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Date: Fri, 03 Mar 2006 17:41:57 +0100
From: Andreas Ericsson <>
Cc: Denzel Turner <>
Subject: Re: Owl 2.0

Hi Denzel. I'm moving this to, where others 
can benefit from it as well. Instructions on how to sign up there can be 
found att

Denzel Turner wrote:
> Hello Folks,
>    Linux/*nix Newbie here. Is Owl 2.0 a good Linux to learn on?

Yes and no.

It's good in that it excludes a lot of clutter. Only a stripped down 
system containing an immensely stable base platform, meaning you have 
less to learn to master it fully. Some say that's a bad thing since 
there's less to choose from. I've been working with various unices for 
the past 17 years and I disagree with that.

Owl is also intended as a server OS. As such, we haven't bothered with 
the X window system, meaning you won't have a nice gui where you can 
point your mouse on things and click to make lots of things happen. If 
you want to learn the unix basics that's undoubtedly a Good Thing (tm), 
since you'll get closer to the core and thus learn how things actually work.

The only bad thing I have to say about it is that it doesn't come with 
automated updates (we're working on it though, so stay tuned everybody) 
and that the number of pre-packaged audited software falls somewhat 
short of complete for a really complete distribution.

I've addressed that last issue with the Owl addons project though, which 
contains unaudited but packaged software for use with a recent version 
of Owl (2.0, currently). The reason they're as yet unaudited is that 
code audits take time when done properly. Lots and lots of time. The 
addons project means extended usability faster, but with the decrease in 
security that unaudited code brings. I've tried hard to make safe and 
sane defaults though, and some things in Owl makes it safer to run those 
addon packages on Owl than an equivalent build on non-Owl.

> I am not very good at the Command Line
> Interface yet. Is Owl 2.0 for experienced Code Warriors or can common
> mortals use the Owl?

Anyone can use Owl. Preferrably by purchasing a CD with shipping 
worldwide at the Openwall website. :)

Experienced code warriors will find its lack of clutter refreshing. 
Paranoid administrators will find its security measures reassuring. 
Common mortals will find the stability invigorating.

> Is Owl 2.0 like Gentoo but with OpenBSD-like code review and Security?

Something like it, I suppose, but without the X system and some other 
user-friendliness things.

> I
> read the entire presentation pages and do not know all of the terms yet. No
> hurry on answering me as I know you folks are probably really busy.

Many others have helped educate me through the years. I would repay them 
poorly if I did not take time to answer such an enthusiastic person.

> I am not
> sure where to start with Open Source OS's and Software. I want to eventually
> be able to do Martial Arts digital videos in a *nix OS with Open Source
> Software only!!!!

If that's your ultimate goal then perhaps Fedora Core or Debian is 
better suited for you. We aim for binary compatibility with a current 
Fedora Core release, so you should be able to install Fedora packages on 
top of Owl, giving (hopefully) the best of two worlds. I doubt Owl will 
ever package video editing tools, as our goal is to make an impenetrable 
operating system for use on servers.

> Thanks in advance for any recommendations on Books or
> study Guides you can give me.

Google is your friend. There are so many sites holding documentation 
suitable for Linux newcomers that I wouldn't even know where to start.

Andreas Ericsson         
OP5 AB                   
Tel: +46 8-230225                  Fax: +46 8-230231

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