posted by Michael Valentine on Thu 12th Feb 2004 20:05 UTC
IconI received LindowsOS 4.5 for free when Lindows offered it through OSNews.com. I decided to break the review into five scored sections: Installation, First Impression, Usability, Support and Long Term Use.

Notes: This is my first review of any kind. I consider myself very comfortable with Linux but not an expert. Please remember this review is my personal opinion and was not endorsed by Lindows.com. I used the following grading system:
A+ = 100, A = 95, B+ = 90, B = 85, C+ = 80, C = 75, D+ = 70, D = 65, F = 60

Test System

Click for a larger version I installed Lindows on my main system which consists of an Intel 845 Motherboard with P4-2.26Ghz CPU, 1GB DDR400 Ram, two 17GB SCSI 160 HD's connected to a Adaptec 160 SCSI Controller. CD's are handled by two DVD drives. Sound consists of an onboard Soundcard as well as an onboard 10/100 Ethernet controller connected to an cable modem with router in between. Video consists of an Nvidia GeForce 2 with 32MB Ram. I also have a HP 8GB Internal Tape backup connected to the Adaptec SCSI Controller. Printing is handled by an Epson Stylus Photo 825 connected by USB. The printer also features an build-in Card Reader.

My Expectations

I was evaluating Lindows as an SOHO replacement for my personal use and possible for my family. I have to admit at this point that my expectations were very low for Lindows from the start due to negatives attitudes towards it on other forums and my own troublesome experience trying to install it about a year or so ago. I was also very satisfied with my current distro of choice, Xandros 2.0. I have used many Linux Distros over the years and would rate Xandros and Lycoris as my two favorites for the SOHO market. So far I have not used any distro that just worked with my system without some searching on Google, browsing forums or reading the man pages. I expected Lindows to be no different.

Installation

Click for a larger version Installation on most modern Linux distros is a non issue today and Lindows was no different. My SCSI drives were detected without any problems and with a few question keyboard clicks and mouseclicks I was on my way. I watched as the system quickly installed itself reading some of the Lindows advertisement and started wondering what Lindows would be like when the installation came to a sudden halt at 92% with an error message advising me to contact support. My first thought was a bad CD, so I started the install on my old Dell GX110 system and all went well, so the bad CD idea was ruled out. I suspected my printer being the culprit since it had issues with Xandros as well and after unplugging it and starting the install over again, all went well. Lindows installed on my system in less than 30 minutes which has to be the fastest install for me so far. I rebooted the system and was greeted with the Lindows login prompt. The boot up screen is very plain and boring. Lindows should take a look at Fedora or SUSE for some guidance on a nice graphical bootup screen. Score: 90

First Impression

I logged in as root with the password I set during the installation and was greeted to a wizard allowing me to set the time, screen resolution and a regular user account (which I did) and a nicely done audio tutorial for new user. The only other tutorial I have seen that comes close to this was from Lycoris.

My first impression of the Desktop was positive with nice Icons, Fonts and Wallpaper all around.

The start menu was well laid out. Default applications are few but a non issue to me. I prefer a minimal system to which I can add just the apps I need and no more. One thing I did not like was the reference to CNR everywhere in the Programs menu.

Click for a larger version This might be fine for user that need handholding all the time, but not for experienced user coming from other OS's. I think the Wizard at the beginning could be tweaked to determine a users experience level to determine how much handholding the user needs. Everything seemed to be up and running at this point with Icons for my DVD drives and Floppy being on the desktop and working after testing them. Well it was time to see if the printer would work, so I plugged it in and I was greeted with a printer wizard which stepped me thru the installation and printed a test page. I now decided to reboot to see if the system would work with the printer attached, since this is were my problems with Xandros lay. The system will either not reboot or reboot but show the printer as not being connected. Well Lindows rebooted fine and printed another test page. I rebooted several more times and logged into the system as user as well and the printer just kept working. It even setup the card reader for me which worked fine also. Score: 95

Table of contents
  1. "Lindows Dev Edition, Page 1/2"
  2. "Lindows Dev Edition, Page 2/2"
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