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Grafpup Linux 1.0.2 - a Review

Date/Time Permalink: 03/31/06 09:57:10 am
Category: Reviews

Grafpup screenshot 1

Grafpup screenshot 2

Grafpup screenshot 3

I'm ready to award the Puppy Linux series the title "The Mensa of Linux Distros". There's just so much that Puppy gets *just* *right*, it puts some other distros to shame. Grafpup is a Puppy variant that focuses on graphics editing, and it doesn't miss any of Puppy's tricks and adds a few of it's own.

There's the lightening-fast bootup, crisp, responsive desktop, excellent hardware detection, and super ease of use that a Puppy fan would expect. There's the carnival stunt of running entirely in RAM, so you can take out the CD, even on a computer with no hard drive, leaving it running on pure air. There's the snappy ICEwm desktop, the flock of wizards to configure anything, and the smart removable media interface...what, you still go to a console and type mount strings? Silly, just click the drives icon and click the little buttons to mount and unmount partitions or turn swaps on and off.

Grafpup keeps all that and continues the tradition with a smartly efficient set of tools. Not a byte was wasted on fat, here; every program was carefully chosen so that the whole system has the maximum set of functions with the minimal amount of bloat. With Gimp 2.2.10, Cinepaint, Inkscape, Mtpaint, and Xnview, there *almost* isn't anything graphics-wise that the Grafpup standard iso can't do. When I say "almost", well, I hate to ask, but: ray-tracing and 3D-modeling, please? Of course, I realize these are heavy requests. Grafpup needs to be slim to fit onto a RAM-disk, and POVray is big, and Blender needs Python to run. I do see pup-get packages exist for Python and Blender, so graphics nirvana on a single disk is very close at hand at last!

A word on speed: this is the fastest system I've ever run, even compared to older versions of Puppy and Damn Small Linux, even -gasp!- compared to my installed 10.1 Slackware. I've tried Inkscape on four other distros and it ran like an elephant - here, it's running so light, you'd think you were using an icon-editor and not a Postscript-capable vector editor! I have tried every heavyweight program here, and not one of them has failed to pop up instantly upon being summoned. No matter what you ask Grafpup to do, it's ready to do it *right* *now*!

A minor eyebrow might be raised at Grafpup's choice of web browser. Opera instead of Firefox? But by the time I'd gotten this far, I figured there were probably all kinds of good reasons why this was the sensible thing to do, based on how the rest of the distro was put together. And a reminder, Grafpup is strictly a single-user-mode distro, so you're always root; other users can be created. I recalled that when I was surprised to see an anti-virus program on the menu. Yes, that's right, in case the cyberterrorists ever decide to include Linux users in the fun, Grafpup is ready to meet them!

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