posted by Michael Valentine on Thu 12th Feb 2004 20:05 UTC

"Lindows Dev Edition, Page 2/2"
Usability

Click for a larger version Let's see, Lycoris has Iris with very few and outdated applications and is free for user who purchased Desktop/LX. Xandros has Xandros Network which again has very few applications to offer but is included with the price of the distro. It's easy to enable apt sources for Xandros and open up the wonderful world of Debian, but Xandros tends to become very unstable like this from my experience unless you start Apt-Pinning. Both Lycoris and Xandros are easy to maintain and update, but do not offer many applications beyond what is installed by default. What I'm looking for in a SOHO OS is easy updating and maintaining that does not require countless searching and configuring and offers a wealth of Software to choose from. Now many would say, why not Debian! Debian is great and I prefer Debian based systems. I feel comfortable using apt-get and synaptic, but Debian requires much and I mean much manual effort to get everything on my system (hardware) to work and some thing just will not work.

CNR is not perfect by all means, but it is bar none the best system I have used to install software and maintain my system. Applications are not the newest, which is fine if you need stability, but they are logically organized and have detailed info about them.

Security updates are listed by importance as well as quick links to online help. Issues I had with CNR were minor, like the inability to install software which you have licenses for without having to purchase them like Win4lin.

It would have been much easier for me to install Win4lin thru CNR punch in my license key and complete the install, but it was not possible from what I could see. Xandros offers Win4lin and does not make you purchase the software first. Also CNR would not work when I was logged in initially as a regular user until I adjusted the rights to the executable. This is most likely a bug which I reported to Lindows. Once I adjusted the rights all worked fine. Another thing that I did not like, is that installed applications still show up in the isles as well as updates that are already installed. This can be very confusing at first until you realize this is how it works.

I know, why pay for free software! I will say this, $4.95 per month is a small price to pay for convenience for many users. I do not mind paying $4.95 per month for what CNR has to offer since it does offer much more than just software but also peace of mind. CNR I assume requires a dedicated staff to keep it current and updated and if Lindows plans on succeeding in the Linux market, it will have to charge for it's services. Many software companies are going in this direction, Linux based as well as Windows. Would I pay more than $4.95? Most likely not but again some or maybe even many would. Let's hope they keep it at $4.95! :) Score 95

Support

Free support seems to be on par with most mayor distros out there. I cannot attest to their response times since I have not required any help, but the community forum itself seems very busy and members seem more than happy to offer advise. One thing I did notice is that Lindows Staff is ever present in the forums and responding to issues. This is very good and comforting to new users. Online help is very good and offers an extensive knowledge base. They also offer a fee based support for an yearly fee of $59.95 which is a bargain for those needing lots of help and handholding. Score 100

Long Term Impression

I have now used Lindows for a little over one week and found Lindows to be the best Linux Distro so far for me. It's not perfect but everything works, even my Tape Backup which makes Lindows the first distro to configure it out of the box with the Stormix Backup Software available thru CNR. Lindows feels faster than both Xandros and Lycoris Desktop/LX. Bootup speed could use some improvements, but is a non issue for me since I keep my system up and running 24/7. Lindows does need some toning down with advertising it's name throughout. I fixed the menu issue by editing the menus and hiding the CNR menus. I can live with the wallpapers displaying the Lindows Logo (Great Wallpapers by the way in CNR), but it could be a little overkill for some. All application I installed either thru CNR or downloaded from other sources have worked flawless. Apt-Get works but comes with no sources enabled. Easily fixed by the experienced user who needs to tinker. I installed Win4lin, Crossover Plugin and StarOffice 7 and all worked as advertised in Lindows. I was also very impressed with SIP Phone, which works great over my Cable connection. :) The only other thing I would like to see is a GUI VPN client. I installed and configured the pptp-Linux client and it works fine, but it's console based. How about it Lindows! Score 100

Conclusion

To make it short, I have found the perfect SOHO distro for ME! I emphasize ME because there are some that will criticize my decision, but that's OK. I still enjoy using some of my other favorites such as Xandros, Lycoris and Libranet, but Lindows is the first that does it all without spending days sometimes weeks getting everything to work. I think if you keep an open mind when trying Lindows most will appreciate Lindows. Those wishing not to pay for CNR, just enable your favorite apt-get sources and install away. I think some pinning will be necessary but it might be less vulnerable than Xandros to tinkering since it does not use it's own file manager but instead stick to konqueror. Lindows overall grade:

Lindows 4.5 Developer Edition: 96/100

About the Author
Michael Valentine has been involved with Computers since 1983 when he received his first Computer, a Commodore C64. He is a System Administrator for a mayor International IT Company. He started using Linux in 1998 in search of something more stable for SOHO use at home and has not looked back to Windows since.

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