4 Feb 2011

Give me 5!

I have recently asked if you remember the Pet Shop Boys song Go West! Do you? Fine. Do you remember chorus in that track? That is one of the most famous choruses in Russia, chorus of Russian Army.
Do Russians do anything else? Something different from choruses? You might well remember balalaikas, vodka, bears and other stereotypes.
But please wait. Russians also live in 21st century. Although there are some area where you have issues with snail mail and gas,  there are still some computer geniuses. And, of course, Tux lives in many Russian homes and offices. There are several Linux distros born in Russia. I have already told you about one of them, Agilia Linux. Now it is time to get acquainted with another.

Alt Linux

Alt Linux is famous in Russia because it is widely used in schools. Company beyond Alt Linux (strangely named OOO Alt Linux too) issued set of different Linux distributives specifically for schools. They promote it across the country, sometimes having serious fights with Microsoft.
But school-oriented versions are not the only available. I am more interested in KDE Desktop version of Alt Linux. Its latest version, 5.0 weights about 3.4Gb. Too much for CD-RW, so I will burn it to DVD-RW disk. Test will run on my Toshiba laptop. Disk is ready. Reboot. Chose to boot from DVD. Let's go!

First screen which you get onto lets you to choose options of booting. You can run installation process right from there. But I am not interested in installation at this moment. I am more interested in Live version. It is also possible. By the way... Do you know Russian? Probably not. That's why it will be difficult for you to understand options. Until you press F2 and chose a language which you know. English is in the list. Let's do it. Now all the menus are in English. Nice!
So, Live CD booting starts. In few minutes you are in Alt Linux.
It is based on KDE 4.3.4. If you have seen it before, you have no problems in navigation. There are no icons or Plasma object on default desktop, apart from installation shortcut.
I have already complained once that mouse works very unstable on my Toshiba laptop. That time I tested Linux Mint Julia. But actually I have this problem with most Tuxes I run on this computer. I suppose this is a problem of touchpad driver. But Alt Linux surprised me here. Touchpad mouse worked fine almost all the time. Very rarely it jumped to some unexpected place. Nice!
Alt Linux is distributed as DVD image. What do you get with it? You might expect a lot. And you get a lot. OpenOffice.org is here. In full mode, including Base and Math. Several music player. Firefox, Kopete, KTorrent. I could not count number of games included there. Surprisingly, there is no GIMP. Do not understand why.
We have selected English during the system boot. Of course, all the menus and programs run in English here. But what is about other languages? Can I use Russian there? I would be surprised if I could not. Of course Russian keyboard layout can be easily added to the system. It's a matter of one minute.
If this is not the first post about Linux Operating System you read in my blog (and I believe not the last one), you are of course know that all the blips and blops like keyboard layouts and screen widgets are not so important for me. I have already stated it when I started my blog. The main task is to get my Tux connected to the network and to the Internet. What is about Alt Linux? Unfortunately, Alt Linux is not good enough for my Toshiba laptop. Actually, I would be surprised if it was. Version 5.0.0, which I tried, was released at the end of December 2009. My Toshiba L500 laptop was bought about same time. It would be too fantastic to get hardware support in this version of Alt Linux.
So, no network this time. No Internet. No external drive connection. No multimedia tests.
There are some rumours that next generation of Alt Linux, version 6, is almost ready for release. Let's wait for it and see! Hope all of us will enjoy it!
But if you want to see what Russian developers can offer you now, you of course can try version 5. You can either download it yourself or buy via my Buy Linux CDs page. And remember, every CD you buy from here helps me to support this blog!

Useful links about Alt Linux:

http://www.altlinux.com/ - Home page of Alt Linux
http://www.altlinux.com/en/go/download/ - download page
http://forum.altlinux.org/ - forum (in Russian)


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