Not too long ago, I got a posting on knolinux asking me to take a look at a distro called Myah OS, that typically is pretty close to the bottom of the top 100. It currently sits around 76, but Saturn was pretty persistent in his emails that I would like what I see. Well, the first couple of go's at it didn't go so well. It seems that when I was trying to install Myah, I was trying to install when my old laptop was on the last legs of life and the hard drive was about done. So I put it on the shelf and waited for my new hardware to arrive.
What Saturn, aka Doug Johnson, told me in an email was that "We used to be 90% slackware based from the packaging, but now we are going to be independent, making our own packages and everything." On their website, Myah, aka Jeremiah Cheatham who is the true heart and soul of the Myah OS project, mentioned that "Myah OS is a performance desktop operating system. We have taken the
powerful linux kernel. With the rich full featured KDE desktop. And 3D
video acceleration and multimedia support. So you can have a powerful
simple to use home operating system." Saturn also mentioned in an email to me that their goals for the next version, 2.4 include that... "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 questions
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"
So until this Gaming Nirvana comes along, I decided to once again give a go with Myah 2.3, see what is under the hood and try out this promising package from the good ole USA. Details:
Kernel - Kernel 2.6.18
Desktop - KDE 3.5.4
FAQs - http://myahos.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=30&Itemid=1
Cost - FREE!!!
Special Features - Live installer, excellent icons/graphics, full media support including DVD, ultimate gaming distro (according to them =))Nitty Gritty:
In the forums, I have seen comments praising the Myah installation as being the easiest and best out there. Well, easy from a perspective of mouse clicks, and has the potential for being the best out there, but it does take a little knowledge and effort to get it to really function. So lets get to it, shall we??
Well, one thing is for sure, this will appeal to the 13 year old female market....butterflies? Love those little butterflies. Have no idea what tux is thinking there, but hey, cute graphics always are a plus.
So the startup went pretty fast and jumps right into a nice clean KDE desktop. Now I am not largest KDE fan, but not from look or function but rather memory requirements. This one seems to be pretty efficient and runs smooth even in the live operation.
Nothing yet is jumping out either positive or negative, which is to be
seen unless they have major issues. Now, to get the installation
started one simply needs to click on the Myah OS icon, select Myah
Tools and then first go to QTParted, which is a simple graphic
The password for root by the way is 'myah', you will need to know that
but it isn't mentioned anywhere in the distro unless you head to the
QTParted is a decent graphical tool, but not the most powerful one out there. It tends to have an issue unless the hard drive you are working with is properly setup, which only allows you to do one function per boot. That means if your hard drive is not well configured then you may need to reboot Myah a couple of times to complete the functions. Another method would be to use cfdisk from the terminal window as root. Simple open the terminal, run su to become root, put in the myah password, and type cfdisk, which will get you to a text based partition tool. Only do this if you need to, but we are going to stick with QTParted.
The first thing you will need to do if this is a raw hard drive is to click in the left window on the hard drive, which then opens the right window. On a new partition, there won't be a partition table, indexing the drive, so you will be asked to create that. Once you create that, the drive itself now needs to be setup. I created a main root partition and a swap partition that matched my 450 Meg of RAM, which I typically do.
One of the first quirks for Myah is that it likes to be installed on Ext2 drives. I don't know exactly why, but when I have tried to install on Ext3 or ReiserFS the installation may say that it completed but in reality it doesn't. So make sure that you only select Ext2 for the partition type. If you have a partition already created, reformat into the Ext2 type and you will have more success going forward with your installation. Note that the default selection however will likely be Ext3, so don't allow that to go forward.
Right click the other partition after you create the root partition and then create the swap drive. You can always create more, if you can get the tool to work. In my VMWare install it worked like a champ, but on my laptop it had major issues. Some people create a home directory that then can be shared between multiple distros and can survive a root system meltdown. Your call on that, just make sure you remember it is there and later you will have to set it up in the fstab. More on that later...
That wasn't too hard now was it. Just know the issues with the Ext2 drive and live will get a little bit better when trying to install this. Trust us in that it is worth the bit of struggles, but I would like to see some of these things mentioned either in an installation routine document or on the desktop itself like some other distros do.
Now that we have that setup, the next quirk in the install that they don't mention anywhere but in a couple of forum entries is that you need to make sure that the partitions are mounted. Now, if you have partitions already created when the Live system booted, the system will mount those typically. But if you created one from scratch you will need to mount the hard drive and turn on the swap (which will make the copy a bit faster).
To do this simply open the shell terminal (the one you might have used for cfdisk) and run the following commands.
First, run 'su' and enter the 'myah' password
Second, run 'mount' to see what is mounted.
Third, create the mount directory by running 'mkdir /mnt/hda1' or replace hda1 with sda or the number with the partition number you plan on using. Note that this will follow the install and be the number when you get done.
Forth, run 'mount /dev/hda1 /mnt/hda1' or replace hda1 with sda or the number you need for the partition you mounted and the proper /mnt/ location you just created.
Fifth, run 'mount' again to check that your drive is properly mounted.
Sixth, run 'swapon /dev/hda2' or the drive number for the swap drive you created with QTParted or CFDisk.
That is it. The quirks are gone, you have created a nice Ext2 partition
and mounted it so your install routine will most likely succeed. To get
there, simply click the Myah OS/Myah Tools and then Myah Installer.
This is actually all there is. This is the entire installation routine all wrapped up in one simply tool. Now, with this I would have to agree that this is by far the most compact installation routine I have ever seen. When it works, I can honestly say that there is no way to screw anything up. Pay close attention to the drop downs and you will have Myah here in a jiffy.
The source will default to /boot, which is correct. Myah Installation Target /mnt/hda1 is for my created hard drive. You will be able to select any mounted hard drive. If you don't have one, which means you didn't follow my little directions...tisk tisk....simply close this and go back up a bit. If you do have options, just make sure the tool didn't select a partition you don't want the data to go to. If you have one there and you didn't format it, it will copy data to that partition anyway, but Myah will not work. I have filled a couple of hard drives doing this so be careful that the target is actually the drive you want it to, it is the one you made Ext2. Also make sure the MBR is the proper location, which typically will be /mnt/hda.
Now once you click Install, it is done and over. You can just sit back and wait a bit because your installation is going to either bomb or complete.
I would like to give the USB drive install a shot, but maybe that is another review of various USB installs.
So now that we have the system install, you can reboot to the main installation now. Note that the install does nothing in the way of detection for other distros, so you will have to modify the lilo.conf file.
The startup and the shut down have the same Tux dreaming of, hmmm, what do penguins dream of? Maybe it is the death of M$, who knows.
When Myah boots up, you will see the same clean desktop that you saw with the live disk. Now, because the installation was so simple, you have absolutely no security or user setup for yourself. The system just copied over everything, and I mean everything. You even still have the Myah Tools selection which would allow you to re-establish the installation I would guess over another partition if you like. Typically these types of processes go away so people won't think that they can't ruin the install by installing again, and again, and again....
So the first thing that you really need to do would be to change your root password and create a different user account, that is unless your name is Myah.
So in the Myah OS/System there is utility called KUser which is an easy way to configure up a new user. You can also setup the new root password, or you can also use the 'passwd' command in the terminal window as root.
So this tool is pretty simple, you just click the Add with a little head and that opens you up to the dialog box for a new user. First you will get a dialog box for the user name, then off to the main window. You need to select the Login Shell drop down, make sure the home folder is setup properly and maybe even add your Full Name if you want. Also, near the bottom is a check box labeled Account Disabled, which for some reason is default to checked, which you need to uncheck. Also make sure the Create Home Folder and Copy Skeleton is selected. Don't mess with the User ID, which is a number used for the Linux system to keep track of the user. Make sure you change the password, but clicking on Set Password before you leave, then you can select OK and be done adding a new user.
To change the root password, you simply need to scroll to the top of the user list and double click on root and then Set Password, which will secure your system. No sense of keeping the myah password in the system, which would allow people to basically gain access to any Myah system that doesn't take this step.
So, other than that, Myah is a solid KDE system. Most of the packages are the default KDE variety, with Firefox installed but no Open Office. The system is fully configured for multimedia, and even contains some really nice graphics tools. The system is really loaded for a single install disc, so you won't be lacking any programs or functionality. The guys at Myah really came through on their promise to have a Powerful Linux desktop with all the functionality.
Now, the package manager is something called Slackins, which is also under the Myah OS/Myah Tools menu. Now, I have never used this tool and it doesn't seem very user friendly, which some people have agreed with. I read on their forums that a couple of people managed to add slapt-get, a tool a couple of other Slackware distros use, which is more intuitive than Slackins. But Saturn strongly urged that you stay away from this in Myah, to quote him...
"The best way to get .tgz packages is to goto http://www.slackware.org then click on the 'packages' link on the left and then going to the slackit site ( http://packages.slackware.it
). There you can type in what you are looking for and it will show you
how to get it. That is the ONLY way I would give any type of tech
support for any packages (other then the base packages of Myah
themselves) that is installed on ANY MyahOS system.
P.S. Even if you do a search on the slack-it site and you can't
find a particular package you are looking, it doesn't necessarily mean
it don't exist. Just google for it with http://www.google.com/linux and I am sure you can find something about what you are looking for."
Basically, to install a tgz file it is as simple as running 'installpkg name.tgz', with name being the name of the file you are trying to install. This would be the terminal method, while Slackins does this from a more graphical perspective.
To use this, click install which goes to another screen which has the files already installed in the window. Now I don't know how to get the tool to list anything other than what is already installed, so I just see this tool as something to install and remove, but not select from.
In the install window, just to the right of the Install button towards the bottom left of the window, you find the open window, which is how you select the file you wish to install. Then you have the option to select the warn and root, which implies you can install programs either as a user or with the root password and warn for the need.
This is by no means the best installation tool, no where near Slapt-Get or Synaptic for Debian systems. Because this is a KDE system, you can use KPackage, but I am not sure how well that will go over. From the way they describe it on the Forums, Saturn and Myah both agree that only the manual install or Slackins.
Myah summed this up by stating "If you want slackware then just install
slackware. There currently is NO updating system or lazy auto getting
applications for Myah OS...If you connet to slackware via so update system you will break Myah
OS and I will no(t) support you. Any updates with come directly from me."
Saturned added later to someone who was looking for a more easy way to install software "If you are wanting to go that route, then I would suggest taking Myah
off your system and just installing the basic slackware and then going
that way. Otherwise, you are just asking for trouble, and possibly
corrupting your Myah Install."
While I agree that you should use any distro the way it was intended, not having something a bit more user friendly typically drives the newbie out of the environment. The good news for the newbie is that this system does come with almost everything one would need and then some. With 2.4 coming out with more games, then they definitely will have a distro at the head of the gaming pack.
Bonus Stuff ()
The biggest benefit now, and even more in the future will be the amount of games that they include. There are the main stays that you typically get from any KDE system and then also the list below.
GL - 117
The Sheep Killer
Only for me, I miss my frozen bubble. That game is addictive to say the least. Even my wife and two girls love that one.
So in true KnoLinux fashion, we reached out to discuss this with Myah (Jeremiah Cheatham) and see where the future of Myah is heading.
KnoLinuxGuy - I see that your product is a Slackware based distro. What got you to
start Myah OS instead of supporting Slackware directly?
Myah (JC) - I have never really ran slackware so that might surprise you. I tried
to create an OpenSource website... I created it all as HTML
pages. It took about 6 months and I was never happy with it. I knew
nothing about php so I just tried to see if I could change a slax live
CD one day. I tried slax because it was a live CD and I saw something
about how you could edit it. That is the only reason I never liked
slax myself. It was just a lark but I put it on my website and was
shocked that I was getting a lot of downloads off of it. My website
wasn't getting any love and this shitty CD I put together in like 2
days was. So I tried again. I instead tried a klax CD that was much
better and I added 3D drivers and some games. I did some other things
as well and people really liked that. It took me a month or so and when
I was done I was so used to using it that I couldn't go back to XP. I
had played with hundreds of linux as a newbie but they were just toys
to me because I like free stuff but I want quality and all those linux
were not giving it. I wanted to do all the things I could in windows
as in music media 3D for my ATI all that. I then work(ed) on updating
it and created 5 CD's of games to add to it. that was 1.2 and I
figured why use this klax CD why not go right to the source,
slackware. So the next month I released a 2.0 that was right from
slackware current. I built 3 version off of slackware current.
KnoLinuxGuy - Many in the community like to talk about how Slackware is a single
sourced product and very difficult to work with. How do you look at
Myah (JC) - Well all Linux has good and bad. I can tell you I think that Mandriva,
Suse and ubuntu they come out of the box very easy to work with.
Slackware takes a linux degree to setup. But all the addons like yast
and all those tools that helped make linux easy quickly get it your
way. And since people become dependent on them they never know how to
fix something the right way. Slackware on the other hand is harder to
get setup for a new user but once it's there I think it's a cleaner
system to use. Because it's bare linux not BS and you can use
information from any linux distro to help. And since the you don't
become dependent on some hardrake yast or anaconda program you know
from the beginning how to make linux work. So It's all preference. I can
tell you that if you are new to linux and you are looking for guidance
and help then you should go for a little distro. Because you with
probably be talking to the developer and some others, They will try and
help you and be friendlier. If you got to a bigger distro you will get
many rude people that want to argue, not one question answered and you
will be turned off to linux. I myself don't go on forums much because
I have had nothing but bad experiences. But the small distros I have
noticed are much more helpful. Such as if I went on the Arch IRC like
I did the other day to ask some questions, I got no answers but I did
get a lot of BS, and more then one put down. I have been on the
slackware forum with same result. But small projects with people that
actually are working and care about there project it's a much better
experience. Such as puppy linux and live-developers.org or I have been
told Myah. But I myself am a little hot tempered so if some one pisses
me off I will tell them where to go. But I don't allow things like
quoting like you see on many other forums. But I try and help every
person that ask for help. But again that is the downfall of the
bigger. I'm sure if I asked if I went on the slackware forum and got
patrick to answer it would be great and just want I needed but instead
I got about 100 people that I have a hard time believe even like
slackware. The reason why I didn't ever change to a different base
other then slackware was I was already comfortable with slackware, and
also because like I said it was just plain linux. I didn't have to
deal with anything extra.
KnoLinuxGuy - You don't seem to support the typical installers such as Slapt-get
and opt for Slackins and in your forums you suggest people to stay away
from those or they may break Myah. What is the best way to keep Myah up
Myah (JC) - I tell people not to use Slapt-get because I have modified some
packages and if they go and update something it may break their
system. Since I don't actually know to much about Slapt-get I have
nothing against it. I actually think patrick should try and work with
them to get it mainstream into slackware. But for MyahOS I would
rather people not have there system break. Again I have nothing
against them at all I actually like them It's just I don't have them
implemented to work for MyahOS is all. I added slackins just so people
could see what packages they had installed and so they could have a
gui to install packages. But slackins will not be in future releases.
KnoLinuxGuy - What do you think really sets Myah apart from other distros?
Myah (JC) - Well I was trying to make a Out of the Box home solution. It doesn't
have or do everything. But I wanted it to do the every thing stuff
that most linux don't do well and that keeps people away from them.
But mostly I want a system That I can use. I myself use linux
full time. I don't use windows at all. And it's not because I have
something against windows. It's because Myah OS runs better then
windows. I use what works best. If windows worked better I would use
it. That is why I always played with linux and went back to windows
for normal things. But for me at least there was no linux out there
that worked better for me then windows. Now people have there own
wants so I can just say for me. But I wanted an out of the box solution.
KnoLinuxGuy - Where are you planning on taking Myah? You suggested that you are
working on a gaming package second to none, what does that entail?
Myah (JC) - Well I can tell you that I am no longer using slackware as a base. I
will not be using any distro as a base at all. I have had a little shit
on my forum about this, no faith after all have have done by myself
not even knowing linux very much. I think slackware is a great system
but I just have things I want different and also I want to see if I
can do them. So I am building the whole system myself from the source
up. I am using a lot of knowledge from slackware and I have been using
many of slackwares source scrips. Well I am not actually using them at
all I am just looking at some configuring information as a basis I have
writtin all my own build scripts. There is some major changes I am
making that will make Myah totaly incompatable with any slackware
package from now on. These are some of the major changes.
Built off of kernel 2.6.X with Arch i686
GCC is 4.1.1
Glibc is 2.5
Xorg is 7.2
package style is tbz that is tar.bz2
buddy a simple package manager tool with dependencies.
There are many, many changes but those are some of the major changes.
Since it is built off of the Glibc 2.5 library and it's off of GCC
4.1.1 and Kernel 2.6.X I have to build the whole system against those
libraries and since that is so far away from slackware that it will
not be interchangeable. But I have convert most slackware souce
scripts over with little trouble. Also the Xorg is installed into /usr
so this is a major change over slackwares /usr/X11R6 and many packages
are compiled agains that. I am also using tbz compression. it gives me
high compression. But along with that I am implementing an md5sum and
dependency information. I am working on shell script called buddy that
will handle installing package and checking dependencies. It will also
be able to grab deps over the internet or even just grab packages or
any of there deps as well. But it's just a shell script. I am writing
it myself so it's very simple. No databases or any crazy stuff like
that. But it should give the same results. I currently have many games
available for MyahOS. but I haven't advertised them to much. I will
continue with the games since I do love a nice 3D game.
KnoLinuxGuy - What can the community help to do to support Myah?
Myah (JC) - Well I only have a couple people that stick around on my forum. Most
flack out. I have no help on the actual distro at all. So help would
be nice if there was some one that had the time and had more action
then words. Also I pay for the websites and get very, very few
donations. I don't think people know how much work I do. Most people
work like 8 hours and get paid for it. I work like almost 2 times that
and don't get a cent. Plus I give alot of help online when I can. So
donations would really help.
I would like to thank Jeremiah for taking the time to set a lot of things straight about Myah.
I truly can't wait to see 2.4 as that one I have no doubt will blow my socks off.
Myah is one of those systems that truly isn't intended for the meek or timid. It is an excellent package, once you get over the installation hurdles described above and tweak the user settings. I never like most KDE packages and most slackware systems are such a pain to install. This one I can live with on both parts, it is a KDE system that is functional and not bloated and installing the system can't be any easier, minus the few hiccups which are easily avoided.
Myah and Saturn are not the most comforting of support people on their forums, which for some newbies might be a turnoff. But they are very helpful and strait shooters. If you want a KDE system running on Slackware that has a solid foundation, easy to install and loads of games, then Myah is an excellent choice. If you want to be hand held through the learnings of Linux, you may want to steer more towards a distro designed for the first time Linux user.
Well, I really enjoyed testing Myah and was very surprised by the performance and packages once I did get it installed. Hopefully this review will be helpful in your decision to try Myah and help you get it installed for those wanting to try out this excellent Slackware package. It isn't as polished as Vector, but it does have excellent potential and I really can't wait for the next to see the games that they can get into the system.
If you enjoy Myah OS, get yourself out there and see if this is something that you would like to try. Also, give a little support to this great little package, either in your time on the boards helping out where you can or with financial donations.
Thanks for reading and we hope to have some more reviews for you soon.