[Comm-en] My review of ALT Linux GNUStep OS

Michael Shigorin mike at altlinux.org
Thu Jan 6 13:58:34 MSK 2022

On Thu, Jan 06, 2022 at 05:23:17AM +0000, David wrote:
> I hope no-one minds, but I'd like to share a link to a recent
> blog post I did on my experience installing and using the ALT
> Linux GNUStep / WindowMaker build.

BTW it has its wiki page (both Russian and English):

Maybe we'd better update the links to p10 and review the memory
requirements (increasing CONFIG_NR_CPUS doesn't come for free,
unfortunately; maybe a lower-limit kernel flavour is due again
as it was with led-tc one for thin clients).

> If you're interested, the review can be found here: 
> https://dbouley.vivaldi.net/2022/01/05/alt-linux/

You're welcome, and I highly recomment your reviews to anyone --
having enjoyed those back in 2.x days:

The only suggestion I have is to rather link to http://getalt.org
as the easier "entrance" into ALT builds that should allow to
understand them at a glance instead of having a long walk
all over the wiki.

p10 is pretty stable but p9 is very stable indeed :-)
Both of these platforms are our stable branches:
http://en.altlinux.org/branches (I've updated the page
to state that p10 is the current stable one, sorry for

There's one more thing to window managers: it's more realistic
to have your settings travel with you over years and decades,
changing hardware if required, by a simple "cp -a ... ~/GNUstep"
or so.

And regarding WindowMaker in particular, it does save some
screen estate, especially widescreen (or should I say lowscreen?)
that's rather suited for content consumption than for creation:
the "lack" of a horizontal panel and the typical vertical dock
leave more space for the applications.  Still I tend to prefer
full-screen zero-distraction modes for my main apps, namely xterm
(Alt-Enter) and Firefox (F11) so that even wmclock doesn't "tick".

Regarding CUPS, yes, we could easily put that into any particular
starterkit or all of the desktop ones but it would add several
dozen megabytes (or is it several hundreds by now?) to each image
involved -- so those who want to have a quick look at e.g.
Cinnamon (we don't build a "proper" distro carrying it but it's
available and actively maintained in the repository) or IceWM
would have to pay more bandwidth.  There have been seldom
requests or even frustrations regarding CUPS particularly
but I do approve that starterkits are aimed at those who will
prefer the hassle of "apt-get install cups" (and maybe spot
the printer-drivers-base metapackage either) to having it along
with the rest of kitchen-sink handed to them without asking.

Thanks for understanding it exactly -- if you come up with
any words that would help others, just write these down
on http://en.altlinux.org/starterkits yourself.

Regarding the font/locale(?) issue with Synaptic, please file it:
...stating how to reproduce (e.g. "grab this iso, install with
English language chosen, run Synaptic, do this and that,
see the weird glyphs on the screenshot attached").

I hope that you actually use p9 and not Sisyphus as the latter
one is stable enough for developers and very experienced users
but it's definitely more of a moving/breaking target than p10,
can bring a frustration once or twice a year (like breaking
one's X11 setup, especially with nvidia_drv).

The GTK fonts issue is most likely the DPI-related one --
some GNOME folks with likely Windows background have insisted
on breaking X server "so browser looks like in Windows", that
is, to nail artificial 96dpi down by default; was especially
"funny" since even Windows was taught the real DPI back then:

Try figuring out your display's DPI (from the docs, online screen
DPI calculator site, or a ruler and a calculator of your choice)
and testing if restarting those apps after "xrandr --dpi 166"
(or whatever) helps; if it does, stick an executable script into
~/.xsession.d/ or add "DPI=NNN" to /etc/sysconfig/xserver,
see also /etc/X11/xinit/xserverrc

> My compliments to the ALT Dev Team for their work on this
> release.  I'm enjoying it very much.

Glad to hear, thank you!

 ---- WBR, Michael Shigorin / http://altlinux.org
  ------ http://opennet.ru / http://anna-news.info

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