Archive for the ‘XP’ 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.


Mandriva 2008

June 5, 2008

I’m trying out a new distro on my new laptop and so far, pretty good. This is a Dell Vostro 1500 (1 G RAM Intel 2 core duo) which came preloaded with Windows XP. Yes, I opted away from Vista as I knew that the machine wouldn’t be all that happy with 1G RAM with that OS. I’ve had a chance to play a bit with Vista, and 1 G is a minimum requirement. It runs like an XP system upgraded to 512 Mb RAM.

I’ve had my eye on Mandriva for awhile. I’m not sure why it didn’t work on my work machine (with and Intel Dual core 2.4 Ghz) the last time I blogged it, but it did work on my home machine (an old 1.8 Ghz eMachine) on the live CD. In fact the Compiz feature worked right out of the box and right up front on that machine.

Mandriva and PCLinusOS are forks of Mandrake, so they are either siblings or really close cousins. They both look very similar and work similar enough that moving from one to the other is not a big deal. One thing I like about Mandriva is the option of upgrading to the Power Pack version if I choose.

I began the work of installing by downloading and burning a live CD version of QTParted. Since installing PCLOS on another machine, I’ve gotten better and more comfortable with resizing partitions. QTP made it easy. Installing Mandriva was as easy and painless as any other modern Linux distro. I can’t imagine doing new Windows install nowadays, as the last time I had that done it took PC repair people over 2 days to get it all installed and I still had to call the Mother Ship to reinstall Office XP.

This Dell already had 3 partitions set up. One was the main Windows partition, with two other very small partitions for media and recovery files (I’m guessing). So I was limited to creating one more partition as I was limited to 4 total partitions with this program. With a 250 GB HD, I had plenty of real estate to spread out. I ended up giving the new partition 50 GB of that. If I ever master video creation in Linux, I may need more. But I’m still using Windows to make and edit video.

One issue that crops up with people going to Linux is wireless support. For a desktop hooked with an ethernet cable, internet access is no big deal. For laptops, it is a different story as wireless access is much more critical. One reason why I waited a couple of months to put Linux on this machine was not knowing how to make wireless work. But I persisted with the live CD until I figured it out. Using Ndiswrapper (included in the installation process) was a new experience and there was some trial and error involved. I was able to find my Windows “drivers” folder and found the wireless folder easily enough. But there were two folders and each had a different .inf file for wireless. I tried each, and of course the first one wasn’t the right one, but the second one was. Getting wireless to work was the critical factor for me doing an install, making this a dual-boot machine. Being successful with this and the partitioning were the major concerns of this install. It wasn’t anything about Mandriva or Linux that made these issues, it was my inexperience and nervousness.

Mandriva did give me one major issue right out of the box.  I noticed up front there was some loud speaker hiss that persisted no matter the volume/mute status on volume control.  That was a huge annoyance since I use headphones most of the time.  In fact it was huge enough that even though Mandriva worked better and faster than Windows in most respects, I still booted in Windows much of the time.  I finally found another blogger who had a similar issue.  The fix was not exactly the same but similar: I went to the volume control, clicked mixer, and then went to the input tab.  In this case, turning off the left capture mixer did the trick.  This will be fine as long as I never have to actually input or capture anyting.  But I might want to, someday.

The Grub bootloader works fine, but it did take some fiddling and experimenting to figure out which partition was going to load Windows when I wanted it as the menu choice “Windows” wasn’t the proper one.

But right now, everything else works well so I’m going to stick with it.  However, I need to test it out more before deciding on whether or not I want to pay for an upgrade.  I realize that getting a distro to work properly out of the box on a laptop is trickier that a desktop for some reason, mostly having to do with the wireless issues.



A couple of comments on PCLinuc OS 2007

March 19, 2008

This was originally supposed to be a response to comments to the posts below (thanks guys!), but I needed to make it a post of its own.

I will say one thing: It’s a good thing this distro “just works” because trouble shooting on the PCLinuxOS site can be a bit iffy.  It’s a relatively small community, and if it were assailed by too many problems, finding answers might be difficult.  I was trying to install the printer and was getting a bit frustrated until I “discovered” the PCLOS command center right there on the tool bar.  Much of my ignorance comes from having so much Windows experience that my mind couldn’t so easily get around the idea that it could be just that easy to set it up and configure!  But it was just that easy to find and install my Epson CX7800 al-in-one.  I haven’t tried the scanner yet.

However, the online help forums and documentation are not nearly as smooth, easy or fleshed out as the OS itself.  In fact, the support documentation can be descfribed as sparse, at best.  For instance, I’ve been hunting around trying to find what PCLOS’s minimum system requirements are because I have an old PIII 550 MHz with 128 Mb RAM that needs a new look and a new home.  How old and how small can I go with this?

It truly is the closest thing I’ve seen to being a Windows Killer as far as Linux distros go.  Would I wipe Vista out for it?  Considering the Vista retails at over $200, it would be tough to do just from a monetary standpoint.  I’d sooner buy a second hard drive and devote that to PCLinux and let Vista sit around, just in case I wanted to sell the machine.  However, if I was buying a machine without an OS (at a discount) then it would be a no-brainer that this would be the operating system me and my family could live with.

Would I wipe out XP?  Considering MS has said they are no longer going to be selling XP in the near future it’s a tough call.  I’d be more tempted to get a smaller extra hard drive for PCLinuxOS.  If I had a copy of XP or vista just sitting around that was new and authentic, I would be more keen to wipe the OS off.

If I were going to give a Win98 machine away (which is what the PIII was) to someone who needed one this is what I would prefer to have on it at the present time.  However, I have not tested the modem support of this OS.  For people in the market for these older machines, that could be a critical component just as it was for me last year.  The second issue involves finding an affordable ISP that can easily work with this distro.

I expect the PCLOS community to grow along with its popularity, at least until the next best distro comes along.  I did get Minime 2008  to work on my USB drive, and that is fine if you have broadband and all you need is a connection to the internet.  However, for a family desktop machine, the full-featured PCLinux 2007 version works very nicely.



PCLinux OS – Minime 2008

February 12, 2008

It’s been awhile since I’ve played with and reviewed any distros, so I’m overdue. I do have a need for something I can use other than Windows as there are legions of viral and malware attacks that are attecking my XP everyday. I recently cleaned off over 20 infections thanks to the Spydoctor downloaded from Google. Now that I have a high speed connection, my rate of infections also seem to increase.

I also wanted to try something portable as I do work with and from different machines frequently. I had a 1 G thumb drive just waiting for a linux install but this is still not a lot of room for most full-sized releases. It has been awhile since I looked at PCLinuxOS so I was anxious to see how they had progressed and the Minime version seemed to fit the bill perfectly. Plus it is relatively new, so I’m early to this particular party for once.

I landed at the Pendrive Linux site and was wooed by that screen shot and wanted that snazzy desktop. So I followed the direction given for downloading and installing the Minime distro found here. Things went very smoothly getting my pen drive all set up and ready to go following the directions given. However, I was not able to boot to the machine I really wanted and needed to use it on because this was an aging Celeron 1.8 GHz that must be at least 7 years old. I have over 512 MB RAM and have tricked it out as much as can be done. But when it came to the BIOS, there was no option for booting from a USB flash drive. I tried the USB HDD option but that got me nowhere so I tried it on my laptop. Success!

When installing to a flashdrive, it does divide it into various partitions and I never did get to adjusting those sizes. Minime is a 296 MB distro, so it is not as big as most full-sized linux releases. I figured I would have room to spare for some documents and fun stuff. But I was mistaken.

I was seduced by that snazzy 3D desktop screen shot but I never did get it to work like you see in the picture. But it is still attractive and modern looking all the same. PCLinux looks better and more modern since way back in the day when I last reviewed it. I had no troubles getting it to pick up my wireless connection. But later on when I tried it on my work computer, it seemed to not be able to find the ethernet connection, which I still find odd.

PCLinuxOS apparently has a KDE desktop, but I wouldn’t call it a pure KDE interface. I noticed there were many gnome files on it as well as in the Synaptec repository. In my earlier review, someone had corrected me by saying that PCLinux used KDE but my particular live CD at the time had Gnome. The fact is that it looks and works a lot more like Ubuntu 6.06 than a Mepis 6.0 so I can see why there would be confusion. But that really was not an issue for me, because I just wanted it to work.

There’s a reason why this thing is so light. For web browsing, you get Konquerer and nothing else. I did end up going to the repository to get Firefox. Hint to other newbies; make sure to refresh the repository list to get more download choices. I was generally pleased with the repository choices as there were a lot of them. I even managed to find Stepmania 4.0 CVS, which was something I wanted with my Linux. However as I began downloading a few choices, I kept getting a message indicating that my disk space was too limited or the drive was full. Downloading in several bites instead of trying to get many packages at once seemed to help overcome that.

Minime is a bare bones distro. It does not come with any office software to speak of, nor does it have any CD burning software or DVD watching software. In fact it had no multimedia programs at all except on for sound that I didn’t recognize. I didn’t even see any email clients, although I’m sure there was something affiliated with KDE and Konquerer. Since I like Gmail, that’s not a huge issue. But Google kept reminding me that my browser might not be compatible with all of their features which is what prompted me to go get Firefox.

My laptop is a 1.8G Pentium 4 with 512 MB RAM and it was the machine that I spent the bulk of my time trying Minime. As I said, I went looking to see if I could get that nifty 3D box desktop thing working but I never did. While that’s not the deal-breaker, it would have made the experience more fun. As it was, there were times when I managed to get the program to stutter and almost freeze up. It seemed sluggish and slow to me which could have something to do with the flashdrive, but anything that small should be able to use the RAM efficiently enough to have some speed.

The deal breaker is that as it came out of the box it wouldn’t do much more than surf the web. It has some modem tools, which thankfully is no longer an issue for me. But the lack of anything productive would drive a modem user bonkers because they would have to download several packages. So for someone looking to actually do something with a distro on a flash drive is going to be disappointed with PCLinuxOS Minime. Having to download things to make it work is simply going to make it bigger and you might as well get the regular-sized distro with all the stuff.

I liked the look and feel of it, and the full version would be something I might recommend to someone just starting out with Linux with a full install on a machine. The interface was highly intuitive and those programs that I did install were installed in the right places with no fuss. However, this is not the distro or the version of choice for me at the present time. The distro has matured since my last review and will be comfortable on any desktop. And perhaps it might be more comfortable on a larger thumb drive. But for the present time Minime is an interesting toy but not a terribly useful one. I learned a thing or two getting it installed on the flashdrive and that was useful. But I don’t think it will be staying there for very long.



U3 and Linux on Thumbdrives

February 11, 2008

I have a few thumb drives lying about and have been putting them to work carrying executable files from machine to machine. For instance, Intellitools and Boardmaker are huge tools of the special education trade and I often have to run them on multiple machines but not at the same time. Intellitools can be used with a switch, a touch screen or the Intellikeys keyboard plus a regular mouse and keyboard. The students have a workstation where they can access it, but I also have my own workstation that has a printer for making overlays. So I might have a student using a touchscreen while I’m making an overlay on another machine for the Intellikeys or a Gotalk 9+. The way our machines are on IT lockdown, it is impractical to have the software loaded everywhere. So loading it on to a thumb drive gives me portability and flexibility.

I found some inexpensive PNY 1 G thumbdrives last fall and bought a pack of 3 at a local retail store. They are good drives but come with this obnoxious “U3 Smart Drive” technology developed for Windows. Getting rid of the thing is a royal nuisance. The U3 site requires the download of proprietary software in order to remove it. And that requires administrative privileges. Thank goodness I have a home computer with broadband. Yeah, you read right. More on that later.

U3 gives you several nag screen during the removal process, trying to convince you how good this feature is and how you are crippling your drive. Don’t believe them. You can get all the same functionality from Portable Apps without the crippleware that is U3. U3 typically takes several seconds to even a minute or more to load on to a system over a USB 2.0 connection and disconnecting takes longer than a typical flash drive. Plus, if you’re a linux or Mac user, you can’t remove it at all. After finally telling them what I think of their crummy “smart drive” I was finally able to remove the junk. What a pain. It did erase everything on the drive, and they do warn you during the nag process plus I’m warning you here.

I’ve also recently begun purchasing 8G drives direct from Hong Kong through eBay. If you can put up with a 3 week wait you can get these for as little as $25 with free shipping. You’re not going to find that sort of deal anywhere as the going rate is over $50 plus shipping.

And I plan on trying out some new flavors of Linux on these things. has some easy instructions and I’ll be updating here on my latest experiences. It’s been awhile since I’ve tried anything new and since getting broadband I am looking forward to stretching out and learning a bit more plus seeing how far some of these distros have come since I last tried them.


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.