2011-08-21

Featured Comments: Week of 2011 August 14

There were 2 posts that got a pretty large number of comments (one in particular), so I'll try to repost a few from each.

Review: Linux Mint 11 "Katya" LXDE

Because this wasn't an entirely positive review (and for all that, my only suggestion was to go with the GNOME edition of Linux Mint as opposed to the LXDE edition, and for that people still somehow got up in arms), there were many comments, a few of them rather mean-spirited and baseless, but aside from that, let's get on with some of the more thoughtful (which doesn't mean no disagreements whatsoever) comments.
Reader dotmrt suggested a reason for the RAM usage discrepancies: "Actually I have used Lubuntu on one machine that had 256MB of RAM and it ran pretty smooth. I think that 320MB of RAM idle is simply the result of having more RAM available. Memory management is a difficult topic to tackle, but I can assure that LXDE desktop on Lubuntu's case was really nice and a lifesaver. There aren't much nice options for old machines with 256MB of RAM out there. Sure, you can install some really ugly and user-un-friendly distros, but that was not what I was after."
An anonymous commenter supported my methodologies in the face of some rather tired old comments: "When I boot the live cds, I check the ram usage, and it's generally mucy the same as installed usage, making this a valid form of testing. Don't complain just because you don't get a favourable review."
Another anonymous reader was slightly more critical, but in a good way: "This is not a hate comment :), just my observation of live v/s installed sessions. Quite often i've seen Live CD's loading lot of services and gobbling up RAM as a result, however the same when installed doesn't translate that way. Case in point is Crunchbang XFCE that i've in live & in my hard-disk, live takes about 100-110mb while installed takes about 70-80mb. Even LMDE was like that atleast in my case. Likewise i've seen other distros as well that take up so much RAM in live session but not the same amount after installation. Also in some cases certain things don't work the first time, but the same usb and same image when loaded subsequently seem to work. Call it defective usb, bad install image or anything else but they dont always exhibit the same behavior when installed. Btw this was just to point out the differences in live and hd install, not to incite another war of words."
Yet another anonymous commenter said, "If you understood the internals of how the Live System versus installed system works, you would realize that what you have done is a horribly foolish method for reviewing a Distro.  You can not even tell me now if the INSTALLER recognized and configured your hardware properly. only that the live script did. Not a big deal for me since I design custom remixes of Debian/Ubuntu for a living, and can tell you more about hardware compatibility then some of the folks on their development teams. As far as memory useage. believe it or not LXDE runs in no less ram then XFCE, and both of those only about 32-64MB less then Gnome with the same services running.  I run xfce 4.6 in 116MB Ram at idle. LXDE in the same setup takes 110MB, and Gnome 132MB Ram. (NOT Gnome 3, which sucks and takes a boatload of Ram and CPU. My company and clients just parted ways with bloat-gnome in favor of XFCE.)"

Revisited: openSUSE 11.4 GNOME

Reader enrico said, "is a good review, but i don't agree with conclusion. opensuse 11.4 was released month ago, and it was the only major distro that stuck with kernel 2.6.37 and gnome 2 instead kernel 2.39 or gnome 3, or unity. in fact, this choice is due to the release time, but gnome 3 is in a preliminari stage, and it's usability for now is improving every day, but has also less features than gnome 2. and kernel 2.39 has a big issue with power consumption in laptops. in conclusiom, suse remains major distro with a good release without major hicchups of ubuntu, or fedora. installing it in a real machine is a good choice to make a review, because the speed is good, repository are fully populated of applications. and there is the possibility to turn it into a rolling release, with all the new features of gnome, kde and so on."
Commenter JimC reached the opposite conclusion: "I always have "high hopes" for OpenSUSE leading up to a major release, since it always looks like it will be a great showcase for Linux, with newer versions of KDE, etc. But, I'm almost always very disappointed with the [supposedly stable] releases, since Quality Control appears to be be virtually non existent. For example, with OpenSUSE 11.4, I immediately noticed issues from both a Live CD and a hard drive install with things like the Exposure Blender choice from the graphics menus not working, since you'll see an error that a library needed by Hugin is not installed. I also saw other issues with it during some quick testing. For example, when I clicked on the icon in the tray to install new updates and KPackagekit came up, it installed the updates and went to a blank KPackageKit screen with no indication that it finished anything, then tries to reinstall the same updates again if you try to get it working (even though they were already successfully installed). From what I can see of reviews, my experience is not unique (as I've seen reviewers comment on how KPackagekit appears to have issues). IOW, my first impressions (even after a hard disk install) were that OpenSUSE 11.4 is very buggy, and should have been labeled a beta versus final release (at least for the KDE Live CD version of it, as I haven't tried the DVD version yet). That kind of thing seems to be typical with some distros like OpenSUSE, where I wouldn't want to recommend them to anyone other than seasoned Linux users (that wouldn't mind working through the bugs to get a stable system), so that I wouldn't give Linux a bad reputation when users run into menu choices that don't work, bugs trying to update packages and more. IOW, from outward appearances after a quick look at it, nobody even bothered to test and make sure application menu choices worked, much less test applications more thoroughly to find bugs. IMO, it should have been labeled a beta, not a final release."

Thanks to all those who commented on this past week's posts. Once again, I have nothing planned for this coming week, but I'm sure I'll have something to write about. Again, if you like the stuff here, please continue subscribing and commenting!

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