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  • Distrowatch Biased Distro Reviews

    Distrowatch Childish and Biased Distro Reviews

    This is unbelievable. How can someone without zero experience in any distro or even Firefox and the Internet use that nonsensical tone and expressions against one of the best, almost perfectly executed, fast and responsive distribution out there. This guy who goes by the name Ian Sanders is either a complete noob or a paid troll. Its not my duty to analyze the reasoning for such behavior but let's review this utter nonsensical text on Distrowatch together.

    Before we start let me tell you that I personally used this distro and still load it with dd on a USB stick. Its nice ot have a good backup just in case something happens on my main daily driver. This distro we're talking about is based on Gentoo and comparing to others- is one of the best Gentoo based distro out of the box. Almost noob ready. It has many flavors and I personally recommend KDE version.

    Workstation KDE version is called Caclulate CLD (CLD=Calculate Desktop, and the deskop of choice is KDE). There are also server versions and other desktops like XFCE (CLX) and others. On each download mirror, besides hash files, there's a text file with the list that explains desktops shortcuts (CLD, CLX, CLG,...). Moreover unlike many other "praised" distros it has automatic almost daily builds. You can't download them here:

    https://wiki.calculate-linux.org/nightly

    This is what you want. The name might be a little misleading when you click "testing" and then see the page with "nightly" in the address bar, but this is what you want. Its the release version (currently version 20) but with all fixes up to date. No more downloading tons of updates just after installing .iso. Great stuff to keep on a USB stick. Some distros don't even have point releases, not to mention automatic builds.

    But that is not the end. "dd" the iso onto USB stick ($ dd bs=4M oflag=sync if=xxxx.iso of=/dev/sdx) and boot from it. How big your surprise will be, when you see you have nice menu to chose all the options you need. Unlike all other distros this is the best menu out there. No more fighting to set up time (UTC, Local, Geo-ip, offset of 1hour etc). You chose your timezone with city and voila. Your time is immediately correct. And you are not even connected to the Internet yet.

    Then in the same live boot menu you have the option to chose the "Intel with Composite", unlike some weird "modesetting" of MX Linux where (on Intel) the fan goes haywire and hot. You can even set resolution just in case it won't be recognized or something goes wrong.

    One option that caught my attention is that you can chose your audio: ALSA or Pulse. How nice is that. I personally never had any issue with pulse but even today its nice to have an option.

    And this is before you even start the system. Live is going to be great .

    Now about that biased Distrowatch text. It starts with the following phrase "Installation CLD utilizes a strange installation interface (GUI)". Strange? What strange is about a perfectly executed installation process? It has straightforward installation. It has forms to fill in with the usual stuff and it even gives you a box to set up your "wheels" permissions for the user. By default (vide Gentoo Wiki) it does not install root user. That must be done after installation. Easy peasy - Gentoo Wiki and voila. It also, by default, proposes ZFS on root and Home. You know its Gentoo based.

    So what might be strange about this GUI? Ivan Sanders immediately says: "I have not encountered before, even after testing numerous distros throughout the years". Just because you have never seen anything before, doesn't mean its strange or weird or bad. What kind of logic is this? You follow forms and pages, put your usual "linuxy" stuff in there and you're good to go. What is strange about it? I think its You, Mr Sanders.


    Next he rants about "partitioning" scheme: "No matter what I tried, manually partitioning did not work for me and I had to erase the disk and do it automatically as opposed to the normal manual ways I prefer. I really could not understand the issues they were trying to give me in the installation media concerning my partitioning and it was very finicky. I had to reinstall numerous times."

    I did not encounter such problems. If you can't do it go by default. But nooo, he had to teach us an new word. First it was "strange" and now "finicky". I don't even know what this means.

    {on the other hand all distros has this problems with grub, lsblk vs UUID etc, UEFIs, flags, etc. but that is topic for changing it to KISS principles}


    Lets continue:

    "CLD comes with Firefox. Interestingly, their Firefox comes with uBlock (a popular ad/tracker blocker) pre-installed, which made me worry about other changes they may have made to their install of Firefox."

    In stead of praising that the distro comes with uBlock Origing by default (you use Firefox you install it anyway- this way you can use it even as a live backup without persistence!). He immediately assumes that something sinister might be done to the Firefox. He even used Wireshark to "inspect" connections (doubt it) but did not explain anything about the proecss. Nor did he found anything "unusual". Oh my, I wander what Mr Sanders would do if he encountered a distro and Firefox had both: uBlock and PrivacyBadger.

    Next: "Software, software, software... where is the software? I couldn't find any mention of a software store or any GUI based package management system in the KDE menus". I always found GUIs for package managers "quirky" at best. KDE's Discover is not that good and sometimes with those package GUIs there might be some issues with stability or even security (pamac). The hell with them. In Gentoo/Calculate you have emerge/portage - the most advance package manager out there. Use eix to search. Hint: Sometimes when updating for many months (its rolling distro) you need to switch to a new profile. Gentoo wiki has all of it explained.


    As for updates, on Calculate even noob can do it. The developers made an amazing GUI for updates. It does all the magic robustly for you. It takes a little longer than your usual '$ dnf --refresh upgrade -y' or $ 'pacman -Syyu/Syu --noconfim', but its amazing that using emerge you can synchronize with the original server! People who are on Manjaro can only dream about this (partial upgrades, messed up, non-synchronized mirrors, broken updates, ...). Gentoo = no problem! Just sync, from time to time, with the original Gentoo server. How thoughtful is this! But nooo Mr Sanders is one of those "new kids" that have zero attention span and have to have everything instantly ready and on a plate. Work for it!


    Lets continue: "I did not really ever master the emerge system, and I can't say that I liked it at all". You don't have to be a master. But one hour with Gentoo Wiki and a piece of paper and you are set. I did it. I can read books. What was the last book Mr Sanders you read and when was it? (...).


    "Steam and Chrome are both in the standard repository for CLD, but many programs I looked for and regularly use were not in the repository". Can you tell us which ones or you're just creating FUD? I had never, ever had any problem with this, but since you have not mastered the "emerge" maybe you were not using "/" while copying and pasting from "eix" - the nice search for packages. Or you don't know how to search on Gentoo (since you didn't read the Wiki) or didn't synchronize eix. I don't know. This is a bullshit claim, Mr Sanders.


    As per application choice its amazing. Being myself KDE guy, I simply cannot praise Calculate choice of default packages. Lets start with KDE. instead of GTK Thunderbird we have KDE PIM (...). I know that people badmouth KDE PIM but I call them idiots. Because they don't even know what KDE PIM is or how to use it. They don't even know about great technologies behind it. They heard about one database server crash long, long time ago and we hear no end of this mantra..... Other fact is the only heard about KMail, not the KDE PIM. KMail is a part of KDE PIM Suite and by itself kicks Thunderbird's ass anyway (...).


    Second VLC is not installed by default. Not many people realize that VLC is primarily coded for Windows and many times it was unstable and "wonky" on Linux. SMplayer + mpv is an amazing choice. SMplayer is gui, mpv the engine and the backend is gstreamer. This is what you want on any distro. In SMplayer you can set up gpu + vaapi (equivalent of $ mpv --hwdec=vaapi --vo=gpu) and utilize your Intel profiles (check them with $ vainfo) to play youtube videos (just drag and drop youtube video onto SMplayer or copy the address and press Ctrl+U and hit Enter twice).

    All of these mean that Calculate developers not only develop the distro but also use it themselves and they know their stuff!!

    As per better font rendering you have the package in the repository that has "52" in the name. Those interested know what I'm talking about.

    Libre Office Still is there too. Stability over brand new apps (unlike in "bleeding Arch"). Good choice for a rolling distro.


    Now for the games: Ivan Sunders plays games on Linux and he expects Nvidia to play nice. Nivida. Are you serious? Nvidia?! You want to use Linux and you chose Nvidia. Oh my... Lets leave it without comment.

    As a finish he writes: "I would recommend a large number of distros before Calculate". I hope people are not that stupid and gullible to believe such a troll as you, esp. when Distrowatch has strange "phenomenons" in the "rankings" (...). Go figure. Its always good to Black PR a competition and do so some media spinning (sarcasm). But whoever paid for this "review" on Distrowatch met his match- I'm here and I'm not going anywhere. I am always painfully honest without sugarcoating or black PR-ing. Money under the table are not going to stop me. Truth and only truth.

    Cheers everyone.
    Last edited by Securitex; 02-19-2020, 06:22 PM.
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