April 29, 2005

My Workstation OS: VidaLinux

Author: Benjamin McGrath

My computer is my life, but I'm fairly new to the world of Linux. I
started with SUSE Linux 9.1 Professional. It's a fairly nice and easy
system, but I wanted to try some other distributions, to see what I
liked and disliked. I wanted something that felt not too advanced, but
also not too limited. That's what I found in the VidaLinux operating system
(VLOS), the perfect combination of what I wanted.

Many call VidaLinux a "simpler Gentoo." It uses many of Gentoo's
features, such as the Portage software distribution system, but also
manages to make it all seem less intimidating. For instance, it uses Red Hat's Anaconda installation system. Anaconda is a graphical interface, which many find easier than
Gentoo's command-line installation. Vida's system components also come
prebuilt and ready for installation, whereas Gentoo's installation
requires everything to be built from the command line, which
intimidates some people.

Some people have reported issues with Vida's networking and sound
card configuration. While the sound card wasn't an issue for me,
networking was. Thankfully, I was able to fix
my problem easily by referring back to the MadPenguin
article that introduced me to Vida. After that little escapade, I
moved on to configuring my system.

I use my computer for Web site management, helping out at sites such as The Mega Man Network and Metroid HQ. In addition to sitting on IRC most of the time, I tend to use AIM to contact some people. Vida comes set with what I need to get the
job done. Firefox, generally the ideal browser for any Web
designer, comes pre-installed, with many plug-ins already set, like
MPlayer and Java. The GIMP is a fine image manipulation program, and
works well for Web design. For music playing purposes, the system
offers Xine, a fine music application. It covers chat too, with an
easy installation of X-Chat and an included version of GAIM. When I
need to get a professional project done, I've got OpenOffice.org right
there. Vida's main window system is GNOME 2.8.0, and
the default icon set, with an uncanny similarity to Mac OS X's, brings
the desktop to life.

VidaLinux runs well, and the Portage system makes it even more fun.
The Portage application itself is called Porthole, and it's pretty
useful. It allows users to choose new applications to install on their
system, as well as old ones to get rid of. Apparently, some people
have had issues with it suddenly shutting down on them, but that
hasn't been an issue for me. The Vida community itself is very
helpful, and getting support has been no problem.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoy VidaLinux. It's a stable operating
system that caters to both advanced and beginning Linux users. What I
need my computer to do, it does. I can work on Web pages, listen to
music, and play my games with ease. The system itself is friendly,
versatile, and workable. I know my way around it, and I'll be sticking
with it for awhile.

What's your desktop OS of choice? Write an article of
less than 1,000 words telling us what you use and why. If we publish
it, we'll pay you $200. So far, we've heard from fans of FreeBSD,
Mepis
Linux
, Debian, Xandros, Slackware, Windows XP, Lycoris, SUSE Professional, NetBSD, Ubuntu, FreeDOS, Libranet, Mandrakelinux, Arch Linux, Mac OS X, Knoppix, Linspire, Gentoo, PCLinuxOS, Yoper, Fedora Core 3, Windows 2000 Professional, and Damn Small Linux. Coming soon: Kanotix, VectorLinux, and Scientific Linux.

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