Saturday, March 20, 2010

Simply GNU/Linux 5.0 : An unsung son of ALT Linux

Russians are historically secretive and obscured . But they have always been  intelligent , unique in their work and highly scientific people. 

ALT Linux ( ALT implies ALT Linux Team ) is one of those undiscovered and non-famous Linux distribution from Russia which lacks the "Pomp, glamour and glory" like other mainstream distributions partly because the development team of ALT Linux love to work in shadows and do not consider it important to publically project and advertise their work and also because people outside Russia are not either aware of or interested in what this distribution is about.  But this does not undermine the work this team is doing , they are quitely and persistently working on a project which stands proudly on its work. This is a Russian spirit of all times !
Recently I started using Sisyphus from ALT Linux and computing life has changed completly for me. Bleeding edge with stability from an unstable pool of packages can only be expected from innovative people like these Russians. I am happy that I had the right courage to move to Sisyphus.

Simply GNU/Linux is an XFCE based distribution by  dkoryavov of ALT Linux Team . It is a single Install CD with no live option as compared to the main ALT Linux 5 Ark Desktop .

I have never been an XFCE fan , it never appealed me as a desktop environment . But when it is Simply GNU/Linux nothing can be as better as it . I will not go into how to install it, it is simple and straight forward . But if someone wants to read a review about its details there is a nicely written one on

The excitement comes when I shifted repositories from stable 5.0 to branch 5.1 and later to Sisysphus. This is not difficult to do.

Here are the repos I used stepwise.

# rpm i586 classic
# rpm noarch classic 

# rpm noarch classic
# rpm i586 classic

But before doing that I made sure to do full upgrade from Ark Desktop 5.0 to 5.1 branch , upgraded kernel to latest by running
# update-kernelas root . This upgraded my kernel to lthe atest and auto-magically downloaded and installed all the required modules along with the kernel.

Since I am using tripple boot system with ALT Simply GNU/Linux as third OS along with Windows 7 and Unity Linux so I wanted to have GRUB on Simply Linux than its default LILO. It is easy to get GRUB on ALT Linux. Just follow these steps.

Install grub

ALT Linux uses lilo as a default boot loader. You should replace lilo with grub.

Install grub package

# apt-get install grub
Edit /boot/grub/menu.lst (Use can use for sample /usr/share/doc/grub-0.97/menu.lst)

# Sample boot menu configuration file

# Boot automatically after 5 secs.
timeout 5

# By default, boot the first entry.
default 0

title ALT Linux
kernel /boot/vmlinuz root=/dev/sda2
initrd /boot/initrd.img
(replace /dev/sda2 with your root partition name)
  • Install loader to MBR
# grub-install /dev/sda
reboot system to check that bootloader works properly 

Once all these steps were complete it was time to move on to Sisyphus , so I changed the repositories to that as given above and once again did full upgrade.
It is wonderful to like XFCE !! I hated it previously . Things change with new looks everytime when I am using ALT Linux.

You will never feel the real flavour of ALT Linux untill you try Sisyphus . It is where things are too far ahead than most to our well known distributions and all this is achieved quietly and under shadows.