- April 27th, 2007
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Lately, I have been seeing references to Ututo Linux in various places, and I decided that it was time to try it out. Ututo is Gentoo-based, which is intriguing to me. In my mind, what makes Gentoo so great is that it is fully customizable; you can make it as light or as robust as you want it to be, and you can completely configure it for the hardware on your machine. The drawback is that it takes a long time to build your box, whereas most other mainstream (and less configurable) Linux distributions can be installed in less than one or two hours. This is one of the benefits of having a pre-packaged Gentoo distribution is that you can have your machine up and running in no time flat.
I found the Ututo installation to be very simple and straight forward. No big surprises found. Although I did not time the installation process, it seemed to take only an hour or so. The Ututo developers have created pre-configured versions for various processor types, so you download the right ISO for your machine’s processor. That makes it pretty easy. They also have made a live-cd version (it’s in Spanish; you have the option to change the language at login, but Spanish seems to be what you get once you log in) for those who wish to test drive Ututo, but this is a separate ISO that you have to download so if you wish to install this distribution, you will have to download the flavor that is associated with your ISO or install from source.
Once installed, I found that the interface was easy to use and was not at all complicated. Gnome is the desktop manager that the Ututo developers have chosen to use, which I am plenty happy with. They also include the IceWM window manager, which I had never used before; seemed pretty light-weight and easy to use; the default Windows XP look that comes up when you log in with IceWM sort of turned me off though.
Being a Gentoo derivative, installation of packages in Ututo seemed to be mostly source-based. I must admit that being primarily a (U, X, Flux, nU…)buntu user these days, I have become lazy and accustomed to the convenience of using Synaptic as my package manager, along with apt-get. Although I did not spend enough time working with Ututo to find out, I believe that one could set the system up to work with Portage.
Ututo comes with a nice set of tools, such as Bluefish and the Gimp. Although I did not spend a great deal of time testing Ututo, it seemed like a very stable platform, and is one that I would like to spend more time testing some time soon. The interface was clean and easy to work with. The only negative thing that I would have to say about Ututo is that I don’t care for the sharp cursor arrow and for the creepy hand with the pointing finger that is displayed when hovering the mouse cursor over a hyperlink; it looks like a gobblin hand or something like that (perhaps a change in themes would change this?). Minor detail though. Ututo is a nice alternative if you are wanting to use Gentoo but you don’t want to spend days on your Gentoo install. Kudos to the Ututo development team.