Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 10
Lean, fast and Up to Date Distro
Text-based install, auto-hardware detection good but not the best.
Vector 3.2 SOHO - small office/home office - is a single CD distro that is intended as a Desktop Distro for typical home users. It is based on Slackware and is fully compatible with packages from 8.1.
Installation - to date I've installed this distro on 4 PCs and 1 laptop, from 32 to 512 meg of ram, processors running from a 600 mhz Via to an Athlon XP2400+. The install is text-based. The process itself is fairly standard for text-based installs, and before you start, I strongly advise you to have an intimate knowledge of the partitions on your drive. The installation process takes typically 20-25 mins and is interesting because you get no options about which packages to choose. This install will give the same installed system no matter what. This is very useful if you are doing multiple installs.
At the end of the process, auto-hardware detection is performed and you can then add a root password, and other users.
The system - 3.2 SOHO uses the 2.4.20 kernel, Open Office 1.0.2, CDRtools 2.0, KDE 3.1, XCDroast 0.98 alpha 12 and XFree4.2.1. Not quite cutting-edge, but pretty up-to-date. Using Nvidia Geforce 2 graphics cards, Vector sets up the Nvidia drivers with 3-D acceleration enabled, by default (the same for an Ati Rage pro) - a nice touch. Java and Flash plugins are also pre-loaded for Phoenix, a simple Mozilla-based web browser. Opera is also provided, but a relatively old version 6.11.
Performance and stability - Vector is a very speedy distribution. The GUI is very responsive, even using KDE with all bells and whistles turned on. Compare this setup to Mandrake on the same hardware, and Vector is well ahead. Interestingly, GLX gears gave a lower benchmark using Vector than using SuSE 8.2 pro on the same machine. In terms of stability, I have had no freezes or crashes or apps dying on any of my installations. Vector runs a fairly long beta-testing cycle which is relected in the stability of its offerings.
Package Handling - Vector allows you to use Slackware's Autopackage system, a text-based installation system. It works well and is not difficult to use, even for a Mandrake user like myself. Vector is unusual in also offering RPM package handling via Kpackage. This also works well, assuming you can solve any dependency issues.
Conclusion - As a long-standing Mandrake user (7.0 onwards) I find Vector an interesting alternative. It is responsive, fast, comes with lots of useful packages and will run happily on older hardware.