June 10, 2005

My Workstation OS: Frugalware

Author: Eduardo Romero

Why do I use a small project like Frugalware as my workstation operating system? Because it gives me the tools, simplicity, and fun I want in an operating system.

Everything in Frugalware is built with simplicity in mind. Frugalware's Hungarian developers say this Linux distro is meant for the intermediate user. I say you just need to have some basic knowledge of Linux or the enthusiasm to learn it.

The distribution was originally based on Slackware, but is now on its own development path. Installation is easy. You feel like you are installing Slackware, but without having to edit configuration files by hand after the installation is complete.

Frugalware uses as a package manager pacman from Archlinux, which is simple and fast, and handles dependencies easily. Pacman commands are easy to learn; the most important commands are pacman -Syu, which upgrades the system to the latest stable packages available, and pacman -S package, which installs any single package.

Frugalware is a solid distribution and has never crashed for me, even though I use unstable extensions like the composite in X.org enabled. Included applications are up-to-date: X.org 6.8.2, GNOME 2.10.1, KDE 3.4, GCC 3.4.3, J2SE 5.0, and more. All packages are i686-optimized, and I've found Frugalware to be the fastest binary distribution I've used to date. With Frugalware it's simple and fun to program in Java and set up small networks.

Everyday use of Frugalware is a joy, as it includes great applications. I do much of my daily work on OpenOffice.org Ximian edition while keeping in touch with my friends using GAIM instant messenger. XMMS gives my ears some music, and when I feel like watching a movie MPlayer makes my day. I also use Evolution to organize my email.

The project has good documentation, and even a wish list in which you can ask for packages you would like to be added to the repository.

The Frugalware community is friendly, though small. You can talk with the developers at the forums and on the freenode IRC network on #frugalware.

All this makes Frugalware a strong distribution, and one that gives me more than just a normal computing experience.

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