Thursday, January 26, 2012

a year with saline

Well, it's been a full year since I first installed SalineOS here. I like to spend some time with a distro and not jump to any conclusion about it after a few days or weeks; Saline has not disappointed.

For the most part, Saline is just Debian Squeeze with Xfce. A few things that set SalineOS 1.x apart from Squeeze:

- Quick, easy installation from a single live DVD
- A User Manual, located conveniently on the desktop (I later moved mine into my home directory) that includes installation instructions and other information
- Lines in /etc/apt/sources.list for Squeeze Backports, WINE, and Remastersys
- Chromium is the default web browser, instead of Iceweasel
- While Synaptic is available for adding software, there's an AutoUpdate script that uses aptitude for updates; they include an icon on the panel to start this script, and one kinda odd thing about it is that it opens up two terminal windows

From the SalineOS "About" page:

The primary goal of the SalineOS project is to deliver a fast, lightweight, clean, easy to use and well doccumented operating system based on Debian GNU/Linux. In keeping with these goals SalineOS includes many things added on top of Debian to make it easier to use and more complete out of the box. This includes a choice of sgfxi and magix-driver-installer for installing proprietary graphics drivers, Debian repositories that include software that does not conform to Debian's strict free software guidelines, WINE repositories, Remastersys backup utility, binary firmware for common wireless network cards, the Debian backports repository and a script to install potentially patent encumbered multimedia codecs with one command.

Saline's developer, Anthony Nordquist, released SalineOS 1.0 right after Debian Squeeze was "frozen" -- before Squeeze actually became Debian Stable. Looks like he plans to do the same kind of thing with 2.0, planning to release the early development builds with the Wheezy freeze (probably at least 6 months away, yet).

Among other things, he plans to go with the Midori web browser, and will not include the Synaptic package manager. Chromium in the Stable repos kinda lags behind (which is why I ended up installing Google Chrome in Saline, as well as in Debian Stable). And Synaptic is easy enough to install, if you want it (I do).

Nordquist also plans to set up his own repository -- as he posted in the forum, "...this is likely to include packages for the user manual, salineos_utils, game packages built from upstream's pre-compiled binaries and packages pulled from Debian backports (When they start for Wheezy)."

About the only thing about SalineOS that I can think of that might be considered a drawback is that it's a "one-man distro." I don't necessarily consider that to be a drawback; part of the beauty of Linux is that lone developers can do some things that really can't be done with distros run by large organizations. Also, Saline uses Debian repos, so in that sense it isn't completely a one-man distro.

Considering that a lot of people complain about Debian being kinda difficult to install, and that a lot of people are unhappy with the direction GNOME has taken, and prefer something like Xfce, it surprises me a bit that SalineOS hasn't caught on more than it has. But it's still in its infancy, really. I'll be interested to see how much more popular it becomes over the next few years. I certainly plan to keep it installed here!

Here's a link to the home web page:

And, one more screen shot of my SalineOS desktop:

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