YaK:: WebLog #535 Topic : 2006-03-06 07.39.24 matt : what I need from a linux distro right now [Changes]   [Calendar]   [Search]   [Index]   [PhotoTags]   
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what I need from a linux distro right now

Gentoo just isn't what it used to be, so I'm looking to switch to another distro soon. Here's my checklist and initial thoughts.

I'm sure no one remembers the post where I talked about starting to use Gentoo (http://gentoo.org) a few years ago (http://wiki.yak.net/544). At the time, gentoo was really great and very high quality. Recently, that seems to have started slipping for some reason. I use KDE, and maybe they are focusing on the Gnome experience or something. Also, I was unable to update packages properly for months due to some bug introduced when they moved procps from sys-apps to sys-process. The people on the gentoo irc channel tried to be helpful, but I ultimately found the dangling reference to sys-apps/procps in /etc/portage/profile/packages and renamed it. That finally fucking fixed my problem. phew.

I'm still really annoyed, though, and the fact that no one could help me really bugged me. I'm also annoyed that I have to boot back into Windows every so often for various reasons. As a result, I'm looking at a couple of different distros: Novell Linux Desktop which is based on openSUSE (http://www.opensuse.org), KUbuntu (http://www.kubuntu.org), and Xandros (http://www.xandros.com).

First, let me describe what I need to switch, in order of importance:

  • Give presentations on my laptop without booting into windows
  • Clone my LCD display to the VGA port on my laptop
  • Have the resolution automatically downgrade, or be VERY easy to switch back and forth without disrupting running applications

  • Be able to put my laptop into suspend/standby
  • While running KDE, wireless drivers, and 3D accelerated ATI drivers
  • Using the button on my keyboard like I do in windows
  • Start browsing the web and playing accelerated tenebrae quake immediately after resume
  • On a related note, I should get at least 4.5 hours of battery life when just editing text files and reading PDFs with the monitor brightness turned down. (In Windows, I get around 6 hours.)

  • Cooperation with Windows and .NET
  • Installer that respects my Windows partition and will work around it
  • Automounts my NTFS Windows 2003 partition
  • Pre-loaded with a supported WINE (http://www.winehq.com), like CrossOver (http://www.codeweavers.com) which I currently use and love.
  • A mono environment that can compile NUnit (http://www.nunit.org) and NAnt (http://nant.sf.net) from the source ZIP files out-of-the-box. nunit-gui should just run and work (http://www.mono-project.com/WinFormsTestPlan).
  • The latest bochs (http://bochs.sf.net) pre-installed so I can run Windows inside of that, just in case.

  • Basic multimedia functionality
  • Watching clips on http://www.apple.com/quicktime/trailers should just work, whether I'm using Firefox or Konqueror.
  • Popping in an audio CD should give me the option to listen or rip it
  • ripping a CD should DEFAULT to VBR, and not require me to memorize the commandline options to ANYTHING
  • DVD Video viewing should work OOTB, period. No whining.
  • The volume and mute buttons on my Dell laptop keyboard should work
  • Plugging in a USB storage device should be auto-detected and mounted

    As far as I know, none of these distros will do everything I'd like. If any of them are most of the way there, I'll gladly switch from gentoo. I'm not switching for a "oh, compile and edit the conf from SVN blah blah" horseshit promise. I do that for enough things as it is.

    I am extremely impressed with Xandros, which I installed on a machine I installed for my mom when she was here. I just wish they'd ship an update that included CrossOver 5.0.1 and KDE 3.5.1.

    Anything important I left off the list?


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