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Libranet 2.8 Review 195

TheMadPenguin writes "When I heard about Libranet 2.8 containing KDE 3.1 and kernel 2.4.20 in our forums, I just about fell out of the chair I was sitting in. As you all probably already know, Libranet is a Debian-based distro aimed toward the desktop user. Until now, I had never heard of a Debian release with all the newest goodies, but my world was about to get turned upside down. Read the full review with screenshots at"
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Libranet 2.8 Review

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  • by PhilHibbs ( 4537 ) <> on Saturday May 10, 2003 @06:58AM (#5925146) Homepage Journal
    They're using JPEGs to show font rendering! LOL!
    • by FyRE666 ( 263011 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @08:56AM (#5925366) Homepage
      Not only that, but the Anti-aliasing examples look a bit suspicious to me.

      I recently installed KDE 3.1 onto my Gentoo machine (it's usually a headless box, but I was curious to see the improvements in KDE). The sans-serif fonts were all very nice, but bring up Slashdot with the "Times" font and it looked horrific! I'm not saying that /. is the last word in beautiful Web design, but the anti-aliasing actually made it look worse. I might try throwing some Windows fonts onto the box to see if it's better at some point...
      • Looks fine on this Gentoo box. In fact, I recently compared a new XP Pro notebook from work, an Nvidia Go P4, side-by-side with this AA'd P2 w/ ATI 4 meg video card and the screen rendering on the Gentoo box looked leagues better to my eye. (Am I correct that XP doesn't anti-alias, relying instead on the quality of their fonts?) This was comparing IE to Phoenix. Compared to 'links' compiled with svga support, the gap was greater still.

        No troll intended, in my experience an anti-aliased xfree desktop now ren

  • by mike_c999 ( 513531 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @07:07AM (#5925166)
    To me this seems realy quite good.
    It sets up many of the thing a new linux user wants by default. (AA fonts for one)This is somthing that realy is a must 'cus theres nothing worse than trying to read crappy fonts, and its a big put off when you try and change.

    I know things like this are relativly simple, but there not when you're new.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 10, 2003 @07:07AM (#5925167)
    If you wan't the latest and greatest (!) then you'd simply use the Sid branch of Debian. Sure probably lots of things don't work but oh you'd have the latest.

    If you are more sane then you can simply track the Unstable branch. This is a good tradeoff for people who don't like the relatively old packages found in Stable.

    In other words you have a choice. You can also use numerous unoffical apt-get sources for such stuff.

    Stop thsi Debian myth now.
    • by rembo ( 630341 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @07:17AM (#5925180)
      Well, talking about stopping myths...

      SID is the same as unstable, the developement branch.

      Testing which I think you confused with unstable is now sarge. It will be the next stable when it is finnished. Packages from unstable flow to testing when there are no dependency problems and critical bugs

      Current stable is woody. Woody only gets security updates from debian. This is to ensure that a running system will not break because of an upgrade of software. But there are many backports available of newer software on
      • I have tried al tree branches of Debian. I love Debian on my servers, and stable and testing work great on them. But for the workstation, I found Debian unacceptable. Testing was simply not actual enough, and unstable too often broke. So for my workstations I have switched to OS X wheneever possible, and on x86 I am experimenting with gentoo and even considering *gasp*.. redhat.. Libranet sounds great, but for 40 $ I think I'd rather look somewhere else.
        • what are you talking about? Debian/Sid has been broken only 2 times so far (after woody came out), and I dist-upgrade every night at 23:45.

          And what the hell is wrong with that 'article', is that one more of those 'paidrticles'? 'fell off my chair', now, there's someone in need to meet a woman (or a man, whatever).
    • How long did it take for Xfree 4.2 to appear on Debian unstable? How long did it take for KDE3 to appear on Debian unstable?

      "Debian myth"? I don't think so.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      What's in a name?

      Debian's myth of not being up to date, is partly the result of, well, not the best marketing: the distribution is divided into stable, testing and unstable. Stable is where most newcomers look, wouldn't you, for the current working distro. It sounds reassuring. However, unstable is a bit of a misnomer, because while we understand that it is not "guaranteed" in the same way to be stable, it is by no means unstable, it is rather where the new stuff is to be found, and what most newcommers t
    • I don't think that it's easy to say that it's a good desktop platform for those who don't know how to setup a desktop platform.

      You have to take into consideration that many of the configurations take considerable knowledge, and even the most basic things require a lot of documentation reading to get working (such as choosing a print spooler among many, enabling true type fonts on your own when the HOWTOs talk about xfs, xft, etc which may or may not apply to your system, learning the Debian-way of doing t

      • You have to take into consideration that many of the configurations take considerable knowledge, and even the most basic things require a lot of documentation reading to get working

        Not really. Pretty much everything you mentioned has been reduced to a few prompts during package installation. Configuring your hardware is still a pain, but the new installer that's under development should fix that (Knoppix already does a great job; don't know about Libranet). I run unstable on my desktops and I have an

  • by Anonymous Coward

    But it crashed on him, serveral times, during a partition/installation. So, this "review" constitutes him praising Anti Aliasing and a bunch of useless crap you can find in any other distro.

  • by termos ( 634980 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @07:22AM (#5925188) Homepage
    What I really don't understand is why some distros supply screenshots on their webpage, or why there is screenshots in reviews. If this was redhat, with it's special kde & gnome mixture thing (correct me if i am wrong), it would be OK, but this is just plain KDE 3.x. I am running Debian myself, and I don't see any difference in this KDE and the KDE I am using, okey there is a few new icons, but that would be the only thing.
    And what is the big deal with Libranet beeing shipped with KDE 3.1 anyway? It's not that new and debian unstable has had it for some time now. The same with Linux 2.4.20, it has been stable for some time now, and it's not new! Still it is looking nice for the desktop with it's GUI frontends for package management, and maybe it has some other nice tools as well.
    • I think its to show off the MS fonts.

      Fonts in Unix SUCK! With a capital S. Only recently during the last 2 years did X and kde even have anti aliagned and true type fonts. The fonts provided are mediocre but a huge improvment. Windows and MacOSX are much more appealing to my eyes and have alot of R&D went into developing them.

      Try looking at Slashdot in Mozilla from Linux and then Windows. See the difference? The Windows platform looks 10 times better.

      Also my monitor flickers at a lower hz in Linux th
    • What I really don't understand is why some distros supply screenshots on their webpage, or why there is screenshots in reviews.

      Because not all desktop PC users have used KDE 3.1 before, perchance?

      I recently helped a friend to install RedHat 8 on his laptop (no mean achievement...the PCMCIA hardware wouldn't play ball but that's a different thread), and the one thing he was most worried about was whether or not he'd be able to work out how to use the browser/mail client/office software/etc. As you could

  • There will soon be no hiding place left for us Ludites :(
    • --Yes, we will hunt you down one by one and force you to see the wonders of the modern world...

      --For Godsake, UPGRADE ALREADY from that TI-994/A you've been using for all these years!! :b
  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @07:25AM (#5925194) Journal
    Microsoft took them off their website when it was discovered that Linux users were downloading them.

    I use FreeBSD and fonts are one of the reasons why I still do development on Windows with my computer. The fonts look 10 times better and are more pleasing to the eyes.

    I use true type and anti aliagned fonts in X but they do not look as good as Microsoft's or Apple's.

    If anyone knows of a website where I can download them that would be greatly appreciated.

  • Does anyone know if Libranet categorizes software into main, contrib and non-free so that one could easily avoid the non-free things the reviewer mentions:

    * Opera 6.0
    * RealPlayer
    * Flash (could be a free version?)
    * Java (perhaps not the non-free one either?)
    * MS TrueType fonts
    * NVidia 3d accelerated drivers for X

    He says "Libranet is 100% compatible with Debian" so I guess one could remove the non-free sources from sources.list?
    • I'm really curious, why do you want to avoid all those things? I understand Opera, for example, you either pay or you get those hideous banners, but what is the problem with the rest? Assuming, of course, you want to build a workstation, not a server, for which case Libranet is a bit of a wrong solution imho.
      • The reason is quite simple. As a Free Software [] follower, I don't want to use any software which doesn't give the freedoms/rights I want for myself and everyone else.

        In less abstract terms: I don't want to agree to Reals license agreements or use their software, because it doesn't allow to do the things I should be allowed to do: study how it works, make changes to it and distribute derivative works (I would need the source code, and permission to use it for this to be possible). If you hang on a while I'l

      • Here are a few examples:

        • Opera 6.0
          I can't get my hands on a license without downloading the software :(
        • RealPlayer
          The same thing. They obviously don't want us to read it unecessarily :)
        • Flash []
          You may not alter, merge, modify, adapt or translate the Software, or decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, or otherwise reduce the Software to a human-perceivable form. That's more clear cut, and straight out said than in most licenses :)
          You may not modify the Software or create derivative works base
        • I understand your viewpoint for most of the examples there (Flash especially - as having the source would mean I could actually compile it for my Mac PPC running Gentoo). However, I'm very happy with Nvidia releasing their own drivers for their own hardware. They work great, and I doubt anyone could do a better job. I believe that about any low-level hardware drivers; if they work well for my distros, then I'm happy. If they don't then I return the hardware (luckily many manufacturers, when they mention "Li
        • Fair enough... This is actually a fairly complete answer. I just use the software that does the job I want to do but I appreciate your viewpoint. I don't agree with RMS's view of the world and of software (and I don't think it is a subject that can be discussed in /. without flames and trolling), but I guess if it works for you it is ok with me... I haven't had much experience with using just Free software other than Redhat 8.0 which, as I understand, comes out of the box with only GPL software and, frankly
    • Yes, it is separated into the main, contrib, non-free areas, just as the Debian tree is.
  • Knoppix (Score:5, Informative)

    by Effugas ( 2378 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @07:35AM (#5925219) Homepage
    While LibraNet is certainly impressive, I must mention that Knoppix provides the "cutting edge" traits mentioned -- KDE 3.1, Linux-2.4.20-xfs, etc. -- with the bonus of the most mature automatic hardware detection algorithms in the x86 space.

    And once you run knx-hdinstall, apt-get is more than happy to function normally.

    Knoppix is very fun to see spread through schools; it's exponential growth at its finest :-)

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research
    • Man oh man. I'm in the first hour of my first Knoppix experience and I already decided to dump Red Hat 8! No one, I tells ya, no one does hardware detection like Knoppix does. My HP 3425 finally works! KLAUS KNOPPER KICKS ASS!
  • My biggest gripe with Debian has always been its reluctance to include new software. If reliability is important, you should be conservative, but it doesn't mean I have to like it. :-) I'm pleased that there is a new Debian-based distro that doesn't force me to take this approach.

    (For example, I do a lot with IPv6 because it's easier than setting up VPNs and then dealing with numbering conflicts. If I was going to be conservative, and avoid IPv6 on the grounds that it is too new, it would make my job har
    • by Munra ( 580414 ) <slashdot&jonathanlove,co,uk> on Saturday May 10, 2003 @07:56AM (#5925251) Homepage
      Debian does not force you to take this approach; you choose to.

      If you wan't bleeding edge, use unstable/testing.

      Yes -- Debian stable has programs that are (in some cases) slightly out of date, and do not have the features of newest releases. The clue is in the name, though; they have been rigourously tested for stability. If you want to sacrifice stability (aimed more at servers) for features (aimed more at desktops), use unstable/testing. You don't even have to have all programs as unstable/testing -- you can choose which ones to pin where.

      When will people stop criticising Debian for being conservative when it isn't; Debian does have bleeding edge versions of most of the packages available, in the unstable/testing repositories. You *just* have to tell it to use them.

      Now I'll have my coffee and moan less ;)

      • If you wan't bleeding edge, use unstable/testing.

        Sorry, unstable/testing isn't really cutting edge either. It took 9 frigging months for Xfree 4.2 to appear in Unstable, and it took even longer for KDE3!
        • Sorry, unstable/testing isn't really cutting edge either. It took 9 frigging months for Xfree 4.2 to appear in Unstable, and it took even longer for KDE3!

          Yes, and that's where you lack the background context about why the above 2 things took a long time.

          Incidentally, Debian is more unstable/cutting edge than you think. It has had gcc 3.2.3 pre-release versions for months, and the glibc maintainers seem to regularly do updates from CVS. The samba in unstable is 2.999alpha23. The new module utils for ke
          • Yes, and that's where you lack the background context about why the above 2 things took a long time.

            I'm well aware of the reasons for the delay. And guess what? I don't care for their reasons! All I care is that is the software in there or isn't it. And in this case, it wasn't. Other distros had them, Debian did not. So the people who say that Unstable is cutting-edge, are simply wrong. Perhaps it would be closer to the truth is they said "Unstable is more or less current, unless some big and important pa

        • Debian runs on more arches than any other Linux distro. It takes some doing to get something as large and as complex as XFree86 running acceptably on all of them. No, "Debian should only worry about x86 because everybody uses it." is not the answer. If it wasn't for Debian, many users of alternate arches would be out in the cold.

          I'll grant that KDE3 took way too long. There was much wrangling over the GCC 3 and glibc 2.3 transistions. However, I survived on unofficial ports for much of that time.
        • Sorry, unstable/testing isn't really cutting edge either. It took 9 frigging months for Xfree 4.2 to appear in Unstable, and it took even longer for KDE3!

          Pish. If you want the latest on unstable, it's trivial to get it. You just have to add some non-official sources for apt-get to use. I ran KDE 3.0 on my unstable boxen all through most of the pre-releases. My experience is that unofficial Debian packages are about as buggy and problematic as official, released RedHat and Mandrake packages, whereas t

          • If you want the latest on unstable, it's trivial to get it. You just have to add some non-official sources for apt-get to use.

            Perhaps, but we are not talking about some semi-official sources, we are talking about the unstable-tree. First claim was was that "Unstable is bleeding edge". I disagreed. Now people say that "Oh, but you have to install them from this different location...". Well, we aren't talking about Unstable anymore. In my book, "Unstable" is the stuff you get when you have specified that yo

            • If you add other sourced besides the unstable, then it is not the standard unstable anymore.

              So what? The point is that you can easily stay closer to current by using Debian than with any other distro, other than source distros. Your stability will suffer, but you can do it easily. If you prefer not to go that far, you can use unstable, which is always fairly close to the bleeding edge but is pretty reliable. And so on through testing (usually; testing is in bad shape at the moment) and stable.


  • by tanveer1979 ( 530624 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @07:52AM (#5925244) Homepage Journal
    I went to libranet site to see download options.
    The Downloads [] are not free!!. This is certainly a first from a linux distro. I doubt i will pay to download isos!!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      It's a second, actually. SuSE has been doing that for ages.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The Downloads [] are not free!!. This is certainly a first from a linux distro. I doubt i will pay to download isos!!

      Last time I checked, Suse wasn't available for free download either. Oh wait, they appear to have a mirror on ... :-)
    • Well frankly that stinks of the whole "I want free as in speech, but only if it means it's free as in beer" attitude that is rampant on Slashdot.

      When RedHat tried to make an honest buck from the product they worked on people just downloaded off BitTorrent. Here you are complaining that Libranet aren't hosting huge ISOs for free download at their expense (both in terms of bandwidth and the money spent creating the product).
      • Well, Red Hat was going to put the isos up in a week. The fact that I had them three days earlier doesn't make me feel bad. I'll try to find somewhere to download Libranet, and if I like it, I'll pay for a copy.
        • I agree... if a company is going to have a GNU/Linux distributions, seems to me they should abide by the GNU License. I dont see anything wrong with having a pay version, or even going the red hat way with "priority" ftp, but the ISO's should be available... Solo Mi Dos Centavos
          • I agree... if a company is going to have a GNU/Linux distributions, seems to me they should abide by the GNU License.

            They are abiding by the terms of the GPL. There's nothing in the GPL that requires you to make your distribution available for free download. The GPL only requires that anyone you give the software to (whether gratis or for a fee) must also be able to get the source code -- possibly for another small fee to cover the cost of providing it. And the GPL requires that you inform the recipi

      • As long as there is economic inequality in the world, no speech that you must pay for is free.
    • The current version (as reviewed is 2.8); but you can download "Libranet Essential Edition 2.0", dated July 2002, from [], [], etc. Probably could aptget that to something close to the latest version.
      • --I tried 2.0 on a P166 Compaq laptop and it was basically useless. Wouldn't enable the PCMCIA stuff, so no Ethernet, so no updates. :(

        --I went back to Knoppix. Actually I'd like to support Libranet's efforts since it would be BAD if they went out of business, but I'm not going to pay $40 sight-unseen for a distro when I haven't had a JOB for TooFkgLong.
    • It's not the first by far. Go check out Suse's prices.

      You're right though it does suck to have to pay for something that is normally free.
      • There's nothing in the GPL that prohibits selling software. Stop whining. The free software movement does not exist to keep money from leaving your pockets.

      • (Caution: IANAL...)

        If you think their prices (i.e., not free) are unreasonable, you can put up your own download site. (I believe that the entire distribution is GPL.) But be warned, if you don't distribute the source together with the binary, you are obligating yourself to keep the site open for ... I think it's three years after the last binary is downloaded.

        If someone else thinks the same thing, they can do the same thing. Most of it is already in the Debian mirrors.

        The GPL was designed to stiffle
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 10, 2003 @08:01AM (#5925261)
    Is Windows ready for the server?
    Is Windows ready for the shell?
    Is Windows ready for the 99.999%?
    Is Windows ready for open standarts?
    Is Windows ready for taking the competition with the best OS in the world?
  • I'm sure this has been asked and answered the world over - but, in light of this post - I'm left wondering what Linux distribution I should run... if I do at all. I run FreeBSD for all my server operations, and have used Windows for development, multimedia, etc for years. I run XP right now - with multiple monitors.. and as long as multiple monitors are supported, I want to move off windows completely. I really don't know whether to stay with FreeBSD across the board - or admit that Linux is a great "deskto
    • I've used red hat,mandrake,gentoo,freebad obsd (as a desktop), gentoo and windows 2000. If you want to try a linux distro i'd go with gentoo. It has portage as does Freebsd. The one thing I like about gentoo over Freebsd on the desktop is that it's more polished. For instance, want some xmms-skins or some mplayer skins? Just emerge mplayer-skins , emerge xmms-themes. I was suprised to find that fluxbox had come with extra themes when I emerged it. So try them both. As far dual monitors, Yes.
  • by sc00p18 ( 536811 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @08:23AM (#5925297)
    and you can find it here. []
  • While debian is agonizing about leaving i386 behind.
    For me the biggest plus of Libranet over Debian would be that binaries are optimized for current generation of pc:s.

    49$ seems pretty steep for one version.
    While the software is the latest crop today it may not be so after a few months.

    Do I need to pay again then?
  • If you want an easy to install Debian distro with a boatload of software on one CD, install Knoppix.

    Why anyone would pay for this libranet distro is beyond me.
  • Knoppix? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Cthefuture ( 665326 ) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @10:24AM (#5925624)
    Uh, Knoppix [] has had that latest stuff (KDE 3.1, new kernel, etc.) for some time now.

    In case you didn't know, Knoppix is Debian based and has some awesome hardware auto-detection utilities.
    • Oops, hit post too fast.

      And another thing, KDE 3.1 and newer kernels have been in the regular Debian unstable for quite a while now. I'm running KDE 3.1 under unstable right now in fact.
  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <> on Saturday May 10, 2003 @11:55AM (#5925975)
    ...if that Font AA stuff he's telling about is true. I have never seen consitant/existing font-AA across the desktop (Motif/QT/GTK/whatever/etc.) on Linux.
    If they managed to untangle the font config and renderlib mess that would be a good thing indeed.
    • >> I have never seen consitant/existing font-AA across the desktop (Motif/QT/GTK/whatever/etc.) on Linux.

      Neither have I, and that's why I bought a Mac when it was time to put my Intel box out to pasture.

      Many posters here equate legible screen fonts to "candy" or "useless crap", but how many of them would spend hours every day watching a television that was just slightly out of focus? Or reading a newspaper that was just a tad blurry?
  • I know that debian is released "when it's ready" but does that seem like it's going to be anytime before 2004? If there's a release schedule, I've yet to find it on the website.

    I love the security of running stable (I run it at work, and soon at home, probably,) but I do wish stable had a few more current packages (and I know I can hack /etc/apt/sources.list and add lines for specific packages, but I'd like a debian distro without as much work. I mean, I can't get the 2.4 series kernels in debian

    • I can't get the 2.4 series kernels in debian without doing everything myself

      Umm... what? The stock Debian kernel is, AFAICT, 2.4.18.
      • Having just installed Debian last week on my girlfriends computer I can tell you that the default kernel is 2.2.20. I then upgraded to sid and it didn't change the kernel during the upgrade. Follow that with:
        apt-get install kernel-source-2.4.20
        and NOW it is running 2.4.20. Since her machine is an old Pentium 100MHz I'll probably leave it there since I don't have the patience to wait for it. It took hours to rebuild the kernel -- then I made a mistake in selecting the drivers -- I picked the SYM53C8XX

Order and simplification are the first steps toward mastery of a subject -- the actual enemy is the unknown. -- Thomas Mann