Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Distro upgrading today

Over the past few weeks, since there are not that many new distributions coming out right now - at least not the ones that I care to test and review - I have instead been testing Web browsers, pretty much on a constant basis, because I have been using the nightly trunk builds for both Firefox and Seamonkey - the Seamonkey nightly builds are what I use primarily for both Email and Web browsing, and I've been using nightly Shiretoko (Release 3.5) and Minefield (called 3.6 at the moment, but it is actually the future 4.0). All of them have been working fine.

I've been testing the Webkit browsers, but there have not been too many changes over the past week or two that I've spotted, so the pace of testing those has slowed as well.

Today, though, I am updating several distributions that are already existing on my systems. I am holding fast at the moment on my Gateway, using it in stable mode with sidux on the desk while I upgrade on my Lenovo laptop. I did sidux first, then Debian Lenny, then MEPIS LXDE respin, and I've just started upgrading the Mandriva Cooker - that can take a while because there are often a HUGE number of changes.

As expected, when I started the Cooker upgrade, it wanted permission to remove an existing package; this often happens because early package versions are not always what they will be when they are finalized, or even what they will be later in the testing.

I use the command sudo urpmi --auto-update the majority of time when I do the upgrades, and I typically use a desktop or window manager that does not have a large number of changes, such as IceWM, XFCE, or LXDE. IF those do change, I can switch to another DE or WM (Desktop Environment or Window Manager), but over the past year, using IceWM has worked out well. I happen to be using XFCE on the Cooker today, though.

There are 239 packages that will be changed in the initial Cooker update, and for all I know, there could be more afterward, so I will go on to other things - and that is why I have the Cooker on my test box - it can tie up things for a while.

Before I go, though, I want to give my congratulations to the Cooker team for their work. I have been using this particular Cooker since before Mandriva 2009.0 came out - probably installed it at a late Beta or early RC for 2009.0, then updated the repos and kept going. I've seen a few bad packages that I have had to remove, then later reinstall, but for the most part, this has been an excellent testing sandbox. It's more volatile than most, so I am not quite at the point where I'd trust it as my every day desktop, though with a better backup strategy, I probably could. I am really keen to see how far the Mandriva 2010.0 KDE 4.3 implementation has come along! Also, Mandriva has some of the best art work and default screen savers of any distribution - only Fedora gives it a run, but Mandriva beats it. Mandriva also runs circles around Fedora on the desktop, so playing with Mandriva Cooker as an experimental system is a no brainer - I do it at least monthly, but often more frequently than that.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Using sidux with Midori

I am here using sidux, my number one favorite Linux distribution, and I have been experimenting with Webkit based Web browsers over the past few weeks. I am getting to the point where I have some preferences, and this is it: Midori seems like it has the potential to evolve into one really fast, handy browser, especially if you want to create a light, fast desktop or window manager based system.

I have placed a comment in a reply to one of the sidux forum posts that Midori be considered for inclusion on the next sidux XFCE CD, either as the default XFCE browser or at least as an alternative that can be installed from the CD.

I now rate Midori as one of the fastest browsers. I found a few rendering issues, but they are minor, and I'd rate it better than Konqueror at accurately rendering most pages, including this blog. It is without question faster and more accurate than Konqueror, and sidux includes Konqueror as their default browser in the KDE edition, so I am lobbying to make Midori the new default Web browser in the next sidux XFCE edition; it deserves it.

Monday, June 08, 2009

antiX M8.2 Test 2

I have been using antiX M8.2 Test 2 for a week or two, on and off, and it has performed perfectly for me throughout that period of time. Being very intent on producing the very best effort, improving and extending as many features as possible, while keeping the core small, flexible, and tight, there are still a number of improvements the team is working on, especially in the areas of localization, remastering, and customizing. That work is coming along very well, and a release should be forthcoming in the not too distant future.

If you like fast, flexible systems that are still solid, even with relatively current software, or you have an aging computer that you still want to use, antiX is a great distribution to try out!

In between the time

Right now, sidux is coasting along in a very good 2009.01 release. Since the release, they have helped to smooth the transition in the Debian Sid repositories from KDE 3.5.10 to KDE 4.2.2 on the desktop, and have since moved from KDE 4.2.2 to 4.2.4, all before releasing a Version 2009.02. In addition, the 2009 release streams have supported clean migrations to a new version of in the 1.6 tree, a new release of the XFCE 4.6 desktop, and a number of changes in Open Office. sidux has done all of them very well.

I've been looking forward to a new release, but frankly, the release that is already in place has been doing a superb job. On my main system, I will probably just upgrade and possibly bring in the new art work, but I will probably grab the ISO image and load the new one, when it does come out. Meanwhile, all is very well in sidux land!