LinuxForums gives a short review of BLAG Linux and concludes: “BLAG is not just a distribution for the Free Software elitist, it may not include non-free software, but it is a fully functioning operating system. You can surf the web, write your essays, and listen to your music, just as you would do with any other operating system. BLAG is a distribution which will install with ease, and be low on hassle.”
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2006-04-03 5:33 pmHands
“Free enough that GNU lists it on its website”
UTUTO-e, Dynebolic, BLAG, GNUstep, Musix GNU+Linux, and AGNULA are the only distributions listed by GNU.org as “free” GNU/Linux distributions.
These are all GNU/Linux distributions we know of which consist entirely of free software, and whose main distribution sites distribute only free software. If a distribution does not appear in this list, there’s a small chance that it qualifies and we do not know it; however, almost certainly it contains or distributes non-free software.
BLAG isn’t something that I’ll probably be trying anytime soon. Philosophical arguments don’t often come into question when I’m considering an OS.
There are certainly those who care about such things though, and for them BLAG is one of a select few distributions that tries to fulfill the GNU philosophy. For that reason it is wrong to so casually call it YALD.
2006-04-04 12:16 amzizban
I have to agree…what is so special about this?
still waiting for the day when the numbers of distros exceeds the number of users. reading the review I cant find any bigger advantages over any other distro. i think I stay with what I got.
> – Free enough that GNU lists it on its website;
Cool, what a useful feature!
2006-04-04 2:03 amthebluesgnr
It actually is a useful feature; it shows the distribution has a commitment to Free Software, and that’s important to those of us who value that freedom.
G is only one key away from H. Typo maybe?
Damn, tough crowd.
BLAG exists because I was frequently installing GNU/Linux on systems and found myself continually downloading & adding the same packages on desktop systems. The first version was based on RedHat 7.3, and there is currently an “alpha” based on Fedora Core 5.
It’s a nice collection, ALL ON ONE CD, of Fedora plus nice tidbits from Dag, Freshrpms, etc, where we all grab extras. It also has all the updates rolled in, so you don’t have to go then download those. Another benefit of updates already on the CD is that BLAG winds up installing better on more systems than Fedora itself.
Just ONE CD: means you just burn one and hand it out–not a pile. Easy install…good for quickies at installfests and such.
So you basically get Fedora+updates, plus a nice collection of stuff for the desktop and access to the repo which has extras+dag+freshrpms+etc.
It’s not some radically different distro doing something completely new, but a real-world system customized for my friends’ desktops. Perhaps it will work well for you and your friends too.
Oh, and you don’t have to worry about signing up for a bunch of crap just to get access to the forums, worry about some corporation selling your personal info, delayed ISO releases, nor any of the other $foo that comes when you’re dealing with a company. Free Software, simply that.
That said, I also run Debian, Gentoo, OpenBSD, etc….
BLAG site: http://www.blagblagblag.org
Well, I did first installed BLAG in one of my PCs when it was in version 2.9.
Now they have the 3.3 or 3003 and a beta of the 5, based on Fedora 5, only that I found it better.
I have to say that appart from being an entirely free software Distribution of GNU/Linux it is really solid, smooth, nice, and fulfill all the requirements of a PC user.
Is also one of the easiest “Out of the box” distros, that I know, as easy to install and use as PCLinuxOS, SuSE, or Mepis…
For me is comparable to PCLinuxOS, but in “only free, as freedom” software.
It is really “Desktop Ready”. You can directly use the multimedia, office (PDF included, althogh free), Web, Peer to Peer, and many etc. and with plenty of tools and applications…
I would like to see the same distro but, completely translated, applications included etc., to some other major languages as Spanish, French…
It is the best ‘hippy’ Distro out there! LOL
So, the only thing I have to say is thanks and congratulations. Keep the good work!
Errr.. hmmm.. and Peace, man!
Edited 2006-04-04 06:32
BLAG is getting some slack here for being YALD. I know this is bit of a stretch, but, with Windows going to 10+ versions, Tiger + Tiger Server, maybe it is just part of a greater trend?
In reality, with the amount of customising that goes into a linux install the concept of one distro per user doesn’t sound that crazy.
It (BLAG) is obviously filling some niche, and if that makes (some) users’ lives easier – well good on them.
FWIW, these are the distros “which consist entirely of free software, and whose main distribution sites distribute only free software”, as listed on http://www.gnu.org
“UTUTO-e, a GNU/Linux distribution containing only free software. In both Spanish and English.
Dynebolic, The instant bootable GNU/Linux
BLAG, blag linux and gnu
GNUstep, another instant bootable GNU/Linux distribution
Musix GNU+Linux, a bootable GNU+Linux distribution, in both Spanish and English
AGNULA, a fully functional GNU/Linux distribution with special emphasis on professional audio requirements, comprising 100% free software.”
BLAG describes itself as
“blag – le brixton linux action group”
“works to overthrow corporate control of information and technology through community action and spreading Free Software.”
I guess most folks have voted with their feet and gone for something more mainstream like Ubuntu or OpenSuSE which you could make “free” fairly easily by ensuring that proprietory stuff stays off. Even if you only track down and remove 99% of the non-free stuff, it’s the convenience and professionalism of the mainstream distros that wins, I guess. Maybe the hassle of total purity is just too high for most folks to go for it.
2006-04-04 11:00 amda_Chicken
I guess most folks have voted with their feet and gone for something more mainstream like Ubuntu or OpenSuSE which you could make “free” fairly easily by ensuring that proprietory stuff stays off.
You can’t get much more mainstream than Fedora, and BLAG is based on Fedora. And, like Jeff suggests in his post, you can get all the non-free stuff easily for BLAG from freshrpms etc.
Did you know that also Ubuntu is planning a FSF-blessed “ideologically-pure derivative” called Gnubuntu? Apparently the name Gnubuntu is a clever acronym for “GNU’s Not Ubuntu”. RMS doesn’t agree with the name but Mark Shuttleworth thinks it captures perfectly the link to both projects.
BTW, the article says that BLAG’s default GNOME theme is dull but I think it looks pretty cool. 😉
By the way a little bit of background about BLAG after looking at the BLAg website:
BLAG is a British based distribution from Brixton its name is an acronym for the Brixton Linux Action Group. Brixton is a south London suburb with a large black community of West Indian immigrants and their families. It is famed for its riots in 1981 and 1995 They are race riots insomuch as they were a response to the discrimiation black youth was facing in British society, but they were non-racist insomuch that black and white youth fought together against the police reflecting an overall alienation of working class youth.
BLAG is apparently a radical activist Linux group. A good movie that in part refers to life in Brixton and the 81 riots is the ’87 movie “Sammy and Rosie get laid”.
As a further piece of off topic information, in London slang to blag is to carry out a violent armed robbery armed only with blunt instruments (typically a pickaxe handle as we don’t have baseball bats widely available in England and I have yet to hear of anyone carrying out a blag with a cricket bat).
A blagger is someone who carries out such a robbery.
The slang word “blag” has quite a few definitions. The distro isn’t meant to use it in the “armed robbery of a bank” way that just comes as a bonus.
It’s more in the “can I blag that monitor from you?” kind of way. Or: “we blagged 6 PIIs from $foo”… More like “get something for free”. It has lots of other definitions add flavor to it, such as in the French blague, “you can’t be serious / you must be joking”.
The distro was born in Brixton and has contributors/testers/users there, but is now primarily developed by folks (uh basically 2 of us) outside of the UK.
As for the “most folks have voted with their feet and gone for something more mainstream” is a bit off. People can’t vote against something if they haven’t heard of it. Promotion consists of a post to our forums, a note to lwn, a note to distrowatch, and an updated freshmeat page. We’re more like an obscure movie only a few people have heard of. I personally prefer the odd obsure movies to the mainstream…. Seen El Topo? Titicut Follies? Rezonomics? More like that.
Up until I tried Blag, the distros which I prefered were slackware and debian. I love blag. Unlike fedora it is not bloated. It’s fast and responsive. And if you have a problem, Jeff, or one of the other maintainers are right there on the forums to help you out. And they are very helpful. The next time anyone of you gets an itch to try a new distro, try blag. I guarantee you will be impressed.
My feeling about the article? YALD – Yet Another Linux Distribuition.