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Announcements Software Debian Linux

Libranet On The Rocks 152

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the end-of-the-road dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Following the death of his father Jon, it looks as though Tal is going to finally throw in the towel with regards the running of Libranet. Given his age and his personal circumstances who can blame in? But on a purely selfish level, is there anyone out there who can help save my favourite distribution?"
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Libranet On The Rocks

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  • I'm sorry, but who? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Just curious, but what is noteworthy about Libranet? Is it an especially well balenced linux distro?
    • From what I understand, it had a great package management system.
    • by HiThere (15173) * <charleshixsnNO@SPAMearthlink.net> on Saturday November 26, 2005 @12:46PM (#14119032)
      LibraNet is a Debian clone that has a very nice added administration package, and also can install Nvidia drivers off the CD. (Granted that most commercial distributions can do that, but a bog-standard Debian Sarge can't, and as a result my screen displays at unacceptably low resolution.

      LibraNet is really "only" a Debian that's been smoothly polished...but that only covers a lot of usability. (I prefer using my system to tinkering with it. I may be a programmer, but I prefer to work at a considerable remove from the hardware.)
      • ...and as a result my screen displays at unacceptably low resolution.

        The primary thing that the NVidia drivers give you is 3D acceleration, otherwise the nv driver should be suitable. It can run at at least 1600x1200, I know because I just swapped in a new Geforce and I switched back to the nv driver briefly before installing the new NVidia drivers.

        • When I installed Sarge shortly after the release, it wouldn't go above 1024x?, and I wanted 12??x?...which I could get from Libranet, Red Hat Fedora, and one of Ununtu or Mepis (I can't remember which, probably Mepis). Yes, the Nvidia site would have let me install the nVidia drivers...but it's so much nicer to just skip the hassle, and have it done right when the system is installed.
      • LibraNet is a Debian clone that has a very nice added administration package, and also can install Nvidia drivers off the CD. (Granted that most commercial distributions can do that, but a bog-standard Debian Sarge can't, and as a result my screen displays at unacceptably low resolution.

        Official NVidia [debian.org] packages in Sarge [debian.org]
      • I'm using the GPL 2D only nv driver, and it works fine, gives a fine resolution, super clear picture, in Knoppix 3.6, which is a Debian clone distro. True I don't play 3d games, but the official, non-GPL nvidia driver's 2D isn't better at all, and I'm just too lazy to reinstall it everytime I wipe the partition to reinstall Knoppix to the harrdrive in 20 minutes, having all my important data on separate partitions, except some emails and files I back up. Easiest way to keep your system clean and running in
        • You never learn anything about the underlying system if you just trash-n-replace it. You're using your Linux the same way the 'techs' who maintain Windows do when they tell people to 'reinstall the OS' any time something goes wrong.

          Your system never evolves or improves. Your idea of 'top shape' is whatever out-of-the-box configuration you froze two years ago, apparently.
    • by just_another_sean (919159) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @12:50PM (#14119049) Homepage Journal
      It's Debian based first off, always a good thing :)

      It has a very easy to use installer. As mentioned already it has great package management based on dpkg, apt and synaptic.

      It makes a great desktop system out of the box; very little effort is needed to get everything to just work. It comes with all the typical goodies for a desktop (browser, email, office suite, etc) whether you pick Gnome or KDE as the default desktop.

      All in all a very good "I think I'll install this for my Aunt Tillie" type of distribution.

      I am sad to hear about it going away but on a purely practical note I think anyone who used this and wants to upgrade when Libranet is gone would do well to look to Ubuntu.
      • Ubuntu? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        is a Debian fork as I understand it...not pure Debian like Libranet.
    • Libranet is, as already noted, a Debian based distribution; at heart it is pure Debian. The major innovation is an administration tool called adminmenu. Adminmenu covers a lot of stuff, from rolling in a new kernel to administering user accounts to managing print jobs, to setting up a graphics card; all the little things that are otherwise a bit of a pain in the ass to a beginner. It's a one stop shop for almost every common administration problem. It takes the pain out of administering your GNU/Linux dist
    • Libranet is last year's Ubuntu.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Just curious, but what is noteworthy about Libranet? Is it an especially well balenced linux distro?

      As others have said here Libranet was a polished Debian with a very nice system administration utility. I came in right about Libranet 2.7, and purchased 2.7, 2.8, 2.8.1 and finally 3.0. 2.7 through 2.8.1 were ROCK SOLID.. but with 3.0 some bugs were creeping in, repositories acting wonky, etc. Libranet always had (has?) a tight community and Libranet Inc. was very responsive. When Jon passed away I had a fee

    • by KWTm (808824) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @01:31PM (#14119218) Journal
      Although not a LibraNet user (I've been using Mandrake since 9.0, now switching over to Ubuntu), I have to acknowledge LibraNet's help in getting me past Linux's steep learning curve.

      Having had trouble downloading Linux, I had ordered a stack of some 20 CD's or so of every Linux distro imaginable (to me at the time). LibraNet was one of them, sandwiched among Lycorix, Peanut Linux, Slack, FreeBSD, Pink Tie linux (Red Hat was going to sue unauthorized users of the term "Red Hat"), and the nine CD's of the main Debian 3.0 distro. For some reason I would keep getting errors installing (including the vaunted Mandrake with its "user-friendliness").

      LibraNet was the first to install successfully, and make it easy to switch between KDE, GNOME, and ICEwm with the click of a button. It showed me what Linux was capable of. Even more impressive was the big button which simply said, "Recompile kernel". I never used it, but it was a shock to me that one could recompile the kernel as easily as clicking on a button. LibraNet impressed me with its multitude of screensavers. (Basically these were X screensavers, for which I have yet to find an equal that works with KDE --why are KDE screensavers so sluggish?)

      LibraNet gave me the motivation to keep moving forward, to find what could be done with Linux. Kudos to the maintainers.

      (I should sneak in a line or two about BasicLinux by Steven Darnold, who also showed what Linux was capable of, installed on a lowly 386 through a diskette.)

      • (a little OT, but I just have to point this out)

        ... Lycorix, Peanut Linux, Slack, FreeBSD, Pink Tie linux ...

        FreeBSD is _NOT_ Linux. Just so you know. But you had trouble getting FreeBSD going? Odd.

        (Back ontopic) Otherwise I sympathise. I once installed Libranet, and the adminmenu certainly is impressive. It's sad to see this one go.

      • I never used it, but it was a shock to me that one could recompile the kernel as easily as clicking on a button.

        Why not, most of the trouble people have compiling the kernel is to make it small, add some weard functionality and making sure it works before completely switching. You know, doing usefull stuf.

        If you just want to recompile it, yes, I can create a script for that on much less than a day.

    • Adminmenu (Score:3, Informative)

      by HalAtWork (926717)
      Libranet allows adminmenu [libranet.com] (screenshot [libranet.com]), which makes it well suited for desktops because novice users can easily configure important settings such as Firewall, DNS & IP, manage device drivers, and configure/compile a kernel, through one simple interface similar to KDE's Control Center.

      While kernel compiling and other more advanced functions may not be necessary for novice users, it allows people interested in learning more about GNU/Linux a springboard to access its deeper features and perhaps become mor
    • Kanotix is a nice debian distro (uses debian sid). Though it lacks administrative extras, it does have all the usability that kde brings to the table.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Libranet is a great distro for the non geek to get up and running with a debian box. I found it to be a great learning distro that put awesome tools, including a kernel compiler, into the hands of the average person. Without it, I would not have had the successes with linux I have had. There is nothing it can do that you can't do elsewhere, and it mix of stable, testing, and unstable may put some folks off, but I feel it is an invaluable tool for a niche part of the linux community. Libranet will be missed.
    • Libranet is a great distro for the non geek to get up and running with a debian box.

      So is Xandros [xandros.com]. And although the previous edition costed around $40, it was still less than half the price of the last edition of Libranet, which if I'm not mistaken, is $90. But now the Xandros OCE is free: OCE = Open Circulation Edition. The business edition is for exactly that, businesses, and just a lot of extra megs on the hard disk for a home user (unless you really, really prefer Sun's Star Office over OpenOffice. o

  • ubuntu takes over? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Janek Kozicki (722688) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @12:47PM (#14119036) Journal
    both libranet and ubuntu are based on debian. They both use debian's package system. Libranet is dead, long live ubuntu.
    • I have never used Libranet (on Ubuntu since 4.10) but come on, let's have some respect for the vision and product of Jon Danzig. It does'nt have to be the biggest distro, but I for one support anyone that has done something for the community.
    • As a former Libranet user (now running Kubuntu I might add), I find this statement to be poorly reasoned as well as off-topic. Just because they both are Debian based does not preclude that one has somehow usurped the other. Furthermore, Libranet has been around longer than Ubuntu, and the founder of Libranet recently passed away. Show some respect.
      • As is said before, Ubuntu forks Debian, an ideal libranet was against.
      • So is a port of adminmenu in the works, or is the source locked away someplace?

        I use Ubuntu on my notebook, and coming from a RedHat/Fedora background, sometimes .deb files trip me up.

        • You shouldn't usually need to deal with deb files directly. That's what apt-get is for. To install, remove, and remove software and config files:

          apt-get install <package name>
          apt-get remove <package name>
          apt-get remove --purge <package name>

          You can get the package name from the Ubuntu website. You can also update your database of known packages with

          apt-get update

          though you might want to edit your /etc/apt/sources.list file first. If you need to install software that isn't in the Ub

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 26, 2005 @12:48PM (#14119041)
    This is why you should never rely on one-man-wonder distros like libranet or slackware for anything beyond hobby machines.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Mepis is in that category too, with seemingly tight-fisted control (aka dotmepis debacle)
    • I'm not worried about slackware; its an original project dependant on noone but itself. But what happens to Ubuntu if Debian folds?

      -everphilski-
      • Well... considering Ubuntu is an independent distribution with their own (pretty damn good) dev team, infrastructure, repositories, etc, I would have to vote for 'nothing'
        • From http://www.ubuntulinux.org/ubuntu/relationship/do c ument_view [ubuntulinux.org]

          As Ubuntu prepares for release, we "freeze" a snapshot of debian's development archive ('sid').

          Ubuntu is built on debian.

          If Debian folds, Ubuntu will either (a) have to start their own primary linux distribution or (b) start leeching off of someone else as they are a derivitive work which was my point. Look at Slackware, despite Patrick Volkerding's health problems the releases have been steady. However a derivitive work whose upstr
          • My point is that it doesn't matter what happens to Debian because Ubuntu is more than capable of surviving on its own.

            Having Mark Shuttleworth's wallet around certainly helps
      • If any distro is unlikely to ever fold, it's probably Debian. I'd not worry about that.
        • Maybe so. My point stands. There are better examples I just didn't have one at the time. I'd be more worried about a derivitive work than a 1-man distro. I mean look at slackware. Despite Patrick Volerding's health problems the new versions have been rolling off the presses without a hitch...

          -everphilski-
      • Debian is a large scale (thousands of people) non profit with branches in many countries. Its less likely to fold than GE. It might gradually fall off but not fold. Further Debian is at this point a meta distribution. I'd say Debian folds when Linux like OSes are no longer needed or desired which means Ubuntu is pointless.
        • > which means Ubuntu is pointless.

          I'm no great Ubuntu fan, but I don't see why that merely because it is a Debian derivative, and would have a hard time if Debian folded it is pointless. That logic would make all Debian derivatives pointless, and some of them are definitely useful.

          Sure if people buy into Ubuntu because it has a more business friendly footing, under the impression its future is somehow more robust than Debians because of that (and nothing to do with Mark's pockets), they may be wrong.

          I do
          • t I don't see why that merely because it is a Debian derivative, and would have a hard time if Debian folded it is pointless.

            I suggest you reread what I wrote I addressed a point in the future "when Linux like OSes are no longer needed or desired...Ubuntu is pointless." That's not the same thing as what you represented at all.
    • by Pop69 (700500)
      Slackware has a thriving community that is capable of stepping in to maintain the distro if anything were to happen to Pat Volkerding. This was pretty much proven during his recent illness.

      Libranet doesn't seem to have attracted the same kind of following unfortunately.
      • From the comments I am reading here (I have little knowledge of LibraNet) it sounds like the LibraNet 'community' consists of people who want a Linux they can 'plug in and use' which means a mostly 'user' community. Slackware (which is the OS I am typing this message through, incidentally) has a deep, rich community with a lot of old-school hacker sorts involved.
    • "That is why you should never rely on one-man-wonder distros like libranet or slackware for anything beyond hobby machines."

      Excuse me??

      Sorry if this is a bit off-topic, but I happen to be the sole creator/maintainer of my own distribution [kicks-ass.org], Ultima Linux, which is a one-man distro based on Slackware (yes, another one-man distro). Every single machine I own runs Ultima exclusively, including a full-time Web server [kicks-ass.org] which also hosts the project. Hmm, anything beyond hobby machines?

      And for the record, last time
      • Ubuntu now has a very clean looking package management, and also synaptic. And AFAIK it does wireless pretty well when it supports your adapter.
      • By the way, yes, it is true that Slackware does have a community that is more than willing to take over if anything bad happens to Mr. Volkerding. (Sorry if this is redundant, but it is true.) As for my own distribution, a good number of packages are indeed hand-built, and it may in fact become independent of Slackware if worst comes to worst. Ubuntu, on the other hand, has stated explicitly [ubuntu.com] that they would be nowhere if Debian were to disappear.

        By the way, I will admit that while Shuttleworth does raise
      • heh, you prove the point: since you're the creator and maintainer the distro will only last as long as your interest in it or your life span, anyone else would be kind of silly to use it for production. My guess is slackware and ubuntu would only really last a short time beyond the lifespan of their leaders. For that matter, if Linus T. takes up another hobby or goes to the big happy hackery in the sky, I could see the Linux kernel flying apart in at least four major directions.
        • "heh, you prove the point: since you're the creator and maintainer the distro will only last as long as your interest in it or your life span, anyone else would be kind of silly to use it for production. My guess is slackware and ubuntu would only really last a short time beyond the lifespan of their leaders. For that matter, if Linus T. takes up another hobby or goes to the big happy hackery in the sky, I could see the Linux kernel flying apart in at least four major directions."

          Well, as the saying goes, n
          • looks like you're responding to other posts as well as mine. I was just pointing out certain distros probably won't live beyond the life or interest of any one person, and other more team-oriented ones will (and for at least two of the BSD this is likely true too). Would be a very fun hobby, but to make the thing live on might want to consider making a team out of the more enthusiastic of your users
    • As long as the OS is under the GPL, or some other Free Software license, there's absolutely NO REASON to avoid one-person outfits. If the maintainer bows out, at worst you can support yourself, and in practice there will always be a sizable community ready to join in for all but the most obscure systems. The nearest thing there is to a problem amongst free software enthusiasts is that many have an aversion to forking, but there's no reason for that, especially when a distribution no longer has a maintainer.
      • by GoofyBoy (44399) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @01:59PM (#14119339) Journal
        >there's absolutely NO REASON to avoid one-person outfits. If the maintainer bows out, at worst you can support yourself,

        That, by itself, is a great reason to avoid one-person outfits.
        • > > there's absolutely NO REASON to avoid one-person outfits. If the maintainer bows out,
          > > at worst you can support yourself,
          >
          > That, by itself, is a great reason to avoid one-person outfits.

          The OP was referring to the worst case scenario. A better case scenario is that someone
          very close to the project steps up.
        • As opposed to what exactly?

          With a commercial, Free Software, distribution, at worse you can support yourself too.

          With a commercial, proprietary, distribution, at worse you can... erm, jump ship. You don't have the option of supporting yourself. So if you can't jump ship because you're tied to whatever platform it is, you're screwed.

      • > "Slackware, for instance, had the first 'packages' as we'd recognize them."

        No, actually, the packages predate the distributions -- I used to download individual packages off of funet.fi, back in the very early days when you still needed a Minix boot floppy to run fdisk and mkfs for Linux. The first "distro" was SLS, and it simply tried to provide a little overall organization for the steadily growing mass of packages that already existed. And Debian didn't "fix the flaws in Slackware's original model
        • The concept of 'packages' depends a lot on the level one wants to interpret it at.

          I strongly prefer the packing system where you type './configure && make && make install' to install the package, after unpacking the source tarball. And there IS a packing scheme involved in such an arrangement, i.e. the use of autoconf and the ./configure script is a very ROBUST cross-platform package scheme.

          Other people are willing to work a layer or two above that and dump in binaries built somewhere else.
    • by timeOday (582209) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @01:55PM (#14119319)
      Then again Slackware has already outlasted a lot of commercial software vendors I've seen.

    • This is why you should never rely on one-man-wonder distros like libranet or slackware for anything beyond hobby machines.

      You know how the suits always tell you that they purchase IBM/Microsoft/Sun/Oracle because when the shiznat hits the fan, they want someone they can call 24/7/365?

      Well what are they gonna do when Herr Kernelmeister Torvalds up and kicks the bucket? Call Alan Cox? I mean good grief - does Richard Stallman even own a telephone?

      • Maybe you've been out since 1996, but the Linux kernel isn't and hasn't been a "one-man show" for quite a while. If Linus were to bite it, Linux would still continue on with teams and teams of other people.
        • If Linus were to bite it, Linux would still continue on with teams and teams of other people.

          200+ Linux distros creates confusion enough. But Linux can't go on if users must chose between competing and incompatible Linux kernels.

        • Maybe you've been out since 1996, but the Linux kernel isn't and hasn't been a "one-man show" for quite a while. If Linus were to bite it, Linux would still continue on with teams and teams of other people.

          The kernel would break for political reasons rather than technical reasons. The way I see it, Linus is the guy with enough prestige to hold the kernel together, maintaining a semblance of compatibility between the various distros. If Linus were to "bite it", you'd have at least Novell and RedHat forki


      • But what are the chances of hearing something like, "let me get back to you - I'd like to get up to speed with our customer care center." A few hours later, "I regret to inform you, but this particular issue is not within the bounds of your current support agreement. However, we'd be happy to provide immediate asstance for an additional fee of [insert $$$$ here]."
    • You've got this all wrong. If Jon Danzig [danzig-verotik.com] is throwing in the towel, it just goes to show that you should never rely on a distro that is created and maintained by a rocker.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 26, 2005 @01:01PM (#14119087)
    I'm willing to help in whatever way I can.
  • by node357 (889400) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @01:07PM (#14119117) Homepage
    Libranet is one of the few Debian-derived systems that can claim to be 100% compatible with Debian. Its main distinguishing feature is the Libranet Adminmenu, which is on par with Mandrake (Mandriva) Control Center and YAST. Adminmenu is simple and effective, and has allowed novice users to see results of "technical" procedures first-hand, which they can learn from without having to pass the grade just to use their computers. The greatest merit of Libranet is its tightly knit and devout user community, where humor and spirit abound and the answer to any question is usually contributed mere hours after it is posed. Libranet has a rich history, a great following, and a future that its proprietor really ought to consider hard before giving it up. Anyone who hasn't tried this distro has really missed out on a unique and effective approach to Debian GNU/Linux.
    • by gooman (709147) on Saturday November 26, 2005 @01:42PM (#14119267) Journal
      I agree. Libranet is a very nice distro. It always seemed a bit expensive, being Debian, but it offered some unique value, first of which is Adminmenu. Adminmenu is simple, powerful and polished. Using IceWM as the default GUI makes for a familiar interface without the sluggishness of KDE or Gnome (Great for older hardware). The selection of applications is well thought out. Of course there's apt get if you need something not included. For the newbie, it is extremely friendly and fast, a great way to learn Linux. I've recommended it for years. For the experienced user, it's just Debian, but still a very nice "Linux for the Desktop" distro.

      My highest compliments regarding Libranet after Adminmenu is the community. The community is very knowledgeable and helpful and generally polite. I set my parents up with Libranet for that very reason, I knew they could ask questions in the forum and get answers without getting flamed and never wanting to try that again.

      Since Jon's death, this was kind of expected. Nonetheless it is very sad news for a great distro.

    • Fascinating. Is Adminmenu in some ways superior to Webmin? Should anyone even bother with it when Webmin is available?
      • Webmin's "problem" for me at least is that it offers an interface through a browser. Those things aren't always available, and adminning a box remotely (across the internet) with webmin is something I'd rather avoid.

        Adminmenu's strength is that it's a loose application that doesn't need another application to access it. Yes, it's X, but one only needs the X libraries and X through ssh tunneling will do the rest.
    • Libranet Adminmenu, which is on par with Mandrake (Mandriva) Control Center and YAST

      Is that every distro seems to feel it needs to reinvent the wheel. Both MDCC and YAST are fully open source, both mature products, both have been Q/A'ed and used by hundreds of thousands of users. But every distro I see seems to try either A) create its own clunky approach B) forge the niceties of configuration GUI's altogether in the old DIY approach.

      This isn't the end of the world or anything, but I see configuration
  • I'd fork her.
  • states that this is just another form of survival of the fittest.
  • The newest version of libranet is about two years old, I think. Last time I checked, they are still trying to sell it for $90.

    Folks, not many people are going to spend $90 on a two year debian distro. Especially when Ubuntu is around.

    Just OSS the entire project. Maybe somebody will pick it up. But, as a viable business, I can't see it.

    • How the fuck does a comment like this get a +2? It's blatantly wrong, and the person obviously hasn't done an ounce of research to validate his facts. No wonder /. moderation really is very badly fucked. No wonder many people trash /. moderation. Since my karma is negative (for simply posting actually factual comments that others just simply dislike and mod down for inappropriate reasons) I really couldn't give a fuck what you fucked up moderators (or whatever you want to call yourselves) think.

      Libranet
  • But on a purely selfish level, is there anyone out there who can help save my favourite distribution?"

    Unlikely - linux users are much bigger on mooching off other poeples work than actually doing it themselves, oh yeah and boasting about what radical open source freedom warriors they are.

    You nailed it with the selfish word.

  • From /. summary:
    Given his age and his personal circumstances who can blame in?/blockquote
    Yes, who can blame in? Umm, who is this "in" person again?
  • The posts I have read are all seemingly positive towards Libranet and feel somewhat irked at the inevitable end of a great distro. This said, how expensive could it be to purchase and keep this distro working? If there was a core group with external developers, this is a potentially awesome undertaking, and one in which we could enjoy doing. I am open to any serious community members who would be interested in the offer posed by Tal: Invest in Libranet. I am a geek in project manager's clothing. I have mor

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