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Review: OpenLab 4 impresses with ease of use

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One of the widely claimed advantages of open source software is that anyone is able to take their favourite applications and build their own operating system. Which is well and good for hardcore geeks with a lot of time on their hands but for most of us users is a bridge too far.

So why would anyone want to build their own OS? Especially when there are hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of Linux operating system distributions already available?

The most obvious reason is because they have a real, or perceived, need to cater for a specific user base. Or perhaps because they need an operating system stripped of its superfluous applications and able to run on lower spec machines. Conversely they may need an operating system with an extended selection of tools for more advanced users.

One such operating system is OpenLab, now in its fourth iteration, which historically has catered to an educational user base, being installed in hundreds of school and community computer labs across Africa.

Despite its clear educational leanings, however, OpenLab International has taken the OS to a new level with this release. The intention of OpenLab 4 is very obviously to cater for its existing OpenLab user base while at the same time making the distribution more attractive to a wider audience. To do this the team at OpenLab International has split the distribution over three separate CDs, each with its own target market in mind.

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