Friday, October 05, 2007

DSL and Puppy Linux, tiny Titans

I think I am over my fascination with Puppy Linux, but it did open my eyes to new possibilities. I found that as wonderful as it is to have a big full Linux distribution, very often it is just a lot of stuff you don't use very often. The small footprint Linuxes go a long way to meeting the needs of everyday use and are portable to boot. Puppy Linux has a couple of strikes against it in my book. First, you start up as a root user. This means you have access to all your system files and so does everyone else. Not a problem if you are the only one who uses your computer, but still not the safest setup. Then I can't seem to get it to run in VirtualBox. I could just run it from the installed partition, but I don't want to have to reboot every time I want to use it. Or I could just run it off the CD which also requires rebooting. Puppy also does not seem to shutdown cleanly. After using Puppy, I reboot into Kubuntu and the screen says it must do some sort of disk check because the Puppy did not shutdown cleanly or unmount the drive correctly. My computer does a time consuming disk check. So I am re-thinking my relationship to Puppy and will find a situation that works well. In any case, Puppy is a fine rescue disk with cool tools. I mentioned DSL a couple of times. Damn Small Linux is another of those tiny Linuxes. It like Puppy will fit on a jump drive or can be burned on a CD, even on one of those business card CDs. But what I liked about DSL was that I got it to work in VirtualBox. It is not as snappy as running off the CD or the hard drive but it works. DSL has a variety of tools, utilities and applications. I am using the DSL-N version which is larger than the original DSL. It has some larger applications. DSL follows some Unix conventions. You can boot as root and add users just like in normal Linuxes. This is good for security. I'm not sure but I think DSL was the first Linux I ever tried. I found it in a book a long time ago. I could be mistaken. Seems to me there was a DSL of German vintage years ago. I will have to check into that someday. Anyway, there is a battle of wits going on between the Puppy crowd and the DSL crowd. Besides all the name calling and jabs, there is the feeling that there is a Linux configuration out there that fits every type of user. So if you want to set up a computer to access the internet, email, type a letter, play a CD and not much else, it can be done for very little or no cost on hardware you know wouldn't run MS Windows (any flavor), yet be up to date. If your grandma can maneuver a mouse, it's a point and click world. Go green and recycle/resurrect that old spare PC into an appliance somebody can use.

Here is an update........
I looked it up on a public library site. The first Linux I saw was called LST, Linux 2.0 and the book was Power Linux by Stefan Probst in the year 1997. So I have been struck with Linux for 10 years. We will have to see what was happening in computing 10 years ago to fully appreciate what is going on today. I must say that Linux has really grown up from an operating system of hackers to one that anyone can use. Don't let so called computer knowledgeable people dissuade you, this is your second opinion, MS Windows products are not all that easy to use either, just more familiar. Linux on the desktop is as good as Linux on the server and as good as any Microsoft product on the market. You have ridden the black horse all your life, now you can ride the white one with brown spots.

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