posted by Thom Holwerda on Thu 5th Oct 2006 22:08 UTC
IconHere is OSNews' review of Xandros Desktop Home Edition Premium version 4.0 (a mouthfull). Xandros Systems was so kind as to provide OSNews with the top of the line version of their product, which includes, among other things, complete copies of Versora Progression Desktop, CrossOver Office, and various non-Free drivers and utilities. Read on for the complete review.

Xandros 4 comes with the following versions of common software packages:

  • Linux kernel 2.6.15;
  • X.org 6.9;
  • KDE 3.4.2 'Xandros Enhanced';
  • OpenOffice.org 2.0;
  • firefox 1.5;
  • Thunderbird 1.5.

    Other interesting applications you usually do not see on Linux distributions are the already mentioned Versora Progression Desktop and CrossOver Office; besides these, Xandros 4 comes with Skype (with 30 SkypeOut minutes), RealPlayer, iPod compatibility (using Amarok), Xandros AntiVirus protection, and much more. The distribution's tagline is "The platform for your digital life". Xandros comes in clean packaging, reminiscent of Apple software. It also comes with a 400-page manual.

    I installed Xandros 4 on a Dell Inspiron 6000, which has the following set of specifications:

  • Intel Pentium M 1.73Ghz;
  • 512 MB-RAM;
  • Ati Radeon x300 with 128MB of dedicated RAM;
  • DVD writer;
  • Broadcom 4318 wireless chip.

    Xandros 4 installed fine. Xandros 4's installation routine is easy, and requires little to no knowledge of partitioning-- provided you do not choose the 'advanced' method. It can automagically resize Windows partitions to make way for Xandros; I, however, chose the 'advanced' method since I needed to install Xandros over my Vista RC1 installation (my Broadcom 4318 chip does not work in Windows Vista, how's that for irony?). The installation took about 25-30 minutes, which is acceptable; not outstanding, but acceptable.

    Hardware recognition is where Xandros 4 really shines. All my hardware was autodetected and configured, including my Ati video card and my Broadcom 43xx wireless chipset! This is the first Linux distribution to properly install and configure my BCM43xx chipset out of the box; other distributions needed either a lot of cli magic (Ubuntu), or needed only the Windows driver to be downloaded (Mandriva 2007 just needs the Windows driver, after which it installs automagically). I obviously know the limitations Free distributions run into concerning this matter, but still, this is a notable fact. Xandros also installs the Ati non-Free driver perfectly (version 8.25.18). Applications such as OpenOffice.org and Adobe Acrobat Reader are installed using the 'Applications' CD, which will be autodetected when you insert it into your CD-ROM drive. You will then be presented with the applications available on the CD, and tick those you wish to install.

    A few problems existed as well. One of those problems is omnipresent on all Linux distributions (that I know of) when installed on laptops: touchpad tapping. They all enable it by default, and this is probably a sane setting since most people would prefer it. The problems, however, lie in two facts: there is no easy way to turn this off, and the default setting is oversensitive (OpenSUSE is the worst at this, by the way). There are 3rd party GUI configuration utilities for this, but that is besides the point: this is a setting any operating system which calls itself modern should be able to change via a GUI, instead of diving into xorg.conf. Distribution people: fix this! It is getting tiresome to have to manually edit xorg.conf to set "MaxTapMove" to value '0' (I Detest tapping).

    Another problem is that my Bluetooth USB dongle was not detected, even though it is supported by Linux and works fine when using other distributions. Xandors also failed to make my built-in SD card reader work; no distribution so far has ever configured that thing out of the box, and I'm too lazy to fix it myself. My digital camera, as was to be expected, worked fine from the get-go.

    Table of contents
    1. "Xandros Desktop 4.0, page 1/2"
    2. "Xandros Desktop 4.0, page 2/2"
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