Ruminations on the Digital Realm

Jan Stedehouder

PCLinuxOS Day 10 – MiniMe 2008 edition: First impressions

PCLinuxOS is at the heart of it’s own ecosystem of remasters. During the month I want to check them out. The first one is the MiniMe 2008 edition.

What is the MiniMe 2008 edition about

The default PCLinuxOS 2007 is a complete distribution with a collection of software to get started. The decision on which collection has been made by the PCLinuxOS team. In a world where “choice” is the main operative word it isn’t a bad idea to create the smallest and barest possible distribution possible. So you move on to DSL or Puppy Linux.

“Hold on!”, some might say, “I want to have more choice in building up my PCLinuxOS system, not something else”. IF you recognize yourself in this, the MiniMe edition was made for you. The PCLinuxOS team is quite clear about their target audience.

It is designed for advanced users or for users who wish to learn how to customize their system with the applications and support files they want to use.

Some tech data: the MiniMe edition comes with a 2.6.22.15 kernel and a basic KDE 3.5.8 desktop.

Installing MiniMe

You will notice a difference between booting PCLinuxOS 2007 en MiniMe 2008. The default install asks some questions about your keyboard, timezone, network connection and DHCP server. Those questions are all but absent from the MiniMe edition, just the question about the keyboard remains. The rest of the setup can be found in the Utilities folder on the desktop. Personally I believe that was a wise decision.

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The art work received it’s own polish. The blue tones have been replaced by black and grey. For the desktop MiniMe comes with a Vista/Aero-like style and background. I know the theme and it looks marvelous, but I did feel a bit sad about the decision. I know, I know, I am writing about W2L migration often enough and the look-N-feel of Vista/Aero should make new Windows migrators more at home. But I also believe a solid distribution with it’s own face and style, it’s own pizzaz, is to be preferred over simply emulation of the Windows style. One remark: the background didn´t scale on my 14.1″ laptop screen, but it was centered with two blue bars on the sides.

Installing MiniMe follows the same steps as the PCLinuxOS with one difference. Setting up the root account and the first user account has been moved to after the first boot. MiniMe is about half the size of the default CD and installing it is a breeze. You barely have enough time to make yourself a decent cup of coffee (which is different from pouring hot water over instant coffee). It took less than 15 minutes on a VirtualBox PC to finish the installation.

The basic desktop is just that: a basic desktop with the bare minimum of utilities. You do find the the option to build a new live CD under System -> Make Remaster or in the folder Utilities. In that folder you also find the ATi-nVidia Driver Install. This will allow you to install the proprietary driver for graphics cards from both companies (or remove them, when needed). Internet setup launches the wizard with which you can select the proper connection and set it up. Configuring your sound card isn’t handled by a nice, shiny wizard, but via a shell. Nothing complicated. Just enter your root password and follow the steps as they appear on screen.

Wrapping up

If you need help in building up and using the MiniMe edition, there is a specific forum where you can go to. MiniMe is hosted at LinuxTracker and there are plenty of seeders.

I will use MiniMe to build “my own” PCLinuxOS system and use that in the experiment to build my own remaster. If you want to check out a remaster that uses MiniMe, take a look at the PCLinuxOS Digital Photography Edition. It’s somewhat larger than MiniMe (590 Mb) and everything you can think of as a open source digital photographer.

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