Spotlight on Linux: Linvo GNU/Linux

Linvo GNU/Linux

After an earlier quick look, it seemed Linvo GNU/Linux was worthy of a spotlight. Linvo is a Slackware-based distribution featuring GNOME 2.32 and is shipped as a live image. The desktop is pretty and features a handy set of applications. In addition, additional applications are available through a popular one-click format.

Linvo has been in development since early 2009 and was recently added to Distrowatch's distribution database. Slackware has long been known as rock solid and stable, and Linvo dresses it up and brings some advantages over Slackware itself.

Some advantages over Slackware might be:

1. Live image
2. GNOME desktop (for those users)
3. Easy graphical installation in live environment
4. Additional packages
5. More packages through one-click Web interface
6. Desktop customizations & eyecandy

The Live Environment

Linvo live boots quickly straight into its pretty GNOME desktop. (Slackware is known for providing applications and desktops just as the developers release.) It takes advantage of autoconfiguration of the X Server and renders an autoprobed resolution. In testing, this resolution tends to be on the safe side of optimal. NVIDIA drivers are available from Linvo, but no proprietary ATI/AMD drivers are listed.

Linvo plays it safe with GNOME 2.32 and its familiar typical setup. This usually, and does in Linvo, consist of an upper panel housing a few applets on the right and the three menus on the left. Below is the other panel for the application taskbar and desktop pager. In the application menu are applications such as GIMP, OpenOffice.org, Evolution, Chromium, Brasero, Totem, plus lots of accessories and tools.

The hard drive installer is quick and easy as well. It only asks a few questions in a compact user-friendly format. It does its job fast with no problems. The only complaint is that it installs a bootloader automatically without giving the user a choice or the choice in systems added. It adds an entry for every system available (as most would want).

The Installed System

The installed desktop is practically identical to the live environment minus the Install icon on the desktop. One icon one might notice instead is the Getting Started. This will open a browser to Linvo's Website where users can peruse information about Linvo, visit user support forums, or install extra applications through what some may call one-click links. The forum isn't really busy, but it appears questions are promptly answered.

If Synaptic is more your thing, then the Gslapt interface is also available set up with Slackware and Linvo repositories. It performs very quickly, but may give dependency errors upon choosing some packages. Some of these errors are erroneous as the dependency is indeed installed in these cases.

Issues with the proprietary NVIDIA drivers may plague users as well. During tests here modprobing the driver resulted in a "No such device" error. No kernel source was available for the default Linvo kernel.

Users of Linvo may be able to upgrade their installs instead of installing fresh with the Update app in the Administration menu. In testing here it reported it could not get information about the current version, but this could be because the latest version was already running.

Disadvantages:

1. No 64-bit version
2. Troublesome NVIDIA drivers
3. No kernel source

Conclusion

Linvo isn't perfect, but it's getting there. The only real problem here was the NVIDIA drivers and many people prefer not to use those anyway. It doesn't come in a 64-bit version and that may turn a few off. But Linvo performs very well and gives users a chance to try out Slackware in an easier and more familiar manner. It has a lot of potential especially for users who still do not want to move to GNOME 3. For KDE users, Gslapt easily installs the Slackware packages. Overall, it's a great little distro.

* Linvo Home Page

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