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"A little later than originally planned, we now have the pleasure to announce the immediate availability of sidux 2009-02 'Αether', shipping with kernel 2.6.30 and KDE 4.2.4. The ISO is completely based on Debian 'sid', enriched and stabilized with sidux' own packages and scripts. 'Aether' mostly concentrates on integrating KDE 4 into sidux and implementing the changes caused by kernel 2.6.30. We strongly recommend against allowing 'ia32-apt-get'."
Distribution: Debian, antiX, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, and many others
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10
cutting edge software, fast, easy to install
many recent forum issues, a lot of community turnover
sidux has been my favorite cutting edge distribution for a couple of years now, and it remains my favorite cutting edge distribution. However, during the past year, there have been a lot of arguments within the ranks of the developers and the community, primarily over the use of tools and scripts that are no longer considered to be a part of sidux - and the remaining developers claim that they never were a part of the distribution, though there is considerable disagreement about that.
If you do not need to use a forum community at all and you can download and image and use it without asking questions, this is still one of the premier cutting edge distributions that you can find. It is fast, you can keep it fairly current (but you do have to know what you are doing in order to achieve this), and you can still use those tools from third party sources, as long as you never mention them in the sidux forum.
This distribution is a great example of how strong disagreements can emerge over what may seem to an outsider to be a small issue, but to those who are intimate with it, is of critical importance. I have to mention this, because if you walk into their forums and mention one tool in particular that was originally developed for Kanotix, then for sidux, you are sure to be chastised in some way, and possibly forbidden to participate in the forum. I don't like that aspect of this system, so it is very unlikely that I will ever participate in sidux forums.
IF you can get past all of that, and you are still reading this, perhaps sidux is for you! It is quite amazing how well it works. It initially loads into a Live CD - and that is where you see the first thing - one of the fastest Live CD start up times that I have ever seen.
This software includes only DFSG software (Debian Free Software Guidelines). That means that there are no firmware modules included unless they are 100% free software with source code available. The consequence of this is that you have to wire up if you want many common wireless firmware modules. IF you can do that, this may still work for you.
The next thing, of course, is that non-free codecs and other extensions that make many common tasks possible are not included. Again, you can get such things, but the task is up to you; the distribution does not provide such things automatically.
Installing sidux is also quite easy - and fast. I timed an installation this week at just over six minutes for the base installation. It took perhaps an hour to get everything I wanted installed, but that included non-free software, numerous additional desktop and window manager environments, and plenty of other software packages, so that is a typical time for the amount of software that I frequently install.
Maintaining sidux with the standard tools is like maintaining Debian Sid, from which it is based. sidux itself adds little (but takes nothing away from that process). Those third party tools that I mentioned can ease these tasks if you so choose. sidux developers argue that users of Debian Sid tend to know Sid and want to maintain it themselves. You decide what's best for you.
With all of the characteristics of sidux - from the great live CD to the DFSG only software, to the staunch adherence to only the software included, is this distribution still worth a look?
Only you can decide for yourself. For me, the answer is a firm YES, and for me, I also choose to add whatever tools I choose to the system, and I support what happens to it. I run a lot of system, so I can afford to do that. If my pros and cons have not scared you off, this system may be perfect for you. The software is just about right for me.