Calculating the Test Drive

by Ostatic Staff - Jun. 10, 2015

I've been thinking of looking around for a new distribution, not that Mint hasn't been a wonderful and stable system. Sabayon 15.06 was released last week and looked attractive in Jeremy Garcia's screencast and screenshots. Neil Rickert tempted me with his notes on Tumbleweed 20150608 and the IgnorantGuru made OpenBSD sound doable. But I think I'll check out Calculate Linux.

Calculate Linux got a recent update to 14.16.2 and my attention. Calculate is a Gentoo-based distribution with flavors for servers, desktops, media centers, and minimal builds. It's 100% compatible with Gentoo and includes an "Interactive System build" that allows one to build a customized system. The project releases new images two or three times a year but weekly snapshots are available for cutting-edge lovers. The desktop edition ships with choices KDE and Xfce, skips systemd in preference for OpenRC, and provides some pre-compiled packages for each flavor.

Calculate Linux 14.16.2 KDE 4.14.8 Desktop

The KDE desktop is attractive enough, especially since most customize. They went with the Classic menu and put the panel at the top so a launcher could reside at the bottom. I changed those around and to the Launcher menu before I could even look around any further. Calculate includes what they dub a "Console" but most think of as a control center where one can configure and customize their system.

Calculate Console, system configuration

It appears package management is dealt with from the commandline. In fact, it appears one must emerge their software ala Gentoo. Calculate does provide some binary packages (and updates), but some things will have to compile from source. Broken updates (or something quitting half-way through updating leaving system broke) drove me from Gentoo, but Calculate provides the updates via binary packages, so perhaps that won't happen there.

EIX Package search

Overall, it look quite promising. The LiveDVD environment is inviting with acceptable performance and comes with a nice selection of starter software. And a lot of business are using Calculate. Best thing is it's one of those without systemd. Calculate Linux just earned a spot on my hard drive.


Some recent interesting tidbits:

* I Say Linux, You Say GNU/Linux

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* Red Hat could outgrow Red Hat Tower in two years

* Linux Backup: Software Roundup

* Protect your data with these five Linux encryption tools