Saturday, August 23, 2008

Only in Linuxville

As you guessed Linuxville is a virtual place and virtually anything can happen. I already talked about looking into setting up an artist website and like pulling Indiana Jones out of retirement, the Linux exploration will continue.

The latest thing to happen is the GRUB bootloader was giving me hassles. So to all you wonder workers and especially to Gparted developers, if it would not put you out too much, put some GRUB utilities along side of Gparted. When you install another operating system on your hard drive GRUB does not always update itself, the added OS does not always recognize previously installed GRUB. And to top it all off, when GRUB is installed you only get 10 seconds to choose your OS before the default one boots itself. Or you GRUB developers could build-in better GRUB tools, make us all happy. Gparted is a very handy hard disc management application that is actually a mini-live Linux CD. It does all the partition and format stuff, even for Microsoft formats. The Gparted ISO is free folks!! Download it, burn it, boot it!!!!!

So, what brought up all this fixin and tweaking? Wolvix!! What's Wolvix? Wolvix is a smallish Linux, based on Slackware. It's 483 MB is one half the size of mainstream distros, yet you get all the standard applications. It even comes with ISO tools so you can make an even smaller live-CD if you'd like. The desktop of choice is XFCE which is light weight and fast (a relative term). You could install it onto a large bootable jump drive and really have a portable office or art studio. Yes, it has both GIMP and Inkscape. Ya want ta see.............?
This is just after adding some color to the standard grey desktop, hey, the howling wolf silhouette is missing. All the standard wallpapers are grey.
I downloaded sky/clouds wallpaper, the icon bar automatically disappears, of course.
Here, Abiword, GIMP and GQview is open. I think the screenshot app crops out edge details.

What's a Ubuntu guy doing installing Wolvix? Well a couple of things. If you are using the live-CD it does not make much difference, however installing a full size distro onto a small partition is problem. A smallish Linux distro allows you some room to add only what you need. Wolvix is pretty complete, it even has Open along with Abiword. Why, I don't know. And what's Slackware compared to Ubuntu? Slackware, which is the base for Wolvix is one of the oldest Linux distros there is. It has a rep for stability and for being command line driven. Slackware is up to date and it has the modern GUI desktops, but still is slow with modern conveniences. It just recently acquired Slack-apt to resolve software dependencies. Ubuntu is Debian based. Debian is almost as old as Slackware but is more popular and development has flourished. The Slackware/Wolvix software repositories are not as flushed as the Ubuntu ones. You have to realize though, there is no difference except packaging format for the same application running on either. Linux is Linux is Linux and opinions and mileage may vary.

Our Linux class is taking to exploring some of the various live-CD Linuxes. As you guessed Wolvix is my choice. This version is called Hunter 1.1.0 with 2.0 coming soon. My view of Linux? The many versions of distros have wrappers, arrangements, utilities, and tweaks to attract many different audiences. But in all, the same applications can be had on most any distribution. This means you can find one that best fits your hardware and experience and/or purpose and be assured the same applications are there. Then after all the OS smoke and mirror shows are over, you can settle down to the everyday life in Linuxville.

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