My test machine is an 800MHz AMD box with 256MB of RAM, a 20GB hard drive, RAGE IIC graphics, 17" monitor, and C-Media sound. It is a used system that came to me with a trashed MS install and was a good candidate for recycling. I refreshed it with some new components and it has run Debian Sarge and KDE 3.3 spiritedly. I expect similar performance from Xandros as it too is based on Sarge yet runs a custom 2.6.9 Linux kernel.
I won't go into specifics of the install suffice to say that it's a purely graphical affair and a walk in the park. I allowed Xandros to assume the entire hard drive and after a few clicks, the install took approximately 30 min and was pleasingly uneventful. Xandros has so polished this process that MS could take notes.
Moving on ...
The default account is the user, which is a good practise, and after entering the appropriate password, KDE 3.3 booted up.The target audience here is Windows refugees and it shows. The first run wizard is professional and very helpful for setting user preferences. The desktop is straightforward and polished. A quickstart guide is a thoughtful gesture however some other icons littering the desktop link to pay services offered by Xandros, which seems to be the real purpose of this release.
Applets crowd the taskbar especially when other apps populate it — an XP user would expect an auto-hide feature here. The Xandros Update applet is there to remind, or nag, you of available updates. One click on the clock brings up the calendar window, which also allows you to configure time zone and servers for NTP update. Across the screen, the quick-launch panel is nicely filled and the K-menu sports a simple "Launch" icon that's easy to comprehend.The K-menu itself is laid out in a clear manner and a right click will allow you to modify it as needed. Packages installed from Xandros networks will predictably find their way into the "Applications" menu. (Upon further testing, I discovered that some packages installed from Debian repositories did appear in the menu and some not.) Below you'll discover a file finder, the much maligned KDE Control Center, and links to Xandros File Manager, Xandros Networks, system-wide help, recently opened documents, application launcher, and user switcher and logout functions. Topping it all are the five most used applications. This is not a far stroll from the Windows environment and most should adapt quickly, which is why I believe Xandros prefers KDE.
Applications for most tasks are already installed and I feel Xandros has taken the time to cover all bases including writing some of their own spiffy wizards. There is a smattering of desktop games available but nothing serious. 3D acceleration was not available for my pathetic video card but 2D rendered fine and at a good resolution. Fonts and icons look nice as well.
Firefox and Thunderbird are first choices for surfing and email chores. These are fine apps and may already be familiar to Windows users. An abbreviated Kontact is included should people wish for PIM functionality.