If anyone can compare distribution speeds, it's me. I'm a distribution junkie. I launched my career as a Linux user with Slackware (very briefly), then moved on to Redhat 5.2. After a few months of that, I became a Mandrake user. After about two years of wheeling and dealing with Mandrake, a few friends suggested I try Gentoo. I was happy with Gentoo for a little while, but I found I was spending too much time tweaking my system than using it. My latest love affair is with Debian and I believe this time I've found a rock-solid Linux that's easy to maintain. I run Debian on my main system but that doesn't stop me from trying new distributions. I have a test system to try Yoper on.
System Specs for Test System
CPU: AMD Athlon 2800+ (2.08 GHz)
Memory: 512 MB
Video: Onboard S3 chipset
Audio: Onboard AC97
Hard Drive: 60 GB
Network: Onboard 1394 Net Adapter connected directly to the Internet
Yoper Linux is a distribution release from New Zealand based Yoper Ltd. Unlike a lot of distributions that are built on top of another, Yoper is built from scratch. Version V2 comes with a performance enhanced kernel 2.6.7 and KDE 3.2.3. Yoper seems to be a fairly up-to-date distribution with all software included being the latest stable versions. It comes on a single CD that you can download for free or purchase from a site such as linuxcd.org
I put the Yoper CD in the drive, and rebooted my system. After being greeted by a strange-looking Welcome screen, the installation threw me into a Linux prompt and informed me that I could start setup by typing in "yoper". I played around a little bit at the prompt and found out there were commands to mount partitions, chroot into an environment etc. It even had Vim for editing files. This means that the Yoper installation CD can be used as a rescue CD (which is always a good thing). After a while, I decided to launch the setup program.
The Yoper installer is a text-mode affair, something like Slackware's. After agreeing to the license agreement, the installer let me choose whether I wanted to check the integrity of my installation media. I decided to go ahead and do it even though the installer told me it's required only if you're having installation problems.
The next step was partitioning. The installer provided me with a list of my hard drives and told me to pick the one I wanted to install Yoper on. The installer informed me that I had to manually create exactly two partitions, a swap greater than 128 MB and root that was at least 3GB. I thought it was strange that I couldn't have more than two partitions. Like a lot of other installers such as Debian, Yoper's uses cfdisk for partitioning purposes. I created a 200 MB swap partition and a 4 GB root partition. The next step involved picking a swap partition and a root partition to use. Next came package selection. The installer then launched a utility called Ychooser with two choices. The first one was "Ydesktop: APT-able KDE base system" and the second was "Ycore - APT-able core linux". At this point I noticed the absence of any online help in the installer. I would have liked to have read a more detailed description of what packages I got with both Ycore and Ydesktop. I selected Ydesktop. The installer didn't let me select individual packages like I had hoped to.
Usually package selection is the last step before installation begins, but the installer asked me which filesystem I wanted. The choices available to me were Ext2, Ext3, ReiserFS. I chose ReiserFS (the default). I was dumped back to a prompt asking me to confirm the format which I did.
The installation itself didn't provide with any progress bars. It simply told me that installation would take between five and fifteen minutes. Meanwhile, I could watch the debug messages on the screen. But not for long, the install was done in about five minutes.
The post install first asked me if I wanted to run networksetup, to which I said yes since I am connected to a broadband connection. It also asked whether I wanted DHCP, to which I said yes again.
Next up was bootloader configuration. I was surprised that such a new distribution used my old friend LILO instead of the more modern GRUB. I could find no option to use GRUB as an alternative. The bootloader configuration screen was very confusing and even though I figured it out I was recommend that the Yoper folks think about changing it. The installer didn't ask me where I wanted to install LILO, so I'm assuming it was installed in the MBR.
Next on the agenda was selecting a time zone which turned out to be more complicated than it should have been. The last step required me to type 1 to confirm my timezone and 2 for not confirming it. Without reading I typed y for yes (that does make more sense) but the installer kept asking me to confirm my selection. It was only after I read the instructions, I realized I needed to type a 1. I do admit I am at fault for not reading but this step is still not very intuitive. In the next step, I was required to add a user and set the root password.
Finally, the installer was finished. I had to type "exit" and the enter. Then type "reboot" and enter. This could easily have done automatically for me, but it wasn't. The system restarted and Yoper was launched.
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