Tag Archives: distribution

Mandbuntu 11.0 – Duck à l’orange

On the heels of the recent news that Mandriva is up for sale comes a whisper of a rumor from an insider source at a large Linux software company.

Unsubstantiated rumor from a reliable source (Canonical’s Assistant Night Custodian, Ross Foss) names Canonical as the new owner of the French company Mandriva, S.A. The source goes on to say that Canonical’s founder and benevolent-leader-for-life, Mark Shuttleworth has already ported a combination Ubuntu-Mandriva distribution to be offered in next few weeks. Reportedly, the name of the new mutant distribution will be Mandbuntu 11.0 – Duck à l’orange.

Insider sources also reveal that Mandbuntu will have a hybrid package management system known as urp-get. It’s a combination of apt and urpmi. It’s supposedly one of the most innovative new changes in this new distribution. It will follow the apt-get format for installing and updating from the command line. The GUI frontend is known as Ducknaptic, and can be found in the main menu.

Mandbuntu will initially ship with only one desktop environment/windows manager, the newly reconfigured (just for Mandbuntu) DuXfce. Rumor again informs us that a KDuxE version will be available soon. More rumors from lower level custodial crew claim that the French duck dish theme will continue. The next version will probably be Mandbuntu 12.0 – Peking Duck.

The future is looking just ducky! Stay tuned…

~Eric

Note: The above is for laughs, folks… in case you didn’t realize that. There is no truth to any of the above article. Ross Foss is a fictional custodian.

Today’s Featured Distribution – Ark Linux

As you can see from the Linux Family Tree, Ark Linux is a main branch distribution (with a little inbreeding from cousin Redhat) that’s been around since 2003.

I ran Ark as an experimental on my system a couple times in the past few years. I was always impressed with it. It’s simple. It’s not bloated or overloaded with fluff. It’s a working man’s (or woman’s) Linux. For those of you concerned about these things, Ark is a 100% FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) distribution.

The Ark Linux team is a small group of dedicated souls working to keep the distribution viable and as pure to their goals as possible. I’ve noticed that there have been inconsistencies with updates and upgrades over the past year or so. There is still an active presence, so I know Ark is alive and well. It’s just that I’ve become used to some of the more “commercial” distributions that update and upgrade every time their lead devs change underwear. Ark’s foundation is solid. They may not need to do as the others do in this regard.

You can download current and older versions of Ark from Oregon State University’s server (osuosl.org). The information you need to download is on Ark’s download page.

You’ll find Ark familiar and easy to use. It comes with KDE as the default desktop environment. It uses the familiar RPM and Apt as package managers. Most of your favorite Linux apps and tools will run fine on Ark. Their repos have the standard fare found in most distro’s repos.

Give Ark Linux a try, folks. You might find something here you really like. I did.

Until next time… learn something, and have FUN doing it!

~Eric

Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

The new Ubuntu is out. Everyone and their mother’s uncle is posting about it. I’m a mother’s uncle. I suppose I’ll post about it, too.

The folks over at Canonical have released the much anticipated Ubuntu 10.04, the Lucid Lynx. You can run right on over to your favorite server and grab yourself a copy right now. I’ve got mine! I downloaded Kubuntu 64 bit. Oh boy!

This is an LTS version too, folks. Good stuff! LTS = long term support. If you’ve been wanting to give Ubuntu a try, now’s really a good time. The Ubuntu gang have been working diligently on this version. It promises to be faster, sleeker, steadier, prettier, and just plain gooder than previous versions. Like the laundry soap folks learned a long time ago, the words “new” and “improved” can really sell some product.

You know a few years ago a group by the name of Queensryche did a really great song called Silent Lucidity. Here it is for your listening pleasure while you’re downloading Ubuntu. You are downloading it by now, right? Aww… c’mon. What are you waiting for? Christmas? Anyway, check out Queensryche at Youtube:

There you go… music to download by. Think of it as a public service from Nocturnal Slacker and Lockergnome.com. We aim to please.

So, about this Ubuntu… I downloaded the Kubuntu (with KDE desktop environment) version because I want to try KDE 4 again. Many of you who know me or have read my rambling here and elsewhere may remember that  my hot and steamy love affair with KDE went into the toilet when 4 came out. I’ve yet to get a stable installation of KDE 4 working on Slackware, Mandriva, CentOS, or Arch Linux. I’m not happy about it. I thought maybe Ubuntu can get it right with 4.4. We’ll see. I’ll probably plow my Mandriva partition under and plant Kubuntu there… maybe later this weekend.

Hey! Did you hear? Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier has Seven Reasons to Upgrade to Ubuntu Lucid Lynx. Don’t short change the Zonker now… read all seven. They’re pretty good reasons… except for reason #4, maybe. That just might be me, though. This crotchety ol’ geek don’t care about that social web stuff… Skitter, SpaceNook, and carp like that. If it’s your thing though, go for it!

Speaking of space… Did you know that even in the deepest space the temperature is still a couple degrees above absolute zero (-273.15 Celcius). Cool, huh? It’s because of the remnant heating caused by the background radiation left over from the Big Bang. Now you know.

Enjoy your new Ubuntu! I now leave you with this…

~Eric

Today’s Featured Distribution – Sidux

Sidux is a Linux distribution based on Debian’s unstable branch, known as “sid”, along with many free and open source applications.

Sidux is a very well documented and supported distribution complete with an excellent manual and wiki. It’s a rolling release, meaning the entire installation is updated via a single command. This eliminates the need to continuously reinstall newer versions as they are released.

I installed Sidux on my system using LXDE/Openbox desktop environment and windows manager. However, Sidux can be run with your favorite desktop environment… Gnome, KDE, Xfce, etc. I found it to be extremely stable and well supported.

The package management is accomplished using the rock solid legendary Debian Advanced Package Tool (apt). You can’t go wrong here, folks. You get a top notch Linux distribution with the solidity of Debian and the additional features and apps from the Sidux maintainers. A simple command (dist-upgrade) upgrades your entire system painlessly.

Don’t confuse the name “unstable branch” with instability in the operating system. Debian’s “unstable branch” is so named because it has yet to be subjected to the rigorous testing for stability and conflicts that the main branch of Debian has been subjected to. Sidux may be based on the unstable “sid” branch of Debian, but it is enhanced with Sidux packages and thoroughly tested before release. I’ve never experienced even a small blip in operation with Sidux. It’s perfectly capable and suited to be your main operating system for home or business. Give it a shot when you get a chance.

Until next time…

~Eric

Linux On the Desktop

Not happening according to Michael Gartenberg* over at ComputerWorld.

I really get tired of the Linux/Windows comparisons from writers and bloggers all over the Net. You know what the first thing is that I tell folks whom I’m attempting to introduce to Linux? LINUX IS NOT WINDOWS! Don’t start out thinking it is. Don’t start out thinking it’s even similar. Start out with NO preconceived notions.

The fact of the matter is that if someone wants to start using Linux, they’re going to have to LEARN… yes, that’s right! They’re going to have to read, research, search, study, use, use, and use some more till they’ve become comfortable with their new operating system. That’s just the way it is. You ain’t going to learn Linux by osmosis, folks.

Gartenberg states:

Return rates for Linux netbooks were much higher than for their Windows counterparts…

Of course they were. Folks who bought those Linux netbooks did so thinking that Linux was “just like” Windows and that they were going to just boot up and off they’d go. As a matter of fact, I’ve actually heard a salesman at a local computer store make just that claim to a customer whom he was trying to sell a used Linux Dell to.

Listen folks, I participate in many Linux boards and forums, where our goal is to help folks make the transition from MS Windows to Linux; not because we’re running around evangelizing about the benefits of Linux, but because folks come looking for us for help. I can tell you from experience that some folks just don’t have the wherewithal to learn Linux. They want everything spoon fed to them. They don’t make any attempts to learn anything on their own. They just say, “Show me how to install K3b.” or “Tell me step-by-step how to install Ubuntu on my system.” 30 seconds on Google would have gotten them 100 hits on either of those requests. Did they search Google first? No.

Gartenberg comments:

Since most of us would go back to using paper, pens, envelopes and stamps before using the open-source text editor Emacs, it still seems likely that it’s going to be a Windows and Mac OS world for the foreseeable future.

Seriously, what does a legacy command line editor have to do with whether or not Linux is a viable alternative to MS Windows on the desktop? My brother is NOT a computer geek. He just uses his computer to write an occasional document or send an email or surf the Net. He wouldn’t know a command line editor if it walked up and began masticating on his glutious maximus. Yet, I converted my brother to Linux about two years ago. He loves his Ubuntu Studio edition. Every once in a while he asks me how to do something. I show him and that’s that. He doesn’t call me with computer related issues nearly as often now that he’s not running MS Windows, I can tell you that much.

Gartenberg continues:

In my own case, Linux has given me no compelling reason to switch over from Windows 7 or Snow Leopard, and I can think of a lot of reasons to stay put.

Cool beans, dude. No one is twisting your arm here. What works for you and makes you the most productive and happy is what you should be running on your system. If it’s MacOS or MS Win 7, cool. Enjoy! That’s freedom. Ain’t it great! We of the Linux community are more than happy to assist you should you want to convert to Linux… or even if you just want to play around with it. We’re there for you. Give us a holler. We’re NOT trying to convert you, enlist you, assimilate you, or make a Linux-effing-zombie out of you.

Those commercial operating systems are welcome to compete with one another. The majority of Linux distributions out there could care less about competition. Let’s just all try to get along, huh. MS Windows is great. Apple/Mac is great. COBOL was cool. Octal machine code was tedious. I like Linux. I’ll use Linux.

~Eric

*Michael Gartenberg’s complete article at ComputerWorld

Graphical Boot-up? I Don’t Think So

It’s a Slackware thing, baby. Real Slackers don’t use a graphical boot-up screen.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve modified my /etc/inittab in every distribution I use to boot-up using runlevel 3 as the default. This gives you full multi-user with no X running. Why do I do it this way? Well… it’s COOL! Seriously though, I just prefer it and it serves some practical purposes, also.

Even though I started my Linux journey a few years ago with Ubuntu, I had Slackware up and running as my primary operating system shortly thereafter. You might even say I cut my Linux teeth on Slackware. This is the Slackware way… lightness of being, simplicity, efficient use of resources.

I do a lot from the command line in most of my distros. I just find it easier to start off with no X running in case I do have system chores that need doing, like updating or editing config files for some reason or another. Command line? Bet you thought that went out with octal machine code, huh? Well, it didn’t.

The command line still offers a FAST way to perform functions within the operating system. But hey… it’s not for everyone. It’s a great skill to have at least a passing knowledge of, but you can be perfectly content as a 100% GUI penguin. Nothing wrong with that. Linux ain’t about dictating how you do things. It’s ALL about giving you choices and options to get your work done.

If you feel the need to explore the dark side of Linux, the command line interface, you can modify your /etc/inittab configuration file to boot you into runlevel 3 as a default, as I do. Once you’re done with your stuff and want your graphic interface up and running, just type “startx” at the prompt (no quotes). This command will start the X Window System on your Linux.

In some rare cases, where you’re using certain windows managers/desktop environments, the startx command will not work. You’ll need to know the specific command to launch your graphical interface. For instance, in my Sidux installation, which uses LXDE/Openbox desktop environment/windows manager, I have to type “startlxde” (again without quotes) to fire up the graphic interface. 99% of the time, though, startx will work.

For more information in the /etc/inittab file and runlevels in Linux check out Sandra Henry-Stocker’s recent piece over at ITWorld : Unix How-To: the Linux /etc/inittab file

Have FUN while you’re learning.

Until next time, folks…

~Eric

Today’s Featured Distribution – Arch Linux

Let’s do things the “Arch Way” for a bit, OK?

As you can probably tell from this recent article, I do maintain a good sized distro farm. Sometimes, I’ll plow up one field and plant a new distro. Other times, I leave a field planted with a certain distro for long periods of time. This is the case with Arch Linux. It’s one Linux distro crop that I probably will continue to plant regularly.

You will always find two distributions on any system I have up and running for my own use; Slackware, my primary operating system and Debian, my backup operating system. Both are what you might call stable to the point of ennui. That’s why they are my operating systems of choice. I’m an old geek. Old geeks don’t like surprises. We like everything steady and familiar.

If someone were to ask me, “Hey Eric, what would you do if you couldn’t run Slackware or Debian?” I’d have to admit that Arch Linux would probably be my next choice as a primary operating system. I’ve always considered Arch to be like a secret love child of Slackware, even though they have no direct relation in the Linux Tree. I think of Arch in this light because it shares two goals with Slackware; namely, beautiful simplicity and a lightness of being.

It’s almost Zen-like, huh? Ahhhhmm! Ahhhhhmm!

Oops! Wrong kind of yogi. I meant… er, never mind.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah…

So, about Arch Linux… Oh, did I mention that Arch has an exceptional support community, excellent documentation, and a fabulous wiki? Well, it does. Visit the Arch Linux main page. Do a little reading, follow some links. There is a wealth of information at that site. The Arch Wiki has been helpful to me many times in resolving issues that were not even specific to Arch. There is a lot of compiled Linux knowledge there. When you’re visiting the wiki, be sure to check out the Beginner’s Guide… absolutely outstanding!

And lastly, if you would like to give Arch a looksee, I highly recommend securitybreach’s excellent installation tutorial available for you at Scot’s Newsletter Forums – Bruno’s All Things Linux – Bruno’s Classroom –> Installing and setting up Archlinux.

Have FUN with it!

Until next time…

~Eric