posted by Cory Bertsch on Mon 29th Dec 2003 18:24 UTC

"Xandros review, Page 2"

Where Xandros disappoints
Despite all the good things about Xandros there are still a few things that bothered me. Here are some issues I had with Xandros:

No Gnome
The most disappointingly part of Xandros is that there are no Gnome applications installed by default. Not only are there no Gnome applications installed, but when you do install one it looks completely different than KDE applications. They look terrible by default. I sure hope that when UserLinux is created the allow both Gnome and KDE applications to run instead of limiting our choices. Xandros should have setup it up so that both KDE and Gnome applications could run under their desktop.

Not enough Applications
I use a few Linux applications on a regular basic. On every other Linux distribution that I have installed I have been able to install most of these applications during the install process. In Xandros I couldn't install a lot of the applications without adding an extra source in my sources.list file.

Less experienced Linux users might be happy to find out that Xandros seemed to pick one of each type of application instead of having a ton of choices like other distributions do. Experienced users should be able to add additional applications themselves.

Here are the applications that I use and was able to install through the Xandros Network, but weren't installed by default.

  • evolution
  • bogofilter
  • quanta
  • gimp
  • whois
  • nslookup

Here are the applications I use that I couldn't install in Linux by default:

  • synaptic
  • gnome-terminal
  • gnumeric
  • galeon
  • gaim - I usually use gaim for instant messaging, but I actually started using Kopete since it was installed by default. I was very impress with how well it works.
  • k3b

In order to be able to add the following like to the "/etc/apt/sources.list" file.

deb http://mirrors.kernel.org/debian stable main contrib non-free

Click for a larger image After editing my sources.list file and then running apt-get I was able to install all the programs Xandros didn't have that I needed. I actually needed to run 'gnome-control-center' to pick a new theme for Gnome applications. The Xandros Network had an option to use an unsupported Debian repository, but I figured that if I was going to do something unsupported I would choose my repository myself.

Manually editing your sources file isn't supported, but there are ways to try to make sure you don't damage your system using a method called pinholing. LINK HERE

Xandros Network
One of my least favorite parts of Xandros was their "Xandros Network" application. This is the application you use to download security updates. Every time you start the program it opens a progress bar that says "Rebuilding software database". One major annoyance I had with the program is that I had a really hard time getting it to use both of my Xandros CD's as apt sources. Each time I tried to use both CD's as sources and tried to update the package database the network application would give an error after reading the first cd I put in. I finally placed one cd in my cd drive and another in my dvd drive and was able to get it to work.

For newer users the Xandros Network application should work fairly well. It seemed a little clunky to me, but it did work without any problems for me. More advanced users can install Synaptic if they want to.

Icons
I found the icons installed by default in Xandros to be really ugly. I downloaded the "Crystal Icon" set from kde-look.com and now I'm happy with them. The OpenOffice.org icons were actually much better than the default icons and I really liked these icons. Xandros did a good job there.

Login Screen
The login screen is really ugly as well. I decided to not fix this, but it is something that should be updated in the future since it shouldn't take much to fix and would make the distribution seem nicer.

Overview
Overall I found Xandros to be one of the most user-friendly Linux distributions available. Xandros did a good job narrowing the focus and coming out with something that is actually usable. As a more advanced user I found a few things that annoyed me, but I think that less experienced Linux users will enjoy it.

Xandros should have a 30 day demo coming out sometime soon. If you are short on cash you might want to wait so you can try it before you purchase it. If not you can get the personal edition for $40. The deluxe version costs $99.95, but is being offered for $89.00 for a limited time.

Rating
I would give Xandros a 7/10 as a desktop operating system. I rated it down 1 points because it needs to be a little more polish graphically and 2 points because it completely ignores Gnome applications.

About the Author

Short biography: I graduated from the University of Montana with a B.S. in Computer Science. I enjoy trying out all sorts of operating systems including any Linux distribution I can get my hands on. After graduating college I started my own web design company in Missoula, Montana. I write database back ends for the websites we build.

Computer Experience: My first computer was a Macintosh LC II. It didn't do much, but it put a soft spot in my heart from Macs. I was a Macintosh user until I discovered Linux in 1996. A little while after I found Linux I was hooked and I eventually bought a PC and switched almost entirely to Linux (I use Windows to play games). Since I switched to Linux I have tried just about every version of Linux I could get my hands on. I've tried various versions Redhat, Gentoo, E-Smith, IPCop, Debian, Libranet, Suse and Xandros.

Personal Website: http://www.hiddenspiral.net

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