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Good lean distro for fluxbox

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 
I know I have the other thread asking about KDE distros, but the more I think about it, the more I want to go with a very clean and lean DE like fluxbox. Being less than a Linux guru, but more than a complete n00b, I need a distro that will let me install it as a clean base with minimal add-ons but make it easy for me to add the apps and hardware support I need.

I took a stab at Gentoo the other night, but past experience tells me it might be too frustrating to get set up. That's too bad, as it's really my favorite distro (at least in concept). After all was said and done, I got Gentoo installed, but upon reboot, Grub didn't run. As I installed Gentoo on a secondary drive, I'm guessing I simply installed Grub in the wrong place. I guess I just need to fire up the install disc again, chroot back into the install environment and try to install Grub again, only to the primary (Windows) hard drive MBR?

Anyway, any advice on Gentoo or other ideas for a fluxbox-based system that will cater to Qt programming with Qt Creator and offer some nice customization options?
post #2 of 51

You can install the Ubuntu Server edition, where it'll install nothing but base components, and then you can install the fluxbox package, and any other package from there manually instead of all the bloat that ubuntu-desktop will give you.

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post #3 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by metallicamaster3 View Post

You can install the Ubuntu Server edition, where it'll install nothing but base components, and then you can install the fluxbox package, and any other package from there manually instead of all the bloat that ubuntu-desktop will give you.

That's a thought. I'm not really a big Ubuntu person, though. Seems to be that someone who has been doing DE-less environments longer would be a better option. I could be wrong. It's tough to beat Ubuntu's hardware support and setup.
post #4 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quasimojo View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by metallicamaster3 View Post

You can install the Ubuntu Server edition, where it'll install nothing but base components, and then you can install the fluxbox package, and any other package from there manually instead of all the bloat that ubuntu-desktop will give you.

That's a thought. I'm not really a big Ubuntu person, though. Seems to be that someone who has been doing DE-less environments longer would be a better option. I could be wrong. It's tough to beat Ubuntu's hardware support and setup.


 

Honestly, I haven't been a fan of Ubuntu since 10.04 or 10.10, before they switched to their new Gnome layout. I personally can't stand it, so I always use XFCE. I use Ubuntu because it's got the best hardware support and it's what I've used since I started with Linux in 9th grade, way back on Ubuntu 6.10. After using it exclusively for my servers, I kinda got attached. I've used Fedora, Gentoo, etc, but I've always found Ubuntu to be best when it comes to the KISS theory.

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post #5 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quasimojo View Post

but upon reboot, Grub didn't run. As I installed Gentoo on a secondary drive, I'm guessing I simply installed Grub in the wrong place. I guess I just need to fire up the install disc again, chroot back into the install environment and try to install Grub again, only to the primary (Windows) hard drive MBR?
Anyway, any advice on Gentoo or other ideas for a fluxbox-based system that will cater to Qt programming with Qt Creator and offer some nice customization options?

you are correct, gentoo + fluxbox is the way to go. +rep. i've had that happen before. All you really need to do is get back into the chroot and install grub correctly. First make sure you are setting up the chroot right, with mounting /dev /proc, env-update && source /etc/profile .. as in the docs .. hard to miss. if you got that far you probably did it right.
Code:
[boot into the live disk, and setup the chroot again]
fdisk /dev/sdX                     # where X is the disk you're installing gentoo too
# make sure you set the bootable flag (a) on your /boot partition 
fdisk /dev/sdY                     # where Y is the first drive in the machine
# set boot flag if not set
emerge -C grub                 # .. just for cleanliness sake, remove anything there that may be inconsistent
emerge --depclean  -p     # always check depclean after emerge -C -u -D -N .. if it shows any useless deps run w/o -p
ls /boot                                 # make sure there's not anything besides your kernels and grub.conf in there  .. clean out any stage* files, they will already be gone though, but check
cd /boot && ln -s . boot && cd -    # setup that symlink if it doesn't exist .. it should be there from the tarball
emerge -pv grub                 # always check -p first and anything to /etc/portage/package.* , but for this one the defaults are fine
emerge -v grub
cat /proc/mounts >> /etc/mtab    # this is the key.. it's in the doco but easy to miss.  
grub-install --recheck --no-floppy /dev/sdY   #   where Y is the first drive in your machine ..the recheck and no-floppy options are also key

if that completes successfully check the contents of /boot and you should be all set .. make sure you've got /boot/grub/grub.conf setup right. Basically you need to install grub on the first drive in your boot order... and have grub.conf say root (hdN,M) where N is the number of the gentoo drive in bios starting from 0 (in your case probably 1), and M is the partition number (probably 0)

Windows should still work fine after you've installed grub on the same disk without doing anything. You just need to add the windows option to the menu. Google for "grub windows map chainloader" .. i don't have it anymore but it's a simple 4 liner, mapping (hdX,Y) to (hd0,0) and chainloader+1 any more questions please post, i'll be happy to assist.
Edited by lloyd mcclendon - 11/20/11 at 3:54am
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post #6 of 51
Thread Starter 
Thanks. What actually worked for me was chrooting back into the install environment, mounting the drives as approproate and installing grub to the correct drive - in this case my Windows drive. Gentoo is on sdc3, and I had initially installed grub to sdc1, which of course was never considered during the boot process. I guess I could have changed the boot order of the drives in the BIOS, but installing to sda1 was just as easy.

I now have Gentoo booting to a command prompt. Step one, check. Next step will be getting Xorg and my nVidia driver set up correctly (not necessarily in that order?). Then emerge fluxbox. smile.gif
post #7 of 51
you probably want to install grub on the DISK not the partition ... /dev/sda instead of /dev/sda1 ...but if it's not broke don't fix it.

All you have to do is set

VIDEO_CARS="nvidia"
INPUT_DEVICES="evdev keyboard mouse"

in /etc/make.conf

and emerge -pv xorg-server ... you should see it pulling in the appropriate driver packages. And then emerge -pv fluxbox . echo "exec startfluxbox" >> ~/.xinitrc ... login and startx . or emerge a display manager. previously i had it to auto log me in and startx, but i don't think i did it quite right so i backed it out and am typing startx again.. i need to revisit that rolleyes.gif

... just always make sure you review the use flags, and add entries like echo "package-category/package useflag1 -useflag2" >> /etc/portage/package.use .. prefer using that file to set them on a per package basis, and be careful with global use flags in make.conf unless it literally is a _global use flag. thumb.gif You'll want to add the gtk use flag to nvidia-settings.


for periodic updates:

emerge --sync && emerge -uDNvp world
[add to /etc/portage/package.* as appropriate]
emerge -uDNv world
etc-update
emerge --depclean -p
emerge --depclean
revdep-rebuild
[if revdep re-installs anything, run it again until it does not]
Edited by lloyd mcclendon - 11/20/11 at 10:19am
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post #8 of 51
If you're willing to try Gentoo you'll probably like Arch a lot better, since its Gentoo with a little more hand holding.
    
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post #9 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by metallicamaster3 View Post

You can install the Ubuntu Server edition, where it'll install nothing but base components, and then you can install the fluxbox package, and any other package from there manually instead of all the bloat that ubuntu-desktop will give you.

ewww why would you even recommend such a thing!?

If you want a Debian based system without the bloat, then install Debian. However, personally, I'd recommend ArchLinux smile.gif
post #10 of 51
Thread Starter 
Well, Mr. McClendon, it appears you've really stepped in it, now. I've opted to try the gentoo route and am having a devil of a time, so I'll likely be pestering you as a gentoo n00b would. tongue.gif

First off, I got gentoo installed fine and booting to a command prompt (yay, milestones). I figured the next step was to set up Xorg. I tried following the following resource:

Gentoo X.Org Wiki

...which immediately sent me to:

Gentoo Graphics Drivers Wiki
and
Gentoo X.Org/Input Drivers Wiki

Needless to say, I found myself in a confusing sea of USE flag recommendations. After adding all of the recommended USE flags in /etc/make.conf and doing an emerge xorg-drivers, I emerged xorg-server. After doing so, I tried issuing startx. It tried to start, but exited, reporting an inability to load module nouveaux. It also said something about the number of display devices specified not matching the number of available devices.

I believe it was someplace in the initial gentoo installation docs that instructed me to first set the VIDEO_CARDS flag to "nouveaux". However, after changing it to "nvidia nv" as stated in the graphics drivers wiki, X still seems to be looking for it.

I'll start with a couple of simple questions:

1. What should my USE flags include?
2. After changing my USE flags, VIDEO_CARDS and INPUT_DEVICES flags, what do I need to do for those changes to be observed when emerging xorg-server? I did do an emerg
3. Is there a way to back up (to my simple command prompt state) and take another clean stab at it, unlike in Windows, where installing software pretty much sullies a clean system even after subsequently uninstalling it?

Thanks.
Edited by Quasimojo - 11/21/11 at 10:45am
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