17 Nov 2009

My Life In Distro's

Its geek time.

I've been exploring free linux distros recently, because I'm incredibly dull. I was previously running Fedora, and then I started messing and broke summat, and rather than fix it, I thought I would experiment with new things. Also, I had lost the Fedora 9 disc, so I didn't really have much of an option, although sensibly, all my files are kept separate from the boot drive, so its a piece of piss to swap OS's.

Having long been a fan of Richard Stallman, I thought "This time, I'm going to go for something completely free" and by free I mean, non-proprietary (as well as in free beer). After looking at gNewSense (looks too hard for me), and playing with Dyne:bolic (which is a weird thing indeed) on my less than powerful living room computer, I settled on BLAG, as this was based on Fedora, which I'm familiar with, as well as having freedom-loving philosophy behind it. Basically, the community behind BLAG take the Fedora distribution, and strip out any proprietary (or non-free) elements, and introduce custom free bits where necessary. I notice this also had the effect of making the whole thing less bulky, and consequently, things run a bit faster.

It worked pretty well 'out of the box', and the initial fixing of stuff is easy if you follow the advice on the forum. One thing I still haven't given much time to is getting a free version of Flash, as this is pretty essential for web browsing these days. There is a 'reverse-engineered' programme called Gnash that is supposed to do a lot of the same stuff, but I found it rather wanting. In the meantime, I had to pollute my 'pure' system with Adobe's original version of Flash, but then I said a Hail Mary and hit myself with birch rods for half an hour.

I might give Trisquel a go at some point.

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