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"DSL-N: Damn Small Linux gets bigger"

 
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dougz



Joined: 18 May 2006
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2006 2:59 pm    Post subject: "DSL-N: Damn Small Linux gets bigger" Reply with quote

Article -- [url]http://distrocenter.linux.com/distrocenter/06/06/15/180221.shtml?tid=127[/url]

[quote][b] Conclusion [/b]

DSL-N is still in its infancy. At RC1 stages most distributions are too unstable to use, but DSL-N is impressive. If you haven't yet tried DSL, and care for more mainstream applications and have a not-so-recent computer stuffed somewhere, make it usable; download and try DSL-N. You'll enjoy it thoroughly.[/quote]
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dougz



Joined: 18 May 2006
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2006 6:34 pm    Post subject: DSL-N hits the big time -- review quoted in slashdot Reply with quote

[url]http://linux.slashdot.org/linux/06/06/25/1628254.shtml[/url]
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fos



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
Posts: 30
Location: Texas

PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2006 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many in the Slashdot thread miss the fact that the orginal DSL is still active, that DSL-N is an alternative or branch of the original.

fos....
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dougz



Joined: 18 May 2006
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:56 pm    Post subject: Slashdot comments Reply with quote

[quote]Many in the Slashdot thread miss the fact that the orginal DSL is still active, that DSL-N is an alternative or branch of the original. [/quote]
True, but it is still good to see a discussion of both. Also good to see wider discussion of the availability of a 2.6 kernel, for those who require it.

More importantly, the Slashdot OP made the DSL-N review much more widely known than it might otherwise be.

I think I understand the rationale for DSL, but I'm not sure about DSL-N. Does DSL-N have a future? Was it a test release? Interest seems to be much smaller than DSL. Might there be some sort of statement of direction?

FWIW, I think there are a number of usability improvements in the menus and the application selection that might lead DSL-N to be more accessible for less technical users. (Lots of market for the 'Bling Bling' [url]http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/dsl-n/[/url])

Not the most intuitive name, to the uninitiated...
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fos



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
Posts: 30
Location: Texas

PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use DSL (original) frequently. I have it installed on a 128 Mb Lexar JumpDrive and run it using the toram cheatcode. I have gcc and eboard / crafty installed and it meets my portable needs well.

JumpDrives are getting cheaper by the day. I was at Walmart yesterday and 256 MB drives are $18, 512 $29, 1 gig $49, & 2 gig $87.

DSL-N will fit nicely on a 256 with lots of room to spare and many (most) computers I deal with have at least 512 Mb ram. DSL with enhancements fits nicely. I hope it continues to evolve.

fos....

PS. New Via ITX boards are also being developed lending themselves to functional DSL computers with no moving parts, not even a fan.
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roberts



Joined: 17 Apr 2006
Posts: 320
Location: OC CA USA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to admit that I am surprised by the number of DSL users who are staying with DSL classic. There was/is all this demand for a newer 2.6 kernel and modules. Yet they remain with the 2.4.26 kernel of classic. Classic is there to support older hardware and it is ever more difficult to add to it.
However, it is mature and very stable and has a wide audience of users.

DSL-N has a newer kernel and more capable to better use advanced features. However, it is just getting started. It also seems that unionfs has changed the scene with liveCD systems and yet still there remains compatibility issues with certain kernel versions and unionfs.

Also, is the the fact that DSL is damn small in number of devs, with only John and I. John works a full time job. Only so much a guy can give. For me to maintain two live distros, answer questions in two fourms, and a third developmental distro for the future is daunting. It needs to remain fun in order to give away your efforts. So, we don't have several, or dozens or hunderds of devs like many other popular distros. Personally, I can only say that I like to work on interesting things. I am not interested in also doing the same thing the same way nor do I want to re-invent the wheel. John and I make DSL and DSL-N into something that we would and do use on a daily basis.

So, no this is not a test case.
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dougz



Joined: 18 May 2006
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 12:20 am    Post subject: Future for DSL-N Reply with quote

[quote]So, no this is not a test case.[/quote]
Delighted to hear it!

As a long-time Linux user, but DSL newbie, I find DSL-N very attractive. Happily, I can use either 2.4 or 2.6, but prefer the apps and intuitive menus in DSL-N.

Further, I think DSL-N would be a better competitor for other micro distros, were it better known. DSL, of necessity, is a bit spartan. Better for hackers (not crackers) than newbies. Of course, DSL can be customized to the user's tastes, but this is not immediately obvious or documented for newbies. (Puppy has tons of docs, compared to DSL. Not a criticism, just an observation.)

DSL-N has the luxury of starting with bigger, more intuitive apps. More useful for beginners, without customization. I think a mature DSL-N might have a big following -- after you change the name... Razz

Seriously, is there any way the DSL-N community can help?
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fos



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
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Location: Texas

PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would be willing to help also.

fos....
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dougz



Joined: 18 May 2006
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 1:05 am    Post subject: Quiet, yes. VIA??? Reply with quote

[quote]New Via ITX boards are also being developed lending themselves to functional DSL computers with no moving parts, not even a fan.[/quote]
I'm with you on the fanless. I'd love to replace my current noisemaker with a quiet or silent box. Silent PC Review [url]http://www.silentpcreview.com/[/url] is something I read frequently.

I [b]want to believe[/b] in VIA, but the reviews always make me think twice. Two things are show-stoppers to me: multimedia and apps that don't run due to niggling incompatibilities with Intel/AMD.

[quote]The CN400 EPIAs are optimised for MPEG-2 decoding and MPEG-4 acceleration in hardware. Though as we discovered, having these abilities and actually using them are two entirely separate things....

Almost a year after introduction, we're still unsure whether a Windows codec exists that properly takes advantage of the MPEG-4 acceleration of the CN400 chipset....

Next we installed Quicktime and attempted some H264 . trailer playback. We waited for the entire . to download before playing back in our web browser. Results were unsurprising, though a little disappointing. Only the Small and Medium trailers would play without a stutter. Large sizes and above couldn't be handled....

[url]http://www.mini-itx.com/reviews/nano-itx/default.asp?page=10[/url][/quote]
(To be fair, they did a little bit better in Linux, after compiling VIA's drivers, etc.)

As to compatibility, see [quote]It also cannot handle HD video properly at least not when it is encoded in Windows Media format. It is possible that an HD clip encoded in MPEG 2 as is likely to be found on upcoming HD DVD and Blue-Ray discs would have been able to take advantage of the hardware decoder and played back properly.

The system also seemed a little unstable at times, as the frequent system freezes with Photoshop will attest. The odd behavior when switching display types was also a little disconcerting.

Overall, the EN12000E seems best for a purpose-built system. So long as the performance is up to that purpose, the EPIA can probably do it cheaper, cooler, more efficiently, and more quietly than an AMD or Intel-based system. It would do well as a low-end HTPC or as a browser portal. However, for a general purpose PC where the performance requirements are unpredictable, the EPIA is almost certain to run into the occasional task where a little more oomph would be appreciated. [url]http://www.silentpcreview.com/article609-page5.html[/url][/quote]
So close, but no sale. Doesn't meet my needs. I'm really into multimedia. Even the C7 CPU and CN400 chipset doesn't quite cut it.

And yet, SPCR's Cooke is right about pupose-built systems. The people who buy the ultra-cheap ASUS C3 Terminator boxes just love them, judging from the comments on the NewEgg site. It all depends on what you need.

I'm going to buy a Sempron and an Nvidia 6100/6150 chipset mobo instead. I'll also need a low noise CPU cooler, but it will still be cheaper than all but the very cheapest VIA mobos.
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fos



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
Posts: 30
Location: Texas

PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is no question that graphics performance are lacking in Via's itx offerings, even the latest at 1.5 gig can't compare to either Intel or AMD. My system works very well for me since grapics are a very low priority. My purposes tend toward low vision tasks and applications.

Heat elimination and cooling are major factors with any system as speeds go up. Thermal efficiency is one of the reasons AMD has done as well as they have in recent years.

ITX formats are definitely a niche market and you pay a premium for less performance even so.

I do expect to build an AMD Athalon system soon but I'm sure my ITX system will still be my favorite.

fos....
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jimihieu



Joined: 05 May 2006
Posts: 51

PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2006 1:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Future for DSL-N Reply with quote

[quote="dougz"][quote]

As a long-time Linux user, but DSL newbie, I find DSL-N very attractive. Happily, I can use either 2.4 or 2.6, but prefer the apps and intuitive menus in DSL-N.

[/quote]

hi dougz
are you saying that you have both kernel 2.4 and 2.6 on DSL-N?
thanx
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dougz



Joined: 18 May 2006
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2006 5:00 pm    Post subject: Priorities & Kernel Versions Reply with quote

Agree with you, fos. I'm really into quiet now, which means low-heat. If it weren't for my interest in multimedia, I'd go for VIA. However, my poor old AMD Duron 900 does struggle with multimedia, so a VIA is not appropriate for me. (According to the folks at SPCR, it is less the VIA graphics chip than CPU performance, although Nvidia chips do help with some TV formats.)

AMD has been thermal king, but the soon-to-be-announced Intel Core 2 Duo/Conroe chips may change that. Gotta wonder if there will be a new Apple Mac Mini with Core 2 Duo. Quite a nice bit of thermal engineering.

You might want to check out the nice folks at [url]http://www.silentpcreview.com/[/url] before building your Athlon. They've taught me a bunch about how to specify a quiet system. Very helpful group of people. Lots of resources.

***

Sorry, jimihieu, I wasn't clear: I can use both DSL (2.4) & DSL-N (2.6) on both of my current computers. Not everyone is so lucky.

At least that's one benfit for having two antique "steam-powered" computers... Smile
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fos



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
Posts: 30
Location: Texas

PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the link Doug. My new parts are on the way. I'm going to build an mATX Athalon system into an Aspire small footpring case. It has a 120mm fan. I'll see how the noise is before I start making it quiet. It will be my fastest computer by a factor of three!

Jeff
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dougz



Joined: 18 May 2006
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote]My new parts are on the way. I'm going to build an mATX Athalon system into an Aspire small footpring case.[/quote]
Congratulations! Attractive case & fairly quiet. Be careful about the sharp edges on the Aspire. (Not kidding.)

[quote]I'll see how the noise is before I start making it quiet.[/quote]
Sensible. It all depends on one's tolerance for noise. You won't have the physical space for a lot of the bigger CPU coolers. You may find the AMD undervolting/undeclocking discussions to be especially helpful. Knock down the heat a bit and then slow down the fans, using the cooler & fans you have on order. [url]http://forums.silentpcreview.com/viewtopic.php?t=30546[/url]

[quote]It will be my fastest computer by a factor of three! [/quote]
Sure beats my 900 MHz Duron screamer by a bunch. (Screamer as in noise, not performance.) Smile

The SPCR folks are mostly Windows users. There is a thread on Linux temperature monitoring & control that you might find useful. [url]http://forums.silentpcreview.com/viewtopic.php?t=32301[/url]

I hope to upgrade to something similar soon. DSL/DSL-N should be blindingly fast, even underclocked.
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