A Blog intended to help newcomers to Linux find the right distribution for their hardware and usage needs

A new beginning

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This entry was posted on 8/15/2006 9:31 AM and is filed under General Info.

Hello to all who may have stumbled onto my new site. Well, as a frustrated Linux enthusiast who hates the searching and searching to find out what distro I should be using, testing and testing hours on end (which does not bode too well with my wife) I thought I might offer some help with taking my knowledge of Linux to the masses. I am not out to rule the world, offer incite not found on other sites, but rather a simpler way to communicate what each of the masses of distributions of Linux in the world down to a more usable format. This is only my attempt at bringing what I think is a great way of ensuring you are in control of your computer rather than it, or other people, ruling your PC world.

I welcome any and all feedback to what I am attempting here, which for me is a first. First of all, I love Linux and what it (for the most part) is trying to do. I am not a FSF Bible thumper who thinks that all software should be free, but rather that the owners of the hardware should be free to choose. Would I like to be able to get everything for free? Sure, I love free beer, but I also like things to work and hate when that beer is flat, bitter or plain crappy. I subscribe to the idea that there really is no such thing as a free lunch.

Remember that things found on my site here are simply my humble opinion, not intended to sell anything or get you to go along with my ideas, thoughts or rants. Have fun looking and let me know what you think. Also, I don't mind if you steal (borrow) my images, just be thoughtful enough to say thank you!!!!

My rating method will be based on Pennies (Short for Penguins, cute huh???)

1 Pennie - Basically one step above DOS 5.0

2 Pennies - Basically two steps above DOS 5.0 (hah, won't be that easy) but allows some Linux function but not to the level one would expect. Most Alpha builds and some Betas would likely be here

3 Pennies - This is where I would put the bar, the place most distros will fall into. Pieces of individual packages might get placed into higher levels, but for the most part this would be the average system. A package might get this today, but as time moves along, they

4 Pennies - A package might get this today, but as time moves along, they will likely become the 3 Pennie package. This distro has something special to it, either in feature, ease of use, feature rich, or just something that sets it apart.

5 Pennies - Simply put, this is the Windows Killer, Nirvana, the end all-be all OS that meets all needs wants and leaves no doubt that MS is on the way out. Do I expect many scores of this? Not really. Again, one might get 5 Pennies today, but tomorrow it will likely become normal, as is the true idea behind Linux. 

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    • 8/15/2006 10:16 PM JimC wrote:
      Cool idea.

      I'd try SimplyMEPIS next if you're looking for pretty good functionality straight from the box without a lot of hassles trying to download a bunch of extras to get the non-free stuff most distros leave out.

      You can also use Automatix with SimplyMEPIS 6.0 now (from ), although a lot of the things in the list are already in it.

      It's got some quirks, and it's not quite as solid as some of the older SimplyMEPIS releases (try 3.4.3 if 6.0 doesn't work right on your hardware). But, it's better than most others I've tried.
      Reply to this
      1. 8/15/2006 10:49 PM KnoLinuxGuy wrote:
        Cool idea.

        I have tried SimplyMepis and plan on reviewing that soon. I am working from distros more designed for the windows replacement market (Win98 and ME left overs) first, then towards more Linuxie distros. I like Mepis and Ubuntu from which it is really derived and the family that they represent. I think if all communities pulled together like these have, then MS would really have something to look over their shoulder at.

        Thanks for taking the time to provide me some feedback. Other things I am looking at writing on are 64 bit (lackof) support, Wireless in Linux, Linux on Laptops, and Linux on Mobile devices. Let me know what you think on those ideas and anything else you think the world might like to read about.


        Kevin (KnoLinuxGuy)

        Reply to this
    • 8/16/2006 7:41 AM GaryR wrote:
      Having worked a few years in a corporate IT department, with some side consulting and being a computer hobbyist/user over 20 years, I learn and I see the battle surfacing more.

      It's a battle for empowerment for the end computer user versus empowerment for the software vendor, hardware manufacturer and internet provider. If the free software movement hadn't came about, we'd be less "free" on how we use our computers than we are now. Not only are the attempts of Microsoft "FUD" to protect its' monopoly becoming more visible and futile but the attempts and dreams of ISPs, the recording/media industry, patent sotware laws, etc. using and discussing means of content controls, "trusted computing" ideas, and pay per use fees that al together have goals of stripping the choices and freedoms of how we use our computers as end users.

      GNU/Linux, free software and the BSDs fortunately are gaining strength, we hope to gaurantee the empowerment of the computer user by making a choice. Having a selection nurtures freedom.

      Most of us use a computer to get work done, surf the net, work with digital photos, email etc.
      Many recent Linux and freeBSD distro versions are all capable of doing just that. I suggest a close look and review at these distros:

      - SimplyMepis 6.0
      - PCLinuxOS .093JR (and forth coming releases)
      - [Novell] Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop 10
      - Ubuntu 6.061 / Kubuntu
      - Desktop BSD
      - PC-BSD

      None are fault free or of the "5 Pennies rating" .... yet perfect in that they are (and can be each in their own way) a soild OS to get work done. Education and information will get us there.
      As users, we're empowered, we have control, we have choice. With time and refinements perhaps each could become that Windows killer. (Actually I believe the Windows monopoly will kill itself with focus of "lock in" and user abuse [WGA, activation] rather than focus of producing better products.)
      Reply to this
      1. 8/16/2006 7:53 AM KnoLinuxGuy wrote:
        Thank you for that comment and insight into your thoughts. I totally agree that without the open movement certain applications would not exist, such as VMWare Server (Free), OpenOffice(Free), OpenWorkBench(Free), and even MS following up with free malware, free Virtual PC, etc...

        I also like the list of your distros to test and in fact have loaded each once except Desktop BSD. I will be reviewing each one in time (just started this week going about this) so come back and check every so often. My focus right now is working from the Newbie friendliest that advertise they are the MS replacement options to the more unique and more Linux savvy ones later, such as Gentoo.

        What I find most interesting in the past couple of years is the acceptance of Betas as more of a usable product offering. There is no way ITs like yourself would have allowed products such as Picasa, Google Desktop, Office 12, etc...into computers but now it seems more accepted which allows people to be more productive at work without all the testing cycles and cost of purchasing more robust (and sometimes inflated) pieces.

        Thanks again Gary, and best wishes.


        KnoLinuxGuy (Kevin)

        Reply to this
    • 8/16/2006 7:53 PM GaryR wrote:
      I enjoyed the PCLinuxOS review. It's my present favorite, installed on two of my computers. I may upgrade the Thinkpad first to “Jr”.

      I forgot to say the BSD desktops are not live CDs. PC-BSD introduces a statically linked binary format, *.pbi, which is elegant yet not without controversy. It rivals the famous “Add/Remove Programs” in it's simplicity but the selection of titles in this format is limited, but growing. (Perhaps the Linux community should look at something like this!) I tried freeBSD in the past, always a pain to set up, but it felt “smoother” within KDE than Linux and KDE to me. I'll be interested to see a review and comments.

      A final note. I'm now a new Texan, living outside of Austin. Long story, family reasons etc. but if and when we retire, this is where we'd want to be. We also have 17 years living in southern rural Michigan in 2 episodes and 12 years in Mesa Arizona raising our 3 daughters. All of these are great places and we're happy to have experienced them. We like camping and we will never forget the places we stayed in the Cascades.

      I really enjoy this website and will recommend it highly!

      Reply to this
      1. 8/16/2006 8:47 PM KnoLinuxGuy wrote:
        Thanks a ton Gary, and good luck with Austin. The summers just plain suck in Texas, but Austin is by far the best of Texas. Hanging out on 6th St, eatin good BBQ, going to the ROT rally in May, just a awesome place. Just not much work for wireless people like myself. Plenty of IT and PC jobs with Dell and HP. Have to head out to the hill country in the spring and check out the bluebonnets or go to get some Dr Pepper.

        I will give PC-BSD a shot. I like a challenge every once and a while. I used to play a lot with Gentoo for my 64 bit, when it was truly the only 64 bit OS out there, but realistically unless you love emerge, you won't be happy with it. Awesome distro for those who want a kernel and base system custom for their system, but not for the meek or timid.

        Thanks again for the feedback and best wishes.


        KnoLinuxGuy (Kevin)

        Reply to this
    • 9/30/2006 11:50 PM {Saturn} wrote:
      If you really want the power and the stability of a linux distro that can do it ALL - Mulitmedia -Graphics - and the rest of the good stuff. I would have to tell you to test Myah OS. It is based on the slackware 11 packages with the 2.16.8 kernel with Nvidia and ATI drivers already going. This starts out as a LiveCD and has a installer that lets you tell it where to install and in 3-5 Minutes you have a full running slack based OS that is killer.

      Now the 2.2 version had a problem with the detection of SATA drives, but the newer version 2.3rc1 has all that fixed plus it also has the choice of installing the bootloader somewhere else besides on the MBR.

      Give it a shot, I really think you would be impressed by this distro.

      Couple examples of what this can do (out of the box):

      Pklaunch works perfectly for those that like to view the videos on --That is a BIG plus, considering they said it couldn't be accomplished without IE - bleh, I don't like M$ so, I am not going to use there product - Just load firefox up..goto the site, find a video, click on it..and BooM...there it goes.

      Now, I know not all of you know what pklaunch is, so....on to other stuff. It has pretty much all the software you could want or need. You like ripping DVDs....goto slackwares site and click on packages - type in the package you are looking for and download it. Then, all you have to do is open Konsole and su to root privledges and do a pkgtool.

      Let me tell you about pkgtool. Fast as all get out. Normally on another distro (debian - which was my main choice) when you go to compile a program by source - lets say --kvirc3.2.0 for example, it would take a good 30-45 minutes to do a ./configure |make |make install. Now, with pkgtool, I had kvirc3.2.0 up and running in 4 seconds...Yes that is wasn't a typo...4 seconds.

      I really think you should give this distro a try. Nothing else, you can take it off and replace it with another disro, but I seriously doubt that if you take the time to install this, and see what all it has to offer, that you would take it off.

      Thanks for viewing...

      Reply to this
      1. 10/1/2006 8:58 AM KnoLinuxGuy wrote:
        Thanks {Saturn},

        I am always on the look out for a good distro so I will give this a download. Never been a fan of Slack based on the complexity of install, so this having a Live CD option will definitely cut that out.



        Reply to this
        1. 10/4/2006 9:41 PM {Saturn} wrote:

          I just wanted to let you know, that I put a complete HOWTO on myah's site as to how to get you up in running. It is in the forums in the installation post that you started. I hope it helps you out...

          Reply to this
          1. 10/4/2006 10:34 PM KnoLinuxGuy wrote:
            Thanks Saturn, after losing two distros, then deciding to just wipe out my entire hard drive due to issues from putting this one on, I am going to calm down about myah. Seems like a decent distro but not quite ready for prime time. Give me a week or two and I might give it another go. I will check out your HOWTO and with your help I think Myah might get some ground on supporting the people. Thanks for the posts and best wishes KnoLinuxGuy
            Reply to this
    • 11/20/2006 11:35 PM {Saturn} wrote:
      Hey KnoGuy...

      This is {Saturn} again... Just wondering if you tried Jeremiah an mine linux distro MyahOS yet!? If you have, can you give your pro's and con's on it?? We are working on 2.4 as I type this now, and we are even working on a DVD issue with all the 3D Games you could possibly ask for in Linux. Now when I mean games...I am talking stuff like Quake...Enemy Territory..Return to Castle Wolfenstein (if we got the ok to do so from the company), Doom games - Including Doom3 (if that is ok'd as well). And much much more. We have heard the quesions of our users as to what they want/need. We are taking measures to give them exactly that!! We will be the #1 Gaming distro when it is all said and done!!! I believe we are one of the top 3 already for multimedia. Well anyway...enough boring you... Just curious if you tried it yet or not.
      Reply to this
    • 11/21/2006 11:45 PM Karl wrote:
      Hi Kevin.
      I was wondering if your past articles are still on the site somewhere? i tried to link to your gNewSense article, and the link is dead.
      Could you fix this, as I'm still hoping to link to it :)
      Reply to this
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