Review: BLAG 60001 – Linux Without Boundaries?

Nvidia

Now that I downloaded some software updates, there was one thing missing: the official Nvidia graphics driver. BLAG set up the 2D-driver just fine, but my poor Geforce 4 could only muster about 220 FPS in “glxgears.” I searched the repository, but did not see the official Nvidia driver listed. So, I decided to download the official Nvidia driver and manually install it. (Note: I do not have any ATI hardware, so I could not try installing the ATI drivers).

This, however, proved far more troublesome than I expected. If you did a default installation of BLAG, you will need to install a few extra packages before you can install the official Nvidia drivers. Using YUM is probably the easiest method. As root, type:

# yum install binutils, make, gcc, kernel-devel

That should fetch a number of files required to build and install the new kernel module. Since my Geforce 4 MX 420 is so old, it is supported by the legacy Nvidia driver. I certainly hope a newer card can be installed more easily. Here is the process that I went through:

1) Download the official Nvidia driver. Remember where you save it.
2) Switch to runlevel 3. One way to do this is to press Control+Alt+Backspace. If the main login window comes up instead of dropping you to a black screen, then log into a “failsafe” terminal session. Become root, and type:
# init 3

3) Now that you are out of the GUI, become root, navigate to your Nvidia driver, and install it like this:
# sh NVIDIA-Linux-[name of file].run

Provided you installed the development tools mentioned above, you should be able to build and install the driver. Hopefully now you can “startx” as a regular user (or simply reboot). If all went well, you should see an “Nvidia” splash screen as your system starts.

In my case, I had more work to do. For starters, my screen resolution had been reduced to 800 x 600. This was easy to fix. Go to “Administration – Display,” switch to the “Hardware” tab, and make sure your monitor type is listed. I chose “LCD Panel 1280 x 1024, fixing my problem.

I also had to edit my X.org file by hand (/etc/X11/xorg.conf), something I have not had to do in quite a while. Here are the edits I had to make:

1) Add a “Module” section to the beginning of the file:

Section “Module”
Load “glx”
EndSection

2) Under the section “Device,” make sure the driver is listed as “nvidia” and not “nv.”

3) Because my card is a “legacy” card, I had to disable the “Composite” option by adding this section to the end of the file:

Section “Extensions”
Option “Composite” “Disable”
EndSection

glxgears-3d.jpg

The end result is that my “glxgears” jumped up to roughly 1,030 FPS. I hope no one else has to go through all of effort. (Please see the BLAG forums if you need support.) Because my card is “legacy” supported, I hesitate to blame BLAG, but I DO wish they made it easier to install the Nvidia driver. I toyed with the idea of adding a Fedora repository (such as Livna) that contained access to the driver, but did not want to risk corrupting anything else on my system. If someone is daring enough to try it, let me know if it works.

20 thoughts on “Review: BLAG 60001 – Linux Without Boundaries?

  1. As I wrote in our forums (I figure I might as well put it here too, no?)

    Nice review, thanks. 🙂

    Here’s my comments:

    Quote:
    “perhaps referring to BLAG as

  2. Jeff – Thanks for taking the time to leave a detailed comment, and thanks for all of your work on BLAG.

    I don’t really have anything against hippos, it just made for a good, recurrent motif. 🙂 By the end of the review process I was quite used to it.

    That makes sense about the inclusion of apt / synaptic. I wasn’t sure if the “apt for rpm” project was still supported. If it works, hey, why not use it?

    I’d love to see a live installer for BLAG. If you need another beta tester, let me know.

    Yes, I do much more with music than I do with computers / Linux. I thought about delving into the music programs, but there’s only so much one can cover in a review while maintaining readability. Perhaps the musical aspects will come in a separate entry.

    Keep up the good work. Cheers,

    – Brian

  3. Blag is a great distro. I liked it a lot . I’ve tried both 50K and 60K. Excellent. But the forum is a different story. I personally feel the admins are a bit paranoid over there. I had posts deleted, my first user name deleted, and I was ultimately accused of being a spammer after I complained. I left their forum and have never been back (though I have since tried 60K and probably will 60001). Jeff Moe can be very helpful one day then short and non interested the next.

    Again, Blag is a great distro. I personally have recommended it to my friends and family and to others at different Linux forums even though I’m an Ubuntu fanatic. The themes and colors do leave a lot to be desired (maybe the guy/gal who does the art work is color blind…:)) but the application select and functionality are simply excellent. Just don’t expect much at their forum.

  4. Well, BLAG 60k was my first linux distro! (aside from knoppix which I used for less than a week to check linux). Actually, because the mp3 and dvd support out of the box, and the ‘just click’ flash installation, it could be a good recommendation for newbies (at least that was the case for me)..
    OK, seriously, The first thing I did after my first login, was disabling the wallpaper! I’ve changed the theme sometime later, as if nothing happened 🙂
    BLAG is really nice distro, I would definitely recommend it. The only thing I could complain about would be option to estimate needed space for your installation. I had to repeat my installation few times, becuase I wanted to have “essential” linux with less than 1G, where I can add later if I need. Then again, this is not a real complain, other distributions don’t even offer you the choice to pick your packages, where you have to install the default to be able to uninstall!
    In short, it’s one-CD fedora with all its update up to its release time, diverse package selection, plus apt/synaptic!

  5. Ah to be fair, the mouse theme was nice, it would be cool if it’s available as download, to install it on my office windows machine ;0

  6. Just tried to install BLAG60000, no luck, won’t boot; I’m an experienced Linux user dating back to the CorelLinux days; this is the first time I’ve had a failure installing Linux, but I’ve never really cared for Red Hat.

  7. I’m an inexperienced linux user, and have been using blag nearly ever since I started linux about a year ago. I’ve never had a failed install, and this distro suits all of my needs very well. I usually have good luck getting answers at the forum or the chatroom from Jeff or several of the other very helpful people who help out there. True, the user base of blag is smaller than the big distros, so the number of people helping out and the range of problems dealt with on the blag forums doesn’t compare with the big distros, but since blag is so close to fedora, I have very often found answers by checking the fedora forums. Most of the fedora advice on the web works just as well for blag.

    What really attracted me to blag was the Free Software and anti-corporate ideals shared by the people involved with the distro. That’s not for everyone, but neither is blag (but blag is for *most* people ;)). Blag shows that you don’t have to include proprietary garbage in order to have a great functional versatile OS on one CD.

  8. As for the failed install mentioned above, the best thing to do is to check the CD with mediacheck, the first step of the install. The #1 install problem (not just with BLAG), is a corrupt CD… “won’t boot” is a pretty vague problem though (no grub? kernel? no power to computer? what?). I don’t think he’s actually looking for a solution though.

    It’s funny how much we’re hearing about the graphics here. 😉 I love ’em!

    Have fun,

    -Jeff

  9. I have used and tested many Linux & BSD OS, been using BLAG60001 for about 10 days and I really like it.
    Pros: Vary good programs by default and using Synaptic Package Manager is the best of the Linux programs.
    Cons: Needs some work on installer but I got throw it OK, and never got my Epson printer to work other than that its a vary good OS.

  10. As for blag6000 my ati rage 128 ultra turbo card was recognized instantly but of course no 3d desktop with it.

    Also installation of glchess went out without any problems 🙂

    And when comparing blag and fedora, I would always grab out the blag – that’s more mature choice for me.

  11. i am using blag linux (fc6version). its good. i was using fc6 before that. i need glade and postgressql for my proffession. i can easly install these from fc6 cd. using rpm command. but openoffice installation is not possible(may be for me). i like to upgrade blag with fc6 to get kde feature. if anyone have know how to do this please inform.

  12. OpenOffice can be installed by running:

    yum install openoffice.org-writer

    KDE:

    yum install kdebase

    You can also use apt-get if you prefer that and/or use the synaptic program to install applications with a GUI.

  13. i liked blag, but removed it from my pc after a week. because:

    1. it does not install openoffice by default.
    2. its interface is not sane (don’t know do they make it look so)
    3. slow bootup
    4. problem in customization

    now, i am using pclinuxos 2007, and i am happy.

  14. In the final comments the author did not recommend Blag because of “lack of support”. He obviously didn’t check out the forums. They are possibly the most responsive and helpful in the Linux world.

    Their anarchism is very “hands on”. 😉

  15. *BLAGblag 5k. on a Athlon900 w/512k mem. Radeon 7500. = No sweat install, works good, fast enough for my Gimpy mouse. The wallpapers are better than the Hippo, but hey, so get and change it. (Gnome-look.org)The default fonts make up for it totally, totally. Remember, if it works, don’t fix it! If your scared, load it on an old drive. And, in time you won’t be going back to that Windows drive and you won’t have to blow a century note again for the “latest” crappy.OOps! copy. The Gnome desktop is different than Windows. Wet your whistle with Blag. WELIKEIT, Old Mike

  16. really really bad. Like a disabled Fedora.

    Forums full of anarchists, communists, and other undesirable people. Use Fedora or Ubuntu. Get the real thing unless you want to shoot yourself in the foot

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