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Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
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"Major additions since our 2.0 release include restructuring our layout to have standalone ISO's for five desktop environments (KDE4, Razor-qt, Mate, Xfce and LXDE) and adding optional prepackaged modules for Google Chrome, Opera, LibreOffice, AbiWord, print/scan support and development software, all available through a new download interface that allows users to build and download customized ISO's. Additional modules (browsers, development, office, printing) and AMD/nVidia video drivers can also be found inside the 'modules' and 'drivers' folders shown in the download links if you don't want to use the build wizard...."
Would you recommend the product? no | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 5
The kiosk version will be useful for some
but the normal one is not as good as Puppy
Porteus is intended to be run from USB or CD/DVD, and is available as a normal distro or a kiosk version. I tested the 32-bit normal one, with the Xfce desktop. Loading into RAM took 556MB, so 768GB of RAM is recommended.
Initially, I was impressed to see an on-line wizard for creating a custom iso: you choose your hardware type, preferred GUI, keyboard, time-zone, web-browser, etc, and a version of Porteus is created just for you. Also on the positive side was the stability of the software, the presence of the flash plugin and media codecs, and the fact that it used my usb speakers without having to be told to.
The first niggle was persistence. Configuration data and extra software can be stored in a /changes folder, but you have to specify where it goes as a boot parameter (e.g. changes=/dev/sda3) both in advance of saving for the first time and each time you boot. A more serious problem was installing extra software. Packages are converted into plug-in modules and can apparently be in any format. The package manger (which is poorly documented) offered a choice of Porteus, Slackware, Slackbuilds, Salix, Debian, or other. Trying to use Salix locked it up. I did get a program from Debian; it was converted successfully, and the dependencies were downloaded and converted into another module. Then the package manager offered to merge the modules, but after doing so told me that modules shouldn’t be merged as this may break the system! Finally, the program turned out to have a missing dependency.
Porteus invites comparison with Knoppix, Puppy, and Slax. Puppy has better package management and simpler persistence. I can’t see that Porteus has any advantage.