posted by Matt Lacey on Wed 4th Feb 2004 18:53 UTC
IconI know this has been a long time coming but I've had coursework/exams/an interview to deal with and the actual writing got put on the back burner. However, I have been using Xandros a fair bit and it must be said that I really like it. If you're not a Slackware junkie (like me) I would reccomend Xandros as the best distro to use - it's good for experienced users and completed newbies alike.

Installation:

Xandros - Click for a larger view Not going to go into any detail here - to be honest there isn't any to go into. I used the custom/advanced options since I don't trust any installer to automatically figure out what I want to do with my partition tables (I've got BeOS, XP and Slackware on this machine as well). One point I will make is that it asked if I wanted to create a boot disk, and probably for the first time ever I said OK. I did this becuase my BIOS was still reporting that I had a standard floppy drive present (I had just reset all the settings and was too lazy to change them) and I wanted to see if this would confuse it. It passed this test with flying colours - it actually used my USB floppy drive to make a boot disk - something I thought I'd never see from any OS. It's a shame my mobo can't boot from a USB floppy =O)

Installation was incredibly easy (easy enough for anyone imho) and was not too long.

Start up:

Xandros - Click for a larger view This is NOT the fastest Linux distro off the blocks, it does take a considerable time to start up and initially I thought that it might have even crashed - animated logos are a good way to pretend things are running fine but they don't always reflect on the true nature of the system status. After a little while (40-60 seconds tops) the login screen appears, this is a very simple affair and for all it's non-offensiveness I still seem to find it ugly - I'm not really sure why though. Logging in brought up a new user wizard which allowed configuration of a few basic options such as time and date, language etc.

Using the System:

The standard desktop looks good, as can be seen in the screenshot of the welcome wizard, but I like to customise my system and this was pretty much the first thing I did. Two things I don't like about the interface are the standard icons and the excessive gap between text on menus and the actual edge of the menu - I am aware this is a KDE issue but it would have been nice if they could have found a fix for it. I'm a Gnome user normally as I tend to find it more polished and professional than KDE.

Font Issues:

Upon opening the control center I cringed - there are some major font issues here. I'm used to having problems with fonts in Linux distros (except for Slackware which is always fine) and I think it's due to using a higher screen res than most (1600x1200) and I'm not sure this is ever fully tested by developers. For instance if I specify i want fonts in size 12 for the panel etc. things come out HUGE. You would think stretching the window out would help but this is not the case. Even after fiddeling with the fonts myself it still looked ugly but it was at least readable.

Xandros - Click for a larger view I had a quick browse around the control center to change the themes etc. and it's pretty much (if not) the standard KDE one with a different picture on the start page.

Mozilla was my next port of call (a browser I use on all platforms) and again more troubles. All of the fonts were massive - not the ones for the web pages which you can change in the preferences, but those used for the menus etc. Firing up OpenOffice.org showed a similar situation, in fact it seems to be all GTK apps. Searching on the forums I found a fix which involved getting the Gnome Control Center and using this to change the font sizes - this worked fine but needed to be set each time the system was started.

I found a thread describing how a XML user theme type file could be changed for mozilla and I used this to fix the problems there - I'm just putting up with OOo as it is. NB - the screen shot is 1600x1200 and this shows what I'd expect OOo to look like at 1024!

Table of contents
  1. "Xandros review, Page 1/3"
  2. "Xandros review, Page 2/3"
  3. "Xandros review, Page 3/3"
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