Last week with my move and far to many things moving around me I had said I would double up this week with a install review of the wonderful newest version of Fedora and a side review of the Alpha Release of Ubuntu 12.10, a little change of plans though. Stage one is a bit of a change on how I select the OS to be reviewed and Stage 2 is a call for your suggestions.
How I am choosing the Distro to be reviewed will be based on the OS Ranking for the past 7 days at www.distrowatch.com. I like to look to what is up and coming and residing in the bottom third of the rankings there so I went out for a stroll and found:
The one danger about dealing with the bottom third is that these are not typically well funded developers with limit to unlimited bandwidth. As always, I download two copies (one from HTTP and the other by BitTorrent – so that it can be shared). Both downloads were relatively slow (averaging under 500kbps).
As for the support and documentation of the site…not bad. They do have a Twitter Feed but it is all but inactive (@SalineLinux) but the forum appears to be fairly active which is a good thing because with any Linux Distro, if the community is not active…it is really hard to survive in the rat race that is out there. I trolled through the directories of the Forum and at first glance it would appear that Saline is far more suited to the experienced Linux User and then I peeled back the layers and most of the issues were to do with the differences between Gnome/KDE and the XCFE interface that is used with Saline.
The Distro is Debian Based (yes I know step out of my comfort zone) and the ISO is kept to a respectable 984MB…still too big for a CD but I have not seen many Distros that stick to this goal anymore. 31 minutes for the download though…that might be a new record…was the wait worth it?
As always, I gave the OS a fairly robust starting point in my Virtual Machine with 20GB of space and 4GB of RAM. The LiveCD started up to the desktop really fast. The only issue I would say is that there is not a Desktop Icon to install and I had to dig into the System Settings to run the installer. A nice feature is that during the install it asks if you want to have the Restricted Plugins (ie multimedia plugins) installed. The included QuickStart Guide on the desktop does a good job of explaining the installation process which is key if you are looking to attract new users.
Included Apps with the Install:
- Thunar for File Management
- Chromium for the Browser
- RythmBox for multimedia
Overall the installation process was quick and painless taking less than 10 minutes to complete which makes up for the slower than normal download speeds. Under 30 seconds for the first Boot is Awesome (as my coworkers know…I am not very patient when it comes to boot times) and a really nice feature that I did not notice on the LiveCD portion is that there is a collapsable quick launch bar at the bottom of the screen!
Installing additional software uses Synaptic Package Manager, which over the years has become quite robust and easier to use but still requires some knowledge of what you want. It uses the Debian Repositories so that means there is the potential for nearly 30,000 additional packages that can be installed beyond the 1000+ that come with the OS.
If you are looking for speed, ease of use and an option to extend the life of an aging PC…I think that you would not be wrong in giving SalineLinux a run…it does not leave a Salty Taste in your mouth!
As for the rating…I am quite impressed but I feel that if you are going to jump over the 700MB install media…give more selection. I am not a fan of the Verbose Startup (I don’t like the endless scrolling of text – even if it is only for a few seconds) but overall a solid
Chris J Powell