Chris J Powell

OS Sunday – From the Mountains of Sri Lanka

One of the things that has truly amazed me during my Sunday Morning journeys out into the wilds of the Interwebz is that some of the most interesting Linux Distributions do not come from Silcon Valley or other typical Technology Hubs around the world.  They are built in the basements and spare time of some really interesting people from all over the globe. This week I ventured out and found a Linux Distribution named after its roots – Hanthana Linux was born in the mountains of Sri Lanka but has found a spot in my heart!

Based on the stable and well respected Fedora Operating System, Hanthana was a breeze to install and came with everything that a good OS should.  I opted for the 32-bit version because my wife told me that my “bandwidth usage” was getting a little out of control and the 3.2 GB 64-bit DVD would be a probably cause some issues at home.  I did alter the stats for the VM be cause of the 32-bit OS so with just 2 GB of RAM but the same 20 GB HDD I set off to put this OS through its paces.

Install was a breeze, I like the fact that the Fedora Installer has you create the Root Password during the first pass and then when the system is completely setup and reboots it asks you to create the first User on the system, assuming that the first user may not be the Admin is a nice change and makes sense for me as I am sure it would for most System Admins out there.

The first full boot up took well under 30 seconds coming in at just 22 seconds which is a solid start to my first run at a Fedora Based OS in a while.

The CD version comes with a minimalist feel to the applications included:

  • Firefox for Internet Browsing
  • Sylphfeed for Email
  • LibreOffice for Productivity
  • LXMusic for Audio
  • GXine for Video

With the small number of Apps it was time to see just how easy it was to locate the usual suspects and install some additional software.  Yum Extender was easy to find and upon opening it up I was greeted with a fairly extensive update list, but that is not what I was here for…I put the check marks into the additional repositories and set out to find some other software to install.

Longing for an easier way to find what I am looking for I had to scroll through the long list of available options and there was not even a simple way to narrow my search as there is with Synaptic Package Manager in Debian based systems.  The long list failed to turn up some key pieces that I need…like Opera and Chrome for browsing parity.  When I tried to sort by Categories the list turned up blank…this is a bad thing.

The system was stable though and is a testament to solid testing before release…I just wish that a “Software Center” but I did locate a reference to an upcoming release of one within he Fedora Project which is good.

Overall I was pleased with the look and feel of the LXDE based Desktop, it is responsive, fast and very stable…but because of the challenge in locating and installing new software using YUM Extender…it is tough to give it a full passing grade.

The other major challenge of the OS is there is not any Hanthana specific documentation available…that is a problem for me because relying on the Parent OS (in this case Fedora) but building your own setup…is just wrong.  For these reasons…I would have to give Hanthana just:

Cheers and happy Sunday!


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