The time I spend on distro watching (various linux distributions) has come down a lot after working on Ubuntu for last one year. But I use to revise my soft corner with Ubuntu by testing some other distro also. I am not a linux server guy. I am a programmer who needs good stable home pc with programming environments, a lot of packages, multimedia features, personal management suites and internet applications with reasonably latest release also. Ubuntu fulfills this to good extent. Now I have legacy PC (PIII/192MB), the speed of Ubuntu is not enough for smooth work flow (But still it holds good for all purpose, my favourite distro…). So I am trying to find some other alternative also. There I found Zenwalk. Since I like Slackware, I tried slackware based Zenwalk 3.0.
I am not going to show you variety of screenshots here (BTW: how to take screenshots in Zenwalk? – I don’t find any tool, anyone knows? I used GIMP). Let me test the five point of agenda of Zenwalk.
- Modern (latest stable software) – YES
Yes, it is modern with latest stable software. XFCE 126.96.36.199 (Xfce 4.4 RC1) with wonderful Thunar file manager works integrated. Desktop’s default look and feel gives unique look to Zenwalk. Latest Firefox, Thunderbird, Abiword and GNumeric are latest and best.
- Fast (optimized for performance capabilities) – BIG YES
My legacy PC (PIII/192MB) is doing magic while Zenwalking. It is flying. Boot time is just 30 seconds with nice login screen. XFCE does not take much time to be active. Firefox works faster than the same on Ubuntu. Thunderbird too. Abiword and Gnumeric, no need to say.
- Rational (one mainstream application for each task) – YES
It is a good approach. I have seen many people complain about the choice of application. Zenwalk makes it easy for beginners to work.
- Complete (full development/desktop/multimedia environment) – BIG NO
The major issue I find with Zenwalk is the lack of choice of applications for other specific purpose than the normal desktop use. I tried to install OpenOffice.org and mplayer from repository. It works fine. But there is no mplayer plugin for Firefox, that is minimum requirement of an average user nowadays, which is not available in respository also. This is just an example. When I browse for sometimes, I came to know that Flash plugin is not there. It is not in repository also. When I try check for my favourite application on repository, I was disappointed mostly. The repository is very small.
- Evolutionary (simple network package management tool – netpkg) – BIG NO
The package managers “Netpkg” and “Pkgtool” are just sugar coated slackware tools. As a experienced Linux user, I myself not comfortable with the package manager. Definitely average desktop user will find difficulty in getting things done.
Zenwalk walks proudly in the roads of linux distributions except packages availability and package management. I request Zenwalk developers to concentrate on these points also to bring it near Ubuntu. Ubuntu, Keep yourself alert! Hats off to Zenwalk developers, Great software has come from great people!