posted by Barry Smith on Mon 1st Dec 2003 18:34 UTC

"Libranet Review, Page 3"
Meanwhile, back at the main box, I was engaged in an ongoing struggle to find something else to complain about. Wasn't having much luck either. Once I had gotten it installed, and the video setup straightened out, nothing else had caused any problem of any kind on my main system. So I thought I would try something dangerous. Libranet claims that it is 100%, no holds barred, smack dab on target compatible with debian. I decided to test that, so I opened a console and did the apt-get update, apt-get install, apt-get upgrade thing. Left it on all night and went to bed.

Next morning I rebooted into my up to date Sarge system. Adminmenu still worked. Everything still worked. No dependency conflicts of any kind. (sigh) Another +1 for doing what they claimed to do. I gave Lindows credit for keeping their word, I have to give Libranet credit for it. If software companies get into the habit of following through on their advertising claims, there is no telling what might happen. We consumers might even start expecting such things, which could be catastrophic for the industry.

Score now +5 +1 = +6 again. And I am going to take off another point for forcing me to install a different operating system on my secondary computer. The first negative point was for trying to eat my hard drive, and this one is for making me go to the trouble of wiping and starting over. I am still unhappy about that one. Score +6 -1 = +5. Maybe a geek would have been able to salvage it. I could not. And I reiterate, the feisty horde of commercial Linux advocates are swearing a blue streak that commercial Linux is ready for the non-geek. So if it takes a geek to fix it.....well. Libranet gave this copy to me for evaluation and I deeply appreciate it. But if I had paid for it and this happened, the result would not have been pretty. Or polite either.

Music CDs played as expected, but Libranet did not read the playlist on my ancient oddball test CD. That means a -1, because Lindows DID read it. Remember, if one distro can do it then all distros are required to do it to maintain market share. This is the reality of capitalism. Like it or lump it. To compete, you have to be better than the competition. And the little details matter very much folks. In fact, the little details can make or break you. They are important. Just as good is not good enough. Score is now +5 -1 = +4.

Libranet recognized that cheap little IBM webcam instantly. Within a few minutes I was snapping still photos and burning my own little film production. That was all I wanted to know. No points either way for doing what they were supposed to do. Or rather, this is covered under the point that I already gave them earlier. It also recognized my 4 port usb hub without difficulty.

I have never tried a debian box yet that wasn't smooth, powerful and fast. Libranet is no exception. Everything worked as far as usability, but with a slight increase in speed. I am sure this is not a fluke or my imagination, Libranet is faster than Lindows on the same box. Programs load a hair faster, the mouse is a touch more responsive. Probably due to the fact that Libranet 2.8.1 uses XFree86 4.3. So now what do I do? I took a point away from Lindows for still using 4.2. Should I give one to Libranet? No, because 4.3 is the current version and therefore the de facto standard that every other distro must meet. Sorry folks. Remember what I said earlier about ruthless competition? No score.

I have been asked by readers to go into more depth about applications, but there really isn't much to say. OpenOffice performs the same on Libranet as it did on Lindows. Same for Mozilla. I am using essentially the very same applications from one distro to another, and all of them are ultimately based on debian. So far, I am not detecting any noticeable differences in application performance, other than the speed increase I mentioned. If I see any down the road, I will certainly mention it.

At this point, I am trying to nail down the best overall OS. Applications come later. By using debian I always can be sure that my standard apps will work, so I am not overly worried about it right now. Once I get settled into a single OS, I will probably start ranting about individual apps. Truth is, a technical writer/illustrator doesn't need much in the way of apps. OpenOffice, QCad, Mozilla, Gaim, a few games, any of several different music/video programs, and that is about it. I am still learning how to use Scribus and GIMP, but so far so good. Text, illustrations, figures, even charts and graphs, don't put a lot of strain on a modern computer no matter what OS you run. Lately when I am doing straight text work, where I don't need to worry about page layout or graphics, I have gotten attached to Gedit. Dunno why, I just like it.

Final score for Libranet = +4. Don't fret, I will tabulate the results at the end of this series for folks that like charts, including a listing of how many +/- for each distro as well as the final total. I just don't feel like dealing with it right now.

Ultimately Libranet either worked superlatively well, or it did not work at all. Last time I mentioned that Lindows was solid but boring. Actually, there is something to be said for boring, when your data depends on it. I am well aware that are any competent geek could probably have taken care of my Grub problems on the secondary computer without needing to reinstall. However, I could not. In addition to everything else, I am also my own IT department. I need to use tools and systems that I can cope with unassisted if need be. So just because someone else could probably have fixed doesn't help me. I need to use things that *I* know how to fix.

Libranet is a superb system in many ways. I am just wondering if I am smart enough to handle it.

Next Victim.....Either Xandros or Mepis, whichever gets delivered first. Stay tuned.

Table of contents
  1. "Libranet Review, Page 1"
  2. "Libranet Review, Page 2"
  3. "Libranet Review, Page 3"
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