Friday, February 27, 2009

Linux Mint Felicia - A Review

I like distro hopping... can you tell? I've used about 12 distributions (each installed multiple versions and times...) in the 9 months since I've built this computer, and I dont think I'll be moving from Debian based distros... they're too good =).

Anyway, back to work. Today I am reviewing Linux Mint 6 "Felicia", a Ubuntu derivative.The version I happen to be reviewing is the Gnome 2.24 version as at the time of installation, the KDE version was not "stable". Ah well...

Mint is known for a couple of things - its great multimedia support, with codecs included out of the box, and its mintTools. The mintTools group includes

  • mintInstall, to install programs (Ubuntu equiv: Add/Remove Programs)
  • mintAssistant, to set up root password and quotes (Ubuntu equiv: ???)
  • mintBackup (Ubuntu equiv: sBackup, still my pref)
  • mintNanny (Ubuntu equiv: ???)
  • mintUpdate (Ubuntu equiv: Update Manager)
mintInstall I don't exactly like. It only installs from the Software Portal, therefore is limited in what it can install. It has the same problem Fedora 9's PackageKit had at launch- you pick one, click install, pick another, blah blah blah. It would be nice to pick all you want to install THEN install, like in Add/Remove Programs.

mintAssistant I dont really have a review on, just answer the questions and go.

I have not tested mintBackup, only sBackup

mintNanny is simple. It adds an entry in /etc/hosts to report the domain as having an IP of or something. I only tested it once and it works great, though if the site uses www. or anything other than the main .com (or if org or net) you need to block those too. Also, block the sites IP address.

mintUpdate is the only mint tool I use, except for the SuSE like mintMenu, which I will not review, look at for that. mintUpdate is awesome because it tells the stability of the packages in color and number format. Other than that, Ubuntu Update Manager users will be familiar.

Right off the bat, I feared the DHCP only bug in Ubuntu Intrepid. This would eliminate any hopes of Static IP after reboots. Luckily, that bug is not there =) Other bugs (not too many though as Mint mostly uses upstream packages) have been fixed, and all lives in peace.

Out of the box, the codecs for a lot (read: enough to satisfy most people) of formats are included, and DVD's supposedly play out of the box. I'll be testing that soon with my Talledega Nights DVD, once I close up the Virtual Machine for Kubuntu Jaunty Alpha (which I'll be reviewing later...).

So basically, if you are a multi-media freak (or addict) go for it. Look for more info on

Have any suggestions on posts to make? email me at joshuaklar24 PLUS uab AT gmail DOT com

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

FreeBSD 7.1 - A Review

Today I installed FreeBSD 7.1 on a Ultra Sparc 5 box, and decided to review it so the blog doesnt look so blank. The Sparc release doesnt get the snazzy boot loader or nothing, but is secure and stable as a rock, when configured right. Using pkg_add things go nicely. It happens to be just like urpmi or apt-get, just a tad more advanced. If you use Solaris (not openSolaris) then this should be a breeze for you. pkg_add -r kde and DING DING DING dinners ready :) .

The installer is pretty straight-forward, but I am not able to get screenshots, sorry. Its a text installer, and a CRT monitor, so screenies are about impossible. But, I used the boot-only disc, set up partitions, the network (static ip, here) and what packages I wanted installed, and it did its thing for about 15 or 20 minutes, while I made the floor vibrate thanks to the mp3's I had playing on my Kubuntu 8.04 LTS desktop with my subwoofer and Altec Lansing speakers. :) If you install the Xorg-KernDev group like I did the total install is about 45 mins or so, like Linux. No bigee.

The bigee comes when you dont know what groups to add your user to and then when you do su - in bsd it flunks out. >:( Solve: Add your user(s) to the wheel group. Either through install OR through the PW command (see FreeBSD Handbook).

And I have no clue WHAT happened here, but something screwed my /boot directory so I had to reinstall the dang thing. I think it may just be the computer I installed it on, because its power has been snippy for a while now. But now it flickers a lot. Whatever. X11 works, once installed, but I could not login so somewhere its those dag-nabbit groups again to let me login through X.

None the less, it is pretty stable if you have a stable computer, and overall I give it about a 5.7/10. I'll probably still be stickin with Ubuntu and Arch Linux =).