Siduction 11.1

Siduction 11.1 is a fork of the Aptosid distro. Siduction comes in KDE, Xfce or LXDe spins. You can get 32-bit or 64-bit versions of each spin. Siduction is based on Debian Sid and includes Linux Kernel 3.1-6 and X.Org server 1.11.2.902.

For this review I opted for the Xfce version.

Siduction 11.1 Desktop

The default desktop wallpaper didn’t float my boat much.

Some of you might wonder why there was a need to fork Aptosid in the first place. The developers of Siduction posted an explanation for why they decided to do it. I’ll just let you read it in full and make up your own mind, as I prefer to focus on the features of a distro rather than the intrigue related to its creation or demise.

From Knoppix to sidux

Anyone who has been lingering around in the orbit of Sid-based Distros for some time, will know the history from Knoppix over KANOTIX to sidux and aptosid.

There isn’t much to say against aptosid (on the technical side of things), it’s solid, released on a regular basis, maintained responsibly. In two words: it works. What hindered aptosid from having the success that sidux promised it would have is firstly the discourse with users, which implies that a community is not really wanted and rather cumbersome. Evolving from this latent feeling was a group of users deemed as renitent, which have been consequently expelled due to their criticism. Finally I as well had to realize, that despite it’s technical brillance, which up to that point still kept me in their ranks, there was no future there for me.
From sidux to aptosid

Many among those users who now participate in this new reboot hadn’t taken the step from sidux to aptosid anymore. At that time, I hadn’t lost all hope yet and have tried to give a platform to the German users, that wasn’t restricted by, from my point of view, absurd and excessive censorship and would instead favor respect and free speech. As long as this forum exists, this concept proved to be unproblematic. What was to be expected, as aptosid.com is the only forum I know of, incapacitating and expelling it’s users in such a rigid way.

From aptosid to a friendly OS

The things stated above don’t fully legitimate a fork in my opinion, and our ideas don’t end here. But we are convinced, that a distribution should first of all live by involving it’s users. After all the give & take is a basic principle of free (and open) software. This principle is also valid for the upstream direction. We should give back as much as possible to Debian. At aptosid, my efforts to get closer to Debian have always been eyed suspiciously. Whenever practical results were possible, there was retreat. For example ceni is still not in Debian, despite some lively interest. There was also never an infrastructure to ease bug tracking and triage, to work towards Debian. This shall now change.

The aptosid artwork got worse and more inconsistent in recent releases, a concept is not perceivable anymore. The attempts to create a Corporate Design at sidux failed due to the departure of two members of the art team. aptosid design has a recognition value by now, but rather for bad design.

We will not force our own preferences on our future users with kernel options, package selection and pre-configurations, like for example with aptosids K-menu defaults. Wherever it seems wise, the community shall co-decide. We will always prefer free software and drivers, but in no way prevent nonfree variants. It’s important for the user to know, what free and proprietary means in this context. From there on, he/she has to decide on his/her own.

We are siduction, your friendly aptosid fork 2011 :)

So there you go, those are the reasons why Siduction was created.

Before I get into the review, let me do a bit of blog housekeeping. I’ve changed the format of the reviews. I removed the separate install and multimedia pages, and I’ve gotten rid of the screenshot section for booting and login. I’ve also added system requirements to the what’s new page.

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Comments

  1. vonskippy says

    All that re-branding and they still keep the IceWeasle bullshit?

    Get over it all ready – it's F  I  R  E  F  O  X

  2. Bil Julian says

    New review format works for me Jim.  Stay with it.

    I am happy to see Siduction and I hope it gains traction.  I left sidux/aptosid some time back because there was no compelling reason to put up with the increasingly boorish behavior on the forum and no great technical advantage to the system.

    I agree with people saying that the lack of Synaptic is not a deal-breaker.  I might or might not put it on if I try Siduction but I certainly will go to smxi quickly.  If smxi/sgfxi does not work with it that would be a deal breaker, but I can see no reason why they should not.

    Will I try Siduction?  Oh probably.  Is it likely to blow out one of my three main Debian variants?  Not likely.

      • Brian Masinick says

        You may even pay a few more bills with more traffic on the site here!  Be sure to review antiX M12.0 when it comes out.  At least for enthusiasts, and that's who I think read stuff here, it can be another winner.  But the name "siduction" may also be part of the attraction here; if so, good move on their part!

         

  3. michimak says

    tried 11.1 and was utterly disappointed !!! did not even detect my wlan card – Semplice did and is based off of Debian too ( as is Mint which runs fine too )…

  4. me says

    I won't mention the positives as I'm sure there are some like their live-cd, not to mention their expertise (years making distros).

    But those folks, just like the ones in aptosid, stopped in time due to their prejudices.

    I have used plain Debian sid for years and Synaptic never, ever was cause for trouble. Granted, dist-upgrades I did on the console just to be on the safe side, but apt has evolved so much that even that isn't really necessary.

    They use a custom apt configuration which removes installing recommends (good, but not related to system stability), disabling diffs (unnecessary) and disabling auto-remove (stupid).

    So maybe it's a way for people to familiarize themselves with sid and then when they feel restricted for the restricted approach of the distro, they just go on using plain Debian. 

    • DeepDayze says

      Disabling autoremove for Sid/siduction makes sense as at times autoremove will remove some vital packages and thus break the system. If you pay attention to whatever apt wants to remove you can then decide to wait till later when updated packages enter the archive or you can ask if such a package has been obsoleted

  5. DeepDayze says

    Siduction  is quite seductive as its a distro that's community based and no one gets flamed or banned from the forums for speaking their minds as the devs are very close to the user community as opposed to sidux and aptosid. Support is quite responsive and questions are answered pretty quickly by other users and the dev team. To me this is the easiest Debian Sid yet and while it isn't really geared to beginners its easy to install and manage as there's a fine wiki and manual that's packed with information. Debian really grows on you and compared to other distros its not as much work to manage packages as well as its flexibility and remarkable stability.

     

  6. mkklolo says

    Siduction, while excellent in most regards, is not the distro for newbies and it is likely that anyone who is interested in a sid distro will be very familiar with "apt-get".  Synaptic, in a sid environment, is best used as a search tool to find available packages not included in the .iso.  With the package name in hand, apt-get is a better, more dependable means to obtain new packages.  That gives you the best protection against things breaking.

    I find that having a squeeze distro andSiduction running on the same box is a big help.  For example, the squeeze supported xsane version has a problem saving images on my box and blows up after scanning.  The slightly later version on Siduction works well.  I have had the opposite experience in some other cases where the Squeeze distro versions work better. 

    I was very pleased to see Siduction arrive, as I was one of the aptosid diaspora…not banned by any means but unable to communicate freely on the forum because I was a heretic for using the banned smxi update management software from H2 (which ironically had gotten sidux off to its great start by making sid easy to maintain).

    I also didn't appreciate the bums rush they put on H2. The Siduction forum is much friendlier but they are still very much sid purists in most regards.  They won't burn you at the stake for using smxi even though they refuse to support it in the forum.  Lets face it, getting the latest nVidia drivers installed is a daunting pain in the butt when not using it.  Siduction has an excellent manual but it is still a lot of high precision work in the text mode to install a new video driver and nv and nouveau don't work well yet for demanding multimedia applications.

    All in all, I think Siduction does a fantastic job of serving its target audience, which is the moderately experienced linux user or one who is willing to learn in order to become one.  The lack of a few GUI features or even the huge office suites won't put anyone off who knows "apt-get".  Finally, it is very "stable" in the sense of just working and not blowing up so if you understand what "unstable" means in Debian-talk, go for it.

     

  7. Brian Masinick says

     

    Jim, I am really glad to see a review of siduction, since it is one of the few distributions based on Debian Sid.  One of the alternatives, aptosid, is a solid distribution, but even chatting with their developers is a nightmare that I would rather avoid.  Semplice 2.0.2 is another recent Debian Sid-based distribution, but until just recently, I had not heard of it.  I found it an interesting alternative to siduction and aptosid.

    As far as using GUI-based system administration tools with Debian Sid-based systems, most developers in that arena (certainly all of those from sidux, aptosid, and siduction) feel that doing a dist-upgrade that involves the X server is like playing with fire.  You may get out alive, but you may also char your environment beyond recognition, so they would rather avoid such events.

    I've used synaptic with Debian Sid systems in the past many times.  If you know what you are doing, you can certainly use it.  The wise thing to do is to observe whether or not there are any graphical packages changing; if there are, get out of the GUI and you'll usually be OK.

    The other thing to watch for are subsystems that have mixes and matches of versions.  Sometimes in the flow of Debian changes, mostly in Sid, but sometimes even in Testing, there can be a flurry of changes.  If a particular application has a large infrastructure that is undergoing a change, it's best to wait until all of those changes are made before upgrading the applications that work with that infrastructure.  Try explaining that to the average person, though; they have no idea what you are talking about, so choosing lower level administration tools pretty much requires people to learn and know something about what they are doing.  As a result, such systems are generally not considered a good place for the beginner, except for the beginner who is an avid student of software administration; it may be a great place for them.

    As far as the performance of siduction, I have not noticed any significant difference between it and my other Debian-based systems.  If anything, all of my Debian-based systems, including siduction, tend to out perform most of my other systems, except for the very lightest and most simple ones.  I'd add, however, that I have not been using siduction often; perhaps if I used it more often, I'd run into some of the performance scenarios you mention, but since you were not very specific, it may be difficult to identify them.

    When I'd use sidux in the past with a VM (Virtualbox in particular), it was flat out the fastest with Virtualbox, whether I was hosting on sidux or I was using sidux in a Virtualbox session on Windows.  I have not done that kind of work or comparison with siduction, so I cannot comment on it, but the basic architecture from sidux to aptosid to siduction is quite similar; I'd be surprised to see much different results.

    The whole thing with the sidux and aptosid fiascos really turned me off, and as a result, I went to Debian Sid, and that's what I mostly use today.  I do, however, use my own customized version of antiX core; that's the one Debian derivative I spend a lot of time with, but mostly I stick with straight Debian these days; I don't really need too many "conveniences" since I tend to use the rolling distribution methods; it's been a couple of years already since I did that.  I install other systems mostly to review and test them, but after that, I generally use Debian Sid, and yes, I upgrade that primarily with text-based tools.

     

  8. Someone says

    Why run an unstable distribution in the first place? Whats the purpose? If you're a developer or a beta tester then i understand, but if you intend to do some serious work and expect that your system will work even after a dist-upgrade, then i dont.

    • SomeoneElse says

      I can tell you why i am interested.

      First, "unstable" refers to the fact that there are lots of new versions of software packages. From my understanding, its not particularly unstable in the sense of lots of failures. (although, almost by definition, there will probably be more than in a stable release of debian. )

       

      However, there are, times when you have to work to fix problems. i was using debian testing when gnome3 started rolling in. it wasn't my primary system – in fact it was the 3rd boot partition on my 2nd system at home –  so i was able to ignore it for months until it corrected itself. I understand sid is corrected more quickly as fixes in sid have to "stabilize" before moving to testing. That slows fixes down from making it to testing.

      Second, this is more or less a rolling release, meaning:

      a. you frequently get new versions of software packages – instead of being stuck on old software until you re-install

      b. you shouldn't have to re-install. the upgrades move you to the next version of the kernel, software packages, etc.

      on some of my systems, i don't want to have to reinstall every 18 months, or every two years ( or in the case of fedora 6 months or 9 months in the case opensuse ). Although i don't always need the latest of everything, I also don't want my kernel etc, to be really really old. I also don't necessarily be stuck on an LTS forever. Backports help with this, but I have recently been debating about aptosid ( and now siduction ) or just debian sid. not sure how long siduction will last. since it is brand new, you never know. perhaps the devs will reconcile with aptosid and go back home.  aptosid has been around for a while, i assume it will stay.

      the reason i would considers aptosid over debian sid directly is that they have done a lot of work to make it look decent and focusing the work you may need to do between upgrades ( you may detect a bit of laziness here ). But i may still try sid directly.

       

       

      • Brian Masinick says

        To go a bit further with this, I've used the "Cooker" in Mandrake, Mandriva, and the Cauldron in Mageia for as long (or longer) than I've been using Debian Sid, though I definitely now use Debian more often.

        You can get even newer software in those Cooker or Cauldron archives than you can in Debian, but once again, unless you really know what you are doing, you can break that environment.  I've gone as long as two years without breaking the Cooker, but over the past year, I've broken both the Cooker and the Cauldron at least three times when I attempted to do upgrades without fully researching what was taking place.

        So understanding what is being changed before you blindly make changes, is important, not just with Debian, but with any development environment: Fedora, openSUSE, Mandriva, Mageia, Gentoo, Arch, anywhere that an active and ongoing development cycle is taking place.

        • Euan Thoms says

          I've been using PCLinuxOS for a couple of years now, it's a rolling release distro. I have never had a single issue updating my system. The devs do an amazing job. Some apps are quite current and some are as out of date as Debian stable. bu they are always stable and fully functional. Although it's it's rolling release, they also stick to the "it's ready when it's ready" philosophy.

          In fact, but for 2 things, I would swear it as the distro for noobs. 1.) synaptic is the gui package manager, a bit scary for noobs, a "software center" style gui would be nice. 2.) When some extra pacakage not in repository, (free as in beer, or commercial), they don't make a download available for PCLOS. They only make a package for the big distros, or ones based of them. Mandriva packages no longer work on PCLOS for a while now.

          In fact I am only still disto hopping because of one reason. The repository is not big enough and besides the common apps, it can get a bit limited. Not enough devs/packagers. Through all my experience with Linux distros, I have decided that once you are an advanced user, it's all about package management and the vastness and quality of packages.

          That's why I'm moving to Debian….. for now. :-)

          The thing that held me back from Debian for ages was that I'm a KDE guy. Kubunutu just doesn't cut it for me, although recently it is very much better, a contender. But Debian just never a recent enoough version of KDE4 for me. But now it does, and it is very responsive.

          Siduction is great, but I'll settle for debian testing until it becomes stable, then stick to that. Getting tired of the updating game and distro hopping. Hopefully 7 has Gimp 4.8 and Calligra!

    • CFWhitman says

      Why run an unstable distribution?  Well, I think that most people who run a rolling release distribution like Aptosid or Siduction also have a machine with a more conventional distribution available.  However, a distribution like this is very up to date and works well most of the time.  You might be surprised by how stable an "unstable" distribution can be when managed the right way.

      • Brian Masinick says

        When it comes to Debian, calling anything "Unstable" is a bit of a misnomer.  What is unstable is not the software; it almost always works.  What is unstable is the distribution archive, and even that is not really unreasonably unstable.

        What happens, since it is a "rolling" distribution archive, is that when there are major changes to the infrastructure, such as when a new display server is introduced, when the Glibc or libc libraries undergo a major change, when the compiler collection is modified, things like that, there are periods where transition is necessary, and that is why it is called "Unstable".  Yes, during those times, you had either know what you are doing, or wait until the transition is completed.

        I'd say, based on over a decade of experience, using Debian nearly every day, that in looking over the decade, Debian has not been "unstable".  Instead, it has been the most reliable overall platform to use, even for every day use.  The only care that is needed is to be aware of the transition times, and either wait to upgrade during those times, or exercise caution and experience while doing so.  But to call it unstable in terms of what you get is ridiculous.  I'd take Debian Sid over a developing version of the Mandriva Cooker or an Ubuntu development version any day; you are much more likely to be able to keep the Debian environment working, once you actually understand it.

         

  9. TonyVanDam says

    Thanks for an all-new review Jim. I've been interested in learning more about Siduction and other Debian Sid-based distros for a while.

    Like Sidux & Aptosid before it, Siduction doesn't seem to be intended for first time Linux users. Although I'm only a 3+ year veteran, my experience has been mostly using Ubuntu & Linux Mint. But even as a current Linux Mint Debian user, I still made it my professional responsibility in gaining knowledge about using a root terminal to type command lines. Yes, using Synaptic Package Manager to install and/or remove software is easier, especially for Linux beginners. But it still take typing command lines in a root terminal (EXAMPLE: apt-get autoremove) to really clean up the system so to speak. Therefore, I don't fault Team Siduction or the Siduction community for their "command lines only" beliefs so to speak!  :lol:

    Ubuntu & Linux Mint users are definitely not lazy as much as they have been pretty spoiled (myself included!) in recent years. But I've convince that using a Debian Sid-based distro like Siduction can change that. But the user would have to be prepare to get their hands dirty and learn about command lines beforehand in order to make Siduction work for them. The very fact that Siduction does have a user community that shares ideas is an advantage in itself, meaning that Aptosid's lost will be Siduction's gain.

     

     

  10. says

    Hi Tom,

    Thanks very much for the feedback, I appreciate it. :smile:

    I was not aware the developers had made a statement against doing GUI software management. Thanks for the heads up, I'm sure they have some good reasons. I suppose I come at it more from the perspective of user convenience and comfort. So perhaps we're just looking at it through different prisms.

  11. says

    Jim, I have been enjoying your reviews for over a year. Tightening up the presentation makes sense and I like it.

    I'm afraid I must disagree with you (and others) who complain about the lack of a GUI for software management. As you point out, this is not a distro for beginners. The developers explain quite clearly why you are strongly discouraged from performing software management while running the X window system. Call me paranoid, but their reason makes sense to me and I'll abide by it when I get around to trying Siduction out. It is "sid", after all.

    I have been curious about the 3 "sid"-based distributions for awhile now; I just don't know when I'll fit a review in. 

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