posted by Patrick Reen on Wed 18th Jun 2003 02:38 UTC
IconThis article is a review of Linuxinstall.org 3.0, a Redhat 8.0 based distro aimed at the new home user [that's me]. Some time back, after reinstalling windows for the umpteenth time I knew there had to be a better alternative. But the more I researched the more confused I got. Debian-Slackware-Knoppix-Redhat? etc,etc. Linux was [is] totally new to me - I wanted stability and speed without the viruses, but I was starting to get overwhelmed from choice and command line phobia. I just wanted an o.s. similiar to Windows in ease of use, but stable!

And so my adventure began. I got my feet wet by trying Knoppix in my hard drive. My inital reaction was excitement - "hey I'm doing it, and I like what I see" - only problem was I couldn't get connected to the internet [I had a winmodem- as most computers in the US and the World have], also when I installed it to my hard drive after a trying learning experience, I found it morphed into a pseudo-Debian without aptget, automounted cd drives or some of the other niceties of Knoppix.

Next I tried JAMD 0.5 - A take off on Redhat 8 aimed at the beginner. Easy install, one disk and good package selection for a home user like myself. Now I'm up to my knees in the water of Linux - starting to learn, But I still couldn't get connected with my winmodem, there was no driver available to support my modem with the Linux kernel used with Jamd.

And so onto the next effort Linuxinstall.org 3.0, also a version of RH8. I read a very brief review of this distro in OSNEWS where the author stated that this distro convinced him to make a permanent switch to Linux - I had to try it.

Got the cd [$5] and put it in my cdrom. Typed [dual] at the prompt and that was it. It installed right over my previous Linux attempt with no input from me- couldn't have been easier. I never had a windows install go this easily. All my hardware was detected automatically, as well as my timezone, mouse and keyboard. I didn't have to do anything. After roughly a 20 minute install, I rebooted and set up my password- no problem.

So now here I was looking at Gnome, which I prefer for it's uncluttered simplicity. I began to wander around the distro ,customizing it to my liking. I found it quite intuitive and by no means overdone. I was drawn to it's look and feel. My next goal was to get connected to the internet. This time I suceeded in finding a driver for my modem and was able to fire up Mozilla 1.3 Whoppee! I'm on the internet thru Linux - look Ma, no viruses. For me this is an important point as I know the vast majority of computer users are still on dialup modems and if they can't get connected without a giant hassle I fear they will shy away from Linux.

After a great deal of exploring [more than I've written about] I've found a distro that suits me just fine as a beginner. It has preconfigured Adobe Acrobat, Java plugin, Flash and Real Player. Also ms fonts were very easily installed along with the ability to read my ntfs partition. Did I mention it has Synaptic for updating? No need to get into the rpm struggle Synaptic has been effortless.

The single cd install includes Evolution, Open Office [the latest beta], Gimp and all the necessary multimedia tools that a certain other distro chooses not to include. I've been able to play mp3's stored in my ntfs partition or on a cd without a problem. I've been able to update the kernel to 2.4.20 through a script from the Linuxinstall website. Support is excellent Thomas Chung, the architect of this distro personally responds to all calls for help on the user forum couldn't ask for more than that. It's i686 compilation is fast, stable,and uncluttered. I like it.

I've been using Linuxinstall 3.0 for six weeks now and I can honestly say I'm hooked. It allows me to use my computer to do what I need to do, both for work and play with no hiccups. So far the only problems have come from that guy pushing down the keys.

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