Vsido 2, review-like

| Informational note, 2014, Vsido = Fluxbox only, pulseaudio, systemd |

Generally, I quite hate writing reviews. In this case, there are two reasons for installing Vsido and reviewing it: First - the nostalgic one - Vsido was my first real Linux (means, not Ubuntu-based). So it can be taken as homage to VastOne. Secondly - I have problems with Fluxbox in Slackware and wanted to compare confs with other Fluxbox.
Fortunately my gratitude to VastOne doesn't forbid me to whine and bitch over Vsido 2. So, let's...

The story of installing Vsido ver.1 is here.
I wrote iso (64bit, 16.oct version) to USB with Unetbootin, and booted to Live without any problems.
Desktop layout has remained quite the same as in ver.1.: Conky up-left, and (hidden) dock-thingy (lxpanel) at bottom-center. Newcomer is Wicd icon in up-right corner. Wallpaper is the same as Vsidos' website header... well, it's better than previous one.
If one doesn't use wireless, then wicd should be promptly uninstalled. I also would uninstall lxpanel and replace it with tint2 (which is already installed, and used in Openbox). I like my launched apps nicely visible, as also three icons (terminal, spacefm and firefox) and system tray. And I do not like launch-once-docky-type things at all.

So, let's install (installer is in System menu).
There is quite a lot of explanatory text here and there - which is good. Gparted is for partitioning. Then comes nice compact menu for creating user, passwords and computer name. After that comes choosing timezone and lastly, grub install (which has all needed choices).
Whole install took less than ten minutes.
Vsido boot was normal (fast) debian. Display manager is - as previously - LightDM, but in it's new and moronic form. I logged in and was greeted by first-time script. I let it dist-upgrade - which is, in my opinion, a bit dangerous thing. What happens if there is, say, big xorg update? Anyway, update was successful - and biggish as always with Sid. Script installed apt-xapian-index, which is great (creates seach-box into Synaptic). The script offers also to install cups, java, Libreoffice and some more things.
One can do the same - and more - through pre-installed smxi script. But I suppose welcome-script is good thing to have.
There are - additionally to default Fluxbox - Openbox, i3 and Xfce installed. Which is quite a lot of options.

Fluxbox menu.
First, why is Spacefm represented with general icons? Spacefm has very nice original icon - why not to use it?
And here comes my loudest whine: the menu structure and app distribution in submenus are bloody strange!
- Settings: Why is Gparted there? Why is Disk Manager installed at all?
- Accessories: Why are Lxappearance (and, by the way, 15pt font size for text is way too big) and Nitrogen here? And Htop??
- Development has Xcalc in it!?
- Fluxbox menu should sit in Settings, as submenu, and not as separate menu.
- Internet: Why to have Wicd and Ceni both installed?
- Multimedia: So, Vsido got pulseaudio installed this time... well, fortunately there is 'purge'.
- System: Not sure if Gdebi and Aptitude are good for anything.

Now, app choices doesn't really matter - everyone has to make their own picks anyway. But - sticking apps into absurd places certainly is irritating. And having a bit more consistent menus through different sessions would be definitely bonus too.

Everything what was installed seemed to work - except Iceweasel, of course (bookmark toolbar not functioning. Also - whole menu was grey and fuzzy-looking.).
Net was picked up without any problem. Initial memory usage was pleasantly low 125 megas.

The same look - but dock-thingy is created with Tint2 and it's not hidden here. Terminal comes transparent by default - and that's not a good thing. When terminal happens to be on top of white app, it's unusable.
Menus - A lot better here, but:
- Compton sits under Graphics... really, now...
- Audacity is missing in Multimedia. Not that I would use it, but why inconsistency?
- I would put Tools and System menus together.
Font size in menus (in Fluxbox menu too) are too big and look like childrens' book.

Well - i simply couldn't open anything there, who knows how it's supposed to work. Fortunately console and killall helped.

Dock is created with lxpanel and is hidden. Menu looks textvise better than boxen ones. But it has huge problems with icon sizes - there are at least 3 different sizes all mixed up. And there are double entries.
- Settings has Openbox Configuration Manager sitting there.
- Accessories has Nitrogen - which should be in Settings; Spacefm is doubled, and with different icons; Root Terminal shouldn't be in this menu at all.
- Internet has two Iceweasels.
- Multimedia has two gmusicbrowsers (and icons are of different size.
- Other has 'Fluxbox menu' and 'Openbox'. No, I didn't try...
- System has two Spacefms and two Xfce terminals.
So, Xfce session looks quite untuned. Maybe it's time to drop it? Vsidos' forum leaves impression that there isn't very much Xfce users... if any.

Now, if all previous left the impression that I hate Vsido - then no, I do not. As far as Linux distros go, Vsido is one of the best.
It has pleasant clear-cut installer and installs without any problems. It works. It's fast and lean. Fluxbox and and Openbox are good bases to personalize onto. And all those whined-over menu things can be fixed in an hour. But experimental Iceweasel is a pile of crap and should be purged as a first thing.
I think I liked first version of Vsido a bit more. Not sure why... maybe it's this first love thing. Second version seems to be more advanced-user oriented. Which is a wise move - I guess that there aren't very much noobish Vsido-users in existence.
... And I did not manage to fix my Slackware Fluxbox. Looks like, maybe, a compile-time.


Terry Ganus said...

Greetings ...

I appreciate this review and your input

Recently, VSIDO has gone to a single WM environment, selecting only FluxBox as the WM. With this decision, it made things like the menu a much easier process to correct

Based on your comments, I have gone through and redone the entire FluxBox menu and categories and cleaned it up extensively

These changes will be available on the next VSIDO ISO release which happens weekly, usually on Sunday night CST. I anticipate uploading the new ISO with these changes on 12-22-2013

I am looking into replacing Iceweasel with something, perhaps uzbl. I agree that it has become a mass pile of dung

Lxpanel is the default panel, but as you discovered tint2 is installed with the same configurations to look as the default lxpanel. The reason for lxpanel as the default is simple, it uses as much as 90% less memory as even tint2 and it gives users right click options that tint2 does not. Tint2 also seems to have not been touched by a developer in over a year and this is a concern

VSIDO continues to evolve, and most (all) changes come from users input on the forum, IRC (#vsido) or blogs such as this one. For this I am grateful!

Thank you again for this review and the kick in the arse to make VSIDO better


Jed Curtis said...

Greetings, this is Jed from Nice review of VSIDO, and some great ideas for improvement! (though I will say it is hard to improve on perfection) After reading your review, you have me curious as to whether I know who you are. Your blog never really mentions who you are! It is a well done blog!!!

Anonymous said...

So what was the original issue with slackware and fluxbox? I'm curious because I run fluxbox on both slackware and debian/vsido systems and have never had an issue.


Player with Linux said...

Ups! Massive visit from Vsido. I really am flattered.
- Thanks, VastOne, that you took my whining so calmly. It really was an act of love - as Vsido was my first linuxy Enamorada... and I expected perfect prefection :)
Good - I think it's wise decision to go for one WM only, and why not Fluxbox. So I am going to check ver.3 out in close future.
Tint2. Lately I am kinda ok with 170M memory usage... my only installed distro with less is Wheezy. Other thing - I am graphical designer by profession, so I decide occasionally according to my 'refined' esthetical tastes. Lxpanel somehow doesn't fit that bill.
And my best wishes to you for making Vsido The Best of All.

- @Jed. Your own blog is nice too. But using KDE? tsk-tsk. Tried too couple of times, but simply couldn't stand it.
No, I doubt you know me. Just a Nobody who has spent slightly over a year wrestling with Linux. If you mean if I am somebody in Vsidos forum, then yes - I visited briefly as PwL. But I am not forum-type person, so it was brief indeed... still lurking occasionally.

- @PackRat. It's embarassing, but I still don't know - I haven't had time to dig in. And it wasn't FB problem (FB worked alright), but I myself fucked up panel confs somehow, then I did some additional mistake - and now the bloody thing doesn't want to start anymore.
Still have plans to fix it - when I have a time. Sigh.

- Thanks once again for visit and for comments.

Terry Ganus said...

Hey PwL! ... I have already released the ISO's so you can test away whenever you want. They are of course on the download page at

It is good to get feedback and when your community is driving the steps, it only makes it better

I appreciate it!