Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • spinynorman

      Mandriva Official Documentation

      Official documentation for extant versions of Mandriva can be found at doc.mandriva.com.   Documentation for the latest release may take some time to appear there. You can install all the manuals from the main repository if you have Mandriva installed - files are prefixed mandriva-doc.
    • paul

      Forum software upgrade   10/29/17

      So you may have noticed the forum software has upgraded !!!
      A few things that have changed. We no longer have community blogs (was never really used) We no longer have a portal page.
      We can discuss this, and decide whether it is needed (It costs money) See this thread: Here
Just John

Looking for the perfect "intermediate" distro

Recommended Posts

I don't know if this board is high enough traffic to have people who've tried enough distros to know the answer to this, but I'm looking for a good intermediate distro that allows you to "build it yourself" to some degree and I have something very precise in mind. Namely, I would like it to do the following things, in order of importance.

 

1. Provide automatic hardware detection and driver installation

 

2. Not install any base packages aside from xorg and drivers

 

3. Have a helpful and intelligent package manager to aid the process of adding apps and a desktop environment (maybe even a wizard that takes you through desktop creation and installation of essential apps)

 

4. Transparent install - access to all config files, daemons, etc. from the start

 

 

I think it essentially amounts to Arch plus a couple (major) additions in order to get something that's a breeze to install but lets you put things together exactly as you please. Does anyone know if this sort of Mandriva/Arch type hybrid exists? I've poked around a little bit and couldn't seem to find anything with this "build-it-yourself... the easy way" mentality. It's weird because I would think people would love it. I know I certainly would.

 

So can anyone help me out? What's the closest thing you've seen to what I'm describing?

Edited by Just John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't know if this board is high enough traffic to have people who've tried enough distros to know the answer to this
Many of the regulars around here have been around for several years, and have tried many different distributions :)
I think it essentially amounts to Arch plus a couple (major) additions in order to get something that's a breeze to install
Up until this sentence, I thought Arch would fill all your needs. The "breeze to install" part is going to be hard to satisfy given this requirement:
4. Transparent install - access to all config files, daemons, etc. from the start
You're basically asking for an installation that requires more interaction than what (at least in my opinion) would qualify as "a breeze to install". I think Arch will suite your needs (but I may be biased ;) ) Edited by tyme

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Arch is less difficult to install than most people think. Factly: is dead EASY- I had made a demo where a basic Archlinux system was installed to harddisk (with no system configuration at all, of course...) in less than eight minutes time.

The difficult thing about Arch is 1. getting used to the idea that console is man's best friend, 2. doing the initial system tuning (it can take thirty minutes, or thirty weeks- it depends on who sits between keyboard and chair), and finally 3. learning to use the special Archlinux tools (ABS, AUR, packman frontends/scripts). IMO if you manage to finetune it to your needs (because initial installation is probably the easiest one in the whole net), then you will have no trouble with the rest.

Personally, if Archlinux went south for some reason, I would use Sidux/Debian SID in all my boxes. The installation is very easy, totally graphical, packages for pretty much everything abound, but (IMHO) maintenance of a Debian based Linux system is significantly more complex than an ArchLinux one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the great responses already!

 

@Jim:

I did not know there was a "mini." This might be getting closer, but it also takes away the auto-installation of the proprietary driver (a feature I adore) and I still doubt it does either #2 or #4.

 

@YinYeti

Not precisely what I had in mind, but looks extremely interesting! Might do the trick. Will definitely be taking a look at it.

 

@Tyme

I don't see why a breeze to install and transparency need be so opposed. I'm not suggesting editing systems configs by hand like an Arch install. I'm merely suggesting that they're available for the user to view, perhaps by an "advanced" tab or something. Also, it's not as important as the other things I mentioned. On the flip side, I do like a lot about the way Arch is set up already. But a version with automatic hardware detection and installation would be a godsend to someone like me who doesn't know every single package by heart.

 

@Scarecrow

It's dead easy if you have every single system package memorized.... I don't doubt that it takes an advanced user 10 minutes to install. I also have no issue using the console a lot if it's an intuitive system which I believe Arch is. However, throwing that big package list at even an intermediate user without so much as a single package description is not a good way to get the reputation of being "dead easy." I think even the main branch of Arch could do with an installation dialogue as an option. (Do you need wireless? Do you need RAID? Etc.) To make it truly "dead easy" it would need to have automatic hardware detection and installation.

 

That's essentially what I'm hoping to find. Just Arch plus auto-detection would have about 3 and a half of the 4 things I said I was looking for. I would imagine something along these lines is out there, because it seems like it would have huge appeal for noob users wanting to optimize their system a bit more (me), and strong appeal for advanced users as well (benefits of Arch with a faster install).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But a version with automatic hardware detection and installation would be a godsend to someone like me who doesn't know every single package by heart.
Previously Arch had hwdetect for detecting and configuring hardware.

 

It's been deprecated since udev apparently handles hardware detection at boot.

 

However, throwing that big package list at even an intermediate user without so much as a single package description is not a good way to get the reputation of being "dead easy."
Arch does not aim to be dead easy, it aims to be simple. The two things are very different. Edited by tyme

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe it's only the wireless then, but I distinctly remember having to know which package you need for wireless and having to select it by hand.

 

As for the second comment, it would seem you are absolutely correct.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1. Provide automatic hardware detection and driver installation

 

2. Not install any base packages aside from xorg and drivers

 

3. Have a helpful and intelligent package manager to aid the process of adding apps and a desktop environment (maybe even a wizard that takes you through desktop creation and installation of essential apps)

 

4. Transparent install - access to all config files, daemons, etc. from the start

 

mandriva dual arch or netinstall  would do just that

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mandriva dual arch or netinstall  would do just that

 

Definitely not #4, and almost not #3 either. Picking individual packages with the Mandriva installer is a real pain, as the categorization is (IMHO) a real mess.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay so this inspired me to give arch another go and I'm having more luck this time around than the first. The huge package lists with no dialogues or even package descriptions still bugs me, but after that point the beginner's guide told me nearly everything I needed to know. Proprietary drivers didn't seem to work, a couple other hitches, had to go outside the wiki to find answers for some stuff. However, when I got that blistering fast kdemod desktop up for the first time I must admit it definitely seemed worth the effort.

 

That said, it still made me want an easy version even more. I did a bunch more searching, and I found something that might just be what I'm looking for. The chakra project. It looks like it's still in the early stages, but it sounds like their goals for the project overlap an awful lot with my ideals. I won't be able to try it for a couple days yet, so I'm wondering if anyone here has tried it and knows if it's stable and such.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you ended up installing kdemod, you can use either a graphical pacman frontend (shaman), or a commandline frontend/wrapper (yaourt).

The first one looks great, it does provide info about the packages to be installed, but (IMHO) it's not yet ready as a direct pacman substitute.

yaourt is a console application, and it's simply superb: it does display info about any packkage to be installed, and more than that it makes installing packages from AUR a breeze (100% automated process, without any -...almost...- user intevention).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I found something that might just be what I'm looking for. The chakra project.
Funny, I was going to recommend Chakra, but I didn't because of this specification:
2. Not install any base packages aside from xorg and drivers
I guess when you said "xorg" I didn't think "desktop environment" Edited by tyme

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Started building its own distribution from Konoppix. You can quickly and easily perform your own distribution, just Mandriva. MINT facilitated realize, wait until the ready emergence of Ubuntu, and insert their own amendment, and is ready to distribute.

Very good suggestion is PLD. http://www.pld-linux.org/

You can create it from a floppy disk and expand to a powerful server.

 

http://www.kernel.org/pub/dist/knoppix/knoppix-customize/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Funny, I was going to recommend Chakra, but I didn't because of this specification:I guess when you said "xorg" I didn't think "desktop environment"

 

Yeah, I would prefer to choose my own desktop environment. However, it just so happens that kdemod is my DE of choice, so I can't really complain...

 

 

Lexicon, I'm not sure I really understand you (hence making your name rather amusing to me :) but will take a look at PDL as well.

 

 

P.S.

What is the reason shaman isn't ready for full replacement of pacman? (I love pacman, I think it would be hard to best, just wondering what you thought specifically.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×