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White Box Linux

Has anybody tried www.whiteboxlinux.org?  It looks like exactly what I'm looking for.  A totally free version of RHEL with the stuff that breaks the RedHat EULA (ie the RedHat name and logo) removed. 

I'm curious how the updates work.  The website says it uses yum and up2date, but does it pull the RHEL packages directly?  Seems likes as soon as something like the initscripts package is updated from RHEL the distro is in violation of RedHat's EULA again...

Any thoughts?  Is getting non-redhat packages more pain than it is worth? 

christopher (baus.net)
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

There's a variety of repositories for Red Hat packages (meaning packages structured to work specifically with a Red Hat distro) of varying quality.  There's the official Red Hat repositories that require a paid support agreement, there's the free mirrors of the Fedora repositories, and then there's a bunch of unaffiliated repositories offering the same packages a little bit later than the original repositories, as well as some 'extra' packages.

Given the licencing terms under which the packages are offered (or constructed by others), you don't have to worry about violating an EULA--the various repository owners have a strong working relationship with RH, and wouldn't do anything to piss them off.  In fact, RH silently supports some of them to distribute packages like MP3 support that they can't offer themselves without risking legal liability.

How well-advised it is to use non-RH official repositories is  a matter of guaging the distance from the official source, and being aware of what you're really downloading.  Make sure you're getting the actual EL packages, not experimental betas or something like that.

Justin Johnson
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

So do you have a repository that you recommend?

christopher (baus.net)
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

I use Fedora myself, though as a desktop, not a server.  Fedora is the semi-experimental platform, where RH tests package integration and stability.  I would start there (fedora.redhat.com) or at fedora.us to find lists of repositories with recommendations, and then compare available packages with RHEL package lists.  Myself, I stick to Fedora Core and its mirrors.

Justin Johnson
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Yea maybe I should just do a clean fedora install.  This is for a desktop, but I have a bunch of RH9 servers that I have debating what to do about. 

I've usually gone to cheap bytes for the disks. 

The reason I was considering switching that I've had some strange problems with FC1.  For instance I can't "apt-get upgrade" without a bunch errors anymore. 

I see whitebox suggests using yum instead... 

christopher baus (www.baus.net)
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

I've got Core 2 on my laptop and desktop.  The only problems I'm having are with graphics drivers and sound card in the desktop.  The graphics drivers for ATI cards suck because ATI provides a driver that requires a custom kernel module with a recompile, so if you don't want to do that, you're stuck with generic VESA drivers that suck unless all you're working on is text.  The desktop has two sound cards (one on board the mobo, and one PCI), and ALSA can't tell the difference.  Other than that, it's great.

I always put yum on, and it works fine as well.  Basically, RH has become a family of distros, and they all have access to the same packages and package managers.

You might just wait for Core 3, which should be out in a couple months.  If there's one thing Fedora has gotten right, it's a speedy evolution through a variety of packages to find a collection that generally works well.

Justin Johnson
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

There are Free-as-in-software 2D and 3D accelerated ATI drivers included in Fedora for cards up to ~Radeon 9200 or so. Beyond that point there are stll Free 2D-only drivers. These built-in native (not VESA) drivers should be zero hassle, I use them to play Enemy Territory but I don't expect they'll be up to Doom III

If you must have top of the line 3D and therefore must use non-Free drivers the nVidia ones are better so I'm told, only 1-2 steps to do after you upgrade to re-enable them. Food for thought on future purchases perhaps.

I'm not sure I understand your ALSA problem. Can you give more details? The underlying hardware for two physically separate sound devices should appear as ALSA's hw:0 and hw:1... and decent modern software should ask ALSA to describe the cards so that you can tell them apart e.g. "Sound Blaster Live!" and "VIA 82C686A" being my emu10k1 and onboard Via chipset respectively.

Nick Lamb
Wednesday, August 11, 2004


I've still been on RH8 for my primary file server at home and work.  I'm going to be taking the plunge soon to go to Debian as I was at a LUG talk recently and its quite beautiful and powerful.

Have you looked into that?

KC
Wednesday, August 11, 2004

True about the drivers; however, one card is a Radeon 9700, the other a Mobility FireGL 2, which is a variant of the Radeon 9600.  Sweet in XP, lousy in Linux.  I'm waiting for a long weekend to try the recompile.

As for sound, there are two devices detected, but neither gets picked by the sound server.  It works fine in setup, including the test, and then fails on startup.  It's a fairly widely known bug in Core 2 that I haven't tried to solve for myself because I don't care much about sound or games on Linux on these computers).  I might be wrong about it being ALSA that's screwing up--sound just doesn't work correctly after being configured in setup.  Really, it's just not important enough to me to struggle with.

Justin Johnson
Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Not sure why people even bother with sound and video on Linux boxes.  X sucks and what do you need sound for a server for?

girl, you know its true.
Wednesday, August 11, 2004

> what do you need sound for a server for?

Don't you think that an audio alert when something goes wrong, or some resource becomes scarce, or some long-running task completes, might possibly be considered mildly convenient by a handful of users somewhere?

Iago
Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Nah, that's what email's for.

Simon Lucy
Wednesday, August 11, 2004

KC, if you're attracted to Debian take a look at the Gentoo distribution also.

AMS
Wednesday, August 11, 2004

"Don't you think that an audio alert when something goes wrong, or some resource becomes scarce, or some long-running task completes, might possibly be considered mildly convenient by a handful of users somewhere?"

No because I won't be hanging around in server room to hear the alarm over the fans of the other 100 servers. 

girl, you know its true.
Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Properly configured video and sound make Linux a perfectly acceptable desktop replacement for Windows (games aside).  The fact is simply that Linux is at Windows 98 levels of driver ease of use.

Justin Johnson
Wednesday, August 11, 2004

I have a feeling that if the millions of man hours wasted every year by geeks trying to get various video and sound cards working under Linux were put into some useful endeavor we'd have solved world hunger, we'd have peace and aids would be no more.

girl, you know it's true
Wednesday, August 11, 2004

"No because I won't be hanging around in server room to hear the alarm over the fans of the other 100 servers. "

Of course if you converted to Linux you could probably virtualize most of those 100 servers.

Anony Coward
Wednesday, August 11, 2004

I looked at Debian, but it looks like they are hopelessly behind in updating their packages.

christopher baus (www.baus.net)
Wednesday, August 11, 2004

WBEL is EXCELLENT. I use it for a number of systems. Solid as a rock.

Only complaint is that sometimes package updates are a day or two behind rehats, but you can compile and install the srpms yourself if you have the need.

Wayne Earl
Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Cool.  One thumbs up for White Box.  I'm going to give it a try.  I'll report back the results.

christopher baus (www.baus.net)
Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Regarding Debian, don't they normally have two releases. 1 is their uber stable build, with what are now "outdated" packages, however there other build is much more up to date.

Dan G
Thursday, August 12, 2004

Now I'm starting to change my mind.  Man this RHEL is causing me a bit of grief.  I'm typing this on FC1 which has been OK, but now I can't get it updated.  And I don't want to mess around with it. I have to say fedora doesn't seem like the right distro for me. 

I really need a 2.6 based distro for my workstation.  In the old days, RH 10 would be out by now, I would just order the disks from cheap bytes and be done with it.  This RHEL/FCsplit is driving me over to the over to debian, even after 8 years as a RH user. 

For nearly everything I do, woody looks like it would be fine.  It looks like the sarge testing release has 2.6 kernel support, so I'm going to try that on my desktop. 

Maybe my RH days are numbered.  No more rpm -Uvh...

christopher (baus.net)
Thursday, August 12, 2004

Stop meddling in the Dark Side, Christopher. Come back into the light.

Debian
Thursday, August 12, 2004

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