posted by Adam S on Wed 25th Sep 2002 02:21 UTC

"Configuration, Software Installation"
Configuration

Display Options LindowsOS is completely configurable. The only issue here is that not everyone knows how to configure everything or even that they can configure everything. In the "L" menu, for lack of a better term, has a "Settings" submenu that includes most of the advanced configuration. This menu is very similar to the "Start Here" preferences options in Gnome or the Control Panel in a typical KDE environment. The Networking configuration is a little tough to decipher - the Lisa, ReLisa, lan and rlan settings are not well explained.

As far as multi-language support goes, it appears that LindowsOS supports the same Localization options that KDE does. It seems that LindowsOS is catching on with bigger companies, and I'm sure this will force Lindows.com to brush up on their support for foreign users. In addition, there are a number of International Support plug-ins found in the Click-N-Run Warehouse under Desktop Enhancements.

I've had some problem actually getting the screen resolution to change. It's set at 1024x768, which it chose itself, but when I try to move it up past 1200, it tells me changes will take effect upon restart. Three restarts later, my display was unchanged. Eventually I found that you need to change the resolution as root, despite the fact that there's no warning.

Software Installation

Much of the LindowsOS hype has been the non-GPL'ed Click-N-Run, or CNR. CNR has been touted as the end all of Linux installation. Using a combination of HTTP and FTP on the front end with an apt-get/dpkg on the backend, software installation was exactly as it was advertised - so painless I could cry. Within an hour of installation, I had Star Office 6, g-FTP, Limewire, and a number of other apps running without a problem. CNR is the answer I have been looking for - graphical, easy, informational, logically organized, etc.

Synaptic Vs CnR However, CNR has its down-sides. First off, it costs. $99 a year is the price advertised on on the Lindows.com web site. Secondly, although the speed of general surfing is speedy, the speed of the CNR interface seemed slow. The CNR downloads were extremely fast - but the actual CNR front-end seemed slow to respond. It's possible that I hit the server at a peak time, but like I said, downloads were pretty quick. I admit, it's a fear of mine that post general release CNR will be slower. Also, as seen in the above screen shot, CNR has some crisscrossed information. CNR reports the screen capture program being installed under the "Multimedia and Design" menu, when the show clearly shows it in the Utilities menu.

One thing I noticed is that there isn't much software installed by default. In fact, there is no office suite - no KOffice, no Gnome office, no OpenOffice.org. All that is included are viewers: a Word, Excel and Powerpoint viewer. The funny thing is that when launched, it says "Word 97 viewer." Word 97? What's the point? One thing Linux vendors tend to do is compare their cutting edge distro to Windows 98 and Office 97. If a new distro can't view Office XP documents semi-reliably and Office 2000 documents pretty close to the originals, it's lacking. If I were Lindows.com, I'd make sure KOffice at a minimum, if not OpenOffice.org, were included in my general release.

On that note, my advice to the developers - include the GIMP, an office suite, an audio player, a CD ripper, and a screen capture tool in your vanilla release out of the box. It's silly for any Linux not to have these things available right away to the general user. It makes for an OS that doesn't have much practical use.

As it is, you really NEED to have CNR access to build a full system. The interesting thing here is that I've already come to accept this as not such a terrible thing. After all, Windows is virtually useless without installing MS Office, and in older versions, WinZip, WinAmp, and other miscellaneous programs. That said, the lack of clutter is actually a benefit. They are understanding the audience. Most distributions crowd a user with hundreds of applications and very little explanation outside of man pages or launching and investigating each one.

If you choose not to install your programs from CNR, no problem. I ran two simple command: apt-get update and apt-get install synaptic. Seconds later, I was synced up with ftp.us.Debian.org and Debian's non-us repository. I was able to install through synaptic and using apt-get from the command line. I even installed AbiWord, my word processor of choice, which is based on GTK, typically Gnome libraries. I was also able to install Gnumeric, a spreadsheet application. Beware: once you launch synaptic, there is a permanent lock on the dpkg system and CNR will no longer function until you log out and log back in. I can't decide if this is bad or not - my gut tells me most people who will experience this will understand how to circumvent it.

It is also interesting to note that there is no compiler included with LindowsOS. You must choose to download one from the CNR repository. I chose GCC 2.95 simply because it was ranked "most downloaded" and I was trying to be typical. Most people won't need a compiler, and between CNR and apt-get there really is no pressing reason to have one.

Overall, software installation in LindowsOS was excellent and any reliability issues with version 1.0 seem to have been ironed out.

Table of contents
  1. "Introduction, Installation, Defaults"
  2. "Configuration, Software Installation"
  3. "Run as Root, General Use, Windows Interaction: SMB/WINE"
  4. "Some Other Points, Conclusion"
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