Interview with Joseph Cheek of Lycoris

The beta build 45 of Lycoris was released just a few days ago, and this is a good opportunity to learn more about the product, the company and its plans. So today, we are happy to host a mini-interview with Lycoris’ CTO and founder, Joseph Cheek.1. Lycoris Desktop/LX had very good reviews lately. What kind of feedback did you receive from your growing userbase? What did they like most in Desktop/LX and what is the most wanted feature?

Joseph Cheek: In general users are impressed, and say “if only it had feature X it would be perfect.” The most requested features are better configuration utilities, an easy to use software installer, and more pre-made software available for installation [openoffice is at the top of the list]. Between our new control center, the software installer, our IRIS [Internet Rapid Installer for Software], and our Productivity Pak, all of these are being addressed.

2. “Desktop” Linux distributions are in blossom lately: Lycoris, Lindows, Xandros, ELX. What do you think about the competition? How far or close are these offerings to Lycoris and in the “desktop experience” in general?

Joseph Cheek: I wish our competitors good luck, and hope that they are able to listen to the user’s needs. that’s crucial for any desktop offering to succeed.

3. What are the obstacles of using KDE 3.x on Lycoris by default? Is such an addition planned, and if yes, for which version of Desktop/LX?

Joseph Cheek: KDE 3 will be included in the next major release, called Beryl.

4. Please explain to us the versioning scheme of Lycoris. I see betas, builds, Updates… Also, when is the final, non-beta, version of Lycoris expected?

Joseph Cheek: Final version? Hopefully 20 or 30 years from now… At least i’d like to think we’ll keep releasing new versions over time.

Each major desktop/lx version is named after a rock. Version 1 is Amethyst, version 2 will be Beryl, version 3 will be Citrine, version 4 will be Diamond, and so on.

Minor desktop/lx versions are called “updates”… update 1, update 2, update 3, and so on. We are working on amethyst update 2 at the moment, expected to be released mid-july.

Builds are internal designations.

5. Do you plan to modify KDE itself, for example changing its desktop context menu, or the context menu and properties of a shortcut/icon on the desktop, in order to make it more user friendly or less cluttered than currently might be? If yes, what kind of further changes are to be made to the usability and user interface of Desktop/LX?

Joseph Cheek: Oh yes, we will continue to refine KDE. There will be few changes to our existing KDE 2.2.2 desktop, as new development will commence on our KDE 3 offering [“Beryl”] soon.

6. Lindows introduced Click-n-Run recently. Will Lycoris users have the opportunity of using a GUI tool to easily install or manipulate packages in such a way that satisfies dependancies automatically?

Joseph Cheek: Between IRIS and our software installer, we expect to have this working well. It’s one of the last things to finish for update 2 next month.

7. Where do you see Lycoris in one year from now? What are the plans for the company itself?

Joseph Cheek: We’ll be bigger, stronger, and come with extra whitening power. Seriously, we just plan to grow and grow.

8. What are your first priorities for the next version of Desktop/LX? What new features you would like to add or change to the system?

Joseph Cheek: The biggest changes for update 2 will be the new control center and the software installer. But we’ve also done things like add a video recovery mode – if a user messes up the video settings s/he can automatically reset them to a sane default. A user can boot into video recovery mode by holding down the CTRL key when booting, or boot into console or single-user modes by holding down the SHIFT or ALT keys when
booting, respectively. This is *so* much easier for a new user than telling them how to get into runlevel 3 by editing the grub boot line, for example.

9. What do you think about the people who do not like the fact that Desktop/LX is looking a bit like WindowsXP? Do you think the icon similarities helped the overall cause in familiriazing the users with the system?

Joseph Cheek: I’ll answer the second question first: yes.

To answer the first question, there are many die-hard linux users that are more comfortable with their existing distros than with desktop/lx. I don’t see any reason why these users should change their feelings about what they like in a distro. certainly not for us at least.

10. Do you have plans to collaborate with companies like Codeweavers, Gobe or Hancom Linux or even Sun to further enrich the Desktop/LX commercial application base? Does Lycoris have plans to work with PC OEMs like Wal-Mart?

Joseph Cheek: We think there are many cooperation opportunities that would benefit Lycoris, linux users, and computer users in general. The task will be deciding which ones to pursue out of all the good possibilities.

We just announced a retail agreement with Fry’s Electronics and expect to have more in the future.


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