Wonder how other Slackbased distros are

Story: Tropic of Vector ā€“ a blog devoted to Vector Linux Light, plus the Vector Linux Cookbook of Common TasksTotal Replies: 21
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flufferbeer

Sep 17, 2009
8:47 PM EDT
Such as Absolute Linux 13.0 ? I see that Absolute was listed at distrowatch, and thought it might be worth-trying. Like Vector, Absolute also seems to have fairly-low hw-reqs. I have no idea how this would or should compare to Vector Linux Lite in practice .

Steve_Rosenber or others, anyone have +/- testimonials on this latest Absolute release? Just wondering...
cybergal

Sep 18, 2009
1:48 AM EDT
I have just acquired a Dell PIII, and also am interested in hearing experiences with Absolute Linux 13.0 and VectorLite on such a machine.
caitlyn

Sep 18, 2009
2:13 AM EDT
According to a report in the comments section of DistroWatch this week version 13.0 of Absolute Linux was still very broken. However, version 13.0.1 was released and that may fix the bugs.

I had the misfortune of picking a release which was seriously broken when I reviewed Absolute Linux 12.2.5. I know that Robert Lange, the founder of VectorLinux, has had very complimentary things to say about Absolute in the past so I expect that if Paul Sherman can sort out some quality control issues most releases should be decent. I just haven't gotten to see one yet.

Other Slack based distros I've tried:

Zenwalk -- very good. Not quiote as light as Vector but close GoblinX -- issues with hardware detection. If you can get it going on your system it's pretty. Kongoni -- very buggy SaxenOS -- buggy and slow Wolvix -- excellent. Even the 2.0 beta, with some remaining bugs, is very, very usable CDLinux -- a bit limited but good for older hadware Austrumi -- very fast if you have adequate memory to load in entirely into RAM. Not for low end hardware.

@cybergal: How much memory in the PIII? That will make all the difference in the world.
cybergal

Sep 18, 2009
12:12 PM EDT
@caitlyn: Thanks for the info as I haven't heard of some of them. Took the Dell to my LUG last night and had our leader check it out, as I am totally unfamiliar with Windows [DOS to Linux]. XP is installed. Memory is 192, so only very small distros will be suitable. Puppy Linux was highly recommended. I hope to try a few others as well.
caitlyn

Sep 18, 2009
12:28 PM EDT
@cybergal: uppy Linux is not one I would recommend. It runs as root, always. They also don't publish security updates.

Vector Linux Light will run very well on your machine and is prompt at issuing security patches. They also have a relatively large repository with quite the selection of lightweight apps. With your system that is the way I'd go provided you have at least 2.5GB of hard disk space.
bigg

Sep 18, 2009
1:05 PM EDT
Second the use of Vector Light. I've found it to be faster than Puppy on that spec machine.
flufferbeer

Sep 18, 2009
1:27 PM EDT
@cybergal and caitlyn, If this helps, two of my own PCs I could try out Absolute Linux or others Slack-like ones on (e.g., VL Lite, Wolvix...) are similar to yours. And I see from distrowatch that Puppy Linux v4.3 was just released, so this is another option. My two spare low-end PCs are a - laptop, PIII 700MHz CPU, 128 MB RAM, 6 GB hard drive - desktop, AMD K6-2 550MHz CPU (remember these?), maxed-out 256 MB RAM, 20 GB hard drive Both PC's can run common liveCDs like Knoppix, DSL, Slax, the older Puppy Linuxes ...etc. Both of these are above the minimum HW specs for VLLite, Absolute Linux, and the current Puppy Linux. The laptop now runs Lo$edow$ XP much too slowly --- certainly could use more RAM and larger hard drive, besides a good low-end Linux distro. The desktop used to run Lo$edow$ 2K surprisingly fast despite its PII-era CPU, 2K was replaced with Ubuntu Hardy Heron over a year ago (Hardy slower than 2K(why?)), and this desktop was minimally used since then.

My own gripe with using Puppy Linux besides caitlyn's is that the Puppy desktop has too much of a mix of all those puplets. Seems a bit hard to figure out what all their applet names are and the differences between each applet. Visual overkill and I get confused on how to configure Puppy as I need to.

From seeing the Absolute Linux site just now, the distro looks good and has a REALLY good attentive community behind Paul Sherman's supervision. I'm concerned, though, about those Slackware-like text-based screens used for installation. My experience is that it has been a true pain for less-experienced persons to install and configure Slackware right the first time. Not to mention confusion about setting up lilo for trouble-free startup! I could definitely use some good feedback from those using the new 13.0.1

Vector Linux Lite seems to be the smoothest Slack-based distro on _this_ list to install. It's IMMENSELY helpful to now have the VL blog and Cookbook of Common Tasks! When going to the VL site itself, though, I sense that there is just TOO LITTLE of a supportive Vector community and means to easily get information pre-install. Instead, Vector Linux itself (from its mainsite) seems more like a team-oriented product-sales company rather than a F/OSS full-community project --- it groups all the different Vector Linux versions under the main 'Products' category.

Just my own multipple c's
flufferbeer

Sep 18, 2009
2:26 PM EDT
...Oh, and both of my two spare PCs also have enough hardware to also run Wolvix with Xfce, as well as maybe other Slack-distros in caitlyn's list above. I don't have a sense yet how community-supportive these other Slack-distros are, though, in relation to Ubuntu support, Puppy Linux's, Absolute Linux's, and the new VL's from the blog and Cookbook.
Steven_Rosenber

Sep 18, 2009
7:49 PM EDT
Like most of the installers, after you do a few it's easy. When I do a Slackware install (just like when I do any other Linux install), I start with Parted Magic (or Gparted Live ... or even Puppy Linux, which includes Gparted) and use Gparted to partition the drive. I just find it easier to use a live CD and the graphical Gparted to get the partitions the way I want them.

Then I do the install with the Slackware (or Debian or Ubuntu or ...) disc(s).

It certainly pays to do more than a few practice installs to get used to everything and solve any problems you might have.

And if you're not just testing a distro but actually using it, once the installation is done and everything looks OK, then I rsync all of my data from the backups into the new /home ...

Especially after doing installs of the BSDs, the Slackware installer is probably the friendliest thing in the world, so it's all a matter of degrees.

Probably my favorite installer of all time is the one that comes with Slackware-derived Wolvix http://wolvix.org/. If more installers looked and worked just like it, I'd be a very happy user. If and when Wolvix 2 has a final release, I'll be trying it out.

Wolvix was perfect for me because the developer just happens to like all of the same apps as me, and being able to set up a box in minutes with everything I like is a great thing. It's really "Slackware for Dummies," as well as "Slackware for People Who Like Xfce, Don't Like KDE, Want OpenOffice and Gslapt and all the Rest of The Stuff Rosenberg Likes" ... long title, I know.
z3r0_k00l75

Oct 16, 2009
8:40 AM EDT
Another wonderful slack-based distro that is new to the scene is Salix 13.0. It is fully backwards-compatible with slackware and has a very simple installer. Give it a try. It's fairly lightweight being an XFCE distro and has 3 install modes. Full, basic and minimal.
bigg

Oct 16, 2009
8:58 AM EDT
> It is fully backwards-compatible with slackware

Are you saying that you can install any Slackware 13 packages on Salix, in the sense that Salix is a derivative that doesn't break compatibility? I haven't heard that specific terminology used in reference to distros. Maybe I've missed something.
gus3

Oct 16, 2009
9:22 AM EDT
From http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-distributions-... :

Quoting:Salix is fully backwards compatible with Slackware, it doesn't break every now and then and it actually doesn't abuse the GPL by not distributing sources
The first claim is explained elsewhere that yes, it's package- and binary-compatible with stock Slackware.

The second claim makes an unverifiable claim on future events; any stock or investment broker would be fined for such behavior.

The third claim begs a "put up or shut up" response. Without a specific example, time, date, and bringing it to the attention of the FSF, I won't consider it anything more than trollish hyperbole.
number6x

Oct 16, 2009
10:12 AM EDT
SLAMPP is a nice zenwalk based home server http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SLAMPP
cybergal

Oct 16, 2009
1:42 PM EDT
@flufferbeer: I installed Absolute Linux 13.0.1 a few days ago on the Dell PIII. The autoinstall feature took approx. one hour and you don't even see LILO. Of course, in order to use this feature, you have to dedicate the complete hard drive to Absolute.

As I don't have wireless at home yet, I took it to my LUG meeting last night hoping to complete the install. Unfortunately, neither the D-Link adapter, which worked on XP last month, nor the newer USB adapter provided by one of the members, worked. However, both worked using the newest Puppy Live CD which one of the members had just installed on his older PIII and tried out on mine. I have also not been able to log in on the user account. One note of caution here about this distro: If you want to register at their forum, DO NOT use your gmail account as you will be automatically banned. I tried to register on my Toshiba laptop and I'm working with the author of the distro now to remedy this. I chose this distro as it has many features I like and with the view to installing it on the Toshiba and, perhaps later, on my Aspire One netbook. I'm also looking at Vector Linux Lite but haven't tried it yet.
caitlyn

Oct 16, 2009
3:17 PM EDT
An Xfce based distro like Salix isn't as light as the other distros being discussed. Vector Linux Standard offers Xfce or LXDE, which is lighter. Vector Linux Light offers IceWM and JWM which are much lighter interms of resources consumed than eithr Xfce or LXDE. Similarly, Absolute LInux uses an IceWM desktop.

@cybergal: I think you'll find the wireless support in Vector Linux Light to be better than Absolute. If you still run into a problem Vector Linux has an excellent, supportive, and large user community. Visit: http://forum.vectorlinux.com and I am quite sure that someone there can provide you with a solution for any wireless chipset which can work under Linux even if yours doesn't work straight out of the virtual box. Vector Linux has a huge advantage over Absolute Linux in that it has a team of developers. Paul Sherman has done a brilliant job in some ways with Absolute but he is still just one person and has a rather small community around him at this point.

Puupy Linux is the last distro I would ever recommend. It has very poor security (no patches or updates between releases, runs as root) and has a truly horrendous user community, by far the worst of any Linux distro according to many accounts.
Steven_Rosenber

Oct 16, 2009
7:01 PM EDT
Light window managers or desktop environments are one thing, but the Firefox Web browser and the Flash player will quickly eat most of your CPU if you're running a 1.x GHz CPU like I am.
flufferbeer

Oct 16, 2009
7:26 PM EDT
@z3r0_k00l75, bigg, gus3, First time I'm hearing about this Salix Linux. I searched on this, and it is listed through salixos.org Seems to be something like a Slackware version of Xfce Ubuntu (Xubuntu). Hope that this could perform as well or better than Xubuntu on PIII systems.

@cybergal, Yes, I'm just hearing about similar feedback like yours Despite what caitlyn's own experiences have been in both her anti-Puppy comments above, I too have had good to Absolutely GREAT experiences using Puppy Linux!! The newest Puppy 4.3 even has a recent and positive writeup in LXer on this, so this is definitely worth looking into.

Also, I'm hearing similar negatives on Absolute Linux as yours. Not only do you not see LILO, but you can't even perform anything else (e.g., to open another term shell) while the Absolute installation proceeds :( In that way, according to these comments, it is much like a standard Vector Linux installation.
caitlyn

Oct 16, 2009
9:17 PM EDT
@flufferbeer: It seems ike you haven't done a Vector Linux install recently. The graphical installer in Vector Linux Standard and SOHO allows you to switch to a terminal. Lilo most certainly works propelry and you can see it. VL is also pretty good (but far from perfect) at detecting other distros and setting them up correctly in lilo.

You mentioned Xubuntu. Recent releases have not performed all that well for me, particularly on older equipment. The Slackware based distros with Xfce all outperform it by a fair margin, including Zenwalk, Vector Linux Standard, Wolvix, and vanilla Slackware itself. I would expect Salix to have similar performance. I'll have to try it and find out. In any case I think on a PIII any of the Slackware derivatives with the exception of SaxenOS (which I find to be quite slow) should do very well.
cybergal

Oct 16, 2009
9:20 PM EDT
@caitlyn & @flufferbeer: Thanks for your advice. If Puppy only runs as root, it's not a distro I would chose. I'd like to give Absolute Linux more of a chance, which means that I must find a way to connect the PIII via wireless and find out how to log in as user rather than root. The Absolute Linux forum situation was sorted out this morning and I'lll check the FAQs and forum threads before asking help for current problems as they may arise. Another option is to purchase/acquire a newer laptop with provision for an ethernet connection and newer wireless technology as a test unit.

@flufferbeer: Not being able to see LILO was not a problem for me as I was only too happy to use the autoinstall feature for my first time installing a distro and I didn't need to perform anything else during installation. However, the conventional installation instructions look pretty straight forward and I think I could have gone that route if the autoinstall hadn't been available.
jdixon

Oct 16, 2009
10:02 PM EDT
> The graphical installer in Vector Linux Standard and SOHO allows you to switch to a terminal.

I'd expect that to be the case with any Slackware based distro, as Slackware has always provided such a capability.
caitlyn

Oct 17, 2009
1:05 AM EDT
@jdixon: AFAIK that's always been the case with Vector, but apparantly flufferbeer found a version where it didn't work for him. I have no reason to doubt his account and generally, if the install is going smoothly, I don't bother.
z3r0_k00l75

Oct 17, 2009
5:19 PM EDT
Backwards-compatible=any slackware package will work with salix and any salix package will work with slackware 13, the entire repository, actually. And your right about the resources Caitlyn. I checked my ram and salix does run a little heavy at about 185 ram with firefox open. I'll have to try Vector light 6.0 and Absolute.

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