April 1, 2005

My Workstation OS: Yoper Linux

Author: Ankit Malik

My journey with Linux, since 2003, has been a roller-coaster ride with
its fair share of bumps. But I have finally settled down with one
of the best distros around, Yoper, which stands out for features like usability, available packages, hardware detection, and support.

Yoper installs from a single CD. The Yoper core is built around kernel 2.6, Xfree86 4.4.0, KDE 3.3, and the Reiser4 filesystem. During installation Yoper detected nearly all my hardware perfectly; the lone exception was my Canon i255 printer, which I have not been able to get to work with any Linux distro.

Yoper ships with a highly customised KDE 3.3 desktop and sports a
refreshing Plastik theme. The desktop has a plethora of useful icons, including ones to set up OpenOffice.org (though it's not clear why Yoper doesn't just set this up as part of the install) and tweak Yoper settings. Its Yoperconf utility, coupled with the KDE Control Centre, makes system administration easy.

On the Internet front, Yoper uses Mozilla and the usual utilities commonly
shipped with distros of all genres, such as Gaim and Firefox. Network setup is done through the command line utility networksetup, which is similar to netcardconfig on Debian-based systems and is extremely useful, especially when you aren't using DHCP. Networksetup detected my network card, and after I filled in my IP settings, my network connection worked fine.

For entertainment, Yoper includes the KDE players Kaffiene and amaroK, as well as MPlayer.

Package management is a breeze with apt4rpm and the Synaptic front end. Yoper developers constantly updates the Yoper repositories to ensure that users have easy access to the latest packages and software. Yoper's Rocketfuel repository takes care of unstable packages. There is also a tutorial on the Yoper forum for making custom RPM packages.

A commendable feature of Yoper is its speed and stability. In the world of resource hogging distros, Yoper works at an amazing speed, even on my low-end 851MHz Celeron with 256MB of RAM, thanks to features like prelinking, compiling specifically for i686, and several performance-enhancing patches. The fine performance doesn't come at the expense of system stability. Yoper hasn't crashed even once in the four months I've been using it, no matter how heavily I'm multitasking.

For support questions, you can visit the Yoper Forum -- though there have been times when the forum was down for days. YoperWiki is also helpful although far from complete. For instant solutions, there is always the IRC #yoper channel at Freenode.

With its rock-solid stability and a lively support community, Yoper is going to stay on my PC for a long time.

Ankit Malik is a 16-year-old GNU/Linux enthusiast from New Delhi, India.

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