posted by Cory Bertsch on Mon 29th Dec 2003 18:24 UTC
IconI installed Xandros because I wanted an easy to use Linux distribution for home (I use Gentoo Linux at work. I don't have broadband Internet access at home so I needed something that wouldn't a lot of downloading to get going. I purchased the download edition of Xandros Deluxe 2.0 and had no problem downloading (from work) and burning the ISO's. I've been using it for about a week now and I'm fairly happy with it.

If you are a less experienced user you should consider purchasing the boxed version of Xandros. It comes with a 350 page User Guide.

Before we get started here are my system specs :

  • AMD Duron 1300mhz
  • 512 MB of RAM / 60GB Hard Drive
  • ATI Radeon 8500 LE
  • 17" HP Monitor
  • USB Mouse / PS2 Keyboard
  • Generic cd-r Drive
  • Generic dvd Drive

Click for a larger image The Xandros install gives you two different install options, simple and advanced. I chose advanced because I had Windows installed on my machine and didn't want to erase it. Overall the install was extremely easy. There were only two small areas of the install that gave me trouble.

Issue 1 - Disk Partitioning
The first problem I ran into was when I was assigning names to windows partitions. I manually setup my Linux partitions, but when I tried to assign partition names to my Windows partitions I was only given the option to format them. I finally decided that I could just edit the fstab once I got everything installed. Once I finished installing Xandros I was surprised to find out that Xandros has recognized and manually mounted my drives for me. The show up in the file system as C: & D: just like they do in Windows and are mounted under /disks. Xandros actually has a really nice convention that puts my windows drives under /disks as "C" and "D". These disks automatically show up in the file manager.

Issue 2 - Dual Boot
The other thing I couldn't find during the install procedure was any way to setup my machine to dual boot. I figured that I would just have to do this manually as well. It turns out that Xandros did this for me... Nice! (for those who are interested, Xandros uses Lilo)

Other than these two issues (or non-issues) the install went just fine and was very easy. I've installed RH 8 & 9 and Fedora Core 1 on this machine and have had similar results (i.e. no major problems). Since Linux has always installed very easily on this machine I really can't comment on how well Xandros deals with strange hardware configurations.

On a non-technical note I would like to mention that during the install process Xandros made a specific mention to the fact that it uses the open source desktop environment KDE. This was a very welcome site showing that Xandros appreciates the open source community. It's nice to see that a commerical distribution recognizes the importance of open source.

What Xandros does well
Xandros does have a few extras that make really nice to work with. Here are a few things that work really well...

I have a compact flash card that I was able to (with much reading) setup in Fedora. It connects to my pct through a usb reader. In Xandros when you connect the usb reader to the pc it automatically mounts the flash card and displays it in the file manager. For some reason my disk shows up twice, but still works just fine. I'm able to copy files to/from it just like if it was a floppy disk. To eject the flash card you just hit the 'eject' button in the file manager.

Crossover Plugin & Office
Click for a larger image Crossover office works well. I'm not going to comment much on it since I haven't installed many Windows applications yet and this isn't a Xandros specific product. The only application I've installed is IE 6 and it works fine. It's a tad slow, but I am just amazed that it is possible to put IE 6 on Linux.

Windows File Systems
The Xandros file manager allows me to see both my FAT and NTFS Windows partitions. The NTFS partition is read-only, but I can read/write to the FAT partition. This was all done automatically and works well.

The control center is the same management tool that comes with KDE. It looks like Xandros has customized it some. Since I don't use KDE I can't say exactly what Xandros changed, but this tool works very well. I used it to setup my printer, work group for samba, modem (ppp) connection and edit my screen resolution.

Printer Setup
I have a HP Deskjet 812C printer that I share on a 200mhz machine that I put E-smith on. Xandros allowed me to easily connect to the printer and I had it working within 30 seconds.

Samba Sharing
I was VERY easily able to setup and connect to samba shares on my E-smith server. I just set the workgroup and had this up and working within about 30 seconds as well. I'm sure that sharing would work just as easily with Windows systems.

Xandros has a really easy to use cd-burning tool build into it's file manager. Less experienced users will find it very helpful. More advanced users may still want to install something like k3b, but I still haven't used k3b even though I installed it.

Table of contents
  1. "Xandros review, Page 1"
  2. "Xandros review, Page 2"
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