Grafpup 1.0.4 review

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Grafpup Linux is a desktop Linux operating system based closely on Puppy Linux

License: GPL (GNU General Public License)
File size: 81966K
Developer: Nathan Fisher
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Grafpup Linux is a desktop Linux operating system based closely on Puppy Linux. Grafpup's goal is to be as useful to graphic designers and other imaging professionals as possible while still remaining extremely small and fast. How small?

Grafpup is a live cd of only 72mb with current versions of Gimp, Cinepaint, Inkscape, and Scribus. You will be amazed at how much is in there for the size. You will also be amazed at how fast everything runs.

Running from the live cd, the entire operating system loads into ram, including all of the applications. This means that your programs start without any hesitation and respond instantly to your input. Unlike some live cd's, however, you don't have to reconfigure every time you reboot.

Grafpup saves all of your settings into a file called 'pup101' on your hard drive. This file contains your entire home directory, plus any additional programs that you wish to install. Grafpup is also very user friendly, with wizards for doing most system tasks like connecting to the internet and installing to hard disk or usb drive.

There is also a powerful package management system, pupget, with a very extensive and ever increasing list of additional packages available for easy installation. An additional package installer, dotpup, offers single click installation of a long list of software. In other words this is much more than a garden variety live cd. It is capable of being your main operating system and extensible enough to satisfy just about anyone.

How is all of this accomplished? I wish I could take all of the credit but I really have to take my hat off to the developer of Puppy Linux, Barry Kauler. Puppy (and Grafpup) uses the squash filesystem method of compression to reduce the size of the cd image by about two thirds. Then, through the magic of unionfs the whole filesystem becomes writeable again.

For a full explanation please go to the Puppylinux website, Another aspect of the incredible size to utility ratio is the careful selection of applications that goes into Puppy and has made it's way into Grafpup. Applications are chosen for speed and simplicity, avoiding bulky and wasteful code. Grafpup uses icewm as it's default (and only) window manager.

KDE or Gnome aren't even considered. Opera is used as the default browser and email client, instead of the common combination of Firefox and Thunderbird which would be half again as large. Though small, you will find that ROX-filer is one of the best filemanagers that you will ever use. It just plain works. I have further cut down in certain other areas in order to leave room for some serious heavy duty graphics applications.

Even though things are cut down, you will find that Grafpup is a fairly complete operating system and most tasks can be completed without the need for additional software. You will be able to browse the web, send and recieve email, write and print documents, organize your digital photos, and watch dvd movies and video off the internet.

You will also be able to burn cd's and dvd's, create impressive graphics and animations, put together professional looking web pages, and create press-ready brochures or other materials for print. And I'm talking about the live cd without any additional software.

Visit the Grafpup and Puppy package repositories and you can unlock as much potential as any of the most popular Linux distros out there. There you will find such powerful software as OpenOffice and the Seamonkey internet suite. You can create 3d graphics using Blender, or even install and run a large selection of Windows software using Wine.

Try it and see for yourself. Since it is a live cd there is very little, if any, risk involved. I believe you will be pleasantly surprised at what can be done using such a tiny system.

What's New in This Release:
It's with great pleasure that I announce the availability of Grafpup 1.0.4, in both Standard and Deluxe ISO flavors. This release marks kind of a coming of age for Grafpup, and is intended to be the final release in the 1.x series. The standard ISO contains up-to-date versions of all the best 2D graphics software and other tools for graphic designers. This should be enough to please just about anyone interested in using Linux in a publishing or design environment.

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