Ruminations on the Digital Realm

Jan Stedehouder

Linux on the Bench

At least once a month I download one or more recent distributions. Some mainstream, some not so mainstream and install them under VMware. Great tool, especially now that VMware Server is for free. I play with the distro’s for a couple of days. I check the default install, how to manipulate the settings and whether you can install new software easily.  Last week I downloaded Ubuntu Feisty Fawn Herd 1, Ulteo Sirius Alpha and OpenSuse 10.2. So for me it became time to organize this kind of testing and create a new category in the blog: “Linux on the Bench”.

I am not worried with the question whether Linux is ready for the desktop. It is more than ready. It should be more than ready. The development of Linux as an operating system has taken place in the same time period as Windows from version 3.0 onward (something like that). If -and I agree that could a big if- the model of open source development is superior to the “cathedral-style” of development, then Linux should be ready for the desktop now!

So, the articles in this category will not deal with the nifty details of the kernel development, nor the legal or moral trifles about including non-free software, proprietary drivers, non-source revealed applications. Nor will they stand in aw about the hours and hours of coding that were put into whatever to include the latest of the latest, nor applaud the many itches that were scratched. In here you will find articles and reviews about various Linux distributions from the perspective of a Windows user that stumbles into the Linux realm. In essence there is only one question that needs to be answered: Is this distribution going to convince me to ditch Windows now! It’s about first impressions, about intuitive GUI-driven functionalities, about hiding the complexities behind great looking, appealing and easy to use desktops. It’s about providing feedback from the perspective of the ones that really are important in getting Linux on as many desktops as possible: the current Windows users. Next on the bench will be OpenSuse 10.2.

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