Friday, August 26, 2005

Quick Review Lorma Linux LTSP Server Slackware Edition Beta 2

Read the title, this is just a quick review. I didn't have enough time to test Lorma Linux and all of it's components. Since this is a beta release, expect to find bugs and experience peculiar behavior even though it's Linux. So here's my beginner's review.

The installation of Lorma Linux LTSP Server Slackware Edition is pretty much straight-forward, as you would expect of Slackware 10.1, which this distro is based. There's no fancy graphics preventing you from installing this distro, very useful if you have a buggy Video Card. They also choose a friendly (note: different from user-friendly) text install. All are presented in a very friendly manner, and some installations are explained so newbies could easily understand what they are or are not choosing.

Packages to install are also neatly categorized called Software Series. I choose everything except Package K which is the Linux kernel source code. Next it will present you with optional packages to install, as usual, I selected everything. Once the installation is completed, I rebooted and guess what? I wasn't able to boot into X. I got some error which I completely forgot. I hate troubleshooting anything I have no knowledge of so I instead put the installation CD into the tray and rebooted. Installed everything except Package K and GNOME, the Gnome desktop environment. My computer rebooted well and got me into a graphical login. Good thing KDE started without a hitch. I was able to login and started configuring things to my own liking.

Adding a user using KUser went fine, but editing it is another story. Try to change the default group, once you click on OK, an error window would pop-up telling you that it crashed. Changing owners of folder would also invoke this error window. I encountered a few more bugs here and there, unfortunately, I forgot to take note of them. Why? I was happy with this distro with KDE.

Sure, it doesn't have all the stuff that you need. Not very well configured. And you get to encounter those annoying bugs. But what made this distro special is the idea that someone is developing this particular distro due to economic reasons and common sense. LTSP ain't new. But incorporating it into a distro with the hopes of reviving old computers stored in your closet, with the hopes of reviving hundreds of 386's and 486's used by our public schools with Windows installed and over-ridden by viruses from the 1980's. It may not be much, but for us, this distro is godsend. It really makes economic sense to use those old computers for the education of our children instead of throwing them away polluting Mother Earth and buying Pentium 4 with Windows installed.... not a very smart idea. I would also like to mention that even our goverment would benefit from this one. Instead of upgrading hundreds of workstation on all goverment offices, why not upgrade just ten servers and make those client computers faster and it won't cost you a fortune doing that.

I do support this project and their other project like Samba server and Web server. Although all the other distros available on the Internet right now could easily install Samba, Apache, and LTSP... and most install them by default... what Lorma Linux did was create or recreate their version of Linux into something that targets your specific needs, which personally, makes sense. A web developer could download the Web Server Edition of Lorma Linux (238MB) for about 4 hours on broadband, spend about 30 mins. and he/she will be up in no time at all. Consider that when downloading bloated distros where you have to configure it for hours even days before their website is up.

I salute Lorma Linux and Lorma Colleges for releasing this distro. It may not be suitable for power users, but it's certainly useful for most of us. It's target users will stand up and say this distro is right for me. Even though I'm the only one (I think...) supporting this distro in Baguio City, rest assured that my colleages will soon follow. I really wish I could visit Lorma Linux's lab just to check what it's developers are doing. Lorma Colleges is but 2 hours from where I live, someday....