Nice review of Absolute Linux

Story: DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 306, 8 June 2009 Total Replies: 9
Author Content

Jun 08, 2009
8:31 PM EDT
Caitlyn, you did a very thorough job once again. I really enjoy reading these reviews, which go pretty deep into how the distro works.

In this case, you hate to see a distro bump up a version number and immediately start breaking stuff.

I like the way Absolute handles restricted media formats with that utility that builds everything from source and also deinstalls it if you wish. After grabbing source and binaries myself and then having to debug the port in OpenBSD, anything automatic, even if it takes all day and night to compile, is OK by me.

What I'd like to ask you and the rest of the LXers (can we start calling ourselves that, as in "I'm an LXer"?) is:

Do you differentiate between distros you'll use in production -- either in servers or on the desktop -- from those you just install for testing/evaluation purposes?

Do you feel comfortable using new releases and/or unfamilar-to-you distros in production (again, on the server or desktop)?

What does it take for you to adopt a new production distro, and in general what are you looking for on your critical machines?

For me, the criteria are:

-- Stable with a minimum of breakage -- Has the apps I need -- Most hardware autoconfigures, the rest is easy to get working -- Runs quickly enough for the given hardware -- The project/distro won't go away overnight if somebody loses interest -- I understand the distro's tools well enough to maintain it -- Relatively easy to manage software and updates -- Concerned with security -- The longer a release is supported, the better

Jun 08, 2009
8:44 PM EDT
Thanks for the kind words. I really HATE writing negative reviews. Sadly two of my last three (Mandriva 2009.1 and now Absolute Linux 2.12.5) have been negative. I have to maintain a level of integrity and if that means saying something less than complimentary about a distro I normally really like (i.e.: Mandriva) then so be it.

If I have a choice of distro for a server to me it's always Red Hat/CentOS. The stability and the quality of the support available make that a no brainer for me. Generally when I walk into existing installs I see about 90% Red Hat, maybe 8% SLES/SUSE and 2% everything else. That's just how it is in this part of corporate and government America

On the desktop it depends on a few things: are we talking personal use or what I would deploy to a customer? Big difference. I'll try almost anything for personal use so long as I have a trusted standby also installed and a good backup :)

For customers the big issues are prompt availability of security patches, availability of support, ease of use and stability. Once again Red Hat/CentOS tends to be my first choice unless someone has bleeding edge hardware. Then it probably would be Fedora or perhaps Ubuntu. For production systems for commercial clients I religiously stick to distros with a solid track record and a large, stable company behind them. There is no way I'm going to stick a customer with a hobbyist distro, a one man show, or something with a steep learning curve.

The only place I will make an exception to the above is when I'm dealing with someone with old, legacy hardware where performance becomes the overriding issue. Then I actually will use Vector Linux in production. It's been around for over 10 years, it is not a one man show, I know the developers and I know that it doesn't depend on any one person, and I simply haven't found anything else that does a better job of keeping legacy hardware running at the best speed available.

New releases in production? No, thanks but no. I want the bugs worked out first.

Unfamiliar distros in production? No chance. For me to play with and learn, sure. Where my living depends on it? Not in a million years.

Change what I recommend to customers? Red Hat is a local company. Something would have to go seriously wrong with them for me to change.

FWIW, I like your list of criteria. It's sensible.

Jun 08, 2009
8:58 PM EDT
A fair review given the problems you encountered. It's a shame that the distro is so broken by the recent updates though. Given that, folks might be interested in your take on 12.2.4. Maybe you should write it up and provide a link at the end of this one.

Jun 08, 2009
9:06 PM EDT
@jdixon: I made clear that the previous version was solid and that many of the things broken in this version were fine in the last. I think that's adequate. There are so many lesser known distros that really deserve some attention that I'm not going to do a review of the older version separately.

FWIW, I'm working in Debris Linux, the distro I wrote up last week. It's a beta that is better than many final releases.

Jun 08, 2009
9:51 PM EDT
> I think that's adequate.

Yes, you did, and you're probably correct. I yield to the author's judgment.

Jun 09, 2009
5:57 PM EDT
Yes Steve, you can call yourself and those who visit LXer, 'LXers'..


Jun 09, 2009
7:03 PM EDT
It's like 'X-Men, but with more L ...

Jun 09, 2009
7:21 PM EDT
I like the way you think!

Jun 09, 2009
8:25 PM EDT
> It's like 'X-Men, but with more L ...

Well, that makes TracyAnne Jean. And obviously Scott must be Scott. and Dave is Xavier. So, who's Logan? :)

Jun 09, 2009
8:37 PM EDT
@jdixon: Me? I got bigger sideburns that the movie version of Logan anyway!

Posting in this forum is limited to members of the group: [ForumMods, SITEADMINS, MEMBERS.]

Becoming a member of LXer is easy and free. Join Us!