posted by Mike Johnston on Wed 17th Dec 2003 19:24 UTC
IconI first tried Xandros when they released version 1.1. Being quite skeptical, I was unsure what to expect from this spawn of Corel Linux. I must admit in general, I was impressed. So needless to say, I was curious as to whether they managed to improve upon this distinct distribution and cater to the many requests they received about various improvements. Update: Another screenshot, Mozilla on Xandros.

First let me get a couple of things off my chest: Shame on you Xandros for continually changing the release date and driving me insane with fury while forcing me to wait for this version to finally be released. I have very little hair left, and it's not fair to make me pull it out over something silly like waiting for a release date only to find out it's changed again the day of.

Xandros 2 - click for a larger image That being said when I finally did see that Xandros was available, I jumped to purchase it right away. I learned very quickly that if you like a distribution, you should support it. Case in point: Progeny Linux (which i admit i was a large fan of.. until they stopped producing it). I chose to purchase the standard edition as I already subscribe to Codeweavers and therefore I've already paid for the plugin and office versions of crossover. The download went quite fast, 350kb/s.. not bad. I thought it would be more bogged down. The standard edition fit on a 650 meg CD and came with a quickstart guide in PDF format. I paid 39.95 US for this delight.. as you will soon see (if you succumb to my opinion).

As I started the install program, I found myself wondering if I had just downloaded version 1. The install program hasn't changed at all that I could see. Not that this is a bad thing, since I didn't really feel they needed to improve upon it. The Xandros install is approximately 6 steps. Accept the agreement, choose your partitioning scheme, etc. I will not delve too much into this as quite frankly there isn't anything different. All that really matters is that it worked.

On first boot I was presented with the login screen. In which i entered my password and got to see the desktop for Xandros 2.0. (see screenshot)

Xandros 2 - click for a larger image Overall, relatively well polished... it picked up my soundcard, my nVidia gForce (which it also installed the drivers for much to my surprise) and my wheel mouse without any problems. The desktop is well polished and the icons are appealing (hey, you either hate them or you love them). What I like is the menu layout (see screenshot). Everything is organized nicely in neat little menus for easy access. One thing I was impressed to see was the inclusion of Kopete as the instant messenger (something Xandros really was lacking in previous versions). Mozilla looked awful... the theme they chose was completely awful and did NO justice to the rest of the overall polish of the desktop.

Xandros File Manager of course is included (my favourite).. with integrated CD burning as well as access to all of your windows shares, printers, etc from one easy location. You can even add a printer from the file manager.. simply by clicking on add printer.

Xandros Networks - which was based on mozilla and awfully slow and ugly in the first versions.. has been dramatically improved upon. If I am correct, it appears to be based on Konqueror now, as it is very fast and quite sleek looking.. fitting into the overall theme Xandros chose for this desktop which is the infamous KDE Plastik theme. Xandros Networks also includes a shopping section, where you can buy some great opensource software. Very nice idea. Hell of a way to promote the Opensource Community! (Give yourselves pats on the back guys!).

They've included a sleek looking vnc connection tool with various options for those interested in connecting to other boxes and the old reliable KDE Control Center.. with some minor tweaks by the Xandros team.

Overall, I was/am very impressed by this version.

My Rating: 9/10 - you lose a point for the ugly mozilla theme.

Of course, I've only been running it for 4 hours now.. i'll let you know if my opinion changes ;)

About the Author:
Mike Johnston is a Technical Analyst. He has been using linux for 9 years and it's still his only desktop. Oh, and he loves it too.

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