posted by Phil Hall on Mon 31st Jan 2005 09:08 UTC

"VectorLinux, Page 2/2"
Appearance:

Every icon and display of VectorLinux is clean and concise. It looks really good. There's no uneeded junk going on except the anomalous modem icon on my desktop--this computer has no modem, something correctly detected at install, that makes me think that this icon shouldn't be here.

Reponsiveness:

VectorLinux is fast. Darn fast. I don't believe I've seen a KDE distribution move so quickly before. It's been a long time since I've felt that kind of responsive feel from a distribution. The VectorLinux team made some kind of improvements that I appreciate, even if I don't know what it was. The time to boot is swift, the login process is streamlined and faster than I've seen in a long time, installation of software, such as OpenOffice.org 1.1.4 is a dream. Thumbs up on this. If I was running this on a more modern computer, it would really fly.

Ease of use and Usability:

It doesn't get better than this. Pretty much, that's all there is to say about that. There's utilities for everything included, wireless, or otherwise. Glad to see all those there, even though I don't use wireless.

Extra good stuff:

Firefox is the default browser. Thank you! No more choose between 5 different browsers. Glad someone made a choice in this direction. On that note, do we Linux users really need twenty different text editors? How about just one...Choice is good, but do we need that much choice? Sure, you can uninstall all the extra stuff, but it's getting a bit rediculous to do that with multiple CD distributions, such as my beloved Slackware.

A full install took less than 2GB. That's always a good thing to see. I cringe of the thought of a 4GB install someday, and I know it's coming.

The firewall works. I like that. I love protection that I don't have to worry about. Home users can rejoice.

The Remote Desktop Connection software is darn good to see as well. Glad it's there.

And now the bad news:

Changing the system time on the computer is annoying, and on more than one occasion trying to alter the time caused the system to shift out of X and never return. That's a definite no-no. Changing the time should never kill X like that. For some odd reason, the clock never gets set the way it should: contstantly defaulting to UTC as opposed to CST, as it should. Oddly, as I restarted the workstation after that it finally kept the correct time.

The test system had no modem installed, and that fact was correctly detected on install; but there's this "modem" icon on my desktop. The VL team should address that with a simple addendum to the script...no biggie.

AbiWord: why is this even around? With OpenOffice 1.1.x, AbiWord shouldn't even be available--sure, that's an opinion, but lots of people share it. Let's bid AbiWord adios!

I noticed that the /etc/fstab entry for the swap partition was incorrect. They had "/dev/hda1 none swap sw 0 0" and it should have said "/dev/hda1 swap swap defaults 0 0". This explains why the "free" command showed no swap available or in use. It also appears that mkswap had never been run on the partition. Running that and a quick edit of the fstab and we were back to normal, but there's no reason for that to be wrong, ever.

Things I'd like to see:

Ximian Evolution and the Exchange Connector should be integrated, this would make the package more attractive to businesses as there are a lot of them that rely on Exchange.

A 2.6.x kernel. Keeping the 2.4.x line is great, and makes for a more stable environment, but there's some speed improvements in 2.6.x that would make VL even faster. I know Slack 10 is using 2.4.28, and the next release will still be 2.4.x, but that would be a nice option to have 2.6.7 or something.

Correct video settings detection on install would have been nice, but since I was able to fix the issue I'll give it a passing grade.

Overall Opinion:

VL SOHO 5.0 is good. It will be really good when all the bugs are worked out. If you like Slackware, if you like a single CD install that has lots of tools, is fast, and looks good give it a try. The worst bug I found was the swap issue. Even that wasn't difficult to fix, but a true newbie might have been stumped. (Note to newbies: Google is your friend!)

Final Grade: B (fix the remaining bugs and you get a healthy, solid "A")
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  2. "VectorLinux, Page 2/2"
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