Category Archives: Linux Live

Suse or Trisequel or Mandriva

I looked at my blog posts and discovered that I have no entry for Suse.
This is to rectify that omission.
Unfortunately I am bit explicit here.
Suse or Trisequel or Mandriva

Suse Linux had a special place in my choices before it went commercial. I left Fedora and embraced Suse Linux and had been using it from Suse 8. Till Suse 10.1 there was no problem and when it was taken by Novel I had lot of expectations. Novel concentrated on server but I believe like Redhat neglected the desktop version. By Suse 11.1, I was changing my allegiance. Mainly due to it’s failure in commercial support of the desktop version.
It was less than ideal.
Then it’s alliance with Microsoft was not a favorable enterprise.
I will talk about the plus points first.
It had one of the best installation script even though unlike Redhat sometimes tends to miss some of my other Linux distributions already installed in the box. It also had a very good partition utility when compared to other Linux distributions except Mandrake, Debian and Redhat. It’s YAST was a very good configuration utility. Its KDE was bulky but very attractive. Then it introduced the Suse Studio where one can Mix and Match utilities and make one’s own Live distribution. In fact, I made one distribution myself. ChromeOs is one of those distributions a that took root from Suse Studio. From then onwards I shifted my allegiance totally and it’s Milestone releases are “pain in the neck” and worse than the Fedora experience for me.
I stopped downloading and testing them after the last version 11.2. When I saw many innovations in other Live CD/DVDs it was easy for me to ditch it in favour of PClinux.
Now few of my reason for ditching it.
It is bulky and consumes lot of RAM.
It is slow in boot up.
Its downloading of Linux images was bad.
It tends to pile up all the junk temporary files and what really annoyed me was it did not have a way of cleaning up and deleting large files. With time file corruption ensued. At that stage to save time I had to dump it and never used it again.
It stopped reading partitions above 15 and with me having 5 to 6 distributions in one box it was restricting my freedom. With disks of 500 GiB coming to the market restricting to 15 partition was a stupid idea. Only Microsoft would have done it that way. New Windows 8 not allowing alternative operations to boot is a case in point.
It also take the belief and shoot that belief out of window that commercial ventures do add value and complementary and better than community work.
Suse desktop was a commercial failure for the happy faces of Microsoft and Apple CEOs.
I wanted to write about Trisequel here instead of Suse but took the decision if I do not write little bit of Suse and its history, justice is not done to those developers who created Suse.
I will be brief in here writing about Trisequel. Suse and Mandrake took Open Software theme to the extreme and in their early releases excluded all packages which had slightest taint of commercial tags and did not include things like Flash and the like limiting the functionality for those who migrating from Microsoft background. They then bundled them in their commercial counterpart to lure them to buy their distributions. This was not a healthy ploy, and the clever customer like me can see the commercial intent. I have personal experience with Suse the details which I decline to state here.
XandosOS is another good commercial product which apply this principle.
I should close this entry with why I have not included Mandrake. Many reasons as stated above an it’s split recently into two. Mandrake has been acquired by a Russian company and it is applying rigid and regimental style, somewhat akin to military. The breakaway Mageia is not yet mature. I wish both of these endevours success but hesitate to recommend them just for now.
Coming back to Trisequel if one wants a pure Linux derivative and beautiful and clean distribution too, I have no hesitation of recommending Trisequel that come from Spain and has English version too.
It has everything except cloud utilities.
That shoots two birds with one go.
1. No commercial involvement or enticements.
2. True to it’s Linux base.
So if any Linux distribution goes commercial like Redhat focus that commercial aspect and give customer due care which Suse failed in desktop range. I am not stating that Redhat customer service good. It is far from it but it knows it’s obligation and working towards that goal at least in the server section.
Redhat is well known for failing the desktop clients.

Going for a uniform Linux Live CD/DVD approach

There are many Live CD/DVDs for one to try but there is lack of uniformity in their final output.

For example some live CDs boot without a password.

Some do not have root permission.

Equally there are different names for the user and  equally bewildering passwords for root.

I have a few suggestions for future live CD/DVD developers having tested over 200 over the past two years.

1. Live boot should be guest and the past word should be guest.

2. Root password should always be root.

Other alternative is to assign a password for root at the boot up time which few live CDs let one do.

3. Live CD/DVDs should always have a X Windows. 

If there is no X windows they should be named as console boot ups not live CDs. One cannot see live in a console boot ups and they are for administrators doing maintenance work.

4. They should have UnetBootIn included for it to be booted into a USB.

That is the easiest and the best way.

Alternative is to have a simple script or simple graphic utility for preparation of a pendrive and not command terminal.

5. They need not be DVDs but having fully fledged DVD is good if one wants to install it after a live session.

6. By default include install script.

In the alternative have one Live CD and one install CD.

7. They should include Cloud Utilities by default in preparation of the IT sea change that is happening now.

8. What to be included can be decided independently to the taste of the developer (not the user).

For example take 4MLinux.

It is very small but it has four components.

1. Multimedia.

2. Mini Server

3. Maintenance Utility

4. Mystery or games.

Damn Small Linux is another example.

Gparted for partitioning.

SliTaz is another example.

Browser Pup is another very good example.

For desktop environment Zenlive approach is good.

It has 5 different CDs.

Or take the approach of PClinux which has several CDs. Mini, Medium and Standard and a big daddy approach of FullMonty (September version is out).

It is high time Live CD / DVDs take cloud computing seriously and have approach like Ubuntu One or CloudUSB or JoliCloud.

The threat of Google Android’s invasion should be beaten sooner than late.

I like the CloudUSB approach very much except it’s passwords.

EyeNux is another good one gone into hibernation.

I hope many more brighter ideas would emerge from crafty developers.

9. There are two other important points. One is to have simple instruction included in the CD/DVD itself.

10. They should also have a good home page if the developers are expecting users to visit site for information and feedback.

For example there is a Live CD distribution based on Slackware PocketWriter which is pretty good and a personnel contribution but no home page or instructions. I wanted to suggest they should include a install script and I could not do that.

Home page is very important.