Monday, June 2, 2008

An Interview with Anurag Bhandari, the Founder of Granular Linux

I am presenting an interview with Anurag Bhandari , the Founder & Project Leader, Granular Linux Project.

Granular Linux Project released Granular 1.0 (Preview) on 15-03-2008. And now as they are heading towards the release candidate of Granular Linux 1.0, I feel it appropriate to present this interview to all of my readers and GNU/Linux community.

Hello Anurag Bhandari , thanks for sparing your time for this interview for my blog page . I will ask you few questions so that we can better understand the Granular Linux and the whole idea of Granular Linux Project.

What exactly is Granular Linux? What does the name Granular signify?
Granular is an easy-to-use Linux distribution aimed at desktop users and newbies in the world of Linux. It can also be a good choice for regular Linux users.
The name "Granular" signifies one of the reasons behind the creation of this distro, that is, "customizability". Granular was intended to be able to get easily customized by the end user. An all over customization can only be achieved by customizing the individual components (granules). And for that, KDE is an excellent option, combined together with the various options provided with Granular. Hence the word "Granular".

Anurag Bhandari, tell us little about yourself please.

I am a Computer Engineering student heading towards my fourth and last year at my college, National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar, India. I am pursuing my B.Tech degree there. I am a resident of Jalandhar, Punjab itself.

Who are the current developers and team members working at Granular Linux?

Please refer to this page: http//

Why did you start the Granular Project? What was the basic Aim of this project when it was incepted?

There were several reasons behind starting the Granular Project:
1) To have a user-friendly distro combined with pleasing (read it "good") looks. Although there were several distros out there at the time the project started, as far as I know, none had both these qualities, some were good looking but lacked stability and some were extremely stable and functional but not user-friendly. Of course, we have some good distros today with both these qualities, like Mint, Sabayon, etc.
2) The first day I used Linux, it was SuSE, I was taken away with the idea of using a free OS that was more cool than Windows with features like good looks, no crashes, supported older hardware, had pre-installed software, multimedia support, etc. At that time, Linux was a word known to a handful of people in India. Most people here didn't even know that Windows was a paid OS. Another perception of Linux they (the guys who at least had heard the word "Linux") had in their mind was that Linux was a very difficult to use and is operatable only through command-line.
So, I wanted to start a new Linux project with roots in India so that more people could get aware of Linux and start using it. I am still powered by the dream of having "a Linux per home". At present, we are not exactly that much ready to achieve that goal, but I believe we'll gradually and eventually get close to that aim.

3) Having an own project would probably benefit me in the future, both in terms of the learning I get from the project and in terms of opportunities.

Why was Granular Linux based upon PCLinuxOS?

Although Granular started off as a distro based on LFS (Linux From Scratch), due to internal and technical reasons the base was shifted on to PCLinuxOS. PCLinuxOS was the most obvious choice at that time as it was modeled according to our needs and boasted off the popular mklivecd tool which could be used to easily create LiveCDs.

Many Linux distributions Projects are supported by Govt and private organizations, does Granular Linux get any such support?

Granular does not get any support from government or private organizations. The only support it gets is in the form of donations and inspiration via happy users' lovely emails and posts on the forum. :)

How does Granular Linux differ from PCLinuxOS and what are the distinguishing features of Granular Linux which you think are beneficial to the end users including home users as compared to PCLinuxOS and other Linux distributions?

This is very much like asking how PCLinuxOS differs from Mandriva. [chuckle]. Anyway, Granular differs from PCLinuxOS and other distros in several ways:
1) We have our own Granular Repository now which is expanding day-by-day. So, some of the major packages are different from those in the PCLinuxOS repository. Our repository also has some packages that are not present in the PCLinuxOS repo.
2) The looks of Granular are very much different from PCLinuxOS. Granular was designed to attract newbies and regular users, and artwork plays a very essential role here. I think our artwork team has done well in that area.
3) Granular comes out with 2 desktop environments. KDE - for full functionality and Enlightenment - for a fast Linux experience coupled with some heavy eye-candy.
4) The application set of Granular differs from that of PCLinuxOS.
5) Granular maintains an independent identity, unlike other PCLinuxOS-derived distros.
As time progresses, the distinguishing features will become larger.

How do you look at the future of Granular Linux when there are so many more Linux distributions sprouting out daily?

I see a bright future for Granular Linux if we keep on going ahead with good spirits. I have some good plans for the future, but we would be needing more developers and contributors for that. Hopefully, we'll get the sufficient amount of members soon.
Granular is currently ranked around 70 in the list of over 300 distros at DistroWatch. I think that shows people do have interest in this distro.

Do you think Granular Linux is only meant for Indian community or do you see any chances that it will be as popular as the other distributions are amongst the masses around the world?

By no means Granular is limited to just the Indian population. In fact, Granular does not have an as wide user base in India as it has in the rest parts of the world. We'll work on spreading the word of "Granular" and "Linux" in India too.

The Granular Project forum seems to be very functional but there is no IRC help room available. Do you have any plans for establishing an IRC room for Granular Linux?

There is no IRC channel for Granular as of yet due to the lack of sufficient members for that area. I certainly would not like to have a "most-of-the-time deserted" IRC channel. I'll rather wait for the sufficient amount of interested contributors here. As soon as we get them, I'll start the channel. So, IRC is also on my list of to-do.

Thank you very much Anurag Bhandari. This small but informative talk with you will bring forth Granular Linux both in the whole Open Source and GNU/Linux community and the end users who think Granular Linux is just another PCLinuxOS remastered clone.


Petitbob said...

hello saleem,

very nice interview ! professionnal !
i think that i will write a paper of this interview on my blog and on quebecos.

granular is probably a nice distribution.

@+ petitbob

Anurag Bhatia said...

hey !!!

happy to see the interview of our project Leader :)

Really interesting......

I thank you for making this interview available to us and wish Mr Linux (Anurag bahya !) all the best for his future work.

Thank you


Anurag Bhatia

Chief Web Infrastructure Adviser
Granular Project