Linked by Barry Smith on Wed 26th Nov 2003 18:11 UTC
Linspire It seems to me that a lot of attention lately in the commercial Linux development area has concentrated on either large enterprise customers, or wooing the home user who can barely turn a computer on. Even distros claiming to offer the perfect solution for both ends of the spectrum don't quite seem to fit what I am looking for.
Order by: Score:
apt-get and dependencies
by Will Senn on Wed 26th Nov 2003 18:36 UTC

You aren't kidding, the dependencies get so convoluted when you use apt-get and CNR that it just isn't worth it. Lindows satisfies as a desktop distro except for the font aliasing (pretty ugly). Lindows as a linux distro for power users? Nope, not a good mix - step away from the CNR and you will quickly hit the wall.

Thanks for the article, very similar to my current experience with 4.0.579


Lindows is nice
by bullethead on Wed 26th Nov 2003 18:37 UTC

I subscribed to Lindows just for fun. And it's an awesome system if all you want to use a computer for is getting some productivity out of it. If you like to tinker with the latest packages and desktop environments it's not for you.

re: Lindows is nice
by Syntaxis on Wed 26th Nov 2003 18:44 UTC

That's a rather meaningless blurb.

Remove the first sentence, and I'd say the same thing holds equally true for Debian Stable.

Couple points about article
by Richard Tough on Wed 26th Nov 2003 18:50 UTC

I do not believe the points system your using is fair. Is feeling good about something worth the same value as waiting days for a tech support request to be answered or a good community? I do not believe so.

Also, you contradicted yourself a couple times, e.g. with the webcam, instead of looking on CnR for software that would most likely allow you to work with it, you shrugged it off, right before you went on to say about what an asset CnR was.

First page read well though, I liked the colourful comparisons ("hammer meets steal", "will the shiny new chair hold a person's butt up off of the floor?").

Oh and sorry, just my personal rant - from what I've seen Lindows4's default desktop, they should be ashamed of themselfs - the fonts in particular.

by Arroba on Wed 26th Nov 2003 18:59 UTC

I like the review but there's one thing that should be changed: the way points are counted.

A distro with no virtues and no problems would get exactly the same (0 points) as one with a lot of issues but also a lot of good things. They'd appear as being equal while they're not, at least for me.

Just keep track of good and bad points separately.

v @ Syntaxis -- so what..?!
by Anonymous on Wed 26th Nov 2003 19:00 UTC
I tend to agree with previous poster
by mario on Wed 26th Nov 2003 19:02 UTC

Your scoring system is wide open to misuse. You can grade any distro to any score this way.

Let's see: redhat 5.1:

didn't recognize my hard disk geometry correctly: -2 (I really hated that)
- didn't have some apps that RH 4.2 did: -1
Where's Metro-x? -1 ... so, we're at -4 right now.
Nothing really new, as far as I can see: 0
Installer isn't graphical, even though my friend Eugene said it is: -1

So, we get -5

This is bovine.

Good, usable review
by Anonymous on Wed 26th Nov 2003 19:03 UTC

The only thing I wish you would begin doing is a short summary of points +/-, and a final total at the bottom. Reading all the points changes is good, but a summary as well would be very useful!

To the author
by Anonymous on Wed 26th Nov 2003 19:14 UTC

Don't worry about it, of course your review is fine. A vocal group (perhaps the majority) of Linux users always seems to complain about something. This is why you always see "Please don't flame me, but.." in article about anything related to Linux.

RE : I tend to agree with previous poster
by nego` on Wed 26th Nov 2003 19:22 UTC

hehe, nice example but you are correct it can be misused.

The problem with the points is that a -1 for using a version of X that is stable instead of the bleeding edge ? 4.2 compared to 4.3 wasn't that much difference from when I upgraded.

With using the wrong video card, I am not saying that it wouldn't work with Lindows, I bet the hardware detection found that one first and used it, would be better if it scanned all hardware and give you a choice.

Informative article though, thanks.

by Gab O Mey on Wed 26th Nov 2003 19:25 UTC

People bitch and moan entirely too much about fonts. Take a pill, people.

by maceto on Wed 26th Nov 2003 19:28 UTC

Libranet will have him totally change the +/- system....

Linux and Broadband
by yutt on Wed 26th Nov 2003 19:31 UTC

After reading the review, I had a good impression of Lindows, especially the support. But with the author's bizarre scoring system, they appear to have a negative view.

I noticed a few problems with the review. The first major one is he was trying to use a desktop Linux distro without broadband. While in theory, it would be nice for this to work, it is not the reality. It leads to endless frustrations, and at best, an unreliable and painfully slow connection. That is not Lindows' (or Linux's) fault, but the connection's.

The second problem I noticed is that the author wants to use Lindows like any other Linux distro. It wasn't designed for that. You can't expect apt-get to work without breaking things. The whole point of Lindows is to work for those who have never heard of the command-line and think their screensaver and wallpaper are the same thing.

Lastly, why on Earth are you reviewing 4.0, but purchasing 3.0, and trying to upgrade over dialup? Did this save $10 from the purchasing cost? If you're going to bother with a review use the latest version of the operating system. I'm not going to install Windows ME, try to upgrade to XP over dialup, and then go on to claim that Windows sucks because the process didn't work well.

Be reasonable here. Honestly, I thought it was a good review. While I know my post reflects otherwise, I am just trying to point out if the author had broadband, had purchased 4.0, and had not tried to do anything a Level 1 or 2 Joe-User wouldn't do, his experience would have been noticeably better.

RE: yutt
by Anonymous on Wed 26th Nov 2003 19:40 UTC

The first major one is he was trying to use a desktop Linux distro without broadband. While in theory, it would be nice for this to work, it is not the reality. It leads to endless frustrations, and at best, an unreliable and painfully slow connection. That is not Lindows' (or Linux's) fault, but the connection's.

Actually he cited a specific problem with Lindows' upgrade process, their server does not support resuming, and that was the extent of his complaint. I didn't see the author complaining about how slow the download was..

Completely arbitrary grading system
by nubuddy on Wed 26th Nov 2003 19:44 UTC

I realize that there is always some subjectivity to any review, but to me what stands out about this review is that the reviewers grading "system" is almost entirely arbitrary. For instance, this reviewer gave Lindows a +1 for installing correctly on one system, and a -1 for failing to detect that the onboard video was turned off in the BIOS on a second system. If you're going to compare installation on various different computers, and award points based on that, the results are statistically meaningless unless you have a large number of computers to do the trials on. Using just two is like evaluating students performance in an exam with just two true/false questions.

Another example: the reviewer gives Lindows a +1 for detecting and configuring his Winmodem, something which every other distro failed to do. Then the same reviewer did not take off a point when Lindows failed to detect or configure his US Robotics modem on the second system, because "I have only seen one Linux distro to date that was capable of finding the USR modem". In other words, Lindows gets a +1 in one case because of the failings of other distros, and avoids a -1 in another case because of, err, the failings of other distros.

A third example: Lindows got a -1 for failing to recognize a cheap IBM webcam, because it is "common as dirt". This time the points were awarded based on the authors level of expectation, not on the performance of other distros, since there was no mention of whether other distros succeeded in detecting and configuring this webcam or not.

Using other distros for comparison is a reasonable scheme. Using just user expectations is a more subjective scheme, but may have its place in a "Linux wish-list" sort of review. Mixing the two randomly, however, makes for a poor review.


mixed bag
by ripcrd on Wed 26th Nov 2003 19:47 UTC

Your article starts off great. I like your analogies and euphamisms. I give you a +1 for style. For your willingness to go after the i810 video problem I give a +1. For your lack of willingness to mess w/ the webcam I give you a -1. You see how this works. It is all subjective.

Lay out for us the tasks you want to be able to do, programs you have used in the past to accomplish this and list the hardware on each system in a table. Note any of the hardware that has been troublesome in the past. Then outline your points system/ rating criteria. You could then copy this section at the top of each on your distro reviews.

You have a good start on a distro that will do what you want and be maintainable by going w/ one that is Debian based. That's how I recently got into Debian, with Morphix LightGUI 0.4.1. I plugged in my webcam, did a "lsmod" and saw that the cpia module and a few others got installed. I did "apt-get install gqcam" and ran it from the cli and I was able to capture images.

Debian has a couple of gui apt tools, aptitude works from cli w/ ncurses and synaptic is a gui that runs on X. I recently checked out both on my laptop. Sometimes the gui to apt is too much if you know what program you need, just apt-get install pkgname. I have found this upgrade and pkg install process way better than other distros I tried (RedHat, Mandrake, Slack, others). It sound like you know enough to install Debian 3.0, so will you?
All things take a little research to get fixed, even on Winders 2000/XP.

Not for modem users
by Anonymous on Wed 26th Nov 2003 20:08 UTC

Lindows calls itself the broadband OS, it makes no sense to review it on terms other than those which it attempts to address. -2 for ignoring Lindows' focus.

RE: Completely arbitrary grading system
by B. Smith on Wed 26th Nov 2003 20:13 UTC

You know, you are absolutely correct. I had not seen it during writing the article, but once these posts point it out to me the rating system is biased.

I am honestly looking for something to use in my own home office, so from my point of view the subjective impressions are critical. But you are right, it is important to be consistent. I will need to re-think my scoring approach for the article on Libranet.

Thanks for the feedback.


I liked the point system
by Tron on Wed 26th Nov 2003 20:23 UTC

I believe the points were a way to gauge the author's personal frustration/satisfaction with Lindows, instead of a systematic rating system. IMHO, If a feature lives up to your expectations, it should get a +1. If it is a source of frustration, it deserves a -1. An Example: Linux creates less frustration for me than Windows. Windows may very well be a better OS, but I get frustrated whenever I use it, and hence I don't. The same goes for Windows users who have tried and rejected Linux. Linux frustrated them, an hence they don't use it.
(The police have just confiscated my soap box and are asking me to leave)

What can ya say
by User on Wed 26th Nov 2003 20:24 UTC

Point system is somewhat unfair. However, I can appreciate the brutal honesty that has been supplied to the reader. I would love to see a more of day to day usage issues. Most of the article focus on setting up the system. Please dont get me wrong, I want to see an article dedicated to setting up the system and one for day to day usage. And does it sound like greed. O'Course it does, hey, all I am doing is making requests.

Good article all in all.

by TC on Wed 26th Nov 2003 20:39 UTC

It doesn't matter that your rating system was biased. You stated that this review is really only for yourself, after all, so it *should* be biased. The problem is that you didn't give weight to the pluses and minuses. Creating a CNR system that doesn't completely crap out on you is pretty important, moreso than being able to recognize the titles from an obscure CD album. I've never used debian, but from my experiences, I have to dip into rpm's regularly as well as other methods. There's no one distribution that fits everything. That's part of the beauty of linux, and also part of its annoyances. Overcoming an installation is not that important (you got vga to work). Not overcoming a hardware installation would be *extremely* important (if you didn't get vga to work)... in fact, arguably, if you couldn't overcome the vga problem, you wouldn't be able to do anything else. see? weight? importance?

Quick Note
by B. Smith on Wed 26th Nov 2003 20:41 UTC

A couple of people mentioned the web cam. I included that webcam because I had recently read an interview with Mr. Robertson in LinuxWorld magazine, wherein he claimed that Lindows was the only Linux distro on the market where you could simply plug up a USB peripheral and have it be loaded onto the desktop autmatically.

So I grabbed the cheap little webcam that my daughter was using under Windows and plugged it up to find out. I acknowledge that I should have made that more clear.

In honesty, I have not yet tried that webcam under other Linux distros, although I intend to include it in the other reviews. I just figured it this way, "Hey, Mr. Robertson claims you can just plug up a USB device and have it added to the desktop automatically. Let's grab a cheap, generically common USB webcam and see what happens."

Perhaps I could have located something on the net to make it work, but Lindows does claim in marketing that it is ready for the home user out of the box. Many home users have cheap little USB webcams, don't they?


by Anonymous on Wed 26th Nov 2003 20:48 UTC

I'd like to see the list of applications that a technical writer and a mainstream desktop user (not programmer, not sysadmin) uses on daily basis. This would give me, and perhaps some others, a better idea of what the notorious phrase 'Linux on the desktop' actually means.

by Devilotx on Wed 26th Nov 2003 21:01 UTC

Lindows is nice, I hope Xandros makes it onto your list

by MBCook on Wed 26th Nov 2003 21:01 UTC

I've been thinking of buying and trying Xandros. I'd really like to see it reviewed in this series.

A very interesting review of Lindows too. Good work.

How is this a shootout ? Change the title to Lindows Review.
by Anonymous on Wed 26th Nov 2003 21:08 UTC

Especially when you only include on distro ? Had you inculded Xandros and another distro like SuSe, or Mandrake then I could see this as a shootout.

i just don't get lindows
by dr_gonzo on Wed 26th Nov 2003 21:20 UTC

how is it more user friendly to rename konqueror file manager as lindows OS file manager?

they say they have 'built in email' and then show a screenshot of evolution?!?! wft?

i have a completely free debian stable installation with kde 3.1.4 and kernel 2.4.22 i admit it took some blood sweat and tears but at least i have the freedom of apt-get. apt-get only fully works under stable. the whole point of debian is to use the stable distribution.

if someone wants an easy installation of linux they should go for suse, fedora or mandrake. if they want something a little more exotic, then go for debian, slackware etc.

the likes of libranet and lindows have nothing to offer except a bad reputation for linux.

Why slur Libranet?
by Anonymous on Wed 26th Nov 2003 21:35 UTC

>the likes of libranet and lindows have nothing to offer
>except a bad reputation for linux.

Lindows has made some choices that I think are bad for their business and for the community. But if they do succeed at bringing in more non-technical users to the world of Linux, I would consider that something considerably more than "nothing to offer."

I'm also puzzled by your mention of Libranet. After install, Libranet leaves a pretty clean, mostly straight-up Debian install based on Woody with backports. You can easily change your sources list and switch the whole thing over to Unstable if you want, or otherwise tweak with apt-get and other apt tools. There's some gloss, but underneath it's still Debian. Not just Debian-based, or inspired by Debian, or powered by Debian technologies or what-have-you. Libranet != Lindows, but Libranet pretty much does = Debian.

(Why is partly why, although I actually use Libranet on one of my desktops and love it, it isn't a "newbie-proof" distro by any means. Libranet and Lindows are quite different, and have very different targets.)

(And while I'm in parentheticals here, can somebody explain to me the inordinate amount of Libranet coverage on Might want to rename the site

Lindows (non root) is execllent for the people it was made for. Which is non geek home users with broadband.

I've got several computers that I work and play with. One of those has Lindows 4.0 on it. Setting it up was easy with no problems. And day to day use has been excellent for e-mailing, chatting, playing games (Multi-player NWN anyone or Quake III Arena anyone?), and typing up/reading documents OpenOffice. It also found my Epson printer without problems. And since I paid the $49 to register it, I've been able to go to CNR, find programs that my wife wanted/needed (remember - non geek stuff) and had her click on them to download and install. She was really impressed.

Creating a NON ROOT account is very easy. So all the lame people that keep whining about it. Get a life. If you can't figure it out. Then you shouldn't be using a computer. Find an Etch-a-sketch.

As for the review this whole thing is about. The first part about the video card is a hardware problem if BIOS didn't really hide the built in video card. And for his rating system. I give it a -3 based on his rating system.

Bah I say
by mario on Wed 26th Nov 2003 21:40 UTC

I have <random_usb_device> and I plug it into my computer that runs <some_OS> and I need to install a driver for it. So, <some_OS> gets -1

But what if in the previous exampel <some_OS> is replaced by <ANY_OS>, and you still need a driver. Does it mean that <ANY_OS> gets -1? The whole universal set of operating systems that support USB get a big fat -1, because of <random_usb_device>

In htis day and age, drivers are mostly downloaded from the internet, or come on the CD that came with the hardware device.It's not reasonable to think that an OS has bundled the drivers for all hardwre devices, past and expecially future.

I have never tried Lindows, but from the review, if you disregard the author's own opinion, it seems a really user-friendly OS.

RE: I just don't get Lindows
by seakryan on Wed 26th Nov 2003 21:41 UTC

I've used SuSE, Mandrake, Lycoris, Libranet, and Lindows among others. What I was looking for was a easy to use Linux Distro. I am not a Linux Guru. Installing software was my biggest issue. As someone who used Microsoft Products up to a year ago, I was looking for a distro that provided ease of use. Out of all of them, Lindows is the only one that makes it truly easy to install software with their CNR. Right now, I am using my Mandrake 9.2 machine. The other two computer's run Lindows. I guess I am the target market for them. Bad reputation? I think not.

RE: Review
by B. Smith on Wed 26th Nov 2003 21:41 UTC

Rest assured, Xandros will have its fair chance. I am awaiting the 2.0 package going out on the 9th of next month, just like you guys. So far my list of candidates includes Lindows, Libranet, and Xandros. I am more than willing to include any other debian based commercial distros that the readers might request or recommend. I am pretty well determined about debian, and I want a commercial distro with commercial tech support, just in case.

Another post:

"I'd like to see the list of applications that a technical writer and a mainstream desktop user (not programmer, not sysadmin) uses on daily basis. This would give me, and perhaps some others, a better idea of what the notorious phrase 'Linux on the desktop' actually means."

For the writing, almost any word processor will do. I wrote that particular article in gedit under Libranet (I am using it now in preparation for the next article). Which word processor depends on the size of the project and how elaborate the page formatting and graphics need to be. For general use, including charts, etc. I have have not seen any job that OpenOffice can't handle for me.

I have been forced into using FrontPage for some web work, simply because Mozilla Composer is not quite sophisticated enough. And yes, that is about the extent of my web designing. If I need scripts I either download stock ones or I get a programmer friend to write them for me. I do not code, nor will I if it can be avoided. HTML is not difficult at all, but I hate doing it. Please don't even talk to me about anything more deeply involved than simple HTML. I know I could adapt to more elaborate web work, but I don't wanna.

For technical illustrations I have switched over to QCad. In a former life I was using AutoCAD and Microstation, but I no longer need that much raw horsepower. QCad gets it done for me.

I bought a copy of the first release of Codeweavers during my transition, but I no longer use wine much at all. Only rarely for PaintShop or Adobe. Lately I have been trying to adapt to GIMP, which is a nice little program indeed, but it is counter-intuitive to me. Don't know exactly why, it just is.

I don't need wine much otherwise. I also subscribed to Winex for a while, but then I learned how to get winex directly off cvs. But I don't run any windows games on this system anymore either. If I need to unwind I sometimes open up Tuxracer or Q3.

I do use gaim to keep in touch with family and friends. I also like to play music while I work. I have a DVD drive, but I never watch movies on my computer. I go to the living room and hit the recliner for movies.

I use KDE because it fits my work style. I use K3B for CD-RW burning because it works.

That's about it.


RE: Bah I say
by Anonymous on Wed 26th Nov 2003 21:43 UTC

Sounds like you have an issue with the claim made by Mr Roberts, not the author testing these claims.

Disabling onboard i810 video
by Steve on Wed 26th Nov 2003 21:48 UTC

Disabling onboard Intel 810 graphics is just not possible. You can set primary display to PCI in the BIOS, but this does not mean that your onboard graphics are disabled. I don't care if your BIOS tells you it's disabled, it's not.

Think about it - what would happen if you disabled onboard video, inserted a PCI card (810 has no AGP slots), then your PCI card died or you removed it? You would have no way to restore your onboard video short of pulling the CMOS battery, which is not grandma-level computing, so Intel would not do that to you.

I think Lindows did the right thing. +1 for Lindows, -1 for the author's hardware ignorance.

BTW, I have never used Lindows and never plan to. I've tried many distributions and I have not found one that does everything, and it has been exceedingly difficult to play games with my ATI Radeon 9700 on an Intel 865-based board - the hardware is too new.

I'm preparing to install Gentoo, having already played with Red Hat (er, uh, Fedora), SuSE (didn't like it), Mandrake (really didn't like it), Slackware (my first love, which I still like a lot), Yoper (good but not quite good enough), Debian Woody (default install had software that was too ancient), and a couple of the smaller, specialized distros from Gentoo appears to be replacing Slack as the defacto Geek system and I can't live without APT-GET anymore, so here I go!

RE: I just don't get Lindows
by Gab O Mey on Wed 26th Nov 2003 21:56 UTC

And Lindows is the only one that directly goes head to head against MS. Gotta admire their spirit..

This is the FIRST part of a SERIES of article.

v Waste of space
by john on Wed 26th Nov 2003 22:38 UTC
Do the math
by None on Wed 26th Nov 2003 22:40 UTC

Anybody notice the math is wrong with his point system. Should have ended up a +1. Not that I am a lindows freak, but I can't trust someone who can't his own scoring system.

RE: Why slur Libranet?
by dr_gonzo on Wed 26th Nov 2003 22:45 UTC

libranet is not clean woody with some backports. libranet uses mostly from testing. i know this because i installed libranet and tried to install KDE3.1.4 from whose binaries are built for woody. it was impossible so I installed woody and then installing the latest KDE was as simple as adding the apporpriate line to /etc/apt/sources.list, typing apt-get update and then apt-get install kdebase

libranet does not offer the ease of package installation that woody offers. therefore if someone was to use libranet, they'd feel that they've been duped as they'd still be in a kind of dependency hell that people say apt-get is meant to solve.

I'll say it again
by Anonymous on Wed 26th Nov 2003 22:58 UTC

A software review without screenshots is not worth reading.

RE: Do the Math
by B. Smith on Wed 26th Nov 2003 23:06 UTC

"Anybody notice the math is wrong with his point system. Should have ended up a +1. Not that I am a lindows freak, but I can't trust someone who can't his own scoring system."

uh...guess I am stupid. I don't see it.

Not that I am an English freak, but I wonder about someone who leaves words out of sentences.

B. SMith

v Screenshots are essential
by Ricardo on Wed 26th Nov 2003 23:12 UTC
Good stuff...
by Anonymous on Wed 26th Nov 2003 23:21 UTC

Anxiously awaiting the next few articles. The scoring leaves a bit to be desired, but the author is definitely working at a level I'm sure alot of us are interested in. I like his approach.

IMHO screenshots aren't necessary in an article like this. Would be nice but not necessary.

Lindows been great so far
by Brian Hodges on Wed 26th Nov 2003 23:27 UTC

I have a dial up modem but I still use the Click 'N Run with no problems. I downloaded Staroffice 7 without a disconnection, it took me eight hours to download but I was also surfing the web. I think the fonts are great to me. Steve, why do you not like Suse? I use that also and it's been great so far. I'm just curious.

why debian again?
by david on Wed 26th Nov 2003 23:45 UTC

I would like to hear how knoppix works out, of the Debians I prefer to use knoppix as a debian installer (there are instructions somewhere, boot to terminal and run hd-install or something).

But why limit yourself to debian, what about Slackware+DroplineGnome? red fedora, etc. I tried the ftpable suse that was announced on distrowatch the other day, didnt work...

I too have waited impatiently refreshing waiting for new distros to try and tried many of them. Always fell back to slackware and was able to go 95% windows free once I found out about Dropline gnome. It is worth a review. elx linux and ark linux and particularly lycoris might be good candidates for this series of reviews.

I find the scoring system amusing, +1 for the number of times I grinned while reading the article. But I hope you dont actually compare the scores from one distro to another, what counts is this one found my winmodem and this one didnt, thats the kind of stuff that we as readers would accept as a good measure. If nobody can work the usb webcam then so be it, it is a tie.

Oh yeah, how in the world can you test linux distros without broadband! You are a true linux guru my friend, fully into self abuse.

Get real. What a biased review.
by Anonymous on Thu 27th Nov 2003 00:28 UTC

This guy was intolerably biased and even silly with some of the things he said. Most real reviewers give Lindows "great reviews". He graded the OS based on his very personal opinion and not facts. He even said that he didn't try to get the webcam to work and still gives it a -1 for that.

RE: Why slur Libranet?
by mario on Thu 27th Nov 2003 00:50 UTC

dr_gonzo wrote:

"libranet does not offer the ease of package installation that woody offers.

Please elaborate; what are you referring to? Are you trolling?
Libranet is Debian, it uses apt-get, synaptic, aptitude, etc.

You want Woody?
Libranet 2.0 and 2.7 (Free versions)

You want Sarge?
Libranet 2.8.1.

You want Sid?
Point sources.list on ANY version afore mentioned to unstable, update, dist-ugrade and voilą!

"therefore if someone was to use libranet, they'd feel that they've been duped as they'd still be in a kind of dependency hell that people say apt-get is meant to solve."

All this based on an assertion? On an opinion, not explained? What dependency hell? Please enlighten me, I use Debian/Sid and Libranet/Sarge.

RE: Get real. What a biased review.
by B. Smith on Thu 27th Nov 2003 00:58 UTC

"This guy was intolerably biased and even silly with some of the things he said. Most real reviewers give Lindows "great reviews". He graded the OS based on his very personal opinion and not facts. He even said that he didn't try to get the webcam to work and still gives it a -1 for that. "

If I have written anything factually incorrect, please tell me and I will gladly post a retraction and an abject apology. The other great reviews I have seen describe installing the OS. I had not seen any review that told me what I really needed to know, so I wrote one myself. If it is not to your taste, please feel free to ignore it completely.

I did try to get the webcam to work. It didn't. At that point I refrained from hunting_through_the_internet_to_find_a_solution. I plugged it up. That was all the CEO of Lindows said was necessary. I looked through the multimiedia software, and checked the listing on CnR, although I did not download anything. I also checked the Lindows help system. Nada.

And yes, I am biased. I am evaluating distros for my own use. I said that up front.


RE: Why slur Libranet?
by dr_gonzo on Thu 27th Nov 2003 01:21 UTC

i'm not trolling here.

i found that libranet 2.8 was mixed and you'd find yourself upgrading to sarge as soon as you'd type and apt-get upgrade. when you go out of stable, it's harder to install 3rd party apps, like the latest KDE.

i understand that libranet are aiming for an easy debian install but they should keep to the stable branch and then backport the kernel, DEs, browsers and other things like K3B. if people want to create problems for themselves by upgrading to sarge or sid, they can then do so.

i suppose my posts sound like i'm one of those anal flamers but i'm not really. each to his own. i just feel that, for easy to install desktop linux, people should use one of the top distros.

by Rodney McDonell on Thu 27th Nov 2003 01:38 UTC

I liked it. I figure, this is a distro my father could even us ;) I think, when i need to suggest what distro to get for a linux newbie/windows convert, i may suggest Lindows, or at least debian ;) But i'll wait for the rest of you'r reviews.

Good work, enjoyed it a lot. Although i agree with the lad that said the point thingo about the camera. Maybe you could have just given the whole CnR -1 and +1 = 0? ;)

Highly subjective scoring system makes an excellent point
by Ricin on Thu 27th Nov 2003 02:08 UTC

Which is that there's no such thing as THE desktop experience and that people will easily judge equal things positive or negative depending on the context and/or the previous events when or before they get confronted with dialog window Zeta.

I for one (and that's one of them BSD bastards) found this kind of review very refreshing and pretty entertaining. Sure it's not fair but what is?! The "cunsumer" surely isn't. All this "ready-for-desktop" stuff is sooooo subjective. That's the whole point. Now with MS most people have either gotten used to its limitations (including 3rd party apps there) and accept them as laws of nature or they are still stuck (the to be loathed section of the hobbyist to tech spectrum if you ask me) and others moved on and learnt to underatand and live with or perhaps even improve upon existing OSS software.

How long will this "review" period take? If I get, say 10 weeks, I'd happily send the guy an install CD that boots into and installs a reasonable cross section of OSS packages in a FreeBSD environment. Much of this is a matter of incentive and willingness to get rid of not just cruft but also equal packages-but-you-chose-the-other, then lumb together what's left.

It's not rocket science, even *I* could do it I believe. Maybe throw in some GUI-or-curses management tool. But there's always lines one draws be it from a managability POV or just because it gets too complicated otherwise (they're basically the same, no?) The real issue is where the line is gonna be drawn because 3rd party can never be easily maintained and fit into <dist>.

It's always going to be somewhere and well you can bitch about MS all you like but there the line is clear (everything that's not ours). And it makes sense.

If I made <dist> should I be supporting samba or should I make sure it runs and tell customer that samba support is available at samba?

v Isn't it nice...
by Troll on Thu 27th Nov 2003 02:13 UTC
Re: Isn't it nice...
by nemo nonnymous on Thu 27th Nov 2003 02:43 UTC

>...when an operating system "just works?"
Clearly a troll, but ironically, the person posting this piece of flamebait picked the worst possible time. Over on Slashdot this story has just been posted:

>---------Apple: New Remote Root in Mac OS X-----------
>Cysgod writes "I've released a security advisory detailing >a new remote root vulnerability in Mac OS X 10.3, 10.2 and >possibly eariler versions." The main thrust is that it >exploits a problem in the DHCP client, to gain root >access, and turning off various services can prevent >attack. It is unclear why an exploit was made public >before Apple resolved the problem. Apple's fix is >apparently scheduled for a December release.

Sad to say, circa 2003, there is no widely used consumer computer operating system that "just works". Propaganda from Apple, Microsoft, or anyone else notwithstanding.


RE: Re: Isn't it nice...
by Anonymous on Thu 27th Nov 2003 02:51 UTC

What are you talking about? Mac OS X still "just works." In fact, it even "just works" for complete strangers who would like to use your computer.

v Waste of space and time
by eugina_censor on Thu 27th Nov 2003 03:06 UTC
"just works?"
by Omer Hickman on Thu 27th Nov 2003 03:07 UTC

My Linux box does 'just work'. That is because I took five minutes before each hardware purchase and checked the compatability lists. Then I plugged in my HP printer, Argus camera, Sound Blaster sound card, LG CDRW, BT-TV video capture card, multiple common NICs, Xoom modem, MSN DSL connection and my Logitech USB mouse; and guess what! They all just worked - no 'Install Wizzards' and endless reboots eating up half a day!

Now - especially with Red Carpet - virtually every mature Linux application can be added to my system in about five mouse clicks. And with the potential of commercial channels in Red Carpet and the apparent unification of Red Hat, SuSE, Ximean, IBM and Sun I am eagerly awaiting a true commercial software industry built around Linux - Even if that industry is based in Europe and Asia.

At this point virtually all of the technical aspects of a Linux experience that 'Just Works' are in place. All that is needed is some one to integrate it all into a cohesive package - including the basic unit, ISP services - that would include the software repositories included in the service - and a well stocked online hardware store. That would 'limit' the choices that the end user has including options like cheap crap hardware, MSBlaster infection and Adware up the wazoo!

Foobah Subject
by ChocolateCheeseCake on Thu 27th Nov 2003 03:58 UTC

Although I see some people here religiously protest about Linux, the fact remains that, after having a look at some of the projects that are out there, Linux as a "home and work desktop solution" is atleast 1-2 years away. Unfortunately, what is holding the development back is the splintering of development.

I can understand when a fork is necessary, for example, epiphany is a great example of a fork producing a much more focused result, however, then we have a situation like Scribus and Passepartout where the two are re-inventing the wheel.

Now, don't get me wrong, I think it is great to have multiple projects with each working on their passion, however, one must also accept the fact that with more forking the net result is a smaller mind share, now, in some cases it could mean either more people are attacted and thus more "focused" and "committed", however, the other net result could be that neither side gain and either one or both stall.

As for the other projects, is making great progress and I am eagerly looking forward to 2.x, JDS for Solaris x86-64 and Solaris for AMD64 to be ready.

As for the direction of these projects, all to often we have nay sayers here claim there is very little direction. Incorrect. If you take any time to read the mailing lists, there are very passionate debates over what technology is superior and should be included. There is alot of thought over what should be incorporated, not because it is necessarily neat but because it fits into the over all grand scheme of things.

Now for me, Linux is ready if you don't need things like Photoshop, Dreamweaver or you don't have 100s of USB devices, however, if you need support for those 100s of USB devices, the unfortunate thing is that the majority of the problems lay with the hardware vendor and not with Linux or you, the end consumer. Hopefully with enough protests, these companies will actually work WITH the Linux community.

As for the software lacking, I've had a quick browse and sure, don't expect an exact InDesign clone within the next year, however, what you will see is atleast some applications for those who use Publisher, Word, Quicken/MYOB. If the OSS applications get to a good level, and start attacting users, the next step hopefully will be commercial software companies will jump on board and start offering their software on Linux along with Windows and any other platform they may support.

As for the author of the article, I think his expectations are alot lower than what the customers are. The fact remains that if the customer can't get the applications they want, their hardware is not supported and no large OEM's offer it, out of the box and configured, the end user is simply going to stick with the status quo, however, with that being said, the catalyst for change will exist with in the corporate desktop environment. If the net result is atleast 1/2 of employees of a company who have moved to JDS, get JDS installed on their computer, that could very well mean a rapid increase in the number of installations of Linux resulting in those valuable ISV's jumping on board.

Lindows and Debian compatibility
by Suse user on Thu 27th Nov 2003 04:28 UTC

Nobody has mentioned so far what seems to me the most serious issue with Lindows.
Their latest update is approximately a 650 MB download.
And yet when you install Lindows it doesn't feel at all like a 650 MB distro, it has VERY few applications.
There are at least a couple of hundreds MB unaccounted for.
What happened?
I have an opinion and I believe it is a good bet: the remainder is 'broken code', apps which need a bit added by CnR to work.
No wonder that apt doesn't work properly! On the contrary, it goes MAD!!!
I find this issue unforgivable, because they want you to believe that Lindows is Debian compatible!
Besides 'apt-cdrom add' has never worked. Why? I suppose because then it would be too easy to make CnR redundant.
The Lindows developers have the potential to make a good, easy to use Debian distro.
But they are kept too busy with CnR.
What about releasing, once or twice a year, a FULL sized, nice, easy to use Debian based OS?
Good also for users on dialup, IMO.

v Hello
by 17yrs_young on Thu 27th Nov 2003 04:44 UTC
Very interesting review
by Ricky on Thu 27th Nov 2003 05:38 UTC

It was a great review, I like the style it was written in; actually like the points system. Can't wait to see reviews on the other Debian alternatives, althought I can't see how they could be easier then Lindows giving it's stated mission to compete directly with Windows...

I think the tech support guy that was busting his ass should have been named just so he could get a bonus ;-). More in-depth, more application-oriented would be nice - I for one fully agree that installation part of Linux gets too much attention in the reviews. Barry - please keep writing!

Very poor review...
by Alex on Thu 27th Nov 2003 07:58 UTC

Reviews are subjective, but this is ridiculous, he just throws around +1 and -1s based on expectation rather than performance and furthermore often does not hold each distribution under the same standards.

I suggest that we quickly post many *good* articles to hide this worthless waste of space which makes OSNews look quite bad. Bah, what we need is a review from Eugenia, that would more than make up for it ;) I suggest Xandros Desktop 2.0, I am sure she would get a review copy, I got one for Xandros 1.0.

RE: Very poor review...
by Zedar on Thu 27th Nov 2003 11:10 UTC

Of course the review is subjective, thats the way real people view operating systems. I think i can speak for most people out there in saying that i don't care if an operating system supports 95% of hardware in the world and works wonderfully for them, if it doesn't work on my computer I'm not going to like it.
I think this review does a good job of expressing how he felt about the operating system rather than judging it by any technical merits, which in the end are meaningless if it stills ends up as an awkward experience for the end user.

good article
by xmp on Thu 27th Nov 2003 14:03 UTC

That's an excellent article. You do focus on ur own problems, but those problems hint at potential problems in other installs as well. I personally haven't given Lindows a try. But I've tried 20 to 30 other desktop distros. I have finally settled on Arch and Vector, primarily for package management reasons. If I were to pay for distro < $100, I would probably choose SuSE Pro 9. When I last tried SuSE (at 8.1) it's package management sucked, but it does come with a dizzy arraying of software in the multi CD sets.

The sole advantages to me of Lindows would be the AOL client, package management, and hardware detection. I believe though that the AOL client has been dropped. I might try xfering the old client to a new lindows in the future.

As far as the modem, that sort of thing happens at times. With a few distros I have to add the symlink for /dev/modem even with my external USR on tty1. I guess urs is internal hardware modem and they just don't get it right since it's on tty4.

The click and run sounds decent. I am not above paying for a good package manager. RHN and others are $100 a year as well. I too, have had the problems with net install, or net upgrading packages on dialup. A few servers will not allow resume, or simply seem to ban my IP after a short while. I assume the banning is due to firewall rulesets that assumse some max time of download and terminate the control connection after a few hours.

It's funny how Lindows assumes you are on broadband. The aol client supplied with earlier versions was also broadband BYOA client, not dialup. Since Lindows pc's are a cheaper alternative to Lintel world, you'd think they'd cater to dialup users as well as broadband. Half the point of linux, is that it's cheaper TOC per year, than Windows for the average home user. They should assume that some users have 5 hour session caps, etc. (Mine is 10 hour session cap on MSN for instance.)

A lot of folks are on MSN, AOL, Netzero, etc dialup. To truly convert them over, special directions / tools should be supplied with Lindows/Lycoris/etc. Unfortunately not every broadband modem has ethernet, and on dialup there are many proprietary protocols and PAP hashing.

@ rodney
by xmp on Thu 27th Nov 2003 14:19 UTC

Debian based might be a good suggestion to a newbie. But debian itself, never. Dselect, taskel, and the rest of the installer is too tough. Redhat and SuSE are a lot easier to a new user.

Debian with apt-get is very powerful but I think most new users would benefit from SuSE Pro, Lindows, Lycoris, or something of that nature. If the new user is a true geek, them maybe Gentoo or Slack 9.

Re: Foobah Subject
by Rotten Treats on Thu 27th Nov 2003 16:52 UTC

"the unfortunate thing is that the majority of the problems lay with the hardware vendor and not with Linux or you, the end consumer. Hopefully with enough protests, these companies will actually work WITH the Linux community."

Yep, as soon as these hardware companies can take a minute away from grovelling before MS, more of them can get around to making drivers for Linux and BSD. It's really a shame that so many of them are dragging their feet on this.

by Roberto J. Dohnert on Thu 27th Nov 2003 17:35 UTC

I would rather use Windows XP than Lindows.

Subjectivism:so what?
by Anonymous on Thu 27th Nov 2003 18:20 UTC

English is not my native language so don't ge me wrong if I can't explain exactly what I mean.
Smith's point system is confusing and nonsystemathic , loose and undefined which could lead to total subjectivism. But ,OK, this is what the series of reviews is all about - personal opinion . Can it be a valid tool for estimating Linux ( not only ) distros is another question. I realy appreciate B.Smith's willingnes and efforts to spend some time , knowledge and resources to bring some more light in the linux - user experience.And I think his general attitude towards Linux is positive and based on general agreement that Linux is usable OS that should be supported and developed.
So keep on doing your job ,Barry.

RE: Review
by Robert Trembath on Thu 27th Nov 2003 18:26 UTC

First off, thanks for writing an honest review of Lindows. Being a SysAdmin who uses Linux everyday, (80% Linux/20% WinXP), I have installed and used RedHat 6,7,8,9, Fedora Core, Mandrake 9,9.1,9.2, Gentoo 1.4, Lindows 4, College Linux, Xandros 1.x and a few others I can't remember.

I wrote a review awhile back about Lindows as well, and still think it does a great job for the market is was intended for: Novice to Beginner Users and Windows converts. No distro I have ever tried nails it out of the box. I go by which one can be updated to my liking without losing stability or speed.

Here's my two cents:
Hard Core Bleeding-Edge Users/Programmers: Gentoo
Easy Install but close to Bleeding Edge: Fedora Core
Production/Stable Environment: Mandrake 9.2 or Red Hat 8,9
Desktop only use/stable: Lindows 4

I know there are many more distros and I watch this site religiously wating for some news of a new distro that does everthing just right. I've had to tweak every one I've tried to my liking in some way.

What do I use: Mandrake 9.2 on my Dell Laptop for work and XP/Lindows 4 at Home. Gentoo on my project machine. Each one has its purpose and does it better than Windows for me. Like I said just my two cents. Peace.

By the way, all you Gentoo pros who support us hobbiest in the #Gentoo channel, thanks for all the help you've given me . Great job and keep it up! Just thought I should say something to let you know your appreciated by all! Sledge67

v Mature apps
by Anonymous on Thu 27th Nov 2003 18:33 UTC
Nice article, could you tell more about real app usage?
by ralfoide on Thu 27th Nov 2003 18:42 UTC

Nice article -- I like the purpose of the article and the description of Lindows.
Somehow the article ended up talking more about installation and administration issue that real usage (which is what I though the article would focus on). The 56k modem ranting was a good point in "keeping it real". Most linux advocates want linux to target the home user with a T1, which doesn't work.

Just an idea: what about throwing in a page about your 2-week experience of Lindows before moving on to Libranet? Like what apps really work, what did you do with your system vs what did you intended to do with it (office apps, gaming, email/net, etc.) and how did the system allowed you to do or not do that easily. Of course everyone can tell about open office and mozilla pros and cons, but what about your experience in getting work done with them (or others)?

Anyway, keep up the good articles coming in :-)

Omer is right
by nedeljkov on Thu 27th Nov 2003 18:49 UTC

"My Linux box does 'just work'. That is because I took five minutes before each hardware purchase and checked the compatability lists. Then I plugged in my HP printer, Argus camera, Sound Blaster sound card, LG CDRW, BT-TV video capture card, multiple common NICs, Xoom modem, MSN DSL connection and my Logitech USB mouse; and guess what! They all just worked - no 'Install Wizzards' and endless reboots eating up half a day!"
WHOLE TRUE !!! Period.
This is item #1 in my 10-items list I'm trying to compile for people who wants to be happy Linux campers.
Use the standard hardware - do not expect your bleading edge
video/sound/wireless/etc. card to work with Linux "out-of the box" .

Re: Lindows
by Rotten Treats on Thu 27th Nov 2003 19:10 UTC

"I would rather use Windows XP than Lindows."

And? That's it? That's all you have to say? You could have saved that comment for a Windows forum.

What I love about Linux companies
by Alex on Thu 27th Nov 2003 19:40 UTC

Linux companies at least in my experience are far more dedicated and involved with each of their customers. They have nowhere near as big as a userbase as MS so each customer really matters.

For example, read the following e-mails:

Wacky International Expansion

Date Published: Nov 25, 2003

I had just finished a Michael's Minute about our international growth when a disturbing incident crossed my desk which actually verifies that we are gaining meaningful international business that Microsoft wishes to halt. Below are the emails that describe the situation, followed by my original Michael's Minute.

Date: November 25, 2003 13:01
Subject: Microsoft Trial

Hello Kendall,

i,ve got a strange phone call this morning from Microsoft Netherlands. They are saying that they are preparing a trial here agains lindows and they want to involve my company DV Computer Systems ( in this trial because i sell my computers with Lindows Operating System (I'm am the only bronze builder here).

Next Friday they are coming to me , to talk to me about this. What i understand from that phonecall is that they want that i stop selling Lindows OS computers.

I don't like this but when they are taking this to court and involve me then i must stop selling Lindows OS because i don't have the money for lawyers.

I hope you or your staff have any suggestions.

Grtx Hans de Vries
DV Computer Systems

Below is the reply I sent to Hans de Vries. I also CCed the CEO of Microsoft, the head of MicrosoftEurope and a representative of EU commission investigating MS's anti-competitive behavior in Europe.

Subject: Re: Microsoft Trial--


First, thanks for working with as an international partner.

Your email was very disconcerting to read because it seems like another example of Microsoft attempting to eradicate all competition through any means. While they say they invite competition, behind the scenes they seem willing to take any actions - including blatant extortion - to squash competition.

I want to assure you that we will do what we can to support you. I understand you have a meeting this Friday. Although it's the Thanksgiving day holiday weekend here in the US and I was hoping to spend time with my family, I will commit to personally attend that meeting and sit alongside you.

Please confirm the meeting today with the Microsoft representative and I'll make travel plans accordingly.

Thanks again for being our partners. Together we are bringing CHOICE back to the PC business.

-- MR

Michael Robertson

re: What I love about Linux companies
by 40x on Thu 27th Nov 2003 20:29 UTC

As far as i understand the e-mail traffic Lindows is trying to protect a reseller and international partner, not a simple customer. Quite a difference - still, shame on Microsoft.

56k providers are not easy to find
by ... on Thu 27th Nov 2003 22:28 UTC

"Nice article -- I like the purpose of the article and the description of Lindows.
Somehow the article ended up talking more about installation and administration issue that real usage (which is what I though the article would focus on). The 56k modem ranting was a good point in "keeping it real". Most linux advocates want linux to target the home user with a T1, which doesn't work.

I dont know about that. The reason why 56k usually sucks on linux is because there are no real providers. NetZero, AOL all of them use their propreitary software to make you login using their software only.

re: 56k providers are not easy to find
by Brian Hodges on Thu 27th Nov 2003 23:54 UTC

Why use AOL, Netzero when you can use Earthlink. That's what I use and it works great as a dialup.

A request
by Karl on Fri 28th Nov 2003 03:41 UTC

I like these kind of articles and I personally think that for distro makers they could be used as a great source of feed back howver I have a request.

At the start of the comming articles could you outline
a) the hardware used in the test
b) known issues
c) Why you are trying this distro
d) Your expectations up front (this will be based mostly on hype I suspect)
e) What you are planning to use the machine, and be specific. Saying Office stuff isn't specific
f) A run down on the programs you plan to test or have tested

And finally at the end a summary listing the pros and cons in your opinion.

PS ditching the scoring system, stick to pros and cons

Add one more
by B. Smith on Fri 28th Nov 2003 04:01 UTC

New Info:

Mepis will also be included in the series, in addition to Xandros. Please feel free to suggest any other debian-based commercial distros that you might like to see included.

v good grief
by Richard Cranium on Fri 28th Nov 2003 04:03 UTC
re: good grief
by Brian Hodges on Fri 28th Nov 2003 04:46 UTC

Good grief, why don't you give me a couple of grand than I'll buy it. Period! End of story.

All the points deducted for upgrade from 3.0 to 4.0
by Dave Williams on Fri 28th Nov 2003 13:12 UTC

You deducted a fair number of points because you could not find an ISO download of 4.0 (Since Lindows 3.0 offers a free upgrade to 4.0). Then tech support couldn't help you, etc.

I don't understand why no one has pointed out the fact that you could upgrade from 3.0 to 4.0 right from Click 'n Run. Then upgrade the apps as required. That is what I did.

This would probably have saved you a great deal of time and aggravation.

Lindows Review
by DRD on Fri 28th Nov 2003 23:52 UTC

I just wanted to say that I am a newbie at Linux and long time M$ user. I have tried several Linux distro's but have settled for Lindows 4.0 for its simplicity. The dependencie crap is a nightmare when you don't know what you are doing. I would say don't be such a tight ass and get broadband you will be very happy. Long live Lindows!

Interesting review style
by Steve on Sat 29th Nov 2003 02:05 UTC

Given the initial criteria - "if it works for me, it's good, if it goes against me, it's bad", I'd say the points were allocated fairly, in that each point (+ or -) was justified.<BR>
And one of the best reviews I've read yet of LindowsOS; told me nothing about the OS, but all about how it feels to use it, as a reasonably experienced Linux user.<BR>
That counts far more than Eugenia's "the fonts aren't quite right" or ""this button was 1px lower than that one"

Perfect installation on every pc?
by Paul on Sun 30th Nov 2003 04:08 UTC

In response to the reviewer, I doubt you'll find any operating system, including anything from Microsoft, that will install perfectly on every pc. It just doesn't happen.

Also, the points system should be dropped, as you really can't effectively and accurately draw an unbiased conclusion from personal impressions of a product. The weight you give to an experience won't be the same weight someone else would give it, and I suggest highlighting your possitive and negative experiences by listing them at the end of the review and letting the reader draw their own conclusions.