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And The Winner Is … Xandros

Saturday, October 2, 2004
I’ve been looking for a Linux distro to run under Virtual PC so I can get the latest build of mono running again. Previous attempts at installing the most recent Linux distros all ended with kernel panics - apparently, there is a problem on VPCs with P4 Prescott processors.

After reading Jerry Pournelle’s column (Chaos Manor) in last month’s Dr. Dobb’s Journal, I decided to give Xandros a try. A hard-core Linux distribution this is not. Any unix software which creates a “My Documents” directory is sure to make a true Linux fan sputter obscenities. I’m not a hard core Linux fan, and I think Xandros is nice and clean. What would really irritate me about RedHat and the others is all of the garbage they install by default. Do I really need 4 different web browsers on my desktop?

I now have mono up and running again. It took some work. Xandros is supposed to be for the relative compute newbie. As such, the free version doesn’t come with a cvs client or any other development tools (except a C++ compiler). However, I think starting clean and adding what I needed actually enabled everything to work for me on the first try, unlike previous attempts at getting mono built from source, which only resulted in google-ing for obscure error messages and coming up empty.

I had to install the following to get mono running on Xandros:


icu (note: change CFLAGS from -O2 to -O3 in icudefs.mk to work around a GCC optimization bug, argh).

Each piece of software is installed using the typical ./configure, make, make install process. I had to add /usr/local/lib to ld.so.conf (then run ldconfig to reconfigure the bindings), and wow, it finally all works!