Print Story Ask HuSI: Which GNU/Linux FreeBSD or OpenBSD distro?
Just a quick question for any of you open-sores hippies out there.


I've been out of the recreational GNU/Linux BSD game for some time, due to being able to afford a proper computer. For reasons I don't really want to get into right now, I'm feeling the need to install Linux and/or BSD again. I've had various VMs on the go, including SuSE, Fedora, Ubuntu, OpenIndiana and the like, but I am finding them really irritating with their shitty attempts at a graphical user interface.

I like to rock an early 90's vibe on my unix desktop, with maybe 20 green-on-black xterms with massive scroll buffers and very little else, running either twm or 9wm.

So my question is, which lightweight distro would you recommend? Ideally it should not have Gnome or KDE or any of that half baked nonsense, just X11 and tvtwm/9wm. Oh yeah and preferably 64-bit, but 32 would work too. VMware tools would be nice to have but not a deal breaker.

Bonus points if your recommended distro has one of those 'endearing' oh so clever stupid names that seem to be so amusing to the open sores crowd...

I suppose I could always try to figure out how to disable all the KDE/Gnome shit and replace it with twm/9wm, but I'm a lazy sod and would prefer someone to to spoon feed me. (I did google it, but I really want a personal recommendation).
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Ask HuSI: Which GNU/Linux FreeBSD or OpenBSD distro? | 21 comments (21 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Get one that's rolled out without all that crap by gzt (4.00 / 1) #1 Wed May 28, 2014 at 04:27:26 PM EST
ie they have ready-made distributions based on, say, LXDE, for both Fedora and Ubuntu.

If you want more "primitive" than that, you'll probably have to get away from ready-built. LXDE is easily done as an early 90s low-overhead GUI.

from one of those lxde distros... by gzt (4.00 / 1) #2 Wed May 28, 2014 at 04:28:05 PM EST
...it's easy to tone things down even further if desired.

[ Parent ]
thanks for the pointer, I just tried LXDE by gmd (2.00 / 0) #3 Wed May 28, 2014 at 05:22:51 PM EST
It was on the fedora distro I'm using, and whilst it's a massive improvement over gnome/kde, its still not twm. I particularly dislike the wasteful menu and tab xterms to me is just asking for trouble...

I'm going to sound like a boring old fart but I remember when twm was all you got (and at least it was better than openwin). I actually remember PAYING for Motif mwm on NetBSD 0.9 back in the day, and it wasn't cheap.



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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
fair enough by gzt (4.00 / 1) #4 Wed May 28, 2014 at 05:35:04 PM EST
it's about as stripped down as you can get out-of-the-box from a major distro.

[ Parent ]
Amusingly enough by gmd (2.00 / 0) #5 Wed May 28, 2014 at 05:42:57 PM EST
When I search for 'fedora gdm twm', all I get is people whinging that they screwed something up and now all they have is twm... And most of the results are very very old. I guess twmphiles are a small minority these days.



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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
perhaps arch? by wumpus (4.00 / 1) #9 Wed May 28, 2014 at 08:51:34 PM EST
I've heard claims that arch is a "more pure" linux. Other things like "you will know Linux inside and out if you run Arch." Enough things to make me happy with Ubuntu or Debian. I would expect such a place to be into twm.

Arch's wiki on twm suggests starting twm by:
exec twm
startx
So this might be what you are interested in.

Wumpus

[ Parent ]
Bah by Gedvondur (4.00 / 1) #6 Wed May 28, 2014 at 07:18:06 PM EST
Windows 8.1 with the Metro interface is all a True Power User like yourself will ever need....


I'm more of an XP fan when it comes to by gmd (4.00 / 1) #7 Wed May 28, 2014 at 08:15:37 PM EST
Billy boy's shitty bug ridden marketing driven operating systems.




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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
Why not just install twm? by dark nowhere (2.00 / 0) #8 Wed May 28, 2014 at 08:46:31 PM EST
You would have to remove GNOME for the lightweight experience since it runs a disk-thrashing service at boot to make windows users feel at home. (KDE waits until KDE session login.)

If you do this, try to keep your application use restricted to xterm, fontforge and the like. If you try to install anything that has a GUI to speak of you end up installing half of the GNOME ecosystem, and from gconf it's a small step to disk-thrasherupdate-tracker.

Why don't you just install xwindows, xterm and twm on your ProperOS? Surely it can be done. Heck, even the other guy can do it—he even runs fontforge (but never on the secondary display.)

Chill out, snowflake.

This is exactly what I ended up doing by gmd (2.00 / 0) #11 Thu May 29, 2014 at 02:56:07 AM EST
And after a couple of tweaks I now have a nice twm setup, but it was much harder than it needed to be. It should come as an option rather than having to mess around locating gmd configuration files etc.

and now I'm in library version hell trying to get the default gcc package to install.

It seems linux is still not ready for my desktop...


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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
Library version hell? by dark nowhere (2.00 / 0) #12 Thu May 29, 2014 at 05:33:50 AM EST
Are you using Slackware or something? That's why I eventually gave it up.

Unless you're compiling a kernel or need specific GCC extensions you might want to try Apple's compiler.

Chill out, snowflake.

[ Parent ]
Gentoo by marvin (2.00 / 0) #14 Thu May 29, 2014 at 12:06:21 PM EST
Or Linux from Scratch.

[ Parent ]
Fedora 20 by gmd (2.00 / 0) #18 Thu May 29, 2014 at 02:25:39 PM EST
 Because I'm a corporate redhat using whore...

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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
I thought they fixed that. by dark nowhere (2.00 / 0) #21 Thu May 29, 2014 at 08:12:06 PM EST
I used to admin RHEL servers. A lot of people messed up dependencies by manually fetching/installing rpms like it was Slackware or something. I think I could still repair a rpm db from rote memory.

Chill out, snowflake.

[ Parent ]
Still not ready by marvin (2.00 / 0) #15 Thu May 29, 2014 at 12:21:37 PM EST
I am curious about how long you needed to achieve a similar level of customization in your other desktop operating systems? It must have been a real blast getting iOS rocking "an early 90's vibe on my unix desktop, with maybe 20 green-on-black xterms with massive scroll buffers and very little else, running either twm or 9wm".

It's pretty unlikely for you to be in library version hell on the default GCC - unless you added oddball third party package repositories, and overrode the package manager defaults by installing ancient library versions as prerequisites for your crusty old window manager.

When was the last update to tvtwm anyways? 1991? Is there any Mac or Windows software from 1991 that will still run? It seems to me that you are complaining about the near-equivalent of not being able to easily configure and run Norton Commander and Wordperfect on Windows 8.

[ Parent ]
IOS is not a desktop operating system by gmd (2.00 / 0) #16 Thu May 29, 2014 at 02:02:58 PM EST
 And on macos, one simply installs x11 and it all works

with respect to package managers I'm running fedora 20 heisenbug and I am using out of the box repository. No overrides, just yum install.


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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
twm works on mac? by marvin (2.00 / 0) #17 Thu May 29, 2014 at 02:11:26 PM EST
Why go back to lunix then?

So I guess iOS is the mobile system and macos is the desktop? I can't keep track of Apple's names - they all sound the same to me. iMac. iPod. iPad. iBook. iOS. iEverything.

This article on Ars has me interested in setting up a home fileserver and trying out some of the new filesystems.

The last time I ran a .rpm based distro was around 2000. rpm hell was ugly. Once you go .deb, you never go back.

[ Parent ]
I want Lunix by gmd (2.00 / 0) #19 Thu May 29, 2014 at 02:28:04 PM EST
 Because I need to familiarise myself with certain products and how they inter operate on a linux platform. I choose fedora because it's basically redhat which is the majority of Lunix estate at my workplace.




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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
i got a radical idea: by the mariner (4.00 / 1) #10 Wed May 28, 2014 at 09:36:03 PM EST
just use a distribution disk/archive from the 90s.

alternatively, you could just install manually, write your own start-up scripts and such.

OpenBSD is about as old-fashioned as it gets by clover kicker (4.00 / 2) #13 Thu May 29, 2014 at 09:43:01 AM EST
Probably NetBSD also, but no personal experience.

I don't run it with X so no idea what their defaults are but I gotta think it's stripped waaay down.

easy by dev trash (2.00 / 0) #20 Thu May 29, 2014 at 07:44:58 PM EST
Open up terminal. go to town.

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I DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR BALLS! ->clock
Ask HuSI: Which GNU/Linux FreeBSD or OpenBSD distro? | 21 comments (21 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback