Mint a Pity, 4 Pure OS Distros, 32-bit Alternatives
Mint 18 is batting about .500 with the latest reviewer not exactly pleased. makeuseof.com posted of four distributions that are completely Open Source and Matt Hartley compiled a list of 32-bit Ubuntu alternatives. Neil Rickert posted some more notes on Slackware 14.2 and I'll add my own as well.
The Mint project has surely messed up. Steven J. Vaughn-Nichols may think Mint 18 is the perfect distro, but about half of the reviews this release have been negative. More than one mentioned the codec frustrations, which is also the case today with the latest review from blogger DarkDuck. The install, boot up, and desktop were about par for the course, even if the memory usage seemed a bit high to DD, until he tried to enjoy some multimedia. Try as he might he never could get many aspects users take for granted working. It's a shame. What happens to a distro that removes or changes the very thing that brought them into being? Many will flee to other distros still providing an enjoyable out-of-the-box experience probably. Time will tell.
makeuseof.com's Bertel King, Jr. put together a list of four "distros that are completely Open Source." He mentioned Trisquel saying it's "simple and easy." Parabola is based on Arch and is about that simple. gNewSense feels a bit "behind the times" and BLAG is a Fedora-based choice. GNU's full list contains 12 entries (if you count Replicant), but some haven't seen a release in quite a while.
Matt Hartley today repudiated the premise that 32-bit Linux computing is about to enter dinosaur territory. He said there's a whole world beyond Ubuntu and lists several options with brief notes. He includes Debian, Fedora, Arch, Slackware, Gentoo, and several others in his non-exhaustive list. Check that out if you'd rather not scrap your older hardware just yet.
Neil Rickert posted his further adventures with the latest and greatest Slackware, version 14.2. He was able to get encrypted LVM support and his networking working with a bit of fiddling. He decided to chainload lilo from GRUB 2 and make a boot initrd. Rickert concluded, "It turned out that Slackware is a very good system for learning and practicing some Linux system administration."
Since my last report I found those areas I feared presented little or no difficulty. Installing GRUB 2 was a mere two commands, and it worked wonderfully. Upgrading to Alien's multilib worked perfectly just as the documentation stated and I can now play my favorite old games. It'd been several releases of Mint since games worked and that was one of the reasons I wanted to switch. I found fonts and other tidbits on Slackbuilds.org, which turned out to be easy enough to install (documentation on site). I really didn't have to do a whole lot of work to get my Slackware as fully functional as Mint of yore I was a bit rusty when I first installed about a week and a half ago, but using Slackware feels like coming home. Linux is fun again.