Linked by Eugenia Loli on Tue 13th Apr 2004 20:17 UTC
Original OSNews Interviews What happens when ex-Lycoris employees join a Linux-friendly hardware computer reseller? Apparently, a new desktop Linux distro with a kick: the hardware that comes with it is meant to give you the Apple experience. ION Linux is a Debian-based distro that is meant to work well with the hardware it sells with. Read on for our interview with Element Computer's Mike Hjorleifsson (one of the founders and CTO) regarding their new upcoming products and a screenshot of ION.
Permalink for comment
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Here's the experience of one user with an Element computer
by Moorlock on Wed 14th Apr 2004 17:57 UTC

I'm just breaking in a new Element 700 laptop this month.

This is the first time I've tried one of these user-friendly, WalMart-safe linux boxes. I've got mixed feelings.

On the plus side, the install/setup was a breeze, and when I pulled an 802.11b card from my old machine and popped it in to this one it was recognized and used without any special effort on my part. This is a long way from the old "google for a driver, recompile the kernel, run LiLo, cross fingers, reboot" method I used to use when adding hardware.

But on the negative side, I think a Windows user who switches to this is going to have some valid complaints. Primary among these is cut-and-paste functionality, which ought to be a flawless thing that you barely have to think about.

In fact, it appears that KDE apps and non-KDE apps have different cut-and-paste buffers that don't talk to each other. The intermediary "klipper" app can sometimes be used to bridge the gap - but sometimes not, and in any case: what a kludge! Occasionally you use ctrl-C/V to copy and paste; other times you must use ctrl/shift-ins, other times merely selecting text puts it in the buffer, other times you must use a menu selection. Sometimes there is a second or two of delay between when you copy something into a buffer and when it is available for paste. Some apps, and some parts of apps, seem completely oblivious to cut-and-paste no matter how you do it. To your average desktop user (and to me, frankly) this is pathetic and a horrible frustration (I don't remember having this problem with gnome).

The CDROM drive was not correctly set up, and I had to tweak some configuration files to get it to come up correctly in the file system. Not something your typical WalMart customer is going to be able to do, so for them, they'll have a CDROM drive that just doesn't work correctly.

There are some other peculiarities, like when I use Mozilla's URL bar for searching. I used to be able to enter "search term" here, then hit the down-arrow which would pop up a "Search for search term" drop box. Hit enter, and go to google's results page. Now the same set of actions, which look on the UI like they should be accomplishing the same thing, result in an "invalid URL" message. Where's the bug? I dunno, but it bugs.

Mozilla also has the tendency to, after a period of use, suddenly enter molasses-mode where everything slows down to the point of unusability. Gotta kill and restart it. Lame.

About a third of the time the machine starts up, the network doesn't come up correctly. After digging around for a while, I found I could bring it up by manually starting dhclient. Again, this is not something the average WalMart user is going to be able to figure out.

The file manager has some quirky bugs too, which a Windows user will notice and compare unfavorably. For instance, use the mouse to select a group of files, then right-click and choose "move to recycle bin." All of a sudden, only the first file in the selection is selected, and only that file will be moved to the recycle bin. That's pretty lame.

So, in short, I don't think we're quite ready for prime time just yet.