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#1 2017-10-17 01:41:00

macondo123
Member
Registered: 2017-09-23
Posts: 7

Star 1.0.1 - Distrowatch Review (from yesterday)

https://distrowatch.com/weekly.php?issue=20171016#star

Excerpt:

"I ran into one curious bug involving manual pages. Most Linux distributions include manual pages (often called man pages), though some omit the documentation to save space. Star includes the man command and entries for every command's manual page are included, but all of the manual pages are empty. (The files for each manual page are zero bytes in size.) This causes the man command to recognize program names we give to it, but man only ever displays a blank page.

One final problem I ran into concerned the MPV media player. When I tried to launch the player from either the application menu or command line, MPV would immediately crash. I was able to install other media players, such as Rhythmbox and VLC, to handle playing media files. In the VirtualBox environment I found VLC was unable to play video files and would crash if I tried to play a video. Audio files, however, would play successfully in VLC. This inability to play video files appears to be an issue specific to the VirtualBox environment. While desktop players consistently crashed when asked to play video files, I found I was able to play YouTube videos in the Firefox browser without any issues.

Conclusions

On the whole, I like the ideas presented in Star's design. The distribution is basically Devuan and pulls packages from Devuan's software repositories, but the live media and lightweight environments are great for testing the distribution and for breathing life into older computers. While this approach of starting light and adding only what we need is a solid concept, and proved to be very forgiving on resources, there are some rough edges in the implementation. The missing manual pages, for example, and the media player issues I ran into posed problems.

A few programs I used flashed warning messages letting me know PulseAudio was not available as Star uses the ALSA sound system by default. Strictly speaking, PulseAudio is not required most of the time and, if we do run into a situation where it is needed, we can install PulseAudio easily enough by rerunning Star's welcome script.

The default JWM environment is very plain and empty, which suited me. My only complaint was the constantly updating Conky status panel at the bottom of the screen. I was able to disable Conky, but it required digging into JWM's configuration files. Which brings me to another point: many users will probably prefer to try heavier editions of Star (like Xfce) to gain access to more user friendly configuration tools. The JWM edition is intentionally bare bones and probably best suited to more experienced users.

One last observation I had while using Star is that it is based on Devuan 1.0.0, which presents us with software that is about three years old (or more) at this point. This means some packages, like LibreOffice, are notably behind upstream versions. Since Star is best suited for older computers, this may not be an issue for most users, but it is worth keeping in mind that Star's software repository is a few years old at this point. "

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#2 2017-10-17 08:51:59

FOSSuser
Member
From: Surrey/Hants border UK
Registered: 2016-12-11
Posts: 167

Re: Star 1.0.1 - Distrowatch Review (from yesterday)

I added my take of it too, without the necessary firmware for my wifi, it's a no go for me, but worth a look. smile

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#3 2017-10-17 10:45:50

cynwulf
Member
Registered: 2017-10-09
Posts: 99

Re: Star 1.0.1 - Distrowatch Review (from yesterday)

I don't think "reviews" of this kind, what I'd term "tech press" reviews, are worth a lot (In fact it's arguable if distrowatch has any real value...).  The reviewer talks about what he can install, how easy things are, the environment, applications, etc - all from the perspective of a consumer...

Surely when discussing a so called "lightweight" Linux derivative distribution, it's necessary to look at why it claims to be "lightweight" and to see if the claims have an basis at all?

When it comes to Debian and so called derivatives, it's usually down to sticking one's own customised desktop experience on a livecd - the earliest derivatives, such as Ubuntu, started out as this kind of thing.

"Lightweight" then usually means, much the same thing with a window manager and "less" installed".  The overall memory footprint, kernel, resource usage, etc is is never examined in any real depth in these kind of reviews.  In fact once the end user installs the packages they need, "light" is pretty much over and done with at that point.  Firefox, for example consumes huge amounts of memory and CPU.  You could install any lightweight Linux distribution with a basic window manager and still find your creaking hardware is not up to the job of running a modern browser.

And as the comments pointed out, the reviewer doesn't even test on old hardware or discuss performance...

And then it comes back to  - just how useful is very old hardware anyway?  The answer is: not very.  If you have something with around a 2GHz clock and a few GB of RAM you have usable "old" hardware.  At this point what Linux distribution you install doesn't really matter so long as you don't expect the latest KDE or gnome to perform (at all).

The ~ 1GHz and 1GB of RAM era hardware and older, is sadly just not up to the job.

For an old PC from this era you could try installing something like NetBSD or OpenBSD and using as a router, access point, firewall, etc...

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#4 2017-10-17 14:06:04

Somewhat Reticent
Member
Registered: 2017-04-06
Posts: 100

Re: Star 1.0.1 - Distrowatch Review (from yesterday)

The 'bu-based distro LXLE takes light-&-lean seriously; for lean, what beats SliTAZ?

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#5 2017-10-17 18:47:56

greenjeans
Member
Registered: 2017-04-07
Posts: 355
Website

Re: Star 1.0.1 - Distrowatch Review (from yesterday)

cynwulf wrote:

The ~ 1GHz and 1GB of RAM era hardware and older, is sadly just not up to the job.

For an old PC from this era you could try installing something like NetBSD or OpenBSD and using as a router, access point, firewall, etc...

Well pardon me but that's baloney, I use a 1.0 ghz APU every day, 2 gigs of ram though that I added 2 more to. But in truth I could use way less, my system idles at around ~130 mb of ram use at idle, and that's the 64 bit stuff, my 32 idles at 87 mb.

I've rehabbed a couple hundred of these old machines in the last decade, and all are still in use as far as I know. I built my desktop at home in 2005 with a single core chip, and it still only has 1 gig of ddr-400, and it is still the fastest machine in the house because I hand-built the system that runs it like I build 'em now.

Admittedly browsers have gotten cumbersome, bloated and just a PITA to use, but just because Chromium and Mozilla don't have their **** together doesn't mean I should start tossing perfectly good hardware, that's some silly consumerist propaganda right there, it's what I would expect from Redmond or Cupertino folks, but not on a linux forum.

If I want fast, I have a python-webkit browser that's only 130 lines of code and is fast as lightning, and can be used on this very forum. Linux is about solutions and innovation, and supporting older hardware has always been part of that.


https://sourceforge.net/projects/vuu-do/
Vuu-do GNU/Linux, minimal 64 and 32 bit Devuan-based openbox and mate systems to build on, maximal versions if you prefer your linux fully-loaded.

Please donate to support Devuan and init freedom! https://devuan.org/os/donate

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#6 2017-10-17 21:05:41

cynwulf
Member
Registered: 2017-10-09
Posts: 99

Re: Star 1.0.1 - Distrowatch Review (from yesterday)

greenjeans wrote:

Well pardon me but that's baloney[etc]

I prefer the phrase "what a load of old bollocks" for such occasions...

greenjeans wrote:

I hand-built the system that runs it like I build 'em now.

I "hand built" most of my x86 based systems from the various intel/AMD i686 based machines in the mid 90s to the present date.  It didn't make them any quicker than an off the shelf OEM system, but it did make them cheaper (back then it was) and more flexible in terms of hardware.

greenjeans wrote:

Admittedly browsers have gotten cumbersome, bloated and just a PITA to use, but just because Chromium and Mozilla don't have their **** together doesn't mean I should start tossing perfectly good hardware,

Sadly these bloated masses of C++ (or "rust") are what most people need to access the web.  If you've ever built firefox or worse still chromium from source, you'll know what I mean.  Yes I can use a basic browser with no javascript support to access a few forums, I can even use elinks or lynx or whatever, but can you pay your bills, shop online or do your online banking...?

greenjeans wrote:

that's some silly consumerist propaganda right there, it's what I would expect from Redmond or Cupertino folks, but not on a linux forum.

It's neither "consumerist" not "propaganda"...  Linux itself has also become "consumerist" - you essentially have free software, released under free copyleft licences - but all financed and coordinated by fortune 500 companies...  the webkit and blink layout engines also happen to be corporate sponsored.  But not being of "Cupertino" or "Redmond" origin no doubt that doesn't count...

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#7 2017-10-17 21:49:52

greenjeans
Member
Registered: 2017-04-07
Posts: 355
Website

Re: Star 1.0.1 - Distrowatch Review (from yesterday)

cynwulf wrote:

Yes I can use a basic browser with no javascript support to access a few forums, I can even use elinks or lynx or whatever, but can you pay your bills, shop online or do your online banking...?

Well yeah, the 130 line browser can do most if not all that, not just forums, works almost everywhere i've tried it, even youtube.


And yes it was consumerist propaganda, what I heard was "Throw away yer old hardware because Mozilla, that's why".

It's quantitatively no different than when the spoiled child whines that it's ALL the other softwarez that's to blame, not my precious cause it's perfect. (systemd).

Ridiculous, zero chance i'll let a browser make my computer buying decisions for me.

But anybody who buys into this and wants to throw away their old hardware because it's a little slow running Chromium, please send them to me, i'll happily re-furbish them and pass them along to families in need that can't afford to pay 1000 bucks for a new browser-support-system. wink


https://sourceforge.net/projects/vuu-do/
Vuu-do GNU/Linux, minimal 64 and 32 bit Devuan-based openbox and mate systems to build on, maximal versions if you prefer your linux fully-loaded.

Please donate to support Devuan and init freedom! https://devuan.org/os/donate

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#8 2017-10-17 21:59:04

greenjeans
Member
Registered: 2017-04-07
Posts: 355
Website

Re: Star 1.0.1 - Distrowatch Review (from yesterday)

cynwulf wrote:
greenjeans wrote:

Well pardon me but that's baloney[etc]

I prefer the phrase "what a load of old bollocks" for such occasions...

I was kinda worried even saying baloney, don't want to seem antagonistic or whatnot, i'm just passionate about the things I do and believe in, so I hope nobody ever takes offense at my yowling, I don't mean anything personal by it and i'm not angry.

Except dconf, and I ******* hate that ****** ******* ****.


https://sourceforge.net/projects/vuu-do/
Vuu-do GNU/Linux, minimal 64 and 32 bit Devuan-based openbox and mate systems to build on, maximal versions if you prefer your linux fully-loaded.

Please donate to support Devuan and init freedom! https://devuan.org/os/donate

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#9 2017-10-18 11:23:01

nixer
Member
From: North Carolina, USA
Registered: 2016-11-30
Posts: 36

Re: Star 1.0.1 - Distrowatch Review (from yesterday)

greenjeans wrote:

Well yeah, the 130 line browser can do most if not all that, not just forums, works almost everywhere i've tried it, even youtube.

Well, if nobody else is going to ask, I will... what 130 line browser are you talking about?  Looking forward to hearing about this, unless it is a private project and not released to the public... (-;

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#10 2017-10-18 14:39:13

catprints
Member
Registered: 2016-11-30
Posts: 61

Re: Star 1.0.1 - Distrowatch Review (from yesterday)

https://dev1galaxy.org/viewtopic.php?id=642 regarding the browser-scroll to greenjeans posts.

Works on jessie for me after installing python-webkit. Ascii I,m not finding that pkg yet.
Look forward to trying it further on jessie though.

Last edited by catprints (2017-10-18 14:44:12)


"The obstacle is the path."

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#11 2017-10-18 21:52:29

greenjeans
Member
Registered: 2017-04-07
Posts: 355
Website

Re: Star 1.0.1 - Distrowatch Review (from yesterday)

catprints wrote:

https://dev1galaxy.org/viewtopic.php?id=642 regarding the browser-scroll to greenjeans posts.

Works on jessie for me after installing python-webkit. Ascii I,m not finding that pkg yet.
Look forward to trying it further on jessie though.

That's the one, I changed the default address to a local file and made a little html "menu" of bookmarks, here's the idea:

<html>
<head>
<title>Home</title>
</head>
<body bgcolor="#000000">
<br><br><br>
<a href="https://start.duckduckgo.com/">DuckDuckGo</a><br><br>

<a href="https://dev1galaxy.org/">Dev1galaxy forum</a><br><br>

</body>
</html>

And a .desktop to launch it:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Vuu-do Browser
Comment=Vuu-do Web Browser
Exec=/home/greenjeans/Vuu-do-browser/vuudo_browser1.py
Type=Application
Icon=web-browser
Categories=Network;WebBrowser;

https://sourceforge.net/projects/vuu-do/
Vuu-do GNU/Linux, minimal 64 and 32 bit Devuan-based openbox and mate systems to build on, maximal versions if you prefer your linux fully-loaded.

Please donate to support Devuan and init freedom! https://devuan.org/os/donate

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#12 2017-10-18 21:57:37

greenjeans
Member
Registered: 2017-04-07
Posts: 355
Website

Re: Star 1.0.1 - Distrowatch Review (from yesterday)

Used it to login and am now posting from it . wink

*edit* Realized the bank question was a good one, hadn't tried before, but it worked. Https works fine.

Complex sites are slow to load though, all that bling bling trying to load. And occasionally video causes it to crash.

Last edited by greenjeans (2017-10-18 22:07:38)


https://sourceforge.net/projects/vuu-do/
Vuu-do GNU/Linux, minimal 64 and 32 bit Devuan-based openbox and mate systems to build on, maximal versions if you prefer your linux fully-loaded.

Please donate to support Devuan and init freedom! https://devuan.org/os/donate

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#13 2017-10-19 09:11:24

cynwulf
Member
Registered: 2017-10-09
Posts: 99

Re: Star 1.0.1 - Distrowatch Review (from yesterday)

greenjeans wrote:

Well yeah, the 130 line browser can do most if not all that, not just forums, works almost everywhere i've tried it, even youtube.

"130" lines of python script to run massive bloated webkit-gtk doesn't seem "light" to me.

greenjeans wrote:

And yes it was consumerist propaganda, what I heard was "Throw away yer old hardware because Mozilla, that's why".

You probably "heard" what you wanted to hear.

greenjeans wrote:

It's quantitatively no different than when the spoiled child whines that it's ALL the other softwarez that's to blame, not my precious cause it's perfect. (systemd).

It's completely different in fact.

greenjeans wrote:

Ridiculous, zero chance i'll let a browser make my computer buying decisions for me.

Good for you, I wasn't making that case...

greenjeans wrote:

But anybody who buys into this and wants to throw away their old hardware because it's a little slow running Chromium, please send them to me, i'll happily re-furbish them and pass them along to families in need that can't afford to pay 1000 bucks for a new browser-support-system. wink

You seem to find differing opinions threatening to say the least?  In fact you react in a judgmental, kneejerk defensive fashion to my expressing an opinion different to your own.  I'm happy that you want to use older hardware - I use older hardware as well (my main system is 10 years old - I do this mainly to save £££s and to avoid questionable "technologies" such as UEFI and IME/PSP).  but I don't think it's realistic to raise people in general's expectations on older hardware running the latest desktop environments, browsers and other applications.  This is because your use case, is probably not everyone else's use case (and neither is mine).

greenjeans wrote:

I was kinda worried even saying baloney, don't want to seem antagonistic or whatnot, i'm just passionate about the things I do and believe in, so I hope nobody ever takes offense at my yowling, I don't mean anything personal by it and i'm not angry.

No offence taken.

greenjeans wrote:

Except dconf, and I ******* hate that ****** ******* ****.

The wonders of binary configuration.  I don't "hate" it, I simply find it quite loathsome and cumbersome.

Unfortunately this stuff finds its way in to everything:

$ pkg_info -Q dconf
dconf-0.26.0 (installed)
dconf-editor-3.22.3
greenjeans wrote:

Complex sites are slow to load though, all that bling bling trying to load. And occasionally video causes it to crash.

That almost sounds like webkit running on old hardware... wink

And lest ye forget:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wirth%27s_law
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore%27s_law

Last edited by cynwulf (2017-10-19 09:25:03)

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