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[ale] Need a better Linux distro

On Sat, 30 May 2020 08:56:11 -0400
Leam Hall via Ale <ale at ale.org> wrote:

> I've used Void in the past and will be trying to get the few things I 
> need onto it. 

I've been using Void every day for about 5 years, and I'm still
thrilled with it.

> Just wanted to see what other options were out there. 
> Here's what I'm using the computer for:
> 	Nothing with systemd
		Void has no systemd. Default init is runit. I think you
		can install other init systems.

> 	Web, Firefox
		Firefox works on Void. It's a pig, but I think it's a
		pig everywhere.

> 	E-mail, Thunderbird
		I use fetchmail to procmail to dovecot to claws-mail.
		Having over 100K messages, I find Thunderbird to be
		impossibly slow on Void. I don't know if it would be
		better on any other system.

> 	git
		Works perfectly on Void (and everywhere else: It's well
		written software).

> 	Printing to a Brother printer
		That's going to be a challenge. Brother gives you
		Brother drivers and firmware, but in the form of .deb
		or whatever Redhat uses. Brother on Void requires some
		fancy footwork, either by disassembling the .deb and
		re-creating the drivers as if they'd been compiled from
		source, or by using a Brother driver, for a *similar
		model*, that is supported by CUPS or Foomatic or
		Gutenprint or whatever. This is what I've done. I miss
		out on a few of my printer's unique features, but it's
		fine. Until recently I was printing thousands of pages
		a month because I sell books (now I sell them
		exclusively electronic version).

		My solution for scanning on my Brother MFC 8810 is to
		scan to thumb drive and sneakernet it to my computer. I
		don't do a lot of scanning, so the inconvenience is

> 	LibreOffice (mostly to manipulate and print DOCX, XLSX files)
		Void does this perfectly.

> 	IRC (Hexchat)
		I use hexchat every day on my Void box.

> 	Ansible
		Not being a big-iron guy, I don't use and can't
		evaluate ansible. All I can tell you is Void has a
		package for Ansible.

> 	GnuCash (no bank data)
		Void has a GnuCash package, I used it for a few minutes
		just to see what it was like: It seemed to work just

> 	Ruby and Perl development (C, libraries)
		Ruby and Perl work just fine and have development
		packages. See also C, C++, Java, Python, Lua, Tcl,
		Cobol, Lazarus, Haskell, Go, and a zillion other

> 	Calibre
		I use Calibre from time to time, and use Calibre's
		ebook-viewer executable constantly to check my ePubs.

Void has qemu, VirtualBox and Docker, so if there are things you can't
do in Void, you can use a VM or whatever to do just that one thing. You
could probably built a print server for your exact Brother model using
Docker and, let's say, Devuan.

> In the past I've done NetBSD, but their Package site has adware. Not 
> sure that speaks well of the project. I'm not quite ready for Linux
> From Scratch, but the more I deal with commercial Linux, the more LFS
> appeals.

If you like your Linux close to the metal, without spending huge time
in compilation, I think you'll like Void Linux. Here's a funny thing:
About 8 months after I started using Void, I began to consider it more
user-friendly than Ubuntu. With Void, all you really need to know is
POSIX, and occasionally write a shellscript. With Ubuntu (or Debian or
Devuan or Redhat), you need to memorize their particular rain dance to
configure things. 


Steve Litt 
May 2020 featured book: Troubleshooting Techniques
     of the Successful Technologist