Edit: Unfortunately, the images originally included in this post are gone, because of hosting problems in late 2009. My apologies.
Part of my motivation in jumping around so much is to sniff out the general state of other XFCE distributions, in case I’m driven by a wild urge to ditch Xubuntu altogether, and move in a different direction. And since I have the spare machine, and since it’s a real stickler at times, this is an educational experience too. But mostly I think it’s interesting to see how other clans do business, and what kind of results they get.
To that end, Wolvix is a standout. I’m very happy with this one.
Moves fast(er) on this machine, keeps a low profile (although there is a fair shake of Gnome in there), and installed in a snap. Actually, I think the installer was easier than Ubuntu’s live installer. I know it was quicker to finish (but installed less, too). GPartEd handled the partition issue with the least of effort, and everything else fell into place.
Wolvix is the only distro thus far (aside from Xubuntu) to get my Xircom Realport PCMCIA network card online and working without a skip. A tip of the hat for that.
Wolvix has a GUI X configuration tool, and a nifty control panel for adding users, installing the OS, package management, configuring printers, sound … you name it. It’s kind of nice having an all-in-one control panel that handles common setup tasks. Of course, it might be smart not to include the hard drive install option on a system that already has Wolvix installed. …
Default software is most of the stuff I like, plus a lot more. Audacious is included, as is EasyTAG, Exaile, gnormalize, Grip, Mplayer and streamtuner, as well as others. Graphics options include the omnipresent Gimp, plus mtPaint (which I happen to like), Inkscape, gtkam and a bunch more. Firefox, Dillo, gFTP, GPROFTPD, Gwget, Pidgin, Transmission … The Wolvix apps list reads like a who’s who of popular programs.
It’s impressive. And it’s attractive, and it’s smooth. I might be coming back to this one.
Performance-wise (on this machine at least), it’s coming in just under the Xubuntu-Zenwalk tier. Grub-to-desktop is in 1:45, which isn’t bad. I did notice that XFCE takes a little longer to orient itself under Wolvix, which might or might not be the fault of the desktop, instead of the distro. The login manager is SLiM, I believe, and it does a good job.
Firefox is up and running (and online, which is always good) in 17 seconds or so. That’s still very slow, but better than some. And of course, like all these times, they’re not first runs, and I don’t have any extensions in place.
Thunar opens in under nine seconds. A transparent xfce4-terminal needs a little over seven. Shutdown is over and done with in about 43 seconds, which is slower than most. That could be the fault of the framebuffer though; I allowed it to use the fancier default framebuffer console, and I can see the redraws on it, which suggests to me that it’s a bit bogged down.
For me, on this machine, Wolvix’s strong points are the easy installation, the quick(er) startup, the plethora of preinstalled software and the clean XFCE look. This would be a lovely Xubuntu, if Xubuntu wanted to be it.
It’s still not perfect for me, though. I’m being finicky, and I’ll admit it. I have a few more I want to try and compare, since I really think that it’s possible to get a complete distro that will run quick on this machine, and not have to build it up from a Feisty command-line install.
But we’ll see. There are literally thousands of options available, and I’ve only scratched the surface. I’d hate to see a real winner slip by just because I got tired of trying different ones.
(If you’re getting tired of watching me distro-hop, I apologize. Part of it is educational, I swear. This is such a funny little machine, I like to think I’m documenting my successes — and failures — for future reference. Even if they’re only interesting personally. )