Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 12th Jul 2006 17:55 UTC, submitted by Valour
Oracle and SUN "Xandros Desktop Home Premium Edition is the most complete desktop GNU/Linux distribution on the market today, but it still has a few holes in it. If you want to play commercial DVD movies, use an unsupported wireless network card, watch WMV video clips, or install software that isn't in Xandros Networks, the default install will not be sufficient. This guide will show you how to add all of these capabilities to your Xandros Desktop Home Edition 4.0 installation."
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Temcat
Member since:
2005-10-18

I mean for Christ's sake, this is a partly closed commercial distribution. What's the point in me buying it when I can get the same functionality from Ubuntu Dapper with as much effort? I've heard their filemanager is excellent, but that alone is hardly convincible...

Reply Score: 4

joelito_pr Member since:
2005-07-07

Agree, If as a user I must go through all of this to get multimedia and wireless on a paid linux distribution, then I'll stick with my free Ubuntu, thank you.(OpenSuse and PCLinuxOS would do as well)

Edited 2006-07-12 20:14

Reply Score: 4

Robocoastie Member since:
2005-09-15

because they refuse to licence them. Specifically they want the sound server closed from what I understand. Linspire has those codecs due to lawsuits agreements and its unknown how long they'll have those even.

Reply Score: 1

well
by deanlinkous on Wed 12th Jul 2006 20:25 UTC
deanlinkous
Member since:
2006-06-19

it must be worth the money, they keep telling me it is over on their forums...I dont get a whole lot of details about how it is worth it but they always mention that it 'just works' and 'sets everything up' and 'it is worth the cost' and if I mention how good other non-commercial distros are they set upon me and beat me back chanting those same statements....

?confuses me???~~!!!???

Reply Score: 2

RE: well
by MamiyaOtaru on Wed 12th Jul 2006 23:19 UTC
MamiyaOtaru
Member since:
2005-11-11

If you're curious enough about it, you could try the Open Circulation Edition ( http://www.xandros.com/products/home/desktopoc/dsk_oc_intro.html ). That has to be a better way to evaluate it than askin people on their forum, who have spent money on the product and thus have a need to justify the expense ;) It isn't up to version 4 yet, but should give one an idea of Xandros' direction and emphasis.

I used OCE for a couple newb installs, my grandfather had tired of Norton/Adaware/etc and still uses Xandros over a year later. Kubuntu has advanced a great deal since then, so I don't know what I'd install for him today, but OCE worked very well for him.

Fark that makes me sound like a shill. I'm a debian user myself, just sayin' they offer a good way to answer your questions about the distro.

Reply Score: 2

Honesty
by pollycat on Thu 13th Jul 2006 00:38 UTC
pollycat
Member since:
2006-06-27

I would agree with others here, you are paying $40 or $80 dollars for this distro and it is touted as "just working" and a "Windows replacement" and, if you would believe the Xandros Forums and the introduction to this article, "the most complete desktop GNU/Linux distribution on the market today".

The thing is, it doesn't live up to this hype, you still need to hack it. And, even with the hacks here, things will not work e.g. Quicktime 7 files, Windows Media files which contain DRM content, etc. This is not necessarily the fault of Xandros - I don't think there's a good solution for these on any Linux distribution so far, it's more to do with Apple and Microsoft. But let's at least be honest about what's possible and what's just hype (I admire the article for admitting that the solution for the plugins is not perfect and won't work all the time, that's honesty.)

But yes, why pay money for any of this when you can get more or less the same results for $0 with PCLinuxOS or running EasyUbuntu / Automatix on an Ubuntu install?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Honesty
by Valour on Thu 13th Jul 2006 00:49 UTC in reply to "Honesty"
Valour Member since:
2005-07-08

Well, all things considered, it is substantially easier to add the functionality in the article than it is for any other Linux distro. And I say that having written this article, 4 other "hacking" articles, and dozens of Linux distro reviews for my sites, plus OSTG.

Xandros has ATI and Nvidia drivers by default -- you don't have to mess with the hardware configuration at all. How many Linux distros can say that? Xandros has a one-click process for adding the Debian Sarge sources to Xandros Networks. How much more complex is it in other Debian-based commercial distros? Xandros only has one office suite, Web browser, and file manager. How many desktop distros have 2 or 3 of each, clogging the menus and confusing the user?

So yes, I say that Xandros is the most complete desktop distro there is, because making it truly complete takes less work than not only any other distro, but any other OS period. Having said that, I'll also say that not everyone will get their money's worth out of buying Xandros. I use Gentoo and OpenBSD on my systems, and wouldn't switch if you paid me -- and I get Xandros and Linspire for free. But someone who doesn't want to install an OS from the command line will be likely to think Xandros' cost is truly a good value.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Honesty
by pollycat on Thu 13th Jul 2006 03:44 UTC in reply to "RE: Honesty"
pollycat Member since:
2006-06-27

I must admit, I had to smile when I saw my post entitled "honesty" answered by a reader named "valour" - could this discussion get any more virtuous??? ;)

Reply Score: 2

yes
by deanlinkous on Thu 13th Jul 2006 03:40 UTC
deanlinkous
Member since:
2006-06-19

how dare they offer choice - one size really does fit all
Debian has none of those by default so maybe it is even less confusing and clogged maybe?

You need to go back to the xandros forums and push that crap.

Reply Score: 0

What's the deal?
by Frank007 on Thu 13th Jul 2006 04:07 UTC
Frank007
Member since:
2006-07-13

I don't see the problem of Xandros charging for their software. While looking for the best distro for me I used Xandros 3 OCE and it was a darn good system. It installed fine, unlike Ubuntu where I never did get past a blank screen and gave up on it when I switched graphic cards and still got the blank screen.

I prefer VectorLinux because I like being able to switch between all the desktops that come with Vector as well as Enlightenment 17 and Freerock Gnome. I also like Vector's speed and don't mind that the Slack repositories are nowhere near as full as the Debian.

But much as I'm a Vector fan I'd never recommend it to someone who was new to Linux. Xandros is what I have and do recommend. Its simply an outstanding operating system that even my 8 year old daughter was able to use (with a Mac background) with almost nil "getting used to it" time. She ended up preferring it over both Win and Mac. My wife has also requested we purchase Xandros 4 for her laptop as she prefers it to Windows XP.

$27 for Vector, $79 for Xandros. In my family's case we consider them both money well spent and see no reason not to support the companies who produce what we want. Perhaps the day will come when Windows Vista and Max OSX will be given away for free but until then Xandros is excellent value.

Reply Score: 2

RE: What's the deal?
by deanlinkous on Thu 13th Jul 2006 04:27 UTC in reply to "What's the deal?"
deanlinkous Member since:
2006-06-19

Where do you see anyone complaining about them charging. You must be a xandros forum person because they always throw that out as the first thing whenever anyone mentions anything at all about it being worth it or being proprietary.

Nobody has said or is saying anything about them charging for the distro. the part we question is the value especially in light of all the good "free" distros out there.

Reply Score: 1

RE: What's the deal?
by Frank007 on Thu 13th Jul 2006 05:15 UTC
Frank007
Member since:
2006-07-13

Actually most of the criticism levelled at Xandros here has nothing to do with their product but only has to do with the fact people have to pay for the full version of it. If there is some parallel comment section where people are criticizing Xandros for something other than being charged then could you please provide a link.

"Free" distros also appreciate it if you pay. Some even have "Donate" buttons on their desktops a la PCLinuxOS. Some offer you a better package over the free version when you pay such as Vector where you then get a 2nd cd full of extra goodies like Enlightenment 17. Xandros offers a free version and sells their better version along with an actual printed manual. Otherwise anyone is free to download Xandros via BitTorrent and burn a cd and run it on their system. Having the option of paying for software is not exactly something that should keep anyone from sleeping at night.

Reply Score: 0

RE: What's the deal?
by Frank007 on Thu 13th Jul 2006 05:35 UTC
Frank007
Member since:
2006-07-13

As for what extra value Xandros has in their distro, well there would be the out of the box DVD burning from the file manager. The printed manual of course. iPod compatible, Realplayer, ability to write to NTFS, Skype + 30 minutes, home folder encryption, wireless networking that actually works, the Versora desktop thingie for bringing Windows data over and of course Crossover Office if you like being able to run some of your favourite Windows programs.

As for whether that is worth a few bucks to anyone is their concern. My family thinks it is although I still prefer Vector and won't be using Xandros on my system. For one, I don't have "favourite" Windows programs, nor do I use Skype or need much of the rest of what they charge for.

But I have nothing against any distro charging for software. I paid for Vector SOHO after all. Most of the bigger Linux companies rely on a revenue stream and whether they get it through donations or 2nd cd's, or a Mandriva-like "club" is really unimportant.

Reply Score: 1

RE: RE: What's the deal?
by deanlinkous on Thu 13th Jul 2006 05:37 UTC in reply to " RE: What's the deal?"
deanlinkous Member since:
2006-06-19

must of missed all those criticisms you mention, I only see people posting about the lack of value....

Reply Score: 1

RE: RE: What's the deal?
by deanlinkous on Thu 13th Jul 2006 06:56 UTC in reply to " RE: What's the deal?"
deanlinkous Member since:
2006-06-19

Thats the $80 version you are talking about right. And once again - how much of that functionality is ONLY available on xandros? Still have to question the value but it may be there if you really want versora and skype and a printed manual. Just not to me.

Reply Score: 1

RE: RE: What's the deal?
by Frank007 on Thu 13th Jul 2006 07:25 UTC
Frank007
Member since:
2006-07-13

That's exactly my point. It isn't worth it to many people but it would be to some. If you don't run Windows then what would be the point of Versora, NTFS writing and Crossover? Nothing. But if you did run Windows it would be worth quite a bit. What other distros provide those things out of the box for free? None.

Taking all the stuff in the $80 box away leaves you with the cheaper version which is priced less than boxed Linuxes like Suse 10.1 and not much higher than Vector SOHO and which is still a very good distro. I myself would prefer to pay for Suse 10.1 because there's stuff in it I would actually use unlike the value-added in Xandros but that's beside the point. My wife and daughter don't care if Eclipse, XEN and XGL are included so Suse certainly isn't worth $60 to them. And paying to become a Silver club member of Mandriva would make no sense at all, nor does it even to most Linux people. For them Xandros and its Windows-likeness is great and the cost may be above many Linuxes but its way less than XP.

Xandros fills their niche very well and I'm happy they exist and will continue to recommend them to any Windows user contemplating a switch. Because I do quite a few installs for family and friends and I've noticed that if people don't feel like they know what they're doing right off the bat you'll lose them. My brother-in-law still runs Win 98 because 2000 didn't work with his sound card 5 years ago and XP now is too different. Xandros is different from Windows but it also provides a lot of familiarity, such as XFM, and therefore its a lot easier to go from Win 2000 to Xandros than it is to Ubuntu or Fedora.

Reply Score: 1

RE: RE: What's the deal?
by Frank007 on Thu 13th Jul 2006 07:32 UTC
Frank007
Member since:
2006-07-13

The "it just works" thing can't be dismissed too easily either. Xandros installs and recognizes pretty much most hardware seamlessly. There's no fiddling or calling up a terminal to run SaX. You do that when installing on someone's computer and you can pretty much count on the next words out of their mouth being that maybe Linux isn't for them at this time. Explaining that that blank screen is the fault of their graphic card manufacturer just doesn't help. So ya, $79 is worth it, just not to me. I found Xandros 3 way too slow compared to Vector, maybe that's changed some, we'll see.

Reply Score: 1

Just works?
by pollycat on Thu 13th Jul 2006 09:22 UTC
pollycat
Member since:
2006-06-27

I think there is an expectaton and perception issue here.

With "free" distributions, you kind of expect to have to do some work for yourself, you hope that you won't have to do a lot of this, but you can't complain if you have to do some. Distributions like PCLinuxOS and Mepis, and Ubuntu tools like EasyUbuntu and Automatix, have effectively reduced the amount of "work" you have to do, but you still have to do some.

With "commercial" distributions, the expectation is that you pay money to have all this kind of stuff taken care of for you. You "shouldn't" need to do anything extra to get the functionality you require, you pay the company to do all that for you.

I think the article on which this discussion is based highlights that Xandros doesn't yet "just work" or live up to these expectations, it still needs to be hacked in a fairly technical way to achieve certain basic or essential functions.

If you browse through the Xandros Forums, you will see more examples of this. Hardware (printers, mice, etc.) that isn't recognized or isn't recognized in all its functionality, inability to play streaming media or access common websites (e.g. CNN.com), problems with writing to NTFS drives, e-mail inboxes being swallowed up entirely by the included anti-virus program, problems with the photo management software (which could be linked to the fact that it is actually beta software (=unfinished)), and so on. There is much that doesn't "just work" yet alongside everything that does.

Meanwhile, Crossover Office is an amazing piece of technology, I truly admire what Codeweavers has done. But even they admit that only a handful of Windows programs will run reliably and with the same functionality as you are used to in Windows (what they call their "gold" apps). For others, it's fairly hit and miss.

I do not dispute that you get all the things in the box which Frank007 describes for your $80 (he forgot the cool little stickers!) But claiming that $80 will give someone a "just works" Windows-equivalent experience is largely hype and not being honest, in my view.

Going back to Codeweavers, they "do it right" in this respect - visit their website and they are totally upfront about what works, what might work and what doesn't, so you know exactly what you are getting in to if you hand them your money.

Reply Score: 1

Familiarity
by pollycat on Thu 13th Jul 2006 09:23 UTC
pollycat
Member since:
2006-06-27

I have had a little different experience than Frank007 when it comes to introducing colleagues and friends and family to Linux.

People I know put familiarity above all things, they don't want to learn something new, and they want to stick with what has "always worked" for them. Try as I might to explain why it might be a good idea to switch from Outlook Express to Thunderbird or Eudora, or from Internet Explorer to Firefox or Opera, the folks I know just don't want to do it. When I've gotten them to try it, I've just had endless calls about how "strange" the new program is and how they "can't find things" and "don't like the look" and want to switch back. And this is just with individual apps within Windows itself - familiarity is king.

I have attempted to introduce such folks to Linux, showing them my Xandros 3 installation and how it can do all kinds of things, and running KDE-based "Live CDs" on their machines to show how they could too. But the "foreign" factor here is even stronger than just moving from Outlook Express to Thunderbird - you can see and feel the fear and distate for this "weird stuff". And you can see and feel the "relief" when Windows boots up again.

Sad to say, based on my experience anyway, people don't even want "Windows-like", they just want Windows (and not even Windows 2000 or XP at that.) I think they'd have a fit if I ever tried to introduce them to Gentoo or something! ;)

The point about your 8-year-old daughter is an interesting one though, Frank007 - maybe the "target market" for all Linux efforts should actually be schools and kids, folks who haven't yet learned much of any operating system and for whom Linux could become their "default" comfort zone.

(Or maybe I just need relatives as smart as your daughter and your wife! ;)

Edited 2006-07-13 09:29

Reply Score: 2

well
by deanlinkous on Thu 13th Jul 2006 15:11 UTC
deanlinkous
Member since:
2006-06-19

I dont really push or try to get people to switch. I let them know there is something else. I explain that windows does not equal computer and just occasionally drop something about it. I have had a few switchers and none are unhappy they did it. People who do basic things on a computer can be VERY happy with linux. People who do more advanced things may not be unless they are willing to move to the super-advanced level and learn how to handle the system themselves instead of just expecting it to work.

I setup my mothers computer with debian, browser, email, music, photos, etc.... She has used it daily for about a year and never asked about a thing.

Reply Score: 1

Re : Familiarity
by Frank007 on Thu 13th Jul 2006 17:13 UTC
Frank007
Member since:
2006-07-13

I've had the same experiences. I've been working on my brother-in-law for two years and still haven't got him to switch because he's concerned things will be too different. I've told him he can just call me, which he does now, I must have been over there 20 times in the last 2 yearsa fixing Win 98 problems, but he still won't make the switch. My best friends are both still running XP because of games like IL-2 and so on. My neighbour is still using Win 2000 and when they let me put in a live cd to show them Linux it didn't work and booted me to the text login screen. That was the end of that. Should have taken Kanotix over. I will next time I get the chance.

I wouldn't care if they all continued to use Windows but I spend a lot of my time fixing all their hardware, application and Windows problems for free so I figure I have a right to evangelize Linux while I'm there. I did convert my parents to Linux a few years ago. The thing is both of them were new to computers. My dad had only been running the Win 98 that came with his e-machine for about a year when his hard drive died and I got him to make the switch. I installed Xandros OCE and there was no problem. All his memory was now usable, it was faster and he got to the point he was installing new distros that came with Linux Format mags and phoning me to talk to me about them. My dad liked Mandrake 9.2 I think it was and has stayed with Mandriva ever since. So for him and my mom Xandros was only the foot in the door, after that he wanted more.

Now with Xandros I agree that not everything works but there is a difference when you're up and running and you hit a problem like not being able to play wmv files. Windows users hit those problems all the time too and go googling for a solution, they don't dump Windows. So I don't see the Xandros snags which is what this article is about, in the same light.

On the subject of my daughter you're probably right. She was the easiest to convert to Linux and I doubt she'll ever use anything else unless forced. True story, last Sunday was her 9th birthday and she got a "Webkinz", not sure if you know what it is, its a stuffed toy where you enter the code on their website and you get to see your toy do stuff on their site. Great gimmick. Anyway, so she asks to use my computer and I say yes so she runs into my office with 5 of her little friends. She sits down, logs out of Gnome, goes into her own account running KDE, all the girls loved her Shrek-themed desktop, then into Firefox which is also using a kids theme and they were in there for about an hour using my Vector system. No problems at all. One kid even said "your dad's computer is way faster than my dad's, I don't even use his cuz its so slow its annoying". That's a true quote. They didn't care it was named Vector, they just liked it.

Kids are simply much more open to trying new desktops. My daughter is somewhat of an old hand because I've gone though a lot of distros and she's had an account on every one of them so she knows everything from Ark to Vector. She simply liked Xandros 3 a little bit more, at least at the moment. Fonts and general smoothness I assume. As for my wife, she has to use Win XP at work but I've walked her through Evolution and showed her it can do everything Outlook can but for her Xandros is about as "Linux" as she's willing to get. But because of the cost factors she has decided to buy X4 for her laptop (which my daughter also uses and therefore she did some Linux evangelizing on her own) so I consider that a coup.

Reply Score: 1

hated it
by mark_in_rdjbrasil on Thu 13th Jul 2006 17:33 UTC
mark_in_rdjbrasil
Member since:
2005-11-30

when it was xandros version 3, can't see making the same mistake twice

Reply Score: 1

Nice post
by pollycat on Thu 13th Jul 2006 17:58 UTC
pollycat
Member since:
2006-06-27

Nice stories, Frank007, and good illustrations of just what is possible. You make a good point, each person will define what "just works" means for them, whether it is "fonts and general smoothness" or the ability to play media files or having all their hardware work correctly or an adequate replacement for Outlook or the need for speed or whatever. The user and their needs come first and will define the choices, be that paid or free distros or even sticking with Windows. And as needs change, people can change distros, like your dad jumping from Xandros to ... well, whatever he's on now!

I think for the paid distros like Xandros, it is important to have Live CDs or free versions available so that people can confirm that what is on their "must work" list will actually work before handing over cash. For me, I bought the new version 4.0 and found it didn't meet my needs adequately and so got hit by frustration and disappointment and had to apply for a refund. I hope they bring out the OCE version of Xandros 4.0 fairly soon so that others can make informed evaluations before buying.

I also like the idea that, if I'm spending a lot of my time troubleshooting Windows for friends. then I also have the right to evangelize Linux! Never considered this right!

Reply Score: 1