Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Quickie on Debian (and UBUNTU)

OK so the Fedora thing is flawed, mostly because the live disk not handling dependancies properly I agree, but yet I had to look in another direction.

A felt confident: Fedora7 was only the first of several distros on my desk awaiting to set itself on my new PC; reviewing them & choosing the best fit was supposed to be 80% pleasure and 20% learning interesting things.

Well, I learned some, indeed:

Debian install is exactly the same as the old ubuntu, prior to the live disk with an install icon on the desktop present favored strategy. Debian never reached my network hub, acknowledged only 2 out of three perfectly identical sata drives, and never entered Graphic Mode, saying in an error message that some xorg.conf file was faulty "no screen defined" - so far, OK, lets give it a look: at least I know where xorg.conf is (in /etc/X11), and I had the older desktop with openSUSE to compare with. Well, nothing was missing I am afraid to say, every item being defined & referenced in a seemingly logical way... sure some parameters where not the same, the very name of the items differing but straightforward... then, when it installed GRUB the bootloader on the HDD, it did not spotted FEDORA but only XP that the computer shop installed (for free, hum) on this new machine. Not only did I waste my time, but as well my previous install, grrrrrrrr.

So, we all know that debian is a great tool for others to develop on (and is always slightly late), so lets hop on to ubuntu 7.04, the most modern, up to date thingy, the one that's targeted to dumb users also. ubuntu, in live disk mode, was a tiny bit above: it gave me a graphical environnement, no network and three hard disks at least. Without the network, I dropped the ball since the fedora disk operated perfectly with my integrated network card, I assume it's not _that_ exotic. If ubuntu aims at being the easiest on earth, well, they have some way to go, still.

Enough for today, I am struggling with mounting permissions to be able to write to my other partitions in a fresh Fedora install. I tend to think I'll have to wait for openSUSE 10.3 to be released...

Always ready to try...
Sometimes slightly discouraged.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Fedora 7 Gallore - Get Less by downloading More !

Hi there technofreaks that may happen to stumble on this part of the webverse.

We bought ourselves a new machine, which for sure is intended to run Linux. I used my holidays in Europe to buy a good graphic card (they are unavailable in Cambodia) & I simply set up the rest here locally. For the detail-hungry around: dual core 2.66Ghz, 2Gb Ram, 256Mb nVidia 8600GTS, a dvd writer and a reader, 3 sata disks of 160Gb and that's it, if you add the widescreen asus flat monitor. the motherboard came with 5.1 sound and 1Gb Ethernet as standard. But for the graphic thingy, most everything is ASUS, and I am happy with the chinese case slightly bigger than atx format, but bundled with 4 (four!) fans. I added a 650w power supply, from china as well alas but it was the only one to offer a separate 12v outlet for the graphic card as recommended.

While I was in Europe, I toured my friends with highspeed internet to grab the latest in available distros; among them, Fedora now at 7 (got debian, gentoo and slack 12 as well, more on this later).

Let's get to the point: slipping the live disk fired the thing, network recognized, screen def too low but correct in its widescreen settings... and not much more. For the end user that's not completely dumb, while remaining an end user without any other aim in mind, I kept my opinion about one thing: it's definitely the window manager of choice that gives you the taste of a system, and you'd have to dig further than the average normal desktop usage to feel the difference in flavour from one distro to another. In this case, Gnome is the one available, with xfce and kde in need of further download to be available.

Right now, I am on xfce which is definitely sleeker than gnome. But, for sure, I am downloading Enlightenment DR17 as I write.

So, where's the Flavour, the one I read on the Fedora forums as "you'll either Love it or Hate it": well, I don't Love or Hate fedora, and I can at least say that some of the info I found was wrong. I would assume that a distro specificity, the thing that distinguish itself from the others (in my order of preference), are:
- The way you can tweak it's behaviour, it's parameters,
- The workability right-out-of-the-box, then the workability as such, as a production tool,
- The Community around,
- The stability, the confidence it builds with the user,
- It's credible perspective of survival.

On tweaking, we are still tied to the window manager of choice, with gnome spreading it's various settings among three sub-menus, with duplicates here and there. So it's a downpoint here, as opposed to openSUSE, there is no Settings Central to be found, unless you opt for xfce which have their own. for looks at least.

Workability: No openoffice, nothing non open source (means my screen looked shit without nvidia drivers). you sure have a software installer, so it's down to bandwith... the YUM package manager is overly simplistic, doesn't give you a clue on the size of the package you attempt to retrieve, nor a timeframe or even a resizeable progress window to help you get the idea by yourself... Waited a bit, crashed it several times by attempting to download in one shot all my usual bundle, stumbled upon unreachable repositories, waited for ages in front of "resolving dependencies" message &, finally, got OpenOffice downloaded and quoted as available. Sure, you even had it appearing in your Menu. Click, nothing, not even an error message; grinning, I fire up a terminal and enter the manual command for the spreadsheet editor "oocalc" - the terminal at least displays messages, and this one told me than some was missing. Downpoint: they do have a problem with dependency calculations in Fedora, if a well documented software fails to install with all it needs. There must be a failure of me somewhere though, I con't believe OpenOffice not to work in Fedora...

More on this later, including:
A Word on Eye Candy, Compiz & looks/speed + which drivers to use: