posted by Tyler Bancroft on Wed 18th Feb 2004 20:35 UTC

"Libranet on a laptop, Page 3/3"
I logged in and tried setting up network support (again). Nope. I restarted, booted into another OS, and went to Libranet's web site, to find out that they have an extensive support database. Lo and behold, they had an entry for installing the driver for a BCM4400. It's at http://libranet.com/support/2.8/0316. They provide an installer for the driver. Download the file, untar it, go to a terminal, and a simple "./install.sh" will have you up and running.

The distro has something known as the Adminmenu. It's a masterwork. You can do anything from there. Configure X, play with printer and network settings, and upgrade your system from the Libranet archive. It even helps you recompile your kernel. It's really a great piece of software, for both power and beginning users.

Next up I wanted to see if power management was there. It wasn't. Another trip to the support page of Libranet's site yielded two options. (the relevant page is at http://libranet.com/support/2.8/0325) The faster method is to edit /etc/modules, and delete the line that reads "apm". Then go to /etc/default/acpid and add 'MODULES="all"'. If it works, great. It didn't work for me. I tried the second, more time consuming method. Download the offered file from the page mentioned above and untar it. Switch into the "acpi" directory, and run the following commands in a terminal. "script acpi.log", followed by "./install.sh". Wait a while your kernel is recompiled. It took my machine about 20 minutes or so. I rebooted and had working ACPI support.

PCMCIA support was fine. It automatically detected a generic CompactFlash reader I have, and although I never got the Intel network card working, I did get a 3Com card up and running.

After it's all said and done, I'm happy. It took work, but I now have an extremely stable Debian-based system. I got the nvidia drivers installed, and set my resolution to 1400x1050. I'm suprised at the speed of Libranet. A lot of distros feel a bit slower, or as slow as WinXP on the same system. Libranet feels much more responsive than Windows, or SuSE 9. Not quite as blistering as Slackware, but it's fast. Libranet as a whole is an excellent experience. The distribution is well structured and enjoyable to use, and has the added benefit of a large support database and a forum with 2000 members and growing. Libranet is solid and enjoyable, and worth a try if you want a distro to do just about anything.

UPDATE: I've been informed that I made a mistake in the review. You can install the NVidia drivers during installation. I said that you were not able to do so. I'm extremely sorry for any problems this has caused.

Ratings:

Ease of installation: 8.0/10
It's text-based, but there's plenty of help along the way. There are a few quirks here and there, but all in all it's acceptable. One problem of note is the inability to see how big your package selection is. I'd like to know whether I'm installing 800MB of software or 4GB.

Partitioning: 6.5/10
I'd like to see an option to automatically reduce the size of Windows partitions, but it'll be okay for someone with experience. If you're a beginner, browse the forums and support pages, just to get an idea of what you're doing.

Software: 9.5/10
Lots of software included. Apt-get means that you can install just about anything without problem. The Libranet Archive is a neat idea, giving you stable software with the click of a button.

Hardware compatibility: 9.0/10
With work, Libranet supports a lot of hardware. I tried it on an old machine (desktop) with some weird hardware, and it worked fine. If something doesn't work, it's probably on the support page. Still, things like my network card should be supported out of box.

Power management: 9.0/10
After I recompiled my kernel, ACPI worked fine. Marks deducted for having to recompile my kernel, but not many because it was so simple.

Personal feel: 9.5/10
I like Libranet. A lot. It's a distribution I enjoy using. It's stable, fast, and actually fun at times. Neat features like the Adminmenu and the Libranet Archive are worth trying this distro.

Overall rating: 8.6/10
In the end, it's a distro that takes a bit of work and patience to get up and running, but is extremely stable, fast and well supported. Easily a distribution that can be used by both power-users and beginners alike. Definitely appropriate for use on a laptop.

Table of contents
  1. "Libranet on a laptop, Page 1/3"
  2. "Libranet on a laptop, Page 2/3"
  3. "Libranet on a laptop, Page 3/3"
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