Two New Linux Beta Distributions

If you're interested in new Linux distributions, here are a couple of new Betas that I have taken a quick look at:PCLinuxOS 2009 Beta 2. Although this distribution is derived from Mandriva, they don't attempt to track Mandriva's 6-month release schedule.

If you're interested in new Linux distributions, here are a couple of new Betas that I have taken a quick look at:

PCLinuxOS 2009 Beta 2. Although this distribution is derived from Mandriva, they don't attempt to track Mandriva's 6-month release schedule. They have made a few improvements in the installer, the result of which is that installation is even easier and faster than it is with the recent Mandriva 2009.0 release. The best news for me is that it installs flawlessly on my Lifebook S2110, without stumbling over the ATI display adapter as the new Mandriva release does. More good news is that PCLinuxOS includes most of the packages that I have to add manually to other releases, such as Sun Java 6, Adobe Flash and Thunderbird. The bad news is that it seems rather difficult and tedious to install other packages from .deb or .rpm files, such as Gizmo5 and Citrix ICA Client. I hope that will be easier in the final release, because overall I really like the ease of installation and the look of PCLinuxOS 2009.

VectorLinux 6.0 Beta 2. This is another distribution that looks like it could be quite interesting, with one major new advantage and one major old disadvantage. Advantage: they have created their own GUI installer, and it looks really nice and seems to work really well. Disadvantage: they install LILO rather than GRUB (not even a choice between the two). Now, LILO may be an acceptable option in a lot of cases, but I have a LOT of bootable partitions on my S6510, at least five of which are Linux, and all of them use GRUB. I suppose that I could figure out how to set LILO up to boot all of those, but I find LILO to be difficult, tedious, limited and ugly - is that enough reasons not to use it? The alternative, of course, is to set up GRUB to boot VectorLinux, but after a couple of half-hearted attempts at that, and a web search that produced nothing useful but at least one other blog about failure trying to do this, I gave up. Hopefully by the time the final VectorLinux 6.0 release is available they will either have a choice between LILO and GRUB (a couple of other distributions do that), or they will include some simple instructions on booting with GRUB. If so, I'll give it another shot.

jw 12/12/2008

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