posted by Matt Lacey on Wed 4th Feb 2004 18:53 UTC

"Xandros review, Page 2/3"
Sound:

Xandros - Click for a larger view I loaded up XMMS and browsed my NTFS partitions (which were automatically mounted read only) and added my music to the playlist. Hit play and heard nothing. It then occured to me that I hadn't heard any sounds so far, and it occured to my that Xandros was using my SB Live! instead of my onboard sound which my speakers are plugged into. I'm not using the Live! at the moment as it seems to have died a bit and I have no hardware support for DirectX etc. under windows.

I opened the control center and told the sound user to use a custom device, and entered '/dev/dsp2'. This worked a treat and after restarting the sound server I had my music. The only issue I still have with this is that the volume controls are bound by default to the SB Live! and hence I can't quickly change the volume - I must open the full volume control and switch to the correct card each time I want to make an adjustment.

Networking:

The networking in Xandros is in my opinion, perfect. It detected my RealTek 8139 with no problems and also my onboard Broadcom interface which I don't use since I can't be bothered to hunt for Windows drivers for it when I have another working card already.

Integration with Windows networks is a non-issue - it just works. I've become quite good at configuring Samba (mainly through SWAT) but it was nice to see that Xandros required none of this. From the word go I could browse the windows network in our house (composed of Windows XP machines and also Samba on my OpenBSD router) and sharing a folder couldn't be easier. There are no NFS servers on the network so I was haven't tested this part but I'm sure it will be just as easy.

Getting online through my router took longer than I expected but it would have been a lot faster if I hadn't entered the wrong IP address for it :) The process should be simple enough for any user to connect, especially since most cable modems and routers will use DHCP.

Xandros Networks is one of the best utilities I have used - I'm guessing it's strongly related to the Debian tools for package management but I've never used Debian so can't make a comparison. All I know is that upgrading and installing both software and drivers has never been so easy (it's like a GUI version of the ports systems used in the BSDs although it works with binaries not source). Much of the current software on Xandros Networks is also included in the box on the second CD saving time if you have a slow internet connection.

Kompote is available for instant messaging, and works with an absolute truck load of protocols. I was pleased to find that it worked with MSN as after the latest MSN protocol change I couldn't get Gaim to work under Slackware.

CrossOver Office:

Xandros - Click for a larger view This, for some people, will be the most important part of Xandros, personally I'm happy with OOo and Mozilla. I did install M$ Office and started using word to write the report for some of my coursework (Java programming for which I downloaded the SDK and used Kate for the code), but after I had written half a page it crashed and I lost my work. I soon discovered that every time I tried to close word it would crash and re-open itself asking if I wanted to reclaim my documents. Unfortunately it didn't reclaim my document (which I hadn't saved) and so I used OOo instead. Thinking about it I haven't yet saved this review so I think I'll be doing that right now. Right. Excel seemed to work correctly, so I'm not sure what's wrong with word but I'm not looking into it since I don't need it.

I tried running Internet Explorer and it seemed to work fine, but as I've already mentioned I'm a Mozilla fan and don't use IE under Windows so have no reason to use it under Linux. While writing this very review I did find an interesting feature of CrossOver, it works very well with a lot of Windows apps since it's based on WINE, and they can be launched by double clicking them in the Xaxdros File Manager.

Multimedia + Games:

Xandros comes with all the media players a person can need - I can play all of my videos and DVDs without issue - the only video that failed to play was a QuickTime movie from fileplanet.com - but I think that's the only QuickTime media on my machine anyway and it's slowly losing out to other formats - despite this it would still be nice to see it working. Trusty ol' XMMS is present and correct with a multitude of skins, most of which are unfortunately ugly.

Xandros comes with the actual nVidia drivers (no the 'nv' drivers that come with X) and this meant that I had hardware acceleration from the first boot. Using Xandros networks I installed Tux Racer and within minutes I was back stuck on the same track that I've never been able to get past. There are the usual KDE games avaialable plus some others on Xandros networks such as BilliardsGL and Chromium BSU (an awesome game).

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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