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Conectiva Linux 7.0 Review 89

Posted by michael
from the land-down-under dept.
Patrick Mullen writes: "The Duke of URL has posted their review of Conectiva Linux 7.0. Conectiva Linux was the first distribution to support APT-RPM, which cures most of the ails of typical RPMs. Their latest release even bundles a graphical front-end to APT, and brings the worlds of Debian and Red Hat together."
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Conectiva Linux 7.0 Review

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  • Has anyone got any first hand reviews? I used to use redhat as my Newbie distribution, and after the latest tricks in 7.2 I need to find a new one for the fresh converts and install fests. Is this a good choice for newbies? or should I stick with Mandrake.

    Thanks
    • Re:User reviews? (Score:2, Informative)

      by rinsoblue (300699)
      I use Conectiva 7.0 and I like it a lot. I also use Mandrake and all 3 BSDs. Conectiva has just the right amount of graphical-install and do-it-yourself that many people seem to yearn for. Both version 6 and 7 have found all the hardware except sound cards on my computers. After I finish the graphical install I use Red Hat's sound configurating program which is installed and waiting.

      I think this is a very good product that has been overlooked too long. I recommend it to any beginner who finds other distributions too overwhelming. ISO's are available at linuxiso.org and it installs with a choice of the 3 major languages of the Americas.

      Rinso
      • I use Red Hat's sound configurating program which is installed and waiting.

        My Debian Sid laptop still doesnt have working sound, what RH Sound Tool are you using? I havnt run RH since 6.1
        • He's probably talking about sndconfig:

          "Sndconfig is a text based tool that sets up the configuration files you'll need to use a sound card with a Red Hat Linux system. Sndconfig can be used to set the proper sound type for programs that use the /dev/dsp, /dev/audio, and /dev/mixer devices. The sound settings are saved by the aumix and sysV runlevel scripts."

          You'll probably need sox, aumix, awesfx, and playmidi as prereqs to install it.
    • What "tricks" are you referring to?
  • Boom! (Score:3, Funny)

    by adamwright (536224) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @10:07AM (#2557982) Homepage
    Conectiva Linux was the first distribution to support APT-RPM

    I would've though there'd be some sort of matter/antimatter explosion when apt and rpm came together judging by the flamewars I've seen....
    • As was pointed out above, apt-get is not the package manager. apt-get is the front end to Debian's package manager, dpkg.
  • I went to the Conectiva website to download the ISO but the front page only provides two language options...spanish and portugese. Are there english mirrors? Maybe an alternate place to download?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @10:10AM (#2557988)
    this apt vs rpm vs tar.gz vs etc. isn't getting linux anyware. Fortunately, Gentoo Linux seems to be on the right track with their Portage package management system...

    Here is a blurb from their website (http://www.gentoo.org/):

    "Gentoo Linux is a versatile and fast, completely free x86-based Linux distribution geared towards developers and network professionals. Unlike other distros, Gentoo Linux has an advanced package management system called Portage. Portage is a true ports system in the tradition of BSD ports, but is Python-based and sports a number of advanced features including dependencies, fine-grained package management, "fake" (OpenBSD-style) installs, safe unmerging, system profiles, virtual packages, config file management, and more."
    • It is contradictory for you to slam people for debating the merits of three different package mamangement systems (deb, rpm, slack), and then you yourself argue for a fourth package management system which is used by Gentoo Linux. Hello! Pot calling kettle! Where are you? The scary part is that you got modded up so high. I mean, Gentoo has been mentioned many times on Slashdot.

      Debian and Gentoo are the two Linux distros with the most promising package management systems. I am a Debian user myself, but once Gentoo releases a non-beta version of their distro, I will give it a shot. However, Debian works so well because of its open community. Only time will tell wether Gentoo will develop a similar community. In addition, apt-get'ing KDE, for example, is fast and painless on a low end PC with a cable modem connection. However, using Gentoo's system, not only would the download be larger, but there would be the overhead of building the software! So Gentoo might be great for workstations and servers, but for desktops and low end devices... it might not be the way to go.
    • I tried Gentoo recently, and portage has a lot of potential, but its no where near APT. It can't handle dependancy conflicts, it can't even say to a depended package that 'i need gnome support' - you have to use an env variable. This may work for source based systems, but when they move to binary, they will either have to bloat each package, or provide many small packages, like debian does.

      Portage v2 is in the works ATM, hopefully that will solve these problems, but, if you are a debian user, you will most likely be disapointed with Gentoo.

  • by Pac (9516) <paulo...candido@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @10:25AM (#2558036)
    Like other major distributions, the brazilian Connectiva employs many people closely related to Linux development.

    Marcelo Tosatti was recently announced [advogato.org] as the new head mantainer over the 2.4 stable kernel tree. Rik Van Riel is known for his work in the memory management subsystem and Arnaldo Carvalho de Melo works with IPX.

    The point here is not to praise Connectiva (or Red Hat or anyone), but to notice that it is perfectly possible to run a profitable company and care for the development community at the
    same time.
  • It's good to see a distro which actually promotes what is THE best (ie most productive and easiest to use) desktop available on any computing platform today.

    TWW

    • Just out of curiosity, WindowsMaker's developer, Alfredo Kojima, works at Conectiva, and is also the main developet behing the APT-RPM implementation (the port of apt to work with RPM).
    • by atyr (531369)
      That post had no real relevance you realise. You do realise that is full opinionated right? I quite personaly hate Window Maker. Maybe its fast, but blackbox is faster. And I dont need all those things floating around my desktop. Maybe its configurable but why waste my time when blackbox is how i want it already? Not to mention theres Ion, maybe a little less "pretty" but it gets the job done. blackbox has been the most productive for me, WindowMaker has only slowed me down, and Ion made me even faster. And to respond to another post up further. Why would a distro want to tell a user what to install? Can you say WINDOWS? My god man, the beauty of linux is choice, you have so much to choose from your bound to find something you like. If you really want someone to support non-newbies(lazy people as you have obviously made every one of them out to be) then Windows is there for you in all its gloriousness. Not every newbie would want KDE or Gnome. And to just force something apon them is counterproductive in the learning process. I for one want people to be more informed of linux not dissillusioned.
      • by nagora (177841)
        That post had no real relevance you realise.
        Yes.

        You do realise that is full opinionated right?

        Absolutely!

        Maybe its fast, but blackbox is faster.

        Haven't tried it yet.

        And I dont need all those things floating around my desktop.

        What things? I have two columns of icons for the things I use a lot, but I put them there

        Maybe its configurable but why waste my time when blackbox is how i want it already?

        No reason in the world, if it does.

        Not to mention theres Ion, maybe a little less "pretty" but it gets the job done.

        Didn't like it. Xterm is better.

        My god man, the beauty of linux is choice

        I agree; I chose WindowMaker and you chose Blackbox. My issue is with distros defaulting to the same old bloatware (KDE/Gnome) and not even mentioning the alternatives.

        TWW

        • I realise this, hense why i brought that up. I was responding to another post where someone ranted about how he wants distros to stick with one WM so they can be (special) or some rubbish. My only problem with slackware is they dont put bb for a choice in there =P I think separating distros should stay in possibly setup applications like pppconfig or linuxconf. Some people like GUI setup some people like console, so I chose slackware where i can do everything i want without ever even having to install X and a newbie can go into say RedHat and use GUI setup utils. This is just fine, lets keep it at that and let the user decide the WM NOT the distro =]
  • by mvdwege (243851) <mvdwege@mail.com> on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @10:34AM (#2558057) Homepage Journal

    While the reviewer is right that apt is a wonderful tool, he is guilty of two very common mistakes:

    1. apt is not the package manager per se. It is a front end to the package manager. Therefore the whole idea of using it with another package manager as its default (dpkg) is not so unlikely as it sounds. In fact, as far as I can make out from my Debian documentation, apt is specifically designed to be agnostic in regards to what package manager does the actual work.
    2. The previous was only a minor quibble. His major mistake is however his assertion that you can download any .rpm and have apt sort out the dependencies. Guess what? It doesn't work that way. In order for apt to work, it needs a central repository that provides it with a correct dependency list. Without that, you're back to the good old dependency hell. This is what makes Connectiva and Debian great, because that is exactly what they provide, and it is only because they do that that apt is such a great tool
    Mart (a happy Debian user)
    • I actually never assert anywhere that you can download any RPM. I do, however, point out the traditional limitations of RPM and how the use of APT solves them.

      Daniel Christle
      • Hmmm,

        You may have a point there. You did not say that any .rpm would install. I do read that implication in your review though, but that may be because, as I said, it is a very common mistake.

        Anyway, thanks for a good review. It was overall factual and informative.

        Mart
  • also includes apt as an option. But the default is to use the excellent urpmi urpme tools that automatically resolve all RPM dependencies and can install new packages automagically (from the CD or remotely through FTP or HTTP) and also uninstall them.


    man urpmi

    • Yeah, but updating the 'package list' is a bitch. The graphic front end gives you NO indication as to what it's doing or how long it'll take (or how much it's done). I've let my machine go for more than 45 minutes (128k connection) with nothing. The 'software update' stuff still has a ways to go on mandrake. They also need more than 1 mirror in the US. Every server I see in the default lists is in France or Germany or Japan or someplace else.

      I tell a lie - I did get an package list to come down from a server in Japan in only 35 minutes. But it promptly crashed, so that was time simply wasted.
      • I never got your issues nor heard anytime of such issues.
        • And how many people do you talk to about this? How many people inside a distribution's circle of supporters will openly criticize that distribution?

          For the record, I said the graphic tool. The command like URPMI is a little better, but not much. The main issue is pulling down package lists from other servers. There aren't many servers listed in the graphic tool that are anywhere NEAR me - I'm in Detroit. I think 2 are in the US, if that.

          If/when you use the graphic 'software update' tool, and it says 'updating package list' or whatever it says, do you have a 'cancel' button? Do you have a progress bar? My Mandrake (7.2, 8.0 and 8.1) do not have those seemingly basic items. I just have a silver bar bouncing back and forth, supposedly indicating activity. I'd have thought a progress bar, or at least a cancel button, wouldn't have been too much to ask of a desktop app in 2001. I guess I was wrong.

          Also for the record, I've purchased mandrake before, and given them money via their site. I like and generally support mandrake, but their software update thing has a long way to go before being as usable as 'apt-get' (I'm not a debian fan either).
      • He's right. I'm running Mandrake 8.1 on one of my machines and the update tool will sometimes timeout when setting up a server. Mandrake definitely has some work to do........
      • The graphic front end gives you NO indication as to what it's doing or how long it'll take (or how much it's done).

        Gad. That's such an elementary design mistake. It's bad GUIs like this that convince people that GUIs suck. Most of the graphical software I see on free platforms seems to be written by people who hate graphical programs and want everyone else to hate them too.

        Tim
        • Most of the graphical software I see on free platforms seems to be written by people who hate graphical programs and want everyone else to hate them too

          WOW! If I could mod that comment up, I would! I don't think I've seen a more concise, insightful observation on this topic in awhile... :)
      • Yeah, but updating the 'package list' is a bitch. The graphic front end gives you NO indication as to what it's doing or how long it'll take (or how much it's done).

        The front end sucks (and got worse from 8.0 to 8.1, as did a bunch of other things). You'll want to at least launch MandrakeUpdate from the command-line as there is useful feedback there.

        Still, I've found the benefits of Mandrake outweigh the disadvantages, and the updater does work if you're careful with it.

  • How many applications is bundled with this distribution ?
    If there are less than 7000 programs you shouldn't buy it ;-)
  • by O2n (325189)
    From the article:
    A limitation of RPM is the lack of ability to fetch and install dependencies that are needed when installing a given package. It can be frustrating to try and install some software only to be held back by unmet dependencies. This usually leads to time-loss as one has to track down these dependencies, install them, and then install the package you wanted to install in the first place.

    I've been using redhat - at least on some test machines not involved directly in the network - since 4.1. While rpm is far from perfect, it's also not that bad as the article implies: you can search for the missing dependencies here [redhat.com] -- note that you have to check "Provided Packages", then download those packages from your favourite mirror.
    • Well actually, I deal with helping people on a few irc channels for linux problems. the biggest problem occurs with RPMs. Sure they may be newbies but they can install an rpm, and yet they install something else that requires it and it doesnt detect it on some occasions. This is not something id look at as not that bad. I prefer source myself but the .tgz works great for me, never had a problem once with it. As for bringing the world of Redhat and Debian together, why taint a good dist with redhat? I personaly dont like apt, but i like rpm even less, and then making a GUI for it? come on people. the more we step away from the console the lazier we get, the more vulnerable we get, and i dont want to say this cus a few friends use a lot of GUI but the dumber we get. Why do you need a gui for something so simple? And this brings up the question does it require X? if so im already sold on ANYthing else. a frontend is one thing. and what about the whole rpm version incompatability thing? you dont see this with tgz. I really dont want to upgrade to a new pkgtool or installpkg/upgradepkg to move on to slack 8.1. Am I just a lunatic user/admin gone anti-gui because of m$ or do other people share my views?
      • Here is the easiest way I have found to deal with an RPM that refuses to install due to a lack of dependencies:

        rpm -i --nodeps --noscripts X.rpm

        This fixes RPM everytime. (Even if you do something silly like upgrade glibc on redhat 6.2, only to discover that you had better downgrade REALLY fast...)
    • Then, of course, there is urpmi which, despite its problems (like an extremely rigid idea of package servers), is one cool piece of software.
  • by asr_br (143523)
    They didn't mention the fact that CL 7.0 comes with a lot of packages fragmentation.

    By "package fragmentation" I mean splitting XFree, Gnome, KDE, glibc and all other big software in a lot of small packages, keeping the compatibility with other distros and with the old CLs.

    Example:
    Number of packages
    Software CL 6.0 --> CL 7.0
    glibc 03 --> 65
    XFree86 34 --> 79
    kde 60 --> 276
    gnome 32 --> 66
    koffice 01 --> 19
    linuxconf 56 --> 70
    -devel 127 --> 373
    rpm 03 --> 05


    This is very useful when installing the distro in a machine with little disk space and specially when doing a remote upgrade (you don't have to download big packages with functionalities that you don't use).

    A complete article: "Fragmentation of Packages on Conectiva Linux 7.0" can be found here [conectiva.com.br], but it's in Brazilian Portuguese (I'm sorry).

    - Ademar
    "Unfortunately, no-one can be told what Linux is.. you must see it for yourself."
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Keep an eye on these guys. Marcelo Tosatti, the new kernel 2.4 maintainer, works at Conectiva, and that's another reason to believe they're doing a serious job there.
  • &lt rant mode="on" &gt


    I read the review for this, and it sounds pretty ho-hum. The conclusion states that it's fast and stable...well, it's running the same software as all the other 10,000 distros out there. What is it that makes it particularly fast and stable by comparison?


    The other thing that really bothers me is that this sounds like it has virtually the same features as all the other big names: Graphical install, easy to set up...except it gives too many goddamned options! I would like to see a distro that is a coherent whole, not a mishmash of every possible choice. I mean, it gives a choice between 2.2 and 2.4 kernels! There is not a non-geek in this world who knows or cares what that means. Nor do they care whether is runs KDE or GNOME. It ought to customize one or the other to be the Connectiva desktop, thus making a product that's unique to them, perhaps adding to the KDE control panel the ability to configure everything on the system in one place. Instead they give you a choice of three desktops!


    Does the world need another distribution that caters only to geeks?


    &lt /rant &gt

    • I too wonder this. Having only used RedHat 7.x,
      I can't say what the differences are between
      distributions. I thought the end result was the same, once you got past the installations of the OS and applications. Not flamebait, but I'm just curious.

    • Does the world need another distribution that caters only to geeks?

      Perhaps the U.S. doesn't. But this is A Brazilian product, and technical support is gonna be in Portuguese. (Or Spanish, if you stretch it.)

      The Brasilian people, yes, DO need a nice geek-catering distro, if only because it has techsupport in Portuguese.

    • You make it sound like choice is bad. In fact, choice is what Linux is all about. If you don't want choice, use windows, or MacOS, or even a commercial UNIX. I personally like the idea of being able to try KDE, GNOME, WindowMaker, Blackbox, FVWM, Enlightenment, etc.

      Also, contrary to popular opinion, 2.4 ain't perfect, so it's good to be able to choose 2.2 if you need it.

      • I'm not going to totally knock Redhat, Mandrake &amp Co, but we already have what they provide. Connectiva is not providing anything new, aside from being predominantly non-english. Now we need a NEW choice, because there is nothing yet out there that really anyone can install and use. That means a very limited set of the population, the geek set, has access to a HUGE number of distros and choices. But what about the rest of the people? Where are their choices?
      • But isn't it a valid choice to reject choices? I mean, shouldn't there be a distro that standardizes everything, for users who don't want to deal with all the options? One man's choice is another man's chaos.
      • Also, contrary to popular opinion, 2.4 ain't perfect, so it's good to be able to choose 2.2 if you need it.

        I don't think you have to worry about anyone thinking 2.4 is perfect at the moment. Personally I'm getting excited now that the linus and ac branch are merging down and 2.5 is going to start soon. But of course all these changes means we'll have to wait a bit longer until we know 2.4 is edging towards well done.
    • Simple. Use Corel Linux.

      It's an end-user desktop Linux distribution. That is, it is not much more than a very, very bare bones Debian Linux (slink) setup, with a modified and (well) customized KDE desktop. If it can't start KDE it boots into 'safe mode' (twm). By default, there is no console login except for a sulogin on console 2 (console 1 only shows a textbox saying "Please press Alt-F7").

      After you install it (and there's not much more to installing than choosing whether to overwrite Windows or not) you get a default desktop with a web browser, an email client, a small office suite (Wordperfect) and a couple assorted (graphical) tools.

      Just about the same you get with a default install of Windows 9x.

      I.e. *NOTHING* in respect to tools, network stuff, programming languages, etc. The whole install is about 300-400MB. Hell, the first versions of Wordperfect wouldn't even install because xlib was missing.

      But the 'average user' wants to install 10000 additional tools after installing the OS. Apparently. They don't want the OS installation to span 1-2 GB, but already include almost every kind of software you will ever need.

      If that's what you want, use Corel Linux. It's "Linux for Dummies".
    • The beauty of this distribution is that it doesn't cater only to geeks, its made for and is very usable/maintainable by mere humans. I was able wean my Mom off her Mac with Conectiva, which isn't that big a deal, but I was also actually able to show her how to maintain her software via Synaptic, which is nothing short of incredible, IMHO. (I'm very used to the "set it up for the friend/family member and then support/upgrade it until the end of the world over a modem" type scenario.)

      I've been using Linux since RH4.0 days (not forever, but not since last night, either ;-) and this distribution is the most exciting thing I've seen in a long time.
    • on the first screen:

      Do you have experience with linux?
      Yes
      No

      If you check yes it will give you all the options and if you check no it will just install with default selections.

      This would take about 5 minutes to add to an installer and would make everything a lot easier I think.
  • Is it just me, or is this review incredibly low on actual information?

    "Well, uh, it detected my hardware fine and then everything worked. The end."

    I suppose this does say something about how idiot-proof the typical Linux distro has become, but there sure doesn't seem to be a whole lot of meat here.

    --saint

We are Microsoft. Unix is irrelevant. Openness is futile. Prepare to be assimilated.

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