KDE Built For Speed -- Vector Linux 5.8 SOHO

by Caitlyn Martin

Back in January I wrote a review of Vector Linux 5.8 Standard. The fact that as I write this, over five months later, that review is still in the O'Reillynet Blogs Hot 25 says a lot about just how much interest there is in this up and coming Canadian distribution, a user friendly derivative of Slackware. Back when I wrote that review I talked about the three different flavors of Vector Linux. Standard, with a default Xfce desktop, can be compared to Xubuntu in some ways while SOHO, it's big brother with a default KDE desktop, is more directly comparable to Kubuntu. The implication is that the same code base is used in both. That was true for all versions prior to 5.8. This time, however, there was a really long gap, as in almost five full months, between the two releases and a lot of bugfixes and upgrades were put in. The new SOHO even sports a newer kernel under the hood: 2.6.20.3. Vector Linux SOHO resembles a next release rather than a different build of the same release. It probably should have been numbered 5.9 rather than 5.8 and it does deserve a separate review.

Generally I'd want to do a review of a distro with a KDE desktop on a fairly powerful machine. As I've written before KDE tends to be quite sluggish on my aging laptop, a four and a half year old Toshiba Satellite 1805-S204 (1 GHz Celeron processor, 512MB RAM). Heck, even GNOME is a bit slower than I'd like, hence my recent interest in Xfce as an alternate desktop environment. This has been true of Mandriva 2007, SuSe 10.2, Fedora Core 6, and Ubunutu/Kubuntu right up through Feisty. I have always assumed this is because KDE does consume more memory than GNOME or Xfce and because it always needs the dcop-server running in the background. Guess what? I was wrong. Vector Linux 5.8 SOHO proves that KDE can be built for speed. There is no sluggishness at all on the old Toshiba. If it's fast on this old notebook it'll positively scream on an up-to-date system.

51 Comments

Béranger
2007-06-26 01:39:20
Is it really, really faster than a vanilla KDE as per Slackware? Are you positively sure?
Stepelevich
2007-06-26 04:13:04
On June 13th I asked a developer on #vectorlinux, after Mozilla had already issued a fix on May 30th, why their repository still contained a version of Firefox with a Critical vulnerability.


His response? "Critical shmitical."

gradie
2007-06-26 08:15:18
Stepelevich, it's about choice. You can choose to use a vulnerable browser if you'd like - it's your choice. However, you fail to mention that the repository also contains the most up-to-date version of Firefox and if using slapt-get/gslapt to perform an upgrade to Firefox you will get the most up-to-date version rather than the vulnerable one.
Caitlyn Martin
2007-06-26 08:36:04
Beranger: I never claimed that Vector Linux was faster than KDE on vanilla Slackware. What I claimed is that you won't find anything faster than VL. VL is based on Slackware. It has all the speed and stability of Slackware with none of the disadvantages of Slack (i.e.: lack of sane package management or user friendly tools).


Stepelevich: I'd like to know which "developer" that was since 2.0.0.4 had already been packaged for VL by then. @gradie has it right. If you install vanilla Ubuntu you won't get today's Firefox either. You'll get what was current as of the date of release of the distro.


Stepelevich
2007-06-26 09:23:45
> Stepelevich, it's about choice. You can choose to use a vulnerable browser if you'd like - it's your choice


No it isn't, it's about a critical security vulnerability in a key piece of software.


> gradie has it right. If you install vanilla Ubuntu you won't get today's Firefox either. You'll get what was current as of the date of release of the distro.


Yes, with ongoing *backported security fixes*.


> I'd like to know which "developer" that was since 2.0.0.4 had already been packaged for VL by then.


No it hadn't. I reproduce the relevant part of the conversation below:


[Dehaene] Is there a list of VL security updates I could look through -- browsing the "patches" directory, SOHO looks as if it's still running Firefox 2.0.0.2
[BSD_Tech[laptop]] no its up to 2.0.0.3
[Dehaene] My mistake -- but isn't 2.0.0.4 the current release?
[Dehaene] As of May 30th, in fact.
* The_Headacher is still using an older version
[The_Headacher> OOps, I lied
[The_Headacher] 2.0.0.3
[Dehaene] Hmmm, but 2.0.0.4 fixes a "Critical" vulnerability ;)
[Dehaene] http://www.mozilla.org/projects/security/known-vulnerabilities.html#firefox2.0.0.4
[BSD_Tech[laptop]] yes and when a pkg get sbuilt and tested it will get added as I was told there are only a few devs and they cant keep up with every ne pkg
[BSD_Tech[laptop]] I am building and testing pkgs on my freetime to get all the latest pkgs but its going slow
[The_Headacher] Critical shmitical
[The_Headacher] Anyway, updating firefox doesn't need a package
* jnd uses opera
[The_Headacher] you can start it as root, then do "Check for Updates"
[Dehaene] Hmmm.

Caitlyn Martin
2007-06-26 09:40:02
Stepelevich: AFAIK, Headacher is a power user and volunteer contributor, not a developer. 2.0.0.4 is in testing now. What was said in the discussion to you was reasonable: 2.0.0.4 was brand new. Package maintainers in Vector Linux are all volunteers. It does take a few days to get things built and tested. Other distros often don't release new Firefox builds overnight, either. You were offered an immediate upgrade path directly from Mozilla if you didn't want to wait. It seems to me everyone was being reasonable here with the possible exception of yourself.


Did you even bother to read the "critical" vulnerability. There was evidence of memory corruption and Mozilla.org "assumed" that might be able to be exploited. There wasn't even any evidence that it ever had been exploited or that anyone had figured out how to exploit it. This was a preemptive fix and I really question whether the critical tag was appropriate. Anyone who does security for a living reviews bugs like this and assesses the risks before rushing a patch in. Does this honestly sound high risk to you? Oh, I agree that upgrading is a good idea, but does it have to be done on the spot?


You also didn't mention that Firefox isn't even installed in Vector Linux by default. Seamonkey is the default browser and a 1.1.2 package (fixes the same vulnerability) is in testing.


I realize you somehow think that all this means the VL is crap but I'm sorry, I don't see it that way. I have filled a security analyst's role professionally, BTW, and nobody is more security paranoid than I am. Oh, and yes, I was wrong about the date Firefox 2.0.0.4 went into the testing repository. That doesn't change the point that you overreacted IMHO.

Stepelevich
2007-06-26 10:16:53
> 2.0.0.4 is in testing now.


So you now concede that 2.0.0.4 *hadn't* been packaged by June 13? Thanks.


> 2.0.0.4 was brand new


No it wasn't -- Mozilla released it on May 30th! The relevant patches were in Ubuntu's repositories on June 1 and in Fedora by the 4th.


> Package maintainers in Vector Linux are all volunteers.


Frugalware's also a small volunteer effort, and they had 2.0.0.4 in the repositories by the 7th.


> There wasn't even any evidence that it ever had been exploited


I would have thought that by definition the best security fixes *are* pre-emptive.


> Does this honestly sound high risk to you?


If the potential consequences of known vulnerabilities are dangerous, then I'm not about to hang around until some bored teenager finally works out the details. From the Ubuntu advisory:


Various flaws were discovered in the layout and JavaScript engines.
By tricking a user into opening a malicious web page, an attacker could execute arbitrary code with the user's privileges. (CVE-2007-2867, CVE-2007-2868)


A flaw was discovered in the form autocomplete feature. By tricking a user into opening a malicious web page, an attacker could cause a persistent denial of service. (CVE-2007-2869)


Nicolas Derouet discovered flaws in cookie handling. By tricking a user into opening a malicious web page, an attacker could force the browser to consume large quantities of disk or memory while processing long cookie paths. (CVE-2007-1362)


A flaw was discovered in the same-origin policy handling of the
addEventListener JavaScript method. A malicious web site could exploit this to modify the contents, or steal confidential data (such as passwords), of other web pages. (CVE-2007-2870)


Chris Thomas discovered a flaw in XUL popups. A malicious web site
could exploit this to spoof or obscure portions of the browser UI,
such as the location bar. (CVE-2007-2871)

Caitlyn Martin
2007-06-26 10:42:31
You don't give up, do you? Now all Vector Linux developers are "bored teenagers", are they? Please back up that statement.


Sorry I don't keep track of the date of various patches. I don't even run

slapt-get --update
slapt-get --upgrade

every single day. Horror of horrors, I know. I don't even get online every single day.


Once again, if an optional package isn't replaced when you say it should be on your schedule Vector Linux is crap. I get it. It's either your way or the highway. Anyone who disagrees with you is an idiot. If Firefox isn't patched immediately everything else anyone else has to say about the distro is irrelevant. Anything good about the distro doesn't matter if the package Stepelevich wants patched isn't patched on his schedule. It doesn't matter that you were provided an easy upgrade and immediate upgrade method in the IRC discussion, does it? No, it's got to be a package in the repository on your schedule, all nicely prechewed for you. I fully understand.


Tell me, since Vector Linux is a volunteer Open Source community project instead of trying to tear it down why don't you volunteer as a packager? That's what I did to address the internationalization/localization issue and, lo and behold, some of the existing Vector Linux community promptly joined me in the effort. Why did I bother instead of just running something like Kubuntu which has al the internationalization/localization done? Kubuntu is dog slow compared to Vector Linux. I recognized that the Vector Linux developers had something very special going. No, it's not perfect.


Instead of throwing stones how about being part of the solution? Then you'll get what you want when you want it. If you don't like the way packages are updated you are more than free to move on to another distro.


My review stands as written. Vector Linux 5.8 SOHO is an outstanding distro -- just not for you.

anothergeek
2007-06-26 11:47:52
A very in depth review, thank you.


Any word if VL is even going to consider doing an x64 build in the near future? I would like to give the distro a spin but I have a need to keep the extra power that my current hardware offers, stepping down is not an option.

Stepelevich
2007-06-26 11:53:08
> Once again, if an optional package isn't replaced when you say it should be on your schedule Vector Linux is crap.


Of course Seamonkey (VectorLinux's *default* browser/email client) still hasn't been updated to 1.1.2 since Mozilla released it on May 30th!


Caitlyn Martin
2007-06-26 12:18:42
@anothergeek: 64-bit VL is under discussion in the Vector Linux forum right now. There is a lot of resistance. Some just argue that a 64 bit version wouldn't be faster and that there is no need. I don't buy that. There have been two cogent arguments that make sense in terms of delaying 64-bit VL at least until VL6. First, gambas has had problems in 64-bit environments and many of the Vector Linux GUI admin tools are written in gambas. Second, there is no official 64-bit port of Slackware as of yet and Vector is based on Slack in the way Ubuntu is based on Debian. While Slamd64 was mentioned there was perhaps legitimate concern about the longevity of that project.


@Stepelevich, for the last time:
Of course Seamonkey (VectorLinux's *default* browser/email client) still hasn't been updated to 1.1.2 since Mozilla released it on May 30th!


Actually, if you bothered to pay attention the Seamonkey 1.1.2 package was released on June 2. Here is the announcement. That was less than 48 hours after the Mozilla release, wasn't it?


You also neglected to mention, while cutting an pasting an entire security advisory from Ubuntu, that Mozilla classified most of those items as low risk. Not critical, not high, not medium, but low.


I've deleted your other post. This has turned intro trolling, or perhaps that's what you were doing from the start. You've made clear you think VL sucks. You are free to express that opinion ad infinitum in your own blog. I was more than patient and let you make your points despite the overly long cut-and-paste bits. You are not free to SPAM my blog, hence my decision to delete further posts from you.

Skolem
2007-06-26 13:14:02
As far as I can tell from your link, Seamonkey 1.1.2 remains in Testing.
Joe1962
2007-06-26 13:26:53
Even though recognized as trolling, I think a reply regarding SeaMonkey is forthcoming. As Caitlyn rightly stated, it is the default browser for VL since 5.8, due to the fact that we have our very own dedicated builder and packager (as well as themer), Incognu. And as to the date of the 1.1.2 package announcement thread, here's a cut and paste from the supplied link:


SeaMonkey 1.1.2 package in 5.8 testing
« on: May 30, 2007, 09:23:29 PM »


And from the SeaMonkey Project:


May 30th, 2007
SeaMonkey 1.1.2 Released - Team Urges Users to Upgrade


Enough said...

Caitlyn Martin
2007-06-26 13:58:35
skolem: Yes, for now Seamonkey 1.1.2 remains in testing. The announcement makes it available for anyone who wants to be an early adopter. That should include anyone seriously concerned about the security vulnerabilities in 1.1.1. VL seems to take it's time moving things from testing to patches to insure community testing. That seems sensible to me. You'll note that my review made clear that wifi-radar 1.9.8 is still in testing even though it corrects a known problem. Same reason.


Joe1962: Thank you for taking the time to reply and set the record straight on this package. In the case of Firefox 2.0.0.4 where a package did not come out quickly an adequate solution was provided for immediate upgrade. What more can people ask for? Would I like to see faster package building and testing? Sure, that's why I volunteered to help in that area for packages that were important to me.

Béranger
2007-06-26 14:30:38
Caitlyn, please don't play the ridiculous over-zealot.
It is *not* about "Team Urges Users to Upgrade".
It is *not* about "early adopters".
It is *not* about "it's your choice to use a browser with vulnerabilities".
It's about the FACT that people (or scripts, cron jobs, etc) should look into "patches/" for security updates -- and the patches are inconsistently published.
Take a second guess on *why* people use RHEL/CentOS/SL, Debian, or even Fedora, Ubuntu, and more. Security updates are provided in a TIMELY manner! PERIOD.


Stepelevich is right. Vector is anything but an enterprise-grade distro.

Frank
2007-06-26 15:52:28
I've run VL 5.1 in the past and it was without a doubt the fastest of the distributions I've tried and lo and behold, everything worked. Only PCLinuxOS was able to say the same.


There's lots of good distros out there and I'll continue to experiment but as its just as good as other distros at most things and way ahead on speed, VL is the best in my opinion.

Caitlyn Martin
2007-06-26 16:08:31
@Beranger: How fast does Fedora get patches out for Extra? RHEL/CentOS don't package five browsers, do they? Besides, who said anything about "enterprise grade"? SOHO is "Small Office, Home Office". Vector Linux has no pretentions about being enterprise grade. I certainly wouldn't recommend it to my consulting customers for enterprise use. I also wouldn't recommend CentOS for the typical desktop user.


Speaking of the enterprise, in the seven months I traveled around for Red Hat visiting customers and solving problems guess what percentage promptly applied patches when issued? The number is zero. Patches had to be rigorously tested in the environment for those who bothered patching at all. Patches were generally only applied when an Update (large package of patches) had been out for several months or when a serious vulnerability was discovered that was perceived to present a serious risk to them.


Should patches be issued promptly? Yes, and IME for the core packages of Vector Linux they are. Sorry, Stepelevich is not right. Zealous? I've had three different favorite desktop Linux distros in the past 18 months. I have no loyalty to one distro or another.


@Frank: Thank you! I'm glad someone who gets the point of this review.


Joe1962
2007-06-26 17:08:31
@Skolem: thanks for the heads up, that was probably my fault, as I've been very busy on my normal work lately and figured one of the other repo maintainers would move it. Guess they know SeaMonkey is one of my my pet projects and left it alone... :(


Anyway, that's what we like to see at Vector Linux, people who help out or even just point out issues.

Béranger
2007-06-27 03:34:34
> How fast does Fedora get patches out for Extra?


Extra is not supported, and you know that!


> RHEL/CentOS don't package five browsers, do they?


The rule of thumb says: don't package what you can't support conveniently.


> Besides, who said anything about "enterprise grade"? SOHO is "Small Office, Home Office".


"Small Office" still means enterprise-grade requirements. Even a "Home Office" (notice the "Office" part in it?) needs security.


> guess what percentage promptly applied patches when issued? The number is zero.
> Patches had to be rigorously tested in the environment for those who bothered patching at all.
> Patches were generally only applied when an Update (large package of patches) had been out
> for several months or when a serious vulnerability was discovered that was perceived to
> present a serious risk to them.


This doesn't imply ALL the customers are that morons! Only the complete IDIOTS only apply patches when an Update (U5, uh?) comes out. I dunno what kind of sysadmins were those, but I can tell you the unemployment rate is too LOW in this case!


> Sorry, Stepelevich is not right.


I am not his attorney, but you failed to prove him wrong.

Caitlyn Martin
2007-06-27 10:31:55
@Béranger: By your standards Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)/CentOS must not be enterprise grade either. After all, RHEL 4 is still supported and still sports a Firefox 1.x browser. Mozilla doesn't maintain or post security bulletins about those old versions of Firefox, do they? RHEL's policy is that there are no major version increases during a release cycle. That seeme to take precedence over security.


I'm not sure I tried to prove anybody wrong. A review, by definition, is an opinion piece. I wrote a mixed but generally very positive review about Vector Linux because I am impressed by the performance. I'm not the only one who feels that way. The new review in the Distro Watch section of Linux Format is positively glowing about Vector Linux 5.8 SOHO. I have seen VL put out security patch after security patch, including new kernel versions, so I do know they must take security at least somewhat seriously. I don't feel the delay in a single package, Firefox, disqualifies Vector Linux as a great choice for lots of people, particularly those with less than state-of-the-art hardware. If you disagree, well... I respect your right to disagree. You haven't convinced me that I'm wrong, either.


Vector Linux 5.8's performance simply can't be beaten from what I've seen. Firefox on my system is at 2.0.0.4 (using it right now) so I don't seem to have a problem keeping things up to date.

hata_ph
2007-06-27 19:31:34
I am not a very expert Linux user but from what I learn since I start using Linux is Linux is about choice and freedom. That why there is so many Linux distribution out there. I believe there is at least 1 distribution out there for anyone of us. But it seem VL is not for at least 2 ppls from what I read in this review. :)
If you don't like it, don't use it......


For the patches or security issue that all are talking around here, I think it shouldn't be a big problem as announcement will be posted in the VL Forum for any major upgrade or bug fix. Any active VL users will know about that. The VL forum community is the best as they are willingly to help anyone without asking for any return. BTW, VL is a free project which mean the developer and maintainer are not being payed for all their work. I appreciate that. But if some ppls think they want more, I believe they should find some other alternative. Take Wind@z for example, they provide update all the time and all done by automatically. :)


I like VL because it is fast and run fine on my P3600 320MB Compaq M300 laptop. VL have what I want and do it job perfectly. I believe that is the most important thing in life.

Béranger
2007-06-28 02:26:37
@Caitlyn: By your standards Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)/CentOS must not be enterprise grade either. After all, RHEL 4 is still supported and still sports a Firefox 1.x browser. Mozilla doesn't maintain or post security bulletins about those old versions of Firefox, do they?


You're totally wrong: RHEL4 features Firefox 1.5.0.12, as they switched from the 1.0.x line since Update 4, exactly one year ago!!!


You have not done your homework at all.


The only question is: what will happen next, knowing that the Mozilla Foundation does not support the 1.5 branch anymore? Will Red Hat continue to backport the fixes, or will it switch to Firefox 2? Either way, they will _do_ something responsible.

Paul
2007-06-28 07:56:58
"RHEL 4 is still supported and still sports a Firefox 1.x browser. Mozilla doesn't maintain or post security bulletins about those old versions of Firefox, do they?"


Did you not read before you posted, she said 1.X version, that means 1.5.X you dolt


Stop bashing for bashing's sake, if you want to complain about something join a protest meeting.


I use PCLOS never tried this distro reviewed, the one thing I hate about linux and the only thing is the idiots that bash all the time, that's what turns people away, all the squabbling. Think it's about time you turned to a different review now to bash that.


oh and thats at Stepelevich er sorry I mean Béranger, I wonder if you have ever been seen together at the same time!!!


Paul

Caitlyn Martin
2007-06-28 10:13:20
@Paul & @Beranger: In 1.x the x can mean any number, so yes, that includes both 0 and 5. The accusation that I didn't do my homework is false and like Paul I now think you're bashing (or trolling) just for the sake of it. Mozilla hasn't supported the 1.5.x series for some time now. To assume that security issues will even be reported isn't a sure thing by any means. Also, Updates from Red Hat (i.e.: U4 and U5 for RHEL4) are supposed to come out quarterly but in reality come out less frequently than that. Red Hat is NOT fast about releasing minor updates to desktop applications even when security issues are involved. They also famously (in the Fedora project, not RHEL) delayed releasing an X.org update until they could get a proprietary video driver updated as well. There was quite a discussion about it, I believe in response to a post by Chromatic about binary blobs.


My point: No distro meets your standards 100% of the time. You repeatedly ignore my point: not releasing an update to an optional package immediately doesn't disqualify a distro from having significant value, particularly as we are talking about a grand total of one package and as others (most recently hata_ph) pointed out Vector Linux is very good about announcing security issues and is usually good about putting out packages promptly. In this one case where a package didn't come out immediately they provided users with a quick and easy way to remove the vulnerability.


As far as I am concerned this part of the discussion is closed.

Paul
2007-06-28 13:40:46
I'm interested in giving VL a try, I tend to shy away from text based configs and instals, I can manage it and have recompilled kernels for dazuko etc in my time, but i'm still a newbie of about 5 months.


I am very profecient with windows/dos as well as c++ javascript, vb, html/css coding and now run linux full time without any dual boots either, but am wondering how complex this is, this is the main reason I have never tried slackware people rave about it, but too much text based stuff for me as i spent the last decade learning how to use dos/windows.


I have hopped around as of late, ubuntu - kubuntu - mepis - sabayon - fedora - mint - pclos, but I have some older hardware and was looking for a quick bare bones OS to for one of my older setups, then maybe transfer to my main work setup, i suppose i'm trying to find the one, pclos is sooooo close but somethings not quite right.


How text based is VL really, i'm interested as I love KDE - gnome isn't an option for me, ive forced myself to use it and I think i've just been spoilt with the style of MS that this is what I'm accustomed too now, and if there is a chance at a faster KDE based desktop, I am happy to give it a go.


Paul


(Linux is not just for Christmas)

gcsmit
2007-06-28 14:30:17
"How text based is VL really?"


Paul, there is nothing complicated about installing VL. You'll find a helpful review of VL 5.8 RL3 here, which includes detailed comments about installation:


http://knolinux.com/2006/12/11/vector-linux-58-rc3--slackware-that-works-and-works-well.aspx


The standard VL 5.8 was one of the first distros I installed and I had no serious problems. The forum community is indeed very helpful.


About PCLinuxOS: My pentium III with 256Mb ram runs this distro and I think KDE is very responsive, even on this old computer. I'm hoping that Caitlyn will chose PCL for her next review...

Caitlyn Martin
2007-06-28 15:25:15
@Paul: The installation is entirely text based. So is Ubuntu if you use the alternate CD rather than the (very broken) Live CD installer. The level of knowledge required shouldn't be more than any other distro you've tried. Once Vector is installed there are all the GUI tools you need for systems administration. FWIW, by definition a Linux distro with KDE isn't "bare bones". KDE is the most resource intensive 2D desktop environment for Linux.


@gcsmit: I have no plan to run, try, or review PCLOS. See my previous article entitled So Many Distros, So Little Time.

Caitlyn Martin
2007-06-28 17:53:45
UPDATE: The packages for Seamonkey 1.1.2 and the corrected package for AbiWord are out of testing and in the patches repository. A
slapt-get --update
slapt-get --upgrade

will now fetch them, or they can be installed individually.
Paul
2007-06-28 23:47:40
Thanks for the link, i'll have a read, my definition of 'bare bones' is tainted somewhat due to my obscured MS tinted glasses, I forget that OS and GUI are two seperate things entirely. As with MS they are one big mashed up mess. But i'm think you got what I was getting at.


Great review, i'll probably take a try this weekend, in my search for the one................


Paul

JayBee
2007-07-01 07:36:04
Vector SOHO looks pretty good. Thanks for the review, it really answers a lot of questions I had been bringing up. I still want to give it a try, but at the moment I depend a lot of a large number of languages 日本語, 한국말 and especially 中文 so I think I'll wait just yet. But Vector SOHO really looks like a promising route for anyone using only English and wanting KDE. I'm really tempted by the speed you mentioned. Thanks again.


By the way, I might be the only person who thinks this, but I don't care about the absolute minimal differences in gecko browsers since about Moz1.0. If the bogeyman eats my hard disk and sends porn to my girlfriend, I'll come back and say so at very least.

J. Barr
2007-07-04 01:41:43
What a pity that too many people can whinge, but do not volunteer to "fix" any anomalies. Whenever the hardware Mfr.'s get their act together,and realize the potential gain of profits in offering good support to Linux Distros; we shall see the Penguin race ahead.
Caitlyn Martin
2007-07-04 12:01:54
@Jaybee: I actually do care a great deal about some rather serious security vulnerabilities that have arisen in Gecko based browsers since Mozilla 1.0. There have also been important bugfixes. Firefox 1.5.x was unstable under Linux. The "bogeyman" in this case is very real. The Internet is not a friendly place and there are all sorts of malware and malicious people in this world.


You really missed my point. Security patches are extremely important and anyone who simply ignores them en masse is being foolish. What Stepelevich and Béranger were ignoring was this: a simple upgrade path to Firefox 2.0.0.4 existed from day one, as did a new Seamonkey package. The fact that an actual package for Firefox 2.0.0.4 didn't exist right away doesn't disqualify Vector Linux from office use or make it a bad distro so long as a way to patch a system was readily available, which it was.


I suspect Béranger is concerned about upgrades outside of the package manager. Unlike Debian or rpm based systems the package management software in Vector and other Slackware derivatives is relatively immature. Having the version wrong in the database is a relatively minor issue. Once the package became available it would self-correct as Firefox 2.0.0.4 would replace itself in a global upgrade.

JayBee
2007-07-14 09:32:13
Actually I agree that many of the updates since Moz 1 have been important. I was just trying to add some balance to the comments.


Too often I think people make mountains out of molehills, possibly because they have a favourite distro? But if Vector can make a person that upset because of a possible slight delay in something that wasn't even exploited, shouldn't they be ten thousand times more livid about Internet Explorer anyway? Why attack Vector? It's just senseless, there are far more worthy targets.

Keyfitter
2007-07-24 18:29:29
I wouldn't pay much attention to the complaining going on here.
Generally, the people who contribute nothing seem to find any reason to gripe.

I have been using Vector since 5.8. Deluxe was released. Now I am using 5.8 SOHO. Both, for my main O.S. Vector Linux is one of the very few distro's that I have ever contributed money to, because I really don't have time to help out in other ways.


I have tried a lot of distro's and found a lot more lacking than some petty vulnerability issue in Firefox.


All I can say to the people who make Vector Linux what it is, Great job and keep up the good work!.


Greetings from Finland
2007-07-27 02:26:02
First of all, I'm not a VL 5.8 Soho user nor have I ever tested it, although the standard version is somehow familiar. My intention is to complain (again) about the overall policy VL has. That is because a good product itself is not nearly enough to get the attention of masses, and furthermore to install it to fullfill their personal needs.


Some of those needs:
- Information about the VL policy. Will it be sufficient in the future for computers having the previous of VL? If not, how long is the current version supported? Ubuntu's example is simply to announce that 18 months or so, depending whether it is a version of long term support or a minor release.


- For an average user, changing from windows to linux is a vast change. The desktop of VL is polished enough: Looks nice and is Easy to use. Hopefully installation routines and graphical installation is the next major focus of the VL team, not to mention that windows users have always fears to loose their personal data. Perhaps it would be smart to consentrate on turning users from Windows to VL rather than shouting how good distro the VL is for old computers if you are lucky to be an experienced linux user.


My point is that make it easy to install (it is already fast and easy to use) and keep your focus on marketing for a while. YThe VL team has the technology for dual boot which itself may not be essential, but at least gives a comfortable feeling that a windows user wants when considering any linux distribution. Perhaps some thinks that there is no sence to advertise older technology, but mature consept fits to VL's imago while it means stability and overall realibity. So, without changing VL's idea to be a fast, realible and userfriendly distro, they just need to tell how EASY it is to change from the world of windows and viruses to a safe, fast but very similar looking system that windows is. Lindows screwed it by giving an opportunity to someone else.


Of course, VL needs to be developed to an international distro when an active community is simply a must.




keyfitter
2007-07-28 20:11:52
To: Hello from Finland


First of all, it actually is important for a distro to focus on older computers. That is what many Windows users have. I repair Windows computers and you would be surprised at the number of Win 98 computers that are still in use. Most of these are either not upgradeable or too expensive to upgrade to Win XP. Now even XP machines are becoming obsolete. An owner of one of these machines has the alternative of either switching to Linux or buying a new computer.


Most of these older machines still have a lot of usage left, thanks to Linux. For me anyway, the text installer is a piece of cake. I can install a
Linux distro in far less time than it takes for a Windows install. I have installed and used FreeBSD in the past and the installation is no fun at all, the first time around. It makes a Linux text installer seem quite simple.


As for Windows users fearing loss of data, they need to learn that backups are important. I have to sometimes do data recovery for people that don't understand or know this.


As for VL support I will let someone else answer this. Personally, I have found that nothing really changes that much with each new release and I would not be afraid to continue with the same one for a couple of years. Security of the browser is a concern though, and there are some solutions that I use to keep an updated browser, even if there is no support for the release of a distro that I am using.

Caitlyn Martin
2007-07-30 16:02:11
@Greetings From Finland: Vector Linux has just, in recent weeks, started selling commercial support to corporate customers. (Yes, IMHO, this will make it appropriate for the enterprise, so my previous comments about that no longer apply.) I have no idea what their support policy will be and I suspect they are just developing that now. Free support in the forum has always been available for any version of Vector Linux back to 1.8.


Regarding the focus of Vector Linux that question would be best directed to the Vector Linux developers on their forum. I suspect commercial support will mean more focus on server deployments. VL has always been desktop oriented to this point.


I don't think it is appropriate for any distribution to focus on converting Windows users. Any of a number of distributions including Vector Linux SOHO are as user friendly as Linux gets and are already perfectly appropriate for that. If you want to know why I don't think this sort of focus makes any sense please read my article Performing Brain Surgery On Yourself.

Keyfitter
2007-07-30 17:46:49
"I don't think it is appropriate for any distribution to focus on converting Windows users. "


I couldn't agree more, Caitlyn!. It is hard enough to get Windows home users to understand how important anti-virus,and anti-spyware programs are. Many don't even know the basics of using Windows beyond using just a few applications, such as defragmenting and backing up data.


The reasons for this are simple. Many people view their computer as just another appliance like a toaster or washing machine. Others simply don't have the time to learn.


Linux takes time and motivation to learn. So, I would not focus on trying to gain Linux converts, as much as getting a distro to run on older hardware.
Linux has a ways to go yet with connectivity though. Many people still use dial-up for the Internet and getting one of those cheap little Win modems to work with Linux at all, is a real pain.

Caitlyn Martin
2007-07-31 19:14:04
@keyfitter: You wouldn't complain about MacOS not supporting Dell or Gateway computers, would you? Every major Linux distribution website has a section on hardware compatibility and each and every one clearly states that Winmodems are not supported. They're called "Winmodems" for a reason, you know.


Yes, I know that there are some drivers for Winmodems. I used one for a while back in 2004-05 on a Dell laptop provided by my employer. I had to wait for new drivers each time a kernel upgrade came out. Sometimes I had to choose between having a serious security vulnerability or having my modem work. Thanks but no thanks.


Winmodems are a really bad idea in any case. They steal power from the processor.


Finally, there are plenty of inexpensive hardware modems around. Almost every external modem is a hardware modem. There is absolutely no reason to run a Winmodem in Linux.

keyfitter
2007-08-01 20:54:23
No, I wont' complain at all about MacOS, because I really don't care about Mac in general. My concern about Winmodems is from a technical standpoint. Personally I use Roadrunner. Trouble is that there are many people who are still using Win 98 and dial-up, some of which do try to convert to Linux. I have seen posts in Linux forums from time to time on this.


Usually the subject of changing to a serial modem finally comes up, and some of these people complain about having to buy more hardware. There is a reason why they are using Win 98 in 2007. I think it's called, being cheap!.
Just about every distro will work with a hardware modem.


There is a distro called Puppy Linux that will work with a surprising number of Winmodems. SuSE Linux did include the LT Agere drivers in their distro also. But you are right about a Winmodem using up processor power, when software emulation is needed to make up for missing hardware.


I should have said that some distros, and not Linux still have a ways to go yet with ease of connectivity for new users. I like to try out different distros from time to time and find that some do require a little bit of tinkering. While installing Win drivers for wireless cards seems quite simple for many of us with ndiswrapper, it's no picnic for some new users.
One thing I discovered on my own, when installing drivers for a really new wireless card such as the built-in wireless on a new laptop, it's best to uninstall the version of ndiswrapper that is included in the distro, and install the latest release from sourceforge.


I did not intend to make anything I said sound like a slam against Linux. For my own use, Linux is all I use. There is no Windows OS on this computer.
When I do use Windows on other computers, I expect to be paid for it.(Except
for maintaining the family computer)

Caitlyn Martin
2007-08-07 11:07:12
Updates to Béranger's questions/objections:


Yes, I am now absolutely certain that VL 5.8 SOHO or VL 5.8.6 SOHO are both significantly, noticeably faster than vanilla Slackware 12 running KDE, at least on my box.


A package for Seamonkey 1.1.4 hit the repository promptly after the new version was announced. Firefox 2.0.0.6 package will be in the repository this evening.

Greetings from Finland
2007-08-14 05:10:42
"I don't think it is appropriate for any distribution to focus on converting Windows users"


I read your article "Performing Brain Surgery On Yourself" and agree with you that it is always a matter of attitude when deciding whether to learn something new or not. If someone can deal with windows, there may not be any immediate reasons for changing operating system. That's fine with the linux community - or is it? Actually, no. With good reasons most of us want to use a distro strong enough to survive. Unfortunately nobody can say for sure, which ones are still in the playground after N years, but almost with certainty we can say for sure that windows is.


It gives me a reason to my opinion that every OS just need to get along with windows and to adapt as well as possible to do things in a way the superior market leader does. By that I don't mean anything like giving up packet manager or tinkering kernel to similar than in windows. Just let us consider linux and windows as their own different species, but please, remember that there is no reason to punish the end user for changin one's OS. Most of us are not interested in what's under the hood, but certainly we do care can we get along with the new system. I'd like you to admit that there is really a difference how it sounds when comparing between "it's easy (to learn)" and "it's similar to that you are used to". Previous one is a claim you are supposed to belive, no matter who says it, and the latter one is a pronounced verification. With any uncertainties (fear to loose data, mess one's system, to stuck for hours browsing (non-)existing solutions for problems) people are tend to choose all the windows risks because they have somekind of comprehension what kind of binary world is that they are dealing with.


The utmost besetting sin for a linux is when he/she is plainly "announcing" that linux is not for you. The message , as received, is something like one is not smart, nerd and tough enough to learn linux - the best OS there is. Of course, that is not the message any linux user want to give. Keyfitter really hit the point by saying that some attributes of linux are worth advertising.


"It is hard enough to get Windows home users to understand how important anti-virus,and anti-spyware programs are."


I agree, but I wonder as well, why not to remove all the excuses people have against linux. It is really bad marketing to give a hint that you need a brain surgery and let you know that besides that you need to do it by yourself. Instead of that flee, run away, make yourself disappear -style negative marketing let us point out reasons to use linux and give them a feeling that they are most welcome. That kind of feeling is inevitable for people who are not willing to put too much effort and time, even when they can have it for free.


Ok, then what to do for a better linux? Let's just polish linux a bit, to give it a look and touch similar to windows, but leaving all the stuff under the hood as they were before. You know, people have their reasons to use windows. If 90+ percent of people have an excuse to use it, don't you think that the we have a good reason honestly figure out how to remove those (real or illustrated) obstacles not to change to a free or reasonably prised alternative?



I started by a quotation "...appropriate...". Perhaps I don't see your point, or then I totally misunderstood. Do you mean by that something like "it isn't fair", or what? That wasn't meant to be ad hominem, but I simply don't see my suggestion to get as many users as possible from windows to linux as any kind of inappropriate or precarious action. As I see it, linux (as an OS) is one way to get people work together and it gives an opportunity freely to use computers and programs similar to those which they couldn't afford. Totally off-topic, but hopefully clarifying my point, is the fact that a skill to use a computer is dividing people to groups which shouldn't even be there, and definitely not by artificial means.


(Politics is always about rights, but the big question is about whose rights, and as such ones, they are always subjective of their nature.)


I'm not about politics myself, and I don't see linux politically red, but somehow I consider linux as positive counter force against the possibly unfair play some companies are temptated to practise. Of course, I want an OS to be capable of fullfilling needs that come from enterprise use as well.


Caitlyn Martin
2007-08-14 11:50:16
Greetings From Finland: Most users aren't capable of installing their own OS and getting it right. That's true for Linux, FreeBSD, and yes, Windows. The only reason 90% of the desktop market is owned by Microsoft is because Windows is what comes preloaded on most computers and nearly all computers sold in retail stores. It's also what people use at work. The better Linux distributions have no real barriers other than having to learning something different. I do NOT believe Linux, at least the better distributions, is any harder to use than Windows. That's why trying to convert Windows users is pretty darned useless.


If Linux were made to look and feel like Windows I'd stop using it and move on. I hope that never happens.


I think we'll have to agree to disagree on a lot of this.

Keyfitter
2007-08-15 18:38:13
To, Greetings from Finland. First of all, Linux has a totally different file structure from a Microsoft O.S., which means that it will always require some learning for a new user. Learning a new operating system just takes time and the inclination to do so. Most of us in the Linux community do spend the time to help new users who want to learn. We don't necessarily try to convert anyone away from one O.S. to the other. In many cases, people dual boot with Windows, which I recommend until someone is comfortable with Linux and they have all the apps that they need, without Windows. Personally I chain boot three Linux O.S.'s and FreeBSD.


The Linux desktop with KDE or Gnome is every bit as user friendly as the Windows desktop, and a lot more practical too. I do not want a "Windows" feel to it. If the Linux O.S. could possibly be made to be structured like Windows, then it would be a matter of compromising security for convenience. Security is one big reason why I choose to use Linux.


Someone telling a newbie to stick with Windows is wrong, but it sometimes does stem from someone being perceived as a troll. I have seen that happen on message boards such as DesktopLinux.Com. Telling someone to RTFM is wrong also, but fortunately it doesn't happen very often.


Caitlyn is right in stating that most computer users do not know how to install a new operating system. Almost everyone who gets to use Linux, usually has to install it, or use a live CD as almost every computer does come with Windows pre-installed. Losing data is a very easy thing to do if the wrong partition gets formatted. Windows users who are familiar with Drive A:, Drive B:, Drive C:, can easily make a mistake when Linux gives them the choice of hd1,hda2 and possibly hdb1,hdb2, and so on.

keyfitter
2007-08-19 15:25:22
"I want an OS to be capable of fullfilling needs that come from enterprise use as well."
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
This is not the first time that the subject of "enterprise ready" or "enterprise use" has come up on this site, concerning VL. VL isn't advertised as enterprise ready like RHEL or SLE10 yet it meets my needs perfectly. I use Crossover to run Quicken 2005, Quicken Rental, Microsoft Office and a business card software program.. I use Appgen which is quite similar to Quickbooks for my small business needs and then there's Samba for file and print sharing with other computers on my network. So, I guess VL SOHO 5.8 is about as "enterprise ready" as it needs to get for some of us.


XAMMP also runs quite nicely on Vector Linux if you want to build a web server. I use a separate OS on this computer, for that purpose. It works out great for learning how to work with a CMS like Joomla. I don't know a darn thing about building a website but I am learning. If I mess something up on my own computer it is simple to deal with, rather than messing up the site I have with Hostmonster. So, how much more "enterprise ready" does VL need to be?.


Justin
2008-01-26 04:40:22
Vector Linux Standard is GOOD, SOHO (KDE Version) is BAD, and unstable. I say this from trying both for an extended period of time, while STD worked flawlessly with few issues SOHO seems like something that is still not ready for release.


If you do not believe me.. Go ahead give SOHO a try and don't say that no one warned you, it's really... so unstable and slow, especially multi-media wise.

Caitlyn Martin
2008-01-26 12:29:05
@Justin: I ran VL 5.8 SOHO continuously until 5.8.6 SOHO RC2 released. I didn't have a single problem. It was absolutely stable and rock solid. Did you report the problems you experienced in the Vector Linux forum? Did you get any help? I have yet to find a more responsive group of developers than those at Vector Linux.


This is all pretty well moot now that 5.9 is out in any case. Look for a new review from me of 5.9 Standard and then, when the final version comes out, SOHO.

SA_Ron
2008-05-10 15:52:17
Every once-in-awhile I go out to find a new Linux version to play with. Based on the recommendation here, I installed Vector Linux. Despite all the problems, I'm not sorry I did. I always wind up learning something.


First off, this is as fast as advertised. I have a 2.7GHtz Celeron with 1G of RAM. Not exactly a speedster these days. But, using KDE, this distro is quick. Windows pop up almost immediately. Very noticeable speed increase. Has a good feel too. Speed is the selling point here, though.


If I have problems, the main ones are always network related. I have a wireless network card (motorola), which are problem-less on some distros and on others it's a bear. This is a bear.


Using vasm (is that a curses interface????), I've got the system to the point where if I try to add a wireless interface the whole system freezes and I have to hit the reset button. Any idiot can fail to install a system. It takes real talent to totally hose it up. :-)


Anyway, it's a challenge and it's kinda fun. I will admit that I'm currently spoiled. I'm running PCLinuxOS as my 'stable' linux. It has the network tools (and all admin tools, for that matter) I like and those tools are logically categorized in the menus and they actually work! On Vector, I've got one wireless tool under System and three others under Internet. An annoyance. None of the tools are particularly useful at the moment. Would appreciate some order, at least in the system tools area. (Sorry, it's a pet peeve of mine when so little thought is put into organizing tools in the menu). Like I said, I'm spoiled. I'm used to hitting the Configure Your Computer button and voila! all the tools sorted logically.


Anyway, I'm off to the Vector forums to see if I can find a fix without re-installing the whole thing, which I guess wouldn't be a horrible thing. Note to Self: Never customize a distro until the networking issues are resolved. lol


Thanks for the advice, Ms. Martin. Despite how this post might sound, I really am enjoying myself.

Caitlyn Martin
2008-05-10 16:38:41
@SA_Ron: Since you've commented on a review of Vector Linux 5.8 from a year ago I assume that's what you are running. The simple answer to your problems is to get on the current version. The level of improvement between 5.8 and 5.9 is simply amazing. You'll also find relatively few people still running this version on the Vector Linux forums.
SA_Ron
2008-05-10 18:25:11
Thanks for the response. Just got off the Vector forums and these networking problems seem to be fairly common in this release. I'm using "Vectorlinux-5.8-SOHO-FINAL release", btw.


The answers all seem to tend towards running commands on the CLI and/or editing config files. If you have 5 wireless tools why in the world should I have to edit config files manually? lol.


Anyway, I will take your suggestion and install 5.9 and see how it goes.


Thanks again,
Ron