Review: Chakra 2011.12 "Edn"

There's a new build of Chakra out, and I have some free time to check it out, so I'm doing so now. The other reason why I want to try it now is because a member of my family was raving about KDE in Fedora, so I figured it would be worth my time to dig deeper and see if I can massage KDE into becoming something that I could really like and use regularly. I'll spare any introductions because I've reviewed Chakra enough times already, so I'll skip to the main part of it.

Kickoff + KDE System Monitor
There doesn't seem to have been too much changed from the last version, aside from updates of applications across the board. But now that the day is getting closer for me to look into upgrading from Linux Mint 9 LTS "Isadora", I'm not just going to do my usual testing, but I'm also going to dig a bit deeper and really see if I can recreate something at least as good as what I have right now. With any Ubuntu-based distribution, it's almost guaranteed to be a trivial process, but with Chakra, I can't say that with as much confidence off-hand. I did all the testing using a live USB made with MultiSystem; I did not test the installation. Also, do note that I tested the DVD edition this time, so it does have more stuff out-of-the-box than the CD edition, which is what I have tested in the past. Follow the jump to see what it's like.


Done with 3rd Semester!

I'm finally done with my 3rd semester! Yay! Although this semester I was just taking the classes for my major/that I wanted to take, thanks to the combination of 4 classes (all of which have problem sets and exams), a UROP, and grading, this semester was way more grueling than any previous semester. Thankfully, I think I've done fine, so I feel like I would be better prepared to do the same (4 classes, a UROP, and grading) next semester.
But before I need to worry about next semester or even IAP, I get to go home for winter break! Woohoo!


Featured Comments: Week of 2011 December 11

There weren't any posts the previous week, so that's why there was no "Featured Comments" post last week. That's because I was quite busy that week finishing up the last of my problem sets and midterm exams. This past week, there was one post that got a handful of comments, so I'll repost a few from that.

Review: VectorLinux 7.0 Standard Gold

Reader Barista Uno said, "I have the same experience in regard to the speed of Vector Linux 7.0. It is noticeably slower than SalixOS 13.37 when installed on one of my rigs, a vintage HP Pavilion running on 500MZ processor and 500MB RAM. SalixOS is well-integrated, elegant looking and snappy. Unfortunately, I had to replace it with Bodhi Linux 1.2.1 on the same machine because it uses LILO instead of GRUB or GRUB2 and applications available are limited."
Commenter kelvin said, among other things, "i have not used vector for a long time but I have used Salix and it is fast. In answer to Barista, what is wrong with lilo it does all that grub does I used it with multiboot win+ 4 linux distros no problem. regards software with Salix you have the whole world of Slackbiulds at your feet and a wonderfull packagebuilt system that finds all the deps. Also 64bt uses only 180mb ram running KDE4 its more stable than bodhi."
Reader kevin had these issues: "i tried vector linux 7.0 and it ran fine on my machine with the live usb but trying to installl it would not order my drives correctly. i have 1 IDE for my OS drive plus multiple SATA drives for storage. it would not see the IDE as drive A which every other OS does. ended up going with pinguyOS".
Commenter Ken had a few suggestions: "Nice to see a review on Vectorlinux. Thanks. There are a couple points I would like to look further into. 1. This distro is one of very few running the latest Xfce. Since it is new, I think some of your reviewing audience would have liked to hear what you thought of it's newest features. Networking right in Thunar, compositing, etc. 2. Kind of unfair comparing speed of Vectorlinux to a distribution that is not running the newest Xfce. If you want to compare apples to apples, turn off the avahi daemon, (old xfce never did networking), turn of compositing, and quit cairo-doc. (You can take Cairo-doc out of auto-start if you never want to see it again.) 3. Sure you can install google talk. Here is how. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsOjNA0OaoE 4. Your comment "ie for powerusers". This is just not true. After install everything is ready to go. Codecs, applications, drivers. Where does the need to be a power user come in." I especially appreciated the video made just in response to this article.

Thanks to all those who commented on this past week's posts. This coming week, I have final exams, so I don't think I'll be posting anything new. In any case, if you like what I write, please continue subscribing and commenting!


Review: VectorLinux 7.0 Standard Gold

One of the distributions I've been wanting to check out for a while now has been VectorLinux. Recently, version 7.0 of VectorLinux was released, so I'm reviewing it.

Main Screen
What is VectorLinux? It's a Slackware-based distribution that ships customized versions of Xfce and KDE that aim to be a lot more user-friendly, while retaining the benefits of using Slackware. The version I'm reviewing today is the Xfce edition ("Standard"), because the KDE edition ("SOHO") of version 7.0 hasn't been released, and as far as I understand it is not free of charge.

I tested the live session using a live USB made with MultiSystem. I tested the installation in VirtualBox on a MultiSystem-made Xubuntu 11.10 "Oneiric Ocelot" live USB, with 1024 MB of RAM allocated to the guest OS. Follow the jump to see what it's like.


Featured Comments: Week of 2011 November 27

There were two posts that got a handful of comments this past week, so I'll try to repost a few from each.

Review: openSUSE 12.1 GNOME + KDE

An anonymous reader also had some audio issues and some tips to deal with them: "I noticed some quirks with sound when upgrading a couple of systems previously from openSUSE 11.3 to 11.4, in part I think because PulseAudio had now been imposed as default. You could try running Alsamixer in a terminal and fiddle about with some of the switches for mic autodetect / speaker out / LFE, etc. Or try upping the volumes of anything that is muted in there. When I did that, suddenly the sound issues got sorted out, and neither YaST nor Kmixer's controls had been able to do the same. However, I'm not sure if having PulseAudio installed limits Alsamixer's controls, in which case you'd need to either run a PulseAudio-specific tool like pavucontrol or uninstall PulseAudio altogether (by deleting all pulse* files in YaST but for libpulse and rebooting). Anyway, just a hunch. Maybe you've got some other issue."
Another anonymous commenter had the opposite experience — lots of problems in version 11.4, only to see them all solved in version 12.1: "I was glad to get off of 11.4 . I had some font/sound and more issues with 11.4 that I was never able to resolve. For me 12.1 has been awesome. I don't mind Gnome 3.x or KDE and either works well. Sound and font issues are a thing of the past. As well, the annoying beep I would get on my laptop on shutdown with 11.4 is now gone - happy days!!! I have done 4 installs and only one of them has given me issues. I do believe it is hardware based though. My wife, who is not technical, loves suse 12.1 and functions well with both interfaces. So 12.1 gets my vote."
Reader buy my laptop had this to report: "Have been testing 12.1 and the only issue I found was that the wireless network does not log in automatically."
Commenter m_goku said, "openSUSE 12.1 is the first openSUSE that had a lot of issues for me. My bluetooth does not work, loading kmix make KDE stall for a long time, my wifi unable to detect encrypted AP, and it fail to detect my printer. I uninstall pulseaudio, that fix my issue with kmix. And then i uninstall systemd-sysvinit, that fixed my issue with bluetooth. Load my printer ppd file manually (from YAST printer module), fixed my issue with printer. The last one is issue with my wifi, unfortunately i don't know how to fix it."

Review: Linux Mint 12 "Lisa" GNOME + MATE

Reader kelvin had this defense of GNOME 3 Shell: "what is so hard with moving the mouse to the right hand side of the screen to preview minimised programs or using gnome window switcher extention yes a extention get real compiz extentions aren't installed by default niether is windows its up to you if you want to use them or not also as far as i know compiz works with gnome3 but not in gnome shell or it did upto 3 months ago. gnome 3 will carry on where 2 left off when people stop slaging it off and start using it also as far as i know developement of comppiz ended a long time ago so its days are numbered."
An anonymous commenter said, "i have installed mint gnome and mint mate from a ubuntu mini.iso and mint gnome3 works nice with compiz. for mate i had to install it and enable it from mateconf manager (replace the /desktop/mate/session/required-components/windowmanager/ marco with compiz)".
 Reader Psychorat had this tip: "Robert, you've got a point there as KDE is more mature than Gnome3. But as a gtk lover i prefer the interface minimality of Gnome3. Im quite sure that the customization that is missing right now, will be come pretty fast as the users push for it. Compiz with gnome3 is an issue as i tested atm. Gnome3 shell / Compiz = Panels are disappearing Gnome3 Failback Mode / Compiz = Working Mate / Compiz = Working To enable the compiz in MATE, do what i mention above: 'From mateconf manager (replace the /desktop/mate/session/required-components/windowmanager/ marco with compiz)' Also it helps to install fusion-icon Mate Team workaround 1 (didnt work for me) https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?pid=983409#p983409 Mate Team workaround 2 https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?pid=985190#p985190".
Another anonymous commenter said, "[...] I have subsequently downloaded LM12, and tested it. So far the only problem I've had is it fails to recognise the different resolutions of the two monitors, on my test machine, settiing both to the same resolution as the lower of the two. In all other respects MATE appears to function the same as I am used to with GNOME 2.x. It's a releif to know that when I do finally upgrade, I have a decent upgrade path available."

Thanks to all those who commented on this past week's posts. This coming week, I don't really have anything planned because I'm probably going to be quite busy. Anyway, if you like what I write, please continue subscribing and commenting!