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My Linux review

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Over the last few days I DLed and burned some of the most recent distros, and had the good fortune to find some nice 20gb drives at the local fleamarket, one complete with a malware ridden copy of Windows 2000, so I had a nice opportunity to check out these distros.

Kubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn-alternative installation.

PCLinuxOS tr4

Linux Mint 2.2 Bianca

SimplyMepis 6.5

Zenwalk 4.4.1

Of the four tried recently I've found that Kubuntu has the best record for working software, everything I tried work, everything i installed worked, not only did it work it had shortcuts installed in the Application menu so I didn't have to go looking or edit any configuration files to get things going.

PCLinuxOS has the best desktop by far, even beating out Ubuntu, it has a very clean sharp appearance, everything is accessible and the icons are well sized and proportioned. This may sound trivial but when someone works with a machine all day poor desktop design can be very tiring. I have to say that this is a desktop no one would be ashamed to have on their monitor.

Linux mint suffers from very poor desktop design, the resolution starts out way too high to be practical to most people. Even when reset to a size suited to my monitor, 19'', the text is far too small to be read quickly. During the installation it was nearly impossible to follow the text on the panel. The general desktop appearance is somewhat cluttered with many different styles and sizes of icons scattered around.

SimplyMepis suffers from the same poor desktop design that Mint does. I didn't test all the things I wanted to in those distros because I found the desktop too uncomfortable to work with, but later on I plan to check them out more.

I found Zenwalk to be pretty primitive overall and didn't go into it very much.

I'm not into the Pastel Look that seems to have taken over many distros and I think the Linux crews would do well to either get rid of it or at least provide an alternative.

I think if you could combine the sharp desktop design of PCLinuxOS with the functionality of Kubuntu/Ubuntu you would have a very mature and workable OS, just in time to replace win98 and winME on older machines, and compete with XP and Vista on newer ones.
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Well done tyger for the effort, I have to point out here that linux is many many distros and although I like and am using kubuntu now, I find other distro very interesting, for example knoppex linux is very good for mounting windows partitions, puppy is good for running from a USB key or booting from inserted harddrive, oh and the program the save word like text in PDF format.

Point to notice is the fact that it all costs nothing, I mean when one adds up the price of the upgrades since window95 to Vista, office works, protections such as Norton, one could have probably bought another computer.

Also, and perhaps we are talking too soon, I have never seen malware on my system, and if there were malware on one system I would just change to another or just boot up on a live CD to do the Internet

Tyger said something which stuck a bell, a clear un cluttered desktop is a joy, with kubuntu I can have 20desktops though I only have the standard four but I can flick through them, perhaps we should have a "post your desktop" thread

my kubuntu desktop, notice the four alternative desktops in the taskbar
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I just started using the ubuntu feisty version. About every year or so I install one distro and see how it works and is it far enough along that I can stand to use it. I keep a live mandrake cd handy just in case I run into something that I can't troubleshoot with windows.

I must say I am impressed. It comes with a nice bundle of applications. The package manager works pretty easily. I really like the ubuntu guide. Very straight forward and easy to follow. I play a lot of dvd's on this laptop. The default media player just wouldn't work. Turns out that the guide mentions that one of the gstream libraries isn't compatible with feisty yet. Mplayer had the same issue. VLC wouldn't play the dvd either, but I didn't spend a lot of time with it. I stumbled around for a while and found Kaffine. Installed via the package manager. Poof. it all works. After installing the w32 codecs I haven't had any problem playing my dvd's and movies.

I haven't had much time to do anything else. I am actually looking forward to doing more with it. Hard thing for a die hard windows user to say.
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