Current Laptop Info

I’ve been using VectorLinux 5.9 on my old laptop for a few weeks now. Over all, I’ve been impressed. I set it up to install with as few options as possible. I installed X, which is bundled with Xfce and other stuff I normally wouldn’t install. While Xfce has lower resource requirements than KDE, it’s still more than I care to use. The only other window manager I installed was jwm, which I’m rather partial.

The only glitch I had was in configuring X, which I got sorted out fairly quickly.

My previous entry explained the other “problem” I’ve had, which was getting backspace to work as backspace in GNU screen.

VectorLinux comes with a configuration manager called VASM. I’ve found this a very helpful resource. I used its wifi tools to set up my wireless card and WPA. I was unable to connect after initial set up, but it connected on my next reboot (as it was set to do). That’s connecting to a hidden ESSID, which I’ve been unable to do with kernel 2.4-based distros because of limitations in Wireless-Extensions and ndiswrapper.

One complaint I have is how thunar opened to /usr/bin by default when setting up ndiswrapper. That took way too much time to load and was the only delay in setting up my card. I think it’s stupid to open to that directory to look for a driver (Windows inf file) that should be installed locally anyway. But there’s no choice — if you use VASM, that’s the process. Once zenity settled down enough so I could navigate, I went to my home directory and selected the directory I set up for my driver.

I have a few more things I want to remove from this, as well as a few things to add. Most of the X apps can go. The only reason I continue to use Firefox is because some sites will not work with console browsers like lynx and elinks. This is unfortunate because, increasingly, sites are presuming their visitors are using computers with gobs of RAM. Sites I hit that require Flash get removed from my bookmarks.

So Firefox stays. I haven’t decided about Xfce yet. It probably goes and I’ll use jwm or oroborus (and maybe keep Xfce panel?). The KDM thing has to go, too — I don’t need the weight of that on this laptop just to have a fancy login. That’s a serious nit to pick, but in fairness VectorLinux will install K3B unless you un-select it (I did).

I initially installed screen via gslapt, but removed and then recompiled it myself. I’ve also compiled emelfm2, elinks (with guile scripting), naim, and sylpheed. I’ll likely uninstall emelfm2. I’ll probably keep sylpheed because its requirements aren’t drastic.

So far, though, it’s been smooth sailing. If I had to rate it on a scale of 1-10, I’d give it a 7. If you want a Slackware-oriented base for desktop use without much configuring of it yourself, I can definitely recommend VectorLinux.

But this is a temporary stop for me. DSL should soon get a 2.6 kernel with better wifi support and an update of the base. I also have my own plan if that takes a while.

Wallpaper in above screenshot is copyright by John Schwegel.


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