Thursday, May 15, 2008

New developments and winds of change

Well folks, in my personal Linux adventure, I was tortured by the question of wither to install a full featured Linux distro or a small trimmed down one. Is it better to delete redundancy or install what's needed. I still can't answer that question. But my computing needs did indeed change and I find that Xubuntu does not stand up to the challenge. When inquiring about my new direction, the response was good but not clear cut as I had hoped. To accomplish the things I want and have to use all sorts of command line tweaks and such is not the kind of person I am. Some of you kind and helpful folks really like to dig into the flesh of Linux and make it work. My self, for the purpose of pursuing a more "popular" Linux, prefer to see application and GUI solutions. While I root for the Ubuntu crowd, I have had trouble with the new Hardy Heron 8.04 on both of my machines. The 64-bit one works but web browser extensions are problematic. On the 32-bit one, the install failed a number of times and the desktop settings did not hold once I did get it installed. This was with Xubuntu and with Ubuntu (with Gnome). The 7.10 versions worked without a problem. I wonder what are the underlying causes of these problems, but I really don't have the skills to probe them or the interest to use work-arounds. Oh, I did not mention Kubuntu, I really don't care for KDE desktop but, this has become a part of my new direction. So, you can guess that I am not a true distro loyalist, not a make it work or die kind of person. I have loaded a distro called Mepis onto my second machine. While I don't like the KDE menu or the extensiveness of the tweakability of KDE it does look and feel just fine once you become accustom to it. Mepis is Debian based and does use Ubuntu repositories. I don't know what it has in comparison to Ubuntu but when I installed it, it worked, period. You can't ask for more than that. I of course am looking into the background of Mepis as I want to know about the support community and such things. Then this KDE thing is interesting for one reason, I want the tools to do what I want. Xubuntu lacks networking apps and the path to gather which tools are useful, to download, install and configure is not so clear. You system mechanics might holler "what's the problem?" and "you can do it like this!". This is fine but it is probing too deep into the inner workings of Linux and I really don't have the inclination to 'figure it out'. Back to the question of full or skimpy distro, Mepis has the tools to do everything and to my taste I might have to uninstall a few things and add others, but the tools are there. What I need to do is see my network, share files and remote. I shouldn't have to make it work, from my perspective. I guess the idea of a single computer using Linux is fine but being part of a network is different. And it is not a dedicated server and I am not a Linux system mechanic, so I look for simpler, more complete and accessible solutions. To sum this all up I would say that the new Hardy Heron needs work, is not as cool as the previous version. The KDE desktop, which I am not rah-rah over is not that bad to deal with (takes time) and while Ubuntu enjoys the spotlight, is not all there is to Linux. I am tipping my hat to the Mepis crew. Mepis or SimplyMepis as it is called, uses the KDE 3.5 and I wonder if the new 4.0 would be better but at this point it does not matter, it all just works. That is the point!

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