Featured Comments: Week of 2011 January 30

There were a few posts that garnered a whole bunch of comments, so I'll only be able to post a handful of these.

Review: Sabayon 5.5 KDE

An anonymous reader had this excellent explanation of the differences in Sabayon's package management names: "I hope this helps with your confusion over package management in Sabayon. The binary package manager which comes with Sabayon is called Entropy. Equo is the command line program for Entropy, and sulfur is the GUI program for Entropy. Being based on Gentoo, Gentoo's package management system, Portage, is available as well. Emerge is simply the command line program for using Portage. Although it is technically possible to use both Entropy and Portage, it is recommended that you pick one package manager and stick with it. If you're a newer user, then it is recommended that you pick Entropy, which means all your updating/installing will be done through Equo and/or Sulfur."
Commenter dick said, "Sounds like it might be worth trying. I wonder if you might discuss the differences you see among trying as a live distro, the USB distro and the installed distro. I have found many times that the live distro looked good so I decided to install and found that the installed version did not work as well or things that worked as a live distro no longer worked. I even had one distro that worked fine as live but when I installed it from the live CD it could not find the module for my broadband adapter. I had to go search out a broadband adapter module to install before it would work and yet the live distro found the broadband adapter just fine. No idea how that happened."
Mr Green had this support: "Great article about a so so distro. personally I've never
had much luck with Sabayon. I do enjoy reading your writings as I find them right on. Its just that I'm getting old (lazy) and just won't bother much any more. As a matter of fact I'm quite happy these days with FC 14 on my main box and a re-spin combo called Fuduntu on a tester. Do keep up the work though Prashanth..."
Commenter RabidWeezle said, "I have been using sabayon for the last couple of weeks now, and I dig it so far. I wanted a distro though with a nice build enviroment like gentoo has without requiring all the time needed to do a full gentoo install from scratch. This setup worked out nicely for that. So far I have been using it as a gaming distro with many ported to linux games on it. It has been a real champ so far. Though I didn't pick the kde version since I am partial to gnome myself. I like how sabayon doesn't assume that you want the awful free nvidia driver unlike other distros I have tried. But that option is there for the taking later if you insist on it."

Review: KDE 4.6

Admittedly, this review wasn't the best. Many of my problems with KDE here stemmed from installing it in a live session (as opposed to an installed session) as well as using an Ubuntu base, which, as I found out, doesn't exactly provide vanilla KDE functionality.
A common suggestion for the next review (or for revisiting KDE 4.6 itself) came from an anonymous reader, among others, and that is to try Arch next time: "I urge you to use Arch linux for your next KDE review. the reason is that it uses 'vanila KDE' from upstream sources with little changes. Since it is a rolling distro you can try it out immediately after launch and not wait for the next release." Unfortunately, I have neither the time nor the experience to install and properly configure a working Arch system...maybe something else could work easier?
In general, people suggested staying away from Ubuntu for KDE purposes, like this anonymous commenter: "PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE! When reviewing KDE, stay away of anything Ubuntu-related. It has been said time and time again that Ubuntu and KDE mix like oil and water. No, despite what you may hear from Ubuntu-fans, Kubuntu is not a good KDE distro: it get so many things wrong and its affiliation with the main Ubuntu project casts a big shadow over other better supported/maintained KDE distributions which probably will give you a much better experience anyway!" That's probably true, but I've seen a lot of highly positive reviews of Kubuntu 10.10 "Maverick Meerkat", and KDE 4.3 and 4.5 worked (relatively) just fine for me when installed in Linux Mint alongside the standard GNOME environment, so I feel that I was right to expect similarly positive results in 4.6, and that didn't happen. Maybe I should stay away from even-numbered point releases...?
KDE developer Aaron Seigo had this to say: " Gtk+ integration: you actually have to configure it properly. Apparently it wasn't. The "trick" is to set Gtk+ to use the Oxygen Gtk+ theme, something I find easiest to achieve with the GNOME control panels. It would be nice if your distro would set it up that way for you by default. Black screens: that's what happens when a kwin effect goes wrong. Often this is due to a bug in the x.org driver that is being triggered by the effect. Sadly many x.org drivers are still dreadfully buggy. 'KDE 4.6': there is no such product as 'KDE 4.6'; you essentially reviewed (or attempted to review) Plasma Desktop" Unfortunately, the GTK+ theme tip didn't work, though the explanation about the black screens was helpful. Also, given that the majority of the front-end of KDE 4 is the Plasma desktop, what difference does it really make? (1) KDE seems to have a branding problem akin to Acura and its Legend in the late 1980s and (2) it frankly doesn't make a difference to me.
Reader gene, among other things, had this to say: "Rekonq is a completely separate project from Konqueror, and has quite a different layout and feature pack. At the moment I'm using Konqueror+Webkit, but if Rekonq gets a couple of little issues dealt with it may become my web browser of choice. I'll stick with Konqueror for a file manager though; Dolphin still bites weenies. As for 'problems' with Ubuntu, I'm sorry, but there's no excuse for a release to come out with such an enormous buglist. If I'm running a rolling release like Arch, fine, I expect an update to break something from time-to-time. But for a so-called "stable" release the Debian/Slackware creedo is the only one that makes sense: it's not ready until it's ready."
Another anonymous reader defended the position of the user over the software: "I continue to have issues with KDE also. Random annoying crashes, the black screens, the logout plasma crash, the inability to customize basic parts of the DE. These happen regardless of distribution as I have tried on several. The normal responses are to blame everything but KDE. The xorg drivers are buggy - why are they not buggy with Gnome and Compiz? Nothing to do with KDE 4.6, which works fine... Please stop blaming KDE for integration issues - what you can't just install KDE and expect it to work properly - Gnome and XFCE work fine when installed in addition to another DE. And my favorite - Obviously it's a bug between your keyboard and chair. KDE 4.6 works fine - apparently not or I would not have these issues! These have been the same type responses from the KDE developers since KDE4's introduction. Never the fault of KDE. Too bad KDE went from a superior DE with KDE3 to a DE inferior to even Windows with KDE4. And oh no, with that said, here come the attacks from the KDE4 crowd again. Thus why the KDE still has reliability and usability problems."
Reader United against had similar words: "I appreciate your comments about KDE as it is always blaming some thing else. If some one suggest in an article that they have tried other desktops other then KDE people slam them for even bringing up this topic. I for one look forward to articles like that as it give me an idea as to what to use instead. I do not like them changing so much and making it harder for people to use. I realize that KDE has put different ways to do things but to people like me I do not like these ways of doing things. Another thing is Arch Linux is not that had to install with the beginners guide. I installed it and did not have issues doing so. The length of time to do this though is longer then other distributions but it is not all that bad."
So now I know that when I want to review a new KDE release, it may be fine if I do it at first in Ubuntu/Linux Mint alongside standard GNOME, but I should first at least do it in an installed (i.e. not live) environment; then, if things go wrong, rather than writing about that, I should then try it in other distributions that treat KDE a bit better (e.g. Mandriva, PCLinuxOS, Arch, openSUSE).

Review: Madbox 10.10 (on Tech Drive-in)

An anonymous commenter said, "MadBox provides for a really light distro and against what you measure with htop, it lands to the desktop at something between 75-80 MB of Ram. For a better accuracy you should use the 'free' terminal command and take the second row figures under the column 'used'." That's a really helpful tip, although when I tried it, the results were inconsistent with both the GNOME system monitor and Conky.

Thanks to all those who commented on this past week's posts. Today is a big day for two reasons: NFL Super Bowl XLV as well as the release of Debian 6 "Squeeze"! Hopefully I'll have a review of the latter sometime this week, but I can't guarantee anything. Remember, if you like the material, please do continue subscribing and commenting!

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