Legacy OS 2017 - Ghost of Linux past

Updated: August 13, 2018

Back in the day, and we're talking almost a decade, TeenPup was one of those small big distros that impressed me. Based on the clever Puppy Linux, designed to run from live CD/USB on ancient hardware, this little system proved to be a gem. It was elegant, loaded with goodies, and it came with some smart, original features like the Magic Scripts, which I've mentioned in The Magnificent Seven article on ocsmag.com.

Well, TeenPup came and went, and I thought the project dead. But then, both the developer as well as community fans notified me that TeenPup still lives, albeit under a different name - Legacy OS. With a new version released last year, I set about testing.

Will it boot?

Unfortunately, right from the start - the start was rough. I tried to write the image to USB, and Etcher informed me that it was not bootable. Odd, and I've never seen this message before. Must be the special image layout and filesystem that Puppy or Legacy OS uses. Consequently, I was not able to boot the thumb drive on any one of my laptops. And this forced me to resort to virtual machine testing, which is fine for the purpose of showcasing the power of a live CD distro, but it's not really the right thing.

Not bootable

More struggle

The virtual machine test wasn't smooth sailing either. The distro DID boot - but then after I selected the screen resolution (this is a manual process, mind), I had no mouse. VirtualBox defaulted to USB pointer, but Legacy OS expected an older PS/2 device. Once I had that changed, the system started working okay.

Screen resolution setup

Alas, the desktop is just a plain - if nice - wallpaper. The system menu is there, available under the right click, and you also have a simple if fully functional bottom panel. And then, you hit the familiar ground, with tons of options, features, configuration wizards, and scripts, in the true form and spirit of Puppy.

Desktop menu

Playing around

There was no network configured - there's an icon in the system area - but there was no connectivity. I had to do a little of work before I could fire up a browser and use it. First, search for the right kernel module and load it, then acquire the IP address. The whole thing is cumbersome, but on the other hand, Legacy OS comes with a hugely friendly flow, so you won't really get stuck. And then, there's also live CD persistence, so you can actually save the state of your session.

Network setup

Network, save configuration

Then, I tried to browse. Konqueror feels extremely outdated. It was also very slow. I tried to go to my own website, but the browser simply didn't know how to handle modern SSL/TLS protocols - true for pretty much any website out there. Opera 12 (also a relic) worked a little better, but it took a long time loading my homepage, and during that time, the virtual machine was mostly unresponsive, eating CPU cycles like mad.

No modern protocols

I tried a few other tricks - but with the load skyrocketing - and not going down even after I closed the browsers, plus fairly severe issues handling the modern technology stack, I decided to stop the test. I was not making any reasonable progress, and I didn't want to waste time doing something that just doesn't work quite as well as it should.

Conclusion

I am quite sad. I was really looking forward to testing Legacy OS. I like quirky, unique stuff, and the Magic Scripts impressed me so much back in the day that I was more than enthused giving this distro a go. Alas, all my expectations were shattered. From boot problems to network problems to basic browsers, the karma just wasn't there. This feels like an ancient project resurrected into the modern era, but not well adapted to it.

Hopefully, these issues can be ironed out, and then I'll take Legacy OS for another spin. At the moment, the 2017 edition feels wrong, and it doesn't have enough critical quality to warrant testing and tweaking and trying to work around some of the inherent issues. Just too much trouble. Ah well. Maybe some day. Take care.

Cheers.

You may also like: