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Seduced by Sidux Linux

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Seduced by Sidux Linux: Before my wife thinks that I’m being tempted, perhaps she should read this first: Sidux is a desktop-oriented Linux distribution based on the “unstable” but most modern and up-to-date Debian branch called Sid (from the Toy Story character). The main aim of Sidux is to enhance and stabilize Sid, using its very own packages and scripts to allow a hassle-free use of Debian’s latest and cutting edge software. This unique aspiration enticed me to try out Sidux (2007-04 Pre 2).

The latest version of Sidux code named “Eros” is still under development, currently on its second preview release. It is available on a LiveCD installer which I got from here. I also found out that Sidux is hot in Distrowatch ranking because it is currently listed at number 22. Now, I'm going to share to you my full experience using this one of a kind distro.

Test Machine Specs:
Board: Intel Corporation D102GGC2
Processor: 3.40 GHz Intel Pentium D
Hard Drive: Samsung 80GB ATA with 8GB allocated to VM disk
Memory: 2GB DDR2 RAM with 512MB allocated to VM memory
Display: RADEON X300/X550 Series [Display adapter]



Installation:
I loaded the ISO and just booted the normal way without passing any parameter whatsoever. Then without delay, I was taken to the Sidux KDE desktop in a matter of seconds. I clicked on the “Sidux-installer” icon, and so began the installation process. By the way, Sidux comes with its own tabbed-style installer which I find easy to use. But for the new-to-Linux users, the disk partitioning part can be a little bit tricky. The hard drive installation using VMware virtualization software merely took 5 minutes to complete. However, no prompt appeared that would supposedly ask the user to reboot the system after the install. So, I just did it manually using the K menu.




It was a successful installation as audio, video, CD-ROM, USB, and Ethernet were properly detected and worked just fine.

Look and Feel:
Sidux is fast at boot/start-up and is very responsive. The overall look is pretty sleek; the artworks from GRUB menu to the main desktop has a pleasant aura. Sidux uses KDE, but there is a Fluxbox (see fast and lightweight window managers) option for geeks, and for those who want an even lighter desktop. For those of us who are familiar with KDE, we can say that it is very easy to use and very newbie-friendly. Sidux also comes with its own “Control Center” for a trouble-free hardware and software configuration.






Package Management:
The pre-installed software applications in Sidux are strictly free/open source. Therefore, proprietary programs like Flash and Java are not available out-of-the-box. There is a "metapackage installer" that can be used for downloading and installing additional packages from Sidux’s repository. But, I can’t seem to find any GUI for uninstalling and updating software applications. I would love to see Synaptic Package Manager installed by default on the final release version.




Stability:
I can’t say much about the stability of Eros because it is still under development. However, I can tell that it is on the right track of becoming a quality Linux desktop operating system based on its ability to properly detect and support my hardware configuration.



Conclusion:
For a development release, I find Sidux quite good and steady. The absence of a graphical package manager is a big drawback to Linux newbies, but its speed, responsiveness and light footprint makes it an ideal OS for older computer machines.

Sidux may have successfully seduced me, but I have to wait and try the Distribution Release so that I can properly and fully express my desire for this fine distro.

17 comments

  1. RazberrieTartNovember 10, 2007

    Well written review, but perhaps you should know why sidux does not include a GUI package manager such as Synaptic.

    While synaptic is good for Stable, and sometimes even Testing, the unstable nature of sid makes it a bad choice for sid, and therefore sidux. You can find out more from the #sidux room for official support on OFTC.

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  2. Read thru your entire review - not ONE single link to Sidux's homepage. Yes, I can use GOOGLE, but why not link to the subject the review is about??????

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  3. I use synaptic every day for installing and upgrading in sid and have for 3 years.

    It's a marvolous program and it is a shame that the sidux team acts like it is the tool of the devil.

    Besides that, a wonderful distro

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  4. Thanks all for the comments and info. I have already added a link to Sidux's website plus its Distrowatch ranking. I’m hoping that the developers can work out the Synaptic issue very soon.

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  5. It's possible, that you have fortune by using synaptic.
    Under certain circumstances is using of synaptic associate with problems (the cause is the 'intelligence' of synaptic).
    For dist-upgrades you can (and should) use the smxi-Script (konsole-based). It isn't possible, to dist-upgrade the xorg-driver and -tools (for new kernel, for new xorg) without problems by a graphic based tool.
    For installing and removing of applications (with konsole):
    It's more secure to use:
    -> su
    -> apt-get update && apt-get install packages
    for installing packages
    -> su
    -> apt-get update && apt-get remove packages --purge
    for removing packages
    -> apt-cache search search_keywords
    for searching of packages
    -> apt-cache show package
    to let show you the description of the package
    It's easy to use, I think.
    I don't think, that synaptic is a package of the devil and the developer think equally, I hope. But using of synaptic isn't secure for the system in sid- even you install and remove many different packages. Under certain circumstances you can destroy your system. You can postinstall synaptic by your own risk- it's not a big thing.

    regards T.

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  6. There is no "issue" with synaptic itself, it is just not suitable for the type of distro sidux is and, like other gui package managers, is not supported in sidux.

    This doesn't mean sidux users CAN'T use it, just that they should be aware of the risks.

    I think people being told they should do things a certain way or shouldn't use a certain app is wrong and it goes against the linux mentality of freedom.
    I think the synaptic issue is also in danger of giving the sidux team a negative impression.

    So to briefly sum up:

    synaptic is not reccommended or supported in sidux.

    sidux users are free to install and use synaptic and other gui package managers but if it does cause problems, don't expect the sidux team to pick up the pieces and don't complain that sidux is unstable if you follow that path and things do go wrong.

    For more info on why exactly the sidux team don't support gui package managers, see this thread:
    http://www.sidux.com/PNphpBB2-viewtopic-t-5542.html

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  7. Siduxted4LyfNovember 11, 2007

    Cool and sweet review. Found this via Tuxmachines. Why this is not found on distowatch.com yet?

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  8. Yeah I found plenty of Fedora reviews instead. Anyway, about Synaptic, it is totally understandable that it can’t properly work in Sidux right now, but the author is maybe hoping that there will be a remedy for this real soon so as not to discourage new Linux converts to try a very good distro like Sidux. As an experienced and loyal free-software user, I always like Sidux because of its great philosophy and top-notch stability, but one of the key reasons why Linux noobes always go for a distro like Ubuntu is because of Synaptic.

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  9. @Siduxted4Lyf. Found this review already on distrowatch but not in main page.They might have forgotten to put it there.

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  10. Nice review of Sidux. It is really tempting, I think I am going to give it a try.

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  11. Sidux is one of my two main distros. It is FAST, lean, and bleeding edge.

    Sidux is Debian, hot and spicy!!

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  12. I emailed Distrowatch, they said the author needs to specify the version number of Sidux for it to be placed on front page. Thanks.

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  13. @Abhay Thanks for the comment. @LinuxLover,@Siduxted4Lyf, @Baxter, Thanks for the concern, I already put the version number.

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  14. After a Sidux install I run "smxi" to install graphics drivers,google earth,flash,Virtual box, etc etc,install synaptic for package reference,Add "the repository of shame" for compiz-fusion,then Debians "multimedia repo" total time "including install" is about 10min ,It has proved to be rock solid and has an excellent irc support channel,Sidux works and fast ;).It is a true 'rolling release' so one install is all that is needed,:).

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  15. As someone who has broken a sidux install with synaptic i would obviously recommend against using any gui package manager in sidux.
    It took some time and effort to repair and was my own fault a couple of minutes on the command line would have saved a lot of work.
    Sidux is pretty robust but it moves fast.
    To fast for synaptic at times for sure.
    The devs are very helpful but a little short on patience with people who think they are running ubuntu.
    They recomend against things not to make things hard but to make them easy in the long run.
    Its a fun distro but its the only one of its kind and its got its own idiosyncrasies.
    But you wont find a more helpful and friendly group than the sidux crew,if you want to learn debian this is the place

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  16. As others have said, one can't emphasize enough the importance of the smxi script to Sidux.

    From post install additions to routine dist-upgrades and kernel upgrades, this is one very powerful and useful tool.

    I currently have about 10 different distros installed and Sidux along with Arch is always the most up to date yet remains stable for use. It's a great distro.

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  17. wouldn't it be world revolutionary if Linux developers and programmers could FULLY FINISH one project BEFORE they start another one.

    the distrowatch.com website is getting full of total junk to download and just clogs up precious bandwidth

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