Friday, August 10, 2007

Distro behind curtains

When everybody is looking with high hopes and expectations for main stream liners distributions from countries like US & Canada then has anybody ever thought of those unsung heroes who sit quietly and work persistently to create a distribution of its own uniqueness?

ALT Linux from Russia is a Linux Distribution which I think is not much known to many people outside Russia but is certainly competing at it’s best with many well know distributions.

I was first introduced to its Compact 2.3 version while I was browsing looking for a Desktop Linux Distribution. It was a nice experience with a different looking Mandrake Linux based (at that stage) Russian origin ALT Linux, simple & elegant. I kept using it for quite some time when I switched back & forth to different distributions in quest for a perfect distribution.

Later on I got its 3.0.1 version but could not use it for much time because it had a bug? with KDE installation.

Recently I joined IRC #altlinux & got introduced to many helpful & friendly ALT Linux developers and team members & I came to know about the currently under development ALT Linux Desktop 4.0.

I downloaded one of the weekly built DVD ISO of ALT Linux Desktop 4.0 & I was plainly amazed how much things have changed with ALT Linux & it has grown to a mature & robust distro, almost better than Fedora Core and SUSE Linux ( IMHO ).

The DVD gives a live boot with later on disk install option & even at that early beta stage it was almost out of box hardly giving any problems with either hardware or with any of major soft wares.

I rushed for a hard disk install and it went smooth without any issue. The installer has thoroughly been rewritten with English language support by pressing F2 during boot. Installer of ALT Linux 4.0 is quite unique , it will ask few questions regarding basic system configuration & then goes for base system installation & Desktop Environment choice either between KDE ,GNOME & XFCE .

Once ALT Linux is installed to hard disc one gets a clean desktop with cool icons and simple background.

I kept using ALT Linux for quite few days on my system & reported appropriate bugs and requested for lots of tools & packages to their Bugzilla page and Users Mailing List which have English language support.

ALT Linux 4.0 is developing at a very good pace, lots of improvements introduced & recently an RC ISO has been released at their main ftp & mirror servers & hopefully soon its final version will be released.

I am quite sure that this release will be at its best in comparison to the other major Giants out there. Happy ALT Linux and Open Source experience from Russia :)