Monday, April 8, 2013

from this week's dw

Interesting stuff in this week's DistroWatch Weekly.

First, a nice review by Jesse Smith of Linux Mint Debian Edition. As I looked over this review, I could see some good reasons why some people would prefer to use LMDE instead of Debian Testing, which LMDE is based on. LMDE is certainly quicker and easier to install, and Smith had some very positive things to say about LMDE's graphical installer, including this:

"The installer is fairly novice-friendly and I didn't encounter any problems while using it. I'm hoping other Debian-based distributions consider adopting Mint's installer. There are a lot of Debian derivative projects out there and many of them lack a nice, graphical installer."

Smith liked LMDE's "Device Driver Manager":

"This program attempts to detect hardware on our system which may not be well supported by our existing kernel or drivers. The Manager will assist us in detecting wireless cards, video cards and our CPU and offer to fetch packages which may give us better hardware support."

Despite all this, Smith said that he was unable to get LMDE to run on his desktop pc, although it worked fine on his laptop and in VirtualBox.

Also, LMDE comes with the Cinnamon and MATE desktop environments, which some users may prefer over the selection of DEs and WMs (including GNOME 3 with GNOME Shell) that "straight" Debian offers.

More comments from Smith's review that show how LMDE differs from Debian Testing:

"This Debian-based flavour of Mint uses software packages from Debian's Testing branch. To counter the potential stability problems caused by using a rolling release repository the Mint team maintains a series of upgrade packs which are tested prior to being released to the community. This places a safety valve between possible software regressions and the community of Mint users."

But, here's an important point brought up by "FSFer" in the DW Weekly comments section:

"The problem with LMDE doesn't become apparent until [the user has had LMDE] running for some months, ie the update packs only are released every few months. Therefore to get timely updates, you have to change repos to the standard testing ( or sid) negating the proposed advantage of the update packs."

That's something I've seen mentioned many times at the Mint forums...

Besides the Mint Debian review, some other nice tidbits in this week's DW Weekly include some items in the " News" section.

They've added a "Random Distribution" button to the site's navigation bar. Clicking on it will take the user to a random active distribution's page on DistroWatch. Nice.

Another addition to the front page: a new filter option "to display news about stable distribution releases ONLY (i.e. hide all news items that deal with development, alphas, betas, release candidate, milestones, etc.)."

Then, there's this:

We have removed Pisi Linux from DistroWatch. This is a distribution that intends to succeed the "old" Pardus Linux (when it was an independent distribution with its own package management called "Pisi", rather than the current Debian-based variant). Unfortunately, we have found the project still rather immature at this stage - it has changed name three times already and the communication with the distribution developers have been rather unpleasant, with many conflicting requests and confusing emails. Also, the project's SourceForge page continues to claim that "as of 2013-03-14, this project is no longer under active development," which has been denied by the project's official website. All in all, adding Pisi Linux to DistroWatch so early was perhaps a little premature so we would like to give it a bit more time to mature and settle down. We'll revisit the decision in the future once things start to improve - until that happens we are sorry to say that you won't see any announcements on DistroWatch.

Ouch. Not a good start for Pisi.

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