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A few words about Vector Linux

Posted by: Administrator on April 09, 2004 11:48 AM
First off, let me say thank you to the author for writing the piece. It's always nice to have one's favorite distro noticed by the public.
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Having said that, I *do* want to point out a couple of things. First of all, the reviewer did NOT review Vector Linux SOHO 4, because Vector Linux SOHO 4 has not yet been created.
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The reviewer must have downloaded RC-1, the first attempt at bug squashing as the Vector developers work towards a SOHO release.
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Since the premise behind a release candidate is to find bugs and difficulties, I am honestly very pleased at the review... it pointed out some flaws that were known, but others which had escaped the notice of the testers. Every bug found during a RC cycle is one more that can be squashed!
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The comments about the Dvorak keyboard are appreciated, simply because I don't use a Dvorak keyboard, and would never have thought to even test out that function. So, kudos to Preston for finding that one.
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Preston also wrote:
"Nothing is stopping power-users from installing the programs they want after the initial install."
While this is technically true, I know the Vector devs are working on answering the problem of dependency issues. So, as for right now, Vector SOHO will NOT be a bleeding-edge distro. Every package that will be made available to the SOHO user base is built specifically for Vector, and tested on VL systems. Only after a package has been tested in real-world conditions will it be moved from "testing" to "stable". If one were to look around the SOHO directories, one would notice that NOTHING has been moved to a stable release - it's ALL in testing so far. But as an RC tester, I can report that the majority of the packages work quite well.
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I also happened to notice that the reviewer admitted to interrupting the auto-detect install process:
"...the script demanded that I reconfigure all the other options that were subsequent to keyboard configuration on the initial install. Needless to say, this would have been a huge waste of time, so I simply killed the configuration process."

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Preston THEN went on to say in the next line:
"My next step was to get X11 up and running. I typed startx, thinking that after all the auto-detection done by Vector my X server would work properly upon first try. It did not..."

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I found it interesting that the reviewer stopped the auto-detection script before its completion, and then commented on how the auto-detection didn't work correctly. Could there be a connection?
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Here's an example of a VERY helpful comment:
"Perhaps Vector Linux should consider editing that error message to read 'Sound will not be activated' instead of 'Sound will use<nobr> <wbr></nobr>/dev/null.'"

Now THAT's an *excellent* idea from this review. I hope that the devs in charge of fine-tuning the KDE portion of the install are able to change this one.<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:D Give that man a gold star! (or whatever the current rate is for identification of a rough edge that needs to be smoothed.)
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Preston wrote:
"I was forced to modprobe the module myself, edit the configuration files, and restart ALSA. That made two aspects of my hardware that Vector failed to auto-configure -- sound and video."

Hmmm... see above comments about the consequences of killing the detect-script in mid-configure... the sound detect portion of the script is a little later in the code, if I remember correctly.
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"I question Vector's decision to use such a bloated suite when space is so limited."

This is a simple one: the users of Vector voted, and we decided that we liked OpenOffice more than KOffice... so THAT's what was included. However, if someone really wants KOffice, there are pre-built packages for it that will be released when SOHO is finalized.
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Some of Preston's final comments:
"Vector Linux is fast, secure, and up to date, but I'm afraid that it doesn't yet meet its goal of being friendly enough for home and small office users."

Ah, very true. It doesn't... YET. But it's not quite done, either. VL SOHO isn't quite ready... yet. But these comments will certainly help us polish off the rough spots and make it better for the next RC.
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Finally, Preston said:
"While there was nothing major wrong with Vector Linux, there was nothing to distinguish it from any other distro either."

On this point, I'd have to disagree wholeheartedly. And why? Because Vector Linux is not JUST about the collection of packages burned onto a CD. It's ALSO about the collection of PEOPLE who volunteer together to make the VL forums a very newbie-friendly place to learn Linux.
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I would encourage Preston to follow up on this review by keeping the SOHO RC on his hard drive for a couple of weeks, and by interacting with the community at http://www.vectorlinux.com/forum as he uses VL. I think that his follow-up review might have a different conclusion once he gets to know the strengths of Vector Linux.
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Thanks for the review, Preston, and thank YOU, reader, for reading such a long reply.
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G.B.Y.L.B.T., PastorEd

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