⇡ Vector

VectorLinux Standard 5.1 (1 cd)


Vector Linux is a small distro based on Slackware, it's goal is to be lightweight, quick and easy to use.  This is particularly true on older equipment.  From the VectorLinux web site:

vectorVECTORLINUX is a small, fast, Linux operating system for Intel, AMD and x86 compatible systems, based on one of the original Linux distributions, Slackware. The enormously popular Slackware is the true 'Unix' of Linux distributions and is used by major corporations, universities and home users alike. It's popularity stems from the fact that it is a robust, versatile and almost unbreakable system. We have produced a bloat free, easy to install, configure and maintain Slackware based system that is second to none. We include automatic hardware configuration, unique administration tools and easy package management via the Gslapt/slapt-get system. We are also known as the fastest non-source distro on the planet!

I think it is fair to say that they have succeeded.


Installation is very similar to Slackware, that is to say completely text based.  While I am not a particular fan of text based installers, this version is reasonably easy and explained well enough to make the user not feel like they are about to do something awfully.  The installation went fairly quick and painlessly, giving me the option to create and chose my partitions, set up root and users, and off it goes.  On the Laptop, it took just a bit over 20 minutes from start to reboot, not bad for the old boy.

First Boot:

Boot is surprisingly quick, in particular on the laptop (a Pentum 3 500 mhz).  I have been tempted to try it on my main computer to see how quickly it could go.  It is easily the fastest load time I have seen on my laptop, no questions asked!  The login screen is a new one to me, it is likely a highly modified xdm login, that has everything including dancing penguins around the screen!  There are several window managers to chose from, each with variations, Xfce, Ice, Fluxbox are all here, each with various options including having desktop loaded using Rox filer.  It provides a good deal of choice and ease of use while providing the smallest foot print and keeping the system requirements low.  Configuration is handled via a home grown "GUI" called VASM.  VASM is short for "Vector Administrative and Services Menu." The long and the short of it is that VASM is a very thinly disguised text based code set.  It uses simple phrases to set off other text based scripts that walk you through setting up basics like networking, hardware setup, display settings, well, pretty much everything.  It works quite well, but, it is not the most intuitive tool I have encountered. None the less, I was able to set up my wifi card with only a bit of tinkering which is pretty good, as I have encountered a few distros that really did not want to play with my wifi card despite it having native Linux drivers.  VASM really comes down to a lot of what this distro is about, small, efficient and fast.  And yes, it works fine, you just need to understand and think a bit more about it than you do with something like Mandriva's Control Center.  
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