Archive for the ‘Puppy Linux’ Category


Running Second Life?

November 23, 2009

Basically, I am in search of a good, reliable distro that will work.  Of course, every time I review a distro, the definition of “work” changes a bit.  For instance, working within Google Docs is a must-have, as is finding my flash drives and other partitions.  And at the moment, running Second Life is a major quest.

Second Life is a virtual reality program/game in which you interact with the environment and people using an avatar.  It is fun and somewhat addictive, but it also exacts a heavy toll on system resources.  Finding an OS that supports it reliably has been a challenge.

One thing that this hair pulling has resulted in, is me learning more about the command line interface.  CLI is sacred ground unique to Linux.  I know of no Windows users who currently profess the virtues of DOS although there are some geeks who will use the cli in Windows on a rare occasion.  And I don’t know if such a thing even exists in the Mac world.  But to die-hard Linux geeks, CLI remains the ultimate passport to Linux nirvana.

So I’ve worked through a portion of the tutorial at  While I do have an appreciation for the power of the command line and its elegance and power it does rely on memorizing exact syntax in order to be of greatest use.  You can look and poke around with a few basic commands, and there are aspects of it that make it infinitely easier than the old DOS commands of 1989.  Once I get comfortable with it, I might even use it to install packages more often, as it is pretty slick.

But my most fundamental question remains unanswered: how do I get that SL executible shell script to actually run? I can search it, list it, copy it, move it and do all sorts of nifty things.  But somewhere the most fundamental of all commands seems to elude me.  Where is RUN? Or EXECUTE?  LAUNCH?  How do you get a program to actually DO anything other than be redone, renamed, looked at and admired?

In Mandriva 2008, it did run almost without fail, although it did crash.  A lot.  I’m just now learning that this is a constant in SL.  In Windows, it lags hopelessly much of the time.  In Linux, it runs much faster if you can get it going at all.

When I updated to Mandriva 2010, it quit running and constantly opened the file in kwrite or another text program.  Getting the SL viewer to run was impossible.  I then began experimenting with some other distros and options.  I liked Mandriva, and would stay with it if not for that one fatal flaw.  I arrived at a few other possibilities:

1.) A 4 G flash of 0.7 ArtistX I had lying about.  This is built off of Ubuntu 8.10 and holds most media programs in the Ubuntu repositories, and specializes in 2D and 3D graphics.  It actually was the most seamless solution in that it most easily detects and connects to my wireless network.  However, the sound is very flaky (will often cut out and stop) and it is slower.  I would have installed this, except none of the Ubuntu distros to date detect the partitions on my Dell Vostro 1500.  Ubuntu won on my wife’s computer, as it detected all of her partitions but it is a FAIL here for an install.  The settings on the persistent USB do not persist, so I have to re-set each time.  Painfull, but doable.  I would stick with this if the sound stayed on and if it was a smidgin quicker.  The sound it the biggest dealbreaker here.

2.) Puppy Linux 4.1.3 – gave it a shot but never did get it to run.  If thArtistX had the persistence of Puppy and its speed, it would be a natural.  I only mention it because I did try it.  I didn’t think it would work, but definitely worth  a shot.

3.) PCLinuxOS 2009.1 – I have rediscovered PCLOS and really like it.  And I was able to successfully get Second Life to run…at least until I updated from the repositories.  Then I was back in Kwrite land instead of Second Life. But the video was very shaky and erratic, while the sound and speed were superb until then.  I had random visual distortions in the game, but easily this was the best solution of the lot, so far until it crapped out totally.  The other thing was that it had a hard time getting up on my wireless network.  I put my ndiswrapper .inf files on a flash to speed up the configuration process that gave me an idea…

4.) PCLinuxOS Live CD – Obviously, the update after the install spelled doom for my Second Life experience, so I decided to see if I could get it to run in Live CD.  And in fact it did work very well, once I got on my wireless network.  Again, I flashed the Linux version of the software to speed up configuration.  I was able to play for several hours without a single crash or hang, even with conditions that would otherwise have been very laggy.  But the next time I tried, it failed to grab my wireless network.  It detected it, but getting on failed repeatedly.  This would repeat on the installed and updated version in #3 above.

5.) Windows XP – I do have to mention it because it is always a fall back of choice.  The program always executes, every time.  And there are no wireless isues….ever.  However, it is incredibly slow and laggy.  I can not interact or talk to more than one person at a time and it still bogs down to a crawl.  My experience with SL with Windows is not very positive at all.  The Linux experience is much better if not for the flakiness of those other issues.  And Windows will crash and hang…often.

Anyone else playing Second Life?  Which Linux distro works best for you?  I suspect Ubuntu might be a clear winner here, if it wasn’t for the issues I have with installation and sound.  I can more easily compromise video quality than sound.  Second Life as a deaf person is possible but not very much fun.  And I have no idea why Ubuntu’s partition manager fails to detect my windows partition.  Doing fsdisk or whatever the cli is renders up the correct partitions and I am even able to mount them all, but the installation partition manager still fails.  I am ready for Ubuntu but it doesn’t seem ready for me!

Second Life isn’t THE deal maker or breaker in what I need from a distro, which is why running it from removable or temporary media is fine with me.   But it is just one other program and experience that helps to differentiate the strengths and weaknesses of the different flavors of Linux.  And even similar distros across different machines, renders differing experiences as illustrated between installing Ubuntu on my wife’s HP Pavilion and my Dell.  We both have XP NTFS partitions, but hers was detected and mine wasn’t.

Right now, PCLinuxOS occupies the linux partitions and I love the simlicity and little features that make this a great distro.  But if it fails to hang on to my home wireless connection between boots, it will get the boot.  That IS a deal breaker for me on this laptop.


Ubuntu Wins!

October 15, 2009

I never thought I would say that in this blog. But there it is, for all the world to see.

Of course, “win” is a relative thing. “Winning” usually involves the direct comparison of more than one distro, and then one of them gets chosen over all the others. I’ve done direct comparisons in terms of functionality before.

On the list of machines that I have to interface with, this post is actually from Laptop Charlie, which is my wife’s machine. There are some people who were born to use a computer or any machine as they can intuitively get along on their own with little in the way of support and guidance. My wife is not one of those people. She requires a lot of attention and nursing to keep her supported with a computer. I have no idea what she did, but somehow the grub menu and master boot record got corrupted to where she could not access Windows or the Ubuntu 8.10 that I had installed.

While we were unable to boot any OS, my wife was anxious about her pictures that she had recently put on the XP partition. I thought we might be able to flash from a live CD and tried Ubuntu and Antix 8. However, neither of these were able to access her Windows partition. So, I tried Puppy Linux, which was able to access and copy those files to a flash drive. Honestly, Puppy continues to impress. If it had a more robust repository and package system, it would be unbeatable.

After a certain amount of fiddling, I was able to access the XP recovery partition by reinstalling Ubuntu. This recovery operation took about twice as long as a fresh install of Ubuntu, but we eventually got everything back to where we needed it. My wife was able to play with Mandriva, Puppy, Antix 8 and Ubuntu. She has never really liked Puppy because it just doesn’t look very nice compared to the others. She also hasn’t cared for Mandriva as a distro, but will use it if she has to. It came down to Antix and Ubuntu and she tried both.

After a couple of days of comparing Antix 8 and Ubuntu 9.04, Ubuntu won. And this was a big win, because she actually began installing it herself! I was busy cooking dinner while this was going on, so was only able to offer a minimum of pointers, which was enough to get her through the process almost entirely on her own. The only bit that she really needed help with was when it came to partitioning, and Ubuntu even makes that pretty easy and painless if you’re doing a basic dual boot. After only about 30 minutes, she was able to connect to the wireless router and was off setting up her bookmarks and preferences. she downloaded and installed Flash on her own as well as the security updates.

She has already commented how she enjoys the look, feel and speed of this new Ubuntu. And it does make a pretty awesome desktop system. She is making some noises about wanting to sample Windows 7, when it comes out, so it will be interesting how it might compare to a new Ubuntu. But this distro has officially matured into something that seems to be legitimately friendly for a new user who is used to XP.

Oh, but that is not the final word on my wife’s preferences. No, she has told that what she would really like for Christmas is a Macbook Pro. Um…yeah. Right. *I* would like a Macbook Pro! But buying a Mac for everyone in the family would be akin to buying a new car!

We’ll still have to see how it does as far as hooking up to her printer/scanner and I’l update that when it happens. But I really do like this latest incarnation of this distro.


Kubuntu 8.10 vs Mepis 7.9.94 vs Puppy 4.1.2

January 9, 2009

Okay, how about a smack down between 3 of my favorite distros?  Okay, Kubuntu is not my favorite as this is the first time I’ve tried it, but it is a biggy.  I have ragged and ragged on Ubuntu even though I have tried to like it.  I do prefer KDE, so I’m going to give that an honest look and see if that warms me up to the Ubuntu brand.  I’m pitting this distro giant against Mepis which has been a fav of mine since discovering Linux and is responsible for me falling for KDE.  The release I’m running is 7.9.94 which is the RC1 of 8.0.  Not quite as stable or developed so the advantage goes here to Kubuntu before we even start.  Puppy has been my light weight fav for a long time and is an odd one out in this little comparison.  But we’ll see how well this little distro measures up.  Since I’m running totally off of live CD’s, Puppy actually gets an advantage as it runs totally in RAM.

Hardware: Dell VOSTRO 1500 w 2 G RAM and Intel core 2 Duo usually dual booting XP and Mandriva 2008 spring.
Tasks I will be using for comparison:
1. Booting
2. Getting on my wireless network
3. Working on this post in Google docs.
4. Getting a screenshot (or two)
5. Watching a Youtube video
6. Detecting an 8g flash and saving the pictures/screen shots to it
7. Finding my other partitions
8. Find my webcam
9. Play a game
10. Get me a beer

Good luck to the contestants. First up, Mepis Live CD.  Insert and restart…


It took less that 5 minutes to totally restart but it took another 15 minutes to get on my wireless network.  NDSWrapper is included and I found it by looking in the lower left menu and going SYSTEM/Mepis/Network assistant.  For a nOOb like me, it was not as straight forward as I would like.  It said I would have to completely restart in order for changes in network setting to take effect.  This is obviously not true, but I did logout and log in again but still had to fiddle with the settings until I saw a notification that said I had a network connection.


I did take a few screenshots using ksnapshot.  Firefox is right in the bottom toolbar, where it should be.  Kmail is the mail client and Open Office handles the office tasks.  All in all, it was a nice full suite of programs and everything was where I expected it to be, since this is running off the familiar KDE 3.5 interface.  One extra I did try was the Kmag under accessibility options, and you can see my network connection and the time.


Mepis had no problems detecting my flash and saving the screen shots there.  Next it was time to go to YouTube, and of course Fred was right there so I gave him a shot.


Yeah, he’s really pathetic, but he’s even moreso without sound.  And sure enough, it just occurred to me that I had not heard any sound since booting.  And so, while Mepis was able to view a Youtube video, it failed in the sound department, at least off the live CD.  While it located the Mandriva and backup partitions, it did not detect the main Windows partition.  This is important in case I ever wanted to use this as a rescue disk.


At this point, the test is over since it is kind of pointless playing a game without sound.  The game selection looked a bit skimpy but this IS a live CD.  It also failed to get me a beer, which was really disappointing since I could really use a beer at only 1/3 of the way through this process.  Next up: Kubuntu.


This might be a bit sketchy as I’m going from a somewhat distant memory.  Kubuntu uses the KDE 4.1 interface, and this was my first experience with that.  It really is an attractive interface, moreso than anything I’ve used thus far.  Getting the wireless to work was a snap…easier than anything else I’ve ever run.  It easily recognized my flash drive where I saved the ksnapshot pics.

kubuntu-toolbarThere was also sound, as I ran Amorok which had a sample file that I could check.  However the rest of the exercises did not go so well.  First off, I was unable to get to Google docs because it does not support the default (and only) web browser, Konquerer.

kubuntu-webwriteKonquerer is supported by other aspects of Google but not online document editing.  So that really crimped me, but it is useful to know that limitation.  Next, I went to YouTube to see if I could watch Fred spaz out.

kubuntuyoutubeI could neither see nor watch him as flash is not supported out of the box on the live CD of Kubuntu.  I’m not terribly surprised, knowing Ubuntu’s ways as I do, but it still scores as a FAIL in this diagnostic.  And Kubuntu had no games.  Zero, zilch.  Not even mahghong or whatever it is no one ever plays but is included in every other distro.  All in all, Kubuntu is a very attractive and snappy distro that holds a lot of promise.  Too bad Mepis couldn’t have stuck a bit closer to Ubuntu’s development, because I think Mepis does a better job with KDE.  I liked that Kubuntu did so well connecting to my wireless network (TOTALLY painless) but not including flash or Firefox caused problems.  I set these tests up before trying these out, just so you know I was not intentionally trying to trip up Kubuntu.  I didn’t try a webcam test on either Mepis or Kubuntu, but I would not hold my breathe on that one.

So how about the latest Puppy?

puppy-menuMoving along to Puppy, which is the last test of the day.  Puppy, one of my most favorites, actually gave me more problems than the others as far as finding the wireless network.  I ended up getting through it using the NDISWrapper, but it was a bit of a pain.

puppyconnectionThe screenshot program is not as nice as Ksnapshot so not as many screen captures here.  The odd thing is that the default browser on Puppy is SeaMonkey and that had absolutely no problems accessing Google Docs.  Then I went to Youtube and was able to watch and hear Fred with no problems.

puppy-youtubepuppy-xsoldierPuppy does include a fun Galaga-type game called Soldier X that could get a bit addictive to those of us into that genre of game.  But Puppy also failed to get me a beer.

Given the struggles I had with all of the distros of one sort or another, I never did really try to find my webcam,

All in all, I actually enjoyed looking at Kubuntu the best and Puppy the least.  But Puppy succeeded in more of the tasks than any of the other live CDs making it a continued favorite of mine for just working where I  need it.  The purpose of a live CD is to see how a distro will work on a given hardware system, and these three CDs did give me a chance to look at the respective offerings and showed that they do have differences in functionality.  Given this particular demonstration, if I were to recommend a distro to someone new to Linux, Puppy is the only one of these three that is able to do most of the tasks that I tried right out of the box. When you add in the benefits of its small size and its speed, it really whips up on the other two distros handily.   Granted, it does not have a full office suite, but being able to use Google apps helps shore up that problem.

Puppy Wins!

None of these distros got me a beer, but I suppose they all make up for it by being free, as in beer.  Linux made some good gains in 2008 and I see more gains being made in 2009 as long as more apps start being available on the web.  When applications start being less dependent on the operating system, the advantage swings almost entirely over to Linux.


Distros that did not make the cut

March 6, 2008

I’ve been downloading and previewing several distros.  A lot of them have done surprisingly well.  Others have done not so well.

I think Linux has really arrived at a place where the average computer user can handle it.  And a lot of people will like Linux.

Distros that have not made the cut:

1.       Open SuSe 11.0 – Went black after the splash screen and never returned

2.       Sabayon 3.4 – Same as #1

3.       Mandriva 2008 – Same as #1 and #2.  These were all disappointing but made those that made the cut look a lot better

4.       Damn Small Linux – This one did load but did not find my Ethernet  connection

Distros that made it:

1.       PCLinuxOS 2007 – It’s taken everything I’ve thrown at it in Live CD mode.  It’s real close to getting installed.  I’ll put Minime 2008 behind this as it does work off a flash drive but has a few niggling issues like not using the 8G of space I’ve given to it to expand out like I’d like.

2.       Mepis 7.0 – This has been my distro of choice for a long time, but one slip up and it will be replaced by #1.  It really does work well, but PCLOS seems to work better with more features.  It’s a tough choice.

3.       Ubuntu 7.10 – Killer graphics make this one very appealing, and it is a very mature distro very much ready for the desktop.  For business users, it could be a Vista killer.  Unlike its predecessor, this one is distinctive and out front in many ways.  I can respect people who choose this one over my choices, which was not the case a year ago.

4.       Puppy Linux 3.01 – This has been another one of my pet favorites the past year, but is falling from favor now that I no longer rely on a modem.  It can not connect with my Ethernet and is unreliable as far as wireless.  I found the look and feel of 2.15 to be better than 3.01 but that may be just me.  I’m ready to look at some other lighter distros for older machines.

5.       Linux Mint 4.0 – I need to give this one some more play time.  It did work well for me, but I chose Mepis mostly because of the familiar interface.  Now that I’ve been playing around with other distros, I can make a fairer comparison here.


Done: Installing MEPIS 7.0

February 29, 2008

I finally did it, and did it successfully, much to my own surprise.  No, I did not get any new distros installed on a flash drive.  I had been working on that for quite some time, but seemed to always run in to some niggling problem.  For instance, Pendrivelinux looked to be easier to install than any other OS.  Just download it and unzip it on to a thumbdrive.  Simple, right?  But the thing would never extract all the way.  Ever.  And I tried with several downloads, machines over several networks and flash drives. 

I reinstalled PCLinuxOS Minime 2008 and it did work but it wouldn’t let me install any packages due to lack of space….on an 8G flash!  That made no sense and was just frustrating.

I tried Puppy Linux, but it could not find my ethernet connection on my home machine.  That was disappointing.  However I did play around with the Puppy a bit and looked at the Gparted utility and made a startling discovery. 

A couple years ago, I maxed out my 40 G hard drive and bought a 200 G hard drive to add on to the system.  When I installed it, I did something or failed to do something so it only installed 127 G and I had no idea what happened to the other 73 G’s.  At the time, I didn’t worry that much about it, because I figured that 127 G should be enough to last forever.  And then I learned the joys of video editing which quickly filled that space.  So I’ve been backing up things and deleting and generally working on making use of the limited space.

But when playing with Gparted, I found the 73 G’s of unallocated space.  So I allocated a 40 G partition and formatted it with FAT32 (while the rest is NTFS) and then considered my next move.

I had avoided trying a dual boot, largely because I had screwed things up on another machine before, and was a bit reluctant to go through that again.  But I was intrigued.  Plus malware threats were getting so annoying and alarming that my wife was even asking about trying our Linux, which she always mispronounces making it sound like Linus from Peanuts fame.  Which makes sense considering the source of Linux.

Anyway, I was staring at that empty partition and decided to go for it.  I decided that Mepis 7.0 was the distro that had worked best with my hardware, detecting my Ethernet easiest and I knew it the best.  So I installed it on that partition.  It took about 30 minutes to get it installed and then it was not without a lot of trepidation that I gave the bootloader the okay to load on the MBR.  And it worked.

I’ll update more about how this arrangement is working later, but it is working.



Just trying to get a job done

November 19, 2007

I’ve really neglected this blog!  Almost as much as I’ve neglected the Linux machine I’ve had sitting here since May.  It is a dust collector, largely because of issues I listed in the last post.  Namely, despite the hoo-ha of the community, Windows programs seem to work better.  Quality is defined as a combination of performance, speed, utility, features, availability and stability.  Only Windows has been offering up this sort of combo on a consistent basis.  And that is disappointing considering my enthusiasm for Linux was fueled by frustration with M$.


But that doesn’t mean that Linux has no place around here.  I still read and write extensively with my Zaurus, which is still the dandiest little gadget in my house.  I just never leave home without it.  But I demand more from my desktop machine or even a laptop.  And the following represents a case in point.


I had a need this weekend, and for awhile it looked like Linux might prove to be the answer.  This would be highly fortunate, since this would be a public presentation, thus turning others on to Linux or at least showing them an alternative.


I had downloaded a 13 minute video that I was going to show in my adult Sunday school class.  The video was downloaded and turned out to be only available in QuickTime’s .mov format.  And that is where the pain started.


My first idea was to simply burn this to a DVD and I would play it on the church’s DVD player.  But my DVD burning software choked every time I tried.  My old version of Nero was willing to burn, but the product would have no sound.  I then fiddled with downloading some conversion software to change the .mov to an avi or pretty much anything else.  Again, the programs I tried choked.  Keep in mind; I’m at home working over a modem.  I’d nabbed the video at work earlier in the week.


This is when I decided to try Linux, since I know some of these distros had DVD burning capability and just might be able to work.  It was worth a shot.  The only distro I’ve downloaded in the past 6 months is Puppy 3.01, so decided to try that.


This was my first go ’round with the newest Puppy and it was it’s nice and easy self, although the desktop seems to have gotten uglier since 2.15.  We were back to the 2.01 Win95ish theme.  But I persisted because we had a job to do.  Unfortunately, Puppy’s DVD authoring software had no more success with burning this video that my Windows programs. 


Okay, no problem.  I had my work laptop, and I would simply play it on there for the group that ranges from 5 to 25 people.  Right?


That work laptop is under IT lockdown, which means I had limited ability to change much on there.  And it didn’t have QuickTime.  Which means it would not even *play* the video!  ACK!


I pulled my Linux distros out again.  First there was Puppy 3.01, because it was the newest and fastest.  Gxine is the default player on this distro.  It played the video nicely except there was no sound.  Crap.  Okay, I’ll move on.


I reached for Ubuntu 6.06, next.  Dapper Drake was supposed to be the Big Deal, right?  The default player here is Totem.  However, Totem failed to play this video at all, saying it needed more codecs or whatever.  But since Ubuntu can’t spot a modem (we’ve been through THAT before!) it wasn’t going to get more codecs.  I needed something that could run off a live CD.  The video itself was residing on a 1 G memory stick and none of the distros had issues reading the thumb drive.


Next, I tried Mepis 6.0.  The default player here is Kaffeine.  And Kaffeine work *marvelously*!  So in this comparison of media players, Kaffeine clearly stole my heart.  And so I determined the Mepis would be a costar of this presentation, and was delighted at the prospect of showing off my nerdliness.


But I quickly discovered another problem.  The laptop LCD display was inadequate as you had to be right in front of it to see it.  While I could plug in a regular full-sized monitor, the thought of lugging that thing to church was prohibitive.  But no to worry, because I had bought a 19″ Polaroid LCD TV monitor that also had a VGA connection.  Unfortunately, Mepis was unable to show up on the thing.  I was stuck again.  Windows had no problems showing up, though.  Hmph.  Since there’s no Windows version of Kaffeine, back to square one.


I finally downloaded QuickTime Alternative and managed to miraculously install it.  Problem solved.


But this further highlights the twin problems of any Linux desktop.  Namely, software and hardware.  More recent versions of Mepis might have worked but I have no way of knowing.  Other distros that made an appearance in working with the monitor were SuSE 10.1 and Dream Linux 2.2.  The live DVD SuSE wouldn’t even boot up and Dream Linux looked dreamy on the laptop but never showed up on the TV. 


So Window$ XP wins again.


So here are issues that I’ve had to struggle with in my attempts at making Linux work:

– Printer/scanner support

– Modem support – even with a serial modem!

– LCD monitor support

– Media playback out of the box (DVD, QuickTime)     

– Lack of a usable Stepmania package

– Abiword’s lack of dictionary

– Lack of RTS games

– Various programs hang, and most distros rely on a command line kill.  Puppy does not, fortunately.


These issues could be overcome with more persistence and skill, perhaps.  But I, as an average Windows power user geek, am not going to invest a whole lot into fiddling with it much when I have a machine that more or less works fine running Windows.  There’s very little that I can do in Linux that can’t be done on Windows but the reverse is definitely not true.  If that machine breaks down, it will be nice to have the other as a back-up.  But Linux has not yet earned a spot in the first string. Many of these issues, like the printer and modem are the most basic of productivity issues.


I still have my eye out for the distro that can do the job.  Perhaps I need to make clear my criteria:

– Adequate support for my printer and other hardware

– Modem support

-Basic programs that are completely functional

– A working functional version of WINE

-Adequate multimedia support

– Relative ease of use


Mepis would be a clear winner except for the whole modem and WINE thing which is where Puppy fits in as the sole distro that has gotten me online.  Puppy’s other main advantage is speed, since it runs totally in RAM.  Mepis is heavy in the software and packages if one can get online to get them.







November 19, 2007

Written 7-6-07

I really am on a search for a Linux desktop solution that just works.  I have lowered and lowered my expectations along the way.  Or at least I have changed them to fit into something that I might expect from a secondary PC.


So I have this P3 866 MHz PC with 512 M of RAM.  I have Mepis 6.0 installed but also run Puppy 2.15CE on top of it.  So let’s talk about what I’ve learned about this thing over the summer.


First off, Puppy seems to be the distro that gets me on the internet the fastest.  I’ve fiddled and fiddled with the Mepis KPPP program and it still has no idea where my serial modem is.  Puppy detected it with ease and within a few minutes I was off and surfing.


Puppy has issues with my sound card, having no idea where it is even after running the sound wizard.  Mepis has no issues with sound, and will play small videos I’ve downloaded.  But of course, since I can’t get on the internet with Mepis, these would be downloaded with Puppy or Windows XP.


Neither of these two distros knows what to do with my Lexmark X75 printer.  Both Mepis and Puppy had previously ran an HP 640c printer.  But no go with the Lexmark.  This model is even listed in the Mepis drivers, but there was still no acknowledging the thing was there.  The printer never installed.  A big part of having a second machine was making that scanner/printer work.


Actually installing a program has been problematic for both programs.  Mepis does decent with items in the repository, but that doesn’t help at all if I’m not online.  Puppy is online but they have switched to some sort of extension-like format which is difficult to navigate around, much less actually install something that works.


Abiword, on Puppy, is a lovely program but I have not been able to install a US English dictionary in order to do spell check.  In fact, there are no dictionaries of any kind installed with it.  Such a simple thing and yet with the above problem of installing and running programs it has been a persistent annoyance. 


By contrast, the Windows version of Abiword comes with a dictionary built in.  And this has been the ongoing lesson.  If I have learned nothing else, it has been that Windows programs install and run better than Linux versions.  The one exception might be Open Office, which opens slightly faster in Linux than Windows.  At least OOo has a working dictionary in both versions.


Linux, as an operating system or kernel or whatever, has issues.  It has issues with programs that were supposed to be more native to open source.  Windows versions continue to be superior in ease of installation and getting them to run.