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Linux Software

Caldera OpenLinux 3.1 Reviewed 117

Patrick Mullen writes: "The Duke of URL has just posted its review of Caldera's OpenLinux Workstation 3.1. Caldera is probably best known for going against the grain in the Linux world and is the first Linux distribution to introduce per seat licensing. Version 3.1 has made a lot of advances such as full OEM testing, but is it worth the per-seat licensing?" Is this any different from other distributions' "power packs," which bundle Free software with proprietary? According to the Caldera site, you can download the ISOs as well as the source to the server and workstation varieties of Open Linux on a (eh?) "single, non-commercial license."
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Caldera OpenLinux 3.1 Reviewed

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  • by Raleel ( 30913 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @10:08AM (#2352268)
    Not that I believe the latest and greatest is always the best, but this one seems a little light on the newer features...Kernel 2.4.2 KDE 2.1, OpenSSH 2.5.2 (doesn't this one have a known flaw in it?).

    See, the problem with Caldera's per seat licensing model is not so much that it is evil (ok, it's not, it's a business thing, but it just feels wrong) as much as it is that for it to really succeed they need to actually add value. I'm not sure they really do right now, since I can download redhat or mandrake with little worries.

    This would all be different if _no_ linux company offered downloadable isos...

    Btw, and only mostly off topic, anyone have any opinions on gentoo based on actual experience?

    • by chamont ( 25273 ) <monty@nosPam.fullmonty.org> on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @10:26AM (#2352338) Homepage
      Not that I believe the latest and greatest is always the best, but this one seems a little light on the newer features...Kernel 2.4.2 KDE 2.1, OpenSSH 2.5.2 (doesn't this one have a known flaw in it?).

      OpenLinux WS has been out for a long time (many months). Most people wouldn't have realized that because Slashdot never posted a story to recognize that fact. This is why the packages seem a bit dated by now. Next time, before you flame a distro, check the Updates Directory [caldera.com] which will show you a version of OpenSSH at 2.9.

      Also, if you want the latest and greatest KDE, have no fear. Plenty of core KDE developers are employed by Caldera, so right from the official KDE FTP sight, you can spend the day downloading 2.2.1. I installed it on my workstation (yes, I use OpenLinux Workstation at work) and it works fine. 2.4.2 was the latest kernel available at the time of release, and since there have been no gaping security holes and that kernel has proven fairly stable, there's no reason to mess with a good thing.

      Finally, I don't have too much to say with the licensing thing. Of course it was a business decision. As you might expect, with Caldera's stock hovering around 30 cents they're doing all they can to generate revenue. I wish them the best in these tough times.

      Do we really want one Linux company?

      • OpenLinux WS has been out for a long time (many months). Most people wouldn't have realized that because Slashdot never posted a story to recognize that fact. This is why the packages seem a bit dated by now. Next time, before you flame a distro, check the Updates Directory [caldera.com] which will show you a version of OpenSSH at 2.9. Fair enough. I didn't check their updates directory, although I wouldn't have actually called my comment a flame. I must admit, my first experience with caldera was not so hot, and I may be a tad colored by it. Also, if you want the latest and greatest KDE, have no fear. Plenty of core KDE developers are employed by Caldera, so right from the official KDE FTP sight, you can spend the day downloading 2.2.1. perhaps I misread your tone here, but there are very valid reasons for using kde 2.2.1, including imap support in kmail and 2.1 not working with a piece of software that I use (nothing anyone here has heard of). And I'll applaud them employing kde developers. On a side note, I find it interesting that the government (who I work for) doesn't employ more free software people. A coworker and I have thought of several ways where your tax dollars could have been better spent by hiring a free software writer to improve a particular piece of code over paying a license fee for a commercial piece. 2.4.2 was the latest kernel available at the time of release, and since there have been no gaping security holes and that kernel has proven fairly stable, there's no reason to mess with a good thing. except for a tcp/ip bug that will impact my users Do we really want one Linux company? Nope, of course not. I really applaud Libranet for their model (you gotta buy it, but after that, you can do whatever), and OpenBSD (actually basing the no-copy thing on something that actually makes sense, sort of). I like redhat and mandrake. I never got into debian. I think Progeny and Libra certainly have the right idea, and I have heard many good things about them. I'm about to give a go to gentoo. I've used caldera and trinux. I have an esmith firewall.
      • 2.4.2 was the latest kernel available at the time of release, and since there have been no gaping security holes and that kernel has proven fairly stable, there's no reason to mess with a good thing.

        I beg to differ. There are lots of reported data corruption bugs in all 2.4 kernels prior to 2.4.6:

        Linux 2.4.3 ate my hard drive. I booted up, got weird problems...ran an fsck, it failed, saying the superblock was invalid. I specified one of the alternate superblocks...it kept giving me errors. I piped yes into it and let it run. When it was done, my entire filesystem was in little pieces in /lost+found.

        That's the most important problem, but there are also a couple reported crashes I believe and, of course, the VM problems (which are still an issue. 2.4.10 has a huge patch to the VM system.)

        I've been pretty disappointed by Linux 2.4 so far and at this point I'd say I still would not run it on a server. (I use FreeBSD, but Linux 2.2, though old, is good as well.)

        I'm used to running bleeding edge stuff on my desktop, though. I'm not too upset about the losing my Linux partition thing, since I had most stuff backed up elsewhere.

        (In fairness to Linux, I have a VIA686b South Bridge Controller. I think that's the chipset they had the most trouble with by far, though from the descriptions, not all of these bugs are related to it.)

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Going offtopic, so posting anonymously.

      I tried Gentoo. It's a great distro, bringing together the best of Slackware and OpenBSD. The advantages, IMO, are the ports-like system and that you have to do everything by hand. Also you can install in a ReiserFS.

      The ports system, called portage, is great. If you use GNOME, for example, apps will be compiled with GNOME support; else, only with Gtk. The same works for sound, you can specify OSS x ALSA, esd, etc.
    • I have been using gentoo now since rc5 was first released. It's really good. A little buggy, but what do you expect from a pre 1.0 release?

      The portage system is a great idea and they are fixing bugs with every release. Rc6 is definitely usable.

      Can't hurt to check it out, right? The only real problem is the install, but if you know chroot, there isn't a problem.
      • What really bothers me about Gentoo (which is great, don't get me wrong) is the lack of good binary packages. The official policy seems to be compile-based. However, my poor 300MHz machine really can't handle compiling KDE every time a new release comes out, and sometimes you just want to type rpm -i *.rpm instead of waiting for a 15 minute compile to complete. If Gentoo had RPM integration (or maybe dpkg or something) then it could really be a force in the distro world.
    • I can't say I agree with you. When I tried Caldera before I was quite impressed by their support of Novell Netware and that is what I need at work.

      The Linux client for Netware that came with OpenLinux 2.3 rocked! Browsing our servers through the NDS tree was seamless, and it way surpassed the ncputils package that comes with Redhat.

      This feature alone is worth the licensing to me and I suspect for the millions of others who stayed with Netware for its superior file and print services. And everyone knows that Unix is best for application servers so the question was how to combine Netware & Linux on the desktop. Caldera seems to be the answer.

      OTOH, the hardware support for laptops in 2.3 was not as good as Redhat and I ran into a couple of apps that wouldn't work right on Caldera but were certified for Redhat. So I can't wait to get this newly released version and give it a whirl.

      Also since Netware 6 has Native File Access which allows Linux/Windows/Mac Pc's to connect using their basic builtin protocols and clients, the window of opportunity may be closing for the Linux Netware client to gain a toe hold in the enterprise environment.
  • Per seat licensing? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Another one that will bite the dust soon.

    If you ask me, RMS is right about Caldera. They were never serious about the open source model and can pretty much be gone. They will not be missed.
  • by Christopher Bibbs ( 14 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @10:16AM (#2352299) Homepage Journal
    For the umpteenth time:

    Caldera provides free downloads of the source code to all GPL software in their distribution. The also add no legal restrictions to those software packages.

    The distribution as a whole, though, is not GPL and therefore carries a license that Caldera feels happy with. It may be a sucky license and I won't use their distribution because of it, but its their party and they can do what they want.
    • But as a home user, you can only install it on one computer. Still some restriction if you have two or more home machines and you'll be forced to run other versions or OSes to conform to its license.

      If I were an admin I would try to standardize on one distribution.

  • Not OSS? No dice. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sting3r ( 519844 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @10:17AM (#2352301) Homepage
    I think I speak for the majority of experienced sysadmins when I say that closed source software is a huge pain to support. Excluding relational databases and the like, the majority of the time, using OSS exclusively just makes sense. I'm not a Stallmanite and I don't mind software that is released under a non-Free Open Source license (like IPfilter) - although those packages do have limited benefit to the community because of distribution restrictions. It's just that being able to change the source and recompile it of the utmost importance when dealing with software conflicts, bugs, and customization. And that's why I think these "powerpacks" are a bad idea - they're just a bunch of bloat, and they tie my hands as a sysadmin because I can't fix them when they break.

    If I wanted to have a job where I had to wake up every day and tell my users, "sorry, that's just the way it works" or "I can't do anything about that", I would administer a bunch of Win2k boxes. But I run a cluster of Linux systems because I like the environment, and it helps me serve my employer and my users to the best of my ability. Nothing is impossible if the admin is willing to do a little hacking and recompiling. And that's why closed-source powerpacks are undermining all of the advantages that OSS has brought to the marketplace.

    -sting3r
    • I don't mind software that is released under a non-Free Open Source license (like IPfilter) - although those packages do have limited benefit to the community because of distribution restrictions.

      As you you've said, IPFilter is non-free, but it isn't Open Source either, nor is it compatible with the BSD distribution guidelines. If you don't have a problem with having access to the source code under such a license, maybe Microsoft Windows 2000 and PocketPC would appeal? They also have similar licenses, although the PocketPC one is much more available than the Windows 2000 one.

      A similar story exists for TinyDNS, Qmail, and Pine.

      And why the exception for relational databases? Ever think there might be more? TinyDNS is good software. What about games? Desktops secretaries could use? Or even small business servers? (those guys won't ever learn vi and its not like many distributions with the exception of esmith are making anything close to a non-Unix user friendly server distribution.

      Use the best tool for the job. If you don't, you shouldn't be employed. If that's Open Source, great, but sometimes it won't be. Make decisions based on technical and factual information rather than religion. That's what you're paid to do.
  • Caldera's per seat licensing - I say good luck to them. The reason Linux has survived while others dies is because it is impossible to attack in Microsoft's standard way (embrace and destroy). If Caldera want to move away from this and think they can compete in that world - then go to it.

    The worrying thing is that Microsoft might suddenly figure out that they can just buy Caldera and bin it if it gets too much of a pain (although I suppose that applies to any Linux friendly public company).

    Never mind hey - the guiding principal that nothing with Linux should prevent choice allows them to do what they do, we should be happy about this simply as a demonstration of the joy that is Linux :-)
  • This business model is what my grandma would call "neither here nor there" (or "nisht a hin nisht a her", excuse the sp), it's not really open source, yet isn't the prevailing evil (read XP). These things resolve pretty quickly typically, I must say that Caldera has held on to the fence for a longer while than I'd expect but in the long run it combines the least attractive features of both sides: less support and closed source/high prices.
  • Per seat licensing? I know it goes against the grain, but at they are trying to make some serious money off of Linux. Times are tight, and if they need some capital, they will not get it by telling potential investors that they plan to make money selling an $80 boxed Linux that a company of 10,000 people can use to cover the OS for every employee they have.
  • by platos_beard ( 213740 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @10:39AM (#2352397)
    Not, wrong in the moral sense, in the business sense.

    One of the strongest arguments in Linux's favor in many business settings is the avoidance of licensing encumbrances. This is becoming even stronger with the licensing changes and copy protection coming with XP.

    Caldera is shooting itself in the face with per seat licensing.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Would you care to explain exactly how money is supposed to be made by a Linux company when one copy can be used across an entire corporation?

      I think you're speaking about things that sound good in quick sound bites but in reality don't make quite as much sense as you think. Numerous companies -- including Caldera, Red Hat, SuSE, Turbolinux, etc. -- have been trying to figure out how to make this open source business thing work. All have ended up scaling back on their freebies, all have ended up closing offices and cutting staff. SuSE and Turbolinux barely have presences in the US anymore.

      The money isn't coming from either software or services as much as everyone would have hoped. What you see now is the new direction of Linux offerings. The ones that are free will not be central to Linux companies' business plans. Supporting a large staff of folks to assemble, support, and market something that costs $0 (and don't give me a line about support; as I said before, nobody's making much off of that either) no longer makes sense.

      If you want Linux to succeed outside of user groups and high schools, get over the license thing. Otherwise, you're contributing to the demise of Linux as a supportable, sustainable corporate technology. If it dies in that realm, you will once again see it being sneaked into back-doors like the old days, except this time there will be a negative history tattooed to Linux that will make it a lot less favorable than it was the first time around.
      • I have no objection to Linux companies making money. No, that's not strong enough. I want Linux companies to make money.

        In fact my agreement with you goes even further than that. Companies paying money for Linux is a good thing. Not as much money as they might pay MS, but some reasonable amount.

        It is also, however, very good for a company not to have to worry about licensing every time that add a new workstation or server, or upgrade a computer, or decide that what had been a departmental server is now going to be a company-wide intranet or even internet server. Taking away that benefit is an action that makes it less likely that a company will pay for Linux, not more.

        I work for a company that uses Linux minimally (no, the company hasn't paid anything for Linux, although I have) and only where I've set it up. As soon as I can make a good business case for employing more Linux boxen and supporting (i.e. paying for) one of the distros (SuSE!), I'll do so. To the extent that I've been laying the groundwork for making that case sometime in the future, the lack of licensing encumbrances is probably the point that I've stressed most.

        Linux may be more stable, more secure, and perform better, but Windows is "good enough" and all the techs can administer it. If I argue for Linux on the basis of uptime, I will lose. If I argue for security or performance, same thing. If I argue that Linux is just as good as Windows for a mail/intranet/proxy/ftp/whatever server and that SuSE's administration tools are good enough that even Vinny could use them and that we won't have to worry about server licenses or CALs no matter what we do and that SuSE will give us better support that MS ever would at a fraction of the cost (is that true, BTW?), maybe, just maybe I'll have a shot.

  • by hattig ( 47930 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @10:45AM (#2352418) Journal

    This is great. You might think that the per-seat licensing requirement is a bit naff, but in the corporate world they will see this as proof that the OS is good. You know, "You get what you pay for" sort of thing.

    If OpenLinux 3.2 comes out soon with the latest and greatest KDE, KOffice and Open/StarOffice integrated, it will be even more compelling for corporates. $60 instead of $200 for WinXP.

    I wonder if Caldera do bulk-discounts on their fees? Purchasing 100 seats for $30/seat, say. That will make them even more attractive for those newly-cash-strapped companies.

    The hardest part for Caldera is to get companies to think about upgrading(cross-grading) their systems. If the company is happy with the current Win2000/Win9X environment, then why will they cross-grade to Caldera? Microsoft have no problems getting users to upgrade however! They just make future licensing fees really harsh, giving you the option to "upgrade now, or pay a lot more later"...

    In fact, Microsoft's licenses and business practices are positively anti-corporate now. Increasing prices, forcing corporates to upgrade sooner rather than later, etc. But I am getting off-track.

    Personally, if I was an IT manager, I would look at the current computer network, and if the PCs were good enough, I would keep them the same. Hold off hardware upgrades and software upgrades for a year. There is little compelling reason to upgrade a network of PII 266s running '95 to P4 2000s running XP right at the moment. If they do the job, leave them doing the job!

    Gawd, why don't corporates buy their computer systems to last more than 3 years? Suns last over 10 years in a company, Macs over 5 years. Is it just because the bog standard PC is so crapply built that it dies after 3 years?
    • Gawd, why don't corporates buy their computer systems to last more than 3 years? Suns last over 10 years in a
      company, Macs over 5 years. Is it just because the bog standard PC is so crapply built that it dies after 3 years?


      It's the crappy OS. Windows 95 was slightly better then Windows 3.1 compared to OS/2 at the time. Windows 98 and ME were again, just slightly better then the previous and they crashed like crasy while falling apart annually ( requires reinstall ). The Windows NT thread was somewhat better but each new version required new hardware because of the bloat.


      That, IMHO, is why the PC has only a 3 year lifespan. Run some other operating system and that same PC will last you 5+ years.


      If business's think that faster machines will make for faster work then they are way off. IMO. From what I've seen, most workers have very little computer skills and just get by. They will do things that don't make any sense to someone who knows the apps inside and out. But that is how they figured out how to do the task and they keep doing it. Business's would save millions by just training the employees. Training tied directly to the tasks as we know most people don't remember 25% of what they teach in those classes.


      LoB

      • The Windows NT thread was somewhat better but each new version required new hardware because of the bloat.
        >>>>>
        Dude, these days Linux requires *more* hardware than a comparable Win2K system. I've been playing with KDE 2.2.1 on Mandrake 8.1 for awhile, and the damn thing just crawls. Whenever I start up Konqueror it not only takes several seconds, but I get an ugly partially drawn window before the damn thing finally completes. While IE resizes smoothly, Konq (actually, every single KDE 2 program, I think its a problem in the widget set) rubber-bands like anything. Everytime something happens onscreen (like when a webpage gets rendered) my mouse "sticks" a little. When kwrite takes longer to load than Word, you know your system has a problem. GNOME isn't much better, it loads faster but the interface problems remain. Of course, I could always downgrade to something lighter like XFCE, but that doesn't really have the "desktop" feel you get in Win2K and even then the performance isn't that great. My mouse sticks even when using something like Window Maker. Anyway, sorry for the long rant, but people who claim that Linux has some sort of performance edge for desktop use are seriously deluded. Linux's only advantages on the desktop are stability, power of management, and freeness. On a desktop, managability's usefullness is fairly limited, and with Win2K's very stable nature, the stability arguement isn't that strong either. Until the desktop environment developers stop adding so many useless features and focusing on usability, Linux will really not be an upgrade for Windows NT users.
        • Performance for me is always fine, UNLESS something is hogging the system resources. For instance, I bzip2ing a large file, compiling a kernel, and hot-swapping partitions around (yes, I've done that, but it's not for the faint of heart), then yes, performance sucks. But then (assuming it didn't crash the OS), performance would suck on W2K do the same things too. Perhaps more.



          Perhaps you have a runaway process. The "top" command comes in very handy to find what's hogging resources.

          • For instance, I bzip2ing a large file, compiling a kernel, and hot-swapping partitions around (yes, I've done that, but it's not for the faint of heart), then yes, performance sucks.
            >>>>>>>>>>>>&g t;

            Win2K favors GUI processes over cpu-bound ones. Thus, a GUI thread will preempt a computing thread if applicable. The reasoning is that a 100ms delay in compile time is much preferable to a 100ms response time to clicking a button. Also, the Win2K scheduler does stuff like give temporary priority boosts to processes that have just gotten some input, and the memory system gives preference to the foreground GUI process. While this isn't UNIXy "clean" it does a damn good job of keeping the GUI responsive under load.

            Also, the performance in Linux happens no matter whats running. KDE-2 is slow (not just in startup) in Gentoo Linux (which is really light as far as Linux distros go) and Mandrake. I have done the standard X reniceing tricks, but the GUI is still slow. And by slow I mean not it doesn't react to every command instantly. I know its a pretty high standard for a GUI, but if Microsoft can do it, surely the OSS community can!
    • See, I use a P2/333. I bought it used for a bit less than $200, and it runs RedHat 7.1 just fine, thankyouverymuch.

      But I get the general idea. I call it hardware bloat -- software companies (most notoriously, I'd say, Microsoft and Adobe) that jack up the hardware requirements on the software for no particularly good reason. It's a lot worse in the PC market than it is anywhere else, though I admit us Mac folk have been feeling an awful lot of pressure to go G3 or better with OS X...

      /Brian
      • Interesting.

        I run a P166 (not even an MMX mind you) and it runs win2k pro just fine. Ok, IE 6 takes 2.5 seconds to start, and my boot time is horrendous (like 1.5 minutes) but the box is so stable I've had to reboot twice in the last year. Not bad for working on the thing 12 hours a day.

    • Why buy a machine to last three years? Taxes and leases. Most companies do not buy their machines. You lease them. This way, you have a recurring expense that is not taxed. Buying equipment means that you had enough income to be profitable, and therefore taxed.

      But, there is a workaround: depreciation. It works kinda like this: you bought a $1000 computer. You would pay $200 in taxes, but at the end of the year, the machine is only worth $800. So you took a loss of $200, which will partially offset your expense.

      Now, at the end of three years, you can turn in your leased equipment or buy it, much like a car. By turning it in, you have to get new equipment. By buying it out, you have some tax liability (but not as much as buying new machines). Owing to the cost of returning the equipment (must have original manuals, disks, boxes, etc) my company almost always buys out the old stuff. It is either still useful (our WinNT PDC is about 6 years old), or we can give it to some employee who has a kid going off to college. And in some cases, it gets stripped for parts.

      As others have said in this subthread, it is largely software upgrades that force new purchases. In the office where I work, we need the OS and the couple of proprietary programs, so old machines are just fine. Luckily, other than Outlook, we don't use M$ Office, so we aren't forced to upgrade.

      Look at this: many companies are sticking with Office '95 or '97 (or is it '98?) and NT4 or Win'95 instead of upgrading. No need to upgrade machines. Which is proven by the slowdown in sales reported by Dell, Gateway, etc.

      I'm lucky to have a smallish office (40 employees at three locations), so I know the work environment very well. That is why I insist on getting site licenses. Per seat and per user licensing is B$, and I won't stand for it. I can pay to put WinXP on every machine. But I can't afford an audit of licenses.

      Speaking of licenses, I've got a fantastic one. I work for a doctor's office, and we have an electronic medical record suite. Rather than pay for each terminal or each user, the software is licensed by doctor. Whether it takes ten terminals and fifteen people to support one doc, or two people and three terminals to support one doc, the costs are the same. Despite this companies many other deficiencies, this is one thing they got right.

  • Duh! (Score:2, Funny)

    by cavemanf16 ( 303184 )
    According to the Caldera site, you can download the ISOs as well as the source to the server and workstation varieties of Open Linux on a (eh?) "single, non-commercial license."

    I get it! They're just being innovative so that they can generate more banner ad views when each user has to burn 1.5megs of bandwidth visiting Caldera's website 3 times in a row to download three sets of ISO's instead of just one for use on those 3 junk computers they have sitting around the house. Now that's +1 Insightful on Caldera's behalf!

  • How Caldera Lost Me (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Laplace ( 143876 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @10:51AM (#2352441)
    Two years ago I bought a copy of Open Linux. I was looking for a newbie friendly distribution since I was a newbie. I put Windows on one partition, and Open Linux on the other. Right off the bat I noticed that Linux was thrashing to the hard drive. It was the worst I had ever see that happening, and thought that Linux was just awful based on that experience. I later found out that the distribution I bought didn't turn the swap space on. I was so annoyed that I immediately switched to Debian, which led to an almost immediate switch to SuSE.

    I'm very happy in the SuSE world now.
    • I gave up on them as a reasonable/viable company when they started whining about MS-DOS and attempted that lame lawsuit against MS over it.

      What happened to Caldera's "OpenDOS" since then? Well, it's neither free nor open, and apparently they don't even support the thing anymore.

      I've been doing some research on alternatives to MS-DOS in the last week or two, because I'm trying to build a bare-bones system that boots from a small hard drive into a Citrix client. Sure, this could be done with Linux - but you still have to boot into X and deal with configuring systems differently depending on their video card. A DOS boot makes the most sense for this task. I finally discovered the FreeDOS project (http://www.freedos.org). Their latest beta is still pretty rough around the edges, but the thing works well enough to boot my ICA client - so I'm happy.
      • I've been doing some research on alternatives to MS-DOS in the last week or two, because I'm trying to build a bare-bones system that boots from a small hard drive into a Citrix client. Sure, this could be done with Linux - but you still have to boot into X and deal with configuring systems differently depending on their video card.
        Oh my lord, has it come to this? No wonder there's so much debate over KDE vs. Gnome ... today's Linux users don't even realize that the Linux OS is not based on a GUI!
    • I understand you were a newbie, but had you checked their site(http://support.caldera.com/caldera/search)and typed "swap" or "slow" or "sluggish" you would have found many solutions to this problem. They addressed the issue and posted the workaround for it very quickly.

      I use Caldera OpenLinux and SuSE 7.x at home, and I am very happy with both distributions.
  • by alistair ( 31390 ) <alistair@hotldap.cGINSBERGom minus poet> on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @10:56AM (#2352464)
    As a dedicated SuSe user, I thought I would give this a quick try and compare the two as both are KDE centric distributions.

    In terms of the basic components, Suse seems to have a slight edge, shipping Kernel 2.4.4 compared to 2.4.2, KDE 2.1.2 compared to 2.1.0 and the same release of Xfree86 (4.0.3). SuSE seem to go further with shipping of Samba 2.2 and a personal firewall product, which must give them a much higher security rating than Caldera. SuSE have also been very quick to release updates for KDE, their automated update tool recently updated KDE 2.1.2 to 2.2. for me and I believe 2.2.1 is now available for download.

    Both distributions integrate admin functionality into the KDE Control Center and I think Caldera have done a much more comprehensive job then SuSE on this to date. However, this can be a mixed blessing. I still prefer to drop out of X and use YAST 1 for system administration, which is SuSE's text based administration tool.This functionality seemed lacking in Caldara, perhaps deliberatly.

    I have been very impressed with SuSEs hardware detection, the only problem I have found recently was with a modem on a IBM Thinkpad (although Windows 2000 also failed to detect this correctly). Installing Caldara posed no problems, altough this is based on a sample of one old IBM PC.

    SuSE wins in terms of default telnet and FTP servers, but again I suspect this is a design decision. Although not enabled by default, both are very easy to configure and I find the ability to telnet and FTP to my work PC when working from home one of the strongest selling points of Linux generally.

    Both graphical installers are good, although Caldera have the edge. However, I wonder how useful this is. Ideally you should see a graphical installer once and then use a PC for 3 years without seeing it again. However, if this is aimed at the corporate market it may be that people setting up 100's of PCs want some eye candy, but even then there comes a point where excessive graphics cease to be useful and simply become irriating.

    The snapshots feature in Caldara looks useful and is one I hope other vendors copy.

    Overall, if you are looking for a KDE centric distribution, I think SuSE still edges it, in terms of the frequency and range of packages and updates. For users who like to run and administer their own systems SuSE wins every time for me. However, for the corporate market Caldera is aiming at, where administrators like to supply users with locked down desktops, I think Caldera have done a great job and you have to wish them every success in this area.
    • SuSE wins in terms of default telnet and FTP servers, but again I suspect this is a design decision. Although not enabled by default, both are very easy to configure and I find the ability to telnet and FTP to my work PC when working from home one of the strongest selling points of Linux generally.

      The reason telnetd and ftpd are disabled by default is that both services send your username and password across the network in the clear...doing this from home to your work machine is A Very Bad Idea. Look into ssh, sftp, etc...

    • As a dedicated SuSe user, I thought I would give this a quick try and compare the two as both are KDE centric distributions.

      If that's how you judge distributions, then maybe you should check out Slackware. Kernel 2.4.5, KDE-2.2, and XFree86-4.1.0.
    • About two years ago when I tried OpenLinux 2.2d, there was a nice text-based admin tool called 'LISA.' It was very similar to YAST, however I don't believe it had package maintenance utilities like YAST does.

      I switched from SUSE 6.4 to Debian awhile back, so I haven't used it's update tool (I'm guessing that's a new 7.x feature). As far as I know, Debian's apt system still works the best for most people, but before I get offtopic on that, I'll end.
    • SuSE wins in terms of default telnet and FTP servers, but again I suspect this is a design decision. Although not enabled by default,

      Good. Telnet is telnet, and FTP servers generally need a lot of patching (unless you're using a good one like PureFFTPd). Clicking a switch to turn something on is more effective than reinstalling abox once its compromised.

      Both are very easy to configure and I find the ability to telnet and FTP to my work PC when working from home one of the strongest selling points of Linux generally.

      No. Not Telnet. Telnet is used to
      * talk to printers
      * troubleshoot servers based on ASCII text based protocols
      * talk to cheap and shitty routers

      It is not used to:
      * login to any PC through the internet
      * log in to an pc per se
      * Talk to routers who use SSH.

      Telnet sends password in clear text. Someone can run a variety of programs that simply see your password - no decryptioon required. SSH is:

      * Encrypted
      * Compressed
      * Capable of running GUI appss easier than Telnet can
      * Able to transfer files
      * As ubiquitous as Telnet is - clients and servers avaliable for every platform

      MS including a Telnet server in W2K pro (using either Telnet or the broken NTLM auth method) was one of the major downsides to that OS.
  • Paying for SCO (Score:3, Insightful)

    by totallygeek ( 263191 ) <sellis@totallygeek.com> on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @10:58AM (#2352473) Homepage
    I think that Caldera is doing something positive here. For the first time, a company will attempt to meld an open-source (and free) operating system with a commercial one (Openserver or Unixware). I realize that this release is not it, but future ones will be, and this should help pay for that.


    I use Slackware pretty exclusively, and always install from my downloaded mirror. However, every customer I set up Linux with must purchase the Slackware CD set (about $40). This is my way to help Patrick keep going. I am not exempt from this, as I have every version released on CD in my library. If I had went with Caldera, I would have those disks.


    On another note, I have purchased the Tarantella Express package (pre-Caldera buying SCO). For the $600, I got Caldera eServer. I did try it out, but instead am using Tarantella on Slackware. But, I never minded having a portion of funds going to Caldera for their server Linux system.

  • I chose Caldera Linux for my workstation at work.

    It was the only distribution that installed flawlessly the first time I tried. My workstation's hardware components were on the HCL of all the distributions I tried, but most incorrectly detected my monitor and video card and I was stuck futzing with X trying to get out of 640x480 at 16 colors. Caldera got DHCP working during install, while other's forced me to figure that out afterwards. Some seemed to install correctly, but wouldn't boot. I could go on and on.

    I only use the free software part of Caldera, but the entire package feels coherent and professional.

    Another post was complaining about it 'only' including KDE 2.2 and the 2.4.2 kernel. Well, I don't know of any distributions that don't need to be updated after install, at least Caldera is just a quick patch to the latest and greatest. It also has the KDE and QT development tools installed by default, ready to go. Very cool, IMO.

    I guess the licence thing just isn't an issue for me since I found the tool I needed and it works the way I expect it. In fact, I downloaded this ISO along with it's source from Caldera's website for free, so I don't know what the license issue is for sure.

    This is all anecdotal of course, but I just wanted to throw some positive Caldera energy out into all of this negative.

    (P.S. The other distributions I tried were Debian 2.2r3, Slackware 8.0, Mandrake 8.0, RedHat 7.1 and 7.2 beta, and SuSE demo disk. All were downloaded as ISOs from the manufacturer's website and burned to CD-R.)
  • Caldera made me fall in love with Linux. Before trying out Caldera, I had been playing around with Debian and SUSE for a few months, and not getting much accomplished. Hardware support was terrible. Finally, I tried out Caldera...imagine my surprise to see that beautiful graphical login! and Tetris while it installs! This was the first graphical install I had seen (as far as I know, the first widely distributed one too), and it detected everything right off the back. My new DSL line was humming. All the networks services practically configured themselves. Granted it wasn't flawless...there was no swap space, as has been mentioned before...took a while to figure out Samba. But that Caldera 2.3 install I made over two years ago is still running my server. I've been using Mandrake on the desktop as of late, and I think it's definitely outpowered Caldera. And I'm moving both my workstation and server to a homebrew distro (linuxfromscratch [linuxfromscratch.org]). But Caldera 2.3 will always have a special place in my heart.
  • Ive been reading the comments posted, and im not entirely sure why there is so much backlash against a distro like caldera being "closed" as a complete final distribution. As far as i can see this can only lead to good things, ie linux on the desktop being taken seriously. If a company can produce a good clean distro and generate sales to boost themselves, receive good reviews, this can only be good for linux?
  • Caldera Linux 3.1 is known to *HATE* via/amd chipsets and won't install on a majority of these systems.

    Dunno how that got around there testing.

    Caldera has always been a nice OS, one of the first to get accepted at major retailers, at the same time being one of the first to get rejected as of lately.

    LIcensing, Pricing and Support are all out of whack, and the newsgroup is simply pathetic. I hope Caldera spends some time to turn it around or just sell applications for linux as a whole instead of there own distro
  • by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @11:58AM (#2352798) Homepage
    Caldera OpenLinux and the KDE project have two major things in common.

    1) Both have been savagely attacked by Slashdot readers and members of the OSS community. Half were upset at KDE's licensing/GPL options because KDE wasn't make-a-buck friendly for companies wanting more restrictive licenses and retail presence. Meanwhile, the other half are upset at Caldera's licensing/GPL options because Caldera is making-a-buck with more restrictive licenses and retail presence. Neither is violating anyone else's license. You can never win.

    2) Both Caldera OpenLinux and KDE are superior products to other alternatives. KDE just works (unlike GNOME, which is *still* a hodgepodge that varies according to distributor and is difficult to get working in the real world, even from Ximian). Similarly, I used Caldera OpenLinux on my own systems and on those I administer from version 1.2 until version 2.4 specificially because of the quality of the product. OpenLinux 1.3 was the most usable distribution of its era, bar none, and I tried them all. I've finally switched away to Red Hat 7.1 recently when needing to upgrade from eDesktop 2.4 because of mild discomfort about these licensing issues, but it was a tough decision.

    Red Hat 7.1 doesn't come close. As I was evaluating options, I also tried Debian 2.2, Corel 2.0, Slackware 8, S.u.S.E. 7.2 and Mandrake 8.0.Each had its own strenghths and weaknesses... but nothing compared to the user experience with eDesktop 2.4. If the current Caldera release is similar in any way to their past releases it, like KDE, will just work out of the box -- and the user won't have to worry about a lot of those little annoying details that typically mar Linux use (broken printcap after install, broken XF86Config after install, misconfigured services, etc., etc., etc.)

    I think Caldera's OpenLinux and KDE are two of the most underappreciated products to have come out of the open source community, and it's a shame.
    • I think Caldera's OpenLinux and KDE are two of the most underappreciated products to have come out of the open source community, and it's a shame.

      I, too, tried it around 1.3 (or was it 2.3? I think it was 2.3, come to think of it). Prior to that, I'd been using Slackware 3.4 (still have most of those floppies at home), RedHat 4.2, 5.1, and Debian 2.1 (to current). I'll give it up for Caldera here: They have a beautiful looking product.

      However, it felt wrong. I can't be any more explicit than that, because I don't know what (if anything) was wrong. But it felt wrong. Kind of like looking at a beautiful house, and thinking that the foundation was mislaid, or that the wiring is set to catch the house on fire. Something felt wrong about Caldera. I de-installed it, and haven't looked back since. In the end, though, their product is the best looking installer and booter that I've seen to date.

  • They were at JavaONE showing off their stuff this summer, and had a prerelease of this distribution. According to the technical salesman, they have licensed Java and created their own Java Runtime Environment that is optimized for GUI client apps. Seeing it run, it looked a lot smoother and faster than Sun's or IBM's on Redhat, but I wasn't comparing the same hardware.

    Java has proven itself plenty fast for server side stuff, but screen I/O has been a downfall. If Caldera has a really good client gui JRE, it might be worth the $59 for those using Together [togethersoft.com], Forte [sun.com] and homegrown Java gui apps. (I'm still coding in Vim [vim.org]).

    Of course, I haven't really seen 1.4 on Redhat yet. It's in its second beta now, and it's supposed to have much improved graphics performance.

    Now this is assuming the Caldera guy wasn't pissing in my ear--I can't find any mention of a custom JRE on their web site.

  • I tried to ask Caldera's Open Source Architect, Ronald Joe Record, on a LUG mailing list, what specific copyrighted property in the downloadable Caldera 3.1 Workstation ISO image its restrictive "EULA.TXT" language refers to. (See: http://lists.svlug.org/archives//smaug/2001q3/0001 22.html)

    The CD image includes, in file LICENSE.TXT, what's supposed to be a complete list of who owns copyright on which codebase, and what sort of licence it's under. None seemed to qualify -- and Caldera couldn't claim restrictive rights under a theory of compilation copyright, as long as their CD included third-party GPLed code, which it does.

    So, I asked Ronald if he wouldn't mind specifying what the very restrictive EULA.TXT stuff applies to.

    His response? He immediately de-subscribed, and completely ducked the question.

    Any other Caldera representatives care to address the subject?

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

"Now this is a totally brain damaged algorithm. Gag me with a smurfette." -- P. Buhr, Computer Science 354

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