Starting by describing the installation, well, it is the best I have ever seen on a Linux distro (the installer and other parts of the OS are based on Corel's Linux - Xandros bought the rights last year). It is as simple as it goes, even if it doesn't look extremely pretty, it successfully installed Xandros on my 3 GB partition on my hdc10 after a 20 minutes installation process via my 4x/32x DVD drive. You get to choose which partition you want to use, or you can repartition an existing partition set on your drives, or resize an existing FAT/FAT32 one. You can set up your networking and create users. You can also either install all applications, or a minimal set of apps (you get to select if you want). It would be nice to inform the user though how much space is required overall by the system when you check/uncheck applications for installation. Other than that, this is a dead-easy installer to use. Much simpler and straight forward than Windows XP's installer.
When you reboot, everything is in graphical mode, you don't see any kernel or init messages going on, but rather the Xandros logo animating in the screen while loading the OS. I should point out that in the beginning you get three options, to load the OS in normal mode, safe mode or expert configuration mode (just in case something gone wrong you can actually see the text messages from the booting procedure).
The first time you boot into XFree 4.2/KDE 2.2.2, you get into post-installation where you can modify your printers, the look and feel of the OS etc. The OS by default booted on 1024x768 resolution, but via the Xandros Control Center I could easily change it to 1280x1024x16bpp@85Hz. The Display Setting panel also support dual or multi monitor configuration. Xandros have also created additional modules for networking, printing and monitor management, all found under the Control Center.
Xandros looks and feels quite a bit like Windows98 in places, possibly this was intentional. The Xandros team have changed some of the icons since last month, which was the time that the first screenshot was released to the public. There is a "Launch" button with the Xandros logo, equivelant to KDE's and Windows Start Menu, from which you can access the 5 last/most used apps and documents, the special Xandros File Manager, Help, "Run Command" and the Control Center.
Mozilla 1.0 is the main web browser in Xandros Desktop. Xandros uses a unique, home-brewed file manager (looks like something between Konqueror and Explorer). It is really easy to find the mounted filesystems, including your / (Xandros uses ReiserFS), My Home, Printers, Windows Network, NFS Network, all your Windows partitions showing as C:/ or D:/ etc, CD-ROM and Floppy. I was told by Xandros that some supported digital cameras also mount as hard drives on the File Manager under "Removable Devices", and then you can go from there and use Gimp to manipulate further your pictures. Some OSNews readers last month were not happy seeing the Windows partitions showing as C and D, but I can tell you from using it, it is actually more straightforward noticing which partition is which. I have overall 14 partitions on this dual Celeron 533 machine, so it makes it really easy identifying them just by a glance and exchange files with ease.
Xandros has good, automatic, networking integration with Windows, SMB etc. You can also search for computers on a given network. Another cool feature is the "Switch User" one, which let you switch to another X11 screen/session and log in as a different user, kind of like it works in Windows XP.
- "Part I of the Preview"
- "Part II of the Preview"