Linked by Barry Smith on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 20:02 UTC
Linspire So far this series has checked out Lindows 4.0, Libranet 2.8.1 and MEPIS 2003.10. Meanwhile both Lindows.com and Xandros have been busy little beavers and spat out new versions of their software, each on the same day. Since I am trying to find the best bang for my buck in a Debian based commercial distro, and since I am already a registered user of LindowsOS, I felt compelled to download a free copy of Lindows 4.5 to have a second look at this thing.
Order by: Score:
v Not Another Pictureless Review :/
by Anonymous on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 20:23 UTC
v RE: Not Another Pictureless Review :/
by Eugenia on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 20:25 UTC
Very nice
by Massai on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 20:54 UTC

I am not a Lnux puritan (or guru) and thus I can relate to this writer.

This is a very interesting series of reviews and have followed it since the beginning. It helps a lot because the criteria and expectation are down to earth.

Can't wait for the Xandros 2.0 review and depending on that, I will know which two distros to try first (for serious adaptation).

(currently testing an HD installation of knoppix, but I seem to be babysitting a lot... dealing with command lines and editing configuration files while I am fishing info and troubleshouting from the net).

v Errrr
by Rizwan on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 20:58 UTC
Review?
by Al Hartman on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 21:00 UTC

I'm sorry, but this isn't much of a review for me.

His rating system is arbitrary, and most users of this OS just aren't going to have his problem.

They are either going to be running it on a LindowsOS Certified Computer (having gotten the OS with the CPU), or adding it to an existing system that is not likely to have the same video card setup he has.

He basically made most of the review about a "problem" that will hit 1/10th of 1% of the user base. And killed the OS because of it.

The OS is MUCH more than just a problem with his video card.

I haven't read the other reviews, but if they are like this. They aren't worth the time to me.

I want to read a REAL review where the whole OS is talked about.

Not a sour grapes review because they ignored his feedback.

They probably made a cost/benefit analysis and said the number of users that are using his logic board, and who have added an upgraded video card is too small to expend the resources to fix the problem.

I'd much rather have them working on Lindows 5.0, integrating the 2.6 Kernel than worrying about the experience of maybe 100 users.

And there IS a work-around he refused to use.

Thanks anyway.

This is not up to the usual quality of articles here.

uh...
by Josh on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 21:19 UTC

1) rating system was horrible. finally using a password for root is called breaking even or "catching up"

2) Grant it he just wants it to work, but thats always going to depend on your hardware. someone probably will suffer hell using lindows with some sort of hardware. not to mention lindows is only x86. come on how many archs are supported by debian?

3) distributions are not the same. lets see... devil linux = firewall cd distro, mandrake = cd/network distro for small home office users, Red Hat Enterprise = for buisnesses, enterprise edition stuff, though you could compile and isntall the same software on just about any distro, as ive pointed out each distro has its specialty. Not to mention the fact hes looked at lycoris, xandros and lindows which all are only for non-computer savvy people in homes/offices, so of course he is going to get the same feel!! and besides different GUI's may be included but they are stressed differently. For instance Red Hat stressed Gnome over KDE, hence Gnome was better in RH then KDE and vice versa for suse which strssed KDE more (though with novell taken over it, I have no idea how that will swing)

Nice review
by Jef Pober on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 21:21 UTC

Thanks once again Barry! I really like this series because it just doesn't try to be objective, it really focuses on the author's needs.

I became, thanks to Libranet, a Debian-addict several months ago and it seems whatever of the distos Barry tries, I keep getting a plain Debian Sid install after a while of tweaking ;)

Hardware problems ..
by WorknMan on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 21:24 UTC

I haven't read the other reviews, but did other Linux distros exhibit the same kind of problem on his hardware?

When you're doing a rewview for a distro, I think you need to install it on at least 3 different computers to get any kind of feel on how it does on different types of hardware.
Either that, or install mulitple distros on the same box and compare them. I've had times in the past where one distro would install fine, but another distro would simply lock up on the first install screen.

RE: WorknMan
by Anonymous on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 21:35 UTC

"I haven't read the other reviews, but did other Linux distros exhibit the same kind of problem on his hardware?

When you're doing a rewview for a distro, I think you need to install it on at least 3 different computers to get any kind of feel on how it does on different types of hardware.

Either that, or install mulitple distros on the same box and compare them. I've had times in the past where one distro would install fine, but another distro would simply lock up on the first install screen."

I am afraid that you didn't read the review did you? I made a sepcial effort to contrast the way Lindows worked perfectly on my secondary system. I also gave a long list of distros that had previsouly run on my primary system with no problem.

RE: ByteEnable

"This is just a clone of..."

No it isn't. ;) That one is a color coded chart. This one is an article. That one uses pictures. This one uses words.

Hope that helps.

Barry

RE: Hardware problems ..
by HC Andersson on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 21:35 UTC

I have read about 5 different LindowsOS reviews and according to them it seams like Lindows got problems with hardware detection & configuration, which often leads to error on installation.

If you encounter any trouble with Lindows installation, try SUSE it's the best of the Linux breed!

But I'm watching Lindows very very closly, because I belive that they might got what it takes to grab one or two percent of the desktop market.

Regards
Hans-Christer Andersson
http://linuxemu.linuxgames.com/

wonder..
by alan on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 21:39 UTC

don't know if anyone has noticed that recently ...
but seems like great UNIX is loosing her wonder child linux slowly...
Nothing innovative or usefull is coming out in linux world.. seems like linux was just a flash in a pan ;)
...still as hard as it was to install or uninstall files..
...still slower..
...still inconsistent..
...still xfree.. still way behind..
...and biggest kids(redhat,suse) are killing their own brench that they stepping on..
so sad .. so sad..

RE: Linuxelectrons
by B. Smith on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 21:45 UTC

ByteEnable,

I followed both of your links and I don't see your point. Of course, I am stupid. But please clue me in. The chart looks interesting, but I did not include a chart. The second link displays a list of reviews of Debian Woody, Gentoo, Mandrake 9.1, Fedora, and SUSE. All of which is great, so why is this review of Lindows a clone of any of those? I am all up for reviewing any and all distros as many times as possible, because each review of each system gives a slightly different perspective.

*puzzled & perplexed*

Barry

Fair ratings?
by Adam Scheinberg on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 22:00 UTC

Arbitrary ratings aside, I take issue with some of the ratings you've chosen.

You are revewing Debian based desktop systems, and a desktop system requires you to have some sort of modern hardware. It's called optimization. You're choosing distros built for broadband and modern hardware and marking them down. Listen, dude - get a new computer or move to a distro that aims to fulfill your very specific needs! These guys aren't targetting you, so "marking them down" for not catering to your crowd is counterproductive. Cisco IOS isn't a god desktop for me, but I don't view it as such, just as LindowsOS, which has really tried to integrate broadband into its routine, might not be best for you. Perhaps you want a distro really aimed at low-cost hardware, baseband users.

Also, as far as your video chipset circus, I'm not so sure that what has occured isn't the DESIREABLE reaction. If you got things just so, you could, in fact, end up locked out of your own computer forever by way of lack of video feed to the onboard chipset. You might consider giving Lindows a +1 for making it hard to activate options that most would agree is NOT the appropriate action.

Your premise, reviewing distros on a personal, "newbie-esque" level is an interesting one, but, imvho, the reviews are too specific and don't provide general enough information. Wanting non-defaults means you have to do work, and the same holds true for Windows.

RE: Fair ratings?
by B. Smith on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 22:12 UTC

Adam,

Thanks for the feedback. As far as your suggestion that I am using old hardware, I personally don't consider 2-3 year to be "old" and neither do most of the SOHO end users that I am acquainted with. We are Small Office people. Meaning limited budgets. And frankly a P3-1 gig system does a bang up job of running OpenOffice and Mozilla just fine. The fact that my primary system is three years old, and my secondary system is two years old, just means that any mainstream OS should be able to at least recognize it.

I would not expect Lindows or any other operating system to perform well with my hardware if it were at all unusual. But i810 and Radeon video chips are not really that rare nowadays.

My main complaint is the fact that other Debian-based distros including Knoppix, Libranet 2.7 & 2.8m and MEPIS 2003,10 were able to cope with it just fine. I grant your premise that Intel decided to make the onboard video unkillable for a reason. But that reason does not apply to this situation. And if 4 other Debian-based distros had no trouble with it, or at minimum were able to recognize it, then why can't Lindows.

As I also pointed out, Mandrake 8.0 was able to recognize and configure this hardware 3 years ago. Is Lindows unable to compete with what Mandrake had going for it as much as three years ago?

Lindows is marketing their system for the low end, unsophisticated SOHO user. If they were intending it to be used strictly on the customized hardware that they market, then why sell a boxed version at all? If they sell teh software independent of hardware, and they market their product to target the unsophisticated, non-tech SOHO user, then I am afraid that it is not a good policy to drop the ball on a simple installation issue like this.

I am afraid that I am a bit stunned that you would seriously suggest that Lindows shoudl be commended for failing to produce an installation system that is as sophisticated and hardware-ready as Mandrake was producing three years ago.

But everyone to their own opinion.

Barry

Good review series
by Paul D on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 22:13 UTC

As a Linux newbie, I really enjoy these reviews. Obviously, one can't do a really scientific comparison of distros without installing them on dozens of machines and configurations, but just knowing what the out-of-the-box experience is like helps people like me.

If I had suggestions for the author, it would be to expand the reviews, testing the ease of installing new (downloaded) applications, networking with Windows machines, and running programs under Wine. I'd also like to see him try out non-Debian distros, though I understand his reasons for not doing this.

Hardware Issue
by Edward on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 22:18 UTC

If a distro is able to detect the onboard video, despite it being disabled in the BIOS, it means the hardware is broken/faulty. If an intergrated device is disabled in the BIOS, it shouldn't show up on the pci bus (run lspci to get a listing of AGP/PCI devices on your linux system). If it shows up, your motherboard is crappy.

Stop whining about the operating system because you bought crappy hardware.

RE: Hardware Issue
by HC Andersson on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 22:26 UTC

"Stop whining about the operating system because you bought crappy hardware."

Edward: You have have missed this before posting sh*t??:
"As I also pointed out, Mandrake 8.0 was able to recognize and configure this hardware 3 years ago. Is Lindows unable to compete with what Mandrake had going for it as much as three years ago?"

hardware detection
by Anonymous on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 22:41 UTC

if you have trouble with hardware detection, try MS Windows

RE: RE: Hardware Issue
by Edward on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 23:01 UTC

Edward: You have have missed this before posting sh*t??:
"As I also pointed out, Mandrake 8.0 was able to recognize and configure this hardware 3 years ago. Is Lindows unable to compete with what Mandrake had going for it as much as three years ago?"


I believe you are confusing what you wanted to happen with what should happen.

The operating system will see two video cards (it shouldn't, and this is the fault of the motherboard). Given this, it has to make a choice as to which one to use as a default.

Given that from an OS point of view, that it is damn near impossible to determine if given piece of hardware on the PCI and AGP bus's are intergrated or not, and that the AGP/intergrated graphics will appear last on on a device listing, it would seem that the Lindows hardware detection makes a concious choice to choose a AGP card over a PCI card.

I would suspect, given the apparent age of the motherboard, that there is a jumper switch that does truely disable the onboard graphics. If this was done, and the onboard card no longer showed up on the device listing, and Lindows insisted on trying to use it, I would agree, but this is not the case here.

The Lindows hardware autodetection software is simply making the the best decision based on the information given to it.

The Attitudes...
by RonE on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 23:08 UTC

...of some posters astound me, personally. The guy is obviously pleasing some people doing these reviews; myself, I was simply happy he liked Libranet as well (my 'fave, personally).

But some of the comments..."...stop whining because you bought crappy hardware"..."if you have problems with hardware detection, use Windows..."...yeesh, give me a fscking break you oh-so-L33T h4x0rs. One, this distro in particular <is> targeted at the same user Windows is...and don't give me "...it's meant for the machine you bought it on...", if so they'd mention something to that effect on their website...if a statement like that isn't there, don't put words in their mouths. Also, I'll bet anything that that Windows, the OS pointed to smugly to go to when l33ts can't handle criticism of anything *nix, can recognize this hardware right away.

Plus, he already stated that at least one other distro handled the same machine with aplomb...I had a bad experience getting my nForce2-based MB and GF4 card working under Fedora Core (lockups, panics, etc)...eventually figured it out, but Libranet worked it perfectly and I haven't worked back. Obviously, it was "crappy hardware".

Anyway, I don't mind seeing constructive criticism but damn some of these comments are just uncalled for. To all the "go back to Windows you idiot" types, I'll provide another Linux-ism: don't like the review? Do one yourself!!

Thanks for the effort, author.

RE: Fair ratings?
by RonE on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 23:12 UTC

Quote: "You are revewing Debian based desktop systems, and a desktop system requires you to have some sort of modern hardware. It's called optimization."

1) Another desktop OS (obvious) will work fine with the same hardware...isn't the "other OS" the primary competitor for the Lindows-type distros?

2) One thing I always hear bantered about Linux in general (no, not in the aforementioned post) is how it works better on older hardware...is your comment inferring the "desktop distros" remove all this type of support? Just curious...

Disabling onboard i810 video
by Steve on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 23:20 UTC

Once again, the author does not know the difference between "disabling" onboard graphics and setting onboard graphics to secondary.

***YOU DID NOT DISABLE THE ONBOARD GRAPHICS*** - THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE ON I810.

Now go back and read that again.

The reason you have this problem is that your "value" chipset does not have an AGP slot, so inserting a PCI card with the onboard AGP puts you in dual-display mode, as it SHOULD.

Think of this as having an AGP card and then putting in a PCI card - what happens? You go into dual-display mode. The BIOS setting the author keeps using only sets the primary display in the dual-display configuration.

Author, get a clue. I posted this same comment on your last article.

I'm a Slack fan myself, so I'll probably never use Lindows.

-steve

re Hardware detection
by david on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 23:24 UTC

After many years of installing systems of all varieties on various platforms, one thing that strikes me most about the subject of hardware detection is this. The detecting agent isn't a mindreader, it simply has a database of known hardware that fits within some parameters. Windows has a huge database installed with its OS, Linux seems to have a moderate size one which is presumably increasing over time. Apple have a tiny one because there are virtually no third party hardware makers for the platform (by comparison) and those bits that are usable, conform to a known apple spec.

I can relate to the writer who points to Mandrake recognising his hardware correctly, that is an experience I have shared when compared to some other distros. But hardware detection is no real substitute for understanding the issues, the hardware or the mechanisms that take place down in the basement level of your os. A linux distro that works universally on all known hardware isnt going to happen, I am hoping to find one that works out of the box for most of people most of the time (somewhat like windows).

I think its coming very soon....

RE: RE: RE: Hardware Issue
by HC Andersson on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 23:33 UTC

"The Lindows hardware autodetection software is simply making the the best decision based on the information given to it."

Edward: Ok, sounds smart! =)

i810
by pieter on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 23:36 UTC

I would like to back up the claim of the author, I also use a i810 onboard graphic card and pci graphic card.
I also changed the bios to use the pci card primary. My mandrake works perfect on it, both in dual head (in fact triple head).
A couple of years ago (I think it was mandrake 8.x back then) I did have to fidle with the config file, but sinds then I carry it with me from version to version.
The latest versions of mandrake I just update by swiching sources and letting 'urpmi --auto-select' do the work, so even that is no problem any more.

Want Debian?
by Annon on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 23:38 UTC

Want Debian?

Download Knoppix live cd

Burn ISO

Boot CD

After boot hit Ctrl+Alt+F2

Type in knx-hdinstall

Follow mininal instructions

Reboot when done (without CD)

Drink Beer

Want to update system?

Fire-up GUI to apt called Synaptic

Hit update

Drink Beer

Hit upgrade system

Drink Beer

Debian -- as simple as it get!

Argh
by Rayiner Hashem on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 23:42 UTC

Sitting here on a Debian machine, I can say that you're completely off base:

...still as hard as it was to install or uninstall files..
---------
If by files you mean programs, than no! Installing software is a matter of "apt-get <package-name>" In the rare case its not in the Debian repository, I can almost always find an APT repository after a minute of Google-ing (or searching www.apt-get.org). After that, software install involves copying-and-pasting a line into /etc/apt/sources.list, and then running apt-get. Installing software in a modern Linux distro (with APT, Yum, or Urpmi) takes no more than a few seconds, compared to several minutes for Windows.

...still slower..
--------------
KDE 3.x, anyway, is comparable to Windows XP on this machine. XP is hardly fast, but KDE is no slower. In some respects KDE is slower (Konqueror's resize performance is worse than IE's), and in some respects KDE is faster (expose lag is almost non-existent in KDE, but noticible in Windows).

...still inconsistent..
----------------
My desktop is far more consistent than my Windows one. Between Konqueror, KOffice, KMail, and KDevelop, I use one toolkit. Between IE, MS Office, Outlook, and Visual Studio, I use three toolkits. In KDE, my media player looks identical to my web browser. WMP looks nothing like IE.

...still xfree..
----------------
Okay, you're right. It *is* still XFree. But its hardly behind. XP does window transparency only at a full-window level, and thus doesn't really use it (like OS X does). Other than that, I've got the same drop shadows on menus, etc. And I'll bet good money that the freedesktop.org X server (with full OpenGL acceleration and lots of nice eye candy) will be out before Longhorn gets the equivilent in 2006.

Re: Fair settings
by Adam Scheinberg on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 23:46 UTC

I am afraid that I am a bit stunned that you would seriously suggest that Lindows shoudl be commended for failing to produce an installation system that is as sophisticated and hardware-ready as Mandrake was producing three years ago.

Barry, to be clear, installation and autodetection should be updated, not just expanded. Part of why Windows takes a gig to install is because it carries an HCL longer than War & Peace.

I don't agree that modern OSes should support hardware eternally - the ones that you have to compile yourself, perhaps, because then you can compile without that support.

As for your hardware, not all of it is outdated, so to speak, but mass produced machines that you'd find in an office probably would not have the issues you discuss. M

My objection to your review solely comes from this: a review typically is an overview of the system and a rating for those unfamiliar with the system. Your point scale and method of addition and subtraction is based on your admittedly uncommon experiences. While an interesting tale, a "ditro-shootout" it does not make.

RE: RE: RE: RE: Hardware Issue
by Edward on Tue 23rd Dec 2003 23:58 UTC

HC Andersson: Thanks. ;-) Your willingness to see a (I feel anyway) a valid opposing argument is a breath of fresh air.


This does raise an interesting issue though. What do you do when a system has multiple non-differentiated hardware, such as two soundcards, or two network cards, or two identical video cards - as opposed to say, two USB cards.

Asking users to read documentation simply isn't going to happen.

For Lindows type distros, I see some possibilities. Assuming multiple pieces of sound hardware installed and showing up, the OS installer could probably attempt to pump sound through each device saying "If you can hear this, please press A".

However, it doesn't deal with issues relating to new devices (such as a hotplugged USB sound device), and leads you down the garden path with arguments of how much user intervention you want in an install process.

Don't slowdown now!
by Ashley on Wed 24th Dec 2003 00:44 UTC

I found your scoring system a little dodgy, but other than that that was a good review, particularly for newbies.

You sound a little tired towards the end of switching distros etc, and seem to have already decided on Lindows. If that really is the case then you shouldn't review Xandros 2.0 at all as you are unlikely to do it justice.

I would like to see you review Xandros 2.0 with an open mind. Only one more to go!

What!!!?
by Someone on Wed 24th Dec 2003 00:57 UTC

"But respond they eventually did. That deserves a +1."

Ok so Lindows gets a +1 for soemthing all the other distros arleady did!! This is stupid, tahn all the rest of the distros should also get a +1. By your logic, if I turn in a bad homework assignment but fix it up and if someoen turned a very good one from the beginning I would get a much better grade.

"Give Lindows a -1 (again) for failing to recognize my video, and a second -1 for failing to fix a problem that I know for a fact they were aware of. I know they were aware of the problem because I complained about it myself. I complained extensively."

Ok now your deducting 2 points for the same issue.

"I am going to mention something that I should have mentioned before. Both MEPIS and Lindows offer free upgrades. Libranet and Xandros both charge for upgrades. I am giving Lindows a +1 for this and I wish I had thought to give MEPIS one as well. It matters. It matters very much to a destitute tightwad like me."

You again are REVIEWING THE PRODUCT, not future upgrades or company policies. Please separate these two things. Just like if you are correcting someone's test you won't go ravaging through his house to ask about his wife or children etc. (personal life). The reason Lindows offers free updates is because they really come with NOTHING, not even a damn screenshot program. So you are pretty much forced to use CNR, so of course they offer free upgrades. As for Xandros, they could not do this because they actually come with SOMETHING, the codeweavers products alonea re worth $100 and even so they give large discounts and at least don't charge for free software like Lindows. On Xandros Networks you only pay for stuff that costs money. I am not familiar with Libranet.

Re: B. Smith
by Jason Lotito on Wed 24th Dec 2003 01:01 UTC

You keep mentioning what Lindows markets on all this. Obviously, to be fair in the review, when you attempted to receive support for the installation, what was the attitude of the support. This is, after all, part of the package that you purchased, and not using it is like choosing to not follow the installation instructions.

Also, you mentioned at the beginning of this article that you removed the fan on your video card, the one that wasn't recognized. Are you sure your video card is still okay, and that you didn't ruin anything?

RE: Hi Everyone
by B. Smith on Wed 24th Dec 2003 02:11 UTC

Ok, where do I start?

1) My primary system IS a mass produced office-type machine that I purchased specifically to maintain compatibility with the computers that my former employer was using at that time. And I don't care the slightest whit about whether the BIOS switch disables the onboard video, or sets it as secondary, or castrates it with a rusty nail file, or just gives it a cookie and puts it to bed. All I want to do is use the dang thing. I cherish my ignorance regarding video chipsets and I intend to guard that self-same ignorance with ferocious determination. It worked on the vast majority of other distros that I have tried on that box, so I am unhappy that it won't work with Lindows.

2) My hardware is not outdated. Not by normal people standards. Not by typical business standards. Granted, to a hard core gamer (I am not one) or a well-to-do hobbyist (I am neither) or even a programmer (which I am not and never will be) it might be slightly dated. But outdated? The systems are 3 years and 2 years old respectively. I can name a long list of companies that are still using computers that are 5 years old or more. And these are not SOHO operations, these are small to medium sized businesses that employ between 10 and 50 people. They use 5 year old hardware because it works for them and they don't need any more speed. If any of these businesses tried to adopt Linux in any form, they would be doing it on their existing hardware since their most probable reason for trying Linux would be to avoid upgrade hell from Microsoft. So brace yourself, SOHO users are generally going to be using hardware that you can buy off the shelf, and they are going to be squeezing every last drop of usefulness from it until it dies of old age. Any software company that targets the unsophisticated end user, while at the same time expecing that end user to be running bleeding edge hardware, is kidding themself.

3) You can set your concerns aside, I will try my best to give Xandros 2.0 a fair trial. I have not made up my mind about Lindows on the secondary system. I simply said that Lindows was the only distro that I had tried that never had any problems at all with my secondary hardware. So until I have a chance to try out Xandros I am going to use Lindows on that box. And unless Xandros is better, I will not bother that installation again. As far as the primary system is concerned, Libranet has done the best job to date, but I deliberately stated at the end that I was retaining the option of switching to Xandros if it is worth it.

4) I am not targeting these articles to the newbie crowd specifically, although I certainly would be proud if they get some use out of them. I am an experienced technical writer/end user who is getting almighty tired and disgusted at being forced to spend more time maintaining, tweaking and upgrading his operating system than he does actually WRITING anything. I want something I can park and leave alone. I am investigating which option looks best for my needs. If you don't get any benefit from these articles so be it. I am writing themthe way *I* wanted them. I am quite certain that OSNews would be delighted to post your rebuttal. So go for it.

I want thank everyone for bothering to read these, and for taking the time to offer feedback, good and bad.

Barry

RE: RE: Hi Everyone
by Al Hartman on Wed 24th Dec 2003 02:21 UTC

You keep saying your hardware isn't outdated.

In fact, it is.

But, you go ahead and keep protesting it's not.

Hardware that is 2-3 MONTHS old is outdated these days, not to mention hardware that is 2-3 years old.

I don't argue that it's still a perfectly functional system. It is.

But don't represent it as current or modern hardware.

That's just how it is.

You can keep saying it's not. That doesn't make it so.

RE: Al Hartman
by Owen Anderson on Wed 24th Dec 2003 02:59 UTC

No, outdated hardware is the Pentium-MMX 200 sitting at the foot of my desk happily serving files. No-longer-cutting-edge-but-not-ancient is what the author is talk about. And he's quite right. I've done technical work for a number of small businesses, and they all fall into that category is slightly aged computers that ought to be well within the realm of being supported. I mean, we tell people not to use cutting-edge hardware cause it won't be in the kernel yet. Are we now telling them not to use matured harware?

There is no excusable reason for an OS that promotes itself as being for the common user not to support 3 year old mainstream hardware. An average home/SOHO user might upgrade their computer every 5 years or so, and even then they're probably not buying the newest models and features.

Outdated?
by seakryan on Wed 24th Dec 2003 03:02 UTC

"Hardware that is 2-3 MONTHS old is outdated these days, not to mention hardware that is 2-3 years old."

A couple years/months old should not be a problem. I think the issue comes into play with "cheap" hardware. I have found that I experience more "pain" when I buy a motherboard that cuts cost by including onboard video. I will never buy another motherboard/system with onboard video - if I can help it.

I have to admit - I have enjoyed these reviews. Of course, I don't agree with everything, but who ever does. I don't think anyone will ever find a OS that works on all Hardware. When I "upgraded" from MS 98 to 2000, I was really not amused. Finding drivers for my hardware was next to impossible.

I like Lindows for a variety of reasons. So far, the only distro that has threatened to "entice" me has been MEPIS. That is the first distro I've been able to set up and then immediately go online with KPackage and actually install software-for free. For a newbie, that is a real nice feeling.

Barry is right...and wrong.
by Adam Scheinberg on Wed 24th Dec 2003 03:40 UTC

Barry is completely right about Linux distros supporting older hardware. However, he's wrong, I believe, in assuming that Linux should automagically figure out what your intent was when you use non-standard hardware configurations. I'm not going to harp on this issue - he wrote his review based on what he wanted to review and his experience with it, it's valid, so be it, let's all get over it.

My concern here, more than anything, is for the general reader forming opinions of LindowsOS. I've used (and reviewed) LindowsOS 4.0 for this site. I had plenty of negative things to say about it - I'm not a Lindows freak, nor do I have any reason to push it more than anything other distro - but I want it dually noted that LindowsOS did not have problems on my test machine, nor on any other machine I've subsequently demo'ed it on. Those machines ranged from a dual Xeon 1.8 Ghz system to an "old school" Pentium Pro.

I currently maintain a large WAN with almost 50 sites and have supervised a team that maintained a network with over 7,000 Windows and Mac clients - I know a thing or two about standard machines. 99.9% of the time, they do not include onboard video AND video cards, or, for that matter, duplicate ports of any sort. The business standard today, as I see it, is a P3 700 with 128-256 MB SD RAM and an 8-16 MB video card. Depending on your manufacturer of choice, you may see slightly different specs.

For the record, the 810 is generally a "value" chipset, which most businesses shun, as they can capitalize the expenses and depreciate them over time. From the Intel website: "The 810 chipset may contain design defects or errors known as errata which may cause the product to deviate from published specifications. Current characterized errata are available on request." Available at http://www.intel.com/design/chipsets/810/.

Are you already saying you will be unfair?
by Mario on Wed 24th Dec 2003 04:05 UTC

"You can set your concerns aside, I will try my best to give Xandros 2.0 a fair trial. I have not made up my mind about Lindows on the secondary system. I simply said that Lindows was the only distro that I had tried that never had any problems at all with my secondary hardware. So until I have a chance to try out Xandros I am going to use Lindows on that box. And unless Xandros is better, I will not bother that installation again."

If Xandros will not get a good test on both of your systems that is very biased and just plain wrong. Don't review it at all if you are going to start with that outlook. Also about the PDC issue, Xandros will give fre upgrades to the business editionf or those who need it.

In Barry's Defense
by ByteEnable on Wed 24th Dec 2003 05:04 UTC

I will come to Barry's defense and make these points for him and attack other's.

1. Barry has yet to detail the manufactuer of his system board. So here are the scenario's that should take place in a well designed system:

Its been awhile for me in the PC arena, but I believe that when he selected PCI as the graphics adapter the bios should have disabled the onboard AGP controller and configured the PCI Graphics adapter as primary. It is possible that the bios left the AGP port on as a secondary video device, which Windows does support (Since the CodeView days). I cannot speculate any further until Barry gives us the manufacturer of his system board. There could be a jumper to disable the onboard AGP as someone stated earlier.

2. Even if the Bios or Barry made an error by leaving the AGP port on as secondary video device, it does not become an old hardware issue or user error. It becomes the Linux Distro's problem for not anticipating such as a scenario and going with the default primary video controller. It's an error caused by the programmer of the disto installer, period.

3. The reason why Barry's i810 video is so slow is because its probably using system memory as video memory and no real AGP RAM installed. This will kill system performace in graphic intensive apps. I can't remember if the i810 does support AGP RAM, but I'm pretty sure the i815 does.

4. I know a thing a two also about standard office machines. The i810 and i815 were specificially designed to address the cost effective business market. Major OEM's have sold tons of'em. 7000 machines is petty. Try tens of thousands of units a month.

5. This just goes to show that some Linux Disto's are not ready for primetime.

RE: RE: Hi Everyone, B. Smith
by Edward on Wed 24th Dec 2003 05:13 UTC

...And I don't care the slightest whit about whether the BIOS switch disables the onboard video, or sets it as secondary, or castrates it with a rusty nail file, or just gives it a cookie and puts it to bed. All I want to do is use the dang thing. I cherish my ignorance regarding video chipsets and I intend to guard that self-same ignorance with ferocious determination. It worked on the vast majority of other distros that I have tried on that box, so I am unhappy that it won't work with Lindows.

So let me get this straight. You change the hardware, refuse to actually think about the consequences of doing so, and Lindows is supposed to mind read how you want things to work?

By "cherishing your igorance", you are being diliberatly stupid. I appreciate that you are trying to do this from the perspective of the average Joe, but as a reviewer, you are supposed to understand the issues, and why something may or may not work.

RE: ByteEnable
by B. Smith on Wed 24th Dec 2003 05:19 UTC

*sigh*

I was hoping to avoid having to admit this, but my primary system is a Dell. The agreement with my former employer was that I would be cleared to telecommute as long as I purchased hardware that was directly equivalent to what they were using in the home office. So I had to get a Dell. I don't remember the exact model because after finishing up my part of that project I immediately switched the board into a tower case large enough to work with and started upgrading everything I could.

And yes, it uses system RAM. The onboard i810 video defaults to FOUR meg of RAM. System RAM. Hence my chagrin at finding a distro that wanted me to abandon my Radeon and go back to that.

There is no jumper on the motherboard to allow me to physically disable the video. I checked and researched. I am stuck. And since I had to pay Dell's ungodly prices for this system, I am ont about to toss it out until it grows a long white beard.

Now ByteEnable, is that loyalty? For the sake of a supporting reader I have admitted my darkest secret. I own a Dell.....

*sob*

Barry

So?
by Mario on Wed 24th Dec 2003 05:23 UTC

My dad has a Dell, what's so horrible about these evil machines?

Barry's Dell
by ByteEnable on Wed 24th Dec 2003 05:35 UTC

Is it OptiPlex or Dimension?

Byte

You know, it is kind of odd...
by B. Smith on Wed 24th Dec 2003 06:00 UTC

I thought I was being very favorable toward Lindows. I did state that it never gave me any trouble on my secondary system, and I praised them for the new NetZero software and the upgraded tutorials. I have noted many advantages to Lindows. My only complaint was the fact that Lindows could not cope with a computer where the onboard video was BIOS disableded/set-to-secondary-status/something-or-other'ed, and an upgraded video card had been installed. This kind of configuration is by no means unusual, according to my experience.

And yet, from the righteous indignation shown in this thread one would swear that I am advocating a mob assault on the Lindows headquaters. I like Lindows. Does that mean that it is treason and heresy and blasphemy for me to point out that they still have a few issues?

"So let me get this straight. You change the hardware, refuse to actually think about the consequences of doing so, and Lindows is supposed to mind read how you want things to work?

By "cherishing your igorance", you are being diliberatly stupid. I appreciate that you are trying to do this from the perspective of the average Joe, but as a reviewer, you are supposed to understand the issues, and why something may or may not work."

Now really....

I changed the hardware a couple of years ago. It was a simple and routine operation and required no reflection of 'consequences'. It is a *routine* thing to disable onboard video and upgrade to a newer card. I have been doing it since the days of 80286's for goodness sake. I can't count the times I have done the same thing to a 486 or a Pentium. It isn't as if I just invented this procedure for the single purpose of frustrating Lindows.

Barry

RPMs
by Stew on Wed 24th Dec 2003 07:15 UTC

A gaping error in the article is that RPM is not a proprietary file format. The reason why Red Hat, Mandrake, SUSE, etc. RPMs are not compatible with each other are because they are compiled with different versions of GCC, glibc, etc. In no way are they on the same level as Microsoft with proprietary Office document formats.

...
by alan on Wed 24th Dec 2003 09:55 UTC

It's unnecessary for the author to spend most of the 1st page blasting other reviews which concentrate on kernel version or other technical details. Just tell us what your rating system is and get on with the actual review!

Here, here
by psycros on Wed 24th Dec 2003 13:37 UTC

This review hit the nail on the head. If all of these distros have access to the same libraries, the same information, the same everything...then why do a few of them fail to detect the most common hardware? And why is this problem always with leading distros targeted at average Joes? This is precisely whats KILLING Linux adoption.

Its not quite killing adoption.
by Microsoft Fan on Wed 24th Dec 2003 13:59 UTC

Disclaimer: Many years of working with microsoft, newbie to linux

I have a fairly exotic and nearly useless Voodoo 4 (pci)card. Almost every distro refused to allow it to run, and I tried like 5 of them.

Then I found knoppix (based on debian). Then I found the hard drive install script, and then I found a walkthrough (on osnews) how to use the script. When your trying a new os, you need keyboard, video card, ethernet, mouse and sound to work. Sound may be optional. I think more than anything its video card drivers that are causing some minor problems with linux adoption.

- Microsoft Fan


Tutorial animations?
by Victor on Wed 24th Dec 2003 14:16 UTC

What are these tutorial animations he talked about? Got really curious about it.

Victor.

Good job
by arehb on Wed 24th Dec 2003 15:52 UTC


I enjoyed reading the review. Keep up the good work!

Though I find it odd that you disregard the rpm distros, since most of them (now) has usefull package management system.

liked the review
by anonymous on Wed 24th Dec 2003 17:45 UTC

I liked the review. I would say to those who did not like it and were critical of it ....... go do your own review. Until then, shut up.

Mike

Reviewers Issue
by Onetrack on Thu 25th Dec 2003 17:43 UTC


Why is it that this reviewer is angry that a particular distro doesn't support his ancient hardware. Check through the compatibility lists, buy some cheap hardware, install lindows..

Its not rocket science. instead he goes the other way around, complain complain complain, xos doesn't work out of the box with my old tired hardware, whine whine whine.

You know what buddy, install Win98 on there and see if you need some drivers, then go onto various windows support forums and complain that your hardware isn't supported out of the box.

Either figure out how to use your pc, or sell it to someone else.

Linux works but...
by Shard on Fri 26th Dec 2003 12:54 UTC

I have found that almost all linux distros work just fine. I am using suse but i will be using debian because i find the apt-get feature v easy to use.
All I need to do is to get my usb modem to work or to find the correct cables due to the routersgiven me by bt, and connect via onboard lan.

Linux problems...
by vince on Fri 26th Dec 2003 17:07 UTC

Decent article on Lindows. I do agree completely about the general comments such as the typical Linux documentation being written by programmers and nit wits... I have installed Knoppix HDD install, Red Hat 4-8.1, Mandrake 8-9.2, etc... and to this day get verrry annoyed by the sub-standard documentation. Okay, they suck in writing - period. Yes there are ALOT of docs, but thats not what construe as good writing - its conciseness. Write it for "normal" users! Others in Linux land say if you can't do commands in shell then go f%%% off, well you guys are such F$#% dweebs that in order for you to feel superior you must say dumb ass things like that - my main machine is PROPRIETARY Windows - but my SH^& WORKS! I do not know about other dumbb A$$ Windows users who crash their crap, but I have not crash mine! I would love a Linux ditro to come up to the ranks, but until its comaprable to the tools Windows has - no thanks! I just saw an article of all the cool toold on Linux (ARP, SNMP, etc) - and laughed my a$$ off - are you kidding!!!! These are command line based archaic A$$ commands - try Windows and you will see the "better" tools - unless something like those come along for Linux - then again - no FUC$%$ thanks! Maybe a couple more years Linux!

Re: Hardware Issue
by Joe on Fri 26th Dec 2003 23:13 UTC

------------------------------------
Stop whining about the operating system because you bought crappy hardware.
------------------------------------

So If I bought a new computer with all the latest gadgets - are you an guaranteeing me that Lindows will detect all my hardware with little to no reconfiguration like Windows?

I don't think so.

The reviewer did a decent job. If you Linux zealots disagree with his review, then write your own damn review

secondary system
by ripcrd on Sat 27th Dec 2003 04:56 UTC

You could use 2 different distros on the 2 boxes since you are having such trouble w/ the hardware setup. As long as they are both Debian based, it should make it easier for you. Install Lindows on #2 and config it the way you want. THen update w/ the debian archives and bam, you have a Debian. Just use the installer and initial hardware detection that works for you. If you really know what you are doing w/ Debian, why are you torturing yourself?

Virtual Realities
by Ken Schrock on Sat 27th Dec 2003 23:29 UTC

Everybody has them.
I have tried every Linux distro. All my machines are now Lindows. I encourage Linux newbies to use Lindows or buy Lindows computers from WalMart. Still, I think this is a very GOOD review. This is how people work, they often make choices on single issues. One family I converted to Linux and Lindows has been very happy with things for two years now UNTIL they went to get a print cartridge for their Lexmark Z22 and bought a Lexmark X75 for $49 instead. No Linux driver for the X75, their new toy, and they told me to put Win98 back on the machine. For world domination, the devil is in the detail.

Random Comments and Thoughts
by Mark on Wed 31st Dec 2003 12:03 UTC

1.) The reviewer's hardware is certainly not outdated. I'd say an Intel i810 P3-1GHz machine is squarely in mainstream. Maybe you can't buy them new now, but A LOT of them were sold not too long ago, and there's A LOT of them still in use. You shouldn't have to buy a new PC to upgrade or change your OS. If you want people to do that, then they'll stick with Windows which is preinstalled and virtually included in the price of a new PC. For the record, I'm in the IT field, and I currently own 4 PC's: a clone PII-350MHz, an IBM PII-450MHz, a Compaq K6-2-500MHz, and an IBM PIII-500MHz laptop. Of the 4, I'd only expect trouble on the Compaq during the install of an OS. And, with Windows 2000/XP/2003, that's the only ones I've had driver trouble with (except for a $5 sound card I got for the IBM...but I expected trouble there). Outdated? Yes. Should still be supported? Absolutely.
2.) Yes, the reviewer's setup of an onboard AGP card and a seperate PCI card is a tad odd. But, since they're still selling PCI cards, I'd guess more than most are realizing do it.
3.) Re the video card issue, I'd think that it should be pretty trivial to either (a)default to the chosen primary adapter, or (b)ASK the user what to do. Maybe even having to send signals to both cards and asking to press 1, 2 or 3 depending on which they see (or both for dual monitor setups). How difficult would that be? For something as important as OUTPUT or INPUT, an OS should NOT guess. Complain fast and complain loudly.
4.) Linux hardware detection and kernel and module drivers are inconsistent. I know that a lot of this has to do with hw manafacturers not producing drivers or not releasing specs, but that's not an excuse for an end-user distro. Once again, if you're not DAMN SURE that you'll work, complain fast and loud. I'd advise this complaint to happen BEFORE the distro is installed and taking up space on the hard drive. Perhaps something similar to "winnt32 /checkupgradeonly" to warn of potential conflicts, missing drivers, etc.
5.) If you get thru the install process, you should have a usable system. That means video, keyboard, mouse, and functional GUI. Modems and NICs should be a very close second on that list. Excepting modems and NICs, I don't think I've EVER seen a Windows machine not get that far (without faulty hardware...not outdated hardware, FAULTY hw).
6.) Why don't distros have a CD worth of driver modules, and just copy the ones needed? There's no shame in asking for the install CD for added hardware. Windows users are used to it, and if there's enough space on the HDD the CD can be copied there as well. If the driver exists and is somewhat common, include it. If it doesn't exist or isn't included, WARN the user that it won't work. Default to EASY, advanced users can tweak and modprobe if they like.
7.) Linux and Linux apps, in general, are WAY too talkative. Nobody cares what they're doing...half (or more) of the users don't understand it anyway. It's always nice to have the OPTION of seeing verbose status and logging messages and maybe even saving it to a file, but a progress indicator is more than enough as a default.