Vector Linux 6.0 Gold – Review and Screenshots

Vector Linux is a popular Linux Distro whose motto is “speed, performance, stability”.

Version 6.0 was released in February 2009.  Their stated goal is to “Keep it simple, keep it small and let the end user decide.”  Having said that, this end user decided to see what was cooking at Vector.

Xfce Desktop – GNOME packages

The modest but pleasant Xfce Desktop is complemented with a nice array of GNOME packages.


The 700 MB ISO download directly from their website was fast and without incident.

Vector also offers a deluxe version, which includes installation support and costs $22.99, available for purchase online at their website  (Note: We are not associated with Vector in any way).

Vector also comes in a KDE version.  The Xfce version reviewed here is targeted at the power user and at users with older hardware looking for a fast Linux that will work without bells and whistles.

Tricky Installation

There is no live CD, so you’ll have to install Vector Linux to begin testing its capabilities.  The installation screens are pretty straight forward for active linux users.  First-timers and users new to Linux may find the installation a bit daunting.  Vector has been around for about 10 years, and the process is polished, however, it’s roots are in Slackware (A Linux distro for advanced users), and it sometimes shows.

Install 3

Most of the questions should be familiar to users who have installed Windows, such as configuring your time zone and language.  You will have to configure a Linux partition on which to install the OS.  There is an automatic configuration option for those who find it too confusing to configure it manually.

Pleasant Desktop, Nice Selection of Installed Apps


Installed internet browsers include Sea Monkey, Opera, and Firefox.

Open Office is not installed on the basic version (it is included in the Deluxe edition). Instead you’ll have Gnumeric Spreadsheet, Abiword, and Calendar.

Multimedia includes the great VLC player, Mplayer, Xine, XMMS, and others.

Configure your system with the VASM Control Center.

Gallery of Screenshots

See gallery for screenshots of menus for all the default installed packages.


Vector Linux has been around for over 10 years, and the desktop has gone through several iterations during this time.  The Vector Linux 6.0 Xfce desktop is lean and great for older machines and new ones alike. This version of  vector draws a nice comparison with Xubuntu, the popular “Lite Ubuntu” distro.

The package selection is good, but you’ll want to add some of your favorites after installation.  The installation and configuration of Vector Linux 6.0 is simple enough for competent users, but may be a bit confusing for newbies.  Sometimes the shine on Vector wears thru and the origins of Slackware are apparent.

Bottom line – if you’re looking for the real power of Linux (ala Slackware), and you want to install on your older or limited memory machine, give Vector a shake.

Speed, performance, stability

18 thoughts on “Vector Linux 6.0 Gold – Review and Screenshots”

  1. Nice review.
    I liked the review, but as a fan of the OS, I feel a need to give my less than impartial viewpoint.

    The comparison to Xubuntu is a fair one, as they are both targeting the need for a lighter faster OS, suitable for older hardware or satisfying an obsession for a lightning fast newer system. I just find VL to be the faster of the two and since it sits at 17th position in DistroWatch vs Xubuntu’s 27th position, I imagine others agree with me. Especially, when you consider the level of fanfare the Ubuntu name receives.

    This in the first year for the graphical installer in VL and compared to any other distributions that install a Slackware based OS that I have tried, this is by far the best. Yes there are easier installers, but not for a Slackware based system. I feel this distro offers the easiest method for a new user to experience the speed, stability and performance of Slackware. I imagine most users have already tested other distributions and have linux partitions already on there drive. They will have an exceptionally easy time, as they can just install to the existing partitions of the distribution they are replacing.

    I’ve found some screencasts of the installer here…

    Last comment…Easier for new users not harder.
    Here are my arguments why Vector is the easier choice than many.
    -Movie codecs and players preinstalled.
    (No searching for codecs or non-free repositories, play dvd’s immediately)
    -Music codecs preinstalled.
    (Again, no searching and installing…it just works.)
    -Flash ready…Watch youtube or any of the 1000’s of sites using flash right from the get go.
    -Proprietary Graphic Card drivers are detected and installed by the installer.
    (What new user does not struggle with that.)

    Once the installation is done, the user is ready to go.

    Consider what 70% of computer users do most on their machines. Use the internet, email watch/listen to movies and music, organize and touch-up a picture collection, or use an office suite (OpenOffice 3.1.0 is in VL’s repositories).

    I can start from a fresh install and have everything I need for the above inside of 1/2 an hour. I can think of several Distributions in DistroWatch’s top ten where that is just not possible.

  2. A nice review. But, I found V6 to be a pretty simple install. I am far from being a techno-anything, but have somehow managed to figure out how to install lots of different Linux distro’s with hardly any effort, I will admit that I had to surrender when I tried an unassisted install of up on “Gentoo” though.
    For me, V6 was/is one of the easiest and straightforward installs, and start to online and goofing around is less than 30 minutes. And it’s really stable and FAST under a heavy “Joe/Jane User” load of lots of browsers windows/tabs and mail stuff and photo’s and music and video stuff too open/running. And, installing new software is pretty brainless too….
    I really like V6…it is my second favorite distro. I rank it right behind SimplyMepis.
    Simple and easy does have its limits though…..I absolutely do not like PCLinuxOS, it is just “too simple”. Almost insultingly so….You’re opinion may differ, and that’s perfectly OK with me.

  3. I installed VL 6.0 on my netbook not too long ago. Yes, it’s one snappy distro with the looks to go with it. Unfortunately, it could not detect my Realtek wifi card and, not having the time to compile from source, I had to remove VL. I think the developer of VL would do well to provide better hardware support for netbooks. I have no doubts that there would be more VL converts if they did so.

  4. Funny, the Realtek wireless card in my netbook (RT73 driver) was recognized and installed automagically. windmonger: Did you check lsmod to see if the driver was installed? Did you try to configure wireless in wicd, vlwifi, or ???

    I agree with those who say the install is not any more difficult than other non-live distros (Mandriva, Fedora) and easier than most. Any user with a brain should be able to get through the install and can generally take the defaults when in doubt. I don’t think there is any reason a Linux newcomer should necessarily have difficulty. In some ways Vector is easier than Ubuntu: everything multimedia built in as already noted, fewer bugs, no Intel graphics regression, etc…

    I also don’t just see Vector as being for older hardware. I see it as an excellent general purpose desktop.

  5. I must admit, that I am VERY impressed with Vector 6! I installed it on an older PIII with an old Gforce2 mx400 Nvidia video card. The Nvidia driver was installed right away, and everything just worked right after install. The only thing that I seemed to need or want from their repositories was Wine. Vector comes with a pretty complete selection of all the commonly-used apps. I give it thumbs-up, for sure!

  6. Good overview. I’ve never understood why more people don’ point out how much nicer that Vector looks compared to other distros, once its installed. The fit and finish on the “eye candy” is better than anything I’ve seen, IMO. It just looks polished, which some others don’t (despite reviewers saying they do).

  7. My mom lives in North Alabama, she will turn 64 this week… Happy Birthday mom! She has heard me rave over Linux for 10+years and wanted to try it on a dual boot with her XP. I talked her into trying a 6.0 Gold install. While I did help her over the phone with creating new partitions for the new install, the process was flawless and after about a month and a half of using the OS she claims to not be using her windows partition at all….. GO MOM!

  8. A good review. Not much to add, except to mention that there are hundreds of great Vector Linux tutorials (based on Flash) available at I used these when I updated Flash and installed the Google Chrome browser and Google Earth. But if you’re really new to Linux, you might want to view the Install and some of the other basic tutorials also. When you combine Vector Linux, its forums and wikis, with Open Source Bistro — you’ve got an excellent distribution with very good community support.

  9. I have always liked Vector Linux. It is fast, handles proprietary formats very well and is quite stable. There is a little more tinkering than with Ubuntu but the results are very strong.
    At one point, I worked at a car dealership that had some 10 year old computers laying around – literally Windows 98 machines with 64Meg of memory. After cannibalizing all of the usable memory chips to create some 128Meg machines, I set up some computers for the sales staff who did not have a usable computer. Vector turned these glorified paper weights into useful, functional machines. Impressive. The dealer principal was computer illiterate but he was pleased with how good this new version of “Windows” worked.

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