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Your review is obsolete

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on November 14, 2007 02:12 PM
A few points. Let me explain why there are so many "outdated" versions in the DSL repositories. Some of us prefer using perfectly functional GTK1 applications that don't bog down our "obsolete" computers. Or we like the smallest possible version to accomplish a task: the Open Office 1.1 verison is 67MB (30% bigger than the base distro!) while the 2.0.4 UCI version is 124 MB. May not seem like much, but some of us use DSL straight off the CD (with a MyDSL folder) where an extra 60MB isn't wanted or justified.

What are we giving up? We still type in data the same way whether it's an older GTK1 verison of Abiword or the GTK2 verison or in either Open Office version -- I don't get that much in the way of functionality, and my typing/entry is going to be in the 46 wpm range regardless. While your solution is probably for us to put our ancient hardware in landfills and use something that can handle PCLOS or Ubuntu with ease, I prefer to use a computer as long as it works -- not just so it can keep up with what are mostly stylistic changes (seriously, how much has the "technology" of editing text changed in the last 10 years?).

Speaking of utility, I've run DSL on machines with as little as 32MB RAM. It'll run on even less, but all my computers have at least that much now. I don't view the improvements Robert Shingledecker has made as "damn small," but rather impressive given the balancing act he's tried to follow to continue to improve a distro that doesn't presume old hardware is obsolete just because it won't run KDE or Gnome while still making concessions for people with "newer" hardware. The fact he's done it with a 50MB limit (those "obsolete" 64MB USB sticks have some life left in them if you're interested in running Linux off USB) is even more impressive.

Most people who use DSL will never use or need GCC either because of the nature of using a live CD, running off USB, or doing a frugal install. Most of these users will rely on the benefits of mountable (UCI/UNC) applications rather than compiling source.

The version in the repository is 3.3.4. There's a 2.95.4 version in Testing, but it's provided to correlate specifically with the earlier (2.4.26) DSL kernel. There's also gcc-3.3.5 in a bigger compile UCI in testing.

I know DSL is counter-intuitive in a world where people insist on having the most bleeding edge hardware and where certain distros focus on keeping up with it at the expense of stability. DSL is a bit of a respite from that mentality. It provides a stable, flexible base that can be extended easily. It can run on "obsolete" hardware -- you don't have to upgrade your hardware to keep up with the demands of the operating system.

At the end of the day, though, what are you accomplishing with fancy-schmancy spinning interfaces requiring a GB of RAM and accelerated video cards that you didn't accomplish before computers had resources to run hyper-intensive GUIs (i.e., when everything was a console app or ran from command lines)? People have tried to <a href="">answer that question</a>, and it doesn't look good for those on the bleeding edge.

Long live DSL and old computers and the choices it gives us that other distros can't.


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