21 Jan 2011

When Old Is Better Than New, or Comparing Two Ages of Brothers

My first acquittance with Linux happened to be with Slackware-based pocket distributive of SLAX. My first blog posts, then written in Russian and then translated, were written about SLAX.
SLAX was the only slackware-based distro I have tried until recent. And then my way crossed Nimblex.
When you get to Nimblex site, you can easily tell that Nimblex is a brother of SLAX. Same multi-language web page, same "customize your..." section, same menu points. Of course, design is different but that is just a different shirts for brothers.
Download section contains links to Nimblex 2008. CD image which weights just under 200Mb. It is burnt to CD-RW. Reboot. Choose to boot from CD-RW. Let's go!

Boot menu of Nimblex is something I've never seen before. 200Mb of disk image contains half a dozen of window managers to choose from: KDE, IceWM, Enlightment17 to name just a few! Wow! That is a choice. My first movement was towards E17. I've never seen it before, why not to try?
E17 did not impress me. Maybe because I could not find a way to activate my WiFi card there. Yes, Nimblex 2008 found a recognized WiFi card on my Compaq C300 without any issues. But E17 did not allow me to connect to Internet. OK. Let's go to more known field of KDE.
Yes, KDE option was far more productive. Connecting to my network was just a matter of seconds. Here we are! Firefox is running, Internet pages are working fine, and I even can read my own blog! ;-)
What is about network drive? I could not mount it. Neither in terminal, nor in Konqueror. Sure! Because Samba is not included into the package. And here I found another wonderful thing about Nimblex. Samba is listed as one of the available  packages on their web site. But only listed, since download link is not working. Fine, but SLAX is just a brother of Nimblex, and even some forum threads refer to SLAX packages. Can I try Samba from SLAX? Yes! And it works!
To be honest, Nimblex's site does not contain many packages available. But that can be easily compensated by usage of SLAX packages. They are compatible. At least, my Samba worked without any issue.
Sure, now I can connect my network drive in Nimblex. And it even has some Russian fonts correctly recognised, if mounted via Konqueror. Unfortunately, this mounting did not work for long. I had to re-mount network disk manually, and this way I could not find correct parameters for Russian fonts.
Russian fonts is still the same issue for Nimblex as for SLAX. What is about keyboard? The same as in SLAX, Nimblex allows you to choose keyboard layouts which you want to use. Standard KDE interface. That is good. But every good has something bad. Same in SLAX, it is not possible to switch on keyboard layout switching by "Ctrl-Shift" combination, which I used to.
Doing all this, I went back to Nimblex web site for some reason. And here I noticed something which I have not seen before! Nimblex 2008 is not the latest version of this distro! There is Nimblex 2010, though in Beta version yet. It is bigger in size, about 400Mb, but still small enough to get onto CD-RW.
Nimblex, one of two Live Slackware-based Tux brothers, has grown up. Let's see what has changed.
To my surprise, Nimblex has grown up in size, but not in functionality. Other way round. 400Mb of disk image only contain one windows manager: KDE. No IceWM, no E17! Where did it all gone? I know where! Nimblex 2010 has KDE4, as opposed to KDE3 in 2008 version. I wrote several times before that I honestly prefer KDE3 to KDE4. So, this change is not for better from my personal point of view.
Another change which painfully hit me was set of drivers included into this version. In details, Nimblex 2010 now does not support my WiFi card. It means I cannot do any further tests for network connections.
What was changed to better, is that I now can correctly set up my keyboard. Yes, configuration of switching between Russian and English (GB) layouts is easy-peasy thing.
So, Nimblex has grown up. It added some weight, but lost some abilities. Will it get it back? Maybe, because it is only a Beta!

Useful links:
http://www.nimblex.net/ - official web site of Nimblex
http://forum.nimblex.net/ - forum about Nimblex
http://www.slax.org/modules.php - SLAX modules, which can probably be used in Nimblex.
http://martik-scorp.blogspot.com/2011/01/nimblex-2010-new-wave-of-linux.html - Martik's blog post about Nimblex
http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=nimblex - Nimblex's distrowatch page

1 comment:

  1. > What was changed to better, is that I now can correctly set up my keyboard.