Some thoughts after trying out BusterDog

Forum Forums General Other Distros Some thoughts after trying out BusterDog

  • This topic has 2 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated Mar 5-5:49 pm by andyprough.
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  • #55396
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    andyprough

    I tried out BusterDog today, a DebianDog respin that is built to look and act like Puppy Linux. BusterDog advertises the use of the antiX no-systemd setup with elogind, which is what got my attention. I believe that skidoo was the first one to mention it here on the forums a few weeks ago, and after seeing skidoo’s mention I had made a mental note to myself to give it a spin.

    The DebianDog homepage is here: https://debiandog.github.io/doglinux/, and the BusterDog github page for downloading ISO’s is here: https://github.com/DebianDog/BusterDog

    The download is impressive, only 302mb for a 32-bit ISO and 345mb for a 64-bit ISO. Similar in size to the recent Puppy Linux BionicPup variant.

    Some random thoughts: It appears to me that the default boot option is to boot with persistence. The default install option is to do a frugal install, or there is a “full install” option to do a full install to the hard drive. I did not select the persistence option, but it asked me if I wanted to set up persistence when I was shutting down, so persistence seems to be always on the table. Some of the persistence options appeared to include saving to a file on a disk without frugal install – I’ll have to explore that more later. To you Puppy linux fans, this is probably old hat – for me this is all new.

    Performance: Not so great. Boot time was a bit long at close to 45 seconds. I set up the 64-bit version on a system with just 1gb of ram, thinking that this is a minimalist distro, but it could not do much on 1gb. The installed browser is palemoon, which ate up all the memory after I visited my second webpage and froze the system. After a hard reset I decided to start using a ram buffer-clearing trick to keep the system above 200mb, by running ‘sync; echo 1 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches’ repeatedly as root. With that, I was able to visit different sites, usually keeping my available memory in the range of 250mb. I was able to play some youtube videos with palemoon.

    I decided to try the epiphany browser, which is easy to install from BusterDog’s Debian buster repos. Unfortunately epiphany would not run without almost immediately crashing, and was also eating up all the ram. I’ve had trouble trying out epiphany from the Debian repos recently – it could be that the 64-bit version is not as stable as the 32-bit version that other commenters have been raving about recently.

    Next I tried installing the Surf browser from the Debian repos, and that worked sort of ok as long as I kept clearing the ram buffer. A big problem I’m seeing is that running surf causes the CPU to run at 100%. Possibly if I built surf from git instead of using the Debian download it would work better.
    Surf would not play videos, the browser did not seem to have any codecs. I downloaded the git version of youtube-dl and used surf to find videos and used mpv instances to stream them. mpv was very gentle on the system, only using about 50mb at a time to stream youtube videos.

    There’s a lot going on under the hood with this respin that I don’t understand, but that I’m sure that people like skidoo understand very well. I think this is a distro that’s worth playing around with and exploring further.

    Pro’s and Con’s after a brief initial look:
    Cons: I was looking for a distro that might run better on low resource equipment than antiX, but in that regard I was disappointed. It appears to require at least 2gb of ram to run in any normal fashion without constantly reclaiming memory from the buffer, which is not a stable way to run a system. And its live USB features look very interesting, but a bit primitive compared to antiX’s on first glance. I would like to say that this would make a good Live USB distro, but my initial experience indicates that it would give an inferior live usb experience compared to antiX. And I don’t understand why the system always runs as root – it’s not the way I like to run any system, not even a live usb system.

    Pro’s: There’s a lot of things this distro does well, and the ability to squash the system down to a 300-350mb ISO is incredibly impressive, especially considering the large number of programs that are installed by default, some of which are large downloads in their own right. Once it is running it pushes the entire system into ram by default, which makes for a very fast desktop. Networking and sound worked well out of the box, and the installed programs that I tried all seemed to do their jobs. I’ll explore it further with a frugal install and see if there’s anything that it does better than antiX where I can find some kind of a niche use for it.

    #55398
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    skidoo
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    :D

    Hey, that’s a good writeup!

    I don’t understand why the system always by default runs as root

    Because the intended audience is puppians, right?
    its bootsplash does mention that both root//root and puppy//puppy default logins are available

    ability to squash the system down to a 300-350mb ISO is incredibly impressive

    I don’t recall whether DebianDog omits MANPAGES (and pkg copyright/changelogs) from the base image.
    /usr/share/man/
    /usr/share/doc/
    If so, that represents a blatant disregard toward the licenses of the shipped content as well as a disservice to the end users. Also, DEVX (packed separately)… so, it is misleadingly “impressive” to ship a small ISO but saddle the user with “all that” necessarily loaded into RAM in order to maintain the system.

    ( sounding a bit self-righteous here, but I’m just calling attention to sneakypete practices )

    #55399
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    andyprough
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    :D

    ( sounding a bit self-righteous here, but I’m just calling attention to sneakypete practices )

    I don’t recall whether DebianDog omits MANPAGES (and pkg copyright/changelogs) from the base image.
    /usr/share/man/
    /usr/share/doc/
    If so, that represents a blatant disregard toward the licenses of the shipped content as well as a disservice to the end users. Also, DEVX (packed separately)… so, it is misleadingly “impressive” to ship a small ISO but saddle the user with “all that” necessarily loaded into RAM in order to maintain the system.

    Yup, looks like you are right – /usr/share/man/ has 494 empty (or mostly empty) folders taking up 59.9kb of space, and /usr/share/doc/ takes up 6mb of space. So they gave the ISO a major haircut right there.

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