Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 18th Oct 2006 17:00 UTC, submitted by michuk
Linux "Frugalware is an independent GNU/Linux distribution similar to Slackware, aiming at simplicity, speed and multimedia support. It features a wide software repository, managed by Pacman from Archlinux, which resolves dependencies and makes system updates easy. I'm going to walk you through the process of installing and configuring the latest version (0.5) of this outstanding OS."
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Great start, not quite ready yet.
by B. Janssen on Wed 18th Oct 2006 17:44 UTC
B. Janssen
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I largely agree with the review, FW 0.5 is a promising distribution. But it is not yet ready for prime time. I for one found the package management to be rough (as compared to Debian) and the network configuration is not up to snuff for mobile computing. Switching between different networks was not hassle-free.
OTOH, FW 0.5 allows easy access to a lot of *bling, bling* like XGL/Compiz with just one simple shell command and takes a lot of multimedia worries of the shoulders of the users. DVD playback, Win32 codecs, Flash, Java, all work out of the box. If you think this is good or bad is another issue.
One more thing, if you are going to try FW, download the complete set of CDs or the DVD, netinstall was not working properly.

Reply Score: 3

rx182 Member since:

OTOH, FW 0.5 allows easy access to a lot of *bling, bling* like XGL/Compiz with just one simple shell command and takes a lot of multimedia worries of the shoulders of the users. DVD playback, Win32 codecs, Flash, Java, all work out of the box. If you think this is good or bad is another issue.

Hehe, you know what's really funny? I'm sure everyone love it when things like Win32 Codecs and Flash work out of the box. They just don't say it for political reason. I'm happy to see a FREE distro with so much support for non-free software. It can saves people a few hours on a reinstall. Bravo Frugalware!

Reply Score: 3

My OS of choice
by korpenkraxar on Wed 18th Oct 2006 22:09 UTC
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I've been pitching FW here at osnews in different threads lately. It is a very promising distro indeed, but it has some quirks still.

The good

* Very snappy i686 or x86_64 versions. X, KDE and other apps feel a quite bit more responsive on my 1.5GHz Centrino laptop than any Debian/derivative I've tried so far. It is also stable. No crash so far.

* Boot time is very fast. Important if you have a HP laptop with borked ACPI that can not suspend.

* Font rendering in X is superb; the subtile aa is the best I've seen. I don't now why though, I haven't dug into the details. Apple should take notes.

* Installation is easy, netinstall has always worked for me, localization works well and the package selection is quite good. Choosing the "development" option, I have yet to find source code I can not compile due to missing tools.

* pacman is quite functional and fast. repoman is an interesting complement for software with more problematic distribution licenses.

* They have started making their own graphical front ends for some system configuration tasks which work quite nice indeed.

* The developers and community are very helpful and are always just an IRC-channel or forum post away. The virtues of a small distro applies really here; by sending feedback, suggestions and bug reports you will quickly get appreciating responses from the devs. Very nice.

What needs improvement

* Some hardware detection could to be smoother. I had to add ACPI modules and speedstepping manually for my laptop for instance.

* A package library is never complete; their repository is not match for Debian's, but it is getting better all the time. On the other hand, I like having all software in the official rep, instead of having to mess with sources.list and encryption keys in Debian.

* Building fpm packages from source is doable, but it can be a bit tricky to format the FrugalBuild instruction file correctly at times. This needs better documentation.

* Upgrading from 0.4 to 0.5 on my desktop computer did not work for me. I got some very ugly error. Ouch:
*** glibc detected *** double free or corruption (fasttop): 0x087806f8 ***

Taking a step back and looking at the whole distro biota, it seems to me as it has found a niche sort of in between "techie" distros like Gentoo, Arch and Slackware and "universal" distros like Debian and Fedora. It may take the "short-sighted" pragmatic approach to non-free software, but freedom was always about individual choice I guess. It's snappy, stable, smart, good-looking and fun. What more could a geek ask for?

Edited 2006-10-18 22:11

Reply Score: 2

RE: My OS of choice
by Ben Jao Ming on Thu 19th Oct 2006 09:04 UTC in reply to "My OS of choice"
Ben Jao Ming Member since:

Thanks! Now I don't have to read the review from the article ;)

I think Sabayan and FrugalWare are two very promising distros that show what a small, but devoted team of developers can accomplish by having a pin-pointed goal. And this FrugalWare looks like an upcoming winner, because of the gradual progress, it's made for quite a while now.

Reply Score: 1

by zombie process on Thu 19th Oct 2006 18:46 UTC
zombie process
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I think it's a fantastic distro - running current can be a little trixy to do w/o breakage, but still, it's fantastic. I'm amazed at how polished it is for how small a distro it is - very nice boot splash, very nice fonts, very large package selection. I don't get the "not ready for prime time" bit - it's as ready as many other distros - kind of bleeding edge, sure, but running release rather than current helps a lot with that. No, it isn't ubuntu, and there is a fairly large degree of work that has to be done to complete an install, but for its intended userbase, I think it's doing very well.

My question is where are all the users? The forums and mailing list are dead. The devs have been very responsive, though, IME. I'm just hoping it survives, unlike Rubix, which was similar in amany ways.

Reply Score: 1