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Libranet? (Debian for Dummies?)

2002-12-15 08:47:46+00 by Shawn 5 comments

I just read a review of Libranet, which is apparently a commercial distro - based on Debian and attempting to make installation and configuration a bit easier for those of us who may be reasonably comfortable with Linux, but aren't really hardcore about tweaking and configuring everything with sed.

Up until now, I've been hungrily eyeballing Lycoris for my next [desktop] machine (which must wait until I can afford a new machine). But I like the fact that Libranet comes with more in the way of applications and server stuff (even though this will primarily be a desktop machine).

I know some here have expressed a preference for Debian. Does anybody have an opinion on Libranet?

[ related topics: Free Software Open Source ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-12-24 18:29:45+00 by: RedOscar


I am pretty much a Linux newbie, having been introduced at a SIG of our local PC users group. I started with Caldera 2.3 as I had that lying on the bookshelf, but found it sadly out of date. Tried Lycoris about a month ago and have it running on one machine. An easy install, but it seems terribly slow to me. Wanted to go with Debian because of "apt". I d/l'ed Libranet 2.0 Essentials a couple weeks ago, and I love it.

The Libranet install was pretty straightforward. Successfully set up a dual boot with Win98. Now running using Enlightenment. Seems pretty stable. Enlightenment and IceWM are far faster than KDE. Apt is wonderful.

As with any new environment, still working out the "issues". I pretty much trashed the installation with apt-get upgrade. Now I only install packages as really needed. Still not sure how to get my printer driver installed. It's a Samsung ML1210 and the include driver support is mostly set up for Redhat, Mandrake and Suse. I figure I'll get some expert help at the SIG before tackleing that issue.

But, in the end, I have a lot of respect for the Libranet distribution. I think that the apt method of package management is excellent for keeping up-to-date. The v2.0 install, while not their latest, gives you a very good experience for seeing the many features Linux has to offer. If I stick with Libranet, I will surely purchase their product.

Probably my greatest concern would be with the marketing strength of Libranet as a company. However, being Debian based, you still have the option of staying current using the public archives. Nonetheless, I give high marks for Libranet as a easy way to get Debian on your machine. Good luck.

#Comment made: 2002-12-27 03:12:11+00 by: Shawn

All good points and thanks for the feedback. The biggest issue that I seem to have with Linux distros (and, consequently, other Linux users) is that I am more interested in GUI ease of use - although not at the expense of power - than I am with eclectic interfaces or doing everything at the command-line, no matter how fast it is. I like the look and feel of Gnome and KDE just fine (the former more than the latter) and I have had no complaints about speed - even when running on a Pentium 166.

I hear people constantly sing the praises of Enlightenment or other window managers, but I've not been impressed by screen shots. I like icons and many of the staple, tried-and-true elements of GUI interfaces. Playing with new UI's can be fun, but I want to get work done - not fiddle around trying to figure out how to do something.

I hear that Apt is wonderful, but my concerns are: How easy is it to use? Does it give a good description of what the package is and why I might want it? In layman's terms, I mean - not some obscure kernel hacker jargon. Does it allow me to uninstall packages easily? Can I upgrade the kernel with as much ease as installing another package? And can I do this all from a clear, straight-forward, self-explanatory GUI?

Along the same lines, I'm interested in how the configuration tools meet basically the same questions. Can I configure everything from a GUI interface? And I'm not talking some web-based tool that just gives me textboxes to type in the same commands I could do directly in the conf file with vi. Do I get radio buttons, drop down boxes, etc. for setting my options?

Etc., etc...

#Comment made: 2002-12-27 04:26:42+00 by: Dan Lyke

Shawn, apt doesn't really give you descriptions, but the systems that get layered on it do. dselect, which is the Debian package selector that I loathe, but which works rather nicely once you get used to its loathesomeness, gives the following description for, for instance, vlc:

vlc - a free MPEG, DVD and DivX player

VideoLAN is a free MPEG, MPEG2, DVD and DivX software solution.

This is vlc, the VideoLAN Client. It plays MPEG and MPEG2 files, DVDs, or MPEG streams from a network source.

It isn't the greatest searcher in the world, and if Libranet kept everything the same but put a better dselect like manager above apt that had better package searching, that would be a good thing. Too often I discover from reading some obscure app note that the package that I struggled to compile from source is just an apt-get package away, if only I'd known the package name.

#Comment made: 2002-12-27 05:05:43+00 by: Dan Lyke

Of course there's also Lesbian Linux, with porn-get...

#Comment made: 2002-12-29 04:27:51+00 by: Shawn [edit history]

Having to know the package names is part of my frustration with all the Linux systems. It's addressing exactly that kind of thing I'm trying to find in a distro. Once again, Dan, thanks for clarifying what I'm trying to say :-/

(sigh... I have to wait until my in-laws are in bed or out of the house before I can check things like the Lesbian Linux link.)