Yellow Dog Linux 6.1 and Fixstar
Posted by notKlaatu , 22 December 2008 · 277 views
A few months ago, maybe, a company named Fixstar acquired Terra Soft (the makers of Yellow Dog Linux). There is no visible change really, it's just that now the company seems to be called Fixstar instead of Terra Soft.For some reason...probably because for the entirety, or most of, my computing life I have used PowerPC chips, I am often drawn back to yellow dog, the one of, maybe, two or three distros that specializes in linux-for-powerPC. So I tend to install it every once and a while and see how it's going for them...and to be honest it's a pretty solid little distro with lots of cool features for their default e17 desktop environment, and everything seems to be pretty much auto-detected and easily configured right away.The one thing they might not have finessed quite yet is the repo issue. I don't know how a user is supposed to know what version of Fedora, for instance, Yellow Dog x.x is equivalent to, and without knowing this, making use of rpmfusion or any similar extra repo, is a bit tricky. I don't want to add the wrong repo, and Yellow Dog doesn't make it terribly obvious as to what extra repos I should be looking for.And their support pages, from what I can find, seem to be consistently a little confusing. This was both with Terra Soft and Fixstar. I think they may really be trying to sell support, and the community support is so far fairly difficult to find.But all that means is that his isn't the proverbial "noob linux distro" for powerPC. I think I had come to it early on thinking that it was supposed to be a noob distro...not sure why I would think that. I guess the absence of certain geek tools from the default config suggested that this wasn't really a "pro" distro...but that is only because I am judging it off what I'm more used to: the full feature set of slack[intosh / ware]. No, in the end, this is a good distro that is really fun to have on a spare powerPC machine. I am still trying to figure out what repo to use but I guess I'll just start adding repos and seeing what works (hey I never said I WAS a "pro", just that I was used to a "pro" level distro!).e17 on Yellow Dog is fantastic, by the way. It's nicely themed to fit the blue flavour of YDL (yes, I know, that makes no sense...you would expect yellow...but it's the DOG that's yellow, not the distro, apparently). It has quite a few epplets available for the e17 shelf (including a weather forcast epplet, a cpu monitor, screenshot, and network monitor...oh and of course an analog clock...) and comes with the usual good stuff installed; Firefox, Thunderbird (I love that combo!!), pidgin, rhythmbox, open office, wicd, ekiga, gimp, glade, dictionary, et cetera. The codec installer seems to be the one from Fedora 9 (hey I think I just figured out what repo to add!) and is out of date...and I mean, it no longer functions. You try to add the free mp3 codec and it returns a 404 error or something similar. But once I get rpmfusion going, I don't see why this will matter.There are just enough animations and effects in e17 to make you feel like you're running a sleek modern OS.....um, and you are! You are running a lightweight blingy desktop environment that really ROCKS. I have install YDL 6 on an iBook G4 (so, integrated graphics) and it performed pretty well...although to be fair, integrated graphics are just so bad that I guess I'm never going to be happy with it. But this time I chose a PowerBook G4 (so, separate graphic card)...the 12" version, I think around 933mhz chip with 256mb RAM. YDL runs on it like a charm. I haven't tried anything TOO intensive yet but so far, this is really making me happy. I'm not saying Debian or straightup Fedora PPC or Slackintosh would do any worse -- they are all great -- but I am happy to see that YDL 6.1 is a cool distro with a nicely configured e17 environment. So I guess in Ubuntu-terms YDL would have been called eDora or something like that because basically, as far as I can tell, it's Fedora with a e17 environment. So, it's cool, I like it. I dig it. YDL 6.1---edit on 01/08/09 -- I still can't figure out what repo to use. It's such an annoyance in fact that I have cleared YDL off and loaded Fedora 10 onto the computer, which is working as expected. So I'm not sure what YDL is intending people to do about repositories, but they certainly don't make it obvious. Granted, I am not dedicating much time trying to find out; it's just a spare computer at work that I have set up so I can use Linux for some tasks. It's not like I have a whole lot of time to sit around and explore; in this case, I really just need a distro that "just works". So while I am still impressed with YDL, in terms of it being a quick-fix I would say that it is...well, not. I'm sure with a bit more effort I'd find the repo I needed...