Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
Arabian Linux 0.6 beta 4 was released on or about September 4, and at the request of a reader, Tuxmachines downloaded, burnt and test drove this lovely installable livecd tonight. As the name implies Arabian is primarily designed for Arabian speaking users, however it does have support for English as well. Since this latest release is two month old, some of the packages are going to seem a big dated, but it none the less is worth a look. Great looks, stability, and imaginative customizations make Arabian a worthy contender in either language. In fact, Tuxmachines was quite impressed.
Some of its notable features include:
* Arabian Language support in Gui and consoles/logs/configuration tools etc
* winmodem support
* hard drive installable
* Based on Debian and Kurumin (which is based on Knoppix)
* accurate hardware detection
Features of 0.6 beta 4 include:
*Using LSB color system,
*Interactive bootup system,
*KDE 3.4.2 (local compile)
*Automount for cdroms & desktop icons
*OpenOffice.org 2.0 Beta 1
*Java 1.5 enabled as default
*Partitions and virtual directories rw
*Enhanced support for wireless cards
*Added Kernel Accelerator - kqemu for qemu
Upon boot one is given the choices of (1) Arabic Language, (2) English Language, (3) Extra Hardware Detection. It's a pretty yet professional quality boot screen featuring easy editing of the grub system booting options. The splash option didn't seem to do anything as the splash=silent booted using the same =verbose screen. But as the initial boot screen, the background splash is subtle and unobtrusive.
The default desktop is quite attractive in itself with a lovely lavender based wallpaper and an Arabian-looking symbol or letter as the focal point. Utilizing kbfx to dress up the panel elevates the desktop to a more classy level. But when enabling super karamba, one get a whole different look and feel. I like the defaults they set up and it makes for a really nice looking desktop with popular applications already set up on the launcher.
As stated above, it comes with kde 3.4.2 and many of the usual kde applications including the kde control center. They also added other thoughtful apps like mplayer, firefox/thunderbird, synaptic, and OpenOffice. But Arabian has a nice set of their own tools for many tedious tasks.
A pair of these is the apt-manager and the deb-manager. They appear to be complimentary applications for the installation and removal of software packages. The apt-manager appears to be used for setting up your chosen repositories and deb-manager is the actual installer. They are simple yet attractive looking applications for handling the task if one wanted an alternative to synaptic or using apt-get at the command line.
In the menu one can find many useful additions to the usual kde fair. For example the Daily Menu contains kde items that one might find commonly used, however, in System are links to applications to enable/disable sudo and karamba as well as the configuration or enable/disable of several server applications. Under Utilities one can find shortcuts to installing software classified by purpose such as compilers/programming or internet, P2P, email. Also under Utilities is where all those Arabian-Scripts are found such as the apt-manager and deb-manager spoke of earlier as well as many others. I particularly liked the clean uncluttered appearance of Arabians gui tools.
However, the piece de resistance is the Arabian Control Panel. Like the apt/deb managers, it's gives an understated appearance, yet looks can be deceiving. Under the simplistic facade lies many useful tools for configuring your Arabian Linux system. From this one "panel" one can configure just about anything on their system from hardware/peripherals settings to network settings including a firewall or wireless adapters/access points. Also included in the menu and in the Arabian Control Panel are links/apps to configure many software driver dependent modems (aka winmodems).
The crowning jewel of the Arabian Control Panel is the hard drive installer. Another piece of original software presented in the now familiar Arabian understated gui fashion awaits to walk the user through an easy hard drive install. Just a easy few steps, perhaps 6 or 8, is all that is required to set up your hard drive install for your system.
In conclusion, tuxmachines found Arabian to be a very nice Linux system for a newcomer or even an experience user. It seemed quite stable and all the Arabian tools functioned smoothly. The system as a whole offered a different look without taking customizations to an extreme. It comes with many nice applications and plugins with quite a few extras. I liked it quite a bit and can recommend it to anyone without hesitation. You may visit the very nice Arabian website here for further information. More screenshots in the gallery.