier to get certain things done using a mouse because GUI apps barely require any typing nor do they require you to remember any commands; and this is where Pamac comes in. Pamac is a Gtk3 frontend for libalpm and it is the GUI tool that Arch Linux users turn to the most when they aren’t in the mood to manage their software packages via the terminal; and who can blame them? It was specifically created to be used with Pacman.
  • QEMU 2.12 Released With RISC-V, Spectre/Meltdown & Intel vGPU Action
    QEMU 2.12 is now officially available as the latest stable feature update to this important component to the open-source Linux virtualization stack.