Home > Linux > Vector Linux 3.2 Review Vector Linux 3.2 Review Eugenia Loli 2003-05-21 Linux 23 Comments After a dissapointment with Red Hat’s Anaconda installer, a user is on a quest to find the OS that will fit the bill. Reading an OSNews article he finds Vector Linux, he tries it, and here is his review of it. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 23 Comments 2003-05-21 3:50 am Making a distro may be fun but I think that some of these more obscure distros are just wasting space, not filling any true niche. If you want a system like Vector with no auto package managment use Slackware. At this point I see only a few true distros in the field: Gentoo for developers and ubergeeks Debian for the server and paranoid geek market Red Hat for the corporate desktop Knoppix for the demo cd Xandros for the home/SOHO market Libranet for the geeky desktop market And that is that. Let the flaming begin. 2003-05-21 4:00 am all of the distros need to agree on a certain configuration so things are binary compatible. 2003-05-21 4:20 am well, i’m not sure that’s going to happen. i’m currently on a Gentoo Linux box, and the entire point of Gentoo is that you compile everything yourself from source. doing so offers a much greater amount of customization and flexibility over your software. 2003-05-21 4:24 am That’s a pretty good summary Brandon. I think Linux would make grounds faster if all the resources going into these various smaller projects were pooled into making a fewer number of distros better. 2003-05-21 4:30 am Close. Gentoo for people who want to get their hands dirty (with the reward of a fast system with nice package manager). GNU/Debian for the uber-conservative. RedHat for the corp. desktop Knoppix for the people who would use GNU/Debian if it weren’t so damn old. Xandros for people who want to pay $$ for a GUI file manager. Libranet for people who don’t know you can install Knoppix to the hard drive. 2003-05-21 4:44 am Have you even tried Vector? It’s a really solid distro. It does a number of things other distros fall short on. Slap a package manager on it, and I personally think it’d be a top-rate distro. 2003-05-21 4:47 am I have tried Vector and it reminded me of Slack once I got it installed. 2003-05-21 4:52 am Yeah, Slack, pretty much . Vector feels a little more polished, if you ask me, though. If they took it a step further, I’d imagine it’d be among Debian, Mandrake and SuSE. Just my 2c. 2003-05-21 6:19 am Well this will really sort it out by itself. There will always be an unlimited number of uncommercial distributions. That’s a good thing because this allows anyone to have fun and have a try at fullfilling his dreams or just trying new ideas. Commercial distributions however won’t be able to survive if they can’t bring anything new to the table. RedHat is pretty strong and SuSE is dominating the large german market. United Linux is a good first sign of this consolidation and seeding going on. Mandrake is struggling even though considered to be one of the three most important ones. It’s really mostly RedHat and SuSE IMO. And a few completely different alternatives like Lindows. 2003-05-21 6:59 am “We” (whoever that is) don’t “need” distro consolidation. You may think that distro consolidation would solve problems but it wouldn’t, it would just be a big pain. Separate competing distros create innovation. This innovation is then borrowed by other distros. Look at all the influences that went into Gentoo. Gentoo took ideas from FreeBSD (yes it isn’t a distro, but it still works for this argument), Slackware, and Debian. Gentoo learned from the mistakes of Redhat, Mandrake, and SuSE (namely the RPM mistake). When all was said and done the Gentoo team had created what I believe is the cream of the linux distro crop. Others my disagree, but Gentoo wouldn’t have happened if the team said “Well, there is already FreeBSD for people who want ports, Slack for people who want minimalism, and Debian for linux geeks who need package management.” But luckily for us they didn’t say that. They went ahead and made a new distro (which by your comments would just be compounding the problem). Now I haven’t used Vector Linux, I don’t know if it is good or not. However, I do know that as long as those working on the distro are enjoying it and contributing to the community it is worthwhile. You don’t have a spot on your list for Lycoris but there are a few (I think five?) developers who can put a roof over their children’s heads and put food on the table doing what they love. What is more worthwhile than that? 2003-05-21 7:43 am What ever way you go, Debian Woody/Sid Libranet Xandros Knoppix Just go with some type of Debian Distro and you will be happy. By the way, Knoppix isn’t that much like Libranet. Libranet is Debian Woody with speed and more desktop fluff out of the box. Very nice distro Libranet that is. Debian’s was in the beginning, Debian will alway’s be there. 2003-05-21 8:54 am How’s the name Gentoo pronounced? just curious. 2003-05-21 8:55 am God’s own distro. 🙂 2003-05-21 9:31 am … JEN-TWO (see their home page!) It’s also a type of penguin of course. And yes, it rocks. 2003-05-21 10:28 am I’ve just finished scanning this review, and for me, it just re-enforces some of my reasons for not getting on with Linux in general, which are mainly centred around installation of apps. I have to admit I come from a Windows background, but my experiences go back to DOS and the earlier 8 bit machines. Why is installing apps under Linux so fraught? I did what I thought should have been a very simple thing recently. I installed a later version of Mozilla under RedHat9. After following the readme instructions, all seemed to go well except that in the browser, the fonts were not only no longer antialiased, but the looked really awful, and I had no idea how to get it back again. Why should that happen? The ‘system’ either supports antialiased fonts, or it doesn’t. I have to say, I really want to be enthusiastic about Linux, as I’m getting more and more tired of what M$ are doing with their monopoly. I gave BeOS a good try, and had it installed from version 4, up to when I no longer had hardware to run it. By then it had pretty much flopped anyhow. I was however, very much spoiled by the experience. I am encouraged but the open source efforts to reproduce it (or something like it). However, this hope is watered down a lot by the fact a lot of programming effort seems to be divided into to many separate projects, IE OpenBeOS, BlueEyed, Sequel etc. I would still love to see something come through though! Regards, Toonie. PS.Sorry my first post here turnned into a rant. 2003-05-21 12:17 pm I really must call into question the following statement. “There isn’t too much online support available for VectorLinux.” Right above the Support VL box you will find this: —— Join our NEW Message board. You can interact with other Vector users, find all the answers to your questions and make new friends. —— IMHO, this is the real strength of this distro(ok, I admit it, I used it). The forum support is by far the best I have come across. I was a member of the Mandrake club (and a few others) and while I do not have any bad stories, the reaction time, and the attitude, or should I say lack of it, is the best I have found. No question is too simple and RTFMs are not allowed. They recently started their own IRC channel which should add even more support. To end, and to hopefully prove a point, VL has been having Forum troubles as of late because the activity level is so high and forced them to move. While I agree that no distro is perfect, and there is nothing that will make everyone happy, VL should definately be considered when looking for a new distro. Thanks for reading. 2003-05-21 12:22 pm I tried Vector 3.2 (non-SOHO) and it was a train wreck. If someone is considering this distro because of its ability to install and run on old hardware, don’t. Vector 3.2 is a step down from Windows 95. The post install set-up VASM, uses a hodgepodge of old Redhat text and Suse GUI config tools with limited hardware support. 2003-05-21 2:03 pm Why is installing apps under Linux so fraught? I did what I thought should have been a very simple thing recently. I installed a later version of Mozilla under RedHat9. After following the readme instructions, all seemed to go well except that in the browser, the fonts were not only no longer antialiased, but the looked really awful, and I had no idea how to get it back again. Why should that happen? The ‘system’ either supports antialiased fonts, or it doesn’t. That´s because you haven´t downloaded the version compiled with Xft support. Give it another try. DeadFish Man 2003-05-21 2:28 pm >That´s because you haven´t downloaded the version compiled >with Xft support. Give it another try. > >DeadFish Man Xft? agh OK, there is a version for Redhat 8.X, I should try that then? Will it be OK to just install over the top? However, I did only point to this as an example of a more general problem. Under BeOS, you just unpack the archive to a directory, then run the executable. There is a built in package management system though (only one), and I never had problems with compatability. Things written for BeOS generally ran as intended. I admit though there were some API changes with different versions, but not much. 2003-05-21 3:10 pm I think the review is way too critical, I am using soho right now and can honestly say its the first linux distro that I have ever been able to get to the point where every thing works. The firewall set up is perfect, it uses guard-dog, My cd-burner works with very little tweaking, joystick usb mouse nvidia card and printer all work perfectly. Plus its a Very good distro for Gaming since it goes easy on the resources. If you never tried it your missing out. They have a nice live cd, which is small down load try that and see for yourself Paul 2003-05-21 5:02 pm Toonie, you are just running above Mozilla suckage here. XFT should be enabled by default but isn’t on Linux. Don’t ask me why… If you get a good build for RedHat, chances are that it’s enabled and you shouldn’t have serious trouble. I understand your pain and share it. But it’s not the general idea that sucks (installing applications via doubleclicking them and then having them nicely integrated into the system, in a decent application menu category, etc is even more convenient then just extracting a folder somewhere, yes I did use BeOS for a while too). What sucks is that many different package formats and distribution differences make it difficult for developers to provide convenient packages for _everyone_. If this issue is solved one day (our best bet at the moment is certainly autopackage [ http://www.autopackage.org ]), then software installation will work very well. And while it’s not there, it’s probably easier to help it getting there than to create an entire new operating system and hoping that it catches up one day. Meanwhile I would suggest to do it like me: Only install applications if you can find an RPM for RH 9 or 8.0 (usually compatible) or if you really know what you are doing (for example checking out some still in development application from source). 2003-05-21 8:53 pm No, the aims and goals of each distro is quite different. many of the distros on Distrowatch are FOREIGN, done in finish, chinese, portuguese, korean, british street slang, etc–all totally unintelligible to me. Vector is aiming for the low-hardware requirement, but easy to install Linux. Light window managers are a thing of beauty when dealing with a K6-300. Believe it or not, people were using linux when Celeron 300s were popular–and it was fast then. I tried RedHat 8.1 on an intel 233mmx pentium 1, with 96mb of ram and it fricken crawled. Mandrake was fast–as long as ICEwm was used. 2003-05-21 9:01 pm I would like to point out that you can install portage (gentoo’s package manager) on other distros. This could be a package solution for those of you with such complaints about vector. However you should be warned that it is source based so certain installations can take awhile.