[conspire] Random distro news
rick at linuxmafia.com
Sat Jan 14 13:55:37 PST 2012
I wonder if Bruce, as a KDE3 die-hard might enjoy the new-ish Razor-qt
desktop environment? http://razor-qt.org/
The rather awful name is meant to convey the notion that it's based on
the QT graphics toolkit (like KDE and Webkit), but is lightweight, fast,
high-performance (the 'razor' bit). Like other DEs, it has the
obligatory panel, desktop, app launcher, settings tool, and session
management. Like other DEs, it can be wrapped around essentially any
window manager. Most Razor-qt users choose Openbox, and it's probably
the default WM in various distro packages -- but you can use fvwm2,
kwin (traditional KDE WM), and so on if you prefer.
Easy packages are available for lots of distros: Debian, Ubuntu,
OpenSUS, Fedora, Arch, and so on.
Basically, Razor-qt is to KDE what Xfce4 and LXDE are to GNOME.
Back when the Mandriva S.A. company (ex-Mandrakesoft) in Paris laid off
all its developers and then collapsed, passing the husk of the Mandriva
distribution to a firm in St. Petersburg, Russia, 'Mageia' was founded
as a community distribution by the departed developer team. The St.
Petersburg firm promised that Mandriva would continue, and I heard an
astonishing amount of backtalk from Mandriva fans when I told them that
Mageia was their obvious route forward. Many told me they were banking
on Mandriva. I really have not a clue why; it seems like irrational
The other shoe has now fallen: Mandriva is pretty much falling apart,
and is not likely to continue: https://lwn.net/Articles/474544/
Meanwhile, Mageia produced a very respectable 1.0 release that updates
Mandriva and publish an excellent migration guide
(http://www.mageia.org/en/1/migrate/ They're a little slow with their
development cycle, but that's understandable under the circumstances,
and Mandriva was itself a little slow. Mageia just put out its second
alpha of a 2.0 upcoming release.
What's Mageia good for? One, good KDE4. Two, really good, consistent,
polished internationalisation for various European languages (better
than average for Linux). For us English-speakers, the KDE4 setup and
its 'semantic destkop' features are probably the main attraction, for
those who like such things. OpenSUSE is probably the other main KDE4
standard-bearer: Other distros such as Fedora, Kubuntu, Debian, etc.
lack the polish.
Bodhi Linux continues to develop its fast, very polished distribution
based on the 'Enlightenment' (e17) aka 'E' desktop environment, a DE
with a long history but that _used_ to be very graphics heavy, bloated,
and often unstable. To the astonishment of us old-timers, E is now
lightweight and high-performance, while still eye-pleasing. Bodhi
itself bases its underlying architecture on Ubuntu LTS versions, and
expects to produce four distro 'point' releases every year. They just
released 1.3.0 for x86.
Bodhi should be especially attractive to people disaffected with recent
GNOME antics. If you're one of those, give it a try (but expect to
spend some time working on fleshing out its very minimalist default
Speaking of GNOME, the Linux Mint people continue to take steps to make
GNOME3 and Unity refugees at home, having produced a new fork of GNOME
Shell called 'Cinnamon' with a GNOME2-like layout, thus aiming to
make fans of GNOME2-style aesthetics and functionality happy and still
be able to rely on underlying GNOME3 technology under the hood.
Cinnamon seems likely to be Linux Mint's long-term successor to the
temporary solution of MGSE (Mint GNOME Shell Extensions) and MATE, and I
suspect it will soon be widely available in distributions generally.
(In case I wasn't clear, it's brand-new though reportedly pretty solid.)
My personal favourite way of installing Debian, the 'aptosid' live CDs
(offering KDE4, Xfce4, or Fluxbox by default) continue to crank along
with their more-or-less quarterly releases. aptosid 2011-03 'Ponos' was
released on New Year's Day.
Aptosid now has its very own dissident fork, a desktop distro called
'Siduction' allegedly because of stifling overcontrol by the Aptosid
developers. We shall see:
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