Vector Linux 6.0 Released

For a few months in the autumn, I used the previous release of Vector Linux as my main desktop in the town where I study. Now the project has released the new stable 6.0 Standard Edition release of the distribution:
The final release of VectorLinux 6.0 (code name 'Voyager') is now available. This release is a major milestone in the ten year history of Vectorlinux. With the unbridled enthusiasm of a community gone wild, we have forged our very own stable GUI installer and our repository now hosts over a thousand packages. VectorLinux is the fastest Linux desktop in it's class. We have exceeded our original goals of VectorLinux 6.0 and produced a beautiful, full featured stable desktop for a rocket fueled experience.

(From the release notes)

Vector Linux is available for download in several versions.

Arch 2009.02 Released

Arch is a very lightweight distribution for advanced users who are not afraid of the command line. The project has released a new ISO a few days ago. I quote from the release announcement:

2009.02 comes with the following features:
- Kernel 2.6.28
- Ext4 support. Installation can be done on a ext4 root partition.
- Rescue and maintenance capabilities for Ext4 root partitions
- Fallback ISOs with the ISOLINUX bootloader, for those that have
trouble booting Grub-based images
- Several bugfixes in the installer
- Brought the included documentation up-to-date
- Inclusion of AIF (Arch Linux Installation Framework), the next
generation installer, currently under development.

I have never used Arch myself but I according to what I've read it is a very good distribution to be installed an old computers. If you are new to Arch, start with the Beginners' Guide.

Another blog by me

As if trying to write one blog in English was not enough, I decided to start another blog for international audience. In my new Niche blogs with Adsense I write about my experiences with using Adsense on several niche blogs.

To be honest, I am not doing more than a few dollars a day with my blogs. But maybe I will learn something about eBusiness while writing for the other blog. At least I have learned incredibly lot about using Linux on old computers when writing this blog.

But don't worry, I will continue writing this blog also in the future!

Debian 5.0 Released

After 22 months of development, the Debian Project has released the new stable release of the distribution. See the release announcement for more information.

antiX M8 released

AntiX 8 'Intifada' was released yesterday. I quote from the project home page:

On behalf of the antiX-team I am proud to announce that antiX MEPIS 8 'Intifada' - a fast and light complete desktop and livecd based on SimplyMEPIS and Debian Testing, with a little bit of sidux,- is now available in full and base editions. This release defaults to a fully customised icewm desktop (fluxbox is also installed) In addition to the SimplyMEPIS 8.0 foundation with its 2.6.27-15 kernel and Assistants, antiX has an improved antiX-Control Centre, new scripts for screenshots, and phonebook. There are improved and extended themes and artwork for icewm and fluxbox. Localisation is much improved in this version. As well as including usual applications such as iceweasel(3.0.6), pigin(2.4), abiword(2.6.4), gnumeric(1.8-3), rox-filer(2.8) and claws-mail(3.5), antiX-M8 also includes the sidux meta-installer, an updated ceni and wicd for wired/wireless connections, UMTSmon - a simple connect program for users using 3g usb modems, firehol firewall, gnomebaker replaces brasero, urxvt replaces wterm. antiX-M8 has 7.3, auto-login with latest SLiM, smxi, inxi, svmi scripts from h2, and Dillo 2. New apps include: zim (wiki), Gjots (notes), Grsync, parted and luckyBackup.

AntiX is designed to work on computers with as little as 64 MB RAM and Pentium II or equivalent AMD processors, but not K5/K6 processors. 128 MB RAM is recommended minimum.

I have used antiX 8 on one of my desktops (Pentium 1 GHz, 256 Mb RAM)for several weeks and I have been completely happy with it. See my comments on the test release in an earlier blog article
"AntiX 8 test release reviewed". I warmly recommend to install this distro on any old computer that has at least 128 MB RAM.

Lightweight Linux elsewhere

Just a short note today. It seems very few people have noticed that I have moved most of my short notes about cool applications or web sites to Delicious. I recommend you to add me to your network if you use Delicious. And if you don't yet use Delicious, I suggest you to try it. It provides a really practical way for bookmarking web sites.

And don't forget I'm at least sometimes active also in Twitter where I often announce my blog articles!

wtf is wtf?

I happened to install last week - quite accidentally - a cool little command line tool I want to share with you today. As I installed the package bsdgames in my antiX box I got quite a few text mode games installed. In addition to the games, wtf was installed in my system.

I'm not quite sure if wtf really is a game. It is a small tool that searches for acronyms and their explanations in a dictionary file. And in case you don't know what the acronym wtf stands for, you can let the tool explain it's name with the command:

wtf is wtf

Now that I have this tool installed in my system, I don't have to remember and google for AFAICR, AYT, CMIIW, FIGJAM and other completely unintelligible acronyms I encounter while reading discussions on different Internet forums. finds packages

Slackware is one of my favorite distributions for old computers. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to find packages for a given Slackware version. As the root must take care of dependencies in a Slackware system, I rarely like to install any new applications to a running Slackware. On the other hand, this certainly adds to the stability of the system.

So far I have used for hunting obscure libraries or applications I have sometimes needed to use on my Slackware box or Slackware derivatives. No there is a new web based tool available: (both in English and Russian). As Slackfind seems to find a lot of packages that are not yet available in Linuxpackages I will certainly bookmark this site to be used on my computers.

Adventure in text mode

My first computer was a Commodore 64, that was one of the most popular home computers in the 1980's. I used the computer mostly for games and learning to code, first in BASIC and later in 6510 assembler. As the screen resolution for multicolored graphics was only 160x200, I often played text mode adventure games. To be honest, the 40x25 text mode screen was not very pleasant, either.

Text mode adventure games were a popular genre in the 1980's but nowadays it seems a dead genre. The young people are more accustomed to playing 3d adventures than trying to guess the right verb to use in a two-word sentence to command the hero to some simple action. The early adventures used only literary descriptions of places and problems encountered had to be solved by giving commands like take bottle, enter building, use key, open door etc.

If you are ready to go back in time to the 1970's and 1980's, you might like to try the adventure. In Ubuntu, it is provided by the package bsdgames.

Tint is a Tetris clone

Do you still remember playing Tetris for hours and hours twenty years ago? Or are you so young that you have never heard of Tetris? In both cases you might like to try Tint - it is a free clone of the classic game from behind the Iron Curtain.

There are numerous versions of Tetris available for any moder Linux system. But Tetris was not a 3d game nor was it played with hexagons, or over Internet or LAN against a human opponent. On the contrary, it was a very simple game with extremelys simple graphics. Just like Tint today. Tint was meant to be a close clone of the original Tetris written by Alexey Pajitnov, Dmitry Pavlovsky, and Vadim Gerasimov.

Tint is a very lightweight game and it does not take a lot of hard disk space. In fact, the size of the deb package is only 14.1 kB (I had of course ncurses preinstalled). Could this be the smallest arcade game available for Linux?

New lightweight blog template

I decided to use a new and very basic design for Lightweight Linux from now on. Furthermore, I decided to remove the animated Amazon widget in order to make this blog load faster an be easier to read even with old computers.

Nethack is the game for geeks

Around 15 years ago I played for the first time Nethack. I should have been working on my MA thesis in medieval ecclesiastical history but I probably spent a lot more time online: reading the newsgroups, chatting in the IRC or in the university's internal bulleting board known as Portacom.

Sometimes I even played games on the Unix system. There were not too many games installed, but there were many online multiuser dungeon games I was able to play over telnet. And the famous Adventure was available and of course the Nethack.

I was never completely hooked on Nethack, but I completely understand those geeks who spent the nights hacking monsters in the darkness of the dungeons. Sometimes I have even tried to play Nethack with my Linux systems. It certainly is not for everyone, but it is one of the few playable games available for the Linux console.

Even if you might not fully understand the magic of Nethack it is certainly worth installing in the Linux system. If you are desperate enough you might even like to start killing the monsters in the deep dungeons!

Lightweight Ubuntu derivatives for old computers

Many Linux newbies are looking for help in installing Linux on some old computer they still have. In many cases, their knowledge of Linux is limited in using Ubuntu. Thus it is only natural that they want to find a lightweight Ubuntu derivative to be used also with the old computer. Another group of users are looking for a distro to be used with a netbook.

There are, in fact, several Ubuntu derivatives that might be useful even with hardware that is limited by modern standards. But unfortunately, these distros are not always as easy to use as Ubuntu is and not necessarily as lightweight as some other distributions. I have not myself tested any Ubuntu derivatives but I decided to collect here some information I have encountered on my neverending web searches.

Here are the possibilities I have found:
  1. U-lite was previously known as Ubuntulite. The web site is not especially uptodate, but earlier versions have according to the information on the site been installed and used with P266 with 192 Mb RAM. At the moment, a processor of Pentium class II, 96 Mb RAM and at least 4 Gb hard drive space are required. More memory would certainly not hurt the system.
  2. Eebuntu is a remix tailored for EeePC. It comes in three flavours: base, netbook and standard.
  3. Ubuntu Mini remix is a 133 Mb remix livecd containing only the minimal set of software to make the system work.
  4. Crunchbang is another lightweight Ubuntu derivative. It is not meant especially for old computers but according to posts in Ubuntu forum many users have been quite satisfied with it even when installed on an old computers.
  5. Ubuntu Minimal CD Image is one more way to install a lightweight Ubuntu system. See Psychocats for more information about how to build a lightweight desktop around this CD. And don't forget K. Mandla's documentation Set up Ubuntu for Speed.
  6. More adventurous users might like to try K. Mandla's GTK1.2 remix.
  7. Fluxbuntu might be active at the moment, at least the web site shows screenshots from the experimental 9.04. The last stable release was based on 7.10 and I was unfortunately not able to install it on my box.
If you are ready to consider some other distribution to be used instead of Ubuntu derivatives, both Debian and antiX might be good solutions for an Ubuntu user. If you are ready to learn a bit more you could try Slackware, Crux or Arch. There are pros and cons for every alternative, but ultimately only you can decide which distro to install and use.

Fortunately, you are free to choose among many free alternatives.