Rev on two minimalist Linux distros

Peter Alcibiades palcibiades-first at
Thu Sep 16 03:22:26 EDT 2010

I have finally fired up Rev Media 4.0 on two minimalist Linux distributions 
as a start on the effort to discover whether the problems are really due to 
not having all the necessary files installed, and whether they are due to 
the mulifarious nature of Linux.

I began with Slitaz and Tiny Core, the latter of which gives new meaning to 
the expression 'minimalist'.  It is gui userland Linux system in 11 Mb.  If 
we still had floppies, it would just about be deliverable on a handful.  It 
uses almost none of the standard components.  All applications have to be 
installed from repository.  Both of these distros run in memory, so they 
are super fast.  

If you do this at home with Tiny Core, you should probably go with 3.1, 
just out.  I used 3.0.  It has 2.6 kernel, BusyBox, Tiny X, FLTK graphical 
user interface and flwm window manager.  Without getting too far into the 
recherche details, this is not your standard distro.  This is as minimalist 
as X windows can get.  Get it here:


The other distribution is Slitaz, less minimalist, this has a whole 30 Mb 
and runs OpenBox, so a standard GUI, though not one most folks here may be 
familiar with.  It comes with XOrg and LXDE bits and pieces.  Midori as web  
browser, leafpad editor.  It is a usable desktop out of the box, unlike 
Tiny Core.  Get it here:


I did not use these in VMs, but on a spare bare metal machine we now have 
available.  There is not going to be any difference if you run from CD in 
live mode, or if you install on hard drive, since in either case they both 
load directly to memory.  I don't use VMs for this stuff in the interests 
of eliminating as many variables as possible.

I made no modification whatever to Slitaz, but on Tiny Core, using the 
terminal, was unable to cd to the USB drive on which I had placed Media.  I 
therefore installed PCManFM from the repository, which brought down a 
modest bunch of dependencies, including Gtk2, all of which went by in a 
flash.  I didn't make a note of the others but can find out what they were 
if anyone is interested.

It would be nice to know what people think should be tested for to make 
this rigorous.  What I did was two things.  First, some minimal exercise of 
the IDE.  Created a new mainstack, dragged objects onto it, resized them.  
This worked fine.  The font (yes, singular is intended) could be resized 
fine.  The dictionary displayed and worked fine.  You can alternate between 
IDE and browse mode.  Buttons work.  Second thing was, when I had a stack, 
I then moved it to another virtual desktop, popped over to the virtual 
desktop and clicked it.  It instantly went back to the first one, where 
Media was open.  So virtual desktops do not work here.

It does not look like the problems could be missing dependencies.  Rev 
seems to work exactly the same if its in one of these totally minimalist 
environments, including with Tiny Core which has out of the box almost 
nothing the big ones have except what you absolutely have to have to run 
the kernel and a command line, or if it is full fledged and bloated like 
Gnome or KDE.

The environment I have found where Rev doesn't work at all is Ion2 window 
manager.  This is actually a very nice working environment, its becoming my 
favorite.  Its a tiling and tabbing WM.  You have tiles open, and your apps 
take up the entire tile, in a tab.  The tiles sit side by side on the 
desktop.  It handles pop-up windows in an unusual way, they all appear at 
the bottom of the tile you are in.  Rev does not like this, and it crashes.  
When you get used to Ion and know the keyboard shortcuts, its simply 
superb, fast, intuitive and very easy.  You start apps from the keyboard 
with auto fill to help.  Everything else seems to work with Ion, so this 
may be an indication that Rev is not standards compliant on the desktop 

So, tell me what else people want to see exercised, and I will do it, this 
is just a start.  And next week I will hopefully have time to do a full 
scale slackware install and bash around with that.  I am not all that 
lively lately, and the latest is, have a proper phone system to install....  
in addition to a server.  But we will get to it, we really will.


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