sábado, 14 de noviembre de 2009

VL 6.0 KDE Classic Review

Vectorlinux team has released another version of this beautiful distro.

This release is a kind of tribute to kde 3.* , as it's the last vl with kde 3 bundled in it. Next versions (6.0 SOHO is already in beta) will come with kde 4, so this one is for those who want rock stable and well known kde 3.5.10.

Installing Vectorlinux
As this version still uses the "old" text installer (a new one is in the oven atm), I could boot and install the iso without having to burn a CD using vinstall-iso

sh ./vinstall-iso VL6.0-KDE-Classic.iso

And let the fun start!

The process went flawlessly. I was surprised how few options I had to install extra packages. Well, sensible defaults are ok for me.

To manage usb and CD units user can choose between the resource hog (but well tested and known worldwide) HAL and quick (and VL idiosyncratic) VL-HOT. The default is HAL, but I changed it to VL-HOT.

Since running the iso till I restarted to my new VL-kde only passed 9 minutes. Yes, only nine minutes. In the first boot, I was asked some other questions and a new reboot was required. Then I already booted to a full KDM screen.

After the first tests, everything worked fine: Sound, graphics (I installed propietary ati drivers from their page, and I already have my dualscreen setup), and all the basic things I could test.

Software selection


Vectorlinux has always come with a sensible selection of software, and most of it is already configured to "just work". For example, firefox(3.5.3) comes with flash plugin, pdf plugin, java plugin, etc... Konqueror is also installed (it's a kde distro, remember?)

For IM we have pidgin and Kopete, and KSirc to irc.

Koffice with a whole lotta apps is there, from creating spreadsheets to flowcharts. Lots of apps.

It comes with lots of dev tools by default (g++, gcc, make) and interpreters like perl (5.10.0), python (2.5) and even ruby (1.8.6).

Performance

That's the main reason I like/use Vectorlinux. It's among the fastest linux distros. And it's pretty easy to install. Here's a screenshot of vl running kde, with a couple of terms and ksirc. Click the image for a larger sample.


More Software

Although the VL team selected very good apps to go into VL-kde, I *want* my desired apps NOW!. No problem at all.

I just had to edit (as root) /etc/slapt-get/slapt-getrc and uncomment the testing line from

#DISABLED=....
to
SOURCE=.....

After that, "slapt-get --update" and then, installing all my favourite software was trivial:

"slapt-get -i zsh screen vim-gvim emacs ...."

In no more than 30 minutes, I CAN HAS a workin environment with KDE 3.5.10.


Conclusion


In so little time, I can hardly make a conclusion about it, but knowing the average quality of Vectorlinux releases, and having tested it a bit, I think I can recommend it to people with a little linux knowledge (installer is in text mode, but it's really easy to follow) who want a fast distro to be used in browsing / office or, on the other side, as a developement platform I'd recommend to people who do not want to mess too much with the inners of linux
(it's not arch) but want to learn in a standard platform, that does not hides anything about pure slackware (so pure GNU/linux), and want to learn little by little (it's not ubuntu).

Personally, being a more minimalistic person, I'll stay with vl-std and vl-light, but this release is one I'd recomend to my non-so-techy friends.

There's only a way to see if it fits you. Try it and see. Make (good) use of vl community in case of trouble. It'll positively surprise you.