failing like never before


Zenwalk, Elive, and Vector Linux

A little bit about Zenwalk 4.6, Elive 1.0, and Vector Linux 5.8 SOHO.

I took Zenwalk off my computer, it just wasn't for me. For the most part, it ran quite well, it was fast and responsive and configured nearly all my hardware for me. Netpkg is pretty cool, it removes the chore of building everything from source and it also has dependency checking. But I had one really stupid problem, aside from the monitor resolution detection. When I pressed control+alt+backspace, instead of rebooting X, Zenwalk simply locked up. At first, I thought that maybe Zenwalk was just slow to restart X, but after ten minutes it was still locked up and completely unresponsive. Anyways, I thought Zenwalk wasn't too bad, but it just didn't fit me.

I'm going to stick over Elive for a moment, and talk a bit about Vector Linux SOHO edition. Its also Slackware based, and is amazingly fast, just like they advertise it to be. I didn't check how long it took to install, but it seemed quite fast, and bootup times were really quite amazing, practically instantaneous. Of course, just like almost ever other distro on this planet, VL didn't detect my monitor or set the resolution correctly. But unlike Zenwalk which, set it to a fairly readable 1024x768, VL set my resolution to 640x480. And of course, my monitor stretched everything out to fit it on my 22 inch widescreen, and I couldn't see a thing. I managed to shut down X and get into a command line so I could start editing xorg.conf. (I have to say, that the "gtf" command is my hero, I don't know what I'd do without it.) After a few false starts, I managed to get my resolution all set up and was able to finally use the GUI parts of the distro. I was able to play music and watch videos without doing anything. Like I mentioned before, everything was responsive and blazingly fast. I wasn't a big fan of all the extra software included (do I really need three different web browsers?) but after all I did get the SOHO edition, there's a lighter weight edition that doesn't have all the redundant programs included. Vector also has its own package management system and dependency checking. Its called slapt-get (kinda like Debian's apt-get) and is as easy to use as Debian's. VL is a great distro, easy to use for linux noobs (as long as their monitor isn't too big) and runs great right out of the box without any configuration. Its also supposed to be able to run really old computers and restore some new life into that pentium pro in your garage.

I decided to install Enlightenment in Vector Linux (Enlightenment is amazing, I'll write a little more about it later). I'm not much of a KDE fan (VL comes with KDE) and I always end up installing GTK based apps to replace the QT based ones. Really, the only QT app that I like is KTorrent. I couldn't find Enlightenment in the repositories, so I had to download the libraries and build them by hand. Anyways, I experienced some problems with the installing proccess. Its been a while and I've removed VL from my computer since, so I can't quite remember what happened. Anyhoo, I kept VL for a bit, and then I decided to give Elive a test run just to see what it was like, and if I could use it to replace VL.

I'll write a review about Elive later, but for now, I'll just say that Elive is a pretty nifty distro, and it works perfectly for me.