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BLAG - An Easy Way to Freedom?


BLAG Linux with GNU is a small one CD distribution of the GNU/Linux operating system based upon Fedora Core. The version I'm taking a look at here, BLAG-500000, is based upon Fedora Core 5, with a bunch of packages added from third party sources.

BLAG aims to create a one CD distribution with everything people need for the desktop environment. It also aims to be a 100% Free Software distribution and has been recognized by as doing this on the GNU website, along with only six other distributions of GNU/Linux (

So I thought I'd see if this distribution has what it takes to bring freedom to the desktop, without being a pain to install and use.

In my four years of using Linux, getting USB drives, memory cards, CD-ROMs, and Windows shares in a state where I could actually use them has been one of my most frustrating problems. Printing, by comparison, has been far easier. I was frustrated even that I had to use the "mount" command, not to mention all the issues with getting it to work the way I wanted it to. In my four years of using Linux, it has gotten a lot better about automatically detecting and mounting devices; in particular, I almost never have to mount hard drives or CD-ROMs manually any more. Other devices, however, remain problematic. You may never have to use the mount command in Linux. You may also win the lottery jackpot; I wouldn't bet on either. This article is intended to help new users save a lot of the time and trouble that I have gone through.

The second most popular web browser in the world, Firefox, is a beautiful, but heavy machine. Its biggest attraction are tabs, flexible bookmarks and RSS management, and extensions. However for people who are still using systems with no abundance of main memory it can be a pain intensively using Firefox throughout a day or longer. It is just that memory hungry. So some people have been looking at alternatives such as Epiphany, Galeon, Konqueror, or even the lightest but arguably ugliest and least featureful among them, Dillo. But as it usually happens, out of nowhere comes another alternative, one which may be hitting the right balance that many people are looking for. It is NGLayout (Gecko)-based Kazehakase (made by Japanese developers).

Its aim is to be lightweight (small memory footprint) and yet modern, user friendly, fully functional and innovative at that. And in its early releases it seems to be accomplishing just that.


This tutorial is intended for people with at least basic Unix knowledge, such as mounting filesystems and copying files.

OpenSSH, an OpenBSD project, is an incredibly secure implementation of the SSH protocol, a way of logging into a remote machine. For users of outdated protocols such as RSH, rlogin, and Telnet, it's an updated, secure replacement. For those who have never used anything like it, SSH can become a very valuable tool.

Zenwalk is a lightweight desktop oriented Slackware based GNU/Linux distribution that aims to be fast and user friendly. It is still quite new, but the growth, as well as the progress of development, has been pretty fast so far. I've taken a hike with the latest release, Zenwalk 4.0, and here's what I can say about it.


* First and foremost, keep things "fun" but not circus fun. Keep things cool. Stick with about 3 or 4 colors and gradients of those hues if you can. Don't add too many graphical items, but don't add too few.

Under... SELinux standing !

Security-enhanced Linux (SELinux) is an implementation of a mandatory access control (MAC) mechanism. This mechanism is in the Linux kernel, checking for allowed operations after standard Linux discretionary access controls are checked.
Standard Linux security is a discretionary access control model (DAC).

Discretionary access control (DAC)

DAC is standard Linux security, and it provides no protection from broken software or malware running as a normal user or root.

I have always been interested in Linux distributions and how they evolve, not just technically, but also in terms of their popularity and their -wanted or unwanted- position among the Linux users and on the broader market.
In this regard, the Distrowatch web site is a fairly effective tool at tracking linux distributions no matter how small or short-lived they are. I think the site's online tool is actually the best one so far, and it has, in my opinion, produced the best stats concerning Linux distributions, unless you consider the NetCraft surveys but these are confined to the web servers' world. Distrowatch takes all of them, servers, desktop, set top boxes, and now has come to include OpenSolaris and BSD Unixes. It spans over 100 distributions, although there are more (but then these are dead or fairly underground distros).

As announced on my blog , I will soon move from my beloved Debian etch (or testing) to the upcoming Fedora Core 5.

How did I come to take such a decision?
I love several things in Debian. I run a Debian etch on my laptop, my old PC runs a Windows 2000 unconnected to the Net and is used for gaming; my company's servers run on Debian sarge except for the webserver, hosted somewhere else that run a nicely tuned Free BSD. Debian to me means the experience of one of the most authentic GNU and Free Software systems and in some sense, lifestyle.

As previously announced in an ealier article, I have finally completed the migration of my laptop from Debian Etch to Fedora Core 5.

I would like to write about it and my impressions after 5 days of using Fedora.

Fedora Core comes in a set of 5 CD-Roms, but you can install it from the net. I chose the first option, and it is important to actually have the 5 CDs ready for the installation (contrary to what one guy told me earlier). The installation  was a breeze. Anaconda, the graphical installer, is a little bit less good-looking than the SuSE or Mandriva installers, but its even more effective.