For those who have been following you will know that I have recently embarked on a three part review of Puppy Linux. For those who haven’t been following, I have recently embarked on a three part review of Puppy Linux.
The rest of this post will explain why I think Lucid outshines both Wary and Slacko and I have a confession to make that will make a lot of people shout “What? you have to be kidding”. All will become clear as time goes by.
Startup – Attempt 1
Ok so I had a few issues when I first tried Lucid Puppy. I had downloaded the iso and tried to burn it as an image to a USB drive.
When I rebooted I was left with a flashing cursor on the screen. Clearly this was not going to work
Startup – Attempt 2
The second attempt I tried to use UNetbootin. Again upon reboot the system would not load.
Startup – Attempt 3
Time for the old school method. Burn the ISO to disk and reboot. I was presented with the following message:
Performing a ‘switch_root’ to the layered file system… Kernel Panic- not syncing
A lesser person may well have become frustrated at this point. I did the usual Googling for an answer to my problem and I was presented with various options including
Try loading without a save file and
- Your machine obviously does not have enough memory to run Lucid Puppy
You can ignore these because…..
Startup – Attempt 4
I downloaded Lucid Puppy again from the Puppy Download page and when I burned to disk this time the system booted successfully. Therefore I put attempt 3 down to a dodgy download.
For those of you wondering why I haven’t put attempts 1 and 2 down to a dodgy download as well then the answer is that really this should go down as attempt 6 because I tried attempts 1 and 2 again. In other words burning straight to USB and UNetbootin on this occasion let me down.
Now I’ve tried all three of the puppies I can honestly say there isn’t much difference in the boot time.
Booting from CD with a save file takes approximately 2 minutes on my laptop. (Samsung R20 with 2 gb of ram). On a more modern machine it might boot faster and obviously with a hard drive install it would boot much faster.
I don’t believe Puppy is a system for installing to your hard drive. It was built to run from memory and from removable media.
Connecting to the Internet
This is where Lucid Puppy beats both Slacko and Wary hands down. In all three reviews I have attempted to connect to the 3 mobile broadband network using the MIFI device.
For both Wary and Slacko although I got there in the end the process of connecting to the net was very cumbersome.
With Lucid a window popped up as soon as I booted the first time with my ethernet and wireless cards detected.
When I click the wlan button both my home broadband and three broadband were selected automatically. All I had to do was enter the WPA key and I was connected.
After connecting to the internet obviously the first thing you want to do is browse. Now there are icons on the desktop and there is a menu button. For some reason I chose the menu button and clicked the internet menu and could not find a browser. Stupid move. Had I clicked the browse icon on the desktop all would have come clear very quickly.
A menu appears asking which browser you would like to install. The options include SeaMonkey (which is the defauly Puppy browser), Firefox, Chromium and Opera.
So which of the browsers did I decide to install. Well Chromium is my favourite browser but out of the listed items it takes up the most space at 26 mb. The others were all around the 15 or 16 mb mark.
Shocking Confession Time
I’m going to say something now and it is not to make myself notorious or to cause offence to millions of people worldwide. Are you ready?
I have never liked Firefox
There it is. I have said it. Now of course I need to qualify why I have never liked Firefox.
For years there was a battle raging on the net about which was the best browser and a bit like LINUX in general there were those singing the praises of Internet Explorer and those that sang the praises of Firefox.
Now we all know Internet Explorer is bad. Why is it bad? It is bad because for years web developers have had to write workaround after workaround trying to get their web pages to work under both Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera. What is worse is that even different versions of Internet Explorer would show the page in a different style.
That is just one reason for not liking Internet Explorer and has nothing to do with Firefox. The other reason for not liking internet explorer is toolbars. Within Windows no matter what piece of software you install you will be asked whether you want to install a toolbar. What is worse than that is that the checkboxes are checked by default so if you do not read the text properly you will acidentally install that toolbar and so eventually you could end up with 6 or 7 toolbars taking up half the screen.
Again you might ask what has this got to do with Firefox. Well….. undoubtedly Firefox fans will say that its strongest feature is the number of add-ons and plugins that you can get for Firefox. This has always bothered me and I was delighted when Chrome came out. Sure I could have just kept the base install and not installed any add-ons but the problem is still the same. Firefox has too many menus and takes up too much of the screen.
Chrome and Chromium were just what I was looking for. A minimalist browser that just let me search and browse.
Back on track then the browser I ended up installing was Opera. I’ve always quite liked it and it was built for loading into memory in the same way Puppy does. I am typing this article using Opera and it works just fine.
With Wary and Slacko after connecting to the internet I was offered the opportunity to install flash. With Lucid this option did not appear.
To install Flash using Lucid I had to select the menu button and then from the internet menu there is an install flash icon.
Another really useful feature in Lucid Puppy is the Quickpet application. This is simply a tabbed application which has links to install the most common and useful packages for Lucid Puppy.
There are 6 tabs split as follows:
Popular pets – Gimp, Pwidgets, Audacity, Songbird, WINE and Google Earth
- Internet pets – Firefox, SeaMonkey, Chromium, Opera, Thunderbird, Pidgin
- Useful pets – VLC, Kompozer, Cinelerra, JRE (java), Pdfedit, Inkscape
- SFS get – a list of a number of packages
The list of applications highlighted are virtually all the applications I might use without having to go into the main package manager.
Puppy linux uses a save file to store data. When you reboot for the first time you are asked whether you want to create a save file and where you want to store it and how big is it going to be.
One thing I noticed in Lucid is that unlike the graphical tools used by Wary and Slacko this one seems to go back in time and show a blue screened background and almost a dos like set of menus.
The desktop for Lucid Puppy is very similar to that of Wary and Slacko.
In the top left of the screen are five rows of icons.
- Row 1 – file, help, install, mount, control, edit, console
- Row 2 – write, calc, paint, draw
- Row 3 – browse, email
- Row 4 – Plan, Play
- Row 5 – Connect, Quickpet
At the bottom of the screen is a toolbar with a menu button, taskbar icons and in the bottom right a system tray.
Above the menu are icons for each of the drives connected to your machine.
Finally on the right hand side are icons for locking the screen. zipping files and a trash can.
There is nothing majorly different between Lucid, Wary and Slacko with regards to the desktop and by and large the default applications installed are the same.
The background for Lucid is a plain gray colour which isn’t very inspiring but that can easily be changed.
Lucid is the best of the three versions of Puppy that I have reviewed. It is more polished than the other two and just small things make it so much better.
Connecting to the internet is a basic requirement and Lucid gets it perfectly. Only 2 screens and I’m connected. Wary and Slacko required much more effort.
Installing commonly used applications via the Quickpet menu is brilliant. I think all distros could consider implementing this.
A choice of browsers is available for installation as opposed to being stuck with the default SeaMonkey. (Ok to be fair Wary and Slacko enable you to download PETs for other browsers).
Lucid has the ability to rival Bodhi as a lightweight distro although given the choice I would still say Bodhi edges it.