Linked by Eugenia Loli on Sun 18th Jan 2004 08:19 UTC
Oracle and SUN Some of the more experienced among the readers can surely configure CUPS with Samba by editing configuration files with closed eyes. This kind of exercise is useful and fun the first few times, but it can quickly become a mundane task if it has to repeated often. Wouldn't it be nice if we had a distribution that could do it near-automatically? In other words, wouldn't it be nice if we just used Xandros? And despite our natural resistance to use GUI for any kind of configuration, could we still love Xandros? Robert Storey investigates.
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Good Review, Good User Distribution
by enloop on Sun 18th Jan 2004 12:19 UTC

Good piece. My own experience supports it.

I installed Xandros Desktop on my home desktop a few weeks ago, coming from several years of using several Linux flavors on that desktop. Now, I've run enough servers, written enough code, and compiled enough stuff to know my way around. But, at home, I don't need to run servers, I've got better things to do than write code, and compiling someone else's code is just getting boring. Frankly, my home machine spends most of its time dealing with the web and email, just like 99 percent of all those other home desktop machines. Why install servers if I simply turn them off? Why install a truckload of development tools I won't use?

After trying the "Custom" install (worked fine) I went back and re-installed with the "Express" option. It, too, worked as advertised. All my hardware was detected correctly, including my printer (a first for me in Linux).

Windows users won't be thrown by anything they see on the screen. Neither will KDE or Gnome users. Display fonts are clear and crisp, as good as the best I've seen in a Linux distribution.

Like the reviewer, I noticed that the 2nd CD was not involved in the installation. However, when I inserted it and tweaked the sources for Xandros Network appropriately, the packages on the CD were listed by Xandros Network. This confusion could be resolved with a few lines of clear explanation in the manual and the "Quick Start" guide. (If you have a broadband connection, however, you might as well just download the most current packages from Xandros.)

I believe Firestarter was a late addition, which may account for its configuration not being integrated with the initial installation. Frankly, firewall configuration, even of Firestarter, requires too much knowledge to fit into the Xandros express install paradigm. A simple configuration tool needs to be included in the "first boot" routine, wherein hardware and the network are configured.

A GUI exists to enable/disable services, but I've seen no obvious way to use it to add something (like Firestarter) that you want to run at boot. The Xandros discussion board hosts several discussions outlining various ways to get KDE to launch Firestart when it launches, but, obviously, that's the wrong way to go. With a bit of sleuthing with an editor, a person with Linux smarts can tweak services manually, but that's not what Xandros is about.

Mozilla is the default browser. I'd like to see Xandros add Epiphany to their list of available apps.

If you know your way around Linux and want to do all the sterotypical geek things, Xandros won't offer you much of an advantage over other distributions. However, if you want to do all the sterotypical user things, Xandros does them better than any other distribution I've used.