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Monday, December 29, 2008

Use sidux 2008-04 for a "Cool Yule"!

I have been promoting sidux for a while now, and sidux 2008-04 is one of their best yet. Decked out in Yuletide green, with a white ground cover, sidux 2008-04 is one cool desktop system for the Yuletide season.

Why do I like sidux so much? Nothing else gives me such current software with so little effort. I can use Arch and get pretty new stuff, but I find that Debian based systems have a wider range of software, and I find them to be a bit more reliable than Arch in getting me the cutting edge stuff sooner. With Arch, if I get too greedy and want the latest stuff, and I go to either the AUR to grab the sources and build them or I enable the Testing repository to get newer stuff, I've found that it is far too easy to break Arch, sometimes completely beyond repair, requiring the software to be installed again. With sidux, I do not have to hunt or mess around. Debian Sid is always updated, at least with the packages that I am interested in, within a week, sometimes even a day, of the updates by the application maintainer, and security related changes are always very fast to be implemented.

What sidux gives me is a clean, steady way to manage those Sid changes without the kind of erratic behavior I run into in other cutting edge systems, such as Arch and Gentoo, both of which have been challenging to me. Sure, I could tame those two, but I'd have to spend more time researching to make sure my changes would not break things. sidux takes care of such things for me.

I use the optional sidux tool, smxi, to assist me in the installation and configuration of my system. Not once in the entire time that I've used sidux has it ever broken my system and rendered it unbootable or ruined the most commonly used software. Yet it gives me stuff that is difficult to find as current elsewhere.

Are there any drawbacks to using sidux? Only if you don't like to be bothered with updating your system often. In that case, you may be better off using one of the great stable Debian based desktop systems. Debian Stable itself is great. SimplyMEPIS is one of the most solid desktop systems you can find. What I do is that I use both sidux and SimplyMEPIS. I use sidux to get the great, latest releases of software, and I use SimplyMEPIS to have an easy system that I do not have to mess with or alter often. SimplyMEPIS includes a task bar icon to let you know when updates are available. sidux has a similar software update tool that can warn you about changes that can potentially lead to problems, then you have the choice of what to do with them.

The only other potential drawback I can think of is for people who want everything right there, including non-free software. The sidux team strongly adheres to the Debian project principles found in the Debian Free Social Guidelines (DFSG), so they do not include proprietary firmware, drivers, add-ons, or plug-ins that may be useful, but are not "free" in the sense of freely available software source code. The sidux project does, however, provide outstanding documentation on how you can obtain software to tailor your system as needed. If you are not one who is willing to modify your system, then sidux is not for you, but if you are willing to customize your system, then sidux is a perfect choice!

3 comments:

SaigonNezumi said...

Which desktop environment are you using with Sidxu? I am not a fan of KDE and really did not like XFCE. I heard that you can use LXDE with sidux now so I may give it a try again.

Too bad gnome is not supported.

Good article. I do like to see Sidux fans blogging more :-)

SaigonNezumi(Kevin)

Stacey said...

Nice article. Sidux is indeed an excellent choice for those who want to learn about Debian Sid, and aren't afraid to stay on the bleeding edge of the action. The community is also very responsive to questions. Via their IRC channel, forum, and user manuals, one can get a speedy and correct answer to any question.

The feedback from users and the quick response time from the development side keeps potential problems (Hey, this is Sid we're talking about here) in check. Solutions to discovered bugs or feature limitations are quickly communicated and discussed at length by community members, which in and of itself provides a great opportunity for learning how Debian works. With the lightning fast installer, getting up and running is a breeze (10 minutes!) Smxi is great for keeping the system up-to-date and managing a wide variety of admin tasks.

All in all, an amazingly stable Sid experience to be shared with a dedicated team of users and developers.

Highly recommended!

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