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PCLinuxOS / grml / Damn Small / tinycore: the optimal Linux configuration

Jon Nileprecinct Feline
2011jan10

Be sure to click on the images for the fullsize pix.

PCLinuxOS works OOTB

PCLOS does everything & just works.

PCLinuxOS 2010.12 (lxde) demonstrates Linux can be made to do everything Windoze does. From the flashplayer to the C compiler to the numerous repository extensions, Ive not been able to encounter any dysfunctional or unaddressable situations as is often the case with Linux (I wish their Opera 11 displayed Hanzi but thatz an Opera thing). The Mandriva-derived control centres are competent & powerful, & a properly configured harddisk installation is a joy to operate.

grml is Debian on steroids

grml Midnight Commander for sysadmins; IceWeasel displays Tamil right away

Grml is the polar opposite to PCLinuxOS: it implements a squashfs LiveCD fully stuffed with bleeding edge software from the Debian catalogue. Theres no right-alt or flash, but all the fonts & terminals are there. The system even boots with all 12 classical Linux consoles enabled. Grml is an indispensible tool in troubleshooting issues in any interoperable Linux environment.

tinycore: its the paradigm

tinycore is the essence of minimalist Linux, but runs X (!)

Tinycore retains the familiar persistence architecture of Damn Small Linux, & with a few extensions becomes a lightning fast tool for system maintenance & ad hoc webbrowsing.

Functional comparison

            tinycore   DSLinux  PCLinuxOS   grml
               3.3     4.4.10    2010.12   2010.04
----------- --------- --------- --------- ---------
linux        2.6.33    2.4.31    2.6.33    2.6.33
vi            vi-bb    vim6.1   (vim7.3)   vim7.2
nano         [2.0.9]    2.0.7     2.2.4     2.2.3
uemacs      {4.1.02}  {4.1.02}  {4.1.02}  {4.1.02}
emacs           0      (21.4)   (23.1.1)   23.1.1
editor        Opera     nedit     nedit     nedit
nedit           0       [5.5]     [5.5]      5.6
fm1           fluff      vfu     PCmanFM     vfu
fm2            mc        mc        mc        mc
vfu             -       [3.03]    {4.05}     4.10
mc           [4.7.0]   [4.6.1]    4.7.3     4.7.0
(x)nftp       {1.71}    [1.62]    {1.71}    {1.71}
Lynx            0      [2.8.4]   [2.8.7]    2.8.8
Firefox      (3.6.12)    2.0      3.6.13    3.5.8
Opera        [10.10]    [9.00]   [11.00]      ?
flash        [10.1]     [7.73]    10.1        -
Java          (1.6)     [1.5]     [1.6]     (1.6)
Chinese         +         +         +         +
right alt       0         +         +         0

mount         mc/BS    mc/vfu     auto!    mc/ROX
NTFS          (r/w)       r        r/w       *1*
sound           -       ac97      alsa      ac97
glibc        2.11.1     2.3.2    2.10.1    2.10.2

dialup          -        ppp        -         -
dsl mcp51     50Kbps    50Kbps    50Kbps     n/a
dsl compaq   160Kbps   160Kbps   160Kbps   160Kbps
dsl st100slp 160Kbps   160Kbps   160Kbps   160Kbps
dsl dge-530t 160Kbps      0      160Kbps   160Kbps

() = pending from repo; [] = installed from repo
<> = pending from source; {} = installed from source
*1* = ROX open fails; http://ntfs-3g.org
*2* = can execute with ported libs

tinycore boots in seconds; Opera 10 is a performer

Discussion

This is not to say I didnt run into some issues. As you can see I have some pet projects, principally an integrated filemenagement environment based on MidComm, vfu, Lynx, & my version of MicroEmacs 4.1.02. I took the occasion of a recent system crash to upgrade my hardware, my internet connection, & the sophistication of my Linux installs. The secret to Linux multibooting via grub97 is of course to leave the MBR on the primary drive alone, & boot only off of USB-interfaced media such as harddisks or flashdrives. & the final issue with Java & Lynx over todays DSL is *not* an ipv6 problem; its most often related to the DHCP.

Conclusion

What more needs to be said?

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