BLAG: Linux Without Boundaries?
If you happen to visit the BLAG Linux homepage, one of the first words your eyes will read is “overthrow.” Specifically:
[blag] works to overthrow corporate control of information and technology through community action and spreading Free Software.
Interesting. I’ve tried a lot of Linux distros, but this is the first one whose “anarchistic” intentions are so boldly stated. Alright, perhaps referring to BLAG as “anarchistic” is excessive, so let’s focus on the facts.
What is BLAG?
Made by the Brixton Linux Action Group (hence the name), BLAG is a Linux distro, and not a very popular one at that. It is currently ranked number 79 at Distrowatch, using the “6-month” time-span. More specifically, BLAG is a one-CD distro based on Fedora. The latest version (“60001” – as of this writing) is based on Fedora Core 6. Included on its one CD are numerous applications that a desktop user would “expect” to have.
I first heard about BLAG a few years ago, but did not work up the interest to try it until now. Is its lack of popularity deserved? More importantly, is BLAG worth installing over a more popular distro, such as Fedora, SUSE, or the venerable Ubuntu? Let’s find out.
First, some hardware specs. I chose to install BLAG on a rather-antiquated machine. Hey, it still works. No, it probably will not run Vista, but it is happy with Linux.
Motherboard: ECS K7S5A
CPU: AMD Athlon XP 1700 (1.47 GHz)
RAM: 512 MB PC-133
Video Card: Nvidia Geforce 4 MX 420
Sound: Creative Soundblaster “Live”
Monitor: 19″ LCD (1280 x 1024)
Like Fedora, BLAG uses the Anaconda installer. If you have seen it before, you will feel right at home. As usual, the trickiest part is making sure that you manage your partitions correctly. Also like Fedora, you have the option to verify the integrity of the CD before you begin the installation process. I highly recommend doing this, as my first burn had errors, and the installer dutifully notified me that continuing the installation was risky. Foolishly, I had burned the ISO without verifying the sha1sum, and sure enough, the numbers did not match.
So, I downloaded from a mirror, verified the sha1sum, and proceeded from there. The installation was straightforward, and like with Fedora 6, you have the option to use an “Extras” package repository while installing.
Note: BLAG offers the ability to “nuke” a hard drive and automatically install with the default options, which can be useful for multiple computers or a recycling center. To do so, just type “blagblagblag” at the installation prompt instead of just hitting “enter.” Yes, I tried this, and yes, it works.