An Absolute Linux Review

Posted by jun auza On 10/10/2007
An Absolute Linux Review: Absolute Linux is a stripped-down version of Slackware. It is made for speed, stability, security, and ease-of-use and development. Its chief aim is to make installation and maintenance easier than of the original Slackware. Absolute Linux uses the ultra-lightweight IceWM window manager and ROX for handling files.

Currently, my backup computer has Windows XP and Zenwalk 3.0. I was already looking forward to erase my old Linux partition and at the same time try other distros that would fit to replace Zenwalk. Then just recently, I was asked to review Absolute Linux and upon reading some articles and a review about this distro, my curiosity was aroused. And so I downloaded the latest release version, burned it, and this time I installed it directly to the hard drive after saving some of my important files to an external storage device utilizing a Linux backup software, and placing other files on several online backup services. Here is my full adventure and my observation of Absolute Linux 12.0.6.

Test Machine Specs:
Board: Intel D101GGCL
Processor: 3 GHz Intel Pentium 4 with HT Technology
Hard Drive: Samsung 80GB PATA
Memory: 1.5GB 400 MHz DDR RAM
Graphics Card: On-board

Intro:
Absolute Linux is made in the USA, developed by Paul Sherman, and currently stands at number 32 in Distrowatch. From Absolute website it says, “Absolute is NOT a Windows wannabe. It does not try to do everything for you. All software updating/adding must be done as root user (administrator to Windows fans) as well as any configuration changes. Login is text-based, as is the installer. There are not handfuls of daemons running nor are the bloats of KDE or Gnome present.”


Installation:
The download site for Absolute can be found here. The installation is not quite for beginners as it is only text-based, but I will give a little walk-through as a guide to those who needed help in installing Absolute. The first part of installation is the boot option prompt. I did not gave any parameter and just pressed enter until I reached the part where I have to choose to start the installation or to perform the other given options. I chose to install by typing ‘setup’ then enter. The setup menu appeared and I started the install by adding swap. The installer appropriately used my old Xubuntu swap and root partition so I didn’t have to do the partitioning. It also detected my Windows partition and gave me an option to mount it. I was also asked to pick what file system to use and I selected ReiserFS. Then, I was again prompted for the location or the media that I would use to install Absolute. I chose to install ‘Absolute from CD’ of course and from there, the installer copied the necessary system files and applications which only took around 10 minutes to complete, followed by a few hardware configuration options and installation of Lilo. I restarted, and at first boot, I was given an option to set a root password and then I let Absolute automatically configure Xorg.conf. I found the installation really successful as my usb, sound, video, and ethernet were configured well.


Look and Feel:
The login menu is text-based by default just like the installation, but it can easily be changed to a simple graphical menu. I logged in to an IceWM desktop and found out that my 17 inch monitor’s screen resolution was highly set to 1600x1200 and 70Hz refresh rate; but then it was easily fixed. There are also plenty of nice themes and wallpapers to choose from. IceWM’s GUI is a little tricky to use at first, but once you are used to it, then you will love it just like I do because of its speed and responsiveness. There’s also an easy option to use Fluxbox window manager but I don’t recommend using it as I bumped into several problems after I tried it.


Package Magement:
On Absolute Linux, some of the best free and open-source applications are already pre-installed. There’s Firefox, Gimp, SMPlayer, Samba, Ktorrent, K3B CD/DVD Burner, Abiword, Qt Designer, some games, and many more. Java Runtime Environment and Flash is also installed by default. For advanced users, you will find a couple of Linux terminal emulators that can be used for automating tasks as well as doing other important stuff. Plus, managing software is a lot easier thanks to its GUIs called Gslapt and XPKGTool.


Stability:
I consider Absolute Linux stable enough for daily desktop computing. I was impressed by its speed and steadiness even when I opened several key applications simultaneously including a python script I made that did an automatic backup by getting some of my files from Windows, compressed it, and then saved it to the root Linux directory. Though I did encounter some minor bugs, I don’t think that it’s serious enough to greatly affect its overall performance.


Conclusion:
Absolute Linux 12.0.6.will definitely stay on my hard drive for now, and I will be playing with it within the next few weeks until I can fully decide whether it could stay a lot longer, or not. Based only from my initial tests, I can say that it has the potential to replace my older Zenwalk system. I don’t really consider Absolute Linux newbie-friendly, but all things considered, Absolute Linux is absolutely a worthy distro to watch.

Bookmark and Share

Related Posts:



Archive


"Action is the real measure of intelligence" ~Napoleon Hill

Twitter

Tumblr

Google +