Linked by Eugenia Loli on Mon 18th Mar 2002 18:07 UTC
Mandriva, Mandrake, Lycoris Many companies tried to create a truly easy-to-use Linux distribution, but as they say in Greece "they reached the well, but weren't able to drink water". Corel, Mandrake, Lindows, Xandros, Stormix and many other distros tried or are still trying to bring Linux closer to Windows' ease of use and the millions of the desktop-oriented users. One of the new distributions that has many people impressed so far, is Lycoris (formerly known as 'Redmond Linux'). OSNews tested the latest Lycoris Desktop/LX and here is what we experienced.
Order by: Score:
Nice Review
by Felonious Hiddenbottom on Mon 18th Mar 2002 19:26 UTC

Eugenia, I must complement you on your review of this product. I have used it, and I must say it is nice, but it has a lot of shortcomings.

IMHO, this is closer to a "desktop Linux" than any previous distro, but it's got a long way to go. I'm not entirely sure that it will ever get there. That's the problem with an OS built by Geeks for Geeks. Only geeks can truly use it and appreciate it. Even the things that supposedly make it easier - like KDE - they are still extremely complicated for a new user.

Can't someone design a user-friendly desktop operating system thats as easy to use as Windows? Oh, wait... that was the BeOS. Guess we'll have to wait for OpenBeOS....

The Ideas Are Good......
by Jeremy on Mon 18th Mar 2002 19:28 UTC

if they can get a community arund them, they would be able to perhaps get somthing like BeBits going and perhaps have their own software development industry. as they are a desktop OS, I can see a huge project to repackage and maintain the free software to be staticly linked so that the Desktop User can install it very easy. yes it takes up disk space, but most normal desktop users do not use more than 10% of their drive.

they can start a site called Lycorwarz an that can be the distribution of the repackaged free software in the static binaries. they can also come up with development standards so that companies that want to create software for their distro will have to follow them...mostly just staticly linking and themeing the software.

it will make Linux as easy as the mac. STATICLY LINK THE BINATRIES...FORGET THE SHARED LIB CRAP...we want KISS applied to the User!!!!

Negative Foreshadowing.
by B on Mon 18th Mar 2002 19:34 UTC

How can you say that the Xandros desktop has "tried to create a truly easy-to-use Linux distribution, but as they say in Greece "they reached the well, but weren't able to drink water"." when Xandros hasn't even put out a single version of there desktop? Thats a little unfair.

Re: Negative Foreshadowing
by John Boe on Mon 18th Mar 2002 19:40 UTC

Reviewers usually get beta software or even beta hardware in advance... Xandros has already released a beta version of their distribution.

Nice review
by wowtip on Mon 18th Mar 2002 19:51 UTC

The conclusions of the review was almost exactly the same as my own, when I installed the package. Super smooth installation, no problems recognizing hardware. But, when I was about to install other packages, the fun came to an end.

It is very true that many beginners find compiling complicated, but that is no reason to deny the users who want these options the possibility. Yes, you do have the two "extra" discs, but I think that way makes the package more difficult to use for a not-so-newbie Linux user, than Mandrake or SuSE.

So, if you want a predefined Linux package for just the most common daily computer activities, without a need to install other software, I can highly recommend Lycoris. If you want to install other software but still needs an easy system, I would rather recommend Mandrake, SuSE or Redhat.

Re: Negatinve Foreshadowing
by B on Mon 18th Mar 2002 19:59 UTC

Yes, i am aware of this beta. But you cant look at a half finished peice of art and Judge it as a finla work.

by stew on Mon 18th Mar 2002 20:30 UTC

One question: Why is "easy to use" synonymous with "look like Windows" for all those Linux distributions? I never found Windows an example of ease of use. Can't they think of something new and better?

good review. too high ratings
by Marques on Mon 18th Mar 2002 20:33 UTC

A nice review. Too high final ratings.

I miss some performance descriptions, like a Konqueror torture test, filemanaging speeds, overall speeds, resources use, drag&drop behaviour, and TTfonts rendering. Besides that, all in all I think I got a fair review of the product.

After reading it I thought: well I still couldn't care less about Lycoris whereas I'm waiting since past September for the Xandros Linux release, and nowadays I'd rather use Mandrake Linux if I look for ease of use in Linux (otherwise Slackware). Agree with B on the Negative Foreshadowing. I may buy a Xandros copy, I won't even mind with Lycoris.

Noble effort indeed, troubled children they are, but they can't skip final judgement. Not Prepared for the Desktop.

There is another saying that says "If everybody's responsible, nobody is. — Paul Greenberg".

the only windows that was easy to use....
by Jeremy on Mon 18th Mar 2002 20:35 UTC

was windows 3.x

man, eveything was an Icon, no stupid menues to search through, and settings could be made in the .ini files if you realy wanted to get control.

not to mention that the interface was not in your way of getting stuf done.....I hated it when we moved to win2k on the server from NT 3.5.1 Explorer was just in the way of what I wanted to do.

Not there yet...
by DrP on Mon 18th Mar 2002 20:40 UTC

While Lycoris is a good effort, you still can't "squeeze milk out of a bird".

In Alabama they say, "You can't make silk from a sow's ear."

Re: good review. too high ratings
by Eugenia on Mon 18th Mar 2002 20:43 UTC

> a Konqueror torture test, filemanaging speeds, overall speeds,

Expect what you would expect for any other ext3-based with a stock kernel distro. Nothing exceptionally different about this distro to mention. KDE and C++ still has the LD problems, therefore KDE is as slow as in any other distro or installation that is not object prelinked.

> resources use,

Check the screenshot, I have "top" running.

> drag&drop behaviour

This is just a KDE thing. As long an application is 100% based on Kparts and the KDE tech, expect the D&D to work fine. Don't expect it to work between Gnome and KDE apps, as they based on different toolkits.

Things like that is one of the reasons I advise Lycoris to take active development role as meta-maintainers of their software.

> and TTfonts rendering

Lycoris uses the stock TTF rendering as done on XFree 4.01. Pretty badly done overall, it has bad AA quality (the "b" in the menu font misses pixels etc). In the screenshots I include, the fonts are rendering much better than the standard X/Lycoris, because I manually installed the">Xft .

by Adam Scheinberg on Mon 18th Mar 2002 20:45 UTC

I think many people are missing the point here. If we all agree that Linux as a whole isn't really ready for the desktop, then using that as a starting point, Lycoris is an immense success. My belief is that it's the best desktop Linux out there - surpassing the excellent Mandrake release, the very professional Red Hat flavor, and the often bleeding edge SuSE counterpart. Lycoris, in summary, can be said to accomplish one major goal: it takes Linux A LOT closer to its eventual goal: desktop OS. A LOT closer.

Just a question...
by asdf on Mon 18th Mar 2002 21:09 UTC

When the computer locked with the first test, did you try connecting to it with another computer? I have found that a lot of problems of that nature are hardware related, and thus one can telnet or ssh into the box despite inability to use the console; thus, you can perform a safe shutdown remotely if need be. Probably ineffectual, as Lycoris is a destop system and probably doesn't have telnetd or sshd.

Thank you for the article, I'm going to get it now :-)

Re: Just a question...
by Eugenia on Mon 18th Mar 2002 21:14 UTC

>When the computer locked with the first test, did you try connecting to it with another computer?

No, we put networking on our home JUST last Saturday (we installed AT&T cable modem JUST last week, as we have just moved to this apartment with my husband).

And I do not expect a home user to either telnet or SSH in the box from another machine and type arcane commands to kill and reload X or battle and mess with the serial cable and debug the kernel using GDB and a bit of assembly too. Please... ;)

I would do that if the distro I reviewed was Red Hat or TurboLinux, which aim to the server market. But Lycoris should not expect users to do such things.

No wonder the installer is the best part of Lycoris...
by mario on Mon 18th Mar 2002 21:20 UTC's the Caldera Lizard!

If you want a Linux distro that has some chance of being friendly but of good quality, look at Caldera eDesktop.

by Anonymous on Mon 18th Mar 2002 21:21 UTC

"Don't expect it to work between Gnome and KDE apps, as they based on different toolkits."

GTK and QT adhere to the XDND protocol which means that you can eg. drag a file from Konq into a Nautilus window.

Not so wrong
by Big Al on Mon 18th Mar 2002 21:36 UTC

I believe the reference was to cut and paste, not just drag and drop when working between Gnome and KDE. And cut and paste sucks when mixing apps between those two environments.

copy and paste
by Marques on Mon 18th Mar 2002 22:12 UTC

Yes, right Big Al, when I asked I had in mind drag&drop as well as copy and paste, thinking of the known Linux issues about them.

Thanks for anwsering my questions Eugenia. It has been a very pleasant to read review, I'm waiting for a Xandros Linux review from you now (I know, whenever they let you do it, beta or final).

Oh well,...
by me on Mon 18th Mar 2002 22:18 UTC

Next contender: Lindows

Let's see what you guys have to offer.

BTW, I'm not knocking Lycoris. I'm still excited about running this distro. I'm just predicting that the next meeting of the bug-eyed flock will take place at

Also, I've been thinking about trying to put together a distro that's the complete opposite of this one. I want one that looks as far from windows as possible. I figured I'd use Windowmaker(without Gnome) and through together an ala carte office suite(or just stop being silly and install OpenOffice). Stuff like that. Who else is feeling antsy?!

good review...
by Anonymous on Mon 18th Mar 2002 22:39 UTC

Good review, except for the numbers you gave them for support. There is a 60 day promise, but, in reality, there is no support. Oh well, this release is the right concept, just not very good execution. Maybe the Lycoris people moved this out before they were really ready to support it?

KDE + Mosfet = awesome GUI :-)
by CattBeMac on Mon 18th Mar 2002 22:40 UTC

If they was to add Mosfet to their line-up... then they would have an awesome looking GUI. As soon as Mosfet is KDE 3 compliant, I may finally slam Yellow Dog Linux on my Ti-Book!

Re: KDE + Mosfet = awesome GUI :-)
by Eugenia on Mon 18th Mar 2002 22:48 UTC


While I admire Mosfet's efforts, this thing looks like crap. Overloaded, lots of unessesary transparencies, horrible tabs and buttons etc. These screenshots look like a travesti full of make up and "look at me" widgets. Not all of it is Mosfet's fault though. KDE developers are far from creating nice and logical UIs for their apps, while the bad widget spacing and griding is QT's fault.

The only thing I like about it is the bold font on the Kemu with its icons on the left being on the right 16x16 size.

Overall, not a real alternative to MacOSX UI or even XP's. It is not just Mosfet who has to fix things. KDE devs and TrollTech needs to fix things to have a nice UI. And the problem is that all of these people are working independandly, therefore there is no consisestency.

by CattBeMac on Mon 18th Mar 2002 22:58 UTC

I was more impressed with color and the fonts, this is the first one I have seen with really clean and consistent fonts. They have overdone the Aqua thing alittle, but over all it is the nicest shots I have seen thus far from a KDE GUI screenshot!

YES! a WindowMaker distro
by Marques on Mon 18th Mar 2002 23:06 UTC

me (poster), I share your taste for that, a polished WindowMaker-centric distro would be great.">Icepack 1.0 used WindowMaker as the default window manager, it looked very nice, with a pretty bar at the bottom. Problem for me is that the system was unusable, outrageously unstable. But it was a nice beginning. I haven't tried their latest versions (from 1.1 to version 2)

It isn't just Lycoris, it's the whole KDE design that I don't like much. Putting some XP icons theme there as default makes things even worse: 'I'm getting outta here fast' (I won't even care to change it). The laughs I've had with those XP icons and">a , perfect match!

I like a lot how WindowMaker looks, the icons, all the UI concept. What filemanager would you use? GFM? I don't know if WM has any project for it's own filemanager.

Greek - gota love it
by YNOP on Mon 18th Mar 2002 23:10 UTC

You know i could care less about linux, but i read the artical anyways. Why? Because of all those wonderfull quotes, I actaully think i am gona search back though all the OS News articals and start a Eugenia greek quote page .. or maybe just set my Sig to drop in a random one ever now and then...

Oh, and good review, as always. See ya

The best bits are under the rug . . .
by tom6789 on Mon 18th Mar 2002 23:48 UTC

Back a few years ago, I believe it was RH 5.x; I really thought Linux was going somewhere. But I was VERY NOT impressed with RH default WM (fvwm . . . OMG how horrid).

I then downloaded ICEWM. Damn it was fast. It wasn't "easy" to configure, that is unless you could read. I found all its config files and spent nearly 10 whole minutes tweaking it to my likes (theirs GUI tools for that now). But I didn't care for xfm too well, which was *the* X file manager, I always just opened a term and used MC. But I still wanted good GUI file manager that would drag 'n drop, cut n' paste.

Then I found DFM. DFM added almost everything Naughtylust adds to GNOME except its not as pretty, but its 10x faster.

If somebody took the code from ICEWM and DFM, combined the two and added a couple GUI config tools and mime type file recoginion on par with BeOS's . . . then KDE and Gnome would soon be forgotten. IMO.

Of course I haven't use ICEWM in a long time (since BeOS 4.5), and I don't even think DFM is around anymore :-(

Shared object support was added for a VERY good reason- it's because static linkage produces a lot of redundancy and BLOAT as you end up duplicating LOADS of code for no good reason other than you want it to consistently work (which may/may not be the case- the kernel interfaces might just change on you and break that statically linked binary). If you don't understand the background of something, how can you comment intelligently either way?

by Genaldar on Tue 19th Mar 2002 01:02 UTC

Caldera has a nice installer, but mandrakes is nice too (btw calder is now openlinux not eDesktop). Plus mandrake is a ton faster (comparing mandrake 8.1 vs. caldera openlinux 3.1), it supports pppoe right from the get go (I couldn't get it to work on caldera at all). The only advantages caldera has is the fact wine is integrated (in mandrake you have to integrate it yourself and speaking as a linux newb I had no idea how to do it, actually mandrake didn't even integrate the unzipper properly (at least for me) so their integration sucks :0) and the fact you get links to any non-linux partitions on your desktop along with a link to your cdrom drive (mounting by terminal is a major hassle if your used to windows).

Swap partitions don't "fragment" a drive
by Anonymous on Tue 19th Mar 2002 02:32 UTC

Disk space set aside for swap is just that, set aside for swap, whether in the filesystem or not. If you put it in the filesystem that just makes it slower, and makes it _more_ likely to have fragmented space. With swap on it's own partition you assure it's set aside from the rest of your data and ordinary data will not have to be split and placed on either side of the swap file.
Now I haven't seen the installer, and perhaps it asks a question about swap partitions that makes the installation more difficult, but the solution to that is not ask, rather than not make a swap partition. If necessary the user could always add more swap later without re-partitioning by creating a swap file in the filesystem. The only possible problem with swap partitions is that they are difficult to shrink. This is a small price to pay for the performance gain.

by drewbian on Tue 19th Mar 2002 03:09 UTC

I tried this distro (normally use debian sid) in hopes of having an easy to use distro for the rellys but gave up on it due to the lack of some of the more decent apps. If they included abiword,evolution, galeon, gnumeric,gthumb, eroaster, audiogalaxy (with a custom setup script like debian) ogle, and some of the other brilliant gnome apps (they included the gimp and gftp didn't they ?). They could then setup a qtish theme for them so they don't look out of place and "POP" a user friendly & USEFULL distro.
Debian SID rocks anyhows

Review needs to be from an end-user perspective
by Nick on Tue 19th Mar 2002 03:18 UTC

I'm sick of some of these reviews coming from people who have grown up with everything Linux/GNU/BSD/etc have to offer, complaining about a desktop distribution because it is "limited".

Lycoris are trying to make a distribution that is useful to the end user. The end user is not a power user. If the end user was, they'd use one of the multitude of other distributions out there.

All the end user needs is the equivalent of what you'd find on Windows 9x/2000, with some productivity applications (which would have to be purchased extra in the case of a microsoft platform).

Who cares if the distro doesn't contain development utilities like GCC. Does the general MS user complain because Visual C++ isn't installed? No. Updates can be downloaded in binary format and installed with RPM/DEB packages.

What I'd have liked to see is the reviewer sitting down an average joe at the Lycoris system, and asking them if they could perform x/y/z tasks that would they would expect to be able to perform on windows, and observing the result.

Don't forget the target audience. It's like a physics professor complaining about a teenage sci-fi novel because it isn't correct enough to his liking.



The reason fat32 mounting is slow...
by Ralph on Tue 19th Mar 2002 03:28 UTC

Now, during a usual boot of redmondlinux all you see
is a framebuffer screen with a cheery summary of the
boot up status, but on the "boot" after install the usual
messages were displayed in text mode I noticed a bunch of
rather alarming "Warning: dosfsck on fat32 filesystems
is ALPHA" messages whip up the screen. "gee, am I glad I
backed up recently," I thought. So, they've removed the
need for lengthy fsck on ext2 partitions by using ext3 by
default, then added a lengthy fsck on dos drives using
unproven software. That was about the point I relised this
distro might need a little work yet. I also found konqueror
(in file manager mode) crashed rather more often than I'm
used to (I usually run debian unstable). I'm still telling
newbies to use Mandrake for now. (btw, this was using the
build_44 iso's)

Static binaries
by Jeremy on Tue 19th Mar 2002 03:40 UTC

well, if a user was good enough to place a new kernel in and do a custom install, they could install shared libs with the RPMs.

yes you get bloat on the drive, and yes it takes up more memory, but nothing is simpler to install for an end user.

perhaps when every distrobution is LSB complient, it will not be an issue because people will program to the LSB and you will no longer have to worry about missing libs, but untill then...options for simplicity are small.

if you want M$windows buy M$windows
by Joe Nayares on Tue 19th Mar 2002 05:04 UTC

I'm sick and tired of those who insist on comparing
everything with M$windows as if that was the end-all
of usability.
I am not a geek by any means, but at the moment I'm using Mandrake 8.1 and I find easier to use than any version
of windows that I ever tried.
when you install any version of Linux you know that's
what you are installing, if you don't like it by all means go
give mr. Gates a few bucks and quit your bellyaching.

minor sticking point in the article
by Anonymous on Tue 19th Mar 2002 05:38 UTC

Lycoris does not reset (cold boot) the PC
This is incorrect. A cold boot is when you turn on the PC, so all the devices are unpowered, drivers are not in spin, etc.
A warm boot is what you're talking about. All the devices are operational so it's considered warm.

If you want ease of use, get an Amiga. The designers didn't call the shared library that runs
the GUI system "Intuition" for nothing.
I've been playing with Linux for awhile & I must say that the folks at KDE & GNOME are placing
some of Windows 95 & 98 quirkiness into their systems. I hate having to click more than once
to perform a task. Also, who thought it was so smart to add file renaming as a mouse click to
their file managers? If you mistakenly click too fast, you overshoot the file renaming & the GUI
does whatever it's set for with a double-click (Aaarrgghh!!). So why did this Windoze feature (bug?) end up in Linux? If I want to rename a file on my Amiga, I just select a menu item or
press the equivalent menu key, no having to take care of how my mouse gets clicked. This
is only one example of Linux going the wrong direction (i.e., incorporating Windows Look & feel into their GUIs). Stick with X-windows look & feel (or Solaris).
Play with an Amiga & see how simple & easy to use a GUI should be.
Unfortunately, I'm getting the impression that Amiga Inc. is trying to add Windows garbage to
their latest versions of the Amiga OS (They've already started by eating up screen real estate with a TaskBar in OS3.9 -- but at least it can ge turned off). Come on folks, just because Microsoft does it does NOT mean that you have to!

RE: Just a Question? - arcane?
by Robert on Tue 19th Mar 2002 10:13 UTC

49% still using W98, only 10% using XP....WHY?
Because XP got rid of the DOS Box, so you couldn't use command line anymore, which even MS users wanted!
Whatever happened to an expert setting up the Linux box as a desk-top so that the user only had to USE it. You buy a car set-up, not in a box to take home and assemble, imagine if you had to install the engine in your car to use it?

Re: Robert
by citizen428 on Tue 19th Mar 2002 10:55 UTC

Sure you have a DOS Box in Windows XP. And there are new command line programs like tasklist, taskkill, systeminfo etc.

Take a look:,24330,336454...

Sure, they all "borrowed" them from the *NIX world, but at least they are finally there.

Windows is NOT that usable
by Anonymous on Tue 19th Mar 2002 10:59 UTC

A couple of people have commented on this already (thanks Stew & Joe Nayares), but please do not think Windows is the most usable system around.

Don't forget, Windows is the most popular desktop OS in the world and has been for some time. This does not mean that it is the "best way" to do things - it simply means that lots of people have got so used to it that they have developed ways to work around its shortcomings - this level of implicit knowledge is often underestimated.

I have used Redmond Linux and in my opinion it is more usable than Windows for the average home user - new apps are unlikely to be needed because so many are already installed. The operation is simple and straightforward, and like enough to Windows to calm anyone unfamiliar with Linux.

If you really want to look at usability, take a sample of people who have used neither system, and get them to perform a set amount of tasks and compare their performances. Until then, all this guff about usability remains just an opinion.

Example - a friend phoned me asking me how to shut down the computer - I said click on start, then logout and so on which was simple enough, but she said "why would I click on something marked start to stop the damn thing?". For a moment I thought she was just stupid, but it says a lot about usability - logically, she is absolutely correct to think that, as she didn't have this "implicit knowledge" that so many of us do.

She had also worked out how to switch off a Mac in a few seconds with no help, and Mac (& Lisa) was based on good usability research - Windows is NOT.

"49% still using W98, only 10% using XP....WHY?
Because XP got rid of the DOS Box, so you couldn't use command line anymore, which even MS users wanted!
Whatever happened to an expert setting up the Linux box as a desk-top so that the user only had to USE it. You buy a car set-up, not in a box to take home and assemble, imagine if you had to install the engine in your car to use it?"

I nearly choked on my lunch when I read this... the shear stupidity!

It's absolutely NOTHING to do with the command line. Are you a comedian?

Try the cost, the fact that it's more difficult to pirate, the fact that you need an uber PC to run it whilst you can use 98 on the computer you bought 4 years ago. Most people haven't upgraded because they have no reason that warrants the extra expenditure.

I hate it when people talk such shit. The worrying thing is, that it encourages other people to believe it.

by Charlie on Tue 19th Mar 2002 14:42 UTC

One of the reasons for the original dominance of Windows was that it was so easy to pirate. And they were astutely aware of this in Redmond.

I can't compiling the linux kernel with this Linux. It's bad!!!

needs a lot of tidying up
by everanewbie on Wed 20th Mar 2002 10:04 UTC

I tried Redmond Linux given as a free release with a recent UK Linux magazine. Installation was attempted on several PCs, to no avail. Other Linux versions including Red Hat and Mandrake were relatively easily installed on these later, using year-old releases from Cheep Linux. Redmond were well advised to change their name to Lycoris, because thousands of people like me got to try a poorly finished release of Redmond, and would not be willing to pay anything for an unfinished project. I don't know why they give away shoddy releases, as it damages their reputation long-term.

Too many mistakes...
by Yama on Wed 20th Mar 2002 15:55 UTC

Eugenia, please do some homework before writing a review. There are too many errors in the article, which may easily mislead people.

"However, I hope that future versions of Lycoris will use a file automatically for their swap space instead of a real partition - in addition to the / partition. This will greatly simplify the installation process for many users and won't fragment their hard drives."

Having a separate swap partition is one of many reasons why GNU/Linux is faster than Windows. The swap data is kept in one fixed place, where it cannot be mixed (i.e. fragmented) with other data. Swap data is accessed differently from regular data, and keeping it on a separate partition allows it to have a filesystem specially optimised for swap. Why use GNU/Linux if it's crippled to be like Windows? That would make it no better than Lindows, which tries so hard to be like Windows that it runs everything in superuser (root) mode.

"Lycoris does not reset (cold boot) the PC"

I think you mean "warm boot". A cold boot is when you cut the power and reinstate it.

"Also, the other media player included, NotATun, did not work for me at all."

It's spelt "Noatun".

"Downloading RPMs from the web did not work well..."

Lycoris is based on Caldera. You need to use Caldera RPMs. Almost all of the RPMs available on the web are made for Red Hat.

"And speaking about consistency in a desktop environment, I would also welcome the addition of a GTK+ theme that looks identical to the main Qt/KDE theme, so at least Gnome and KDE applications would look the same. This will allow apps like Gnumeric or Abiword or even Evolution to look "Lycoris native"."

Gnumeric and Evolution won't work in Lycoris because they need GNOME, which Lycoris doesn't include.

Sorry if I sound a bit harsh, I'm just trying to give some constructive criticism.

Redmond/lycoris distro comments
by Ray on Wed 20th Mar 2002 16:18 UTC

I enjoyed the article, felt it was well done. Someone mentioned getting a person who is not a linux user to sit down and use it then write the article. Good Idea. I have been testing several Linux versions for the past 2 years looking for one that will work as a desktop for people who do not wish to "get into" Linux.

My criteria for this is a gentleman in his late 70's who has 2 machines and absolutely hates everything Windows stands for but still is forced to use it. He doesn't want or feel he has the time to go through a learning curve to use a new OS. With this in mind, I tried the R/L distro from his point of view. I downloaded the burn-44 version iso and the game iso. Installation went well on my machine into the 3rd partition of the 2nd drive. There is also a CD-RW and CD-R in the machine. My friend could have installed it with a little assist due to the partitioning of my hard drive. On his problemo.

Everything Worked! This has NOT been my experience with the other 3 distros on this machine.

The only thing that didn't work was Samba. I couldn't connect to my other machines without setting up mount points and some tweaking here and there. Nor could I connect to R/L from another machine without some tweaking. So.....with this one exception the distro looked good.

R/L Linux is based on Caldera Open Linux 3.1, so updates from Caldera will work as will Caldera packaged RPMS. Yes, I also found a dependency problem during install. However I chose to install without the dependency check and the software installed ok, and ran ok.

By the way the games CD also has Apache on it and a few other things that the average Linux person might want.....

With two cd's in the machine, I was pleasantly surprised when I put the games CD into the 2nd CD and the little icon on the taskbar lit up with a "2" indicating CD2 was being used. It mounted, I opened Konq, clicked on the RPM I wanted and it launched Kpackage. Clicked on Install and clicked off the dependencies. Bang the package installed. Can't get much simpler than that.

One of the things I didn't care for was clicking on the Redmond Distro Help and getting taken to either KDE help starter page or a dead page that said there was no help. I would have expected to get specific help about using the distro. Not generic KDE help.

Wine works somewhat, I opened Excell and Word, but it crashed on Access and it worked on Pegasus mail, which I use and a few other things. But Wine while included in many distros has a long way to go to be reliable in any sense. I would recommend Linux Alternatives before relying on Wine.

While I would not use the distro regularly for myself, I would not hesitate to recommend it to someone who has never used Linux, and is not interested in the internal workings or learning how to tweak Linux.

Sorry this is so long... but I wanted to share the experience I have had with R/L Linux.


After installing Lycoris and testing it one evening I have to agree it's one of the finest Linux distro's out there. It not only looks great but installs as well or easier than most MS products. Having a fine OS now installed is not enough for the "common" user. I believe once the many commercial software producers see such a fine OS and a market potential to develope their products for Linux, then it could become a desktop alternative. Hello Adobe, Intuit, Macromedia, Electronic Arts, Symantec, JASC etc. An OS is as good as the software it supports. We need to see Adobe Photoshop 6 for Linux, Paint Shop Pro 7 for Linux. How about Quicken for Linux? We need to have a clean and simple automated install of these titles too. No RPM or dependencies to worry about. Just a simple install. This is why the MAC has held up so long. It's a fine PC and there are fine commercial apps of quality available that people use. Honestly, I've used some of the open source apps, many very good, but yet GIMP doesn't quite come close to Photoshop. Quicken and Turbotax are hard to beat yet nothing in open source equals their quality. If the commercial developers produced their apps for Linux, I beleive it would further strengthen the open source community and finally bring Linux to the desktop. Borland is brave with Kylix being one of the first "Biggies" to boast cross platform support. The Delphi-Kylix programming community has the best of BOTH worlds. It's time the end user, homemaker, student, Realtor, small business owner has the choice too. Spread the word about Lycoris, Elix, and possibly Lindows. Show the commerical people that there is money to be made on an open source OS as Linux. Certainly there are users ready for an alternative. I am.

Long time computer user looks at Linux installs
by Allen on Fri 22nd Mar 2002 00:02 UTC

This is the fifth distro I have tried, and while it was the easiest to do, the end result lacks a lot for me, and I suspect for other end users.

I use 98 at home, 2K and Redhat at work and am trying Lycoris on an older P1 150 with 64meg and an 8 gig drive.

Install was sweet. Solitare passed the time and it connected to the net after I turned on DHCP, but I had to hunt that down - not hard, but annoying.

I'm a technical writer so I have to keep cross-platform issues well in mind and this is where Lycoris fails. I need to import and export to others who are using Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, Illustrator. I need as good a screen capture tool as Snagit.

Personally I find KDE harder (though pretty good in this version) than Gnome. The KDE word processor can't export to native .doc format as does OpenOffice, etc.

I understand the desire to have a simple install with functional tools, but Windoze comes with minimal tools and you select the ones you want after-market. I think this is a better model as you can select the software that suits your needs, not what someone else thinks you need.

So the InstallShield/Wise type of install from the Windoze world is the model to look at and this is where all the Linux distros fail for the desktop user.

I do some work for a non-profit and they would like to migrate but it's still too complex and not compatible enough for me to recommend yet. Lots of the stuff covered in the review is good to know, but doesn't deal with functioning in an office enviornment and sending documents to users who have Mac's, PC's or whatever.

For myself, I'll stick with the Mandrake 8.2 even though it's a pain to get the install correct and then clean up afterward.