New review

Forum: News
Topic: New review
started by: stupid_idiot

Posted by stupid_idiot on Nov. 14 2007,03:26
Author raises some very good points.
Check it out!

Title: 'DSL 4.0: Damn small improvement'
URL: < >

Posted by ^thehatsrule^ on Nov. 14 2007,03:40
Took a quick look.. I thought jwm was now the default wm?
Posted by roberts on Nov. 14 2007,05:29
It makes one wonder when the reviewer can't even get the window manager right.

In the age of so many distributions, some of which are nothing more than swapping out a different window manger, or just another collection (assembly of) applications with little to no original code.

It makes me ponder on whether to continue. When the credit is always given to John Andrews and many other contributors, when in fact I have created every iso since v0.5.3.1 and 90+% of evey change log is my original work.

When complaints are raised about bash scripts, when I still support computers not even capable of running X windows.

When everyone else has moved on and enjoy the ease of use of only supporting unionfs/aufs, 2.6 kernel and its built in hardware support, and only support X windows.

When most live CD based system run everything as root. It makes me wonder why I bother.

When I conduct a poll to see what the community wants, the smaller is beautiful concept of DSL seems to win overwhelminly. The community has continually expressed little desire for a me-too larger 2.6 based DSL.

Perhaps I am a relunctant distro maintainer. I get no joy compiling the creative work of others. I get no joy assembling yet another distribution from stock applications. I do get joy writing original code and pushing the envelope of what can be done within 50MB.

I don't have new hardware. I don't plan on buying hardware for something that is given away for free. As some of you may be aware, Warren of Mepis fame, had to go back to being a consultant because there is no money to be made doing a distribution. Why, do I? I am a disabled retired individual. I like to try to keep my mind sharp. I have muscular dystrophy. Doing DSL keeps my mind off my condition.

DSL is a single developer distribution. It is indeed a thankless endeavour. Never is what you do enough.

Posted by stupid_idiot on Nov. 14 2007,11:07
Or, alternatively: DSL is so kick-ass, so inexpressibly good, that when it disappears, people will really start talking.
Posted by roberts on Nov. 14 2007,14:12
Bottom line is, on the high end (newer eqipment) one has a hell of a lot of choices when it comes to distribtutions. On the other end of the spectrum there are not many choices still being maintained.

It is completely stupid to think that a 2.4 kernel under 50MB distro is going to support the latest hardware. It is not. So I wish reviewers would stop reporting that it doesn't. That's not news or worthy of reading. Finally, not knowing how to press F2 or F3 to use framebuffer is too bad. Hey, but when one has the luxury of the latest hardware who the hell needs framebuffer.

There must be a community of those who benefit from DSL when on Distrowatch it is #10, on Google ranking #7 and on Alexa #6. Perhaps many framebffer machines are still running and useful to some.

So, do I think DSL is kick-ass? No. DSL does it fill a need in supporting older hardware and using less capable hardware for interesting uses, yes.

Are DSL's days numbered? Of course, so true for everyone and everthing. Its called life cycle. All aboard the bloat-mobile. Everyone else is. Should I?

Posted by mikshaw on Nov. 14 2007,15:00
Everyone else is. Should I?
Although I hope this was rhetorical, but if not I'd say the answer is definitely "no". There are a couple of distros that bridge between DSL and the big ones, but even those are bulking up. As far as I know there is no longer anything as small as DSL while providing equivalent functionality.

The hardware that is currently 10-15 years old is still going to be in use for a while, although no doubt in decreasing numbers. However, as the fat distros become fatter, they will leave behind more and more systems that are currently 5 years old (for example). For now these systems will happily run ubuntu, even if a little eye candy must be sacrificed, but those same systems will not continue to work well with future versions. So it's my belief that there will continue to be an increase, at least for the next few years, in demand for a very light distro to run the machines that are left behind by the large ones.

It is reasonable to assume that eventually the pentium and earlier computers will no longer run at all, and it would be silly to keep support for something that no longer exists. It is unreasonable, in my opinion, to artificially end the lifes of these machines by leaving them behind. The machines are still around, and they need software.

Posted by clivesay on Nov. 14 2007,16:32
I can only add my experience.

In my refurbing, I'm seeing very few P1 and P2's anymore. E-Waste is becoming big business so I'm having a difficult time even getting older machines. Some of my best resources now have deals with E-Waste companies. Amazingly, many are starting to get rid of their p3 machines to buy newer. I still see some P2's. With M$ advertising the EOL of Win98 and WinME, that's scared many into buying machines as opposed to giving Linux a try. I rack my brain on a daily basis to try and figure out how to introduce Linux into my community.

Robert, I know that person did not give you any credit but anyone who comes to this forum from that article will soon find out who is steering the boat. Nothing against John because DSL was his brainchild and he should be proud.

Robert, you are admired and beloved by a large community here. Don't forget that.


Posted by curaga on Nov. 14 2007,18:31
Robert, we all honor you highly.

DSL is the only current distro for old machines; without it, the only choice would be a really old version of some other distro, like Debian 1.0 or Slack 3, that was made in the age of those computers.

Some people also use DSL because of it's speed on newer computers too; or the fact it fits on a 64mb usb stick.

In contrary to clivesay, I still see only P1's thrown away, the businesses keep their P2's and 3's in their back closets.

For the review, the guy didn't get much right. Don't let that push you down!

Posted by WDef on Nov. 21 2007,01:11
It can be argued that the most important skill one needs to live with some level of awareness in this media-entangled world  is the ability to take all this media output with a grain of salt.  

By which I mean:  it's not worth getting too hung up by these articles.   By all means consider what they say, but don't give them an importance they don't really possess.


their p3 machines to buy newer.

Yeah, p3's are now "junk". I had a P3 800Mhz with 1GB ram for a while at work a few years back.   DSL rocked on it of course.

Posted by roberts on Nov. 21 2007,02:01
My frustration occasionally surfaces given all my efforts for the DSL project. Like it or not, 4.0 and 4.1 is a major upgrade in capability.

I was taken aback not so much by the article, but by the initial post in this thread suggesting that the article raises good points.

I am facing a huge dilemma concerning my efforts in going forward with DSL. It is not of a technical nature. I had certain goals that I wanted to achieve within the given 50MB framework. To that end, I have completed them. I am satisified.

Posted by mikshaw on Nov. 21 2007,04:17
I was taken aback not so much by the article, but by the initial post in this thread suggesting that the article raises good points.
Yeah, but that post was by a stupid idiot!

As far as I'm concerned, future DSL development should be ongoing experiments. Personally I don't see why anyone with new hardware should have any influence on DSL development, unless their focus is on getting the best performance possible out of that hardware. If you have a multi-2ghz processor box and you're complaining that DSL doesn't support your SATA, you have issues that can't be addressed here.

Posted by humpty on Nov. 22 2007,19:09
I have 'new'ish hardware. I don't have any problem with it.
I run fanless via boards at 1Ghz with 1G ram, powered by 50W
fanless power supplies.
Asides from helping the environment which appears to be the theme
these days, I can take out the CF card and use it at work on usb.
That for me is, state-of-the-art.

Posted by stupid_idiot on Nov. 23 2007,05:37
Quote (roberts @ Nov. 21 2007,05:01)
I was taken aback not so much by the article, but by the initial post in this thread suggesting that the article raises good points.

Very sorry. I know it probably felt like a personal insult to you, Robert. Regarding what I said, I didn't see the author of this review as being biased. What I was thinking was, it would be worth looking into to see if people can get a comfortable 'out-of-the-box' experience with DSL, even on newer hardware. I thought that was a good sentiment from the author and I knew I identified with that. Even if, going by the facts, it's impossible - i.e. 'no drivers for kernel 2.4, end of story.'
Personally, I hate to see a good distro turn into abandonware. A lot of it is hopeless nostalgia. I mean, DSL was great back in 2004. And another reason is that no distro comes close in this size envelope. DSL at least has an organized extension system, and the core is really streamlined to the max and stable.
Oh, and Robert:
Originally I had you figured as a thirty-ish programmer working full-time on a distro. I was shocked to realize you were so.. vulnerable. I'm not very good with words, but I juts want to say I am very sorry. For the insensitivity.

Posted by roberts on Nov. 23 2007,06:46
I think DSL is one of the few remaining active distros using 2.4. I like to finish what I start. I fully acknowledge that much has changed in technology both in Linux OS and support systems, unionfs, aufs, squashfs, etc, as well as in hardware. That alone would make it obvious that a 2.4 kernel is not going to work on the latest hardware. The reviewer even states that, yet still finds it necessary to do a review anyway. That fact alone, make me wonder that it was an attack not a review. It should be as obvious as the nose on your face that DSL's target is providing a stable robust tiny OS for older and the smallest hardware. You can't run gtk2 2.6 on 32MB. If the reviewer had knowledge of DSL, as it was claimed in the article via the history remark, then it would have been clear that folders/document centric drag-n-drop is all new to DSL. That is not a "damn small improvement"!  I guess I can dismiss it as the reviewer suffers from the "frog at the bottom of the well" syndrome. But I do think anyone that frequents this forum and follows DSL would have also seen the review for what it is and not have posted it as something to agree with.

As I have already posted, today, it is so much easier to create and support a live CD distro. Everyone now uses unionfs/aufs and squashfs. Nobody is supporting as many operation modes that I have to support. On the otherhand, because these overlays are so stable it makes a custom repository irrelavant. With the changes in hardware, why strip the packages of anything and with overlays, just install as you would with the standard package management system. Backing up; just provide the ability to save the overlay branch or not. Everything is easier than it was before these software technologies were available. The only negative is todays software is twice as large and yet not twice as capable. Most is eye candy but then new machines are more than large enough to handle the new technologies. The problem for me is to keep buying new hardware to try to keep. Perhaps it is indeed time to pass the tourch to some thiry-something person who can.

Posted by jpeters on Nov. 23 2007,23:03
Quote (stupid_idiot @ Nov. 23 2007,00:37)
I mean, DSL was great back in 2004.

I may be in the minority, but I've bought up machines like Dell latitudes that work well with DSL instead of newer machines because DSL is much more to my liking.  I also have a few windows machines around for running new hardware.  I can understand how DSL might be a necessity for some, but for me it's a preference, and has brought back the joy of using a computer.  As far as respecting the developer, I still want Robert's picture to hang on my wall....nough said...
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