i wanted to call this "why you should try puppy linux (even if you dont use it all the time.)"
then i decided a pros/cons thread would be even better.
most people ive met online fall into one of two groups:
* people that think puppy is really great
* people that used to think it was great, or think its pretty awful
a tiny number of people think puppy isnt being developed anymore, and a tiny number of people i talk to havent heard of it, or havent tried it.
just in case you think im inventing criticisms, have a look at that thread i linked to:
I've talked to a lot of IT people, and Puppy is seen by many as sort of the red-headed stepchild of the Linux community. I'm going to address all of this in another thread.. so I'll link to it once I write it.
so what are the pros and cons of this "red-headed stepchild?"
note i dropped puppy mode from fig os recently (i also created fig os pretty recently.) fig os contained two ways to include puppy innovations:
* "puppy mode" starts with the puppy iso and tries to "devuan-ify" it
* "refracta mode" starts with the refracta iso and tries to "puppify" it
i havent "dropped puppy from fig os" entirely-- as refracta mode is still created with adding puppy to it.
but adding refracta to puppy was faster (if less along the lines of what i wanted to achieve) and so i took that demonstration almost as far as i wanted to. i was about to get into the initrd (almost the only part of the librepup iso that remained untouched) and start working on that when i decided: "you know what? its close enough."
in 2 months and 18 releases, no one really wanted to try this and tell me about it. even with allys help putting isos online, i got almost zero feedback on the thing itself. (i got some feedback on the idea, and a couple very useful bug reports which resulted in fixes with what i consider great turnaround.)
thats okay-- i really wanted to add some puppy to devuan, not add devuan to puppy. but just to be thorough i tried both! and when i was done, i had a version of puppy that was closer to a new pup than anything i ever thought id put together-- if someone wants to pick that project up im pretty happy to lend a hand, everything needed is still online and works like fig os does now. just go back to 1.8: mkfigos-1-8-the-last-fig-os-version-with-puppy-mode-t41.html
pros and cons:
pro: puppy is (still) the fastest distro ive ever used. its ridiculous, really-- and as "old hardware" (5 to 7 to 10 years old) gets more powerful and "really old hardware" gets more challenging and expensive to pick up used, (i picked up a laptop for $60 which has a parallel port and enough ram to run gnuinos well enough for driving an older printer, x11 and all...) puppy sometimes runs so fast youd like to slow down a few things.
that doesnt mean that puppy is the most efficient or ideal system for everything. what it does, it tends to do fast. some things are slower-- i mean if you install packages that load at boot, or copy the os into ram, that adds boot time. you can beat that sometimes, by doing a full install. s puppy boot times are decent (comparable to other live distros, sometimes faster) but it all depends. for me it was making little difference (puppy or refracta) because live with the toram option was spending 15-25 seconds copying to ram either way.
but if you want to see how much faster you can get your distro in general by stripping it down, puppy is pretty much the limit (as long as youre loading x and using graphical applications.) you should try puppy (i personally recommend tahrpup) just to see how fast it runs.
con: puppy simply doesnt have enough modern stuff in it. this depends who you ask of course. if you need a rescue cd, puppy may or may not support all the hardware youre looking for. you may need to try more than one, and the forum can help you select the one you probably need. there are several efforts to modernize puppy, as well as revive/update older pups without going full-on-new.
so its probably fairer to say "puppy simply doesnt have enough stuff in it" (try getting dbus and dpkg working fully, ive seriously tried! but i did fix pam and adduser... probably?) but then again, part of the point of puppy is to run well enough without all that stuff. puppy many not have enough stuff in it to be what you run every day.
i think for much older hardware (more than 8-9 years old) this is a really great idea, but as i said, "old hardware" is still "getting newer." by 1960, eniac was already older than most of the stuff you would likely use to run puppy now-- but in 1950, eniac was so much faster than the older electromechanical machines that preceded it.
newer "old hardware" can support a lot more compatibility with other distros, and this i think is splitting the puppy community to "lets haves" and "lets nots." but puppy can stand that, there are other factors that make this old staple truth of puppy more difficult now.
con: puppy has a very weak leadership. this was always true in that you could do/start/change anything you wanted and still be part of the community, and thats one of my favorite things about puppy. im not even sure what kind of "strong leadership" would benefit puppy at this point-- a limited one, like before. but with barry farther in the shadows than he was, and no longer at the top of development (he still does his own stuff) puppys image and dynamic has changed.
not everyone even knows puppy is still an active project, though its distrowatch ranking is still too high for a dead distro.
pro: puppy is often underestimated. ok, thats not a pro... but the fact that its got more going on than you might assume is a good thing. im actually thinking of the idea that "puppy is dead" (an idea explored both outside and inside the community from time to time, to the point where i think they should just celebrate "puppy halloween" once a year to acknowledge this pattern.)
i thought puppy was on a downward path 10 years ago, and i came back 10 years later to find inexplicably:
* the community had actually improved (no matter what you think of them now, they were much worse.)
* the distro had actually gotten more modern, and streamlined, and standardized (granted there are now more standards, but that happens with digital technology.)
* the distro had actually stayed remarkably the same and was instantly recognizable. part of this was that it still used the same wm and desktop (which you can install in practically any distro) but seriously, it goes beyond that in ways i wouldnt want to try to re-create.
so my advice is: dont underestimate puppy. the number of people around to correct you has grown smaller, but i think thats because "old hardware" can run much heavier and feature-rich distros now, and the need for puppy to be as streamlined as it is has diminished (in part.)
im aware that some people are running really old hardware, and some really like every click event to happen in what looks like half a millisecond, though for me that just leaves me trying to find where the setting to add a delay is located. its probably in a "friendly" gui dialog tab somewhere, and i could ask if i needed to know. (banned from the forum? i know people who could pose the question for me, but i dont use them. i can search or find my own answers.)
con: puppy was always a little like a cult. i actually think this is better than it used to be. for example, this sort of thing (from the same thread, which itself offered this as a puppy "myth") used to be endemic:
Puppy could gain a mobile foothold.
i actually think there isnt quite enough charming naivete like this in the linux community. the reason is, that such lack of limitation awareness can inspire all kinds of cool ideas. dont tell people "thats impossible," just give them some gentle tips on how to waste as little of their time as possible doing something that (lets face it) is unlikely to work.
i got several tips on why fig os couldnt work the way it was designed-- most of which i was aware of (ive been using gnu/linux long enough to be realistic) and some of which came true to an extent, but the stuff that i did along the way i think was still beneficial.
also, i wanted to experiment and try out the idea that maybe x was possible anyway, even though i knew it was very likely too much trouble to be worth it. (it wasnt as good as i hoped it could be, or as bad as i thought it might be. it was actually pretty cool and fun, and id recommend it.)
the problem for me is when this naivete gets paired with (and thats why this is the best-- and everything else sucks.) that attitude has probably hurt puppy more than any other, though im still not sure it isnt more the fact that old hardware is newer-- i know, ive said that several times now.
also of some concern is are the new threads cropping up routinely about dealing with "trolls" and "helping with moderation." i still think the worst "trolling" comes from inside the community, and can be explained by the adage "the devil exists in everyone." when i say "inside the community," i mean that the community tries to have an "inside" and an "outside" (this is actual cult-like behavior by definition, but every online community succumbs to it in some minor way at best) and then it pretends this "trolling" exists "outside" the community (this is just false imo.)
so they are trying to "keep trolling out" or "stamp out what 'they' dont like," but this cant go well if it catches on.
i left the puppy community because of about 3 or 4 people-- everyone else wouldve convinced me it was worth staying. of these 4 people, only 2 might be considered "outsiders" or not "inside" the community, and only 1 gets the status of troll-- the very worst of the 4 is definitely considered part of the community, despite trying to smear and misrepresent and harass me-- without provocation and routinely every few days, no matter what.
already people complain when things get deleted, and what "help moderate" can only mean is "delete more comments." when even in 2013, valuable people in the community like q5sys say things like:
we had some good input in the thread, but someone had a hissy fit and got the whole thing deleted.
that seems like its on the rise again in the puppy community, but its still not nearly as bad as it was 10 years ago. it was like the wild west of trolling and getting things deleted by deliberately annoying someone and then getting their threads taken down when they reacted to you poking them. (i think that kind of one-two trolling-censorship move is one of the purest forms of evil online, but it wont be fixed by handing out more mod privs. it will get worse.)
still, i underestimated puppy once and im less likely to do so again. i do think theyre having "a lousy week" in any case.
pro: puppy will inspire you to take chances, try fun things and "live a little" when it comes to the way you do computing.
this to me is the very best reason to know puppy. i learned so much of what i knew about gnu/linux in puppy before i went off for "serious" distros (with much more hassle-free driver support, etc.) that it will always be a teacher.
but that really wasnt just the first time around-- the second time i went to the puppy community, this time a programming language author, and someone who gave away computers with debian on them to help "spread gnu/linux" and refurbish "old hardware" making things faster with not puppy-- but lxde and debian--
this time i was just inspired and learned as much as last time!
i never thought id bother remastering a gnu/linux distro, because if i do that, then i have to bother with all this other stuff i dont want to (ever) bother with. doing a distro-- even a remaster, is way too tedious!
but a few weeks in the puppy community again, and it was so refreshing (even with the trolls and eventually having to get out of there again) that i:
* made a second puppy package (or any other distro package) ever... for fig
* learned how to open sfs files (yes, refracta has them too.)
* learned how to remaster an iso file from a script (id used isomaster until then-- its an awesome tool i found in puppy originally.)
* created a branded, almost-new style of remaster with help from the community
honestly, trying puppy and engaging with the community will make you think about things differently. you might leave in disgust, you might even wash your hands of puppy altogether (i still havent-- im more likely to give it a fair shake this time, given what ive seen after 10 years of thinking it was done in more ways than one) and even if so-- you should try puppy.
its still unique. granted it was never as unique as the fanboys think (thats the #1 worst puppy myth of all: you can only have puppy-like features by using puppy.) but its still pretty unique, 10 years later. i think more people should try it.
feel free to add pros and cons to the thread. try to be as fair (not balanced, just fair) as possible.
as far as the #1 worst myth goes... one of the most frustrating things about using and liking puppy is that if something goes wrong (or changes in puppy) youll could end up thinking:
* puppy is the only distro i could ever stand to use, all the others suck
* but now this feature is making puppy unusable or intolerable, and theres nowhere to go. they have to fix this!
you could go back and forth forever on those points, getting very frustrated about the whole thing. i think people still do this sometimes.
really, other distros are not as slow or bloated as puppy users think. puppy is not as unique as people think. but it is definitely unique-- and puppy isnt as much of a red-headed stepchild as other people think either... but it may (or may not) be suitable for your everyday use.
its worth experiencing, if nothing else so you can use what you learn (or enjoy) in other contexts. thats one of the best reasons to try another distro, and something i want to encourage in general on this forum.
(now this is getting way off topic...)
for example, ive been way too busy to try new distros lately, and found it frustrating to feel like antix was being pushed on me a few times a week-- but--
regardless of that, ive learned a lot of valuable information about antix (and that means a lot to me) and i absolutely recommend trying more distros including and like it-- if only so you can tell me more about them!
thats exactly what this forum is for... sharing information about lots of different distros. so if you know a lot about antix, and youd like to talk about antix-- then tell me more about antix (im still interested.) if you want to tell me more about puppy, tell me more about puppy.
heck, you can tell me about debian, but since im invested in providing alternatives to it, be prepared for me to say things like "yeah, devuan can do that too."
(still more off topic...) id be interested in knowing what debian can do these days (do me a favor and start a thread about it if you wish to reply to this) that devuan cant do. here are a few items:
* run systemd ideally or as intended (its going to be years before devuan can do this, if ever. but that goes for red hat, too.)
* install devuan without netinst (actually it could do this until a few months ago, when they misconfigured the installer. so for once, you might as well use the net-installer iso because even the full iso is a net-installer...)
* run live (it will probably have this next year, made from refracta tools. try refracta if you want a live devuan, or try gnuinos or one of the other unofficial live offerings.)
* run the latest version of gnome (actually you probably can, but really thats a topic all in itself.)
* let me save you the trouble-- antix can probably do all of these! (no worries-- its a fair point.)