Distributions - JBLinux 1.1Those, who are ready to leave the mainstream of the Linux way of life and is looking towards the low valleys of the underground will sometimes be pleasantly surprised...
What is accepted in the art of music seems to be the same in the Linux-commuity: JBLinux is going to add another i586-optimized version to the rainbow-colored variety of existing Linux-distributions...
... and leave a lasting impression right from the beginning. JBLinux is one of the few distributions that can be installed onto a reiserfs-system without needing to to recopy the partitions. The Bootdisk/-cd leads - starting with the question wheather SCSI-suport is needed or ifa IDE-only system is installed - through a clean, structed and handy installation which installs the complete distribution with all of the provided software in about 10 minutes successfully on your harddisk. Features such as "complete installation" or single-package-choosing are included as well as the configuration of LILO (whcih shows a bootmenu instead of only a command line while booting...) or the activation of hdparm for opimizing your harddisk. Further configuration of the system is done while the first boot when the JB-own Tool setup is run for...
Text-based and using the well known dialog-interface the setup-tool is nothing more than a collection of scripts which, choseable from a menu, configure language, time zone, keyboard settings, mouse, sound, local Network, dial-connections (modem and ISDN) and X as well as provide the possibility to add or delete users.
All steps of the configuration process are logically designed and easy to use and provide the possibility to perform a basic configuration for a working linux system in a very short time.
After all there are just two points to complain about: Firstly the X configuration using XF86Setup terminates when choosing a 105-keys-keyboard. And secondly the missing step for choosing a root-password. This is to be done by the user after the first boot and logging in as root without passsword. Furthermore the configuration works fine and fast and due to a splendid configurated kernel (2.2.17 with USB-Backport-Patch 2.4.0-test2 and reiserfs-patch) even components like a TV-Card or USB-scanner could be made work in a short time.
Quantitatively seen the software provided on the (one) installation-CD is rather small. But regarding to the quality and especially the actuality there is absolutely no reason to complain: With Helix-GNOME 1. (containing Gimp 1.1.29, Gnumeric 0.59a, Dia 0.86, xmms 1.2.3 and much more software), Netscape Communicator 4.75 and Mozilla M18 basing on XFree86 3.3.6 or 4.0.1 respectively you get the latest software as well as the system providing kernel 2.2.17 (including several patches as seen above) and the glibc 2.1.3 as the latest available realeses. After all the package is awarded due to a very skillful choosing of software which could be greater but would (exept GnuPG) fit any reasonable purposes. Those who want more or other software may of course install their prefered software which should normally work without problems if you take care of the fact that the used *.jbl-packages are nothing more than *.tar.gz-archives to which easy understandable information for uninstallig the software have been added. As for the developer the packaging system to be used with JBLinux is not chosen yet so this maybe subject of change until the next version.
Actuallity, quick installation and configuration, stability and fastness are the factors that vote for a closer look at JBLinux. Of course the term "Linux-distribution" is not redefinated by this system and actually the use of JBL requires a bit knowledge and training aided by the docmentation which is currently being planned. Furthermore you can see in some technical details (startup-scripts to mention one) that this is a young distribution developed by a small number of developers which is not completed yet. However, neither during the installation and configuration process nor during normal operation is anything noticable. Constellation, setup, features and the chosen software show that the developers did some thinking about; the fastness if the installation is remarkeable and after all JBLinux is for the advanced user a interesting and worth alternative to the well-known distributions.
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